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Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles
Simpson and Bowles. We're never going to be rid of these two. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Among the amendments to be voted on tonight and Thursday as substitutes to the Ryan budget, the one adopted by House leadership, this is one to watch. The Very Serious people love this one, because it is "bipartisan" and because it invokes Simpson-Bowles, both things that send tingles up the collective leg of the VSP.

The "moderates" in the House of Representatives, austerity fetishists all, are playing Goldilocks. The Congressional Progressive Caucus's Budget for All is just too good to "all" of us, they can't have that. The Ryan budget, and those even to the right of it, are just a little too scary for some constituents. Somewhere there must be a just right, and they think they found it in a facsimile of the Catfood Commission co-chairs' recommendation.

The proposal by Reps. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., is modeled after a much-praised plan by the co-chairmen of President Barack Obama’s 2010 deficit-reduction commission. [...]

The bipartisan measure calls for $1.2 trillion in tax increases over the coming decade, curbs on rapidly growing federal health care programs, new cuts to agency budgets and cuts to other programs like farm subsidies and federal employee pensions. It broadly mirrors a plan conceived by former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, and former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, the co-chairmen of Obama’s deficit commission.

Actually, the plan is much further to the right than even Simpson-Bowles, with much less revenue, less defense cutting and deeper domestic spending cuts. That's according to analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

It would raise $1 trillion less than Simpson-Bowles in tax hikes. Like the Ryan plan, it cuts far more deeply into discretionary domestic spending than last year's budget agreement ($800 billion more deeply) and $100 billion more than Simpson-Bowles. The cuts to defense programs are $200 billion less than Simpson-Bowles. So that means that cuts in non-security discretionary programs are more than $300 billion larger than the already deep cuts in these programs under Simpson-Bowles.

It won't pass, but here's the problem: "[T]he measure is regarded by many experts as a template for any budget plan that might ultimately pass into law, and it broadly resembles the core concepts discussed by Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in 'grand bargain' talks on the budget last summer."

Here we go again with the Very Serious People, back to the idea that what's best for the nation is making sure the lower-income and middle-class damned well suffer, calling that "shared sacrifice."

Meanwhile, how about these Very Serious People put some bipartisan effort into creating some fucking jobs?

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:23:51 PM PDT

  •  A two stage disaster (6+ / 0-)

    1. Bad policy passes (or becomes a template for future bad policy that does) and it just makes things much worse, and
    2. Democrats get crushed at the polls for Republican policy becoming law.

    At some point, the nightmare scenario is that the GOP is going to wake up and realize that they have been given a golden opportunity to cripple the Democratic Party for years and stop refusing to take 'yes' for an answer. Republican obstinance and governing via 'what pisses off liberals we hate the most' has been a saving grace for the Democratic Party.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:35:59 PM PDT

    •  Right now (11+ / 0-)

      what determines how serious a policy proposal is is how punitive and painful it is to the poor and middle class. Farm subsidies are going nowhere in a body that simply cannot raise taxes on even the richest billionaires, and there is still a collective delusion that the GOP would ever allow the Bush tax cuts for the rich to be severed from the rest of the Bush tax cuts that hangs over DC like a haze.

      If it isn't punishing the most powerless people in America, it's just not considered serious policy by the beltway.

      That's great if you are a Movement Conservative, not so great if you aren't.  

      The whole purpose of this kind of politics was to build the Democratic brand. That's the most utterly absurd thing about it. The Movement Conservative Right is closer to a new Gilded Age than ever, and there has been no upside for Democrats to helping slow-play or make more humane inhumane Movement Conservative policy as 'bipartisan' policy.  

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:43:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess the catfood commission has served its (9+ / 0-)

    purpose of shifting the overton window. Thanks a bunch, Mr. President.

    “In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.” Terry Pratchett

    by 420 forever on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 12:36:53 PM PDT

  •  These various budgets matter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    judyms9, VClib

    because, and only because, the Presidential candidates are going to have to essentially endorse one of these approaches. Each candidate has basically three choices:  the approach of the Progressive Caucus, the Ryan approach, and this "bipartisan" approach.  

    Romney has gotten behind the Ryan plan.

    Which one do you think the President will back? I'd be willing to bet money on this one.  

  •  Now that the healthcare law is cooked (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dr Stankus, shaharazade

    they need to do away with Social Security.

    Or at least privatize it.

    So, there's no question, that's next on the Conservative agenda.

    What is next for the left?

  •  Austerity Again? WTF??? (7+ / 0-)

    Has nobody in Congress been paying attention to what austerity is doing to Europe's economies?

    The UK is now in another serious recession; Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland are in deep depressions with massive unemployment; even Germany and France are barely growing.

    Why would anyone want to throw the U.S. economy back into another recession?  How is higher unemployment a good thing for us?

    •  Austerity Works Great, Unless You Actually Want (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      m00finsan, shaharazade

      a recovery with jobs.

      If all you are doing is protecting the 1%, at least in the short-run, austerity produces consistent and predictable results that achieve that end.

      Of course for anything past the immediate short-term, austerity results in the collapse of the economic system by undercutting demand when demand (for the purchase of goods and services) is the most needed element - but the 1% have deluded themselves into believing they can offset that future risk with exotic financial products that spread that future risk to someone else.  

      Corporations: The Collective Bargaining Units for the 1%.

      by Into The Woods on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:04:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Even the 1% Lose with Austerity (0+ / 0-)

        They are usually running businesses which all depend on customer demand to make a profit.  How do they have any customers when unemployment is in double digits like Europe has now?

        The problem is fear mongering about the federal debt which we have successfully managed for 80 years.  Our interest rates are lower now than when we had budget surpluses during the Clinton Administration.

    •  The austerity thing gets pushed for the sake of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Into The Woods

      the children, the ones who have to make payments in the future for money spent today, like they would be the first Americans to ever have to pay for past spending.  People's kids have been paying throughout our history; it's what drives us into the future.
      The GOP does not believe jobs will come back, so they're pushing austerity in the hopes we'll adjust to it rather than rebel against it.  Occupy has to keep this fight in the streets and in the ballot boxes, but especially in the streets in front of our warloving military contractors and the bankers.

      Romney went to France instead of serving in our military, got rich chop-shopping US businesses and eliminating US jobs, off-shored his money in the Cayman Island"s, and now tells us to "Believe in America."

      by judyms9 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:04:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lower Pay From Austerity Will Overwhelm Any (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, judyms9

        supposed reduction in payment on the interest of the debt.  

        And the most unique aspect of the current "recovery" is the disproportionate allocation of the new wealth generated to the holders of financial wealth instead of the workers.  

        No other recession in history has been followed by this kind of money-hoarding, self-destructive, short-sighted greed.  

        They evidently believe that they have evolved beyond an economy in which demand is dependent on purchasing power or believe that demand will magically arise out of the peasant class in China decades before that is possible.  

        Corporations: The Collective Bargaining Units for the 1%.

        by Into The Woods on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:12:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  We Never Paid Off the WWII Debt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That our grandparents ran up to the highest levels in our history (on a debt to GDP ratio).  Instead, inflation consumed it so that debt is now worth $0.08 on the dollar.  Thank god our grandparents were not obsessed with fear of the federal debt.

  •  I thought we already had a budget? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What was that they voted on with the 1.2T slashing of social services and defense spending a year or so back?  Was that something other than a budget?

  •  Look at 'em yukking it up. (0+ / 0-)

    Green weenie to you too, dude!

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:17:27 PM PDT

  •  I LOVE a righteous rant (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and this one is one.

    That last line?


    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    -- SCOTUS Justice O.W. Holmes Jr.
    * * *
    "A Better World is Possible"
    -- #Occupy

    by Angie in WA State on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:17:36 PM PDT

  •  No one in power is interested in jobs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods

    This year the majority of our political leaders are either concerned only about their political well being or their own jobs or their party's well being and power in Washington.

    Jobs?  The most we will see on this is lip service and that is from both parties.

    Only horses should wear blinders.

    by independantman on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:23:05 PM PDT

  •  Let's keep this simple. (5+ / 0-)

    Austerity is a Neo-Liberal fraud designed to destroy the middle class.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it."

    by Publius2008 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:24:57 PM PDT

  •  bipartisan? (0+ / 0-)

    Yea right!

    I'm running for the Wisconsin State Assembly. Chip in a few dollars.

    by AsherHeimermann on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:28:49 PM PDT

  •  We need to occupy some Dem. congressmen's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    butts with our boots (metaphorically speaking).
    As long as they're just election year pandering, fine.
    But they better not get serious.
    After the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, then we can talk.

    I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

    by David54 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:32:07 PM PDT

    •  Fat chance they (0+ / 0-)

      will ever let them expire, all we will get will be talk and it will be double speak. Well get the usual fake hostage taking and the job creators bs. and they will remain in place. Then we will be told that we have to be competitive in 'the world as we find it' as Axelrod described this global screw. They are ideological free market fundies, whether they have a D or an R after their names. The decent Dems that get elected and their are some, have no power and no access.  

      They will ante up the bankster's and assorted multi-national too bigs for another round of looting and some more good old fashioned shock doctrine, disaster capitalism and let them eat austerity. This just isn't working it's a fail and everybody knows it. The political kabuki is totally unbelievable. what we have here is not a democratic republic but the 'theory and implementation of oligarchical collectivism'.    

  •  You want jobs? (0+ / 0-)

    Make sure Obama is re-elected and given a Congress that will work with him, not against him.  

    Otherwise, it's austerity for all.

    You can blather all you like about how its not "supposed" to work like that (and for the record, I'd agree with you), but that's the way it does work.

    Those are your choices. And in the immortal words of the GOOD Rush- "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

    Your call.

    "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

    by Whimsical on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 04:44:14 PM PDT

  •  Simpson-Bowles. Sounds like a rash would come (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with that.  

    Hope it's not too catchy.  

    In more severe cases it could be fatal to our economic recovery.  

    Corporations: The Collective Bargaining Units for the 1%.

    by Into The Woods on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:05:57 PM PDT

    •  Let me play... (0+ / 0-)

      A disorder characterized by neurological impairment where the person afflicted believes his own stool is a form of currency.

      "We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both." - Louis D. Brandeis

      by VA6thDem on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 06:28:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Alan Simpson is an Assclown and Erskine Bowles (0+ / 0-)

    just plays one on TV or anywhere else he can get someone to listen to him.

    I don't think I've ever seen a more self-entltled douchebag... well, actually I have but just not in the last 10 minutes.

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Wed Mar 28, 2012 at 05:06:02 PM PDT

  •  A Very Serious Answer (0+ / 0-)

    The deficit that matters is the trade deficit. There is no way to fix the budget (or the nation's economy) without fixing that. The S-B committee didn't address that because they were sent down a rabbit hole. The whole idea of the Catfood Commission is to take attention away from the real problem--the trade deficit.

    But no one in the neo-liberal elite would consider taking on the trade deficit because that's how elites make their money. Free trade is a way of separating suckers, er, I mean workers from their money.

    The income disparity gets worse every year. Did anyone stop to ask why? The reason is because as an investor you can go to China and make a bundle of money, but as a worker you can't go to China to raise your wages.

    We need to implement an international minimum wage and uniform tariffs on all products made elsewhere and sold here. That's the only way to fix the trade deficit.

    And fixing the trade deficit would incidentally fix the federal deficit, as well as income disparity.

    Want to send shivers up my leg all the way to my brain? Get an international minimum wage on the books. After that, we can get around to what we should do about the federal surplus.

  •  Wait: where and how on earth was the (0+ / 0-)

    Catfood Commission's non-plan "much-praised"?

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