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The House recently passed "Cut, Cap and Balance" (see John McCain's fantastic take on it here).   Republicans are convinced of the need for a balanced budget amendment, and one of the most cited arguments for they give for a balanced budget amendment is that 49 states have one so the federal government should too.

The concept of a balanced budget amendment sounds intuitive enough.  "Ordinary Americans and 49 states have to balance their budgets," the argument goes, "so Congress should too." Well, not exactly.

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The Bush tax cuts cost $329,220 for each job it created.  That, according to the math recently employed by The Weekly Standard in its analysis of the cost per job from Obama's stimulus package.

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Since Paul Ryan recently released his budget proposal, the praise from the right and many in the media has tended to gravitate towards two adjectives: "courageous" and "serious."  It's difficult to think of two words which are less applicable to Ryan's budget than those.

Let's begin with "courageous."  

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By now, most everyone is familiar with the high political drama in the State of Wisconsin where Democrats and labor continue to fend off attacks by Republicans to severely reduce the ability of workers to collectively bargain.

Only one parliamentary hurdle stands in the way of a Republican victory on collective bargaining: the Senate quorum requirement.  Republicans need 3/5 of all state Senators to be present during a legislative day to establish a quorum.  There are currently 19 Republican Senators and 14 Democrats, meaning they are one person shy of establishing a quorum to pass the bill reducing collective bargaining rights.

Under Rule 84 of the Wisconsin Senate rules:

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A second US District Court has now held the individual mandate unconstitutional.  The Florida court's ruling, issued by Judge Vinson, went even further, however, holding that the mandate is not severable from the remainder of the health care bill and therefore the entire bill is invalid.

While I don't expect Judge Vinson's ruling to survive appeal, or ultimate Supreme Court scrutiny, it's worth asking, "If this bill doesn't survive judicial scrutiny, then what?"

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Ask most conservatives for their opinion on the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, and they will likely tell you that it is unconstitutional.  They also will likely tell you that nothing similar has ever been tried before and this is a vast overreach of congressional power.  The first point will be resolved in due time through the court system.  The second point can be addressed more concretely.

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Many have noted the irony of conservative politicians running on a platform of undying love for and understanding of the Constitution while simultaneously advocating the repeal of many of its significant provisions.  Vocal elements of the conservative base, primarily centered on the Tea Party and pundits on Fox News, have advocated for repealing part of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment (citizenship) and all of the 16th Amendment (income tax) and 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators).  Those are significant changes to the nation's governing text, but they pale in comparison to the most recent calls for change involving nullification.  

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Republican lawmakers continue to argue that tax cuts do not need to be "offset" and that they do not decrease revenue (which is another way of saying they do not add to the deficit).  That's a fascinating insight and one that suggests we don't have much of a deficit at all anymore!  

The aggregate amount of deficits from 2002-2010 was approximately $4.8 trillion.  I list 2002 first because that was the first year following implementation of the first Bush tax cut.  

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I was shocked to see David Broder appear to argue that Obama should use war with Iranto improve his political standing earlier this week.  It turns out, he isn't alone in that sentiment.  From George Friedman's latest column in STRATFOR:

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It's about 2:00 am Wednesday morning, and right now the Colorado Senate race is one of the few remaining races yet to be called.  Senator Bennet (D-CO) trails challenger Ken Buck right now by about 8,000 votes (726,000 to 718,000).  About 71% of precincts have reported their results, but luckily for Bennet the remaining 29% are mostly from the Denver and Boulder areas, which slant Democratic.

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If you watched the video above, you are now aware that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently allowed eleven foreign nations to file briefs with the court in connection with the federal government's lawsuit against Arizona regarding its illegal immigration law.

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James O'Keefe built a career with his infamous Acorn video which, despite having been proven to be heavily edited and highly misleading, was successful in effectively destroying the organization.  Given the total disregard O'Keefe (and his mentor, Andrew Breitbart) showed for facts and truth in disseminating the Acorn video, it was hardly surprising to see that O'Keefe next "stunt," a bizarre scheme involving trespassing at Senator Landrieu's office in Louisiana, resulted in his arrest.  

A $1,500 fine and one hundred hours of community service later, James O'Keefe is back at it again, this time with an even stranger plot involving CNN and one of its journalists, Abbie Boudreau.

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