They Were Republicans

Had an interesting conversation a few months ago with a couple of folks who had worked for several previous administrations. In LA people can talk about the film industry. In Vegas, it’s the Casinos. In Washington, there are a lot of folks who stay around after serving positions in the Government – so depending on whether you are in a room with DoD and Military people – or a group of Beltway Bandits and Civilian Agency people… It seems that everyone has some experience in – or with one or more parts of the Federal Government.

There is an “inside the Beltway” – it is just not the “groupthink” campaigning politicians try and stereotype it as.

So…the discussion…

What happened to the Republicans? Where did they go?

Former Senator Chuck Hagel (R) wonders the same thing -

Former GOP Senator Chuck Hagel: Republican Party Has ‘An Astounding Lack Of Responsible Leadership’

Former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) can’t muster any praise for his Republican colleagues’ behavior in Congress over the past few months. In an interview with the Financial Times, Hagel blasted GOP leadership for their “irresponsible actions” during the debt ceiling debacle, noting that “I think about some of the presidents we’ve had on my side of the aisle — Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., go right through them, Eisenhower — they would be stunned.”

“Disgusted” with the debt ceiling negotiations, Hagel called it “an astounding lack of responsible leadership by many in the Republican party, and I say that as a Republican.” “Does anyone not believe what’s happened here the last couple weeks in the market was not a complete, direct result of the lack of confidence that came out of that folly, that embarrassment?” he asked. Watch it:

Asked about Tea Party influence, Hagel said the Republican party is too captive to a movement that is “very ideological” and “very narrow.” “I’ve never seen so much intolerance as I’ve seen today,” he said. Later surveying the GOP 2012 field, Hagel said the party may need to rebuild, agreeing that Republicans are now “too far to the right.”

 

 

Time to Clean House, and Senate

Repeat After Me - Tax Cuts Make You Fly!

In what has already become the most disastrous failure of the American political system in history, political extremism in this country may well have killed the fatted calf of the American economy. The only question I have at this point is WTF were those folks in Wisconsin thinking – who only threw ot 2 of the 6 nutjobs bent on converting the state to a simulacrum of Nazi Germany,

Politicians depend on the American public to have a short memory. So unless thanger felt by the electorate in this poll converts into some sort of action in the streets…

It’s likelythat the same old failures will be in the same old jobs come 2012.

CNN Poll: Time to clean house in Congress?

Need more evidence that Americans are extremely angry at Congress?

Well, here you go: According to a new national survey, for the first time ever most Americans don’t believe their own member of Congress deserves re-election.

Read full results (pdf).

And the CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday also indicates that while Republicans may have had the upper hand in the recent battle over raising the debt ceiling, they appear to have lost a lot of ground with the public and the party’s unfavorable rating is now at an all time high.

Only 41 percent of people questioned say the lawmaker in their district in the U.S. House of Representatives deserves to be re-elected – the first time ever in CNN polling that that figure has dropped below 50 percent. Forty-nine percent say their representative doesn’t deserve to be re-elected in 2012. And with ten percent unsure, it’s the first time that a majority has indicated that they would boot their representative out of office if they had the chance today.

“That 41 percent, in the polling world, is an amazing figure. Throughout the past two decades, in good times and bad, Americans have always liked their own member of Congress despite abysmal ratings for Congress in general,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Now anti-incumbent sentiment is so strong that most Americans are no longer willing to give their own representative the benefit of the doubt.  If that holds up, it could be an early warning of an electorate that is angrier than any time in living memory.” Continue reading

“A Sugar Coated Satan Sandwich”

Hopefully, they will shoot this bill down today…

Debt Deal Emerging With Rightward Tilt

President Barack Obama’s rightward lurch to reach a $3 trillion deficit reduction deal with no guarantee of additional revenues had liberals fuming and Republicans all but declaring victory Sunday afternoon.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said early reports of the new deal appeared to be “a sugar-coated Satan sandwich.” The Missouri Democrat said the CBC hadn’t yet made a formal declaration that the group would oppose it, “but this is a shady bill.”

“This deal trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” ripped Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, before House Democrats had even been briefed. “The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want.”

The President Surrenders

For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.

Start with the economics. We currently have a deeply depressed economy. We will almost certainly continue to have a depressed economy all through next year. And we will probably have a depressed economy through 2013 as well, if not beyond.

The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. Pay no attention to those who invoke the confidence fairy, claiming that tough action on the budget will reassure businesses and consumers, leading them to spend more. It doesn’t work that way, a fact confirmed by many studies of the historical record.

Indeed, slashing spending while the economy is depressed won’t even help the budget situation much, and might well make it worse. On one side, interest rates on federal borrowing are currently very low, so spending cuts now will do little to reduce future interest costs. On the other side, making the economy weaker now will also hurt its long-run prospects, which will in turn reduce future revenue. So those demanding spending cuts now are like medieval doctors who treated the sick by bleeding them, and thereby made them even sicker.

And then there are the reported terms of the deal, which amount to an abject surrender on the part of the president. First, there will be big spending cuts, with no increase in revenue. Then a panel will make recommendations for further deficit reduction — and if these recommendations aren’t accepted, there will be more spending cuts.

 

America…Sold Down the River on Debt Deal

Thanks President Obama – for selling America down the river…

Again.

All bow down at the altar of conservative intransigence.

What next? You going to cave on bringing back slavery?

To Escape Chaos, a Terrible Deal

There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery.

It is not yet set in stone, and there may still be time to make it better. But in the end, most Democrats will have no choice but to swallow their fury, accept the deal, and, we hope, fight harder the next time.

For weeks, ever since House Republicans said they would not raise the nation’s debt ceiling without huge spending cuts, Democrats have held out for a few basic principles. There must be new tax revenues in the mix so that the wealthy bear a share of the burden and Medicare cannot be affected.

Those principles were discarded to get a deal that cuts about $2.5 trillion from the deficit over a decade. The first $900 billion to a trillion will come directly from domestic discretionary programs (about a third of it from the Pentagon) and will include no new revenues. The next $1.5 trillion will be determined by a “supercommittee” of 12 lawmakers that could recommend revenues, but is unlikely to do so since half its members will be Republicans…

This for you, President Obama. Buy your own damn gold frame…

Official President Obama Yellowback Donkey Award

Who Made the Debt, Again?

At last – a clear answer to “Who made this mess.”

It was Bush, and the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans trashed America’s economy, and conservative policies have been a disaster since Raygun.

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How the Deficit Got This Big

With President Obama and Republican leaders calling for cutting the budget by trillions over the next 10 years, it is worth asking how we got here — from healthy surpluses at the end of the Clinton era, and the promise of future surpluses, to nine straight years of deficits, including the $1.3 trillion shortfall in 2010. The answer is largely the Bush-era tax cuts, war spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recessions.

Despite what antigovernment conservatives say, non-defense discretionary spending on areas like foreign aid, education and food safety was not a driving factor in creating the deficits. In fact, such spending, accounting for only 15 percent of the budget, has been basically flat as a share of the economy for decades. Cutting it simply will not fill the deficit hole….

First, the Bush tax cuts have had a huge damaging effect. If all of them expired as scheduled at the end of 2012, future deficits would be cut by about half, to sustainable levels. Second, a healthy budget requires a healthy economy; recessions wreak havoc by reducing tax revenue. Government has to spur demand and create jobs in a deep downturn, even though doing so worsens the deficit in the short run. Third, spending cuts alone will not close the gap. The chronic revenue shortfalls from serial tax cuts are simply too deep to fill with spending cuts alone. Taxes have to go up.

Hey Cantor! Know When to Fold ‘Em!

Some 71% of Americans disapprove of Congressional Republicans’ handling of the debt crisis, while just 21% support the GOP’s efforts, a CBS News poll finds. Congressional Democrats fare better, but only slightly so: 58% disapprove of their work on the issue; 31% approve. President Obama gets the best poll numbers of all the players, but his 48% disapproval figure remains larger than his approval rating, at 43%.

71% Disapprove of GOP’s Debt Efforts

Republicans Cripple American Credit Rating

Conservative Screw America... Again.

In a continuing effort to save corporations and rich individuals from paying their fair share of taxes under the misguided conservative maximum that making the rich richer makes them buy more Bentlys …

Republicans have already damaged America’s Credit Rating. Moody’s has announced it will downgrade the US’s credit rating based on the fact that irrational whackjobs like the Tea Baggers can cause a default – even if there is not actual underlying or precipitating crisis.

I hope it was worth driving your average American’s Mortgage interest up a point for conservative “principles”.

Moody’s: Abolish the debt limit

The United States should do away with the debt ceiling altogether to bring greater certainty to investors in U.S. Treasury bonds, Moody’s suggested Monday.

With the August 2 deadline for raising the debt ceiling barely more than two weeks away, the bond-rating agency issued a report Monday noting that the U.S. is one of just a few countries that has a statutory borrowing limit and saying that the limit creates “periodic uncertainty” for investors, Reuters reported.

Moody’s threatened last week to downgrade the AAA rating of the U.S. government if it is unable to meet its debt obligations next month and perhaps even if Congress and the White House are able to reach a deal.

In the past, Moody’s has considered the risk of U.S. default on its debts very low because Congress has routinely approved hikes to the debt limit, but with negotiations between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans at an impasse, the agency is less confident.

“The current wide divisions between the House of Representatives and the Obama administration over the debt limit creates a high level of uncertainty and causes us to raise our assessment of event risk,” analyst Steven Hess wrote in the report.

But, he said, “We would reduce our assessment of event risk if the government changed its framework for managing government debt to lessen or eliminate that uncertainty.”

Rather than continuing to use the debt ceiling in an effort to keep U.S. borrowing down, the government should look toward Chile, Moody’s suggested. There, “the level of deficits is constrained by a ‘fiscal rule,’ which means the rise in debt is constrained though not technically limited.” Chile is considered to be Latin America’s most fiscally sound country.

And, the report noted, it’s not like the debt ceiling has been effective in keeping U.S. debt down: Congress has in the past raised it often and has not linked it to spending levels.

This from the other major rating firm, Standard and Poor -

U.S. warned of possible downgrade

U.S. lawmakers got another stern warning from a leading credit rating agency on Thursday that there is now a very real possibility that the country’s top-notch credit rating could be downgraded in the next three months.
Standard & Poors said in a statement it was placing the United States’ sovereign rating on “CreditWatch with negative implications.”
“[O]wing to the dynamics of the political debate on the debt ceiling, there is at least a one-in-two likelihood that we could lower the long-term rating on the U.S. within the next 90 days,” the agency said in a statement.

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