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Quick Fix?

© Clay Bennett

The GOP cure seems to be far worse than the problem.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    Everyone knows the country’s left leg is socialist.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink
  2. Don wrote:

    I’m afraid I’ve lost the ability to differentiate between what the GOPs are doing and what the DEMs are doing and only see a massive clusterflock heading towards a lot of folks that can’t afford it and don’t deserve to be on the shortening end of the stick.

    Obama? A little too lost in the noise and apparently unwilling to truly push the restoration of tax rates to their pre-2001 level and fix Social Security for the next century with a very small change in withholding.

    It is hard to express how totally disappointed I am with all parties involved in the budget resolution/debt ceiling debacle. These jokers are playing Russian roulette with a gun with only one clearly empty chamber and yet they can’t see it. Argh!!!

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    Actually, I think the comic would have been much more hilarious (and poignant) if the debt ball-and-chain were on the other leg. After all, the GOP proposals do very little to the biggest causes of long-term debt in this country: Defense budget (particularly for projects that the military even says are not needed), ballooning health care costs (partially the result of demand increase thanks to for-profit medical advertising), retiring boomers, unacceptably high unemployment (which kills tax revenues), a ludicrous exemptions that allow the largest corporations to avoid paying taxes (while smaller companies pay higher taxes). Instead, they go on tirades against that budget-busting NPR and the supposed waste at the NSF (the latter was just very, very thoroughly debunked). And they focus on short-term spending, a lot of which was primarily done to clean up the mess they made.

    Don, your comment made me think you need to read this editorial. It’s easy to think that both sides are playing political games and blaming them both. But the fact is that every deal Obama and the Dems have tried to make would have caused the GOP to jump for joy five years ago. This past spring, the GOP said they wanted a deficit plan that was about 80% spending cuts and 20% revenue increases. Dem proposals have had an 85/15 balance (i.e., more in favor of spending cuts than what the GOP claims they wanted). And that is apparently now unacceptable.

    Regarding the Krugman article, tl;dr: “For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault.”

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Dang, I had saved the Krugman editorial and I’m planning on doing a post about it. You beat me to it.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  5. Don wrote:

    Michael, I read Klugman fairly often and generally agree with much of what he says. In the column in question, I think his biggest point is that the media seems to think that everything needs to be balanced – including blame. I agree with him.

    In my comments above, I wasn’t apportioning percentages to each party, but if I was, the GOPs would get the vast majority of the blame. They are the driving force behind this incredible turn to the right with its anti-societal bass line thumping along. They are the ones willing to play chicken to score political points – in this case points based on driving the country to the edge of economic panic and hoping the electorate will forget that their most recent president felt the deficit wasn’t really an issue as he spent the country ever deeper into debt.

    Michael, you illustrate my point about the DEMs, though. They’re talking like GOPs. They, too, have lost sight of the central issues driving many of the budget busting themes: health care spending (medicare only being a piece of this mess), defense department spending, foreign wars and troop disbursements (not counted as part of the defense budget), and the happy sound of billionaires counting their tax loophole money while millions of folks are out of work.

    DEMs are talking like Social Security is broken when it doesn’t even need to be in the discussion for it can be funded for the next 100 years with a couple of fairly simple tweaks, yet the DEMs, like the GOPs, are talking about moving the retirement age even further back and reducing benefits.

    My frustration with the DEMs predates this current clusterflock over the debt ceiling. Health care reform did virtually nothing to address the costs of health care. I have very good group health care insurance and yet my out of pocket costs are up substantially this year. I can only imagine what folks buying their own insurance are having to deal with.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    Wish I’d read this sooner.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    The tax cuts are set to expire at the end of next year. Are they being extended in these negotiations? I’ve seen no mention of this.
    Remember if the Nation defaults, interest rates are going to go up on Treasury Bonds; therefore those who have extra money to invest like those who benefit from Bush’s tax cuts to the rich will be able to invest at better rates and take more tax money away from the working people to pay the interest. Of course, the Republicans want a default.
    Over and over I hear Karl Rove’s name mentioned with his American Crossroads bringing down the country. And all they had to do was jail and try him for outing Valerie Plame.

    Friday, July 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I understand the frustration and I am utterly frustrated. Yes I agee that the radical approach by the new congress is over the top for what the current situation calls for. The GOP has put forth and passed several plans, but there has been no plan I am aware of actually passed in the senate. They talk about the Reid plan, the gang of 6 plan, the debt commission plan, but none have been voted on. The house dems to my knowledge have not brought forth any plan and asked for it to be voted on, although it would be unlikely to pass at least they could talk about a plan in absolutes vs theory. The President talks about his plan, but it doesn’t seem to be anything on paper either. So while the game of roulette or chicken progresses there is still only actual proposals from one side and they are not the solution.
    Before the Boehner bill was passed, which was originally a very simple plan of cuts equaling the debt increase, Reid said it was DOA in the Senate. How does that help? Where’s Reid’s passed bill to present to the house? I think it’s as much politics from the left as the right and I am dissappointed. Cross that, disgusted.
    On the default, there will be no default on Tuesday even if no agreement is reached, its an imaginary line drawn that can be moved. We have the money to pay our obligations for the immediate future, and can come up with a creative solution for the short+ term. After that, we’ll need to gradually start shutting down the Gov’t. Barney Frank stated they already passed a bill last year which released pension funds etc, from having to buy only AAA funds and some are already changing their statutes to read AAA and Gov’t securities. So the credit rating may not be as bad. We all remember the tinterest rates from the late 70’s -early 80’s when mortgage rates topped out at 16% or so. We survived, life went on, people went to college, bought homes and cars, etc. The rates weent back down, people refinanced, bought new cars, life as we now enjoy it. It is not the end of the world as Pelosi would have us believe.

    Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink
  9. Michael wrote:

    If you don’t think default would be a problem, consider this. Our current official unemployment rate remains close to 10%, which is at least as high as it was in the ’70s and ’80s. Other economic factors show that the current situation is significantly worse, because the average duration of unemployment is higher.

    So how would a change in our credit rating affect this? The general rule of thumb that I have heard is that, for every 50 base points (i.e., adding 0.5% to the interest rate), 600,000 jobs (0.4%) will be lost.

    And, sorry, I still don’t see how you can say “it’s as much politics from the left as the right,” when the facts really seem to indicate otherwise. As I said above, the Dem plans are pretty much in line with what the GOP said they wanted last spring. It’s not the entire GOP’s fault. It’s the Tea Partiers, who are doing exactly what they said they would. Even conservatives are fed up and disgusted with them. They just seem to be a a bunch of middle-aged people acting like post-adolescents.

    Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Permalink
  10. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I don’t disagree Michael that not raising the credit limit would have many negative consequences as you indicated. What I’m saying is I havn’t seen or heard of a dem plan either tabled in the house, the oval office or pased on the senate floor. So if we can only “see” plans from one side how can we compare(table talk is not the same as a plan on paper and there are no others). Also, I don’t want to see things get worse, but if the President and senate won’t give on the amount of the increase and taxes and the GOP won’t give on taxes and the amount of the increase then what. I think they can and have negotiated the amount of cuts, but the other 2 issues seem to be immovable objects. 1 side has to give up one and the other the second before there can be any discussion.
    After Tuesday when no deal is reached (and I don’t think they’ll reach a deal) the President and Treasury will have to decide who and what gets funded. That will put Obama in in a bad place even if it all gets blamed on the GOP. He’ll still have to decide Gov’t employees, vs comabt Soldiers, vs veterans, vs medicare, vs medicaid, vs foreign aid, vs executive and congressional salaries. SS should not be a factor since its funded on its own through payroll taxes (unless it really has no money because they spent it all like the runors say), the people who process the checks is a different matter. The postal service operates independantly as well. I wouldn’t want to be him at that moment.
    To top it all off, this fight will start again in Sept as the current CR expires regardless of this outcome. If the GOP miraculously caves now, they will start the next fight in 30 days and Obama will have no more bargaining chips.
    I know he and the Dem leadership think they have the upper hand in this fight, but the freshmen don’t seem to care about getting re-elected, so the threat of them being kicked out in 2012 isn’t going to work. 2 opposing ideologies and each believes they are right, which gets us stuck between a rock and a hard place. The current tax rates will likely expire at the end of the year due to the same impass so whats the point of arguing it now, other then to score political points?
    I don’t know, so many facits to this issue when political posturing comes into play. Like you said, 100s of thousands may lose their jobs but there will be no Dem congress to bail them out when their benefits run out, no emergency stimulus to re-revive the economy that never revived, and all over a mute point about taxes. They’re all thinking in the now, not down the road. Theres 2 more big fights on the short term horizon before the next election cycle starts, why do both sides want all or nothing now?

    Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink
  11. Arthanyel wrote:

    Psgt, the Senate hasn’t tried to put through a plan yet because the Republicans are on “auto filibuster” until they get their way, so there is no way to bring a plan to a vote.

    Sunday, July 31, 2011 at 12:52 am | Permalink