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The catfood commission honchos are confused about the grown-up rules, again:

In the days since President Obama's budget was released, the general perception has been that the president rejected the recommendations of his fiscal commission, which we co-chaired, and that the opportunity for serious action on the deficit has been lost.

That's because there were no recommendations. The rules were that your final report would contain your recommendations, and that you needed 14 votes to issue a final report. You didn't get them, so you lost.

You. Lost.

Of course, the only Very Serious solution for that is to stamp your feet, ignore the rules, issue a fake report anyway, and then loudly insist that you really won after all. Oh, and then pretend that everyone who remembers the rules is an irresponsible infant.


More than that, it's also imperative that Very Serious People pretend they didn't already get their shot and blow it:

Building trust and mutual respect is critical to reaching a principled compromise on real fiscal reform. To accomplish something significant, a process has to be formed that puts the right people in the room - leaders who are willing to work together constructively and who are empowered to represent the administration and both parties in Congress. That cannot happen if all involved are not confident that others are negotiating in good faith.

See, all we have to do to build trust is put the right people in the room!

That in itself is a remarkably arrogant statement, but it's par for the course for these guys. The real surprise is what comes next: that if you do put the right people in the room, and the right people can't get the job done according to the rules, you must first pretend they did get the job done, and then put those same people in another, presumably Even More Serious room so they can cover the tracks of their first failure.

Remind me again why this is so grown up?

Now, if the commissioners would like to discuss why the Very Serious Business of the Nation shouldn't be conducted under the strictures of a supermajority requirement (at least when the Very Serious Participants are unelected to the post), I'm all ears. But the notion that these two should be allowed to go merrily along as if the rules of the commission weren't known to all is simply absurd.

Which is probably why it's happening.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The major problem is still (21+ / 0-)

    that Obama himself keeps referring to the Commission's "framework," perpetuating its legitimacy.

    Now, why would he do that?

  •  You knew the whole time (8+ / 0-)

    this was the way this would go.  

    Another WH attempt to compromise showing poor assessment of the real politick at play.  

    Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:33:48 PM PST

  •  Who couldn't have foreseen that this (18+ / 0-)

    commission was the opening door whether their conclusion was binding or not? Just like the tax cut issue. This country is seriously messed up. We need tax increases immediately. There is no way in hell we will get any for at least a couple of years. I don't think there will be much left to salvage by then. Sorry for the gloom and doom but I don't see things getting better for a long time. I see things getting very bad. The only serious solution was to raise taxes on the wealthy, we didn't get that.

    •  I agree. (5+ / 0-)

      It certainly appears meaningful political process is dead and that the politicians no longer can execute logical and practical policymaking.

      Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

      by Publius2008 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:39:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are wrong (0+ / 0-)

      We don't need to raise taxes because the deficit is not a problem now.  Maybe in the future if inflation takes off, but not now.

      Also, things are definitely getting better because of the deficit spending of the last 2 years.

      •  tell that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wsexson, My Name Isnt Earl

        to all the 99ers.

        What color is the sky on your world?

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:58:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would give all the 99ers benefits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Nose

          because I don't believe the deficit is a problem at all.  Also, I would give the states money to balance their budgets because we can easily afford to do so.

          •  You can't keep giving states money. That does not (0+ / 0-)

            fix their problems. And just how would you get that brainfart passed anyway? Maybe you should think more than once.

            •  The States' Budget Problems are the result (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Nose

              of the Great Recession.  Once the GR is over, their problems will be over too.  So the Federal Government should bail them out just like it did the banks and auto companies.

              Congress already passed a revenue sharing bill for the states in 2009, and it could easily pass another one if the hysteria about the deficit died down.  All states would benefit and welcome the help so politically it works.

              •  how is your plan (0+ / 0-)

                going to fix that?
                Remember that the main reason the states have big budget deficits is that PEOPLE DON'T HAVE JOBS.
                And that this also contributes to the federal deficit, because people who aren't working aren't paying income taxes.

                (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

                by PJEvans on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:23:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Increasing the deficit will increase jobs (0+ / 0-)

                  Keynes established that principle 75 years ago and every nation now follows that prescription.  If we doubled the deficit right now, which we could easily do financially, the unemployment rate would drop precipitously.

                  RepubliCons want to cut the deficit to keep the unemployment rate high going into the 2012 presidential election.

                  •  That is not always true. Yes, you can increase (0+ / 0-)

                    jobs by increasing the deficit but only if done the right way.  In addition to keeping the states afloat, we need a Great Depression style WPA program to get people back to work and get our infrastructure back in shape.

                    •  WPA? (0+ / 0-)

                      Tax Incentives to consumers to increase spending would work immediately to create millions of jobs.  Look what happened with Cash-4-Clunkers: millions of new cars sold and thousands of workers back on the job.

                      A new WPA would take years to establish and implement.  The unemployed have been waiting for 2 years already and can't wait longer.

                      •  Yes, WPA (0+ / 0-)

                        Deficit spending by itself doesn't do anything to increase the number of jobs, of course. I'm hoping you realize that.
                        For example, Republicans did and do a lot of deficit spending, but job numbers have cratered since they took over in 2001. Why? Because they didn't spend money on the right things, as Throw The Bums Out states, like a WPA.

                        •  So John Maynard Keynes was wrong? (0+ / 0-)
                          Deficit spending by itself doesn't do anything to increase the number of jobs, of course.

                          Keynes formulated the concept of the Full Employment Budget, i.e., a national deficit big enough to cause full employment.  The most spectacular example of the FEB was our WWII deficit (which far exceeded our deficit now as a % of GDP) and ended the Great Depression which had gone on for a decade despite FDR's WPA and numerous other employment programs, e.g., the CCC.

                          Reagan also ended the recession of the 1980s with his record-breaking deficits.  And Obama, with massive stimulus spending, reversed the Great Recession - 9 million jobs lost - with GDP growth in the second half of 2009 and all of 2010.

                          I am sure you would say the WWII spending, Reagan's deficits and Obama's tax cuts were not the "right" way to increase the deficit, but they all worked just as Keynes predicted.

                          •  The money was spent (0+ / 0-)

                            directly creating jobs during the Depression (New Deal employment attempts) and WWII (full employment for the military effort, in uniform or not) so FDR's spending was on Keynesian point.
                            You are on shakier ground with Reagan, since he did nothing to increase the number of jobs (and in addition, wages began their stagnation/decline during his Administration) or grow the economy that can't be explained by Volcker's monetarist policies. Reagan created the 1982 recession--remember, the economy he inherited had the opposite problem of inflation--Volcker rebuilt the economy from that deflated point after Reagan relented on his tax slashing craze. Reagan era deficits per se weren't caused by increased spending--they were caused by lowered revenue, which is the opposite of what Keynesians advise. (Volcker, otoh, was following classic Keynesian monetary practices.)
                            Finally, Keynes was only talking about running deficits during depressions to reheat the economy, not under all conditions regardless of status. So Reagan's deficits after the 1982 recession was fixed don't count, either--they simply hurt us as he took us from being the biggest net lender in the world to being the biggest debtor. Obama is also not playing a Keynesian role, either, as he seems to want to completely deflate the economy by leaving federal revenue low and doing little if anything to help increase wages, the number of jobs, or prime any pumps.
                            Think about what I was saying in this way: if we took all our tax income and spent it on foreign aid or privately contracted armaments and giving money to businesses that instantly offshore their hiring and profits, that would surely increase our deficit, but we would immediately be plunged into a severe unemployment (and economic, but that's not what I was talking about) crisis, as all government employees would also be immediately out of work. Deficit spending? Yup. Job growth? Nope.
                            The benefit of abstracting it this way is that, sans the foreign aid, that's kinda what we've been doing anyway, so it's not much of an abstraction after all.

      •  Can the poor have heat now? (5+ / 0-)

        To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

        by gooderservice on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:13:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Option # 2 details enormous effective tax (0+ / 0-)


      All the fancy capital gains and depletion scams are eliminated.

      The base rates fall, but the deaths of loop holes and bribe-baby giveaways more than compensate. Tax revenues rise dramatically.

  •  Not to mention Paul Ryan lambasting Obama (12+ / 0-)

    for not pursuing the guidelines of the Commission that Ryan himself voted against.

    This is a crisis I knew had to come, Destroying the balance I'd kept. Doubting, unsettling and turning around, Wondering what will come next.
    --Ian Curtis

    by jethrock on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:36:15 PM PST

  •  They have a sad. Too bad. (5+ / 0-)

    It appears they didn't expect their recommendations would be voted down.  That wasn't part of the plan.

    So they, the news media and Obama, keep talking as though the recommendations were legitimized, but are simply being "ignored".

    The CFC recommendations are not legitimate. They were rejected.

  •  Well- you can't blame them for forgetting. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martyc35, tygerwilde

    They are all about eleventy billion years olds.  They are probably too preoccupied with PTSD related to flashbacks of pterodactyl attacks to remember that they actually didn't make any recommendations.

    And no- I'm not saying the elderly are incapable of remembering, or contributing.  I am, however, saying that this set of venal elderly, who apparently cannot recall their humiliation less than three months ago, are incapable--or at least should be barred from--contributing.

    Democracy is often an indictment of the voting populace.

    by electricgrendel on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:38:04 PM PST

    •  I am elderly, and I did not take offense (0+ / 0-)

      at what you said. At 76, I am still younger than that senile bastard, Alan Simpson, and I live in a state with the 8th largest economy in the world. He comes from Wyoming, for god's sake, a state with so few people they have to scrounge just to get ONE member of the House. Take offense at what I'm saying, if you like, because Wyoming has no right telling California what it can and can't do. Whenever an old coot who used to be a Senator from Wyoming can dictate to all the other states, there is something rotten in our government. And Max Baucus should look around in Montana and ask who the hell he is representing, too. Come to think of it, if we had anything like fair, proportionate representation in the Senate, neither of those jerks would have been Senators, either. Both Montana and Wyoming have ONE rep in the House of Representatives.

      "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

      by martyc35 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 04:42:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Reality is what we say it is." (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, blue aardvark

    And "words mean exactly what I want them to mean, neither more nor less." And these days, when we are unraveling as a culture, a nation, a species into selfishness, self-absorption and self-immolation, and it's all about just having MORE! than anybody else, and we know in our hearts that the trick really IS to die with the most toys, after the most complete titillation of every pleasurable sense possible, why who really gives two toots whether there is a "commission report," or just a Narrative Momentum that Makes It True, without regard to them silly objective facts?

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:38:08 PM PST

  •  Bowles and Simpson are not open-minded so what (4+ / 0-)

    else would one expect from them.  Aside from forming this commission to begin with, Obama sure screwed up by not  select people in his own image to lead it.  Or maybe he did?

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:38:34 PM PST

  •  A timely article from LATimes (5+ / 0-)

    LA Times 2011.02.20
     The nest egg myth

    As the debate over the federal deficit heats up, Americans are going to hear a great deal about "greedy geezers" who are supposedly bankrupting the nation with Social Security and Medicare. Politicians will no doubt be more circumspect than former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson, who, as the Republican co-chairman of the federal deficit commission, described Social Security as a "milk cow with 310 million tits."

    LOVE, NOH8

    by My Spin on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:47:59 PM PST

  •  I wouldn't say that's why. (4+ / 0-)

    More likely, the reason why they are able to go merrily along is because the political elite have already decided this is the way the cookie's gonna crumble... regardless of the few sparing crumbs it will offer the working poor.

    Seeing as to how that's already been decided, all that's left is laying the groundwork and cover... an act that has been in progress for some time now while the dance of the varying positions leading toward the "bipartisan compromise" (read as "sell-out of the working poor") kabuki continues in earnest.

    The die is cast: spending is the problem.

    Not corporate or wealthy evasion of taxation by way of loopholes designed by their tools in government.

    Now, watch this drive!

    More and Better Democrats

    by SJerseyIndy on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 01:48:44 PM PST

  •  One other rule (5+ / 0-)

    They weren't given any purview regarding Social Security - they were supposed to reduce the deficit in the general budget.

    Everything they said about SS and Medicare / Medical was also NOT PART OF THE RULES.

    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 21, 2011 at 01:53:25 PM PST

  •  Deficit Commission Correctly Determined (5+ / 0-)

    that the deficit is not a problem so it did not make any recommendations to reduce  the deficit.

    During WWII, the federal deficit was more than double the level of today's deficit relative to GDP and we managed it just fine.  I have never heard anyone complain that our grandparents burdened us with a huge debt to fight WWII which also ended the Great Depression.

    Our deficit today poses half the risk that the deficit during Reagan's presidency posed as reflected in the interest rates for 10 year Treasury bonds (market driven) which were twice as high back then.

    All the hysteria about the deficit now is just political fear mongering like the Red Menace during the 1950s and the Iraqi WMD more recently.

    •  you keep saying this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Situational Lefty

      but the deficit commission hasn't said that the deficit isn't a problem.
      Provide some evidence for your claims.

      (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

      by PJEvans on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:26:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The evidence is crystal clear (0+ / 0-)

        The deficit is not a problem because market-driven interest rates, i.e., 10 year Treasury bonds, are at historic lows and less than half what they were during the Reagan Administration.

        Also, inflation is at historic lows so the deficit is not causing any adverse consequences.

        The obvious conclusion of the deficit commission follows these facts:  nothing needs to be done at present to reduce the deficit because there is no compelling reason to do so.

        •  Then they should have immediately (0+ / 0-)

          called a halt to their meetings and disbanded, since that's what they were commissioned to find solutions for. Instead, they went off on a grand tangent to solve other problems that "don't exist". And, to put a nice bow on it, they couldn't reach an agreed-upon consensus anyway. So the commission didn't do anything it was supposed to do, and couldn't even agree on things they weren't supposed to do. But we're going to listen to them on any topic why, exactly?

          •  Because Health Care Costs will Kill Us (0+ / 0-)

            The spiraling costs of Medicare and Medicaid are far worse than anything else in the federal budget and must be reduced.  Obama's reforms are a first step, but the long-term solution must be much more drastic.

            If Americans' health care costs were the same as other major countries, e.g., Germany, Japan, U.K., France, we would be running a budget surplus right now instead of a deficit.  We are spending way too much on health care and the problem is getting exponentially worse.

            •  Is this a reply to my comment? (0+ / 0-)

              Where do I suggest health care costs shouldn't be reduced? This commission didn't do its job, because by its very nature, the things that need doing (like reform the health insurance biz out of biz) they weren't interested in advocating. Or are you saying that they did advocate for health reform?
               They sure did a great job, if they did, since no one has ever revealed any of those ideas coming from the commission.

  •  they didnt forget... (0+ / 0-)

    they just assume everyone else did and that means they can work off of a "DEFACTO truth" instead of reality

    seems to be the way of the world these days....

  •  Off topic, but the link posted in the feature (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Situational Lefty

    section about Walker and collective bargaining is the wrong link.

    (I didn't know how to contact someone about this)

    To every millionaire who decries they don't want their grandchildren paying for the deficit, I say: PAY MORE TAXES NOW and your grandkids won't have a deficit burden.

    by gooderservice on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:09:26 PM PST

  •  Just Who Do These VIPs Represent Anyway? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martyc35, CarolinNJ

    Did it ever occur to any of these geniuses to take into consideration the impact of their recommendations on the people who would be affected by them?  

    I was talking to a Russian ex-pat today.  She is 4 years younger than I am and is hanging on by her fingrnails until she can retire at age 65 a year from now.  Of course, since the retirement age for collecting Social Security has been raised, she will have to combine her pension and a reduced benefit.

    She said things were a lot better when she came here 20 years ago,

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:13:13 PM PST

  •  Kudos to Obama for appointing those (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Nose, martyc35, Situational Lefty

    shitheads in the first place.

    How's that bipartisanship working for ya? (cause it'll be the death of the rest of us)

    Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

    by The Dead Man on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 02:47:19 PM PST

  •  Hopefully, it's "Game over, man" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This thing just needs to go away.  It was a huge mistake in the first place to cede Democratic control on such an important issue after 2008 and the large majorities gained.

  •  We R the serius catpeople of the catfud commission (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Waldman, martyc35

    Miaow. Miaow. Scratch!

  •  Forgeting what you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martyc35, Situational Lefty

    did or did not accomplish should forevermore be known as Simpson-Bowles Disease.

    God is a concept by which
    we measure our pain
    John Lennon
    Oct. 9, 1940 - Dec. 8 1980

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 04:25:16 PM PST

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