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Some Thoughts on The budget "Negotiations"

 
 
snood
 
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 06:44 am
Okay. So here we go again - decisions whose results are potentially momentous for the country being made essentially behind closed doors. The negotiators are all millionaires and the bargaining chips include the life support systems of poor people. The sacred cow of the republicans seems to be taxing the rich. The left seems to be caught again between the rock of necessity and the hard place of politics. In other words, everyone knows a deal has to be made soon, but everyone also knows that the deal will involve Obama giving up some things that will hurt his stature among progressives. It is wonderful to have ideals - if I had my way I'd tax the rich and make very minor reparative adjustments to entitlements. But you can't govern a polarized country according to your hardline ideals. It makes me sad again for what happens to good men in corrupt systems. It makes me angry again about how life seems to favor the greedy.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 2,346 • Replies: 34

 
revelette
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 08:27 am
@snood,
You seem as depressed as me. This latest deal involving cuts to the SS is just icing on the cake of disappointment with Obama. I still really like Obama but it just seems like he is forever having to give ground. What would happen if he didn't this time? I think the country would blame the republicans, but what would happen if there was no budget deal?

Pew Poll: Maintaining Benefits Outweighs Cutting Deficit
snood
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 08:31 am
@revelette,
revelette wrote:

You seem as depressed as me. This latest deal involving cuts to the SS is just icing on the cake of disappointment with Obama. I still really like Obama but it just seems like he is forever having to give ground. What would happen if he didn't this time? I think the country would blame the republicans, but what would happen if there was no budget deal?


I know- that's what I mean by a rock and a hard place. Obama could be like Kucinich and hold Quixote-like to a hardline, and the country might even agree with him in the majority, but what would that do to us as a country with a sensitive economy?
revelette
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 08:41 am
@snood,
Quote:
but what would that do to us as a country with a sensitive economy?


I don't know, which is why I asked. Maybe the republicans would actually fold this time?

(left a poll in the edit while you were posting which shows just how unpopular risking benefits to not only SS but medicare and medicaid is to a lot of people in this country; even among republicans (the poorer ones naturally)
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 12:56 pm
@revelette,
Just like Clinton Obama ran as a liberal but governs like a republican lite. If he would show some balls on letting the repbs refuse to raise the debt limit he would gain some of my respect which he has lost. As far as I can see it dosent make any difference wether I vote Dem or Repub. They are all millionares who vote for their own income group. We need some common men in congress and need to vote out the rich crooks.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 02:14 pm
Liberal (progressive if you prefer) politicians berate the nasty Republicans for wanting to drastically alter or even do away with entitlements. Then the liberals proceed to cut our entitlements. "There. I held the line for you," they then boast. Same story with taxing the wealthy. Etc.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Jul, 2011 04:04 pm
@snood,
They have to be behind closed doors, because if there is any chance for a deal it will require both sides to talk in terms of political hits and gains.

Republicans gained a majority in the House in 2010 by promising to do something about a government that many see as something of a drunken sailor. The Tea Party activists have shown that they are not tied at the hip to the GOP Establishment, and not shy about booting out Republicans they believe are too focused on business as usual. With two year terms, House members can't afford to hope public fervor will die down.

Their constituency doesn't want them to cave, and frankly doesn't trust their deal making. The last deal where something like $3 billion in cuts proved to really be little more than $300 million left a bad taste in a lot of mouths.

Meanwhile Obama has his own very intense political interests, and if you think only the Republicans are concerned about politics while the Democrats just want to advance their ideals, you have had one too many glasses of kool-aid.

I think the politics favor a greater degree of compromise by Obama than the Republicans.

I'm sure Obama wants liberals all fired up and ready for action when he runs for re-election, but no matter how this situation ends up, he's not going to see them vote for a Republican, and no one else in his party is going to mount a serious challenge to his candidacy.

The Republicans on the other hand can and will face opponents in Republican primaries who will go for the Tea Party vote if there is any indication that the incumbants broke faith.

Republican voters will have a real choice, while Democrat voters will not.

In addition, Obam knows he has to eventually appear to return to the center if he is going to win independents in 2012. This and the fact that he is the only choice for liberals means he is not in the same do or die position as the Republicans.

Of course he can stay firm and take the chance that the Republicans will get blamed if there is an economic crisis, but that's a very big chance.

Once again, it comes down to the immediate political interests of the participants.

None of the Republicans in the negotiations are running for president in 2012 and while I'm sure they want their candidate to win, if he or she doesn't, it won't be them that lose.

These guys are in relatively safe Republican districts and so, again, their biggest fear is not a Democrat it's someone judged more conservative than them. Republican voters in their districts are not going to blame an economic disaster on them for holding the line on no new taxes, they will blame the Democrats.

On the other hand, Obama's re-election chances will surely collapse altogether if there is another economic downturn (let alone a disaster) that he can't totally lay at the feet of the Republicans. That's a big "if," and I don't expect he is not too secure about rolling the dice on it.
revelette
 
  2  
Reply Sat 9 Jul, 2011 08:27 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
You do realize the candidate who wins the republican primary will eventually have to run in the general election don't you? All the polls I have seen blame the GOP for not agreeing to revenue increases and they do not want to cut benefits to medicare or medicaid. The people in those polls comprise of more than just hard core republicans, but moderate and independents as well.




Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Jul, 2011 05:38 pm
@revelette,
You do realize don't you that no one in the current crop of GOP presidential wannabes, is involved in the debt ceiling negotiations?

You really need to take off your "I hate all Republican" blinders when you participate in these threads.
tsarstepan
 
  3  
Reply Mon 18 Jul, 2011 05:56 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:
You really need to take off your "I hate all Republican" blinders when you participate in these threads.

Wow! You blatant hypocrisy is dangerously carcinogenic Finn.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Mon 18 Jul, 2011 06:04 pm
@tsarstepan,
Wow, Ebert Wannabe is (I assume) calling me a hypocrite.

I'm devastated.

Particularly because I know that for a Liberal, there is no greater sin.

The bit about cancer, was that supposed to be wry?
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  2  
Reply Sun 31 Jul, 2011 11:35 pm
This editorial from the NY times sums up the current situation quite well, IMO:

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.

If the committee is deadlocked, or its recommendations are rejected by either house of Congress, then a dreaded guillotine of cuts would come down: $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending reductions that would begin to go into effect by early 2013.

Negotiators have tried to make this penalty mechanism as unpalatable as possible to provide an incentive for the supercommittee and Congress to avert it. For Democrats, the penalty would include cuts to Medicare providers. The penalty for Republicans should have been new tax revenues, but of course they refused to consider that and got their way. Instead, their incentive will be trying to avoid large cuts in the military budget.

Democrats won a provision drawn from automatic-cut mechanisms in previous decades that exempts low-income entitlement programs. There is no requirement that a balanced-budget amendment pass Congress. There will be no second hostage-taking on the debt ceiling in a few months, as Speaker John Boehner and his band of radicals originally demanded. Democratic negotiators decided that the automatic cut system, as bad as it is, was less of a threat to the economy than another default crisis, and many are counting on future Congresses to undo its arbitrary butchering.

Sadly, in a political environment laced with lunacy, that calculation is probably correct. Some Republicans in the House were inviting a default, hoping that an economic earthquake would shake Washington and the Obama administration beyond recognition. Democrats were right to fear the effects of a default and the impact of a new recession on all Americans.

President Obama could have been more adamant in dealing with Republicans, perhaps threatening to use constitutional powers to ignore the debt ceiling if Congress abrogated its responsibility to raise it. But this episode demonstrates the effectiveness of extortion. Reasonable people are forced to give in to those willing to endanger the national interest.

Democrats can look forward to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts next year, and will have to make the case in the 2012 elections for new lawmakers who will undo the damage.

Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Aug, 2011 02:56 pm
@snood,
My first reaction was to suggest that while I love it that the NY Times hates this deal, one can find quite a few conservative opinions that it stink as well and therefore it meets the definition of a good compromise.

But then I realized that the WSJ and National Review don't hate it. They don't love it, but they don't hate it.

So do they know something other conservatives don't or are they actually less partisan and more mature than the editorial board of the Times?

You can guess what I believe.



snood
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Aug, 2011 11:18 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
What have conservatives got to dislike about this deal?
revelette
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 09:23 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
I hate republicans about as much as you hate democrats. I hate the current republican ideologies and policy agendas.

Anyway, they may not be involved in the actual process, but they have been attempting to make their voices heard and for the most part have been wanting the same things as the republicans who have been involved in the process. They either want the country to default, or raise the debt ceiling with no fixing of the tax loopholes and tax havens of the richest people in the US who have been about the only ones to profit these last few years.

I guess some republicans are upset that a deal is almost reached, some might be upset that even more cuts are not in the deal, but democrats are upset that there is no tax revenue at all in the deal. Not a fair compromise. But what choice did we have, they have had us over a barrel with the only way out is for the President to invoke the fourteenth amendment and risk an impeachment. I think we all may be better off than this deal, doubt an impeachment would have gone through.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 01:11 pm
@snood,
I don't like the deal because it doesn't cut enough spending. I don't hate the deal, for that opinion ask Jim DeMint and Rand Paul or Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 01:22 pm
@snood,
He should have started the process earlier. If Democrats are going to be so timid they need to at least be smarter about it. If they'd started this last year they would have been able to negotiate with less pressure. Instead they capitulate yet again and blame Republicans for talking them into it.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 01:50 pm
@revelette,
I don't hate the Democrats.

There are a few which I come close on, but if I hate someone, I wish for harm to come to them. There have been very few people during my life that I truly hated, and it was never because they were Democrats.

There are a number of Democrat politicians (including our President) who I deeply dislike and for who I have very minimal respect, but that's not hatred.

I would never wish for any harm to come to President Obama. I wish he didn't win the 2008 election, and I very much hope he will not be re-elected, but why would I wish him harm? Well, I have to admit I would love to see him slip on a banana peel or get hit in the chops by a kid swinging a whiffle ball bat, but not if he was really injured by either event.

I would never lament the absence of a practiced assassin now that Obama is president. I would never suggest it might be a good thing for Nancy Pelosi to get punished by rape. These are things Liberals feel about Republicans, (not me) and if there is a Conservative out there that does, I want no part of them.

The mega-rich like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and George Soros, almost never suffer during economic down turns. This doesn't mean they don't lose lots of money,but they have so much in the first place that any loss can hardly be considered suffering.

I'm pretty sure the same can be said of any billionaire, but how many do you think there are?

You could take every penny of what they own in taxes and it won't solve our economic woes. You do realize this don't you?

So let's move to the millionaires: There is a huge difference between a millionaire who is worth $200 mil and one who is worth $2mil, and yet Democrats lump them all together as people with "too much money."

But even if you take every cent of their money, our economic woes will not be cured.

Even the Dems aren't suggesting we should tax 100% of the personal wealth of millionaires and billionaires, so if 100% won't even do it, where do you get the rest?

Well it must be those " hundred-thousandaires" who make too much and have to give more to be "fair."

I have news for you, in bad economic times there are plenty of "hundred-thousandaires" who suffer. They lose their jobs, their houses, their retirement funds, but I guess that doesn't matter because for at least a little while they got to live high on the hog. Never mind that it took them 25 to 35 years of damned hard work to eventually get on top of the hog, and that for a good part of their lives the difference in their status wasn't that they had more than their neighbors, but that they whined far less about how the mega-rich needed to be milked to pay for their wants and desires.

So, by Democrat definition, a couple making $250,000 a year is "rich" and needs to pay more taxes to be "fair"

And does anyone really believe that when the Democrats get more from these people they will stop spending, that there will no longer be wrongs to right through government expansion and spending?

Do you really believe that to be the case?

Of course it isn't. Democratpoliticians spend to buy power, and people who need power can never have enough.

Eventually they will come knocking on your door, unless you are already an American who depends upon the government for a living; without contribution.

Unfortunately as history as clearly told us, by the time everyone depends upon a government for a living, the country's economy is terminal and the gravy train must end...plus it never really is a gravy train...ask the Russians and the Chinese.


snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 07:50 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I just about get to the point where I'm about ready to take up my torch and pitchfork and join the hordes of disgruntled liberals mad at Obama, but I always come back around to the same question... What would I do? If I had a choice between 1) possibly going off the edge of the potential disaterous financial cliff that the right - led by the rabid, nonsensical teabaggers - were quite willing to let the country go off of by letting us default, and 2) giving in to their extortion by taking a terrible deal that included raising the debt ceiling - what would I do?

As has been the case when I've had to ask myself similar questions during Obama's time in office, I chose the hypothetical terrible deal, because the alternatives - if we "progressives" are quite honest - aren't many, in an environment where his opposition aren't being ruled by reason, but by the overarching mission to defeat Obama by any means. They have proven to my complete satisfaction that the only interests they will consistently defend are the interests of the rich. they have proven that they will vehemently oppose even the views they once held themselves - if Obama holds them now.

If the opposition you vie with does not answer to decency or even sanity, wouldn't you have to make some terrible choices in the greater interest of the many?
Finn dAbuzz
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 2 Aug, 2011 08:02 pm
@snood,
Oh Good Lord what tripe.

Obama is a stealth conservative?

We should only be so lucky.
 

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