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  •  Normally we are good friends and allies vote4Obama (11+ / 0-)

    so I draw on our vast bank account of  mutual good will earned during six years of fighting to elect and reelect president Obama, and fight for other worthwhile progressive causes  to turn the other cheek, on this unhelpful slight to progressive Democrats who bit their lips to show loyalty to the President when he put all of his credibility, and that of the Democratic Party on the line in this historic vote.

    But, a poignant comment by one, which more here will understand when the dust clears was "This vote will come back to haunt us."

    Taunting loyal allies "we' (and you) will soon desperately need to win the upcoming tougher battles over GOP cuts to spending is not only unsportsmanlike, but unwise, and very much unlike the wise, upbeat, and good-of-heart  vote4obama ally I've come to know and love as a friend and progressive ally.

    After the dust clears and you all gain a greater understanding of our new situation, I expect you will look back, regret, and probably even apologize for these unseemly taunting of those heartsick over how we are now going to protect the poor, the sick, the elderly, the young, and everyone else who depends on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, tuition assistance (in the next decades)  etc.

    This is hardly time for boisterous taunts as hundreds of millions are now dependent on vital social programs for which we do not have adequate funding, while the GOP controls the House budget initiation process and debt-ceiling.

    I look forward to the opportunity of laying out the complex battle field after you've got this out of your system. But, in the hope of introducing a small bit of appropriate sobriety, perhaps, you will permit me to remind you all of a few important foundation facts, and clarify a misunderstanding of some of our concerns.  

    Although, lost leverage is a big deal, it is not the biggest issue, which is rather  not negotiating  the nearly 2% of GDP in lost revenues of the automatic tax cuts,  with more progressive alternatives such as closing loopholes, the Buffet rule, "adding" deduction caps of the sort Romney proposed, (which we do get a small amount of.) which was the original plan.

    Remember when after President Obama insisted on $1.6 trillion in revenues as the first step in this direction and he rejected Boehner offer of $800 billion as completely inadequate to reduce deficits and sustain current programs?  He was correct.

    Lat night Grover  Norquist gleefully encouraged all Republicans to support this vote because it solidified Democrats  repudiating 12 years of opposition of the Bush tax cuts, in favor of the our best Clinton success model) without gaining replacement revenues as President Obama campaigned on.  

    We now have locked in 85% of the Bush tax cuts designed to "starve the beast" by pinning government tax revenues at 18% of GDP while current spending is 23% of GDP.  This is a vast way down.  

    5% divided by 23% is about 22%  giving us an approximate magnitude of the new "Government Spending" cliff we have now imposed upon ourselves after Ronald Reagon, George Bush, and Grover Norquist were unable to do in almost half a century.

    Before too many join in unseemly, and clueless victory dances taunting those of us desperately concerned over how we will now save our New Deal, Great Society, and Obamacare programs on this totally non-viable tax base,, please imagine the magnitude of human suffering we need to now struggle to find a new plan to avoid.  

    To gloat over comparative short-term  trinkets on the blanket  of one year and five year extensions,  before we have figured out how to replace trillions of dollar of revenues to save vital major social  programs for hundreds of millions of current and future generations of Americans is something I hope folk get out of your systems really fast.

    We now will need every possible progressive and the many other Democrats pulling together to create a new plan to counter the demands for debt-ceiling cuts which already include chained CPI, raised Medicare eligibility, and other cuts that add up to $1.2 trillion.  What will we use for bargaining power? There are some but they will need a hell of a lot of work by all of us, not taunting infighting gloating.  

    Now that we lack the leverage you scoff at, I presume your new plan is to rely on the kindness, wisdom, compassion, and common sense of the right wing GOP House members not to demand cuts of such an austerity bomb magnitude that it will throw our economy into a major recession but we are going to need the help of people who understand math and economics who are also completely and passionately committed to saving now threatened New Deal, Great Society, Obamacare, and other social programs, and there are not as many of these kinds of folks as one might hope for and we need.  

    President Obama will pull all the stops in this state of the union and he is a vastly better orator than negotiator but this is going to be one hell of an uphill battle, requiring the full help of all Democrats.  

    Please do not discourage and disparage those who were committed to the plan of our last 12 years and had higher hopes for this stage one, as you will need us more and sooner than you may realize.

    Whatever.. Happy New Year Vote4Obama.  I hope we can still be friends.  

    And, if there is some major aspect of this situation I fail to grasp, please let me  apologize in advance for not being smart enough to see it yet.  Please explain your plan so I can be helpful in more constructive ways.  Or, if it turns out you don't have a plan please join in the discussions of those of us who feel an explicit vision, with strong, well explained strategies and back up plans we either stick to, or explain changes to,  are helpful in winning uphill and challenging political battles.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:15:46 AM PST

    •  No matter how you parse it (7+ / 0-)

      18% of GDP going into federal coffers is not nearly enough for a functional government. Especially the one left to us by "Junior."

      Rick Perry wanted to get rid of which Federal Agencies again. Remind me. I forgot one.

      Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

      by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:27:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we now have to reduce the size of government (4+ / 0-)

        from 18% from its current 23% I'm not sure we will have any functional agencies Anthony Page as a large part of the budget is non-discretionary, such as interest payments, retirement for veterans, certain entitlement payments.

        Of of the remaining discretionary spending we have to split it with defense.  I haven't done the math myself yet, nor seen calculation from others but whereas it is easy to see on average this is approximately a 22% reduction across the board, it could well be twice that the the discretionary programs.

        But, with the GOP in steadfast opposition to reductions of military spending, it looks like at an approximate level we'd have to zero out all agency and social spending.  

        On the plus side, at least we will not be in that embarrassing situation Rick Perry  was when he couldn't remember which 3 he wanted to eliminate, as now we can just "all of them."

        Once we get by the unimaginable human suffering, and complete chaos implied by this situation isn't politics sort of funny in a poignant way? Who could ever have imagined, that in retrospect, compared to what we've just done, Rick Perry's moderate and restrained plan to only eliminate the Departments of Education, EPA, and Energy (or whatever that other one was) now seems remarkable progressive and brilliant.

        Maybe we can appeal to him to share with us his plan for how we might save all the others?

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:59:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You should write you're own diary on (5+ / 0-)

      the subject. Thoughtful post. thanks.

    •  quick response (7+ / 0-)

      First, it is fair to see that many of the most prolific posters here have written or said that Obama caved. The main argument given by the most prominent posters here and elsewhere is lost leverage. The language used against President Obama gets tiresome, especially when, as in this case, it does not apply.
      While I did remove the most offensive part of the diary, the ending, it easily could be justified based upon the derision of those of us who correctly understand that the deal is simply not a bad one. It just flat out is not.

      The problems you refer to are not ones that the House GOP is going to allow us to address. You get what you can. Raising taxes on the middle class to provide funding for earned benefits is not a good idea now. It would have badly damaged our economy. Going over the cliff would not have helped those on unemployment insurance who need to eat. You get done what you can. And you work hard to elect more and better democrats. We need to win back state legislatures. New maps won't be drawn until 2020. However, gerrymandering is not the only reason that we are in the minority in the House. Part of the problem is that our voters are in urban areas. And we simply do not turn out at high enough rates in off year elections as well. Only 15 House Republicans represent congressional districts that President Obama won. That would be bring us to near parity. However, we have representatives that serve areas that President Obama lost. We have Democratic Senators in states President Obama lost badly. In sum, we need to win back the House - and that may be very difficult for some time to come.

      Bottom line: if you align with those who use intemperate language against the President, then being allies will be difficult. Those whom you have aligned with in this matter have poisoned the well. My language was much more restrained that theirs - and more restrained than they deserved. Furthermore, I removed the most offensive part of the diary, the end.

      The thesis that this was a bad deal simply is not true.
      The theory that a much better deal that addresses issues regarding funding for social programs could have been had is quite dubious. I have yet to hear a compelling case for it.

      I am a very even tempered, easy going person and commenter. However, even I have my limits. And when daily I see 3 or more ODS diaries which such Obama caved or Obama is a sell out or such and when the logic behind their arguments is so flawed, I will and I must speak out and protest. Where the battle is the hottest is where the most noble warrior is found.

      Purge the epithet Obama name callers from your midst and we can have a reasonable and constructive dialogue. Align yourself with those who are more thoughtful and who offer more reasonable and informed positions. Then, we can work together. As you know, I first started at DKos in 2006 as math4barack. My values are progressive values. I don't categorically reject criticism of the President's policies or views. I dislike and do not approve of or agree with ad hominem attacks on the President and his character. I do not find such attacks constructive; I find them divisive. I will tell you that President Obama is quite popular among Democrats and will be even more popular when he leaves. He will leave nearly deified by our party.

      Criticize policies or bills. Be specific. Offer specific and politically feasible solutions. Support your positions by facts and reason using temperate language. And note the good things that the President has done. And note the good parts of legislation passed. Show some perspective. Show you understand context. Show you understand the legislative process and the nature of our political system with its three branches. Show some political realism.

      These are the the specific requests that I (and other supporters of the President here) have. Those who cannot accede to these requests are not those with whom I will find myself allied.

      •  Thank you for your well thought out response (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan, cheerio2, eXtina

        Vote4Obama2012.

        I don't know which exact posts  of others you  were referring and that you  say your were responding to that made intemperate attacks on the President, as I ignore most of those,  but as you know reacting in tit-for-tat fashion just leads to escalation, and counter attacking all progressive not jumping up and down in enthusiasm isn't valid. Perhaps, it would have been helpful to have been more specific?

        I'll have to go back and see which couple paragraphs you felt were most offensive in your original post, that you say you removed.  I wasn't asking you to take them out, as they are authentic expressions of your thought. Please put them back in an updates, so we have an accurate record of the exchange.  

        These are real authentic emotions we have to work through. I do not favor censorship and see passionate exchanges as

        Rather my hope was to enlist you in acknowledging that the core issues are not just those of leverage but now how how we pay for of social programs with only 18% of GDP in tax revenue, when we now have 23% of GDP in expenses.

        Thanks for reminding me you used to be math4barack as I had forgotten, but probably explains the very friendly feelings and respect I have for you.

        With regard to you closing excellent closing paragraphs:

        Criticize policies or bills. Be specific. Offer specific and politically feasible solutions. Support your positions by facts and reason using temperate language. And note the good things that the President has done. And note the good parts of legislation passed. Show some perspective. Show you understand context. Show you understand the legislative process and the nature of our political system with its three branches. Show some political realism.

        These are the the specific requests that I (and other supporters of the President here) have. Those who cannot accede to these requests are not those with whom I will find myself allied.

        This is a fair response, and  I aspire to support positions with reason and facts, as you will note my comment is more densely packed with them than most.

        However, you can't hold me and others responsible for policing how others express themselves here. When others are intemperate and make what you consider to be "blanket, unfounded attacks on the President."  

        Asking how he plans to pay for existing social programs and close a deficit gap of 5% of GDP is not an unfounded attack but a completely fair and even necessary  question, if we are to have a hope in opposing the GOP demands for cuts of this magnitude now.  

        This does not justify the same kinds of response against blanket groups of progressive thinkers asking these legitimate questions.

        BTW, please append a note in an update, if you haven't already, that you took out several paragraphs I was responding to or it may look as if my challenge to your post was unfair or excessive.

        I will grant we have  many with great passions, including ourselves, and even some hotheads that discussions can quickly cross over to where we say things that are not alway optimally constructive.

        Whatever, I consider you to be one of most effective advocates for our President and our Democratic Party policies Vote4Obamain2012 and intend to continue to work as close allies to fight for our commonly held values.

        I look forward to you you  responding to, or at least commenting on your opinion of the validity of my substantive logic and facts, as these appear to me to be legitimate questions, urgent, and vital questions.

        You seem to have an opportunity here to explain this situation to the many followers you have that see you as a trusted leader. Can you at least acknowledge the substantive validity and appropriateness of asking the question of how are we now going to gain the revenue to sustain our social programs?

        And, acknowledge the validity that many of us believed our progressive strategy, led by President Obama was  to use the threat of the entire return of Bush tax cuts to trade for other more progressive revenues of almost an equal magnitude -- 2% of GDP which we need to fund vital social programs.

        Our strategy in endorsing Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 was not to endorse the Republicans "starve the beast" programs to create a government so small we could "drown it in a bathtub" but rather to replace those revenues with more progressive additional taxation on corporations and the wealthy.  The threat of Bush tax cuts expiring for all was our biggest leverage.    

        As a mathematician you must realize the magnitude of our dilemma now?  

        How are we going to fund these social programs?  Obama did not run an slashing tearing down the New Deal, Great Society, and Obamacare programs, which were the strategic intent of Reagan, and then later with the Bush tax cuts.  

        Progressive supported the idea of middle class tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 to be more progressive in how we replaced the revenues not to join Grover Norquist in the Repubican's "starve the beast" strategy of setting taxes at 18% of GDP and then block any attempts to raise other revenues, which is where we are not.

        Are you not puzzled at the vast asymmetry of trading a one year extension of unemployment for 2 million (that will be about 30 weeks per person) worth a total of $30 billion in return for a total tax revenue package forever measured in trillions per year?

        The day before the votes on this deal a RedState frontpager lamented what he considered was the sad fact that we Democrats could win the unemployment, 250,000 tax cuts, and the Medicare doctors fix with not concessions because of the bad politics of it.  At worsts we could have extended the Bush tax cuts for two years.

        So are you not at least puzzled, if not distressed by this?

        I am still a full fledged Democrat who will continue to pull all the stops to fight for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, tuition grants, unemployment benefits for all year, not just next year, etc.

        But, we now are in jeopardy on how to fund them.  I sincerely hope we can find a way to prevent the upcoming demands for unprecedented cuts, and hope we win back the House prior to the next 2020 census.

        But, if we fail and President Obama goes down in history as the President who unravelled the New Deal, Great Society, and Obamacare after passing it he will not be anywhere near as popular you you predict.

        I'm in this fight to make him and us successful as is possible, Vote4Obama as a failure will be a failure for all of us.  But, we need to face the facts of our current challenge and not deceive ourselves about the fact of the challenge or attack and make fun of those trying to educate us about the true magnitude of this challenge.  

        So what is our plan now?

        I hope we can look forward to building it, or if it already exists, implementing it as soon as someone tells us what it is.

        Protecting our Social Security recipients, Medicare, Medicaid, sick, poor, elderly and supporting our social programs is my highest priority, and more important than squabbling about short-term reputation of  individual politicians, parties, or other means of accomplishing these noble goals.

        Thanks, hope you are having a better New Years celebration than I'm having.  We will get through this, Vote4.  

        Thanks again for you polite and substantive response, and sorry if I've expressed my sentiments in an excessively sharp way. It's a personality short-coming I still need to work on.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:20:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  HD, you are speaking for me and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina

          a lot of kossacks on here including Kos. We are Americans, first and foremost. We can criticize any politician including the POTUS. That's precisely what freedom of speech means. Our concerns as expressed in today's comments are legitimate. I'm not attacking PBO; I voted for him. Attacking and criticizing are 2 different animals according to Webster's Dictionary. R'cced!!!!! You need to expand these comments into a diary, IMO.

          Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

          by orlbucfan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:36:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  My question is this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog
          Rather my hope was to enlist you in acknowledging that the core issues are not just those of leverage but now how how we pay for of social programs with only 18% of GDP in tax revenue, when we now have 23% of GDP in expenses.
          I recognize what you're saying here, but what tax deal would have allowed us to get to 23% of GDP?  Raising the rates even higher than the Clinton rates on the super rich would 100% be blocked by the House.  Letting all the tax cuts expire on everyone would certainly be bad for the state of the recovery.  Setting the rate hike at 250 instead of 400 maybe would have taken us to 18.001% of GDP in revenue.  There seem to be very few feasible options here.  
          •  My understanding is that the total size of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cheerio2

            Bush tax cuts were about 2% of GDP which is several trillion dollars, I forget the exact amount.

            So the majority here are saying the $250,000 threshold was going to deliver only $800, billion, so we traded a few hundred billion down for worthwhile short-term programs for the next few years.  What is the big deal?  What was the alternative didn't we say this is what we were going to do?

            If this were the whole story I'd say fine, let's move on.  Well we have to move anyway, but since you ask.

            My understanding is that our intent when endorsing the tax cut for those earning under $250,000 wasn't an endorsement of the Republican starve the beast tax revenues capped at 18% of GDP but would occur in conjunction with using the threat of the expiration of these taxes to get agreement on a more progressive, but still substantial package of taxes on corporations, capped deductions for the wealthiest on closing loopholes, so we can sustain social spending.

            So now what will we do?

            Most want to move on, but how long will it take before such folks take responsibility for the new added agenda item of raising new revenues equivalent to 2% to 3% of our GDP, or admitting to people what the sad alternative is?

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:03:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree taxes will be a big issue going forward (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog

              Given how greedy and craven the GOP interests are, though, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which they would agree to a more progressive tax regimen than then the Clinton regimen.  I think the GOP would prefer having tax cuts expire on everyone instead of raising taxes more on the wealthy while extending the Bush tax cuts for the rest.  They already believe that not enough poorer Americans pay taxes.  

    •  There's plenty of leverage. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      I say: anything that lets the economy grow for two more months and beyond strengthens our hand.

      I say: the republicans want defense spending more than we do.  They want ag spending more than we do.

      I say: the republicans aren't really so hot on negotiating a cut in entitlements.  Thats' why they weren't in the sequester to begin with.  They accepted no entitlement cuts, a big tax hike, and big defense cuts in the sequester.

      I say: very few give a shit about deficits except as arguments for their idea of a spending and taxing mix.  If anything, they care less then they should, long term.  Thats' not going to change.  So the easiest thing for them to do is, vote for spending spending spending.  Nothing much has changed in the last fifty years, talk big but spend big.

      One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

      by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:45:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your sentence here may the single most important (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA

        observation and the key to our success and President Obama's apparent strategy.

        I say: the republicans aren't really so hot on negotiating a cut in entitlements.
        I've been surprised a few times to see evidence of this recently.

        Much of the apparently zealotry of the right-wing may be more bluster than deeply held convictions, and more impotent rage that passionate commitment to ideology.

        And, some may even have either a deeply hidden limit to their apparent lack of compassion or enough political savvy to realize how bad the political consequences will be if they push to hard on these cuts.

        I was really surprised two days ago to red a front pager at RedState suggest that we Democrats would get the unemployment extension, doctor's fix,  and 250K tax cuts without any concessions for this reason.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:30:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The signs are there: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FiredUpInCA

          Krugman says that the R strategy is to have Ds propose cuts in entitlements, and then campaign against them for the proposals.  He notes Romney Ryan going after Obama for cuts to Medicare as they proposed ending the program, but not for anyone over 52...does that sound like a decided rush to cut entitlement spending?  And that's not even social security.

          And note how quickly McCain said that chained COL increases in SS were off the table.  

          I think that the congress will quickly realize that they had started to buy their own hype.  

          Not to say there aren't going to be fights: Medicare is one of those programs that is reevaluated literally every year for best practices and payments to providers, and that's never going to stop.  It has to be used as a tool to keep costs down, and that's huge.  

          But that's not the same as the Rs wanting to burn the fucking house down to save on heating bills.

          One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

          by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:12:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Best comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      in this entire comment section for this diary.

      I wish people would transition from campaign/election mode to policy/governing mode.  This isn't a sporting event.  It's a critical multi-phased process and this deal should not be viewed in isolation because it is, as the president and Congressfolk have all said, only one part of a longer process.  The talking points issued by the White House are surprising.  Talking about how there is a (what was it) 42 to 1 ratio of tax cuts to spending cuts.  That really is kind of an absurd statistic to cite since the spending cuts were specifically delayed and because everybody here knows that this deal set us up with a huge revenue void that according to stated goals must be resolved by huge cuts in the trillion dollar range and we also know that getting any additional revenue is near impossible from the current House and the future House.

      The taunting and victory laps really are bizarre.  This diarist is very proficient at math too, so he clearly can understand the numbers here.  I have been baffled by the response to all of this.  

      Anyway, HoundDog, thank you for laying things out like this.  I think that you probably have read the Jeffrey Sachs article that I read too.  Sachs is no bleeding heart liberal!  And he is sick over this and lays out the specific reasons why.  He is not on the far left and has taken quite a bit of criticism for being neoliberal. But the man does understand poverty.  And he explains why this deal was such a bad move.  

      I have numbers and analyses from several well written articles but have not studied the CBO report yet on this bill, something I plan to do tonight or tomorrow.  I'm also a bit confused about why this bill was voted on before the CBO numbers were finished.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:51:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agreed with all your excellent points expecially (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon

        the one about treating policy debates and facts like sporting events where we trash talk down "opponents," logical arguments, and facts we don't like rather than engage in a vigorous pursuit of truth, learning, and concentrated efforts to collectively build understanding and coalitions around better policies to accomplish our goals.

        This is a new Sachs article, I wrote two post about the previous one and quoted it about two dozen times to see if we could start to raise the level of discussion after reading one poster suggesting that anyone complaining about the possible long-term loss of over a $trillion dollars a year in tax revenue was trivial compared to the victory of attaining a one year extension of unemployment comensation (worth $30 billion.)  The discussion didn't include the numbers but made me realize that many are passionately trash talking as if its a sport event with not even a remotely functional understanding of the magnitude or significance of the numbers or the economic and mathematical relationships involved in this problem.

        However, often their dramatic styles have developed such a fan base that they can rally great support to the detriment of actionable valid insights that have any potential to influence others beyond the fan club, or carry weight with those that have some base understandings, objective third parties, neutral observers, opponents, or even others on our own team who want to do everything  we can to support and defend social programs and Democratic goals but need to understand our core strategy, goals, trade offs,  and how we intend to  accomplish our goals.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:51:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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