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We don't care for Washington's Republican-leaning fiscal austerity, now popular with both parties even as it remains unpopular with voters. But it turns out we're not the only ones who think that the House in particular is wrong for America.
The boasts of Congressional Republicans about their cost-cutting victories are ringing hollow to some well-known economists, financial analysts and corporate leaders, including some Republicans, who are expressing increasing alarm over Washington’s new austerity.

Their critiques have grown sharper since last week, when President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal with Republicans and, a few days later, when Standard & Poor’s subsequently downgraded the credit rating of the United States.

But even before that, macroeconomists and private sector forecasters were warning that the direction in which the new House Republican majority had pushed the White House and Congress this year — for immediate spending cuts, no further stimulus measures and no tax increases, ever — was the wrong one for addressing the nation’s two main ills, a weak economy now and projections of unsustainably high federal debt in coming years.

So what's the problem? Well, every one of our readers saw this coming, and every one of our commenters said so:
Washington should be focusing on stimulating the economy in the near term to induce people to spend money and create jobs, while simultaneously settling on a long-term plan for spending reductions and tax increases to take effect only after the economy recovers.
As it happens, the Republican House is too extreme for the Reaganites and Bushies in the Republican party, who know they're just, in a word, wrong. And they fear the direction the dialogue is going.
These critics include onetime standard-bearers of Republican economic philosophy like Martin Feldstein, an adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Henry M. Paulson Jr., Treasury secretary to President George W. Bush, underscoring the deepening divide between party establishment figures and the Tea Party-inspired Republicans in Congress and running for the White House.

That House Republicans were wrong, we knew. But that even fiscal conservatives from former Republican administrations know it, and are increasingly willing to say so on record ... well, that's news. News driven by market fluctuations causing them to lose money, maybe, but news nonetheless.

Originally posted to Greg Dworkin on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When zero Republican (31+ / 0-)

    Presidential candidates would accept a 10:1 cuts:tax ratio -- and Perry will be right in there with them -- we know that the extremists control the party -- and will do so until we are completely in a deep recession.  

    While the Democrats haven't accepted the far extreme yet -- and I mean yet -- they are doing nothing to turn this crap around.  They've already locked themselves into the additional cuts.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:09:40 PM PDT

    •  Republicans needs to revolt against this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DemFromCT, drachaCRO

      You cannot blame the state of the GOP on the Democrats or on Obama. And the Democratic party cannot absorb all classical conservative Republicans without moving further to the right. This is a conflict on the right that responsible traditional conservative Republicans have to address. Wall Street needs to address this. With the clear S&P statements directed against the teaparty GOP, we see that Wall Street and Co are beginning to stand up. Also, Wall Street pressured Congress over the debt ceiling. Thus, the time is now for centrist Republicans to stand up. The time is now for the Chambers of Commerce and Wall street to withdraw their support from the crazy and make responsible choices.

      •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vets74, tari

        Pass the popcorn.

        "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 Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:59:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Condense that to a one-page mailer. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Include appropriate graphic imagery.

        Work through a couple dozen test groups to get the kinks out.

        Then flood the mail boxes...............................

        (Plan-DoSmall-Check-ActLarge -- the Japanese PDCA system.)

        Angry White Males + Crooks + Personality Disorder psychos + KKKwannabes + "Unborn Child" church folk =EQ= The Republicans

        by vets74 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 02:04:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that the R Party will split in half (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tari, Matt Z, drachaCRO

        creating a more centrist conservative business party (that will also attract the Blue Dogs), and a far-right Christianist party.

        I'm sure that Joe Leiberman would love to be in the same party as McCain.

        That will leave the Democrats in a position to become more Progressive (if they are smart. Yes...I know...)

        Wall Street will stand up, because these wingnuts scare them too.

  •  Currentl Rs have a fiscal policy... (6+ / 0-) the same way that John Dillinger had a fiscal policy.

    We reach for the stars with shaking hands in bare-knuckle times.

    by TheOrchid on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:13:47 PM PDT

  •  The only way out of this mess (7+ / 0-)

    if the country is to survive is for the GOP to split, with reality-based elites leaving the economic illiterates on their own.

    Somehow, I'm not optimistic today that will happen.

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:14:18 PM PDT

  •  The people who REALLY understand (7+ / 0-)

    ...the catastrophic craziness of the proposed economic strangulation are Our Corporate Overlords. They will be impacted, strongly. So the ball is in their court.

    (Of course, this refers only Our Overlords who are not part of the cartel of world-killing nation-destroying defense and war profiteers. They have a bit of a conflict of interest, internally.)

    We'll find out what the "decide" and what the economic destiny of the people will be, soon enough.

  •  Meh. Reaganites, Bushies and Clintonites Wrong Too (5+ / 0-)

    though the Clintonites did successfully balance the federal budget.

    Policies of both parties have had the middle class declining for decades.

    Politics is the process of deciding the speed not the direction of the country.

    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 Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:24:32 PM PDT

  •  Just love this framing. (6+ / 0-)
    Their critiques have grown sharper since last week, when President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal with Republicans and, a few days later, when Standard & Poor’s subsequently downgraded the credit rating of the United States.

    Emphasis mine.

    Who could have foreseen that President Obama would end up owning the austerity AND the downgrade?

    "The President and his administration have the job of, among other things, promoting the general welfare of the country, and that is simply not happening." - deweydog

    by Rick Aucoin on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:31:47 PM PDT

    •  the tea party downgrade? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OldDragon, tari, gmartini, Matt Z

      "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 Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:28:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, for now, yes. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, DemFromCT

        In the initial aftermath of the battle.  

        But a year from now, with even the NYT framing this as "President Obama signed his deficit reduction deal..." and overtly linking the downgrade to "his deficit reduction deal" those poll numbers will change.

        Whistling past the graveyard doesn't really help.

        "The President and his administration have the job of, among other things, promoting the general welfare of the country, and that is simply not happening." - deweydog

        by Rick Aucoin on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:31:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you're assuming the worst when this is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          something that will already be internalized by people. Like privatizing medicare, it just won't sell with the public no matter how much lipstick is put on it. The GOP has gone out of their way to own it, and they haven't stopped.

          As an example:

          As Economic Confidence Drops, Obama Approval Fairly Stable

          President Obama's job approval rating for the first 10 days of August is down 4 percentage points from the first week of July, representing a 9% decline. That is significantly less than the 19 point -- or 56% -- drop in Gallup's Economic Confidence Index over the same period.

          And don't forget:

          The best thing Obama has going for him right now are the GOP candidates, Timothy Eagan wrote in the New York Times. Perry's upcoming announcement of his bid for the presidency is supposed to save the GOP from the "crazy eight caucus," but his willingness to leave problems -– namely, the worst drought in Texas history –- to the divine is worrisome, he wrote.

          PS Please don't use "whistling past the graveyard" to mean "I disagree and see things differently." As you point out, if anyone's position on this is supported by hard data, it's mine and not yours (not that either one of us can predict the future, mind you!)

          "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 Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:39:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  People like Obama and hate his policies. (0+ / 0-)

            And you think that's a good thing? Is "whistling past the mortuary" more to your liking?

            How quickly the Pacifist becomes the Warrior when it's "our side" doing the killing.

            by edg on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:50:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Problem with the "liberal" GOPers, .... (7+ / 0-)

    ...the ones open to compromise with President Obama, is that their idea of a tax hike is a regressive one.  They would be thrilled with an increase in the gas tax, or with the introduction of a carbon tax or capANDtrade.

    And frankly, any of those three would hit the working and middle-class the hardest, and result in an after-tax wage cut.

    And that's not what we as Dems should champion.

    What's the solution?

    I defer to Jeremy Grantham, who manages 100B dollars for GMO.

    Opening remarks

        My worst fears about the potential loss of confidence in our leaders, institutions, “and capitalism itself” are being realized. We have been digging this hole for a long time. We really must be serious in our attempts to resuscitate the “average hour worked” and the fortunes of the average worker. Walking across the Boston Common this morning, I came to realize that the unpalatable (to me) option of some debt forgiveness on mortgages looks increasingly to be necessary as well as the tax changes I discuss here.

        To go further, if we mean to prosper long term, I am sure we need to act to make debt less attractive to everybody: it really is a snare and a delusion.


    The solution.

        If we want to dig out of our current morass, don’t we have to change this equation and isn’t the most direct way of doing this to divide the pie more evenly? That would mean lower income and sales taxes for the bottom 75% of earners and higher taxes for the top 10%! We have allowed the vagaries of globalization and the plentiful supply of cheap Chinese labor to determine our income distribution, which has become steadily steeper, to the point where we have become one of the least egalitarian developed societies. Wouldn’t it be better for us to decide deliberately and by ourselves that income distribution which creates the best balance of social justice and incentive to work?

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

    by PatriciaVa on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 12:35:06 PM PDT

    •  Capitalism itself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was listening to a piece on NPR this morning and they were talking some about the swings in the stock market, France temporarily bannning short selling, etc. It made me think once again about the "capitalism" I was taught as a child. That was about someone investing in providing a good or service, and receiving income from that investment. Now, "investing" is a game, all about gambling with default swaps and options and futures - and nothing of substance being produced at all. In other words, capitalism isn't what it used to be.

  •  I am going to keep saying this until someone picks (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaleA, MKinTN, Ky DEM, milton333, Matt Z

    up on it or shoots it down.

    There is a very simple way to reduce the deficit and create millions of new jobs in the economy at the same time and it will not cost the Government one red cent.

    Simply pass a Bill that lowers the Standard Work Week from 40 hours to 36 hours with no loss in pay.

    That will reduce the amount of productive time in the nations businesses by 10% and to a first approximation require adding 10% of new hires to the workforce.

    10% of the nations current workforce, which is 138 million workers means hiring over 13 million new workers an amount that will totally wipe out our current unemployment problem.

    These new workers will then add about 50 billion dollars per year in new tax revenue to the Federal Coffers while at the same time it will reduce governmental expenditures that now go to support the unemployed ( food stamps, unemployment benefits etc ).

    And best of all the people who will pay for this are the very people who caused the problem in the first place by shipping US jobs overseas and who now as a direct result of this action are sitting on 2.5 trillion in excess profits that they refuse to spend.

    By the way this is not a pie in the Sky solution. The work week has been changed many times and it can be changed again.

    As a matter of fact during the Depression of the 30's both Herbert Hoover and FDR implored Congress to do just what is being proposed here only they wanted to go all the way down to 30 hours,

    Then as now though the House Republicans would not go along with the idea.

    I can't believe they would dare vote this down today.

    •  Not so much an attempt to shoot it down (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But it does look like a terrible punishment to the actual small businesses, who didn't ship any jobs overseas and who are already fighting for their lives because of big box enterprises.  Also, I run a department of 50 assorted people which would be somewhat equivalent to a small business. There would be non-trivial costs in addition to payroll to restructure assignments, workflow and schedules. In effect you are having everybody on a 4 day work-week. What do I do the day (or two) that my current area supervisor is "off"? I can't hire a 10th of a supervisor to fill in on those days.

    •  Salary is only about (0+ / 0-)

      75% of what an employee costs an employer. The rest is in various benefits, anemic though they seem of late.

      So new hires aren't put on the books on a one-for-one basis. It would be more like 1.20 or 1.25 for each replacement.

      I still think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were and are unnecessary, the whole "war on terror" is just a reaction to self-induced fear. I still think there is a war on women. -- from LaFeminista

      by Mnemosyne on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:37:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush had the plan... (9+ / 0-)
    "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." - President George W. Bush, February 24, 2001

    Seriously, every Democrat in this country should travel with a supply of this quote laminated on wallet-sized cards to pass out to anyone, especially any TeaKlanner, who tries to discuss the debt topic. Every Democrat in congress, when taking the floor to speak, should have behind them a poster-sized display of this quote in perfect view of the cameras.

    •  I'm making that my new sigline! nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LiberalTill IDie

      The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

      by Renee on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:59:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It should be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the official slogan of the Democratic Party. Just like Kramer waking up in the middle of the night screaming NEWMANIUM!, Democrats should be dreaming of that Bush quote every night and citing it quickdraw style whenever the subject of the debt comes up. Congressional Democrats and their staff should be required to wear teashirts with that quote on it every casual Friday. Instead of the ridiculous "eat our peas", Obama should adopt that quote to begin every speech, interview, or press conference.

        •  Well I'm doing my part. (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't remember it. It seems like the kind of gotcha moment that might penetrate the national conscience better than say, pointing out that Ayn Rand was a stinking NOVELIST and IN CASE ANYONE HASN'T NOTICED in actual reality the entire supply side argument has been tried for decades and has failed spectacularly.

          Just sayin.

          "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." - President George W. Bush, February 24, 2001

          by Renee on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:02:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  As Casey Stengel said: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oregon guy

    "Can't anyone here play this game?"

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:33:51 PM PDT

  •  If it's really, "News," it won't make the MSM. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  What disturbs me: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's not that beltway republicans all endorse this anti-Keynesian message but that too many Democrats including our President buy into it as well.

    My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. Thomas Paine

    by irate on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:38:41 PM PDT

  •  Well, to a starve-the-beaster (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    failure is success.

    Politics is the art of changing what's possible.

    by happymisanthropy on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:43:37 PM PDT

  •  Republicans Don't Give A Shit About Jobs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, bobpeoplepower

    The economy, or the middle class. They care only about putting Michelle Bachmann or Perry or some other mental case in as President in 2012 to finish us off. And any Republican telling you otherwise is a fucking liar. They will do absolutely nothing to help the economy, and they hope it crashes. Period.

    •  They also want to cut off our fundraising (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ky DEM

      They don't care when hard working middle class public sector union workers lose their jobs or don't get a raise. That is the lifeblood of progressive candidates fundraising. We need another stimulus to save millions of public sector union jobs and funnel money to progressive candidates through dues to fight even harder for the middle class working families.

  •  And the TP'ers won't listen to them either (0+ / 0-)

    They are also considered Washington insiders, corrupted by the system.

  •  The GOP doesn't have a fiscal policy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, Catte Nappe

    They have an ideology.

    "He's the one, who likes all our pretty songs. And he likes to sing along. And he likes to shoot his gun. But he knows not what it means" - Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:48:19 PM PDT

  •  Short Run Stimulus Spends, Long Run Tax Increases (5+ / 0-)

    It's really that simple folks!

  •  either the GOP riots against the teaparty (0+ / 0-)

    or they should dissolve the GOP - or Republicans should establish a new party. But the current delusional state of the GOP is not funny and needs to be confronted.

    Given the craziness of all presidential candidates that we saw last night, I am voting for a new party.

  •  no help from the President (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, milton333

    From Robert Reich:

    "I'm told White House political operatives are against a bold jobs plan. They believe the only jobs plan that could get through Congress would be so watered down as to have almost no impact by Election Day. They also worry the public wouldn't understand how more government spending in the near term can be consistent with long-term deficit reduction. And they fear Republicans would use any such initiative to further bash Obama as a big spender.

                So rather than fight for a bold jobs plan, the White House has apparently decided it's politically wiser to continue fighting about the deficit. The idea is to keep the public focused on the deficit drama -- to convince them their current economic woes have something to do with it, decry Washington's paralysis over fixing it, and then claim victory over whatever outcome emerges from the process recently negotiated to fix it.

                They hope all this will distract the public's attention from the President's failure to do anything about continuing high unemployment and economic anemia."

    Disgusting, Mr. President, disgusting.

    •  He's "told" (0+ / 0-)

      Apparently by some unidentified someone(s), that this is the view of "White House political operatives", so therefore it must be the official view and policy of Obama?

      •  yes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        robert reich - are you calling him a liar? are you saying he is not reliable?

        •  Where do you get that? (0+ / 0-)
          are you calling him a liar?
          It's his opinion. It's based on what he has heard and how he, personally, interprets it. That really can't be held up to standards of truth/lies.
          •  it (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            not his "opinion". it's what administration officials, plural, told him.

            •  I see no WH officials telling him anything (0+ / 0-)

              He says he was "told" - he doesn't say by who, but some third party who purports to know the content of discussions at the WH,
              that WH political operatives [think...]
              He's the one choosing the words "political operatives", so even he doesn't take them to be "officials".

              So what he has to work with there is essentially rumor and gossip. I'm pretty sure, like most of us, he has some sources of rumor and gossip that are more reliable and trustworthy than others, so the mystery person who "told" him is presumably one of those. Nevertheless, it is rumor and gossip. Now, along with that rumor and gossip, he observes that the President is not talking up any big job initiatives at this time, but is in fact focusing his remarks on deficit reduction. From that he concludes, in his opinion, that Obama's position is to avoid any big jobs initiatives. But it's his opinion - not a fact, or an official WH position.

              •  he said that (0+ / 0-)

                he was told it by white house operatives. That's not rumor and gossip.

                Again, are you saying he's lying?

              •  listen (0+ / 0-)

                every time, EVERY FUCKING TIME there's a report from unnamed WH people, i get told "that's just rumor" and then it turns out to be fucking true.  

                robert reich is credible, and i really doubt that he would be repeating stuff unless he's getting it from good sources.

                i'm sick of the "i refuse to believe anything bad about obama, no matter what" from people on here.

                •  I agree, as I said in my earlier comment (0+ / 0-)
                  i really doubt that he would be repeating stuff unless he's getting it from good sources
                  All of us have sources of rumor and gossip in our circles, and we know which ones we are willing to trust and rely on. I too doubt that he would form his opinions based on rumor and gossip from sources he doesn't  trust.

                  And maybe you might want to consider evaluating your own critical thinking skills:
                  "every time, .....there's a report from unnamed WH people, i get told "that's just rumor"
                  You, like Reich, can come to your own opinion - you, because you trust him, he because he trusts his sources. But neither your onion, nor his, is "fact" - it's just opinion. Others may have different opinions based on the information they have, and the sources they rely on.

  •  I take exception with the NYTimes characterizing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a divide between party establishment figures and the Tea Party inspired Republicans. The correct way to say that is that the party establishment created the Tea Party by pandering to the least common denominator and now they are shitting their pants at what they created and trying to distance themselves.

    They need to own what they created.

    The Republican Party: Our economic claims are not intended to be a factual statement.

    by Renee on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 01:57:50 PM PDT

    •  The editorial staff needs to get a grip (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ms. Colmes does an o.k. job with her talking points, but the editorial staff needs to do some editing to make sure the entire paper is on the same page in advocating for progressive values when it comes to this economy.

  •  It's not GOP fiscal policy; it's social (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, bobpeoplepower

    social engineering by moving money UP and to the RIGHT, taking power with it.......demonizing and demoralizing the lower 80 percent of the population.

    Status Quo for the Haves and the Have-Mores.

    All GOP policies have this aim.

    Kill the New Deal by up a deficit, then say Oops, nothing left for social spending.

    We should all be collecting evidence.

  •  Can we please dispense with the lie there were any (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    There were no cuts.  Spending on the federal level has increased by double digits each year for several years.  That is known as baseline budgeting.  The minimum increases are 7-8%, but those have been exceeded for 2-3 years at least.

    There were no cuts.  There may have been less increases, but the amount we spend every year keeps going up.  Only the planned increases have been affected and not by very much when you spread these "cuts" to the increases over 10 years.

    So, please.. let's cut the bullshit and the crying in our beers over all the "draconian cuts".  There were no cuts... only smaller increases.

  •  When you say everyone one of our readers, (0+ / 0-)

    whose readers are you referring to?

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 02:38:08 PM PDT

    •  Daily Kos (0+ / 0-)

      oh, i suppose it might be a little poetic license to say each every one of the thousands of readers and commenters have said that we should not cut spending in a recession.

       I might be off by a half dozen or so.

      "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 Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 02:54:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great article by Ms. Colmes (0+ / 0-)

    Until the article was linked, I had no idea where Ms. Colmes specifically or the NY Times in general would stand on this budget battle/debate. We need another stimulus to get this economy moving and more specifically funnel more funds to progressive candidates through jobs saved in the public union sector.

  •  This just proves they're right. (0+ / 0-)

    The Tea Party that is. The more opposition there is to their agenda from the "professional right", the more the Tea Party believes that their mission is succeeding. You gotta make a few pigs squeal when you're making bacon.

    How quickly the Pacifist becomes the Warrior when it's "our side" doing the killing.

    by edg on Fri Aug 12, 2011 at 07:46:58 PM PDT

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