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Here we go again.

President Obama drew fire Sunday from congressional Republicans and independent budget experts for his reluctance to advance a plan that would tackle the nation's biggest budget problems in the spending blueprint he will submit to Congress on Monday.

In the first statement of his budget priorities since Republicans regained control of the House, Obama will avoid politically dangerous recommendations to wipe out cherished tax breaks and to restrain safety-net programs for the elderly, put forward last year by his own bipartisan fiscal commission as a strategy for reining in a soaring national debt.

The president's bipartisan fiscal commission, more commonly known among the non-austerity crowd as the catfood commission, failed. The recommendations it made were not official. It failed to garner the required 14 of 18 supporting votes, and thus did not have an official vote.

Which it couldn't have had anyway, not officially, because it didn't meet its deadline. There is absolutely no reason for the administration to follow the recommendation of the commission. Because they failed and never produced any. That's the inconvenient fact which DC--politicians and media alike--continue to ignore.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This just in the GOP complained (12+ / 0-)

    That the president refused to consult with Unibomber Ted Kazinsky on matters of Homeland Security.

    I'm the terror that blogs in the Night,. and the daytime too.

    by JML9999 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:58:25 AM PST

  •  It is very easy to ignore facts (11+ / 0-)

    when one's livelihood depends on one's ignorance of them.

    "The rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest. They always did... they always will. . ." Governeur Morris

    by Dave925 on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:59:17 AM PST

  •  Every Single Source in the Article (14+ / 0-)

    Is on the record about the need to "cut entitlements."

    They quote:

    Alice Rivkin
    Erskine Bowles
    Kent Conrad
    Jacob Lew
    John Boehner
    Paul Ryan

    No "independent expert" is quoted as a source.  All are deficit hawks and declared enemies of Social Security.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 09:59:41 AM PST

  •  I'm certain (4+ / 0-)

    that the bloviating cable news punditry will focus on this.

    Can't wait for the round of appearances that Alan Simpson will be making (sigh)

    Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved. ~ Aristotle

    by Coldblue Steele on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:03:25 AM PST

  •  They did have an unofficial report (11+ / 0-)

    with unofficial recommendations.

    So did I.

    I want the Beltway crowd to pay attention to MY unofficial recommendations, too!

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:05:03 AM PST

  •  It's the difference between (3+ / 0-)

    meat and meat by-products.

  •  "cherished" tax breaks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amayupta yo, JML9999, cybrestrike, annieli

    there is religion inside the beltway.

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

    by Laurence Lewis on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:06:15 AM PST

  •  there's only one remaining course of action (7+ / 0-)

    We must appoint a commission to find out why the last commission failed.

  •  Entitlements - The Political Third Rail (0+ / 0-)

    as per the Wall St. Journal this past weekend, and as I've been saying here for months-- nothing much is going to be done regarding entitlements.

    Anyone not knowing why that is doesn't know much about our politics.

    "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

    by Superpole on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:08:16 AM PST

    •  They are insurance policies, not entitlements (3+ / 0-)

      that is the first thing we have to get straight.  

      Just like private health insurance you pay premiums until you need the insurance, then it is a liability and you get dropped.  Thank Dog we didn't privatize.

      Where there is no vision, there is no hope. George Washington Carver

      by Amayupta yo on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:33:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Semantics - Irrelevant (0+ / 0-)

        OK, call them "insurance policies"... it's still a political third rail and in spite of the feeble catfood commission, and all of the bloviating from the reich wing, Obama and congress both do not have the balls to suggest major changes to SS.

        forget it.

        "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

        by Superpole on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:45:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Words matter (0+ / 0-)

        The implication that the poorest of Americans are the "entitled class" allows the propagandists to win.

        Where there is no vision, there is no hope. George Washington Carver

        by Amayupta yo on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:04:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Now who's being naïve? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Republicans have a functional majority with Blue Dogs and they have a president who wants to make a deal on Social Security.

      Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

      by expatjourno on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:14:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Whining About the Invisible (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, aliasalias, Tchrldy, ZedMont

    No recommendations = No recommendations.  True = True.

    Or, I've become a Deficit Report Birther.  Produce the report, kids, and we'll talk.  Otherwise, put a sock in it and let the adults deal with things.

    Most cuts won't fly.  Yes, people think the deficit should be reduced (I do), but when you ask them specifically there's no overwhelming area where they agree.

    Personally, I'd cut defense and raise taxes, but that's just me.

    (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

    by Lonely Liberal in PA on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:09:54 AM PST

    •  Not just you (6+ / 0-)

      I'd cut defense, too... but I'd refer to it as cutting the war budget. We haven't been on "defense" in a long time, and maybe if enough people start referring to it as "war spending," it will make some people think twice about their willingness to sacrifice so much American productivity on the altar of Mars.

      •  This is why (4+ / 0-)
        and maybe if enough people start referring to it as "war spending," it will make some people think twice about their willingness to sacrifice so much American productivity on the altar of Mars.

        I support reverting from the name "Defense" Department to what it was originally called, "War" Department.

        "Defense Department" sounds far less menacing than, say, a hellfire missile exploding.

        The community of fools might be small if it were not such an accomplished proselytizer.

        by ZedMont on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:33:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But, But Defense is More Or Less (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno, cameoanne

      ... OFF the table.

      in fact:

      The President is requesting $118 billion for the DoD in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding for Iraq and Afghanistan -- a separate amount, over and above the department's baseline budget.

      two things mean it's the end for Obama in '12: this and nine percent unemployment. forget it.

      "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

      by Superpole on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:25:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not An Election Killer (0+ / 0-)

        People simply don't seem to care much about the budget, per se, and it isn't their most important item in the world.

        That would be jobs and the economy (I consider the two to be the same, although arguments can be made that they aren't).

        (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

        by Lonely Liberal in PA on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:31:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Uh, Wrong (0+ / 0-)

          people "don't care about the budget".. that is, until congress proposes cutting something that a majority of the people need and depend on... like SS.

          why do you suppose there's really not much action regarding SS? because people don't care about it?

          Gimme a break, please.

          "I don't feel the change yet". Velma Hart

          by Superpole on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:42:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That would be cutting benefits (0+ / 0-)

            Not adjusting the budget.  People couldn't possibly care if another $118 billion gets spent, so long as their little world isn't disturbed.

            Are they related?  Of course.  But the deficit can continue to grow and that causes a lot less friction than balancing it on the benefits programs would.

            I expect that, Republican or Democrat, anything other than very minor Social Security tweaks is simply off the table.  Or, don't piss off the AARP.

            (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

            by Lonely Liberal in PA on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:53:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Morning Joe was Crazy this morning (5+ / 0-)

    ...ranting and raving that we have to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    Is there any way to get him off tv? He is more dangerous than Beck, because he has the Third Way and CFR guests on to bolster his hate of seniors.

  •  hey, not everyone ignored it! (5+ / 0-)
    Deficits don‘t need to be made zero in year one, particularly as the economy comes out of recession. Simpson, Bowles and the other Beltway commissioners who could not reach consensus (despite poor reporting that implies they did) are just wrong in their approach, and they have been rejected by the American people.

    To highlight this, check the latest Pew poll. Only the tea party Republicans want to slash and burn. They represent 17% of the public. Everyone else says hands off Social Security, don’t slash education and invest in the environment.

    Washington is obsessed with Sarah Palin and minority tea party politics while the rest of the country wonders where their professional judgment has gone. So, let’s not have any lectures on what “serious” is from people who just get it wrong. Deficit reduction is serious only when it ignores Social Security (built to last until 2037, with planned deficits now) and concentrates on Medicare and Medicaid. And the best first step in Medicare reduction is Obama’s health plan, which the Republicans are vainly trying to repeal. Serious is considering revenue enhancers and investment in the future as well as spending reductions to balance a budget, and there’s nothing “serious” about the Republican approach, which only includes spending reduction.

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:16:08 AM PST

  •  media fail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The fact that the media continues to treat the personal, unofficial recommendations of Alan Simpson as if they were the official recommendations reflects a conservative bias in economics and financial reporting. It seems to me the only thing we can do on the left is to constantly hammer the media every time they do this. Don't let them get away with it. Part of that, I think, is having a stronger liberal voices on economic issues. Where are the left-wing economic think tanks to deluge the media with protests when this kind of stuff happens? Do they exist? Are they just not effective, or does the media just ignore them? Anyone here know?

  •  Raiding Pensions (4+ / 0-)

    When I payed my insurance premiums for Social Security Insurance and Medicare Insurance and Unemployment Insurance I expected that those fully funded Insurance policies would be sacrosanct.  Only the GOP prescription drugs component is unfunded and HCR fixes that.

    Considering that not one penny of the federal debt or deficit comes from those policies, cutting them will add nothing to the reduction of the deficit let alone the debt.

    Only higher taxes will reduce our debt.  We spent the money and unless we raise taxes our children will be paying for our miserly tax cuts.  It is not as if we pay high taxes in the first place.

    Where there is no vision, there is no hope. George Washington Carver

    by Amayupta yo on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:29:07 AM PST

  •  I held a vote on the Andrew C White (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bink, cameoanne

    policy commission recommendations. It met the necessary threshold of 14 out of 18 ayes. I voted 14 times in favor, 2 times in confusion, and 1 time in an ornery state of mind that produced something similar to a nope.

    The general idea consisted of raising taxes on the wealthy. We should create a couple additional tiers for those from say $200k to $500k that would return to a pre-Bush level of taxation around 39%. From $500k to $1m at 45%. From $1-2m at 50% and anything over$2m at 65%.

    This plan would include a move to price determined free markets by eliminating subsidies paid by the government for anything but R&D work and targeted emerging technologies with strict oversight of qualifications for such subsidies. Also eliminated in the move to a truly free market price driven economy would be private use of public resources without payment of a fair market price. This includes publicly owned land, grazing, mineral, air and water resources.

    A new approach to defense related spending based on new the "Egypt paradigm" would direct a quarter of current defense spending towards democracy building activities in allies and unstable regions of the world alike while eliminating another quarter of defense spending completely as a deficit reducing measure.

    Similarly, the DEA budget would see half of its current spending directed towards drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation activities with another quarter of the DEA budget cut completely as an aid towards deficit reduction. At the same time marijuana would be legalized and taxed heavily while also increasing taxes on alcohol sales. Income from these two areas would also go towards deficit reduction. As part of the addiction prevention activities all advertisement of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco products would be made illegal.

    Mature Americans would be allowed to buy into Medicare beginning at age 50. Medicaid eligibility would be expanded to 6x the US Poverty level. Employer provided health insurance would become taxable income. Private insurance would be purchasable across state lines and all private policies subject to minimum federal requirements of coverage.

    In an effort to combat unemployment Social Security early retirement rules would be eased to allow staged levels of early retirement beginning at age 55.

    And a few things more but that will give you a few general ideas.

    Oh... capital gains would be taxable as regular income. Estate taxes would rise to 75% with the exemption dropping back to $1m with some exemptions, closely regulated for private family businesses.



    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:32:39 AM PST

  •  What gets me (0+ / 0-)

    is the proposal to cut heating oil aid, defended by anonymous administration sources as having "symbolic value."  It does not, however, have symbolic harm.  Shared sacrifice?  These cuts fall hardest on those who've already suffered the most, and their only justification is to keep tax rates artificially low.  Their only practical effect, apart from human suffering, is to delay the recovery.

    I understood Obama cutting a deal on taxes when there was the constraint of time, but not this.  At least recommend Jan Schakowsky's minority report.  It would have better public support and at least be consistent with what the Democratic Party used to stand for.  Politically, it just makes him look like a goofball for proposing stimulus to begin with and let's the GOP continue to dominate the conversation, elevating the deficit to importance over jobs -- and not even doing what's needed to reduce the deficit, like ending the wars, reducing the growth of medicare costs, and various interest-group tax giveaways.  

    Obama's done too much good on too many issues to give up on entirely, but this proposal is shameful.  

    "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

    by Loge on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 10:33:11 AM PST

    •  Symbolism that promotes guns and religion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by — it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter).

      But — so the questions you’re most likely to get about me, ‘Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What’s the concrete thing?’ What they wanna hear is — so, we’ll give you talking points about what we’re proposing — close tax loopholes, roll back, you know, the tax cuts for the top 1 percent. Obama’s gonna give tax breaks to middle-class folks and we’re gonna provide health care for every American. So we’ll go down a series of talking points.

      But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

      Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

      by expatjourno on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:23:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama's commission made his goals clear. (7+ / 0-)

    Presidential commissions invariably recommend what the president who appointed them want.  After all, the president chooses the commission -- or rather, stacks it.

    Face it, President Obama wants to cut Social Security, just as he's cut food stamps and heating oil subsidies.  It will prove he's Very Serious, and David Broder will write a glowing column or two about him.  Sure, some poor people may have to die, but that Broder column will be worth it!

  •  D.C. Commissions are a lot like church committees (0+ / 0-)

    A few are important, serve useful functions and are staffed by committed, competent individuals. The rest are pointless wastes of time that talk a lot and do very little.

    Two things are universal--hydrogen and stupidity. --Frank Zappa

    by AustinCynic on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 11:02:26 AM PST

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