Mon
Aug 1 2011
10:09 am

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel front page headline this morning, Obama and congressional leaders ended a "perilous stalemate" when they announced a "historic agreement" on a "dramatic resolution" to narrowly avert "financial default" one day before total disaster.

Pretty dramatic. Never saw that coming. Aren't we lucky to have such heroic political leadership? They are our saviors.

The "dramatic resolution" apparently includes extensive spending cuts and creative tax increases, because that's generally how you get out of debt.

Wait, this just in... we are being told that the deal does not, repeat does not include any tax increases. And no one is saying what spending will be cut, except Medicare, Social Security disability, and student loans. There has been no mention of magic beans, fairy dust, or voodoo in any of the various news reports.

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Brian A.'s picture

Is it "save us from

Is it "save us from disaster", or is it "create a deeper disaster"?

Andy Axel's picture

Democracy has disappeared in

Democracy has disappeared in several other great nations -- disappeared not because the people of those nations disliked democracy, but because they had grown tired of unemployment and insecurity, of seeing their children hungry while they sat helpless in the face of government confusion, government weakness, -- weakness through lack of leadership in government. Finally, in desperation, they chose to sacrifice liberty in the hope of getting something to eat. We in America know that our own democratic institutions can be preserved and made to work. But in order to preserve them we need to act together, to meet the problems of the Nation boldly, and to prove that the practical operation of democratic government is equal to the task of protecting the security of the people.

Not only our future economic soundness but the very soundness of our democratic institutions depends on the determination of our Government to give employment to idle men. The people of America are in agreement in defending their liberties at any cost, and the first line of that defense lies in the protection of economic security. Your Government, seeking to protect democracy, must prove that Government is stronger than the forces of business depression.

History proves that dictatorships do not grow out of strong and successful governments but out of weak and helpless governments. If by democratic methods people get a government strong enough to protect them from fear and starvation, their democracy succeeds, but if they do not, they grow impatient. Therefore, the only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over its government.

We are a rich Nation; we can afford to pay for security and prosperity without having to sacrifice our liberties into the bargain.

FDR, 4/14/1938

cafkia's picture

Our nation used to execute

Our nation used to execute traitors. Now we pretend that they are something else and shower them with votes or money or the respect due a real citizen. Hold on to your handbaskets folk, our speed seems to be increasing.

Tess's picture

Super Congress

The most frightening thing they are preparing to pass is the notion of a Super Congress to push through legislation dreamed up by the Super Congress appointees. The Super Congress will subvert the constitutional balance of power, as they will answer to no one but themselves.

Mary the prez's picture

Here are the 5 most important points.

The budget 'deal' is evaluated by a college professor friend this way:
1) Seniors are 95% safe now and future Seniors are 90% safe
(I am sure she means from the draconian cuts the TEAs wanted.)
2) Defense spending will be cut 18% per year. (Does anyone remember the last time there were ANY cuts there?)
3) The BUSH tax cuts for the ultra wealthy and corporations will EXPIRE (on the date they are scheduled to expire) 3 months before the 2012 elections. Then the tax rates will revert back to those of the Clinton years.
4) Subsidies to oil (Big OIL, that is) and farm subsidies are open to be cut or eliminated.
5) Education, re-education or re-training programs will be cut 20%.

Re #5: If all those financial geniuses like Buffett, Gates, and the guy at Apple would contribute 1 tenth of their gross profits for ONE year, public education would benefit, jobs would be created (instead of firing good teachers like here and Statewide!).

So instead of all this hands wringing, please check into the details. And then ask ALL our GOP/TEA politicians: When are you going to do one thing FOR America? Still NO jobs. Still no help for small business. Still no support of clean energy/wind power, solar...this would also create GOOD jobs, not coal miner jobs, or dangerous oil well jobs. Good, safe jobs. With workers' rights and benefits.

Any questions?

Brian A.'s picture

Yes, I question your

Yes, I question your assertion that the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire in August 2012.

Stick's picture

Hmmmm.....

1) That is until the super-duper [un-democratic] committee reports.
2) "Defense" is being liberally defined. Don't look for the Pentagon to actually make any cuts.
3) Since the deal is that this particular can is being kicked down the road and Obama is promising to fight for it, you can color me skeptical.
4) Being open to a cut and actually being cut is two different things.
5) Brilliant!

More importantly... $1 trillion dollars [and associated multiplier effects] will be immediately sucked out of a struggling economy with another $1.5 trillion cut down the road. Why is this a good thing again?

This isn't just bad policy; it's bad politics. It would appear as though Obama is trying to be a one term president. Remember: It is Obama that wants to make "entitlement reforms" even though SS has not contributed and can not by law contribute one penny to deficit spending. Medicare is uber efficient; it's problem is linked to our failed health care system. Fix that and the deficit disappears...

Stick's picture

Update

Looks like the cuts are phased in a little more slowly than I thought... $21 billion next year and $42 billion in 2013. With a $1.25 multiplier that comes to around $26 billion and $52 billion pulled out of a weak economy. Not as bad... but no economic logic behind it.

Andy Axel's picture

I have a question: Is this a

I have a question: Is this a defense of this lame-brained austerity-for-thee scheme?

I can't figure out which is more vapid, this so-called policy or the slavish apologists who cannot bring themselves to admit that Obama is a purveyor of shit sandwiches.

And then ask ALL our GOP/TEA politicians: When are you going to do one thing FOR America?

I'd love for Obama to model this pro-America political behavior, because to evaluate these economic packages, you would think that America is a place that solely consists of 8 city blocks between Broadway and South Street along the East River.

adanovi's picture

Bill Gate$ Love$ Race to the top!

If you believe that firing teachers has nothing to do with either Bill Gates or "Race to the top" you are living in a fantasy world.

CE Petro's picture

Here's an explanation of the

Here's an explanation of the deal from Jared Bernstein, Biden's former economic advisor.

–$1 trillion in cuts in discretionary spending over 10 years

What does that mean? It refers to the non-entitlements in the budget: defense and non-defense programs where dollar amounts are appropriated every year. On the non-defense side, it’s transportation, education and training, child care, housing assistance, health research, energy.

From a jobs perspective, a lot of infrastructure and investment in stuff like clean energy comes out of this part of the budget.

His take on the Cat Food Commission II is pretty interesting, too, particularly on the "trigger".
But his conclusion is priceless. Definitely worth the read.

Andy Axel's picture

transportation, education and

transportation, education and training, child care, housing assistance, health research, energy

So, translated: The taxes on the wealthiest will not be raised so that you can take more out of your own pocket for education, training, child care, and housing.

Daddy Warbucks says: "Austerity for thee, but not for me."

Min's picture

Just what America needs.

A super secret supercommittee to make the "hard" decisions for us. John Adams must be spinning like a top.

Tess's picture

Yes

This is what people should be paying attention to.

Factchecker's picture

Great at self back-patting!

Pretty dramatic. Never saw that coming. Aren't we lucky to have such heroic political leadership? They are our saviors.

That little shit David Drier, who now must be considered a political moderate (gawd save us), spent his first big, drawn out response on NPR this morning proudly boasting how the House Leadership stayed up so late last night and successfully got the new stink bill posted up on the web, presumably to satisfy insomniac masochists all over this (formerly) great land.

Virgil Proudfoot's picture

New slogans for the new Democratic Party

In the wake of their vote to keep the Lesser Depression in place, how about:

"The Democrat [ick] Party: Returning to the Olde Deal"

or maybe,

"The Democrat Party: Bringing Back the Not-So-Great Society"?

Or my favorite:

"The Demoralized Party: Just like the Republicans, we're driving straight for the cliff, but we take our foot off the accelerator once in a while!"

R. Neal's picture

What's artful about this

What's artful about this "deal" is that it has built-in time bombs that will guarantee more cuts, thus starving more oxygen from our economy that's already on life support.

Add to that big corporations sitting on huge piles of cash that they're not reinvesting (and banks that are sitting on even bigger piles of cash that they aren't lending) because there's "no demand."

Add that to the big corporate employers who are not only not hiring but also laying off because "there's no demand," thus further weakening demand, not to mention state and federal tax revenues.

It's a perfect (manufactured) storm for Obama, and he let himself get maneuvered into his own corner where continued economic weakness is now virtually guaranteed.

Rick Perry will be your next president.

Virgil Proudfoot's picture

One and out

Obama has already said publicly that he wouldn't mind being a one-term president.

I interpret that now, after his aggressive surrender on the debt deal, to mean that he won't have to wait another four years to collect his payoffs from Wall Street.

Glenn Greenwald has figured this out:

(link...)

reform4's picture

GOOD.

Obama has already said publicly that he wouldn't mind being a one-term president.

Great news! Who is the primary challenger? He/she pretty much has my vote as long as he/she is breathing.

bizgrrl's picture

Rick Perry will be your next

Rick Perry will be your next president.

Maybe not. His promotion of "The Response" event may be his downfall. Some people are saying he is attracting too much of the fringe element.

... a slate of organizers who hold out-of-mainstream views on religious freedom, gay rights and even Adolf Hitler, the event has become a potentially risky gamble if Perry is serious about running for the White House.

EricLykins's picture

We’re gonna need a smaller

We’re gonna need a smaller venue
Ruh roh. Looks like Rick Perry’s big prayer meetin’ may not be as big as he’d hoped. He’s hired out Houston’s 71,500-seat Reliant Stadium for the event that’s only two days away, but so far he’s got only about 8,000 RSVPs to hear the extremists he’s got on the speakers’ list. And lots of the politicians he invited apparently aren’t too keen on appearing with some of those folks, cause they ain’t coming.

Stick's picture

What Happened?

I thought the Confidence Fairies were supposed to be pacified by our bold compromise... Link

Stick's picture

Quote of the day: I keep

Quote of the day:

I keep saying I am not a Democrat because I have no idea what their economic policy is, and I am not a Republican because I know EXACTLY what their economic policy is. That is our policy choices: Inept cluelessness on one side, and hapless fantasy-based lunacy on the other.

Factchecker's picture

Say hello to President Perry, Jan 2013

Except that any primary challenger to an incumbent is doomed in the general election.

Somebody's picture

You know, it's possible that

You know, it's possible that this "super committee" thing is actually well played by the left. Reid is already saying that it's going to require new revenue to get a deal. McConnell is already saying he'll only appoint people who won't raise taxes in any way. The deal is, though, that no deal yields automatic cuts, including many that folks on the right don't want.

As such, come Thanksgiving, the Right will be in a position where intransigence over refusing to ask more from the wealthy will yield cuts in defense spending that they don't want, and it will pitch one right-wing policy purity position against another. Sure, there are also spending cuts that the left won't like, but this time the consequences aren't anything the Michelle Bachmanns of the world can pretend won't be real. In the most recent fight she and her ilk simply pretended that the consequences of failure to raise the debt ceiling were fictional, and thus imagined no downside to refusing compromise. Next time, it's in black and white. No compromise? Fine. Cuts will be automatic, and here's what they'll be, and here are the related constituencies who will burn your political future to the ground.

reform4's picture

Medicare gets cut,

... but GOP pushes supplemental funding for Pentagon or just a bill to un-do the Pentagon cuts. They paint Dems as weak on national security if they vote against it, and Obama as a traitor if he vetoes it. Rinse and repeat.

Stick's picture

Party Politics Trumps Reality

That reads like cognitive bias in action. This idea that Obama is somehow playing eleven dimensional chess in which he will suddenly [at some future date of course] pull a super progressive rabbit from his hat seems more and more like a fantasy with every "compromise."

For example: Twas Obama who put SS and Medicare on the table as a part of his "grand bargain", and he continues to talk about the need to work on "entitlement reform." He signaled his willingness to do so immediately after taking office [remember the special meeting with conservative activists like George Will?].

Facing up to reality and seeking out a different course of action based on the best evidence available to you at the time is not the same as being shrill. It is the definition of pragmatism.

Somebody's picture

Then again

I think you make the mistake of thinking that the president was ever a hard-left liberal progressive. He's always been a moderate, and to him, at least, some of your cows are not sacred.

LA Times Op Ed: How the GOP lost on the debt deal

Stick's picture

Way too cynical for that...

Trust me... I've never held such a thought. However, the degree to which he moved right did somewhat surprise me... Not because of any ideas that I was projecting onto him but because it is really bad politics. It is almost as if he wants to be a one-term president. As I've said previously in this thread, the campaign rhetoric that he has jettisoned polls very well.

reform4's picture

Three ways Obama could bypass Congress (but he's too chickensh**

(link...)

#3 is the 14th amendment. #1 and #2 are more creative and wouldn't chance impeachment proceedings.

redmondkr's picture

Juanita Jean's take on a Rick

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