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As of late last night, the Tax Deal - is a Done Deal.  The House Passed the agreement 277 to 148.

There were about 130 Yeas from Democrats and Republicans alike. Aint "Bipartisanship" grand?

The US House of Representatives has passed a compromise tax bill averting a New Year rise in income taxes for millions of Americans.

...

However, President Barack Obama had said that a compromise was needed to win Republican support.

The $858bn (£542bn) package was passed by 277 votes to 148 in the House of Representatives.

This Tax Deal is now Headed for Obama Desk, so the the real question is what now?

In many ways Obama is betting his Presidency on this deal.  He's betting that this will finally get the economy moving by putting dollars in the pockets of people so they can spend and drive the economy up, not depend on it to all trickle down.

But something else has happened.  Most of these tax cuts are essentially maintaining the current status quo of not only cuts put into place by George W. Bush, but also Stimulative Tax breaks from the Recovery Act as well as a 13 Month extension of Unemployment Benefits at least for those who haven't completely run out of them.

This is now the new normal.

But it's a normal that everyone realizes is going to cost of over $800 Billion over the next two years.  EVERYONE KNOWS this is unsustainable.  Before this bill passed the deficit was projected to drop by 50% by the end of 2014, what it's going to become with these revenue cuts depending on if, when and how much the economy recovers is almost anyone's guess.

But now we know that Republicans and Tea Partiers are going to do a ton of posturing over Spending Cuts, especially the pointless Effort of Banning Earmarks as we've seen from the Phony Budget Twins, Senators Cornyn and Thune.

Yesterday, Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD) denounced earmarks and the omnibus bill during a press conference, despite requesting hundreds of millions of dollars of earmarks between them. "I support those projects, but I don’t support this bill," reasoned Thune. Cornyn defended himself in a "heated exchange" with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.

Here's a little secret that these Deficit Peacocks don't want you to know besides the fact that Earmarks only account for 1% of the budget.

Removing Earmarks doesn't remove Spending.  

If members of Congress don't specify what they'd want the money to be spent on the Obama Administration gets to make that decision for them.

It's just like the Alaskan "Bridge to Nowhere", in the end Sarah Palin didn't say "No Thanks", Congress did - but Alaska still got the money, they simply spent it on something different.

Be that as it may Senator Reid has pulled the Omnibus Bill until next year and begun to focus on DADT, as well as other critical outstanding issues such as START and The Dream Act.

The only way to do any Real spending cuts is to dig into Medicaid and Medicare ($898 Billion/Year), Social Security ($787 Billion/Year) or the Military Budget ($928 Billion/Year).  Now, some of this is actually already in the works because this upcoming year the last of our troops are coming out Iraq, and in June our withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan begins.  I for one would like to see a drastic. reduction in the use of Contractors from Halliburton, KBR to Wackenhut and Blackwater/Xe. These guys should all be first on the chopping block, or else we're not serious about this.

If this is going to be a war of Quien is Mas Cutter, then we should plan to WIN that War and getting rid of some real Fat that deserves to be ripped off the flesh of the nation and squished like a TICK. Blackwater/Xe should be at the top of that list.

We also need to start doing a serious reduction of international bases, especially in countries that are completely without any current serious threat like Western Europe.

Another effort already in the pipe is the $500 Billion worth of savings and Medicare efficiencies that are to be implemented as a result of Health Reform.  I seriously doubt the Repubs will find a savings as large as that anywhere. Despite all the Tea Party Blather, this needs to be protected and looking at the currnet "Plan" coming from Freedom Works on trying to "Repeal" Healthcare - they don't even have these savings on their radar.

A memo from the Tea Party group FreedomWorks outlines the group's strategy to repeal health care reform and replace it with "a set of patient-centered" bills.

"The group identifies four reform provisions that it believes have bipartisan support: the individual mandate, 1099 reporting requirements, a bill allowing Americans to keep the private health insurance the way it is, and a bill that lets states opt of out Medicaid eligibility expansion. FreedomWorks also thinks it has time on its side, writing that 70 percent of the law's spending doesn't begin until 2014."

This really just shows that they really don't even understand the bill.  People who already have private insurance, already get to KEEP IT.  The individual mandate, besides being a Republican Idea that used to be touted by the Heritage Foundation, and like the 1099 requirement is not critical to the bill.  States opt-ing out of the Medicaid Expansion will mean their losing hundreds of $Millions in Federal funds and lead to more situations like the Jan Brewer Transplant Death Panels.

What we have to do is show Republicans for the Heartless Hypocrits they are - Mercilessly. Relentlessly.  Viciously.  We have to do what Jon Stewart did this week when he sat down with 4 9-11 First Responders who are all dying of Cancer, yet have had Emergency Funds to provide for their Health Care Block Again By Republicans while they whine about not being able to go home to Celebrate Christmas!

Part 1

Part 2

These Republicans are SCUM.  They have voted REPEATED against 9-11 First Responders, and Repeatedly against the TROOPS - not because they disagreed with our War Fighting Strategy, but simply because they can't ABIDE THE OPENLY GAY.

Their rank xenophobia, hypocrisy and opportunism is naked for all to see.

Democrats have to make sure they take advantage of all this.  The Unemployed and those Business Trying to Grow have been taking out of the firing line and removed from the fray.  We have to hold our ground to prevent dangerous cuts to essential services like Education, Medicaid and Medicare - but there's nothing wrong with pushing for better accountability and better efficiency.  We should all expect more bang for our buck, however the fact is that none of this cut frenzy will probably make that much of a difference in the end.

Despite all the claims about "Run Away Spending" the fact is that the biggest jump in the Deficit at the end of Bush's last year - over 30% -  actually came from the Crashing Economy, not TARP, and not the Stimulus.  If the economy finally does begin to recover over the next 13 months - and historically speaking it's grown as well if not better than the Reagan recovery - then we have the leverage to turn our fire back onto Bush's wasteful Paris Hilton Bonus Tax.

I don't think we should simply let them expire again, I think we should push to have them increased to 42% in order to keep the Obama Cuts Permanent.

That of course will require recapturing the Congress is 2012 as well as retaining the Presidency, but it's not impossible.  Just difficult and we've done difficult plenty of times already.  Republicans beat us this year because they spent every waking moment, every second, on doing exactly that and nothing else.  Now, that's what we have to do. In 2006 we took back the Congress when almost noone thought we would - we can do it again.

We have to.

I for one refuse to cry about it, we lost a Battle - not the War.

Vyan

Originally posted to Vyan on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 05:48 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Funny, funny diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, Losty, Kristina40

    Go after the hostage takers?  Not likely when you're in cahoots with them . . .

  •  Bull Shit (6+ / 0-)

    Far from saving hostages, President Obama provided even more hostages. We will now all be held hostage to higher interest rates.

    Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

    by LWelsch on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 05:53:50 AM PST

  •  Thanks (6+ / 0-)

    for this dose of reality.Time to stop complaining and work for 2012.

  •  94 cents on the dollar to hostage takers. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, TomP

    Some of the hostages got to split the remaining 6 cents among them for the trauma, and some were given absolutely nothing and left with the hostage takers.

    Mission Accomplished.

  •  Does intrade have a line up for this? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, PhilK

    In many ways Obama is betting his Presidency on this deal.  He's betting that this will finally get the economy moving by putting dollars in the pockets of people so they can spend and drive the economy up, not depend on it to all trickle down.

    If I bet against it, I might actually get something out of this deal.

    The first 'stimulus' actually had a few hundred billion that would wind up with the little people.  They got far less (57 billion) this time.  How on earth is a far smaller stimulus supposed to magically jumpstart things when the far bigger one failed to do so?

  •  did anyone comment anywhere on (0+ / 0-)

    how many pages this bill was? Was it as huge as HealthCare?

    What did you do when you knew? boatsie

    by boatsie on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 05:59:04 AM PST

  •  teh paris hilton for pres meme (0+ / 0-)

    started as a joke in 08 .. but now i really have to wonder if we shouldn't start rolling her out now. Yell, in many ways she is ahead of SP. and her legal problems are nadda compared to what SP is pulled out of.

    Plus shes got all that family money to put into her campaign.

    What did you do when you knew? boatsie

    by boatsie on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 06:01:04 AM PST

  •  Two words: Stockholm Syndrome. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, PhilK

    Obama is Patty Hearst to McConnell's Cinque.  

    That will weed out the youngsters around here :)

    "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

    by Rich in PA on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 06:01:52 AM PST

  •  Let's not forget (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PrahaPartizan, PhilK

    that the House passed the tax cuts for up to $250K a little over a week ago.  When that came to the Senate, cloture could not be reached by a shortfall of 7 votes.  The failure of the president's leadership was in not rounding up those 7 votes.   Yes, I know, Russ Feingold and a few others were opposed to all tax cuts.  But let's not pretend that opponents to tax cuts are so dense not to see the alternatives.  

    Instead of negotiating with the Republican leadership that is dedicated to Obama's failure, the president should have been negotiating, and persuading, 7 senators who could be brought to reason.  

    •  There wasn't time for that before (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Front Toward Enemy

      the end of this Congress and the Bill would have been null and void.  Remember how long we spent trying to woe Senator Collins and Snowe over Health Care?

      •  Sorry, I'm not talking about we, (0+ / 0-)

        I'm talking about the president.  And by the way, it didn't take very long for him to negotiate this troubling deal with the Republican leadership.  An effective negotiator would have achieved agreement from the necessary 7 on cloture in about the same time.  

        Citizen appeals to senators are easily counterbalanced by other citizens appealing for the other side. Too many people harbor the illusion that if you only tell a member of Congress what you want them to do, they'll do it.  

        But when the chief executive summons a senator to the oval office, and asks what it would take to gain a vote for cloture--just cloture, not for the bill itself--good things can happen.  

        I don't know this for certain, but I've not heard of Obama having any such meetings.   If he had, and those didn't yield the results intended, then that's an appropriate time to weigh the kinds of compromises that he did make--absent the estate tax, which came out of the blue and for no good reason.

  •  I Don't Often Talk About 9/11 (7+ / 0-)

    That I was on the last flight out of DC. That it would take me weeks to get my car back. That more then a few friends died that day. I don't think any political party should "own" that day. But this is getting a little out of control.

    My father's best friend has what is called a "go bag." A bag that sits next to his door, cause at any time he might be called to anyplace in the world to do search and rescue. When bad shit goes down his is on speed dial.

    He is a first responder. That we can't pass a bill for them .... well I don't know what to say.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by webranding on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 06:04:50 AM PST

  •  Waste of Time and Money Now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mwm341

    "...That of course will require recapturing the Congress is 2012 as well as retaining the Presidency, but it's not impossible.  Just difficult and we've done difficult plenty of times already.  In 2006 we take back the Congress when almost noone thought we would - we can do it again..."

    We have to"

    Democratic chances of retaking the House in 2012 are just about zilch given the current dynamics in the economy (at least 8% unemployment) and society (Citizens United, etc.) and the prospects for retaining control in the Senate are about the same given the number of Democratic seats up for reelection compared to Republican held Senate seats.   The Democrats retook the House in 2006 because they had chipped away at the Republican majority for six election cycles, assisted by the incompetence of the Bush administration.   So, why don't we just quit with the "retake the Congress" in one election cycle meme, because maintaining that illusion will just lead to wasted time and money?

    Further, few of the critters in Congress are worth retaining anyway.  We have seen what they value and of what value they are to the average voter in the last six months.  We have become two societies and the folks in Congress are just putting on theater for us while catering to those they think count.  Sweep them all away.  It's the only way to put new thinking in place, because anything contaminated with the current thinking won't work.  

    Besides, it gives the opposing crazies the illusion that they'll have won, when the exact opposite will be the truth in the long run.  Let them own the economic tsunami they've worked for forty years to craft.  Rivet it to their foreheads and weld it to their bodies.  They deserve it.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 06:07:57 AM PST

  •  So Obama has them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty

    just where he wants them?  Whoa be it to the Republicans because NOW they will not get everything they want?  Ok....alright...NOW they will not get everything they want!....  Alright... just a minute...here we go... NOW... that's it...from now on...Whoa be it...SIGH.

    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

    by newfie on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 06:15:17 AM PST

  •  The most important thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK

    is that the rich feel "certainty."

    Only then will they let some crumbs fall to the floor.

    Scurry, little rats! Enjoy your 18 months of crumbs.

    The banquet for the rich, however, lasts for 2 years.
    They feast on Democratic cajones.

  •  "Fuck the president" is the only (0+ / 0-)

    important thing ANY Democrat has said in many years.

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 06:34:05 AM PST

  •  Funny how there's not a front page item on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty

    It might have to be titled:  Barak to progressives:  drop dead.

    Remember how Bush called his base "the have and the have-mores"?

    Guess Obama covets Bush's base.

    "Obama's campaign deceptions on health care were both incredibly specific and grossly serial in nature...." M. Taibi, Griftopia

    by baked potato on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 07:04:04 AM PST

  •  THE KITTEN HAS BEEN SAVED!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Losty

    that is what it sounds like every time Obama speaks about how he HAD to make this bad compromise on tax cuts...  cause if he didnt the kitten was going to be shot soooooooo  I think when he signs this bad bad bill he should have an adorable kitten sitting on the signing table.

    Have the TeaPublicans fixed the economy yet?

    by KnotIookin on Fri Dec 17, 2010 at 07:15:08 AM PST

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