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recent poll on options for addressing the fiscal cliff including medicare age eligibility and raising taxes on rich
NY Times:
Republicans and even some Democrats have expressed frustration that Mr. Obama has avoided a serious public discussion on spending with barely a month until deep automatic budget cuts and tax increases are scheduled to take effect. While the president’s aides said it was important to engage the public on taxes, others say he has not prepared the country for the sacrifice that would come with lower spending.

“The problem is real,” said Erskine B. Bowles, who was co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s deficit reduction commission. “The solutions are painful, and there’s not going to be an easy way out of this.”

After meeting with White House officials this week, Mr. Bowles said he believed “they were serious about reducing spending” but added that “we need to talk more about the spending side of the equation.”

You know it's the Simpson-Bowles Commission and not Bowles-Simpson because of the acronym, right?

Jonathan Cohn:

These folks have a point. The rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid is the single biggest reason that, in the future, federal revenue won’t keep up with federal spending. The gap isn’t going to close unless health care spending comes down. And if it doesn’t close, future generations will be stuck with higher taxes, cuts to other federal programs, and/or potentially crippling deficits.

But it’s a mistake to think that health care spending has to be cut right now. Strange as it sounds, the best strategy for reducing the deficit might be to delay making those reductions—at least until we know whether we need to make them at all.

EJ Dionne:
Here’s the first lesson from the early skirmishing over ways to avoid the fiscal cliff: Democrats and liberals have to stop elevating Grover Norquist, the anti-government crusader who wields his no-tax pledge as a nuclear weapon, into the role of a political Superman.

Pretending that Norquist is more powerful than he is allows Republicans to win acclaim they haven’t earned yet. Without making a single substantive concession, they get loads of praise just for saying they are willing to ignore those old pledges to Grover. You can give him props as a public relations genius. Like Ke$ha or Beyonce, he is widely known in Washington by only one name. But kudos for an openness to compromise should be reserved for Republicans who put forward concrete proposals to raise taxes.

Our own Joan McCarter covers what's really happening with Norquist.

Republican pollster Glen Bolger:

While the debate rages over whether the GOP should view this as a message problem, a messenger problem, or a math problem, I wanted to take this blog post to underscore the challenge facing us from a math perspective – i.e. why it is important that we work hard to improve with Hispanics. As a party, we outright won swing voter groups, but lost the election. That’s staggering.

This post also takes a look at the implications for polling going forward – a topic that we’ve touched on several times already on TQIA, but one that bears further analysis.

In an effort to help you follow Republican thinking on taxes, OK Rep. Tom Cole on Nov 9:
In a column released Friday, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, advocates against raising tax rates on any bracket, but says tax reform could bring in more revenue.
Tom Cole on Nov 27:
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on Tuesday pressed his fellow Republicans to go along with President Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans for the time being in order to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
Predictions, anyone? Bill King writing in the Houston Chronicle.
I talked to an old Capitol Hill hand this week who predicted the following: There will be no deal before Jan. 2, and all of the spending cuts and tax increases will, at least technically, go into effect. However, within a matter of days, or perhaps even hours, a preapproved package will be adopted by both sides that rolls back some of the spending cuts and many of the tax increases, but leaves the new higher rates on the wealthy intact. When this "package" is brought to the floor of the House, tax rates will have already gone up, and so a vote to approve the package will technically be a vote to reduce tax rates. Thus, a Republican who has signed Norquist's pledge can honestly say he or she never voted to increase taxes.

Of course, it is all complete sophistry. But hey, if it gets us past the fiscal cliff/slope, so be it.

Speaking of sophistry, more fact checking bullshit from Glenn Kessler.
The Democratic claim that Obama’s health-care cuts top Simpson-Bowles

When The Fact Checker first started writing about the federal budget more than two decades ago, in fact, the budget window never extended more than five years. Then, for better or worse, 10-year budgets became the norm during the Clinton administration. Still, one could argue that permanent changes in health-care programs are different than discretionary spending, and thus a long-term outlook is informative.

“While that may well be true — and looks sensible, and uses the same approach to extrapolating  figures that we used in our analysis of [Simpson-Bowles] — we nevertheless cannot be sure that the administration figures surpass [Simpson-Bowles] after 2023,” Kogan said. “It merely seems extremely likely.”

 But in any case, this is not the argument van Hollen made on the television shows. He did not say “long-term” but instead referred the the “president’s budget” — which is only for 10years.

Kessler: It's true, but not the way I want to interpret it, so it's false and rates two Pinocchios. This kind of fact checking is complete bullshit, because it's subjective interpretation of "impressions" created. Kessler could have written the column as it is and omitted the ratings.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My teaching adventure continues (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, coppercelt

    a brief update after a week in my new school setting

    which I offer in this post to which I direct your attention

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:40:03 AM PST

  •  I hope that (6+ / 0-)

    the voices of labor are heard much louder in this budget discussion.  Not to mention the voices of those who will actually be harmed by the proposed cuts.  There are ways to address the problems of this nation that don't involve attacking the most vulnerable.  

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:52:23 AM PST

    •  The biggest problem with the budget (0+ / 0-)

      right now is not the deficit, despite the Republicans' (with the president's help) running around D.C. and teevee shows with their hair on fire about the "shortfall."  People don't understand the national economy and how it differs from a household or business budget, and the avalanche of publicity about the need to bring down the deficit makes it impossible for rational people to make headway in explaining it.  It's complicated, and the general public doesn't do complicated.

      To a certain extent, I blame the president for not explaining why the budget deficit is necessary in a time of recession, but even he would have been swimming against the tide.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:52:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dear PBO.....whatever you do....please don't piss (0+ / 0-)

    off the rethuglicans.

  •  Love your title this morning, Greg! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Amber6541

    Thanks for the roundup.  I skip Glenn Kessler's column in my local rag--he doesn't know what he's talking about, most of the time.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:57:12 AM PST

  •  NYT can always find at least one shill... (12+ / 0-)
    Republicans and even some Democrats have expressed frustration...
    ....to give a story a "both sides" flavor.

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:57:32 AM PST

  •  I support letting ALL of the Bush cuts expire. (6+ / 0-)

    Look, for once we need to adequately fund infrastructure, safety nets, education, environmental protection, defense, national parks and forests, research and development, disaster response, food and drug safety, regulatory agencies, and pay down some debt.  

    We've tried to get by on the cheap for so long, and now we're getting what we paid for--cheap results.  The very wealthy who have benefited the most and should pay the most will be dragged into economic patriotism kicking and screaming, but the rest of us should not expect endless tax cuts while we try to get them to fairly contribute.  I'd like to see the Bush cuts expire, a minimum effective tax enacted, capital gains taxes increased, and a number of deductions examined with those that don't create positive incentives removed.  On top of that, get out of Afghanistan and cut defense.  

    Still, SOMEBODY has to pay for this stuff rather than thinking we can do without it or putting it on the credit card, and letting the Bush cuts expire is a good first start.  

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:57:42 AM PST

    •  works for me (3+ / 0-)

      let them all freakin expire.  That's 4 trillion in revenue.  With that sort of revenue we can cancel the sequester and stop all this foolish talk of cutting the social safety net.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:00:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Considering that investors are paying us to (0+ / 0-)

      park their money with no interest rate, this is the best time for putting it on the credit card.  In addition to the other stuff you said.

    •  The $400 I got from Bush (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, Amber6541

      won't really make a difference in my life or well-being.  The hundreds of thousands that the wealthy got from him add up to real money.  Let ALL the Bush tax cuts expire and save the social safety nets.  Then, make single-payer healthcare happen so that we can effectively control the cost of healthcare instead of letting the insurance companies lead us around by the short hairs.

    •  You're right, but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541

      keeping taxes down for now on middle/working class is very important to build trust between Obama/Dems and a lot of working stiffs out there who have been drinking gop koolaid for too long about minorities robbing them via the federal gov, etc, etc.

      We're finally moving on restoring the reality that the wealthy and Wall Street have been extracting wealth from the middle class to the point that they have actually put the entire economy at risk.

      We're very near the point at which we can start to facilitate middle working class job growth at which time the gop loses all credibility and we can start restoring the proper place of government as you suggest.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:40:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  fuck simpson-bowles (8+ / 0-)

    or bowles-simpson.  I am sick of people pretending like they are the conventional wisdom that we need to follow.

    The sort of cuts they want to make to the social safety net are unacceptable.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:59:23 AM PST

    •  Not to mention all the upper-income (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ratcityreprobate, Amber6541

      tax cuts contained in their suggestions.  Their policy priorities are a sure-fire way to throw the country back into recession.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:56:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Military Cuts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, One Opinion

      I don't understand why "we" don't realize that the way our of our economic problems is to quit trying to be a world ruling empire. Cut our military in half and close the hundreds of bases we have world wide. Instead we keep trying to close the deficit by punishing our own citizens!

  •  If the Bill King prediction comes true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wintergreen8694, Amber6541

    it means that John Boehner is going in front of the cameras for the next 4 weeks to say "no deal" - I wonder how that will work out? My prediction - most people have no idea what a Grover Norquist is and will only see Republican obstruction/not getting anything done. Eric Cantor will swoop in and become Speaker.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:00:48 AM PST

  •  Essentially we are arguing between various (4+ / 0-)

    forms of truly rotten ideas.  Obama's balanced approach is bad, Simpson-Bowles is worse and whatever the Republicans parade out is worse than that.  

    You want to close the deficit - then encourage growth and invest, since we'd be investing at rock bottom interest rates.  But of course that is not an option, and we are left with deciding precisely how much the working class is going to be screwed.

    I am grateful Barack Obama was reelected - but this is one of the areas where he has been deeply profoundly unsatisfying.

    •  I read the deficit is already shrinking. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KibbutzAmiad, smiley7

      Seems like letting the Bush tax cuts expire would be enough to bring it down at a responsible rate, at least for now.

      Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

      by Bush Bites on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:09:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is but that is not the long term issue (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, One Opinion
        Nevertheless, Medicare spending would still consume a growing share of the GDP because of increasing numbers of beneficiaries. Thus, even if the ACA achieves its ambitious goals, Medicare would still need extra resources to solve this demographic problem.
        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        we can argue about the solution, but this is the problem.

        "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:23:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd rather they mess around with deductibles... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yellowdog, Amber6541

          .....or means testing than raise the age.

          Of course, I'm speaking from self interest, but who the hell is going to hire all these old geezers the Repubs want to keep in the workforce until age 70?

           

          Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

          by Bush Bites on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:33:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Walmart (but not full time with bennies) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bush Bites, Amber6541

            so it goes.

            "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:37:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Means testing would be prohibitively (5+ / 0-)

            expensive, IMO.
            Think of it this way: Every year, say we have 1 million people that reach retirement age. Some agency then has to pore through (assumably) their tax returns to find out what their income and assets add up to each year. Then they have to figure out what income they would make from investment and retirement accounts (ROTH IRAs, 401Ks, pensions, etc).
            Then they have to figure out at what point they make too much money to be able to get benefits from Medicare.
            Then there have to be programs in place that can affordably offer insurance to people over 65.
            Here's Paul Krugman:

            The usual argument against means-testing — which is entirely valid — is that it (a) doesn’t save much money and (b) messes up a relatively simple program. The reason it can’t save much money is that there are relatively few people rich enough to be able to afford major cost-sharing. Meanwhile, the good thing about Medicare, as with Social Security, is precisely that it doesn’t depend on your personal financial status — you just get it. Means-testing would turn it into something much more intrusive, like Medicaid.

            But there’s a further point I haven’t seen emphasized: if you want the well-off to pay more, it’s just better to raise their taxes.

            Wait, you say: won’t raising taxes reduce incentives to work and create wealth? Yes, it will (although such effects are greatly exaggerated in our political discourse.) But means-testing benefits does the same thing. Conservative economists love to point out that means-tested programs like food stamps in effect create high marginal tax rates for low-income families, since they lose benefits if they work and earn more. Well, means-testing Medicare would do the same thing: your reward for a life of hard work and accumulation will be higher copays and deductibles.

            http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

            “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

            by skohayes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:59:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  One response - they do have computers to do (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              One Opinion, skohayes

              the pouring over of all that financial stuff.  Humans would only need to push a few buttons, then the computer would do the rest.

              Mother Teresa: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

              by Amber6541 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:33:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'd prefer an "I don't need it." checkbox (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Amber6541

                Like some do with donations to certain state programs. I agree it is important to keep the program as a defined benefit pension rather than an insurance program.

              •  I have to do paperwork for the USDA (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Amber6541

                about once a year in my job. I'm using a form with carbon paper in it.
                Don't kid yourself. Different departments use different computer systems, different software, different databases.
                You can't just push a couple of buttons and viola the work is done.

                “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

                by skohayes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 03:49:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  It's not just Medicare spending that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Amber6541, One Opinion

          continue to rise; it's health care costs in general.  Health care costs are rising across the board, which is the real, long-term threat to the economic health of the country.

          To paraphrase Dean Baker:  if we spent the same amount on health care per capita as Europe, the UK and Japan, we would not be facing deficits, but surpluses until about 2090.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:06:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  do pay attention to this (6+ / 0-)
      Medicare: Why is it on the table?

      And there we have a problem, not so easily solved: the current rate of growth is not sustainable. In fact, it's getting out of control because baby boomers are aging (story from 12/30/2010):

      Starting on Saturday, Baby Boomers begin turning 65 and qualifying for Medicare — one every eight seconds. A record 2.8 million will qualify in 2011, rising to 4.2 million a year by 2030, projections show.

      In all, the government expects 76 million Boomers will age on to Medicare. Even factoring in deaths over that period, the program will grow from 47 million today to 80 million in 2030.

      That is going to significantly add to Medicare costs over the next several decades. As boomers age, they/we will flood the system, and that's not fully addressed by our current health reform law:

      "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:10:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Who'd want to bet on that? (0+ / 0-)
    “It merely seems extremely likely.”

    Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

    by Bush Bites on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:04:53 AM PST

  •  Why isn't there a discussion of... (8+ / 0-)

    how much we're overcharged for medical services? Like the woman billed $86,000 for  two doses of scorpion anti-venom that cost $100 each in Mexico, or the high-tech machines which cost hospitals ten times what they cost in Europe? HUMBUG!

    We need laws which acknowledge and deal with the fact that at least twenty percent of politicians, CEOs and evangelists are psychopaths.

    by Rocco Gibralter on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:06:34 AM PST

    •  it's built into ACA/Obamacare (5+ / 0-)

      and is the basis for the Glenn Kessler discussion cited, wherein Chris Van Hollin claims ACA saves more than Erskine-Bowles.

      It has been attacked as" death panels".  But it's there.

      "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:12:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's a lot of saving under ACA. (7+ / 0-)

      For instance:

      Durable medical equipment is one area identified by the Government Accountability
      Office and the HHS Inspector General for which Medicare pays significantly more than
      other payers; this overpayment makes the program more susceptible to fraud, abuse,
      and unnecessary utilization. On January 1, 2011, CMS implemented a competitive
      bidding program for durable medical equipment and other supplies in nine
      metropolitan areas.

      Under this new payment mechanism, Medicare has already achieved savings of $202
      million in the first year, paying an average of 35 percent less for items such as power
      wheelchairs and oxygen supplies without any reduction in access to needed medical
      care. Because of the health care law, the program will expand to additional parts of the
      country over the next several years. Through 2016, the CMS Actuary estimates that
      savings will reach $5.2 billion for the Medicare program (and $27 billion through 2022).

      https://docs.google.com/...

      Show us your tax returns !!!!!!

      by Bush Bites on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:18:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The GOP doesn't recognize what we see... (5+ / 0-)

    ...as cuts because they are intent on preserving, protecting and defending the income streams of certain providers, without regard to medical efficacy or system effectiveness.

    To even suggest that such factors are valid is teh Socialism.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:06:56 AM PST

    •  seems to me two things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, DRo, skohayes

      what you cited (no surprise if pediatricians are democrats and high end surgical specialties are republicans.)

      but also the push from chamber of commerce and businesses to reduce their costs.

      "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:14:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cohn wants to ascribe to ignorance... (3+ / 0-)
        The advocates for deep entitlement reductions don’t seem to realize that the people on Medicare and Medicaid need the protection those programs provide—and that, without those programs, they’d suffer. Given the very significant chance we can reduce health care spending without reducing benefits, we have an obligation to try. It’s the compassionate thing to do.
        ...what I believe is willful intent: there are forces who want to "cull the herd" and are shrewd enough to not say it out loud, even in "quiet rooms."

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:31:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I know! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      One Opinion

      I heard a Republican on the radio the other day absolutely horrified by the 3% tax on medical devices imposed by the ACA, calling it a "job killer".
      Of course, they don't talk about all those companies on the TV who advertise the "Hoverounds" for free ("We file all the paperwork for you! You get it for free and we get to charge a exhorbitant amount of money to Medicare!"), or the free diabetic supplies or free catheters (eww), etc.
      And all those poor people who invent and manufacture these devices!

      This innovation tax also targets an American manufacturing sector created by companies choosing to locate in the United States even as markets grow beyond our borders. As a result, America’s medical technology workers delivered $135.9 billion of innovative products to patients worldwide in 2011. The U.S. accounts for 40 percent of the global medical technology market. We have a $5.4 billion trade surplus because American workers create high-tech, top-quality medical devices and diagnostic tests that are in demand around the world.

      And yet, this tax threatens these gains. At least three studies have estimated the tax will cost tens of thousands of jobs — by one estimate as many as 43,000 jobs. Surely now is not the time to put a greater strain on the U.S. economy.
      http://www.politico.com/...

      An industry that contributes $135 billion worth of (mostly overpriced) medical devices each year might lose 43,000 jobs because of a 3% tax?

      About the authors of the above article (this won't surprise you):

      Dan Moore is president and CEO of Cyberonics and chairman of the board of directors for the Medical Device Manufacturers Association. Greg Sorensen is chief executive officer of Siemens Healthcare North America and chairman of the board of directors for the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance. Timothy M. Ring is chairman and chief executive officer of C. R. Bard and serves on the executive committee of the Advanced Medical Technology Association.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:12:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hanging the Norquist millstone around the GOP's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    neck is several years late.  The media (and Democratic strategists; I'll lump them in here, too) all but ignored the ridiculous power this legend-in-his-own-mind parasitic freeloader wielded over Republican behavior for years.  Where the hell was this reporting before the 2010 election?  Before 2012?  That pledge-signing millstone should have sunk the prospects of multiple GOP candidates given the damage the Republicans inflicted on the economic recovery in defense of their near seditious loyalty oath to this rat.

  •  So that's where Superman's red bun-huggers went (0+ / 0-)
    Democrats and liberals have to stop elevating Grover Norquist, the anti-government crusader who wields his no-tax pledge as a nuclear weapon, into the role of a political Superman.
    Hope they were infused with political kryptonite.

    Maybe one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not..

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:16:44 AM PST

  •  Seriously, Bolger, you needed all that math? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin, skohayes, al23

    I saw the wheels come off the Romney wagon in the second debate, precisely at the moment he answered the question on immigration.  He proved, once and for all, that he was no George Bush -- on an issue that Bush got right.

    Also proved himself too cowardly, too out of touch, and too stupid to be President.

    Not that there was a whole lot of doubt.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:21:01 AM PST

    •  completely agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      he did very well in the first debate (we all know it, and it was well covered) but he did poorly in the second debate for reasons you cited.  

      That was not so well covered (except here). It should have been.

      "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:25:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  of course part of the interest (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      is watching elements of the tea party run away from Bolger.

      "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:26:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes you've got to let the rats scurry. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Greg Dworkin, skohayes

        It was easy to see that Romney is not, how do you say it in polticeze?, ummmm, astute.

        Obama's done quite well by channeling Ronald Reagan (on approach and politics, not on policy).
        Romney should have taken a cue and channeled Bill Clinton, the Sister Souljah moment to be precise.

        Tea Partiers weren't going to vote for Obama.
        They might have stayed home, but staying home has half the impact that voting for the other guy does.

        The last Republican President did well with latinos.  It can be done.  Trouble is, Bush did well with latinos on merit.  He had sensible views towards immigration reform, he appointed latinos to office and to the bench.  He walked the walk.

        Mitt, running away from Bush as hard as Gore ran from Clinton in 2000, couldn't even talk the talk.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:38:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Republicans still in denial (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, One Opinion

      (specifically the chief strategist for the Romney campaign who actually called it a "narrow loss"):

      I appreciate that Mitt Romney was never a favorite of D.C.’s green-room crowd or, frankly, of many politicians. That’s why, a year ago, so few of those people thought that he would win the Republican nomination. But that was indicative not of any failing of Romney’s but of how out of touch so many were in Washington and in the professional political class. Nobody liked Romney except voters. What began in a small field in New Hampshire grew into a national movement. It wasn’t our campaign, it was Romney. He bested the competition in debates, and though he was behind almost every candidate in the GOP primary at one time or the other, he won the nomination and came very close to winning the presidency.
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

      So the voters liked him, but they liked all the other nominees better at one time than they did Romney.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:27:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, it's a narrow loss -- compared to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        Hoover in 1932, or Mondale in 1984.

        That and a few bucks'll get you coffee at Starbucks.

        So long as you don't order a Venti or anything ending in 'ino'.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:37:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  "bested the competition" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        That phrase, though absolutely correct, has always sounded funny to me.  Like, "Gee, ma, I did my very bestest"

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:39:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tax the rich until their eyes bulge out! n/t (3+ / 0-)

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:25:02 AM PST

    •  Higher taxes on the rich, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      both individuals and corporations, actually results in more business investment and economic growth...as long as demand is robust.  Someone the public trusts to tell them the truth should explain how that works.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure there is anyone left whom the public trusts.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:15:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  King -- disaster is where you find it. (5+ / 0-)

    Overall, I can't argue to much with King's characterization of the so-called fiscal cliff.

    But...

    His characterization of flat economic growth as not a bad thing is way off base.

    Never mind that increasing population means that flat growth is actually taking a step backward, but...

    these are not good times.

    We have millions of people who have been out of work for a very long time.  We have millions more who can't find work at all or settle for part-time work when they want full-time.
    We have an untold number that we don't even measuer: those who could and should have decent jobs based on their skills, experience, talent, and desire, but cannot get them.

    For all of those folks, flat economic growth is a disaster.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:27:05 AM PST

    •  to be avoided (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, askew

      but not to be avoided with a bad deal. I take his point as "we can live with it for a month while we let the tax cuts expire and work to reinstate the <250K cuts."

      "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:36:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The hubris of the bright-minded (0+ / 0-)

        Kind of like Obama's "stimulus" package.

        What the heck -- it's not the rich and powerful feeling the real pain.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:40:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  not what we want (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes

          but see Lincoln (the movie), dino, in terms of getting stuff done. Better to just fix it now, but if the GOP refuses, going over the cliff forces wealthy taxes to go up desuite the obstruction (see graph, top of post). Fix the less wealthy tax issue in a week and you won't even notice it. And it will get fixed, because GOP will take the blame (thank you, polls... it is a fact).

          Bitching about it is misplaced, unless you want to bitch about obstructionist republicans, because, and I say it slow: They. Are. The. Problem.

          "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:47:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ps the stimulus helped (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ratcityreprobate, skohayes, askew

          and ACA saves money.

          What you claim is wrong. Still.

          But now a part of the fabric of discussion.

          "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 Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 05:48:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ah, I can count on your to regurgitate the party (0+ / 0-)

            line.

            That's fine. Loyalty is a good thing, not bad.

            But -- we shall see on the ACA.
            If there isn't some re-working, it is going to dump an awful lot of people into federally subsidized insurance and those employer penalties aren't high enought to:

            1) prevent it, or
            2) pay for it

            Have you actually read the CBO report?

            They estimate that 4-6 million people will lose employer-funded insurance because of ACA.

            I would that a lovely result, but that's because we're only talking about 3% of the workforce or so.  I expect the numbers to be much, much higher given the ever-increasing cost of insurance and the fact that subsidies remain available until you exceed 400% of the federal poverty line -- which comes, btw, to about $90,000 in a country where the median family income is about $53,000.  The vast majority of Americans will qualify for subsidies and employers will end up with little choice but to compete with those who take the leap.

            The same report, btw, estimates that cost at about $9,000 per person who hits the federal exchange.  50% more than Medicaid.  And, btw, a big hunk of that proposed savings comes on the backs of people who are forced off of Medicaid but do not go onto the exchanges for replacement coverage.  

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:25:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have written before that progresssives (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              One Opinion

              especially in the Senate, after filibuster reform :), should put good bills on the floor in rapid succession and the first one up should be a bill phasing in Medicare for all.

              "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

              by smiley7 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:38:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Please -- not that. I'm close enough to medicare (0+ / 0-)

                age now, and it terrifies me when I see what my older relatives are going through.

                Medicare was OK for its first twenty years or so, but so was American health care.  Medicare suffers now because it pays poorly in a system that demands a fortune from everyone.

                Instead of Medicare, let's get some sustainable care.

                Use military health care as a model.
                Use the Mayo clinic as a model.

                Anything but the festering pisshole that is the current state of American health care, and the system into which Medicare tries to fit.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:44:32 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not perfect but your experience seems to be at (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  One Opinion

                  odds with the majority of present Medicare recipients.
                  This is s path to Single Payer.
                  I remember a USA expo on the wonderful work of Vet care around 1998-99, it was delivering healthcare with surprising low cost, very efficient. But Bush happened.
                  The average Medicare per patient cost in the Mayo Clinic region of the country is around $6,000 per year I recall while in Texas the per patient cost is close to $15,000 per year.
                  So I agree that improvements are in order, but we must move to a single payer model or continue throwing resources into the wind of profits by insurance and medical suppliers.

                  "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

                  by smiley7 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:01:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  And meanwhile wages for those (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      lucky enough to be employed at all are going down.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:17:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes they are. It's a nasty place out there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe

        for a whole lot of people.

        But we avoided a depression, right.

        Wait -- hold on -- I can't say that.

        My family and I have not avoided a depression.

        I guess "they" avoided a depression.

        Whoever they are.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:46:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Paul Krugman lays out this conundrum (0+ / 0-)

          handily in his new(ish) book, End This Depreesion NOW!  Whatever economists say about when the recession began or when it ended, regular folks are experiencing a real depression, the effects of which are wholly preventable.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 01:46:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It's Health Care Costs not Spending stupid (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sk7326, smiley7, skohayes, One Opinion

    I get tired of people say Health Care Spending has to come down. This makes it sound like we are all buying gold plated heart transplants. When it really the "Costs" of basic healthcare which need to come down. That is at the heart of what Obamacare is going to do. But its not something which magically will appear next year or the one after that. It's something that will come from having everyone covered and in the market as a group.

    So all this wordsmithing calling it Health Care Spending is disturbingly misleading. We have an imbalance in the Healthcare Industry versus the rest of our economy. But this inflation won't be remedied by cutting spending on entitlement programs. That will just pass on the costs to other areas including the people needing the healthcare that currently cannot afford the increased burden.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:14:55 AM PST

  •  Island of Misfit Conservatives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, skohayes

    It's time that the GOP put Norquist on the deserted "Island of Misfit Conservatives". Just stuff him on a dingy with the likes of Limbaugh, McConnell, Boehner, and a whole slew of the Sunday Fox Talkinghead circuit and be done with the noise.

    Maybe we could make it into a Survivor remake?

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:18:45 AM PST

  •   I read yesterday that Erskine Bowles said he was (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, tb mare

    worried, saying "there is a 30 percent chance we go over the cliff." I feel so bad for the Ryan budget lover.

    DC is caught in what percentage of GDP should the government operate on, nonsense. The question should be what are the priority's of the people and the majority are saying protect people's health, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    Many better solutions and budgets exist that are not on he table, the people's budget, transaction taxes, etc.

    Rushing to a grand bargain is and looks stupid. Go over the cliff and settle down into a more progressive congress and get to work next year with contemplative plans argued on the floors of congress for all to see instead of behind closed doors where Wall Street instead of main street controls the negotiations.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:24:47 AM PST

  •  The ACA MAY reduce healthcare costs (and early (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7

    evidence is encouraging).  Any deficit solution that does not include managing healthcare costs and managing defense costs, and does not envision tax increases ... is not a serious solution.

    NONE of what is being argued right now - aside from the President's approach - and even that only addresses things a little - gets there.  When Simpson-Bowles wants to keep tax rates low as a pillar of deficit reduction, it should be laughed out of the room.

    •  OH, but we have to lower the corporate tax rates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sk7326

      of the corporations supporting Bowles's Fix the Debt campaign. This is a real math problem since most of those corporations don't pay any taxes now.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:31:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lets be honest with these pools, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7

    If you asked 98% if they thought raising taxes on the other 2% would be acceptable; do you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the result?

  •  My old Representative, Jerry Moran, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Opinion

    now a Senator for the state of Kansas, and also just appointed as the head of the NRSC, got his first ass burning the other day when he tweeted out:

    I am pleased to hear of West Virginia representative Shelley Moore Capito's interest in pursuing a seat in the US Senate.
    The tweet was deleted less than 10 minutes later.
    The scramble to get rid of the tweet -- 6 minutes after it went up, according to the Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops website -- is a sign Moran is very quickly learning the hazards of his new job.

    Between this week's conservative pushback to West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito’s Senate bid and growing speculation about a primary challenge to Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, Moran is getting a taste of what his NRSC successor, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, has had to deal with for the past two election cycles.

    And keep in mind the conversation hasn't even shifted yet to Sens. Susan Collins or Lindsey Graham or the others in the GOP conference who are being sized up for primary challenges.

    http://www.politico.com/...

    Jerry Moran was always a pretty moderate Representative and one I easily got along with. But he's in the big leagues now and the more conservative elements of the party are trying to whip him into shape before 2014.
    Will he preside over more Republican losses in the Senate in 2014?

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:42:19 AM PST

    •  More on this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      One Opinion
      The NRSC chairman is an elected position, and Moran ran unopposed for the slot. But there was considerable resistance to the freshman senator’s bid by McConnell and other GOP leaders, who furiously attempted to recruit a member they considered higher profile and more politically seasoned, multiple Republican sources have confirmed.

      To assuage that concern and reassure the conference, Moran agreed to accept an NRSC leadership triumvirate that includes Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the vice chairman for finance, and Texas Sen.-elect Ted Cruz, the vice chairman for grass-roots outreach. These positions did not previously exist, and both men have been granted at least some authority over committee strategy and staff hires.

      “There were a lot of questions about whether [Moran] had the horsepower for the job at this level,” a Republican lobbyist with relationships in the Senate said. “They purposely brought these two guys in to help Jerry.”

      http://www.rollcall.com/...

      Ted Cruz for grass roots outreach?

      Cruz is a conspiracy theory character. He is convinced billionaire George Soros is funding a secret agenda to shutdown golf courses because they harm the environment and is conspiring with the United Nations to eliminate national sovereignty and private property. Cruz is convinced sharia law is an enormous problem in the U.S. and that extending unemployment benefits creates more unemployment and that churches ought to be able to keep their tax exemptions even as they endorse candidates from the pulpit.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

      This will be fun...

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 06:51:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Fiscal Cliff is Inevitable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Opinion

    All this talk about the Fiscal Cliff seems to ignore the biggest problem we are facing right now: a broken political system. Budget deficits are a norm for an economic system running on Fiat money, yet a bitter, divisive political system, which despises compromise and sticks with ideology rather than common sense is a recipe for a disaster.

    Sources: Top 5 Things You Need to Know About the Fiscal Cliff

    Bloomberg - Boehner Crafts Compromiser Image While Appeasing Caucus

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