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When someone continually and repeatedly goes along on everything with someone else whom they 'claim' to be opposing, it's not 'caving'.

It's the plan...


Real News Network - July 21, 2011
James K. Galbraith: "Gang of Six" Plan is all about cuts not increased taxes; Obama represents Wall Street faction of Democratic Party

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. In the first days of his presidency, President Obama met with a group of conservative journalists, had a nice dinner that apparently was very reassuring, according to David Brooks, one of the--a columnist who was at the dinner. Also George Will was there, William Kristol was there. David Brooks told NPR a few days later that the president had told them he was willing to, quote, tackle the big entitlement programs Medicare and Social Security. So for anyone who thought that these issues were not on the table and were asking President Obama to keep them off the table, they weren't listening, because apparently President Obama had always planned to take these issues on, and so he is, as the debt ceiling debate rages in Washington. Now joining us to talk about the current state of this debate and the proposal from the so-called Gang of Six is Professor James Galbraith. He's a professor of economics at the University of Texas Austin. He's also the author of the book The Predator State. Thanks for joining us, James.

JAMES GALBRAITH, AUTHOR: Always a pleasure.

JAY: So let's start with what's in this Gang of Six proposal. President Obama has endorsed it in general. He's still saying he's waiting for more specifics to endorse it completely, but he's given it a fairly bright green light. So what do you make of that and what do you make of the proposal?

GALBRAITH: Well, I have, insofar as there are details, I have them in front of me. And the principle behind this proposal would appear to be that sacrifice should be shared proportionately by those who can afford to share it and those who can't afford to share it. That is to say, it should take out of the hides of the poor and the vulnerable, and at least it claims to take something from the wealthy as well, although we'll come back to that. This is not a principle that has ever been associated with the Democratic Party that I grew up in and remember. The Gang of Six proposal, which I read now, if CBO scored this plan, it would find net tax relief of approximately $1.5 trillion. In other words, this is not a plan for increasing taxes; it's a plan for cutting taxes. And the way they would cut taxes, by reducing marginal rates, particularly at the top of the scale, would in fact reduce them on the wealthy. So unless I have missed something, and I believe I have not, there is nothing specific in this plan that takes anything out of the pockets of the wealthy at all on a net basis. However, with respect to Social Security, there is the plan specifically would shift the cost of living adjustments in Social Security in a way that would impose a cumulative and increasing reduction in benefits relative to what they would be now. So that would affect today's near-elderly on an increasing basis as they got older and older and make it much more likely that they would find themselves out of resources, close to or in poverty when they reach the great old age that Social Security is designed to help them through.

JAY: So we're talking about real cuts to social security and not-so-real increases in revenue, in taxes.

full transcript here

● ● ● ● ●

Also see Obama & A Bundle of Shared Sacrifice for the numbers and the sources of Obama's 2012 campaign financing:

President Barack Obama has relied more on well-connected Wall Street figures to fund his re-election than he did four years ago when he campaigned as an outsider and an underdog.

One-third of the money Obama's elite fund-raising corps has raised on behalf of his re-election has come from the financial sector, according to a new Center for Responsive Politics analysis.

Individuals who work in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are responsible for raising at least $11.8 million for Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to the Center's research. All of Obama's bundlers have raised a minimum of $34.95 million, as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That was a mean diary title. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    You got me all excited for nothing.

    "Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost." - Ronald Reagan - 1980

    by livjack on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:19:37 PM PDT

  •  The Gang of Six plan is considered dead, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, bawbie, jsfox, virginislandsguy

    so this diary appears to be a day late and a dollar short, but we will see.

    Due to the current financial constraints, the light at the end of the tunnel will be turned off until further notice ~ Boehner

    by pollbuster on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:21:50 PM PDT

  •  Live Within Our Means? (10+ / 0-)

    Record corporate profits. Record wealth disparity. Huge increases in health care costs. Huge compensation on Wall Street and zero accountability for their malfeasance.

    The rich are living with(in) my means and everybody else who's not in the top .10%.

    Pity nobody in D.C. can be bothered, except for Sen. Sanders, Rep. Grijalva, Rep. Pelosi and a few brave souls like them.

    Thank heavens the Bush tax cuts got extended, that obviously bought a lot of good will for future negotiations.

    "Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible" "Be realistic, demand the impossible." Graffiti from Paris, May 1968

    by absolute beginner on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:22:45 PM PDT

  •  Yup, We Elected A Republican Democrat. (16+ / 0-)

    The Republicans have been trying to kill Social Security since 1938; they couldn't do it as Republicans so they joined the Democratic Party to get the job done.

    Social Security does not contribute to the deficit.  So why is it being discussed at all?  Because Obama wanted it discussed -- and wanted it cut.  Why else would he have appointed Alan Simpson, icon of anti-social security movement, as co-chair of the Deficit (Catfish) Commission?

    Was that the real reason why Obama was so angry at Boehner --  for not accepting his "Big Deal" cuts to the safety net?

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care,unions, and WikiLeaks.

    by Justina on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:30:33 PM PDT

    •  Justina (6+ / 0-)

      This is no joke. More and more, it looks like Obama lied about his party affiliation.    

      •  that line of thinking is as much of a (3+ / 0-)

        conspiracy theory as birtherism.

        belief in conspiracy theories requires a complete suspension of rational thought, something the above two posts embody perfectly

        •  bawbie (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Edger, IndieGuy, 3goldens, ocular sinister

          I'm sorry.  That was a bit strong.  Yet what a person does...strongly defines that person.

          Is it that he's just a terribly weak negotiator?  What do you think?

          •  you seem to forget that Obama is not an (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nocynicism, jan4insight

            autocrat.

            He's not a great negotiator from what I've seen, and he was poltiically naive in his first two years which, in part, was why even with a heavily democratic congress he was somewhat sluggish.

            He is far less naive now---but at the same time has less potential for real power.

            He's hardly a republican.

          •  I think he is doing what he thinks is best (3+ / 0-)

            both politically for his re-election and for the future of the country.

            He knows that default would be disastrous on both of those fronts (regardless of who the public blames for the default).  

            I think he also believes that the entitlement programs need to be trimmed, and he's rather do that himself, where he has some control over it, rather than leave it to a Republican successor who would kill them entirely.  

            None of that makes him a Republican, or anything close to it.  To say that, to me, shows the worst kind of thoughtlessness.  It's equivalent to things I read every day from tea partiers.  

            •  bawbie (7+ / 0-)

              Then you must have cheered when he cut the pre-natal care program (WIC) and heating oil assistance to the poor and elderly this past winter - because he certainly did that before the Republicans had asked him to do so.  In fact, they never asked him to do so. Trimming, you say! My goodness!

              Well, for me, that's "the worst kind of thoughtlessness."

              •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

                Why must I have cheered?  Nothing in my post requires that I agree with every policy decision he makes.  

                I don't know the reasoning behind those policies.  Neither do you.  But, regardless, they do nothing to prove your asinine conspiracy theory.

                YOU are the one accusing the President of being a Republican plant.  YOU have the burden of proof.  And YOU have absolutely nothing, except the wild rantings of a disappointed far left ideologue.  By pushing such a vile conspiracy theory, you throw out all claims of logic or reason.  

                •  If he's such a great guy then why did he (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Major Tom

                  choose to hurt so many people when there was absolutely no reason for him to go there?

                  If you analyze his presidency on paper, then you can see why so many people think he is better at representing the republicans than he is at looking out for the best interests of the everyday working Democrat.  We are being decimated.  

                  What I don't understand is why people like you refuse to listen to all of the painful stories that are pouring out of the blogs right now...and these people know exactly who is responsible for making their life so grim...

                  In 2008, he took $1,012,000 dollars from Goldman Sachs...that is 1/10th of the money they received from TARP funds...and that doesn't include the money he has received from them since.  But they're just criminals; why should we be concerned that he favors them over us?

            •  I Agree -- Doing What He Thinks Is Best. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Tom, ocular sinister

              The problem is that, judged solely by his actions and not his eloquent words, he obviously thinks that protecting Wall Street and not the millions of people who voted for him, is best.

              It takes an enormous amount of naivete not to recognize that we Democrats have been grossly manipulated into supporting
              a candidate/president who does not support the Democratic Party platform.

              Obama is carrying out the policies of a center-right Republican, and he is angry that the dumb crazies in the official Republican Party don't recognize that and go along with him.

              Obama is a brilliant, articulate guy -- it is a tragedy that he is simply not on our team.

              Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care,unions, and WikiLeaks.

              by Justina on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:41:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  and these programs, like SS, which is the best run (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Major Tom, ocular sinister

              most needed, most successful, and most popular federal program in our legislative history "needs to be trimmed"? He's doing this out of concern for what some Republican , in the future, does what no other Repub has ever been able to do?
              He's cutting it to save it from some bad Republican in the future making cuts even worse? I wish he would spare this Country his concern.
              It's also a BS argument because Obama is the one that put it on the table for cuts, and he got nothing in return. He volunteered these cuts that twill harm the poorest and the elderly, and on that he is very specific, but on the revenue side it's very vague and none of the supposed sacrifices on that side have to happen first.

              SS is  running a surplus, what other federal programs are doing so well ,and positively affect the most people like SS?

              Plus, SS had absolutely nothing, zero, zilch, to do with the current economic breakdown (for the public anyway). But Obama added this crap to the negotiations even while saying it doesn't add to the deficit, unlike what all his non tax paying Wall Street BFFs have done to this Country.
              You want real 'shared sacrifice'?
              Prosecute Wall Street's crimes that have been laid out in detail. Look at the capital of waste fraud and abuse, the Dept. of Defense.

              Look a lot of places that bear the responsibility, and it's not the elderly, poor, teachers, firemen/women, Civil Servants everywhere. Check out his "savvy businessmen" friends for starters, and all their enablers (too bad Obama's among them).

              without the ants the rainforest dies

              by aliasalias on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 08:45:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  In another interview this (7+ / 0-)

    past wee on KPFA, Galbraith shared my sense that Obama beating the deficit drum was a propaganda campaign like GWB's WMD.

  •  Obama's positive (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bawbie, FiredUpInCA, IndieGuy

    words last week about the Gang of Six proposal was the certain kiss of death. It immediately went in the dust bin of history and hasn't been heard from since.

  •  Your premise about Obama's motivation (7+ / 0-)

    is the only possible explanation for what been going on.  I don't believe that Obama is a liar or has bad intentions.  He actually believes he is doing good things.   It follows then that he or his team or both are adherents to supply side economics.

    What really makes this a bad situation is that supply side economics had been completely discredited by reality over the past 30 years. Hence, Obama has bought into a theory that will do nothing to fix the job problem and he will therefore  go down in history as another Hoover who also bought into ineffectual solutions to the problems in the early 30's.  Actually Hoover can be forgiven because no one really knew what would work back then.  He was using "conventional wisdom" as J K Galbraith (James Galbraith's father) put it.  Obama and his administration are doing the same thing but one would have thought that they would know better.  Virtually, anyone who's has any common sense knows that Keynes was right and we need to tax the crap out of wall street and the wealthy and put that money into jobs programs for the people who actually create wealth--the workers and the middle class.  It is simply amazing to me that we cannot seem to learn from history.  Especially supposedly smart people who seem to go stupid when they get to Washington.

    •  It is my opinion that (8+ / 0-)

      Obama is not incompetent, nor is he stupid. He has a history of setting very high goals for himself and of achieving the goals he sets out to achieve.

      He made it to President, after all. Incompetent and/or stupid people do not become President.

      If he keeps on getting the kinds of results he keeps on getting, it’s because those are the results he was aiming for.

      Everything he’s ‘accomplishing’ he’s accomplishing on purpose, because it’s what he sets out to accomplish.

      Aside from his now obvious intent to dismantle social safety nets and bankrupt the middle class, another good example is that by the end of 2012 after his Afghanistan “drawdown”, he’ll have twice as many troops in Afghanistan as there were there on the day he was inaugurated (while telling people he’s reducing troop levels). He’s a liar, in other words.

      His actions suggest that that he is doing what he wants and intends.

      Like it or not, that’s the real Obama.

      Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:55:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Edgar-At least you are clear (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Edger

        I take it that you really believe that Obama knows he's acting against the best interests of the country as a whole and he lied his way into office by doing a bait and switch on the voters.  

        If that is true, and it could be, why run for office at all?  He could make more money writing books, etc.  If it is just about the power, he may lose it all next year if he keeps going down the current path.  It doesn't make sense to me that all of the damage he has abetted is intentional unless he has some kind of personality disorder.

        •  Well, I'm not at all convinced (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IndieGuy, Alice Marshall, 3goldens

          that he even wants another term as president. He'll be fine without it.

          I'm sure he'll have a very well paying job with a nice corner view office and a chauffeured town car waiting for him on wall street after the 2012 election.

          He appears to me to have accomplished most of what he set out to accomplish - to continue the right wing policies of the preceding eight years, and expand on them.

          Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

          by Edger on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:15:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  there I disagree, everything has been studied from (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Edger

            a political standpoint, everything,... Digby had a good post on that, and a one term President is seen as rejected by the electorate.
            There is also the ego,(of everyone involved) to consider, losing won't look good nor will quitting.

            without the ants the rainforest dies

            by aliasalias on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:00:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, I say that only because (0+ / 0-)

              as I pointed out above I think he's a very competent 'results' oriented guy who achieves the goals he sets out to achieve. And he doesn't appear to me to be working very hard towards being re-elected or to care about it much.

              Thursday [July 07] Doyle McManus published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Team Obama's victory plan, analyzing Senior White House Adviser (the "brains" behind the president's 2008 campaign) David Plouffe's comments at a breakfast Wednesday, July 6, 2011, organized by Bloomberg news.

              McManus reported in that article that Team Obama sees four reasons they expect to win the 2012 election, and Plouffe's first reason was unbelievably disconnected from reality:

              First, Plouffe suggested, Obama has an opportunity to improve his standing among independent voters -- many of whom deserted the Democrats in the 2010 midterm election -- by working with Republicans toward bipartisan deficit-reduction measures.

              As Thom Hartmann reminded us the other day:

              The President is trying to pitch a $4 trillion deficit reduction package over the next 10 years - that slashes away at programs mostly affecting the working class and even cuts up the social safety net in America - trimming $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid. All of these tough cuts will be in exchange for closing a few tax loopholes for corporations, millionaires, and billionaire. Ultimately, President Obama's deal is heavy on spending cuts, light on tax hikes.
              ...
              We have a society in which 400 Americans own more wealth that 150 million other Americans. We have a society in which 50% of all the children in America will depend on food stamps at some point in their life before they are 18 - and among African American children that number is 90%. We no longer live in a just society - and if Brzezinski is right - turbulent times could be ahead for America.

              -- Plouffed: The Obama 2012 Re-Election Strategery


              Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

              by Edger on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 09:19:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Once one becomes President of the United (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Edger, IndieGuy, Alice Marshall, 3goldens

          States, one will have unprecedented power for the remainder of their lives.  Power for the sake of power.

  •  I agree (5+ / 0-)

    it's not "caving" when you agreed with them all along.

    “progressive” has been rendered meaningless by being adopted by pretty much everyone to the left of Attila the Hun ~ Yves Smith The Stars Hollow Gazette

    by TheMomCat on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 05:52:11 PM PDT

  •  Manufacture a crisis and don't let it go to waste. (6+ / 0-)

    Although I'm not totally sold he doesn't cave.  I'm not sure he's going to get everything his Wall Street/Big Bank bosses want. We'll see if he really has what it takes.

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Jul 24, 2011 at 06:08:06 PM PDT

  •  obama offered up the big 3 (0+ / 0-)

    boehner walked away. it was not about the entitlement programs, it was about not raising revenue. obama knew that, that's why he offered up the sacred cows.
    as for believing what brooks says, are you serious?

  •  The excuse that Obama and Reid are offering up (0+ / 0-)

    safety net cutting plans as a ploy is a high stakes game, if it is in fact a game at all.

    Dem attempts to make the gop look intransigent may have worked for the most part.

    The problem arises when the baggers in the House fall in line with the establishment goopers and signal support for one of the major spending cut, safety net cut, no revenue increase bills. Then your high stakes game backfires

    If Orange Foolius cant control his caucus, then were all screwed because default is the desired outcome. Baggers want to burn it all down. Unless baggers become reasonable in the next few days.

    It is possible the whole bagger head in the sand we wont budge act is just that-an act designed to move the debate as far right as possible, then the baggers flip and snatch the absolute worst deal for Americans as the "crisis" approaches.

  •  The suggestions concerning Obama's psychological (0+ / 0-)

    health below prompts me to suggest something I've been thinking about for a couple of years.  I think it would be beneficial to "we the people" to require that all candidates seeking higher office (let's say Congress, the Presidency, and perhaps state governors and legislative candidates) have a complete psychiatric evaluation which would be made public.  It would be very helpful to have a better idea how a candidate functions.  Are they prone to depression, how do they manage conflict, are they highly reactive, do they have any sociopathic tendencies and under what level of stress, are they conflict adverse ("peace mongers") or conflict prone ("war mongers"),  etc, etc.

    We thoroughly analyze their finances, their physical health.  It would seem to me to be very important to have an idea of how they function emotionally.

    Just thinking out loud.

    You Never Get the Problem You Can Handle

    by gc10 on Mon Jul 25, 2011 at 06:02:39 AM PDT

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