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Triage is not pretty, but it is designed to save lives. On a battlefield, at a disaster site, or anywhere else that there are multiple victims of natural or unnatural violence, rescue personnel have to make spot decisions about who can and cannot be saved, and much more heartbreakingly, about which of those that can be saved have top priority. It sometimes means deciding that someone who could be saved won't be, because others have greater odds of surviving, and limited resources have to be allocated where most efficient. It is the definition of making life and death decisions. It is a means of attempting rational damage control in the face of extreme horror.

Part of the ostensible rationale for President Obama's terrible new tax plan is that it will result in the continued funding of unemployment insurance. Of course, the president himself compared the unemployed to hostages, being held by the Republicans with their economic agenda being the ransom. Embarrassingly, the president said you don't negotiate with hostage-takers unless the hostages might come to harm, which misses the entire point because hostages are by definition at risk of coming to harm. Terrorists don't take hostages and then threaten them with kindness. They threaten them with harm. This shouldn't need to be explained, but this means that by the president's calculation of when one should negotiate with hostage-takers, all one needs to do to get him to negotiate is to take hostages. And he will be compelled to negotiate. Automatically. Every time. And perhaps most astonishingly, he also clearly stated that he now expects to be able to trust the hostage-takers to play nicer in the future, as if he hasn't just demonstrated to them a certain means of getting their way. Which is not to play nice. But it gets even worse.

The president's claim that he had to make this deal to keep two million people from losing their unemployment benefits is long on emotion and short on a whole bunch of other things. Define them for yourselves. But even as the president, his staff, and his most ardent and loyal defenders keep pulling on this emotional drawstring, the fallacy of it, the proof that it is but emotional manipulation, stands personified in the two million unemployed who will receive no benefits at all from the president's tax plan. They are the 99ers. They are the people whose 99 weeks of unemployment benefits have run out. There is nothing in the plan for them. Nothing. We are supposed to believe that this is all about helping the people who need unemployment benefits, but two million of them have been completely forgotten. With all he gave away to the Republicans in order to get what he calls a good deal, the president somehow couldn't manage to get any help for the 99ers. When talking about his plan, he doesn't mention them. His staff doesn't talk about them. His most ardent and loyal defenders apparently have forgotten they even exist.

Maybe the president calculated that he could only get help for those whose benefits haven't yet expired. Somehow, he ignored the possibility that forcing the Republicans to vote against unemployment benefits-- over and over and over, if necessary-- might crack their will, as public perception coalesced into a calcined image of Republicans as enemies of honest working people who only want a chance to work; but for whatever reason he decided against forcing such a showdown, he still didn't come up with anything at all for the 99ers. He was so concerned for those whose benefits would be frozen unless the Republicans cracked, but he apparently wasn't concerned about those whose benefits have expired altogether. Maybe he determined that those two million people, and all who on them depend, had to be economically sacrificed in order to come up with the ransom to pay off the hostage-takers-- those hostage-takers who now have learned their lesson and will play nicer in the future. But maybe among all these clearly logical calculations, the president was thinking of this as a sort of economic triage. If so, it would be nice for him to say so. It would be nice for the president to acknowledge just how bad things are.

Whether or not it is spoken aloud, the lack of help for the 99ers suggests an even graver message. Triage is for disaster zones. And the only possible explanation for leaving the 99ers behind is that somewhere, somehow, consciously or not, a decision may have been based on a dawning realization that outside of Wall Street, the economy is a disaster. And because of that, a further decision has been made that while some may be temporarily economically saved, some won't be. And even worse, the some that won't be will be and are being completely forgotten. And the disaster plan seems to be built around the failed neoliberal economic model of tax and benefit cuts, rather than the traditional and successful Keynesian economic model of direct job creation. Which means we will have a lot more economic triage to come.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:00 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The President should have reminded... (43+ / 0-)

    the Republicans that he has the veto pen, the bully pulpit, they don't have the votes to override his veto, and if he did veto then the tax cuts would expire. Negotiate from there and dare the Republicans to vote against the unemployed.

    Congress shall make no law...

    by Mets102 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:02:18 PM PST

    •  Nobody lied to you. (0+ / 0-)

      Stop lying about the President.

      •  He lied... (5+ / 0-)

        ... when he said this was the best deal he could get.  Either that or he is one of the worst negotiaters to ever live.  I don't think he could have gotten much worse of a deal.  

        How much worse would this deal have to be for him to have rejected it?  At the very least it will increase the debt, jeapordize Social Security and encourage Republicans to hold unemployed workers hostage anytime they want to ram something through.

        •  Again, stop it. (0+ / 0-)

          How do you think he could have gotten a better deal?

          It's a good deal. Sure, the high end tax cuts suck. But in exchange for that, he got a stimulus program that we'd never have gotten otherwise. It will create more than a million jobs and reduce the unemployment rate by over a percentage point.

          Initial estimates by economists suggested that the overall legislation would reduce the unemployment rate by one-half a percentage point to a full point over the next year, compared with allowing all the tax cuts to expire and passing no new stimulus. By the end of 2012, the decline could be up to 1.5 percentage points, economists said.

          The deal's surprisingly broad scope meaningfully changes the near-term economic outlook. Real GDP growth in 2011 will be nearly 4%, approximately 1 percentage point greater than previously anticipated. Job growth will be more than twice as strong, with payrolls growing by 2.6 million. Unemployment will be more than a percentage point lower; instead of hovering near 10% through the year, it will end 2011 well below 9%.

          That's a good deal. It's a better deal than informed observers thought Obama had any chance of getting. It will increase economic growth, which is more important than reducing the debt right now. It doesn't "jeopardize social security." And the idea that the Republicans wouldn't hold the unemployed hostage anyway is laughably stupid.

          So how do you think Obama could have gotten a better deal? He couldn't. Again: Stop lying about the President.

          •  Not buying it... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, midwestblue, brasilaaron

            Sorry, I'm just not buying the premise that he had to give in to Republicans (nor that the gains were worth the losses in the long term).

            Perhaps with your infinite wisdom you can explain how collecting less money for Social Security strengthens or maintains it?  I know!  The difference will just appear there by magic!  This was another giveaway to the Republicans (who apparently have a better idea of the implications than you).

            As for Republicans holding the unemployed hostage again, refusing to capitulate is a much better way to discourage them from trying it again than giving them exactly what they want.  The only thing laughably stupid is how some people never seem to grasp the concept that you don't negotiate with hostage takers - ever.

            Yes, I'm sure you can find a number of so-called 'informed observers' who think this is a great idea.  I notice they didn't say where exactly these magic jobs are supposed to appear from.  Considering that this tax deal is the same they have had for the last decade, it's not like it will be increasing incomes for anyone.  They won't be decreasing but the lack of decrease did little for the job market so far.

            Maybe you were talking about the 'alternate fuel' money that was added to sweeten the pot (and distract people from the SS poison pill)?  That wasn't part of "the best deal he could get".  The fact that he got it afterwards shows he was either lying or inept when he made his original claim.

    •  Elveta needs to stop with the hr (7+ / 0-)

      must not spam thread.must not spam thread.must not spam thread.must not spam thread.

      by Krush on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:17:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only thing worse than triage (6+ / 0-)

    is no triage .

    L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.

    by indycam on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:05:03 PM PST

  •  Five more years of this according to Uncle Ben (7+ / 0-)

    http://www.nypost.com/...

    There's just too much grim to blockquote......

    We Destroyed this Village in order to save it from the Viet Cong er um Taliban

    by JML9999 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:06:02 PM PST

  •  But that would be "paying people not to work"... (18+ / 0-)

    What with all of the jobs available at the fry station and in the janitorial services industry. It's almost like these lazy 99'ers want to make a fair wage for a fair day's work.
    Gawdless, socialist heathens.

    "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

    by rogerdaddy on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:06:21 PM PST

    •  Really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slave138

      You'd rather have people draw unemployment checks while looking for a good job instead of doing janitorial work or flipping burgers while looking for a good job?

      •  Not sure if this is a serious comment (6+ / 0-)

        But I will say that when I was in a position to hire and I had a list of 100 candidates to chose from, I would shy away from anyone who was obviously overqualified for the position.  Why hire someone who is probably going to leave once they find someone better when you have 80 other candidates who would be a better fit?  And my example of 100 candidates is probably more like 1000 in today's job market.  The last estimate I heard for my state (WA) is 1000 candidates for every job opening.

        I am continually amazed at how wrong highly intelligent people can be in the face of indisputable evidence which is inconvenient to their world view. ~ geomoo

        by JustJennifer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:24:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i've been running into that problem... (5+ / 0-)

          a lot... i know there are openings, i apply, and i am passed over for someone who better fits the job...

          i was told that maybe i should lie on my application, but that would take away almost all of my work exp in the past 15 years... and if i got caught, i could be fired for that too... it's too easy to check...

          i'm just not the lying type anyway, so basically i'm screwed.

          sigh...

          "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

          by poligirl on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:36:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It is. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          slave138

          Yes, that's a problem, though the amount of mismatch still depends heavily on where you are.

          What bothers me is the implied sentiment that highly qualified people shouldn't even try to get low-wage jobs since they don't pay a "fair wage for a fair day's work".

          •  I don't feel that way at all (3+ / 0-)

            Although I will admit I feel a pang of guilt about applying for jobs that I am overqualified to do because I think I might be taking a job from someone who is just starting their career and doesn't have the degree/experience I have.  Of course I haven't actually been offered (or even been contacted by) any of these jobs so no harm, no foul at this point.

            I am continually amazed at how wrong highly intelligent people can be in the face of indisputable evidence which is inconvenient to their world view. ~ geomoo

            by JustJennifer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:53:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry if some people are implying it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            QuestionAuthority

            It should be explicit.

            I lost my middle class software engineering job in 2009 due to mental illness.

            Now I work two part time jobs at $9/hr just to pay bills and live in my parent's basement, while my previous job skills deteriorate.

            Thank God I don't have a wife or children who are depending on me, that's all I have to say. You're presenting a false choice.

            I offer my opponents a bargain:  if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.  ~Adlai Stevenson

            by progdog on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 01:07:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  But (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radical simplicity

          people aren't going to leave until things get better, and that looks like it's going to be years.  

      •  Have you found yourself in that position? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

        by rogerdaddy on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:34:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          potatohead, radical simplicity

          if you are asking me this:

          I have never been told this is the case, but considering I have been laid off since March and I have applied to many jobs (some of which I was WAY overqualified for) I guess I could assume that might be the case.

          I have also been told that many employers won't even consider you if you have been unemployed for a significant amount of time.  This bit of information came directly from a friend who has been in human resources for 25 years.  It was very discouraging, to say the least.

          I am continually amazed at how wrong highly intelligent people can be in the face of indisputable evidence which is inconvenient to their world view. ~ geomoo

          by JustJennifer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:41:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  No. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rogerdaddy, QuestionAuthority

          I'm not overqualified to work wage-slave jobs, in fact that's all I did prior to enlisting in the Army.  I'd certainly agree that the money such jobs pay isn't enough to make a decent living in this country, and I wouldn't wish them on anyone for a long period of time.  But it's still a paycheck that's not drawn against the US Treasury.  

          Taking unemployment for a few weeks or months after losing a decent job to hold you over until you can get another decent job makes good economic sense.  But if you've gone nearly 2 years without being able to pick up a new job of around the same quality as your old one, then I really can't excuse you not lowering your standards.

          It's a different story if you're applying to entry-level stuff and still not getting hired.  Continued unemployment benefits aren't really the best solution for that sort of situation, either, but it's better than nothing.  But if you can work at a "fry station" or "janitorial services" as you mentioned, then suck it up and apply.  The jobs are awful, but so long as you don't give up looking for something better, they don't have to be a career dead-end any more than unemployment is.

          •  Great point and great comment... (0+ / 0-)

            I just get pissed and cynical at the fatcats and spin language used by greedy assholes who act like people want to be unemployed.
            Take care, goodnight and, as always...Peace, if possible.
            ;-)>

            "We're right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo! And somebody's giving booze to these goddamn things!"-Hunter S. Thompson ;-)>

            by rogerdaddy on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:41:49 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent essay, thank you Laurence. (17+ / 0-)

    "The point of the exercise is that this is not about 'who,' this is about 'what.'" -DawnG

    by Miep on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:08:42 PM PST

  •  He knows this is all complete b.s. (10+ / 0-)

    That's why he left the presser with Clinton for the Christmas Party. What would you rather do: explain the inexplicable, or enjoy Christmas with friends and family?

  •  The "compromise" should fail... (19+ / 0-)

    ...the tax cuts should expire, and the Republicans should be made to pay for this by having to face the wrath their wealthy owners, who will lose their precious extra tax cuts, and the wrath of the 99ers.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:10:52 PM PST

  •  I like the idea (20+ / 0-)

    of holding the Republicans up to the light so people can see that they have no qualms with denying the reauthorization of an existing unemployment extension (the proposed tax cut deal is not an extension of anything...just funding for a program already in place)

    However.. I think that a quite a few people actually agree with the Republicans regarding this issue whether they speak it out loud or not.

    I have a friend on Facebook who posted something about being upset about his UI running out, and the comments of some of his so called "friends" were fucking horrible.  This guy is a single dad struggling to make ends meet and he was eviscerated for posting about keeping his lights on and giving his kids a Christmas gift.  It was a real eye opener for me.

    I am continually amazed at how wrong highly intelligent people can be in the face of indisputable evidence which is inconvenient to their world view. ~ geomoo

    by JustJennifer on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:11:04 PM PST

  •  Damn (7+ / 0-)

    I read that as one long very clear sentence. Then I took a breath.
    Good job getting down to the nitty gritty.

    Education is too big to fail. Truth is too big to fail. Justice is too big to fail. Peace is too big to fail.

    by Burned on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:11:28 PM PST

  •  Labels, particularly "Economist's" labels, suck. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    radical simplicity

    Argue all day about neoliberal and successful-Keynsian and who is which and what they mean. At the end of the day, it's all about the Golden Rule-- either you observe it, and understand that it is the only thing that will keep all the boats afloat over the long term, "deep time" as the "economists" say. Or you stick those decreed as irredemably "failed" on the proverbial and chimerical "ice floe" and push them out to sea. (The Inuit did not do that thing, by the way.)

    For the entrepreneurs amongst this group, my bet is that one or more of you will make a killing if you get to work setting up a national franchise for suicide parlors.  Five Brownie points for the best logo for same... "Trail's End?" "End of my Rope?" c'mon, folks, play along -- it's all good clean fun...

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:12:53 PM PST

  •  Your conclusion was spot on. (14+ / 0-)

    And the disaster plan seems to be built around the failed neoliberal economic model of tax and benefit cuts, rather than the traditional and successful Keynesian economic model of direct job creation. Which means we will have a lot more economic triage to come.

    After all is said and done, a lot more is said than done.

    by Brahman Colorado on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:12:56 PM PST

  •  Diary is wrong. Obama tax cuts the "hostage". (10+ / 0-)

    "Of course, the president himself compared the unemployed to hostages, being held by the Republicans with their economic agenda being the ransom."

    Nope. Obama called the Bush tax cuts for Middle Class the "hostage" of the GOP, showing how Reagan/GOP Obama really is, the unemployed were the literal, figurative and actual "poor relations".  The get double shafted. They only get 13 months vs permanent tax cuts for the rich. And they will have their Social Security defunded by 30% if they make it to 66 or 72 or whatever out of reach age Reagan/Obama makes it...to fund the Obama tax cuts for the rich.

    Obama is Reagan's ghost of Christmas future, the disaster that unfolds as US continues the failed Reaganomics of Obama and the GOP.

  •  Any economic uptick (16+ / 0-)

    will be credited by the GOP and the Village to the retention of the tax cuts for the wealthy.

    It's going to be one of the most toxic setbacks on policy the Democratic Party has ever suffered, and its going to reverberate for years.

    Worse, any savings from the austerity push to come... will go to future Movement Conservative trickle down tax cuts, and the GOP will point to it as bipartisan tax policy both political parties have signed off on.

    •  And the Citizen's United tsunami to come (16+ / 0-)

      on 'the Democrats want to raise taxes' in 2012 is far more likely to lead to the tax cuts being extended again down the line so that the President doesn't go into 2012 labeled a "tax increaser on the job creation class".

      The Clinton tax rates were framed, by Larry Summers, as potentially ruinous, risking of a 'double-dip' recession if the Deal was not agreed to.

      The RNC couldn't have asked for better policy framing.

      The country thrived under the Clinton rates, and the country has been mauled by the Bush tax cuts, but now they will be bipartisan policy and hard as hell to get rid of.

    •  I agree except (4+ / 0-)

      do you really think there will an uptick? I can't see it.

      "Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me."-- Harry S. Truman

      by irmaly on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:27:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If there is an uptick, everyone should be happy (0+ / 0-)

        not moping that the Repubs might get some credit. The logic of the mopers is reverse MitchMcConnelism: they must fail even if the country fails with them.

        •  Even then an up tick won't make up for the loss. (0+ / 0-)

          Democratic voters have absorbed more of the losses of the poor economy than Republican voters. The economy has hit minorities of all ages and young people disproportionately. Those were key demographics when Democrats won elections.

          We could argue there had been an up tick over the last year, but older, rich people were the primary beneficiaries.

          Many people and justifiably so are going to go, "what has the government done to help me?"

      •  There may be an uptick, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slave138

        but a large part of it will end just as we head into 2012, as Krugman has pointed out.  And what is more important than how the economy is doing is what direction people perceive it to be moving in.  Carter in 1980 and Reagan in 84 had roughly equal unemployment rates, but Carter got buried and for Reagan it was Morning in America, because the unemployment rate was going up for Carter and down for Reagan.

        "Fighting for us, good. Winning, better. Talking about fighting? Not so good."--Atrios

        by andrewj54 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:22:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  BS. President will get credit if economy turns (0+ / 0-)

      around. For better or worse, when it's fair or unfair, the incumbent President always benefits from economic improvement, regardless of whether Congress went along with or opposed the policies in question.

      •  I could have sworn... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        ... I just saw a chart up here in the last couple days showing that the economy has improved somewhat so far under Obama.  Assuming I wasn't confusing it with something else, I'd say it's at least the exception to your rule because we took a beating last month in large part due to the economy (per exit polls).

  •  Great piece Laurence. The FPers have really (14+ / 0-)

    stepped up today.  Makes me proud to be a part of this community.

    "Fighting for us, good. Winning, better. Talking about fighting? Not so good."--Atrios

    by andrewj54 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:15:15 PM PST

  •  On the whole hostage thing... (8+ / 0-)

    The Repubs aren't holding the economy hostage.  They already lined the economy up against the wall and shot it in the head during the Bush administration.  They are simply preventing us from holding a decent burial...

    I am the neo-con nightmare, I am a liberal with the facts.

    by bhfrik on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:16:31 PM PST

  •  Rec'd and tipped if I could (15+ / 0-)

    This bill also does not address the millions of people that do not have unemploymentinsurance and are unemployed, and are hanging onto their last thread. They just want a job.

    This Bill only makes the economy and unemployment worsen. This is the goal of the Republicans, to assure President Obama will not be elected.

    Saturday Night live last night had a great segment on , where they showed the President suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.  Seemed spot on, unfortunately for those of us just wishing to survive.

    Also the President plans to hold a CEO summit this Wednesday. Things are getting much worse I am afraid.

  •  Showdowns over UI would hurt republicans in 2012. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, twcollier

    That’s why Obama cut the deal.

    •  yeah, but the UI showdown will come a year from (0+ / 0-)

      now - almost a full year before we vote for president. i don't see that showdown lasting long enough to make it a problem for the GOP in November 2012...

      "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

      by poligirl on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:40:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So surely it won't have an effect now (2+ / 0-)

        If a showdown in 2011 won't have any effect on the 2012 election, then surely a showdown now -- 23 months before the next election -- isn't going to hurt the GOP.

        So why let the unemployed continue to suffer?
        Cut the deal and get their benefits extended.
        Posturing for political fights now is meaningless for the next election.  But getting benefits to unemployed people, and preventing taxes from going up on all Americans on January 1, is pretty significant.

        The time is now to approve the deal and get something done.

        •  oh i agree... somewhat... (0+ / 0-)

          for what Obama got in his deal, he could have and should have gotten a lot more than 1 year of UI extension. especially considering the extra tax cuts for the rich got extended 2 years and is very costly. the bottom of the rung should have at the very least gotten what was given to the top of the rung.

          "When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Charles Beard

          by poligirl on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:28:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He did get a lot more (0+ / 0-)

            In addition to the extension of benefits for the unemployed -- which was more than twice as long as the longest previous extension, by the way -- he also got hundreds of billions of economic stimulus measures, much more than the cost of the tax cuts for the rich.  This stimulus is badly needed to boost the anemic recovery, and it comes at a time when no other stimulus is likely for at least the next two years.  And he limited the income tax cut for the rich to two years.

            Charles Krauthammer and other influential conservatives are complaining that the President snookered the conservatives in the deal, and they argue that this deal is unbalanced in favor of Democratic proposals.

  •  I have a hard time.. (14+ / 0-)

    ... believing that Obama couldn't do anymore. I believe it is a case of Obama not wanting to bite the hand that feeds him, so to speak. Meanwhile, he's telling us that he's concerned, and I guess that is supposed to be enough. I realize that during tough times sacrifices must be made, but to sacrifice the economic security of 98% of the population so that 2% of the population can stuff more money into their pockets is indefensible.

  •  Great Diary. (8+ / 0-)

    It is really sad that the Democrats in power don't appear to care.  Where is their fight?  I'm beginning to understand why so many folks tune out.  We'll see if the House shows some back bone on this vote.  But even if they do, it really is too little, too late.

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:18:15 PM PST

  •  and in Cancun, Ecological Triage (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, lams712, Matt Z, KimD

    Where it has been decided that the earth should be allowed to die in order to save the economy.

    Or something like that.  I'm too disgusted to pay any attention.

    We come well armed with... tempeh.

    by VeganMilitia on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:19:06 PM PST

  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hkorens

    And the disaster plan seems to be built around the failed neoliberal economic model of tax and benefit cuts, rather than the traditional and successful Keynesian economic model of direct job creation.

    With all due respect to the front pagers, the funny part of this statement is that both of these methods have been shown by history to be complete failures.

    The best thing you can do as an economy is to generally run a balanced budget while spending some money on non-recurring investment activities such as infrastructure. The precise taxation levels are less important than keeping it consistent.

    Social welfare is very important, but it must be viewed as the complete dead loss that it is rather than some job creation formula. People that don't work don't contribute. Period. Other things that are a dead loss: the two ruinous wars we continue to engage in, recurring police and fire spending, most forms of insurance, most forms of finance, etc. All of these activities cost money and good economic policy is to minimize the amount of such activity being done. If you don't grow, mine, or manufacture something, you aren't doing anything that generates wealth.

    Additionally, the idea that we are going to get much more growth out of the US economy in the future at all is (IMO) somewhat fanciful considering that the physical resources (oil, etc) are likely simply not available to support such growth and are increasingly being consumed by the third world which has no moral reason to forbear their consumption to help us.

    Honestly, the best economic policy is to figure out how this country can get by on drastically reduced resource consumption in the future, and protect the vulnerable while still making hard work pay off and economically valuable skill sets pay off.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:19:09 PM PST

    •  no (13+ / 0-)

      it was deficit spending that got us out of the depression, and when fdr started to worry about the deficit, and cut spending in 1937, we began to slide backward until he again ramped up spending. in a depression or deep recession, deficit spending is the solution.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:22:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely, Even the Rightwing Accepts Deficit (5+ / 0-)

        spending of WW2 did the job.

        Technically there is virtually nobody in the country who disagrees that gov't spending ended it.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:25:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tons of people disagree (0+ / 0-)

          The fact is that there was also a war that killed 60 million people worldwide and was also a f**king miserable disaster for nearly everyone except the USA.

          The global economic dynamics of 1945-46 were completely different from those of 1935-36 (and those of 2009-2010) and it's irresponsible to just say "yeah, deficit spending fixed it". World War II completely rewrote the economic context of the period. It is entirely likely that World War II interrupted what would have been a US bond panic at some point.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:34:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Of course we started to slide back (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slave138, Wham Bam

        Paying off debt is always painful. It's the same phenomena as when people run up massive credit card debt (living large = good economy) then they have to pay it off (all money going to debt service = low standard of living = bad economy).

        The 1937 episode proves my point, not the Keynesians' point. It's precisely what you expect to happen which is why deficit spending is so poisonous: your economy becomes structurally dependent on the deficits and cutting them is painful.

        Guess what? The Republicans are absolutely correct that raising taxes on the rich will hurt employment. But in the long-term, employment isn't the problem here, it's running an economy that's not a fraud and a sham and that means surplusing money to pay the debt down because right now we are on track to default on the national debt. As soon as the bond market figures this out (and they are, judging from bond yields jumping when it looked like the tax compromise would play out).

        You can pay now or pay catastrophically later.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:31:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  again (8+ / 0-)

          deficit spending ignites the economy, which increases revenue, which lowers the deficit. in fact, the obama stimulus reduced the deficit, year-to-year, just this year. a larger stimulus might have led to an actual recovery.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:35:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How exactly does that work (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wham Bam

            Borrowing money actually reduces your outstanding debt now in some fashion?

            in fact, the obama stimulus reduced the deficit, year-to-year, just this year.

            2009's deficits were ~13% of GDP; 2010's deficit is a still-economy-destroying 10% of GDP and the 2010 debt to GDP is going to be 100%. Would you loan money to someone $50k in debt who makes $50k a year and last year ran up another $5k in debt?

            The fact is that creating non-export oriented service jobs with deficit spending doesn't help anyone except the (temporarily) now-employed service workers (at the reverse expense of future workers who will be unemployed because all that money must be paid back).

            But don't get me wrong, war spending is the same thing, even less productive because no one's life is improved by the end product for the most part.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:43:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  it can (4+ / 0-)

              because of the multiplier effect after the government spends money and it is in private hands.

              moreover, much of government spending can pay for itself many times over. The highway system, for example, has produced many hundreds of times the money spent on it for the government's coffers in taxes on the increased productivity it facilitated.

              •  Re (0+ / 0-)

                because of the multiplier effect after the government spends money and it is in private hands.

                So, let's do a thought experiment. You've posited the existence of a positive economic multiplier when the government spends.

                So, does that not imply that when the government has to tax and pay debt down that there is a negative multiplier associated with that activity?

                Nothing is free, right? What is the negative multiplier for paying debt down? How much of our childrens' economic activity are we suppressing per dollar of deficit spending we do today as they toil and labor to pay the debt off so we can be employed today?

                (I realize that this is a joke: we will never actually pay the debt off, we are going to default sooner or later).

                moreover, much of government spending can pay for itself many times over. The highway system, for example, has produced many hundreds of times the money spent on it for the government's coffers in taxes on the increased productivity it facilitated.

                This I completely agree with... if the money is an investment. A lot of military spending, extended unemployment benefits, fire and police salaries, etc are not what you described. They are simply a loss with no later gain.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:04:25 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  We can pay that debt off with a change (0+ / 0-)

                  in trade policy.

                  It will cost big corporations money.  They will have plenty left, because damn near every other nation does this to protect it's people.

                  On a macro level, we consume more than we produce.  That's why we have debt.

                  On a macro level, if we produce more than we consume, we will reduce that debt.

                  Spending to do that, and not spending on war and other things that do not return value in the form of balancing what we consume, is the right kind of spending.

                  Tax cuts for the wealthy, and war is the wrong kind of spending.

                  IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                  by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:09:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  it doesn't work that way (0+ / 0-)

                  in part because of inflation - the government can borrow at nominal rates and pay back at inflated rates, along with growth over time.

                  here's a quick and dirty explanation applied to a specific amount from Brad Delong.

                  here's another one(perhaps better)

                  In normal times, a boost to government purchases or a cut in taxes produces a limited increase in production and employment while adding a substantial increase to the national debt. The increase in debt raises interest rates, which crowds out productivity-increasing private investment spending and, dollar for dollar, leaves us poorer after the effect of the stimulus ebbs.

                  The borrowing must then must be financed at a significant interest rate, and thus paid for with higher taxes, which reduce incomes by increasing the wedge between the private rewards and the social benefits of expanded production.

                  It's nasty business.

                  Normally, only government spending initiatives or tax cuts that promise a high value for the dollar are worth undertaking, but things are different now.

                  However, right now, as best we can tell, an increase in federal spending or a cut in taxes will produce (in the short run) no increase in interest rates and hence no crowding-out of productivity-increasing private investment. Indeed, government spending that adds to firms’ current cash flow may well boost private investment and so leave us, dollar for dollar, richer after the effect of the stimulus ebbs.

                  Why?

                  Because our debt today can be financed at extremely low interest rates—1.83 percent if financed via 30-year TIPS, and even less in expected real interest if financed over a shorter horizon.

                  •  That quote makes no sense (0+ / 0-)

                    "Ordinarily, I would agree that deficit spending is a trap. However, This Time It Is Different and the laws of economics no longer apply."

                    It's classic special pleading. The fact that our debt can be financed at low interest rates may be a market indicator that we are going to see slow or nonexistent growth in the future. At zero growth, even 1.83% is 1.83% less economic activity you're going to see in the future (in addition to having to pay back the principal).

                    Essentially your commenter assumes that the fact that we can borrow at crazily low interest rates is a historical aberration, but that everything else in the economy is going to continue to work normally in the future and so we can use this "special situation" to our advantage because there won't be any more unexpected consequences to this unexpected turn of events.

                    It's bad logic.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:26:08 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  that's the entire point of Keynesiansim (0+ / 0-)

                      you spend during a recession.

                      what you don't understand is that it works differently for a government than an individual. Money borrowed by the government doesn't have to be paid back - ever (well, it basically can just get "renewed" by covering past debt with more debt, to be a bit more accurate)

                      Now, in a recession, the payoff for spending is bigger than in good times, because the government won't be crowding out private demand. there's more "bang for the buck", so to speak.

                      furthermore, the rates at which the government can borrow right now are incredibly low.

                      so what we have now is the PERFECT time for government to spend, because it can borrow low and get more return for the spending.

                      it's analogous to you being able to borrow at 1%, never really having to pay the principle back, and getting 4% return for as long as you renew the 1% interest payment.

                      •  Like I said (0+ / 0-)

                        What if there is never economic growth in the US again? What if we stagnate while third world countries advance? Your entire scheme depends on endless growth that may not occur.

                        what you don't understand is that it works differently for a government than an individual. Money borrowed by the government doesn't have to be paid back - ever (well, it basically can just get "renewed" by covering past debt with more debt, to be a bit more accurate)

                        Yeah, until we hit a wall where we can't grow anymore or merely have a massive recession again that drops 10% off our GDP. Then we can't pay the debt and it all goes south at once.

                        it's analogous to you being able to borrow at 1%, never really having to pay the principle back, and getting 4% return for as long as you renew the 1% interest payment.

                        Like I said, you are assuming there will be growth. What if there isn't?

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:39:04 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  well then (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          potatohead

                          What if there is never economic growth in the US again?

                          then we are screwed anyways and none of this matters.

                          the thing is, we are throwing away $120 Billion or more a month away in unused capacity and idle workers. at these low rates, there is a huge windfall for the government's finances by spending to get those going again (and then taxing them) compared to not spending and missing out on that growth.

                          again, if you was to posit a situation where the U.S. is done with economic growth for the future, we are going to default and enter a new dark age whether we use short-term spending to get the economy moving again or not. it's not logical to use that as an argument against government spending in a recession.

                        •  If we focus on meeting domestic demand (0+ / 0-)

                          this is not a issue, because our labor will be valued properly.

                          The problem comes from us using other nations labor, not our own, creating massive debt to that nation.

                          Changing our trade policy will raise the value of labor here, which will boost production, because that higher labor value drives demand for goods and services.

                          All of that gets taxed, which pays down our deficit.

                          Again, on a macro level, we simply do more for ourselves, owing other less.

                          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                          by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:59:48 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Infrastructure is one way. (0+ / 0-)

              Say we were to build out a lot of solar, to power electric cars.

              What's that worth?

              Say we buy a lot less oil, or a lot of the parts of those cars are made here?

              That money all gets taxed, and on a macro scale those needs met here, instead of overseas.

              What does that mean?

              Two things.

              1.  The amount of debt we accrue is lower, because we are doing more of the work to meet our own needs, so we don't owe others for doing it for us.
              1.  Increased tax revenue pays down the debt.

              That's a double dip on reducing the deficit, but there is more!

              Infrastructure tends to attract business because it empowers people to do things, and where that's true, we get a follow on return that is many times the original investment, and this happens over a long period of time.

              Those efforts tend to multiply together, raising our standard of living, because we are doing more of the work to maintain it.

              Ideally, we do enough to maintain it, plus some, meaning we can then choose to improve that standard, police the world and all sorts of other things, without having to suffer for it.

              We can labor out of this.

              Oh, one other thing worth mentioning.

              Want to know WHY the current wealthy don't want this to happen?  Because they will have to compete with it, and actually add value, or see their overall stature and power and control be diminished.

              Think smart, politically aware and free to act middle class.

              That's the other reason they spend so much trying to convince people we can't just start working our debt off.

              OF COURSE WE CAN!!  It's been that way since the dawn of time, and right now is no different.

              Some companies will lose revenue over that, but who gives a shit?  Others will rise and profit from it, and we all live better lives.

              IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

              by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:07:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Re (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wham Bam

                Say we were to build out a lot of solar, to power electric cars.

                What's that worth?

                Say we buy a lot less oil, or a lot of the parts of those cars are made here?

                I doubt that solar-powered cars are going to be very useful in years ahead. If there were a good way to produce them that wasn't horrendously expensive it would be done already. I think those items will always be niche products.

                Again, I appreciate the public investment sentiment, but if you could create a car that ran on electricity that wasn't horribly limited it would be a license to print money. Since no one has done it yet, it may be that it is impossible or not worth doing. Not that I don't think investment in this area is a good idea, just that I doubt it will pan out.

                We would get a lot more mileage (so to speak) out of living in denser communities and drop most of the unnecessary roads.

                Infrastructure tends to attract business because it empowers people to do things, and where that's true, we get a follow on return that is many times the original investment, and this happens over a long period of time.

                What infrastructure do you think we don't have right now that we need? We have endless roads, airports, shipping channels, etc. Most worthwhile projects involve fixing/renovating existing infrastructure: a meritorious use of money no doubt, but not something that's going to increase our GDP much. We had a road, now we still have a road. We had an airport, now we have a shinier and newer airport. It's all recurring effort which is a loss.

                (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:15:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ahh, this is a policy decision. (0+ / 0-)

                  Now you reach the point where governments can and do set market rules that benefit all of us.

                  You say a solar car isn't expensive.

                  Well, what if gas goes to $5.00 per gallon?

                  Now they are more viable.

                  The real cost of our current oil based infrastructure lies in this massive deficit, and our seriously diminished future.

                  You must consider ALL costs, not just the closed loop financials related to the car.

                  Our money is only worth what the nation is.  If we don't make investments in that, we all lose.  

                  Oil dependency is costing us a lot, because we don't have any oil!!  Those that do, extort us for it, and we don't produce anything IN EXCHANGE, leading to debt and a loss of stature, and standard of living.

                  We could change our trade policy to improve the value of labor here, which would raise wages, that when coupled with a real value on gas, would easily justify the production of "cheaper" cars.

                  This is about what we value, and it's about we the people, not anybody else.  If we choose not to value our future, gas cars look cheap.  If we choose not to value our labor, producing to meet our needs looks cheap.

                  If we don't value our standard of living, outsourcing jobs makes good financial sense.

                  Do you see this yet?

                  IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                  by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:25:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Re (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wham Bam

                    You say a solar car isn't expensive.
                    Well, what if gas goes to $5.00 per gallon?
                    Now they are more viable.

                    No, it may be that they are never viable no matter what the price of gas is. At present, electric cars are finicky and need all kinds of special components and materials (that require oil to extract/refine/transport). And when gas is $7/gallon, the (truck/aircraft-based) transport network that supports them might not work either.

                    You must consider ALL costs, not just the closed loop financials related to the car.

                    I completely agree, which means you must consider how the car will be used according to the laws of physics. For example, we could make a lot of money inventing Star Trek style transporters and putting FedEx out of business. But it will never work no matter how much money we invest (probably at least).

                    This is about what we value, and it's about we the people, not anybody else.  If we choose not to value our future, gas cars look cheap.  If we choose not to value our labor, producing to meet our needs looks cheap.

                    Who is "we"? Different people in the US have different agency and care about different things. Plus, what is good for one person may not be good for another (if you use Priceline to find cheap hotels, you are driving down worker wages at hotels).

                    And re the gas cars, you are again making the assumption that it is possible to replace gas cars with something else. It may not be.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:32:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ok then, so we invest in other things. (0+ / 0-)

                      (not that I agree on the car, but it's a side discussion)

                      There are things we can do labor on that will pay more than we spend on the labor.

                      Absolutely no discussion on this.  It has been true since we evolved economies, and it's true right now.

                      The problem is we lack the political will to put the people to work, because the big corporations making money hand over fist selling our futures off, are making sure we don't change the policy to end that practice.

                      We have devalued our labor to the point where nobody feels it's worth doing anything.  We will become a third world, broken nation, if we continue that.

                      When we raise the value of labor, people labor, and we get the product of that labor, and we balance our production with our consumption, preserving and ideally improving our standard of living.

                      These are basic macro-economic facts, completely ignored over "free market" ideas, where people are afraid to change the rules.

                      We need to change the rules, just like every other nation does, so that our people get a fair shake for their labor, and we are taking care of our own, instead of bullying the world into doing it for us.

                      (if you wonder about the extremely high military budget, now you know why)

                      IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                      by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:38:20 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If that's so why can't you raise money to start (0+ / 0-)

                        companies to do this work?

                        There are things we can do labor on that will pay more than we spend on the labor.

                        If you come up with a viable business plan including P&Ls, market studies, etc. we can get investment for you.  There are people with real money on this site.

                        •  How would you know? You haven't been on this (0+ / 0-)

                          site long enough to know anything about it and are nothing but a right wing troll.  Go away.  This is a site for Democrats, not right wing haters.

                          "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                          by gustynpip on Tue Dec 14, 2010 at 05:30:30 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Recurring effort isn't a loss. (0+ / 0-)

                  That's the cost of doing business.  Other nations are making those investments, and their stuff operates better, faster, cheaper, and in more flexible ways than ours does.

                  Know what that does to business here?

                  It hobbles it.

                  Know what that does to our currency?

                  It devalues it, because we become less able to take care of our people at a cost that's comparable to other nations, we lose value among our peers and become dependent on them.

                  That is what has happened here, and labor to build out of it is one of only a few options we have.

                  War is another, but only if we really mean it, and take some territory and resources and means of production, otherwise it's a drain.

                  Do we really want to do that, and add a few stars to the flag?

                  So then, we either make the investments needed to care for our own people, or we will be owned by those that do.

                  Think about it.

                  IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                  by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:28:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Recurring effort is a loss (0+ / 0-)

                    Non-recurring effort means you're making something new. Now you have something you didn't have before.

                    When that thing breaks, you need to fix it. That expenditure just costs money and leaves you no better off than when you started. You had something, lost it, and at the end of the day have it again. No gain, but you paid money and resources.

                    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                    by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:34:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No. Clearly you've not ever produced (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sparhawk

                      anything.

                      At any given time, for every company, economy everywhere, there is a burden of innovative change.

                      As our understanding of the world grows, we grow more capable over time.  This capability requires enabling technology in order to realize the benefit of the new understanding.

                      If what you said were true, steam would still be viable.

                      It's not.

                      Additionally, things degrade over time.  Entropy does this.

                      As they degrade, they serve us less, which isn't a loss at all.

                      Maintenance is a core cost in this world, and it's done to pay down risk.

                      Whenever we depend on something enabling, there is a risk associated with that thing.  The value of the risk is the labor associated with the loss of that particular thing.

                      That value over time is the cost of ownership, maintenance on our society.  

                      Now, as our understanding grows, new technology, including enabling technology like infrastructure, becomes disruptive.  That means, it delivers more value than the current tech does, for at, or near the cost of maintaining the existing tech.

                      We then will invest in that, to gain the long term benefits, and start the cycle over again, because risk always costs us over time.

                      Good grief!!

                      IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                      by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:43:46 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

                        I'm going to bed (so I can get up tomorrow and hopefully continue to produce new and innovative things).

                        Good talking to you.

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:49:20 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  You forgot the value of that thing over time!! (0+ / 0-)

                      Simple case.

                      Hunter / gatherer makes a shovel and a simple plow, moving up to farmer.  Prior to those two efforts, hands were used to grow food, or time was spent gathering food, and or storing it.

                      The plow and shovel have considerable value because they significantly improve the product of labor, which frees time for the farmer to do other things.

                      For the entire time, that farmer has the labor benefit of the tool, and sees extra time, perhaps time that could be used to learn to read, or sing, or make clothes for others, or anything really.

                      That farmer is more wealthy, because the tool enables him to not only meet his needs, but benefit from being able to help others meet there needs too.

                      A society that makes these investments grows into a super power, like we did.

                      Now, let's say those tools are maintained for a small cost every year.  They get painted, checked over, reinforced, whatever.  The tools endure, and continue to provide the labor benefit in a consistent way, easily paying for the maintenance effort.

                      In fact, the value of that is high enough, somebody else could do this in trade for food, and now you have a economy going.

                      The alternative is to save money, should the tool break, or buy insurance, so they will replace the tool, should it break.

                      In all cases, risk has a cost over time.

                      Now, say that farmer does NOTHING.  Their tool breaks.  Now they are a hunter gatherer again, forced to labor to build another tool.

                      The LOSS is the time and energy required, or money required to replace the tool.  Because the costs of things tend to rise over time as the world improves and grows, paying for another tool could prove quite costly, compared to the more modest cost of simply maintaining the tools one has.

                      IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                      by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:50:08 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I understand all of this (0+ / 0-)

                        The point is that recurring effort doesn't get you anything new. You'd rather not have to do it, but you do or else your tools will break.

                        Recurring effort is important and necessary. But it is a complete dead loss. You'd rather design a tool that needs 50% less maintenance than one that needs more maintenance, etc.

                        Getting back to the original part of our discussion, while rebuilding a bridge may be necessary, on the national balance sheet it's just increased deficit with no benefit:

                        Before:
                        Asset (bridge)    Debt (zero)
                        After:
                        Asset (bridge)    Debt (bridge repair costs)

                        That's why NRE is important. With NRE, it looks like this:

                        Before:
                        Asset (zero)    Debt (zero)
                        After:
                        Asset (Bridge)  Debt (cost of making bridge)

                        With NRE, you get a new bridge!

                        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:55:41 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Yes, it buys down risk, and that frees us (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Sparhawk
                          to then improve, which is part of the multiplier that good infrastructure brings us!!

                          We can't continue to grow in a high risk environment.  The losses are too great for that.

                          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                          by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:01:17 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Not to mention the activity itself brings revenue (0+ / 0-)

                          to the treasury.

                          We get that, we get lower risk, which frees people to do business!!

                          Here's another angle you might like.  

                          What's the hardest thing about starting new business?

                          Capitalization.  

                          Why is that?

                          RISK!!

                          So then, when we do things to lower the cost and risks that ordinary Americans face, small business flourishes!!  It flourishes, and is the majority new job creator, I might add, because low risk makes new business cheap ass!!

                          You look at Germany, or France, or any number of places where they have a higher overall cost of society, but a much lower risk profile than we do.

                          Small business does well there, and the people can save, build, send their kids to school and do all sorts of things.

                          Not losses at all.  Serious value, multiplied over time.  

                          That is what those dollars do over time.

                          And again, where new tech can replace the old, we do that, and we balance it with the cost of buying down risk for old tech, and that's how society evolves over time.

                          You are not valuing risk properly in your thinking, which inflates the cost of ordinary, necessary things, which biases your outcome perception, and by extension the worth of the effort as a whole.

                          It is absolutely necessary to assign a value to risk, and it is necessary to properly value labor.

                          Basically, if somebody labors all day, they can't do much else, so they need to make enough to eat and live a minimal life.  That's the rock bottom.  The higher the labor value, the more they can spend, and the higher demand is.

                          This, by the way, is why strong unions help everybody, because they keep demand high, and tax revenue higher for the higher labor costs, which pays down risk for everybody, leaving room for new business innovation, growth and all that other stuff that makes the world go around.

                          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                          by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:07:38 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  One other thing for when you wake up (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  The size of our GDP is only required to be that which meets our needs.

                  If we have more production here, variations in the global economy, and our GDP, are divided by the ratio of production.

                  In other words, we insulate ourselves from the kinds of things that have happened as of late.

                  When we produce more than we consume, that's real economic growth, and the GDP actually serves to represent our value to the world.

                  Now, it used to be our GDP was mostly production, and we had a high value in the world.

                  Now it's all financials, which really don't add value to the world, because that's just the trading of value, and every dollar everywhere is supposed to be backed by labor, because dollars equal labor.

                  With our output so low, the dollar is running on trust, not real value, and that's coming home to roost in terms of higher and higher deficits.

                  Increasing the GDP isn't the primary goal here.

                  Balancing our consumption with production is.

                  They are two different things.

                  IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                  by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:55:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  And that's been working so well... (0+ / 0-)

            ... for the last decade.  It only improves the economy if it's spent the right way.  Giving billions to the same people whose hoarding has contributed to our economic problems is not going to improve anything.  Cutting funding for Social Security might help the economy a small amount in the immediate future but is a long-term recipe for disaster.

            There comes a point when getting deeper in debt just makes things worse.  When you have to start taking out loans to make your other loan payments, you can quickly lose control.

            •  Unless that spending is attached to value. (0+ / 0-)

              Here's the thing.

              We must always spend.  We are a debt based system.  

              The question isn't spending itself.  It is what the spending is spent on!!

              If we were to spend money funding small business, for example, those small businesses would make new hires, we see a lot of jobs, which sees taxes, and we pay the debt down, and then profit on that activity over the longer term.

              If we spend it to build a bomb, and drop it somewhere, that value is just gone, leaving us with debt.

              Our debt is because we consume more than we produce.  If we modify our policy to encourage local production, and we spend in ways that improves that production, we pay down our debt, and we slow or stop the growth of it, because we no longer owe for consuming more than we produce.

              IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

              by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:13:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  With the Republicans moving in... (0+ / 0-)

                ... I just don't see it being attached to any 'value' except their own.  If this President has to cave in repeatedly when he has the majority in both houses I don't see his determination and/or resilience getting any better when the opposition is working from the majority position.

                He has given us no reason to believe he is capable of standing up to them on anything.  The only thing his "lines in the sand" accomplish is giving them a measurement for their achievements.

                I do understand that money spent wisely can improve our situation - I just have no faith that this President is willing or able to use it in that manner.

                •  I agree, but it is still very important that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  slave138

                  ordinary Americans understand spending.

                  The President is doing things in a way that's not really helping much.

                  This is because most of Washington is in the pocket of corporations.  Really, only the Progressives are discussing the right kind of stimulus spending.

                  We need to break the "government is the problem" meme, and that can't be done without some acceptance on the realities of spending.

                  IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

                  by potatohead on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 07:23:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  How can it hurt employment? (0+ / 0-)

          It's not like the tax cuts created jobs before, is it?

          Of course not, or there would be JOBS!!

          Truth is, we can labor out of this too.

          Do you know we are a debt based system?  Do you understand what that means?

          It means, we invoke debt to do anything.  The value of the thing done, pays back the debt.

          So, the issue isn't spending itself.  There must always be spending and debt.

          The issue is what we are SPENDING ON.

          When we spend big on war, that value is gone, with no product, unless we secure a resource or something, that brings value back to pay down the debts.

          That is why wars are hard, because a lot of labor is required to keep the nation at war from going broke!!

          Now, we charged it, putting the labor off, but that labor burden is still there.

          With it, comes spending.

          Now, when we spend on something that has value, say a bridge, or rail, or manufacturing of some kind, that effort pays off multiple times, many times.

          Spending to get value that's greater than the cost pays down the deficit.

          It's all really that simple.

          Now, here is the ugly part.  If we buy into what you are saying, and we don't spend, we then are faced with either having to do war to take over parts of the world and resources sufficient to get ourselves out of trouble

          , or

          we see a very significantly reduced standard of living, which is the current path, given the war efforts are not productive right now.

          The whole thing works off of demand, and it works off the idea that we value our labor properly.

          When we value it like China does, we lower ourselves to those standards.

          Does that look familiar?  See the decline yet?

          This is why nations like Germany are actually using combination of tariffs and subsidies to keep the value of their labor high, so their people maintain their standard of living in these tough times.

          When, or if, things improve, those can be changed so that the value of labor pays enough to fund the quality of life they currently enjoy.

          Here, we send the good jobs overseas, while devaluing the shitty ones.

          That means we will live a lot lower standard, unless we change that, which is why a whole ass load of people want some spending investments aimed right at us.  Not companies, not wars, but us, and this place we live in, so that we have a shot at a quality of life that's more in line with our needs.

          In the end, this all goes to demonstrate why raising taxes won't hurt employment.  Truth is, those extra dollars can fund a lot of things --things we need to fix, build, use, etc.. and that labor boosts the national income, as well as creates a lot of demand.

          Quite literally, there will be a lot more jobs, if we tax the wealthy, and apply those dollars for the common good, and that means bringing our nation back to competitive status again.

          It currently is not competitive at all.  We can't make a iPad, or Kindle here, nor do we make most of the things we need.

          That cannot continue.  If we continue to let the world labor for us, we will be owned by them, lose our freedom, and our standard of living.

          The debt must be paid, and taxing the wealthy, to fund labor, which pays down the debt is a socially just way to do it.

          Alternatives are war, mass death, paying the debt directly from the wealthy.

          IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT. #opengeekorg

          by potatohead on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:02:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This again demonstrates a significant lack of... (0+ / 0-)

          knowledge about both economic and fiscal realities. The US Government is not going to default on its debt, the total debt load of the United States Government is 13 Trillion Dollars. The GDP of the United States (2009) is 11 Trillion Dollars,since most of this debt is in Treasury Securities, that means this debt is scheduled out over periods ranging from 90 days to 30 years. That debt structure means that at current interest rates we could sustain significant growth on this debt for at least ten years. The US Government controls its own currency and is not facing a significant immediate fiscal crisis and even if we were, we have the ability to raise taxes to cover the necessary expenditures. You are simply uninformed and incorrect.

          "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

          by KJG52 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 01:18:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We won't default on it but we may inflate (0+ / 0-)

            it away.

            The US has had one period back in the Carter years in which the dollar lost 40% of its value in just three years.

            Today that sounds like hyperinflation but if our debt load becomes too high it may become our new normal.

    •  Ummm "dead loss'--I don't think so. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eigenlambda, radical simplicity

      Social welfare is very important, but it must be viewed as the complete dead loss that it is rather than some job creation formula. People that don't work don't contribute. Period.

      You know what people who don't work (that would be can't work) do? They do crime. All you libertarians should take a look at what having no real future in the non black market criminal society means. It means earning through crime. Hello Pablo Escobar!

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)

        You know what people who don't work (that would be can't work) do? They do crime. All you libertarians should take a look at what having no real future in the non black market criminal society means. It means earning through crime. Hello Pablo Escobar!

        Yes, they do, but it is immaterial to my point, in fact it just proves it more.

        People who don't/can't work do not produce anything. They only survive based on the labor of those who do/can work. We can provide a decent social safety net, or we can incur the costs in other ways (crime, etc), and I agree that the social safety net properly structured is the best approach.

        That doesn't change the fact that for everyone else (on average) except the welfare recipient the situation is a dead loss, a lowering of their standard of living with no corresponding benefit. This is fine (I am willing to pay the tax dollars), but the argument needs to be made on those terms, not on silly "stimulate the economy" terms.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:48:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that's an odd way of looking at it (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sparhawk, radical simplicity

          usually, people say that about disabled people who can't work, not also children and unemployed but capable people.

          •  All people (0+ / 0-)

            If you don't/can't work, you are purely a resource consumer.

            From a purely economic perspective, children tend to be more of an "investment", pay now for them to be productive later and produce (much) more resources than it took to educate them.

            Retirees/permanently disabled people/etc will always simply be a cost. Again, not that I don't support supporting them (I do), just that I think it's important to do the math the right way and to recognize what it is that gets you out of the hole and what doesn't.

            (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
            Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

            by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:18:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Not at all (0+ / 0-)

            The ratio of workers to population is a key indicator of economic health.

            For example, in Japan, they have huge economic problems hitting them because demographically they are too old.  Too many retirees.

    •  According to who... (0+ / 0-)

      cite some credible source here, your opinion is shallow misinformed libertarian rubbish. There are significant historical examples of Keynesian success and no historical examples of success in your approach. In fact the list of failures is a mile long, Chile in the 70's and 80's, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay in the 80's, Russia in the 90's, this approach leads to social and economic disruptions, oligarchical concentration of wealth and poverty.

      "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

      by KJG52 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 01:08:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Make them defend it.... (6+ / 0-)

    What Obama needs to do is make damn that sure that Mitch McConnell has a microphone shoved in his face and is forced to articulate the case for giving the ultra-wealthy a tax break.  Let's hear it, Mitch...

    Regulate banks, not bedrooms

    by Eagleye on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:20:07 PM PST

  •  You think that bringinging up votes... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, mll, twcollier, Bush Bites, Matt Z

    ....to be filibustered over and over by the GOP will finally get outraged media coverage, that will expose the GOP obstruction, and wise up the clueless voters, and so next time we'll get more Demoocrats because finally the truth will be exposed to the American people.

    I don't think that will happen. The media is not just merely clueless,  but actively working against Democrats, the people.

    What Obama said over and over in this hostage drama was hostage, hostage, hostage. That was covered by the media, live, for whatever reason, a slip, maybe on their part.

    Bottom line? Obama reached more low info voters to get across the SAME message you want gotten across. Give the guy a break. He is doing a great job for our side. So is Sanders.

  •  I'm one of those Obama supporters (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, Bush Bites, lams712, Matt Z

    but this does very well in helping to frame the issue we are facing.  Axelrod called it today a debate we would have with the American people.  It's no debate.  It's the biggest choice to be made in generations. A choice between people who need organs in Arizona, building high speed rail in Wisconsin, helping the unemployed, Medicare, social security,  and on and on and on.  Or preserving a tax code that is unbalanced, all for the benefit of our very wealthiest Americans.  It's not a debate, it is the most serious of choices that now has to be made.  It is the day of reckoning.  I hope the Administration can frame it at least a little bit well.

  •  I'm not hearing a lot of sympathy for the 99ers. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, mll, barbwires, Laurence Lewis, Matt Z

    Sorry, I'm not saying I agree with the lack of sympathy, but it seems like everytime I talk about this with people on either side of the political spectrum, they say "well, 99 weeks is alot."

    I'm not sure the political will is there from either party or even the general public to take it past 99 weeks.

    The president wants to take a reverse mortgage out on Social Security.

    by Bush Bites on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:27:19 PM PST

  •  Even Republicans won't really shoot hostages (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irmaly, lams712, alm76

    Even Republicans won't really shoot hostages.  Congress has never cut off unemployment benefits when unemployment was above 7.2 percent.  If it happened, the party responsible would catch hell.

    The rational thing for the Democrats to do is let all the Bush tax cuts expire.  Then veto any tax cut bill that comes out of the GOP-controlled House next year.  

    We can't tax-cut our way to prosperity.  

    •  It has already happened, rm (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mll, Matt Z

      The last extension of unemployment benefits ran out on November 31st.
      The Dems in Congress passed through the House a bill to extend federal funding for another extension, and it was blocked by the GOP in the Senate.

      The Republicans really did that.
      And you know what else they did?
      They blocked tax cuts on income up to $250,000.
      They've blocked bill after bill after bill.
      Hell, they even blocked a bill extending health care for 9/11 responders.
      It doesn't get much crueler than that.

      They've got 23 months until the next election.
      They're not worried about how they look.

      Think they're worried about "catching hell?"
      Think again.

      If Dems let taxes go up on all Americans in the midst of the worst economic times in our lifetimes, there will be a political firestorm.  People will be righteously pissed.  And they won't blame the tax-cutting party.  Not after the Dems raised their taxes, when they controlled the House, Senate and the White House.  And particularly not after the Dems block the GOP bill to cut taxes for everybody.

    •  Your faith in the GOP is touching (0+ / 0-)

      and dangerously naive.

      •  Assuming that GOP is evil, rather than clever (0+ / 0-)

        Misses the mark.

        Republicans never intend to kill the hostage. Every single unemployment extension has passed.

        What republicans intend to do is to extract as many concessions as possible every single time the issue comes up.

  •  i think BBB's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alm76

    fp was the most logical explanation for what the President is doing.

    And this fits into that as well. I sort of respect the President for astutely following his own moral compass. I also understand that he 'gets' the type of trouble the average person and yet he is not doing everything in his disposal to correct it. Because he doesn't want to be the liberal 'Bush'.

    Unfortunately, only a handful of government scholars are going to appreciate President Obama's style of governence,and sometime in the distant future, a professor somewhere will spend most of his adult life adulating President Obama's maneuvers to law students.

    However, in the meantime we are going to starve to death. This will be a minor footnote I suppose.

    must not spam thread.must not spam thread.must not spam thread.must not spam thread.

    by Krush on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:32:14 PM PST

  •  Did Congress try to give benefits for the 99ers? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mll, Matt Z, NoFortunateSon

    Did Democrats in Congress submit even one bill to extend benefits for those who have hit the 99-week limit?

    I haven't heard of one if so.

    They certainly haven't come close to passing one.

    So why is the President Obama's fault?
    It appears that is not even on the table, legislatively.

    •  No. It was called Obama Derangement Syndrome once (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z, eigenlambda

      Now it's just the natural discourse here on the netroots.

      Of course Congress never tried to extend UI beyond 99 weeks. Why? Because they were afraid of the tea party before the election they lost.

      A better case is the continuing poutrage from the slactivists over the tax cut compromise.

      Congress could have presented George Bush with a repeal of the Bush tax cuts in 2006. They didn't.

      The Senate had 50 votes and could have used reconiliation on the tax cuts in 2008. They didn't.

      The Senate had 60 votes to repeal the Bush tax cuts, and didn't. Harry Reid refused President Obama's desire to take a tax cut vote before the election, but Harry Reid was too worried about his own reelection.

      Congress had a 39 seat majority, and Pelosi lost the vote before the election.

      Now, in the 11th hour, after a shellacking, Obama was supposed to make the tax cuts happen with these people? Are you kidding? With Chuck Schumer running public interference on Obama's proposal to protect his wealthy suburban voters? Obama doesn't even have 50 votes in the Senate for his package, let alone 60.

      If Congress wanted UI extended past 99 weeks, they would have done so.
      If Congress wanted Obama's tax cut package, it would have happened.

      But thanks to Obama Derangement Syndrome, the netroots will never pay attention to the other major problem of our supposedly democratic lawmakers.

    •  nope (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis

      as we've seen though, Obama can present to congress stuff that they hadn't yet tried to pass.

      given the gigantic things Obama gave the Republicans, there should have been room in there for the 99ers. that's a big difference than the Dems in Congress trying to do UI by itself.

      •  Um.... Why protect Reid and Pelosi? (0+ / 0-)

        Obama spoke out many times on extending UI. And if new tiers were not created, I don't recall a single politician ever proposing the idea.

        New tiers would have been proposed if that's what people in DC wanted to do. They don't.

      •  Wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twcollier

        Debbie Stabenow submitted a bill. It was clear it didn't have the support to pass. If he could have gotten that, Obama would have. But it just wasn't possible.

        Given that you didn't even know that the bill existed, I don't think you're in a strong position to suggest that you know better than the Obama administration what they could get out of the Republicans.

        •  I agree that the Pres. got a pretty good deal (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mll

          And I don't quite all the understand all of the anger and vitriol boiling up around here at President Obama.
          This diary even blames him for failing to help the 99'ers.  And my point was that help for the 99'ers, while it is certainly desirable, does not seem to be on the table as a realistic option.

          I didn't know about Sen. Stabenow's bill, thanks for the info.
          I guess the key point, for me, is your comment that "it was clear that it didn't have the support to pass," and the fact that it just hasn't gottten much attention.
          The Dems in Congress haven't even come close to passing a bill to help the 99'ers.  
          So why is it President Obama's fault that he didn't get that into his proposal?

          Some around here seem prepared to blame President Obama for failing to cure cancer and provide non-fattening candy for all Americans.

    •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twcollier

      Debbie Stabenow proposed one. It didn't have the support to pass.

  •  So he could have gone on National Television, (9+ / 0-)

    said

    "The Republicans are holding the unemployed hostage. They demand millions of dollars more for themselves and their friends to release these hostages, you, your family, your neighbors.

    They say they are really worried about the deficit, but they don't care that making the very rich richer will hurt all Americans. More, more, ever-more money is why they are holding millions of honest, hard-working American hostage. So they can be richer and destroy the budget. I need you, America needs you, to call your Republican representatives..."

    I really want to see what fool is going to tell us that something like this couldn't happen because...

    a) he can't do this. just can't
    b) it will weaken our position with Republicans
    or,
    c) it won't work so why bother.

    Because there's no other possible reason for this absence of action. Not that any of these are intelligent reasons.

    We must note, in this connection, that the payroll tax holiday could have been taken directly from Federal Taxes, the same benefit to workers, and then the whole "make Social Security a claim on the General Fund" would not even be needed. It was that simple to avoid a threat to Social Security.

    How's that go, again? Once is an incident, twice a coincidence, three times is intended.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:37:44 PM PST

  •  What has been forgotten.... (9+ / 0-)

    Veterans coming home from World War I had a real problem - they got mustered out with little more than a train ticket home and thanks. Their discontent - multiplied by the misery of the Great Depression is one of the reasons Congress passed the GI Bill after World War Two.

    It headed off huge social disruption - strikes, marches, and who knows what would have happened if thousands of combat veterans had found themselves unable to work, unable to find a place, unable to be justly rewarded for giving their all for the country.

    It led to a generation that became more highly educated, more prosperous than ever before in this country and they went on to make America the leader of the free world. The costs of the GI Bill were paid off many times over.

    The morans we have today won't even compensate the rescue workers of 911 for sacrificing their health.

    Lessons from the economic disasters following from World War I in Europe and the rise of both the Nazis and Communists is why rebuilding and restructuring the social order after World War II got a high priority and resulted in the European social safety net, with a lot of practical advice from the people who crafted the New Deal.

    These actions shaped the modern world and led to the greatest rise in peace and prosperity in for millions of people in a continent of countries that once seemed to spend all their time at war with each other.  Now those ideas - that came from here - are sneered at as being 'European'.

    These lessons have been lost, ignored, or derided by the people who got us into the mess, just like they and their kind have always done - and they're now in position to dig the hole even deeper.

    What's inexcusable is how many on the supposed left are going to go along with this because they don't know any better, have never learned, or forgot those painfully gained lessons.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:38:19 PM PST

  •  The first thing a medic will do (9+ / 0-)

    Is stop the bleeding. The economy is hemorrhaging billions on two military misadventures. Stop the bleeding.

    "Pardon me, I've got something sanctimonious to do." The Rude Pundit

    by BOHICA on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:39:08 PM PST

  •  So what do we do next? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctsteve, esquimaux, alm76

    Obama is not going to change. He is not going to backtrack; and I doubt the house will stop him (although I really wish they would.)

    The real question is: What do we do next? I have read alot of posts on this site. Invariably, many discussions come down to that question (and I won't take credit for inventing it as I have read it here many times).

    We don't like what is happening in our nameb but what do we do next?

    Put another way, how bad does it have to get before the great American people finally realize they are being run over by an on coming train?

    What happens when total, real unemployment reaches 20% or 25%?

    What happens when groups of people decide to use force stop a foreclosure?

    What happens when the soup kitchens run out of soup? Are we going to start seeing apple sellers on street corners?

    So I ask: What do we do and when do we do it?

  •  Still a big chance to crack Republican will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alm76

    Not original to me, but I like it:

    There is nothing to prevent the President from submitting two budgets to Congress:

    One that savagely cuts every program Republicans attacked, including entitlements, and allows no provision for local projects dear to Members of Congress. This is something that they campaigned on, but never expected to happen, because it's political suicide.  He could present it with an itemized list of programs cut specifically at the request of named Republicans: "As Representative John Doe has requested, I have asked for cuts in the XYZ program"  (extremely popular in John Doe's home district)

    and

    One that protects seniors, children and pushes job growth by any number of means.

    The White House needs to be encouraged to do this, and the Dems in the House and Senate need to be encouraged to go along with the strategy.  

    Please suggest it to:

    Your Representative and Senators (make sure you call yours, calling someone else's wastes their time and yours. Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121


    The White House: 202-456-1111



    The Democratic National Committee: (202) 863-8000


    The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee:  (202) 224-2447


    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: (202) 863-1500


    Your own State/County Democratic Party. http://www.allthingspolitical.org/...

    When calling, simply suggest that this would be a good strategy, and good politics for the President or Member of Congress whose staff you are talking to. Never plead, never threaten, just suggest and thank the staff for their time.

    Remember, the President submits the budget, so when you call anyone but the White House, you are asking them to get work getting the idea to the President.

    I suggest calling rather than emailing because it is difficult for Congressional offices to verify if emails are actually coming from their own districts.  In addition, form emails are easy to generate, while individual calls signal that constituents are making an extra effort, and therefore taking the idea seriously.

    So get to the phone, and get your friends on the phone.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:41:22 PM PST

  •  Remember the house that burned down (9+ / 0-)

    because they homeowner hadn't paid the $75.00 fee?  On the news tonight there was a report on the newest outrage:  Charging you for having the fire department show up at an accident.  Yes, indeed, your taxes are not enough, and god forbid the rich should pay their fair share, so NYC and some other cities are now charging you for being in an accident.  How long until we are back to totally private services, charging whatever they can?  This country is going to hell on an accelerating track.  God help us all.

  •  Everybody has to be fed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladypockt, eigenlambda, alm76
    That's a simple truth.  We can pretend that we are an organized "economy" and argue about what rules are the most "fair." But it doesn't matter what is "fair" if the game doesn't result in everyone getting basic necessities.

    Once we get to subsistence issues, we simply have to remind everyone that property and ownership do not occur in nature.  They are absract legal concepts created by governments to serve the general welfare, keep the peace, encourage production, and get the crops in, and make sure everybody gets something.

    What do you say when somebody asks "Why should I give up my money I got by hard work and playing by the rules?"  You say, "Sorry, but those rules don't apply when they don't work.  You have to give because you have much while others have none.  If you want to keep your wealth, make sure you support rules you're not the only one winning the game."

    It's sort of like the NFL.  The team owner's objective is for his team to win every time.  The objective of the League is to make sure nobody wins every time.  

    A right answer to the wrong question is a wrong answer.

    by legalarray on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:42:29 PM PST

  •  where is your outrage Mr. Lewis (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, NoFortunateSon
    at Harry Reid and Nancy Peolsi?  They had 22 months to deal with the bush tax cuts.  Impeachment is off the table, Harry should have nuked the filibuster.  Where is your outrage?
    •  He doesn't want you to see at that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      The diarist doesn't want you to see the problem with the other branch of government.

      The diarist doesn't want to remind you, on taxes, that Harry Reid refused Obama's request to take a vote on the tax cuts before his releection this year.

      The diarist doesn't want to remind you that Nancy Pelosi couldn't even get a vote before the election.

      I swear, the front page has become the disgruntled voice of the DCCC and DSCC airing their dirty laundry.

    •  um (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ctsteve

      they didn't need to DO anything. they could just let them expire. do you understand that?

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:21:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes I understand that. (0+ / 0-)

        but that does not excuse them, because they still had the issue of the middle class tax cuts.  Well let me put it this way, they had 22 months to deal with the middle class tax cuts and could have said the bush tax cuts for the rich will expire.  That is what Harry and Nancy should have done.  Now what is it that you don't understand about that?  I can see now why you are not outraged.  

  •  I have been wondering this whole time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    muledriver, ctsteve, playon

    Somehow, he ignored the possibility that forcing the Republicans to vote against unemployment benefits-- over and over and over, if necessary-- might crack their will, as public perception coalesced into a calcined image of Republicans as enemies of honest working people who only want a chance to work

    Why in the HELL he didn't do that.  Yeah, they'll vote against it a couple times.  And then as soon as the benefits dry up for the assholes who don't want "those people" to get any, and THEY'RE screwed, they'll be blowing up the lines to their representatives.

    But oh no, we have to play touchy-feely make-nice games with jackasses who want nothing more than to punch us square in the ear.  /eyeroll

    If you want to fight and die for my right to sit here and bitch, sleep with whomever you want.

    by talismanlangley on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 07:51:08 PM PST

  •  Curious Lack of Logic (4+ / 0-)

    As I, like millions of others, face the end of my unemployment benefits with a last full check scheduled to arrive by Christmas Eve, I am left to ponder the motives of those who are opposing this last minute deal.  We will likely know by the end of the week if the uproar was worth it, with the worst case scenario meaning no further unemployment checks at the end of the current extension period.

    Where, I continue to ask, were all these outraged sentators and representatives -- and yes, Kossacks -- when the 99ers were continually left out of the equation in the past?  But they seem to be a convenient excuse to ignore the very real impact on those who are within the current statutory extension period, but who will lose their benefits due to a first in history refusal of congress to act.  The reality is that 99ers are a separte issue -- and yes, they should have been added to the mix in negotiating this huge deal; and yes, the middle class isn't getting nearly enough from the current legislation.

    But the sudden teeth-baring at our President, likely to scar his reelection chances, although hopefully not irreparably, seems to be playing into the Republicants hands.  They can take Christmas holidays off while the Democrats tear one of their own to pieces.

    Having been unemployed  now twice during this economic crisis (1/08-9/08 and 3/10-present), and this current period representing the longest I have ever been unemployed, I find myself wondering if -- at age 59 1/2, I will ever find a comparable job again.  Facing age discrimination and lowered social security benefits as each month goes by (no social security credits for unemployment), my prospects get bleaker by the day.

    The current deal is not great.  But it is what it is  and tweaking it more than just a little will likely create more problems.  Meanwhile, I find myself scratching my head here in Northern California, wondering what is to come.

    •  The fact is (4+ / 0-)

      that the link between the issue of tax cuts expiring and the issue of unemployment benefits is completely fake.  The fact that the Democrats allowed them to be tied together this way is sickening and cynical.

    •  You're not going to get an answer from them. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      They want you to focus on Obama so you don't see the transgressions of everyone else in the room with him.

      •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        The fact is that the longer-term extension of unemployment should have happened months ago -- and/or dealing with the tax cuts.

        It is NOT Obama's problem that these were both left to languish until less than 2 weeks was left in the Congressional Session.  Nor that the dems who are screaming now were almost all totally voiceless for so long!

    •  Can appreciate your situation and understand (0+ / 0-)

      why you support the bill.

      The only solution is to create jobs. The ninety billion in ransom to the filthy rich would help do that.

      Your assumption -- and the President's -- is that the American people would remain quiet and let the Republicans hold up your check. That no amount of pressure from the American people would force them to back down. Consider too that joining those Americans angry over loss of employment benefits to themselves, their families, neighbors and friends would be the 98% of the tax paying Americans whose tax break was just wiped out.

      A leader gets the votes. Anyone can pass a bill when the votes are already there.

      A possible deal would be a tax break for those up to, not $250, but maybe $300 or $350 in exchange for unemployment benefits.

      You are the hostage and you want them to pay the ransom to the kidnappers. I understand. I probably would too. But we have seen in Mexico how that works out. More hostages, more ransom paid, which leads to more hostages.

      Regardless, I wish you well. Or more importantly, I wish you a job.  

      "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

      by muledriver on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:20:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gee, thanks for the used not-so bullet-proof vest (0+ / 0-)

        It's all great to say that the American People are going to rise up en masse and protest the give-away to the rich, saving the day on Christmas Eve so that Santa can deliver unemployment checks to all the deserving boys and girls, and maybe a nice, fresh job to go with it -- would you like that job in red, white or blue?

        But we have, at best, six "shopping" days left in the congressional session -- if they work through Saturday and don't opt for an early weekend.  There's an outside chance that Harry and Nancy might hold folks hostage through the middle of next week, but I'm willing to bet they are both eager to get out of town as well.

        Far too little time to get the folks riled up.  And come January we have a whole new crop of idiots coming in who are much less apt to pay attention to angry mobs that aren't teabaggers.

        So, no.  I have little confidence that this groundswell of protest will be effective in doing anything other than making dems and President Obama weaker going forward.

        This whole thing reminds me of the late Lesley Nielsen line in one of the Police Story movies:  "Come Out, or I'm Coming In After Me!"  The hostages are going to be shot soon, and no one will hear the shots above the shouting protesters!

        •  As always (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Matt Z

          its a matter of who is going to get hurt and when. You in January or folks expecting social security when that is cut for the deficit  or the 99ers or tomorrow's 99ers or childrens school lunches etc etc. These are tomorrow's hostages.

          Your job is to advocate for your family. I would too. I respect that.

          This isn't all the President's fault. He and Congress share in it for not taking action earlier. The campaign on this issue should have been going on for months. They made this predictably inevitable.

          Again, good luck to you and your family.

          "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

          by muledriver on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:50:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I call bullshit (7+ / 0-)

    I can't believe the number of people that are buying into the framing of this.  The link between letting tax cuts expire and all the other issues is completely artificial and political.  In the real world, all they had to do was to let the tax cuts expire -- the most responsible course -- and then deal with everything else, DADT, unemployment compensation, stimulus, etc.  Let the Republicans own it if they don't want to help the average American.  The addition of the payroll tax reduction which is the beginning of the end for social security is the ultimate betrayal of Democratic part values.  Then there is the whole issue of financial responsibility.  Allowing tax cuts to continue is really bad fiscal policy.  But then we've seen plenty of that lately.  It takes some pretty hard-core, party-before-country Democrats to put lipstick on this pig.

    •  I'm not sure diarist is (0+ / 0-)

      trying to frame anything.

      must not spam thread.must not spam thread.must not spam thread.must not spam thread.

      by Krush on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:03:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two problems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z
      1. It would not be practical to write a retroactive task.
      1. Democrats would get blamed for raising taxes in a recession.
      1. Republicans would present Obama with a worse bargain to veto.

      Did I say two? I meant three.

    •  Could not disagree with you more (0+ / 0-)

      It's Obama putting country before party or the base, not the other way around.

      First let me state my substantive views, which are similar to yours: The best cure for the deficit would be to let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire, with one huge caveat.

      The caveat is - not right now, not in the midst of a failing anemic recovery on the verge of double dipping and causing unemployment to jump over 10 percent.

      Even Krugman and other traditional Keynesians acknowledge that tax increases, especially on the working and middle class, stifle economic activity and tighten rather than stimulate demand. So the Bush tax cuts cannot be repealed now, across the board. That would be suicide. Only the top rates should be repealed. But the Senate fillibustered the middle-class-only tax cuts of course, leaving Obama with no good choices. He took the one most likely to do something about unemployment and anemic GDP growth. THat was good for the country, bad for base politics.

      •  It's not all about the deficit either -- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse

        it's about basic fairness.  Extending tax cuts for the overclass at this point is bullshit, I don't care how you you slice it.  People are rightfully steamed about what Wall Street continues to get away with, and this is just another kick in the teeth.

  •  well said n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ctsteve, Laurence Lewis

    Proud Member of the Vast Sanctimonius Wing Conspiracy

    by polticoscott on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:00:40 PM PST

  •  thank you (8+ / 0-)

    for remembering the 99ers.

    -- Real harm is headed their way,

    and yet not a word.


    Perhaps they've already been designated as

    "Collateral Damage" ?

    Or "Acceptable Losses" ?


    Where's the Note?    -- SEIU

    by jamess on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:01:41 PM PST

  •  What should be noted (5+ / 0-)

    is that a succesful hostage outcome is either with the hostage-takers being forced or convinced to give up the hostages or with the hostage takers being disarmed or killed.

    Here the hostage takers got the money and  got to keep some of the hostages.

    And the president didn't try to convince or get the public to force the hostage takers to give up the hostages because he is risk adverse.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:03:04 PM PST

  •  Oh Hell no. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mll, Matt Z, princss6, NoFortunateSon

    The president's claim that he had to make this deal to keep two million people from losing their unemployment benefits is long on emotion and short on a whole bunch of other things. Define them for yourselves. But even as the president, his staff, and his most ardent and loyal defenders keep pulling on this emotional drawstring, the fallacy of it, the proof that it is but emotional manipulation, stands personified in the two million unemployed who will receive no benefits at all from the president's tax plan. They are the 99ers. They are the people whose 99 weeks of unemployment benefits have run out. There is nothing in the plan for them. Nothing. We are supposed to believe that this is all about helping the people who need unemployment benefits, but two million of them have been completely forgotten. With all he gave away to the Republicans in order to get what he calls a good deal, the president somehow couldn't manage to get any help for the 99ers. When talking about his plan, he doesn't mention them. His staff doesn't talk about them. His most ardent and loyal defenders apparently have forgotten they even exis

    And you're going to sit here, and say with a straight face that you didn't just pull on the same string?  So, despite all the additional stimulus that he got for the deal, which you don't mention once in your piece, your "rationale" is that those  of us who like the deal on balance are emotionally manipulating those of you who don't by pointing to the very tangible benefit for two million people because two million more people aren't covered.

    This. Is. So. Weak.

    By your "rationale" Obama shouldn't have bothered with this "betrayal" for the sake of two million people, and in the same breath you'll argue that the deal is bad because it didn't save two million more?!  And you'll also argue that you're not manipulating people's emotions by pointing to the fact that two million people won't be covered when you were willing to throw two million more in the street in order not to reward a fucking millionaire?!

    I thought the piece you wrote last Sunday was wonderful.  This piece, if you can call it that, is dishonest to say the least.

    Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

    by fou on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:06:06 PM PST

    •  Someone has to protect conservadems in congress (0+ / 0-)

      Even if it means writing disingenuous diaries to try and manipulate netroot positions.

      Did dKos get bought out by the DSCC and DCCC?

      •  Who? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mll, Matt Z, princss6, NoFortunateSon

        Conservadems don't like this deal?  Why, because it adds to the deficit?

        People who are angry with the President do seem to be fond of the argument that he's adding to the deficit.  The Tea Party assholes want to impeach him for that.

        Meanwhile, on the left, I'm called an emotional manipulator because I had the temerity to think that giving two million people temporary relief is better than giving no people relief.

        Seriously, if Mr. Lewis wants to throw two million people under the bus for the sake of punishing millionaires then he should just fucking come right out and say that rather than trying to paint those of us who disagree as emotional manipulators.  Talk about an ad hominem.  I'm so sick of the meme that has taken root on this site that those who support the President are emotionally manipulated and manipulating.  I fucking resent it.

        Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

        by fou on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:18:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sanctimonious Purity is right (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mll, fou, Matt Z

          I desperately need those tax cuts. It would be a huge hit financially to me for the tax cuts to expire. And I spent long enough time on unemployment to know how much 13 months of extension means.

          A line has been crossed from intelligent disagreement with the compromise to disingenuous spin. And these unending series of front page diaries are just that: disingenuous spin.

          Not only do they ignore the fate of the downtrodden until a bargain is reached, they ignore the other key culprits who got us in this predicament (hence why I asked if dKos was bought out by the DSCC and DCCC).

        •  Hear, hear! nt (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, Matt Z
    •  i'm saying (3+ / 0-)

      the deal shouldn't have been made, and that HIS rationale seems to be tacit triage. allowing the tax cuts to expire would have been short term before the gop caved. but the little bit of stimulus will be short term, the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and social security is endangered. but people who like the deal need to explain what happens to the 99ers.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:26:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Huh? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mll, Matt Z, princss6

        allowing the tax cuts to expire would have been short term before the gop caved.

        So let me get this straight, because I don't want to misunderstand you.  You're actually arguing that the GOP would have eventually given Obama an extension of UI benefits in order to lower taxes again?!  Really?!  You're arguing that instead of making Obama own a tax increase in the worst economy since the Great Depression - a tax increase that is arguably regressive within this economy - that the GOP, after winning a record number of seats, would have been blamed for the expiration of UI benefits and would have extended them eventually?!

        but the little bit of stimulus will be short term, the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and social security is endangered. but people who like the deal need to explain what happens to the 99ers.

        This is a lie.  This deal does not make tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, and you know it.  It's one thing to speculate that they're more likely to be made permanent.  That's a legitimate debate.  But to make this statement without qualifying it is disingenuous to say the least.

        People who don't like the deal need to acknowledge that two million people would have lost UI benefits, and they need to own the fact that they're okay with throwing people in the street for the sake of bringing down the deficit and punishing millionaire.  They need o stop this cowardly attempt to skirt responsibility for the expiration of UI benefits by calling those of us who like the deal emotional manipulators.

        Oba-MA bumaye! Oba-MA bumaye!

        by fou on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:37:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  i'm saying they should have been decoupled (0+ / 0-)

          keep bringing the ui extension to the floor. every day. by itself. make the republicans vote against it every day until they break. which they would have.

          and sorry- there is no way now that the tax cuts for the wealthy will be cut any time soon. certainly not in two years, long after the ui extension has ended, and obama likely has paid more ransom for another extension. obama set a template with which the gop can prevent those taxes from ever going up. and meanwhile, as he helps them buy into deficit worries, and now ties social security to the general fund, cutting social security does become part of the deficit conversation. that's probably the worst single aspect of the whole deal.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:35:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is fantasy (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fou, Matt Z

            keep bringing the ui extension to the floor. every day. by itself. make the republicans vote against it every day until they break. which they would have.

            What in the behavior of the contemporary GOP makes you believe they would cave? This is sheer delusion.

            •  some would have said the same (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PhilJD

              about gingrich. and on the other part of the package- the tax cuts- boehner already had admitted he wouldn't kill middle class tax cuts, if it came to that.

              now please explain to me obama's explanation that he doesn't believe the gop will hold the spending cap hostage, next spring. or his conclusion that he could negotiate with mcconnell. or how he gets another ui extension a year from now, from these same republicans.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:22:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The difference (0+ / 0-)

                is that the Republicans only have to avoid caving for a couple of weeks, after which they control what comes to the floor.

                Boehner admitted he wouldn't kill the middle class tax cuts, if it came to that. But it didn't come to that, because the Senate Democrats didn't have enough votes to pass just the middle class tax cuts.

                So the reality Obama had to deal with was that there was no way to force the Republicans to make that choice, because there weren't enough Democratic votes for it.

                The GOP won't hold the spending cap hostage, because doing so would upset the financial markets and cost the GOP's constituency -- Wall Street and the superrich -- a lot of money. Denying a UI extension doesn't harm the GOP's constituency.

                And to get another UI extension, Reid will need to attach it to something that's a high priority for Republicans.

  •  Slightly OT... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mll

    But one ALWAYS negotiates with hostage takers. That's why there are professional 'negotiators' called in during hostage situations.
    The American foreign policy principle is "We do not negotiate with terrorists".

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:06:52 PM PST

  •  triage means helping the people worst injured (4+ / 0-)

    the quickest. but it's the rich are the first in line to get bailouts and benefits when they're the ones who need help the least. without everyone acknowledging how deeply corruption runs through the system in manipulating government, extending unemployment benefits is futile in papering over a rotting corpse. it's needed, of course, but it's merely a band aid. it isn't going to cure the disease.

  •  as a self employed person (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not

    i have compassion for the 99ers, but i am in the second year of living off my meager savings with no unemployment, no health insurance and no net whatsoever.
    unemployment insurance is not enought to bring back my customers and i am adapting my business as fast as i can as well as looking for a job.

    i wish i had 24 weeks of unemployment...99 weeks. something is very ,very wrong here.
    we should look at other solutions.

  •  where is the works plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    i too have always felt the plan was never bold enough,but then we also have to face the fact that there is a huge amount of grrift and greed and corruption in our own populace.
    there is a huge gray market and black market and underreporting of income out there. i am not talking about only the very rich. i am not talking about only the very poor.
    an honest person doesn't stand much of a chance out there.

  •  Please explain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    this nonsense:

    The president's claim that he had to make this deal to keep two million people from losing their unemployment benefits is long on emotion and short on a whole bunch of other things.

    The president's claim is incontestible fact. If he didn't accept an extension of the high end tax cuts, the Republicans were not going to allow a vote to extend unemployment benefits.

    What possible argument could there be to the contrary?

    Anyone?

    •  forcing their hand (4+ / 0-)

      he had plenty of other options.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:27:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Try again (0+ / 0-)

        What options? Please explain. Because the people bashing the deal aren't making any sense.

        His options were accept the deal, or no UI extension. He had no way to "force their hand."

        •  no (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ursoklevar

          he had the option of making the gop vote against the extension, over and over and over, with the public against them and their poll numbers sinking. that's exactly what clinton did to gingrich- let him shut down the government, which did hurt some people short term, but gingrich caved and an exponentially larger number of people were saved from being hurt long term.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:30:55 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You fail. Try again (0+ / 0-)

            he had the option of making the gop vote against the extension, over and over and over

            How, in your fevered imagination, do you imagine that Obama had the ability to do that?

            If Obama didn't compromise, the everyone's taxes go up (violating Obama's campaign promise that if you earn less than 250K, your taxes wouldn't increase), and millions more unemployed people would be in the same situation the 99ers are now in.

            In less than three weeks, the Republicans take over the House. At that point, Obama has no ability to make Republicans vote on anything, because the Republicans will be in control of the House agenda. And in the Senate, the Republicans will continue to be able to prevent a vote on unemployment benefits through the filibuster. So, no, Obama could not make the GOP vote on anything.

            Care to try again? Or would you rather save yourself the embarrassment, and admit you're talking out of your ass?

            •  omfg (0+ / 0-)

              violating a campaign promise? like that he wouldn't extend the bush tax cuts? and if he'd played hardball, taxes would have gone up short term, and he could have pushed for the middle class tax cuts, and let the gop get the blame for not approving them- you know, with the polls already showing the public already strongly against including the cuts above 250k. your circular logic turns on itself. because you're also admitting that he's going to be paying more ransom for the next extension. which, very conveniently, he'll need even before these tax cuts expire.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:25:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                One more thing you're confused about. A campaign position and a campaign promise are not the same thing.

                A position is a statement of preference. I like tuna fish is a position. It's not a promise. Saying I oppose something is not the same as promising never to accept it as part of a compromise.

                He never promised not to extend the high end Bush tax cuts. He said he opposed it. He still does. That was a campaign position. But only a complete fool expects any candidate to achieve all of their campaign positions without compromising. And a position is not a promise.

                A promise is a commitment, not just a  preference. And Obama made a campaign promise that taxes would not go up on those earning less than 250K.

                And you're attempt at strategy is pathetic nonsense. If Obama had refused to compromise, he and the Democrats would have been blamed for everyone's taxes going up, not the Republicans. The polls showed that the public preferred that taxes go up only on the wealthy. There were no polls showing public support for everyone's taxes going up.

                And it's not circular logic to point out the obvious fact that with the Republicans about to take over the House, and able to delay anything until they do, we can't get our priorities without compromising with them.

                When you make delusional and obviously fatuous claims that Obama could have gotten more if only he'd committed political suicide, you're really not in any position to criticize anyone else's logic.

  •  maybe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andrewj54

    if the president invited 99ers to go golfing with him, instead of the ceo of a swiss bank (and other wealthy people,) that would start to shift his perspective.

  •  Careful now, sir; the Defenders are coming. (0+ / 0-)

    Really, though, thank you for speaking truth to power--at considerable risk of losing your FP status.

    Remember the 99ers!

  •  Let the whole damn thing expire (0+ / 0-)

    You aren't giving aid to the 99 ers and in 13 months these new unemployed will be toast.  time to have the rich put some money back into the coffers.

    " A lot of money is tainted - taint yours and taint mine." Unknown author

    by libbie on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:15:53 PM PST

  •  Like the Spanish Inquisition from Monty Python (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    threatening the victim with cushions!

    Embarrassingly, the president said you don't negotiate with hostage-takers unless the hostages might come to harm, which misses the entire point because hostages are by definition at risk of coming to harm. Terrorists don't take hostages and then threaten them with kindness. They threaten them with harm.

    Exactly!

  •  A President's stubborn insistence that a... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ursoklevar

    problem is well in hand and that the perception that it isn't is simply the inability of others to grasp the "real" situation, is a familiar refrain throughout American history. Unfortunately, this position, more often than not, has not been rewarded with success. Reality intrudes on the best of plans and compels flexibility and the ability to adapt and act, this Administration has demonstrated no such characteristics.

    I don't think what the Obama administration is doing in the current tax deal is triage. From what I can see, it is the result of a lack of foresight and political skill, and the apparent inability to come to grips with the real factors and dimensions of this economic crisis. President Obama's administration has not sufficiently addressed all aspects of the real estate crisis, the concentration of wealth and systemic risk in the banking sector, the operations of Wall Street or the export of jobs and factories overseas. Obama's political and policy teams act as if now only minor adjustments are needed to a well tuned economic machine, when in fact it needs a complete overhaul.

    The Obama administration is hopelessly mired in its own group-think and will not shed its failed neoliberal economic biases. President Obama, if he continues to follow this course, is going to deepen and lengthen the economic disaster he inherited and make it a millstone around the neck of the Democratic Party. The policy publicly outlined by Austan Goolsbee and David Axelrod, Sunday, is foolish wishful thinking, not effective fiscal, tax or economic policy. The President is locked in his paradigm and is stubbornly pursuing a dangerous and dismal course.  

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 02:05:23 AM PST

  •  The Prez (0+ / 0-)

    has guaranteed that we will continue to despair at his feckless lack of regard for the reality that Rs have no interest in working with him and every intention of destroying his presidency.  The sad thing is that he seems intent on helping them.  
    What happens in one or two years' time when all this comes up again and the economy has not only not improved, but gotten worse?  What will the President's solution be then?  Will he capitulate to the Rs demands for yet more tax cuts again?  Will he join in their chorus saying that yet more tax cuts for billionaires is exactly what the economy needs to recover from 10 years of Bush's gift to billionaires?  Will he suggest that repealing the estate tax entirely is just the cure that the economy needs?

  •  With two right wing parties dominating our (0+ / 0-)

    politics, there is very little hope of any progressive change.

    "The Republicans wouldn't cave, so I had to." -President Obama, 12/7/2010 Press Conference

    by MarkVA71 on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 11:08:27 AM PST

  •  I'm sick of hearing about 99 weeks...we need jobs (0+ / 0-)

    I've been unemployed in Missouri since Oct. 2007.  I only got 26 weeks of unemployment....where's my other 73 weeks?  I have had ZERO/0/NO/NONE/NAADA income since eary 2008.  I'm 56 years old, college educated, worked for 25+ years, health problems, no health insurance, and there are millions like me that are falling into poverty.  Missouri offers me no healthcare and no hope of recovery.  I've only had maybe 10 interviews in 3 years, and they were for part-time or clerical jobs where they hired someone younger.  My friend in TX with a masters in info systems (he worked for Ross Perot and IBM)has been unemployed for over 2 years.  He says he has not even been able to get 1 interview in 2 years.  His son wants to go to college next year, but cost is a great concern.  

    Extending unemployment is nice, but I don't want to give up healthcare, education, and needed social services to give the rich another tax break.

  •  Thisought to l to be reposted (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    at a more reader-friendly time and weekday.  It's quite thought-provoking and ought to receive wider circulation.

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