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Many progressives here argue that because we passed the Senate's fiscal cliff bill, we have lost leverage. They argue, therefore, that we will gut Medicare and Social Security.

Let's consider that, shall we ?

Below the squiggle :

So, what was actually in the Senate fiscal cliff bill ? It was a $41 to $1 ratio of tax revenue to spending cuts. So, we got stuff without spending cuts. So, we got it for free.
One can argue that we lost all that revenue - but we did not want tax rates to go up on 98% of Americans any more than they already will (with the end of the payroll tax rate holiday). So, most of that was going away no matter what. Raising taxes on the middle class now would be both bad economics and bad politics. Taxes did not go up as much as they would have for those making $250 K to $400 K - true. However, they did go up - itemized deductions were eliminated for them. The marginal rates were returned to the Clinton years for those making $400 K individually and $450 K as a household.

Unemployment Insurance was extended for a year. "Well, they would have or should have extended it anyway. " - The House GOP would not accept extending unemployment insurance for a year without an offset in spending. They would have accepted it only as they did, as part of a package deal. This means that people who are without work can eat and live. Political points and poisoning their national brand are not sufficient reasons to allow people to go hungry.

In addition, we got the following goodies :

—Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.
—Capital gains, dividends: Taxes on capital gains and dividend income exceeding $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for families would increase from 15 percent to 20 percent.
—Alternative minimum tax: Permanently addresses the alternative minimum tax and indexes it for inflation to prevent nearly 30 million middle- and upper-middle income taxpayers from being hit with higher tax bills averaging almost $3,000. The tax was originally designed to ensure that the wealthy did not avoid owing taxes by using loopholes.
—Other tax changes: Extends for five years Obama-sought expansions of the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and an up-to-$2,500 tax credit for college tuition. Also extends for one year accelerated "bonus" depreciation of business investments in new property and equipment, a tax credit for research and development costs and a tax credit for renewable energy such as wind-generated electricity.
—Unemployment benefits: Extends jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed for one year.
—Cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors: Blocks a 27 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors for one year. The cut is the product of an obsolete 1997 budget formula.
Clearly, as even the bill's detractors admit, the bill, considered by itself, is hardly a bad bill. So, why do some Kossacks oppose it ?

They argue that we no longer have the shadow of an impending marginal tax rate increase hanging over their heads. Therefore, we have lost our ability to motivate them to provide a reasonable compromise to avoid the sequester and avoid defaulting on our debt.

First, allow me to simply point out that this is silly. We can always put together a bill that addresses tax rates at any time. So, that is a silly thought.

Nevertheless, the argument goes that Republicans will threaten to allow us to suffer the sequester and default on our debt. Therefore, the argument goes, we will agree to gut Medicare and Social Security to avoid it.

Those who think this way have not done enough research on the sequester.  Let us consider the actual effects of the sequester :

Under the terms of those cuts, most military programs face a 9.4 percent reduction, while most domestic programs would be sliced by 8.2 percent. Medicare would be trimmed by 2 percent, while other social programs — excluding Social Security — would be sliced by as much as 10 percent.

White House officials said cuts to Medicare would fall on health care providers, not beneficiaries.Big cuts would hit the military. Defense Department operations and maintenance would lose $3.9 billion next year alone. Air Force and Navy aircraft procurement would be sliced by more than $4.2 billion. And money to strengthen Afghanistan’s security force the year before the United States plans to withdraw its own forces would fall by $1.3 billion.

Pain would be spread widely. The National Institutes of Health would lose $2.5 billion. Rental assistance for the poor would fall by $2.3 billion; nutrition programs for women, infants and children would lose $543 million.

Domestic priorities more associated with Republicans would also take a hit. The Customs and Border Patrol budget would fall by $823 million, and the budget for the border fence would drop $33 million.

 

More about the sequester is found here :

If it fails -- and as of now, Obama and Republicans are at loggerheads, with the election less than eight weeks away -- defense spending would be cut by 9.4%, non-defense spending by 8.2%, most entitlement programs by 7.6% and Medicare providers by 2%.

"It makes glaringly clear that those programs most closely related to combat readiness of the force will be severely cut," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Today's ominous report confirms what so many defense officials have warned in regard to sequestration, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who declared it an 'unacceptable risk,' and Defense Secretary (Leon) Panetta, who compared it to 'shooting ourselves in the head,'" said House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling, who co-chaired the bipartisan panel that failed to come up with an alternative. "This report comes not long after the Congressional Budget Office confirmed that allowing sequestration to occur at the same time that taxes go up, as the president wants, would drive the nation over a 'fiscal cliff.'"

The sword of Damocles is hanging over them more than us with the sequester. Earned benefits (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security's benefits) are not cut at all. They are protected. There is a cut to Medicare providers. So, basically, the big three are left alone. So, if they threaten to allow the sequester to take place, we will not feel any unique threat to our programs that is greater than the threat that they will feel to defense. So, we simply point out that earned benefits will not be touched, that defense will be blasted, and say, "Do what you will." .

So, the sequester is not a unique threat to us. So, they do not gain any leverage from that.

They can argue that we should cut earned benefits because we raised taxes on the wealthy some. Fine, let them make that argument. However, that argument is not a threat to us. There is no threat that they can make that does not endanger them more than us.

What are the worst measures (measures which I oppose by the way - as I have all along) that can pass the Senate ? The chained CPI cuts and raising the Medicare Eligibility age from 65 to 67. Those are the only changes to earned benefits that Democrats will even consider. However, would they accept those measures simply because Republicans argued that they had compromised and now it was our turn ? Hardly. What threat would they have ? None. So, would those changes pass the Senate ? Probably not, no matter what they offered. There probably would be a filibuster by our side. And if those measures were somehow accepted, then serious tax revenue would be demanded as well. The Senate Democrats will not pass those measures unless they get serious new tax revenue. They will simply tell them, "No. Why should we? Make us! " There is nothing the republicans can do at that point. They can try to win the public relations game, but we have easy answers to that. Today's GOP rightly has a terrible image in the mind of the public regarding economic policy / fiscal policy.

So, then, what are they left with ? We will allow the country to default. President Obama has repeatedly said that he will not negotiate in order to get a debt ceiling bill passed. He reiterated that commitment immediately after the bill passed the House of Representatives. President Obama said that he had learned his lesson about not negotiating for the debt ceiling. Vice President Joe Biden told the House Democrats that they would allow the country to default rather than negotiate for a new debt ceiling bill.

Given what they have said, then default is not a weapon that Republicans can use either. Undoubtedly, if we default, Republicans will own that in the mind of the voters. Moreover, Wall Street will corral them and push them into eventually accepting a new clean debt ceiling bill.

These are the reasons that progressives like Senators Sherrod Brown and Sanders and almost all Senate Democrats voted for the Senate fiscal cliff bill. Raul Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also supported it. The House Democrats who opposed it are, by and large, blue dogs. And Red State is howling about it.

If the bill is so bad and should have been defeated on progressive principles, then why did almost all progressives in the US Congress vote for it ? Are people here more informed and more progressive than Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Sherrod Brown ? Is that what you are really telling me ? Are you really saying that they are sell outs ? Because if you say President Obama caved and sold us out, then you must also say that Senator Sanders and Senator Brown and Congressmen Grijalva and Ellison also are sell outs and also caved. Is that really a position that you want to advocate ?

11:42 AM PT: Again, my thought is not that the deal is perfect or that I would not have preferred better terms; my thought is that the deal is not bad. The deal is better than no deal.

I oppose chained cut CPI since (1) Social Security does not contribute a penny to the national debt (2) it will hurt seniors (3) the cut would contribute less than $200 Billion over a DECADE and our deficit is $1Trillion. I oppose raising the Medicare eligibility age since the problem is not actually the aging population and that moving the age up does not address rising health care costs and since this also contributes less than $200Billion over a DECADE to our $1Trillion deficit. Other options like raising the cap might be better, but neither of those are helpful.

11:51 AM PT: Purge the epithet Obama name callers from your midst and we can have a reasonable and constructive dialogue. Align yourself with those who are more thoughtful and who offer more reasonable and informed positions. Then, we can work together. As you know, I first started at DKos in 2006 as math4barack. My values are progressive values. I don't categorically reject criticism of the President's policies or views. I dislike and do not approve of or agree with ad hominem attacks on the President and his character. I do not find such attacks constructive; I find them divisive. I will tell you that President Obama is quite popular among Democrats and will be even more popular when he leaves. He will leave nearly deified by our party.

Criticize policies or bills. Be specific. Offer specific and politically feasible solutions. Support your positions by facts and reason using temperate language. And note the good things that the President has done. And note the good parts of legislation passed. Show some perspective. Show you understand context. Show you understand the legislative process and the nature of our political system with its three branches. Show some political realism.


Originally posted to Vote4Obamain2012 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:03 AM PST.

Also republished by The Federation.

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  •  Tip Jar (131+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, FiredUpInCA, Hawkjt, Cedwyn, doroma, kestrel9000, MKinTN, citizenx, hillbrook green, bubbanomics, earicicle, JBL55, zizi, SoCalSal, Catte Nappe, Davidsfr, science nerd, chantedor, Smoh, Onomastic, mamamorgaine, sreeizzle2012, Quicklund, Bruce The Moose, ontheleftcoast, duhban, Deep Texan, klompendanser, sodalis, mkfarkus, citisven, We Won, avsp, leftykook, karmsy, johnny wurster, mattc129, NYFM, randallt, judyms9, the dogs sockpuppet, Boston Boomer, radarlady, Sybil Liberty, ord avg guy, pileta, RobertInWisconsin, chicating, mamamedusa, Bonsai66, Jake Williams, ReverseThePolarity, Jeff Simpson, amsterdam, La Gitane, dawnspantry, CoyoteMarti, psnyder, Matt Z, cassandracarolina, poopdogcomedy, SingerInTheChoir, blue jersey mom, Old Guild Guy, kerflooey, jiffypop, countwebb, Sembtex, arizonablue, subtropolis, Fonsia, Loudoun County Dem, zapus, pamelabrown, madmsf, Gowrie Gal, litoralis, sockpuppet, Fabienne, cherish0708, sfarkash, Cat Whisperer, Quantumlogic, wtpvideo, ban nock, Beetwasher, sethtriggs, wader, kalmoth, Shockwave, Nowhere Man, AnnetteK, Supavash, KayCeSF, sea note, SilentBrook, canadianpuppet, bluehen96, cato, kirbybruno, cherryXXX69, Gary Norton, notrouble, smartdemmg, sydneyluv, maybeeso in michigan, Dhavo, CalGal47, Mistral Wind, Nica24, CocoaLove, fayea, virginislandsguy, FindingMyVoice, sviscusi, fou, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, fumie, popsnet, joanbrooker, HeyMikey, isabelle hayes, Wee Mama, tofumagoo, fhcec, Sophie Amrain, Laughing Vergil, tardis10, dsb, also mom of 5, dotsright
  •  obama has long had the goal (63+ / 0-)

    of decoupling the tax question from broader budget considerations.  as you say, he just won that without touching the big three.

    so he doesn't seem to think this entails a loss of leverage.

    Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

    by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:11:38 AM PST

    •  This is the official line from Obama (8+ / 0-)

      David Plouffe on 2012 Deal

      Taxes seem to have been decoupled from SS and Medicare indeed.

      OTOH IMO this is one battle in a long war with a bunch of idiots who would destroy the economy to create a chaos where they believe guns and their god will prevail.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

      by Shockwave on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:07:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How do you think we'd have gotten a worse deal (4+ / 0-)

      if we had started negotiating it tomorrow afternoon.  Even if this is a good deal on its merits (which I don't concede) how would it have been worse if taxes had gone up and we were proposing a simply "just revert them for under $250,000" bill?

      People were all around here assuring us that the House would never pass this; maybe that explains some Senators' "yes" votes.  Well, guess what?  Wrong again!

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:48:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It seems like the GOP (0+ / 0-)

        could also make their own proposals in that situation, saying we must immediately restore the tax cuts for all, blah de blah.  They didn't have a problem holding the middle class tax cuts hostage in 2010.  Meanwhile, there would be a substantial economic risk to going over the fiscal cliff.  

        •  We'd be starting from a different status quo (0+ / 0-)

          These were automatic changes.  A clean bill to restore the cuts up to $250K would have passed -- or there would have been hell to pay for the GOP.  That takes away most of the economic risk.

          If this is just about UI, then I have to wonder why we bother to negotiate at all so long as they have hostages and know we'll give in.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:00:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Recession occurs. The worst deal of all (0+ / 0-)

        The fiscal cliff was a manufactured crisis, but a real one. The Austerian measures would have caused a recession if left in place while Obama and congress dickered.

        Not only is that bad for the economy, I don't see how there's a successful agenda with the failure on the economy.  It's not like Medicare and SS are strengthened by bad times.

        One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

        by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:20:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The main austerity measure (0+ / 0-)

          (a clean bill on tax increases) would have passed easily.

          Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

          "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
          -- Saul Alinsky

          by Seneca Doane on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:01:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Public Pressure may not work on the GOP (0+ / 0-)

        The calculus behind "No Deal" was that after the rates went up the GOP would vote for it or at least allow Democrats to vote for it rather than be seen blocking a tax cut.

        Originally I wanted to say the G.O.P. couldn't be that myopic but there was a non-zero chance that they'd dig their heels in even harder after we went over the cliff and loudly campaign against the President with prevarications that might even make good 'ol Mitt Blush.

        But the point is they have the sort of mentality where they might really be convinced that staging an elaborate, expensive show in cahoots with defense contractors might be what it takes to break Democrat resolve.

        If oil companies weren't willing to lose money to support Bush I'm not too convinced this could work. But it's still there as a non-zero possibility. We don't really know for sure which of the GOP donors are masterminds and which are wingnuts willing to fall on their swords for the party.

        Still: I'm with Krugman on the whole thing. This deal isn't especially bad, it's not good, but not quite terrible.

        Also: To the Original Author, it is incredibly misleading to cite the 600 Billion in revenues only with the cuts made during this phase of the negotiations. When you include every dollar of federal spending cut both in Obama's original piecemeal agreement and the sequester the ratio of revenue to cuts is much, much worse.

        •  Part Deux (0+ / 0-)

          Also agree with Krugman:

          The worst thing about this Deal is that it seems like we only got their through blunders. That's the real problem. Obama just still seems too willing to give the farm away to be seen as bipartisan and "Adult"  when he's negotiating with a caucus of Rabid Ferrets.

          The sad thing is I actually find myself rooting for the ferrets since they so far have saved Obama from a number of horrible deals.

          But the debt ceiling will be the real test. I'm not convinced Obama's got the stones yet to do it; to not negotiate with economic terrorists. Still, I'd love to be wrong on that.

  •  Post gets an "A" for headline alliteration! (16+ / 0-)

    Excellent, in fact.

    Otherwise, it asks those that have major issues with its content, especially in a long-term historical context: "Why aren't you a lemming?"

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:11:49 AM PST

  •  I'm not sure some are saying the bill should have (60+ / 0-)

    defeated, although maybe they are because I have not read all of it.  The best criticism is that we lost leverage, but time will tell on that.  Bad things are coming with the debt ceiling and a government shutdown when Rs refuse to appropriate any money for after March.  Either we will face a second recession or many programs will be gutted.  But there's no way of knowing whether going over the cliff would have helped.  

    Generally the same people are on the same sides here as it has been for years.  

    I don't see this deal as a victory; nor do I see it as the apocolypse.  

    In 2007 and 2008, there was hope for ending the Bush tax cuts (at least up to 250).  There still was hope in 2009 and 2010, but voters defeated 75 Dem reps in November 2010 and kept a R House in 2012.  

    President Obama and many Dems made errors in 2009 and 2010 that allowed the reaction, and it is possible that we look at this era as a lost opportunity.

    In the grand battle over the social welfare state, the winning of which is necessary but not sufficient to reduce the still-growing economic inequality, President Obama and Dems did expand the welfare state (Obamacare, and other smaller programs in 2009 and 2010) and have increased taxes on some of the most wealthy, which is a victory, albeit far from enough.

    How much we lose back in 2013 matters.  Hopefully it will be along the margins.  

    So looking back, I think this presidency (and Dem control of the senate and house in 2009-10) likley will be a net good, but much less than expectations.  

    The argument over Obama will continue on Daily Kos until January 2017, when we will, hopefully, argue regarding the new Dem President.

    The real answer is to take back the House (at least with retaining the welfare state).  The real answer with respect to inequality requries a massive transformation or people's attitudes and minds.  Until the working class of which many argue on behal;f of in in ther name, rejects Republicanism and demand that Democrats actually live up to their rhetoric, until they unionize and fight a class war, inequality is here to stay.  

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:18:28 AM PST

    •  A thoughtful post, Tom. (19+ / 0-)

      and one I pretty much agree with.

      "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

      by Onomastic on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:48:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  some here are defintely calling for the bill (12+ / 0-)

      to be defeated

      Hell I've already seen the hyperventilation on 'austerity happens now' and worse

      I don't doubt that there are reasonable concerns but they don't seem to be being expressed much

      •  The valid concerns I've read this morning (17+ / 0-)

        Were in regard to the middle class having an increased tax rate. By middle class, I mean those making 40-50K a year, not eligible for the EIC. That's a valid concern. Their taxes didn't seem to go up much though. I am in that bracket myself although our family gets an EIC; still, I'm curious to see if our taxes do go up, although we usually get several K back in refunds. I don't do our taxes -- my husband does -- so I don't know a ton about this.

        I've also read concerns about what will happen in two months. I can share those concerns because who knows? The sequester will, I think, be rough in the same way that this fiscal cliff was contentious.

        The other concerns which I've read that strike me as valid is the shift from 250-400K. It would have been, I feel, a much stronger tax revenue source, and a Progressive one, and not impossible to get BUT it would have required going over the fiscal cliff with all of the things lost there from the EIC, the UI, the farm bill subsidies, Medicare, etc. (House Democrats, in their speeches, itemized out very well). So to do that would have been risky, and it's not just one part of that or another, but the entire thing. I am almost positive this is why Sanders wound up supporting this bill from his statements in the previous days.

        I saw people saying "Go over the cliff" and others saying "Don't go over the cliff," and I didn't know who to believe until I saw the Republicans screaming bloody murder about the whole thing. Then, I partly took my cue from them and basically just decided that the opposite of what they supported was probably sensible.

        This is my understanding of this, at any rate.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:11:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In a DKos context... (4+ / 0-)

          ...I figure reality is somewhere between bobswern and AAMOM, which is a nice big haystack with more than a few needles for anyone who wants to find them.

          •  Aw, I kind of like them both... (7+ / 0-)

            Does that make me evil?

            I think it must.

            I'm not ace at understanding this all. It's pretty complicated. But this is what I gleaned from reading through mainly off-site comments and news stories this morning from some combination of political analysts and those who voted on the legislation, and again, the Republican response is, for me, a pretty big tell.

            I like Kovie's take on it down thread, as well as TomP's take here too: it's not ideal (actually, the fiscal cliff was designed to play out like the plot of the Hunger Games to make everyone miserable). It's not even good per se. But it's not something you'd want to see not voted on. Should we have gone over the cliff? I have no idea still... it would have hit some people hard, and I'm not really singing "Viva La Revolution!" from my Lazy Boy in Wine Country when I think we're better off avoiding anything that looks like the French Revolution or involves wingnutty armed militias. Call me a nutter for it if you will. I'll take reasoned, incremental reform any day over torching villages. Then again, whatever happened on the back end of this deal was kind of "le suck."

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:09:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  OMG EVIL (6+ / 0-)

              I think the last thing my white male suburban yuppie ass could credibly do is call for revolución. I accepted long ago that I'm plenty of people's definition of evil (i.e. apathetic). Hell, I work in marketing, so I might as well be the right hand of Satan.

              TomP had my favorite take on it all so far too, but as you may remember I've learned to chill the fuck out about a great many things, and accepting incremental sausage-making is certainly one aspect of that.

              I absolutely agree that the ongoing pie fight is a turnoff. It's unbelievably boring and makes everyone look stupid—especially when you consider that the mirror image of it is happening on RedState.

              •  Not exactly the mirror image (6+ / 0-)

                I've been reading Redstate pretty often, for the conservative take during the negotiations.

                They have a deep factional divide. But they don't go to personal insult, about their divisions, anywhere near so quickly as we do.

              •  Agreed (4+ / 0-)

                as a white female academic who works for a pittance yet enjoys my $3 brie and daily dolmas, I really have little to complain about (although my stupid duplex doesn't have a yard, and I like to complain bitterly about that; also, my neighbors are running a meth lab and we have snipers in the trees around their house about once a year, so there's that too).

                Marketing is far more evil than Literature. At least you get paid for what you do. I just run around the University teaching multiple low-paying jobs. Admittedly, I love what I do. All of it. Including the part where they don't pay me shit. It frees me up, emotionally. Plus I have summers off. Woohoo, travel-on-a-shoestring!

                You should see the politics on a State college campus sometime. I think that's what's tamed me to deep calm. The negotiations that go on are outright funny. You haven't lived until you've heard a Business Professor argue with an Environmental Studies Professor and a Women and Genders Studies Professor about "priorities" on campus. Heh. And yet, we've got to keep the ball rolling, so sausage-making it is.

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:37:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I used to work for UCSB HR 10 years ago (3+ / 0-)

                  I actually saw plenty of (and got an earful of) negotiation hilarity, mostly because the employee & labor relations office was in our department. The hilarity was actually pretty bleak more often than not. Sorting through underqualified employment applications with lifer bureaucrats was depressing, too.

                  Come to think of it, I kind of miss being on the academic calendar.

                  •  ROTFLMAO! Indeed! (5+ / 0-)

                    I work within earshot of one of the major financial offices right now. They have after hours meetings and never know/check/care if I'm even in office. They have some amazingly strange discussions. There are all sorts of conferences about five feet from my office, actually, since it's sort of opens out to a free conference room space for admin.

                    Livens it up. I've sat through many a meeting with my door closed thinking, "I really have to pee, but damned if I'm going out there."

                    Your former job sounds like a blast.

                    The academic calendar is truly awesome. Admittedly, I'm more of an actual research scholar than a bureaucrat; thus today, I should be writing. Instead, what am I doing? Hiding from my work, naturally. Sigh. I need to get back to it instead of frittering away on the fiscal cliff issue. My own deadlines are horrific and scary. Yuck! My husband keeps coming downstairs telling me to get over my angst already. Sage advice.

                    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:58:49 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  but, if I understand what happened correctly, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive, FG, fuzzyguy

          the payroll tax goes back up which hurts people with lower incomes the most.
          It's ironic -- originally I was against the cut in payroll taxes because I was worried about it hurting Social Security and Medicare, and now I'm worried about losing the cut in payroll taxes!

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:52:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll let you know when we file (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tamar

            We're lower income. I certainly am, although we file jointly, but we're still pretty low income. What bracket are you talking about? Do you have a link, perchance?

            I'm about as adept talking taxes as I am riding giraffes, just to let you know. I'm more fluent in Latin. Literally.

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:12:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm no great shakes at tax stuff either, even (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              though I'm a numbers person. Here's something I found on this:

              Americans may be breathing a deep sigh of relief that Congress resolved the so-called fiscal cliff crisis for the time being – until they see their next pay stubs. That’s because payroll taxes will increase on most workers after Congress decided not to reverse an expiration of a payroll tax cut – a development that was largely expected. Payroll taxes rose to 6.2% under the deal, from 4.2% last year.

              The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that 77% of Americans will see higher taxes because of the elimination of the payroll tax cut, meaning $115 billion less in disposable income.

              http://www.latimes.com/...
              So you've been paying 4.2% of your wages but that will go up to 6.2% -- which is what it was until a couple of years ago. Flat percentages like that always hurt people at the lower income end more than people at the upper end.

              We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

              by Tamar on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:22:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yep, looks like what it was before (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fuzzyguy, Tamar

                I guess. It doesn't look too bad to me. We make under 50K per year (don't get me started -- this is with two doctoral degrees and two full-time jobs thanks to the State of California's horrific hiring rates since we're technically both State workers). We also get an EIC for a dependent. Normally, we get a refund. My personal wages are so nominal that they are helpful to pay for the kitty litter and such. However, I've been applying for better jobs and hope to have something a little more reasonable than the slap in the face that I have at present. But teaching is a rough gig.

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:29:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The only people who ended up making big money (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  mahakali overdrive

                  who were in my doctoral program were the ones who went to work for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I worked for the federal government and then took a pay cut to work for a non-profit -- a children's advocacy organization. One of the best decisions I ever made. So I never made a whole hell of a lot either but was happy in my work.
                  My husband does better monetarily because he has an M.D., not a doctorate! But we could be much better off financially if he had accepted the offer he got from a profit-making mental health facility. Instead, his 2 jobs over the last 30 years have been with clinics. But that's what he loves and we have enough to be comfortable, so we're not griping. (the only time I regretted this was when our very disabled son was alive and the treatment for his needs was enormously expensive. We went into debt even though we both worked and had 2 different health insurance companies "covering" his care).
                  One of the things I find galling about your situation and to a lesser extent ours is the way people with much less education get higher paying jobs for moving money around. My niece's first major boyfriend came out of college and got a job in a financial firm and he was making $15,000 more per year than I was with a Ph.D. and a decade of experience. I know a lot of those people lost their jobs when the financial system crashed, but there were plenty left in that system making much more than they deserve.

                  We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

                  by Tamar on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:08:56 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  It does go back up. However, the cut was supposed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mahakali overdrive

            to be temporary and its extension was never seriously proposed by either side.

        •  now see those are things I would welcome reading (0+ / 0-)

          too bad it's more hair on fire then analysis such as yours

    •  some were and i even referred to (9+ / 0-)

      kill the bill as an example of this fight we've had before.

      -You want to change the system, run for office.

      by Deep Texan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:02:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  but honestly (13+ / 0-)

        i thought republicans would kill the bill.

        i am still amazed they voted for it!  Paul Ryan voted for it!

        and they got very little out of the deal.

        -You want to change the system, run for office.

        by Deep Texan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:09:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The sequestration package (4+ / 0-)

          has also been cut by 50%, equally divided between the parts.

           I am wondering if both sides have concluded, that it will be impossible to strike a deal with the teaparty component in the house. So maybe the sequester minus the real hurtfull stuff is the grand bargain.

          •  Have you read any of the Republicans' (4+ / 0-)

            statements who passed the bill? I am curious about their logic. There were some who voted "Yes."

            I couldn't follow why.

            Mind you, there were far, far less Democrats who voted "No," and almost all were Blue Dogs. So maybe it was moderates who opposed it? Still not sure why that would be. Then again, I'm not well acquainted with Centrist ideology, to be honest.

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:13:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The blue dog no votes not aligning (6+ / 0-)

              with the relatively moderate Republicans, and aligning with the Republican conservative wing instead, makes for a vote that is very difficult to parse out in ideological terms.

              •  Agreed... it's a strange one (5+ / 0-)

                I can't quite get a read on it (this whole process has been like that in many instances).

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:41:55 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  If you equate Blue Doggery not with centrism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Garrett

                but with finger-in-the-air opportunism and contrarianism, it starts to make more sense. Simpson, Bowles, and Petersen has a sad about the deal, so in order to be the Fiscally Conservative, Independent Democrats they love to portray themselves as, they had to be against it.

                IOW, it makes more sense in political than ideological terms.

                Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
                Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
                Code Monkey like you!

                Formerly known as Jyrinx.

                by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:02:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The voteview blog (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Code Monkey, amsterdam

                  looks at this vote, trying to parse out the fractures.

                  They say:

                  1. Democrats who voted Nay were widely ideologically dispersed between moderate “Blue Dog” Democrats ... and liberal Democrats.
                  2. There is more structure in the split among House Republicans on the vote. More conservative members with lower second dimension scores were more likely to vote Nay than their less conservative counterparts with higher second dimension scores.
                  3. But the angle of the cutting line does support a pattern that in important votes in the 112th Congress, the second dimension has represented an establishment vs. anti- establishment divide.
                  •  That's it! (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Garrett, Code Monkey

                    I just wrote a reply to MO, that it reminds me of the downward spiral of an anti-estabishment party within the parliamentary system in my country after a sudden rise in popularity. Once the popularity decreases, establishment parties work together to get rid of them.

                    I think Rubio and Cantor are betting on the wrong side.

                    •  Was about to ask which country that is :-) (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      amsterdam

                      I sometimes wonder about systems with Parliaments that award at-large seats to parties that win enough votes but no regular seats. (I wanna say New Zealand does this?) On paper, that should help keep multiple parties viable, no?

                      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
                      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
                      Code Monkey like you!

                      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

                      by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:43:53 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I think all parliamentary systems (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Code Monkey

                        are different. In the Netherlands we have proportional representation. Within our system we have multiple parties. It is impossible for one party to gain the majority. Currently we have eleven parties in parliament, 5 of them with 5 or less seats. Some of these parties are stable.

                        We have a fundamentalist Christian party that always has 2 or 3 seats for example.

                        Sometimes smaller parties merge, sometimes a faction splits off.

                        We had Pim Fortuyn with his anti-muslim, anti-establishment populisme suddenly become very popular in 2002. He was assassinated days before the election. His party of crackpots won so many seats during that election, that they had to be included in the coalition.
                        That government fell within months. After that the party got smaller and hasn't been represented in parliament since 2006.

                        Geert Wilders has taken over some of Fortuyn's supporters, got big a couple of years ago, and now seems to be on his downward spiral.

            •  No, I haven't (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive

              They may have known they had the votes. So maybe the blue dogs got a pass.

              I would take a look at the constituency. Low income, high unemployment areas perhaps.

              People get hit with higher taxes or no unemployment check, they tend to lose their convictions. Obama and the Democrats did a good job identifying the Republicans as the ones to blame.

                   

            •  I've been thinking MO (0+ / 0-)

              It reminds me of a repeating cycle within our parliamentary system.

              It begins with a rightwing populist xenophobic politician who starts kicking  against politics as usual. The politician gains a following, starts a new party and suddenly wins a significant number of seats in parliament.  

              Suddenly you have a party of crackpots and criminals with no experience with government. The right wing parties start taking over some of the talking points, in order to stop the  loss of voters.

              Once the crackpot party has some power, that party begins to fall apart. Internal strive, scandals and other embarrasing stuff. At that point left and right are usually very willing to cooperate together and push them over the edge.

              Sounds familiar?

        •  They got plenty. They got a tax policy that's (6+ / 0-)

          very much a conservative one. One that will leave the government struggling to come up with the revenue it needs to continue programs that benefit the poor and middle class.

          What they got is a government closer to fitting in that bath tub they refer to with such homicidal affection.

          Bottom line, they successfully moved the country even further right-ward.

          Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

          by Pescadero Bill on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:55:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  we can't get stimulus from the republicans (7+ / 0-)

            so tax cuts are the only thing left.

            if we controlled the house then i would have supported ending all bush tax cuts.

            new bills to reinstate some tax cuts, stimulus, budget and energy policies would have been the argument to make then.

            but that's not  the reality we live in. the reality we live in is our country has had a balanced budget only once since since the 60's.  we spend money we don't have every year.

            and that's fine.  why? because our currency is the defacto reserve currency of the world and our assets dwarf our debts.  we can keep borrowing for 20 more years and still be fine.

            -You want to change the system, run for office.

            by Deep Texan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:36:11 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, there's creative and gutsy brinkmanship (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joanneleon

              with the express purpose of destroying the GOP.

              But that would take guts democrats don't have and some short-term pain democrats aren't willing to endure.

              Simply put, we could have gone over the so-called cliff and both blamed in on republicans and put them very much on the defensive.

              And as an example of how they manage to dig their own graves (that democrats manage to pull them out of time and again) we have the latest Sandy Relief political debacle. It clearly defines their party and politics as being heartless and anti everything most of the people of this nation see as American national compassion.

              Everything the GOP stands on politically flies in the face of what most people in this country see as responsible government. How is it the Democratic Party hasn't gone for their political throat already?

              Something's amiss in DC. And I'll leave it at that. If people can't figure it out, they're not looking deeply enough and realistically enough at the motivations of our political class.

              Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

              by Pescadero Bill on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:07:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Great comment, thanks. n/t (5+ / 0-)

      It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

      by karmsy on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:33:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As always ... (7+ / 0-)

      thoughtful, progressive and balanced Tom.

      The real answer is to take back the House (at least with retaining the welfare state).
      True, but that does not look likely till 2016 at least due to excessive gerrymandering.

      There are 4 years in the meantime that don't have to be wasted. The welfare state has a lot of Republican friends, especially in relation to Disaster spending, R&D spending, IT spending, Defense spending, and so on. We could split the R coalition which is looking more frayed each day.

      This will take some tact and compromise, but then we can get several "baby stimulus" bills in the here and now, without giving on social programs -- it makes for better politics and better economics.

    •  Very much how I see this (12+ / 0-)

      Thanks for articulating this, TomP.

      Boy, I see a lot of really intense bluster here today which, if I didn't know the history of this site, I would read as apocalyptic. But nah, I don't think it is; I think it's just more of the old argument, same stuff from same people with same style of speech. I think it's a turn-off sadly. If ever I knew that a certain form of rhetoric were ineffective, I'd know it from being here for so many years and seeing that it's hard to piece through when people are reacting vs. overreacting.

      I don't think it's a shit sandwich. I think it's like a slightly warm PB&J which sat in the car a bit long. I'm not a fairy princess and every little pea doesn't make me shriek out loud, period. We take our lumps, stand firm, and that's a better way. I'm not saying we ought to say nothing. I think sensible voices need make strong statements. Hyperbole is hard to listen to day in and day out. It distracts from the issue and makes it hard to know who to trust.

      Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

      by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:03:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately, because the Republicans (3+ / 0-)

      so successfully gerrymandered districts through their big wins in 2010, we're not going to take back the house for quite some time. We progressives are going to have to work with a band of loonies on the right for the forseeable future because of it.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:29:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I just can hardly imagine, Tom, that we would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP

      not have done better by waiting to reopen negotiations until Jan. 4  We left a lot on the table -- and I think that "decoupling" will be far less permanent than "income between $250K and $400K is off limits."

      We paid for hostages, that's what we achieved.  The results are predictable.

      Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

      "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
      -- Saul Alinsky

      by Seneca Doane on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:52:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kucinich voted for this as well. (27+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:18:44 AM PST

  •  So, Tom Harkin didn't (5+ / 0-)

    What's your point?

    Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary

    by Paleo on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:19:23 AM PST

    •  almost all Progressives in the Congress voted (26+ / 0-)

      for it. If it were so terrible, Senators Sanders and Brown would not have voted for it as well as most of our Democrats in Congress. Did Rep Grijalva cave or sell out ? Did Senator Brown sell out ? Did Rep Ellison sell out ? Did Did Senator Sanders sell out or cave ? I don't believe for a single second that you are more progressive or more informed on this issue than they are. And the argument that they caved or sold out is laughable on its face. And when it is conceded that they did not sell out or cave by supporting this bill, then the logical conclusion is that neither did President Obama.

      Criticize the bill if you like, but you lose credibility when you are either illogical (by calling out President Obama when those Representatives and Senators (mentioned above) supported it and you don't call them out or insist that you are the only true, pure progressive.

      Cave and sell out language either applies to all of them or not at all with regard to this particular issue. no special pleading allowed.

      •  We'll see in 3 months (6+ / 0-)

        Every progressive I saw give a floor speech before the vote said the only reason they did so was to strengthen the position to avoid cuts to SS and Medicare in the next round of the crisis negotiations.

        None of them seemed very enthusiastic, but apparently they were told they had better vote for this bill if they wanted the Dem leadership to fight SS & Medicare cuts.

        Yeah, in a way, our leaders were holding them hostage over the threat of those cuts in the next round of crisis management.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:41:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So ... (11+ / 0-)

          Barack Obama held a knife to grandma's throat, and looked Dennis Kucinch in the eye. "Vote," he said, "Or I Shall Cut!"

          "You win this one, Barack!" said Dennis voting Yes ruefully, "But I only do so to strengthen the position to avoid cuts to SS and Medicare in the next round of crisis negotiations."

          I finally get it.

          •  There are a lot of ways (0+ / 0-)

            for party leadership to strongarm members of the caucus.  This is Politics 101.  At a time like this when campaign money is such a key factor, a threat to cut them off from DNC money and help from party leadership in raising funds is enough to convince a lot of members of the caucus.  The party leadership assesses the situation and decides whether or not a member can afford to vote for a particular bill, how much it would hurt them politically based on their district, etc. and on some bills will make the calculations and give members a pass to vote no.  Other times they decide that the caucus has to stand in solidarity for a particular bill because they know there is political danger ahead as a result of it.  I suspect that's what happened with this one given the fact that hardly anyone broke ranks.

            Members of Congress spend a big, significant percentage of their time raising money for their own reelection.  Right or wrong, it's considered to be the number one factor in House elections.  There was a recent article analyzing this, ThinkProgess I believe, based on the 2012 metrics.  And the thing that every incumbent fears the most is a primary challenge. Party leadership can easily use that as a threat to get votes.  

            There was another recent article where a Republican member of Congress (Senate I think, Salon, I think, have no time to look it up at the moment) criticized Boehner and said that Nancy Pelosi breaks arms to whip her caucus for certain things.  Of course that's figurative, but just barely.  On certain votes when the head of the party, Obama, says "vote for it or else", the party leadership breaks arms to make that happen.  This was one of those times.

            I don't know what they have to threaten Kucinich with.  There is a good chance that he plans to try to get a seat back in the House and that could be what he was promised, who knows?  I think the carrot was used here too for those on which the stick won't work, like Bernie Sanders who doesn't need the help of the party to get reelected.  To get him to vote for the health insurance bill, they gave him a special provision that he wanted.

            Heck, let me take a minute to get you links for the articles I cited.  Okay I found one but not the other, fwiw.

            “Boehner’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness,” said LaTourette, who then contrasted Boehner with Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

            “She got out there and broke arms and got it done. Boehner has not been willing to do that. I give him high marks for that,” LaTourette told the Post. “But it’s not a very effective way to do business.”
            http://www.salon.com/...


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:27:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Sanders had dairy farmers to protect. (0+ / 0-)

        There's your reason right there.  Dairy is a big part of Vermont's economy.  

        So I suspect what happened was that Sanders saw the thing was going to pass anyway, and he and other farm state senators probably lobbied to get legislation that would prevent a sudden hike in the price of dairy products.  

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:56:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Damn! (17+ / 0-)

    It's January 2, 2013 and the sky hasn't fallen yet!

    But, but, but... "everybody" said it would!?!?!?!?!?

    It definitely will fall the next time, though. Right?

    There are only two types of Republicans: 1) racists; and 2) people who are willing to be associated with racists.

    by hillbrook green on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:24:01 AM PST

  •  dailykos diarist documents deal's details. n/t (19+ / 0-)

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:34:42 AM PST

  •  Tomorrow we have a new Congress (9+ / 0-)

    with fewer Tea Party Republicans and more progressives. What kind of deal could we have reached with this new Congress? Probably better than this deal. So why didn't the President just wait?

    Saying that the current situation is better than the way it was last week, is silly. Of course it is. But the question at hand was "Is this deal better than going over the cliff and then negotiating a deal with the new Congress?" It is not at all clear to me that this deal is better than the deal we could have gotten tomorrow.

    The soaring stock market certainly indicates this deal is great for capitalists. Since capital has been waging a war on working people for 40 years, that is probably a bad sign for the rest of us.

  •  I think (6+ / 0-)

    your diary is good and makes some excellent points -- until your last two sentences, where it deteriorates into sophomoric attacks on other Kossacks. If you were to delete those two sentences, you would make your point better and maybe even get on the Rec list. I'd recommend it but the ending is holding me back.

  •  Well-written, informed, and thoughtful (9+ / 0-)

    Therefore this diary has little chance of making the rec list.

    It is much much more important to have three or more Obama Derangement Syndrome diaries on the Rec List 24/7/365.

  •  but end of the world, hair on fire (7+ / 0-)

    dogs and cats living together.......I mean we all love infotainment more then actual facts

  •  You seem to suggest that (8+ / 0-)

    Defense is something that only Repubs want to avoid cutting, however, this is Obama's Defense Department and he is, and will continue to be, very protective of it. It seems that he is even willing to put in another Repub to head it. He will not accept these cuts any more than the Repubs's would, so he will have to come up with another revenue source. Chained CPI anyone? How about an increase to 67 for Medicare? It's my understanding that he already offered up chained CPI unprompted in these last negotiations. Why would he not do it again.

    I'm glad a deal got done, and I agree with you that seeing some good strong Progresives vote for it is a good indicater that it was by and large, a good deal, but i can't say that I'm not worried about the next one. I think we could have done better but that's water under the bridge now.

    I'm not an Obama hater and I don't think that many in this community are. And I'm not part of the Chicken Little crowd, but I certainly don't think that this deal was anything remotely resembling multi-dimensional chess as some other diaries have suggested.

    •  not much in new revenue - $600 bil. o/ 10 years (0+ / 0-)

      This will hardly impact the enormous future deficits and, of course, will do nothing about $16 trillion in national debt.

      BTW cant we get out of Afghanistan by the end of 2013?  Saving lives and money?

      •  I tipped this one. (0+ / 0-)

        I refused to R it cos I'm very skeptical in regards to the WH's actions regarding the Big 3: SS, Medicare and Medicaid. I survive literally on SSDI and Medicare. I and others do NOT need any chained CPI crap: we need COLA increases, and the income cap removed on SS.

        I also want to see some serious cuts delivered to the MICC aka Department of War Making. We don't need new aircraft carriers; they're old hat in the world of drones, cyber-spying, etc. We don't need fighter jets that don"t work. It's just a big fat corporate vampire squid sucking this nation to death!

        I want to see real Progressive income-taxing, and Reaganomics ended once and for all! Hopefully, I will live long enough to see this happen!

        Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

        by orlbucfan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:11:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am so damn sick and tired of the haters, that I (11+ / 0-)

    can no longer respond logically to them.  All I want to do is to tell them to go F themselves and the horse they rode in on.

    Thank you Vote4Obamain2012 for saying what I am no longer capable of saying in a manner that is printable.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:02:47 AM PST

    •  Keep in mind that aside from our TU sux folks, (7+ / 0-)

      there are a lot of outside agitators with high UIDs who are stirring the pot here.

      Lots of folks saying, "The Democrat plan" or "The Democrat party".  They are trying to take advantage of our pie fight and get us clawing at each other.

      It's exactly why I avoid the rox/sux debates.

      20 innocent children were slaughtered. The gun lobby and NRA bear responsibility and it is time to fight back! http://www.csgv.org/index.php

      by the dogs sockpuppet on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:20:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ironic thing in my family: I'm generally more (0+ / 0-)

      critical of Obama than my husband. And my husband made 500+ phone calls for Obama during the campaign (in addition to other campaign activities).
      But he's absolutely enraged at Obama about Syria -- he thinks Obama has not done nearly enough to help the rebels. I keep saying that it's trickier than Libya (because of Russian and Chinese involvement) and that I think Obama's doing more than is commonly known, but my comments fall on deaf ears (he does have some age-related hearing impairment).
      Yet on all these domestic issues, he just assumes Obama's always right whereas I'm more skeptical.
      But I'm leaning toward feeling sort of okay about this bill. That's as supportive as I can get. Though I'm happy about the unemployment compensation -- not for our family, we're lucky. But for so many people who have had such hard times.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:08:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And there's a bona fide double bank shot (9+ / 0-)

    buried in the details of the tax provisions.  I'm always a little skeptical of double bank shot claims, but I've turned it over a hundred times in my head and see no other way of reading it.

    Will diary tonight.

  •  I haven't caught any Sanders-bashing diaries (7+ / 0-)

    yet but I'm suuuuuuuure they're coming soon.

    Principle before Party! Recession 2013!!

    by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:13:37 AM PST

  •  Normally we are good friends and allies vote4Obama (11+ / 0-)

    so I draw on our vast bank account of  mutual good will earned during six years of fighting to elect and reelect president Obama, and fight for other worthwhile progressive causes  to turn the other cheek, on this unhelpful slight to progressive Democrats who bit their lips to show loyalty to the President when he put all of his credibility, and that of the Democratic Party on the line in this historic vote.

    But, a poignant comment by one, which more here will understand when the dust clears was "This vote will come back to haunt us."

    Taunting loyal allies "we' (and you) will soon desperately need to win the upcoming tougher battles over GOP cuts to spending is not only unsportsmanlike, but unwise, and very much unlike the wise, upbeat, and good-of-heart  vote4obama ally I've come to know and love as a friend and progressive ally.

    After the dust clears and you all gain a greater understanding of our new situation, I expect you will look back, regret, and probably even apologize for these unseemly taunting of those heartsick over how we are now going to protect the poor, the sick, the elderly, the young, and everyone else who depends on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, tuition assistance (in the next decades)  etc.

    This is hardly time for boisterous taunts as hundreds of millions are now dependent on vital social programs for which we do not have adequate funding, while the GOP controls the House budget initiation process and debt-ceiling.

    I look forward to the opportunity of laying out the complex battle field after you've got this out of your system. But, in the hope of introducing a small bit of appropriate sobriety, perhaps, you will permit me to remind you all of a few important foundation facts, and clarify a misunderstanding of some of our concerns.  

    Although, lost leverage is a big deal, it is not the biggest issue, which is rather  not negotiating  the nearly 2% of GDP in lost revenues of the automatic tax cuts,  with more progressive alternatives such as closing loopholes, the Buffet rule, "adding" deduction caps of the sort Romney proposed, (which we do get a small amount of.) which was the original plan.

    Remember when after President Obama insisted on $1.6 trillion in revenues as the first step in this direction and he rejected Boehner offer of $800 billion as completely inadequate to reduce deficits and sustain current programs?  He was correct.

    Lat night Grover  Norquist gleefully encouraged all Republicans to support this vote because it solidified Democrats  repudiating 12 years of opposition of the Bush tax cuts, in favor of the our best Clinton success model) without gaining replacement revenues as President Obama campaigned on.  

    We now have locked in 85% of the Bush tax cuts designed to "starve the beast" by pinning government tax revenues at 18% of GDP while current spending is 23% of GDP.  This is a vast way down.  

    5% divided by 23% is about 22%  giving us an approximate magnitude of the new "Government Spending" cliff we have now imposed upon ourselves after Ronald Reagon, George Bush, and Grover Norquist were unable to do in almost half a century.

    Before too many join in unseemly, and clueless victory dances taunting those of us desperately concerned over how we will now save our New Deal, Great Society, and Obamacare programs on this totally non-viable tax base,, please imagine the magnitude of human suffering we need to now struggle to find a new plan to avoid.  

    To gloat over comparative short-term  trinkets on the blanket  of one year and five year extensions,  before we have figured out how to replace trillions of dollar of revenues to save vital major social  programs for hundreds of millions of current and future generations of Americans is something I hope folk get out of your systems really fast.

    We now will need every possible progressive and the many other Democrats pulling together to create a new plan to counter the demands for debt-ceiling cuts which already include chained CPI, raised Medicare eligibility, and other cuts that add up to $1.2 trillion.  What will we use for bargaining power? There are some but they will need a hell of a lot of work by all of us, not taunting infighting gloating.  

    Now that we lack the leverage you scoff at, I presume your new plan is to rely on the kindness, wisdom, compassion, and common sense of the right wing GOP House members not to demand cuts of such an austerity bomb magnitude that it will throw our economy into a major recession but we are going to need the help of people who understand math and economics who are also completely and passionately committed to saving now threatened New Deal, Great Society, Obamacare, and other social programs, and there are not as many of these kinds of folks as one might hope for and we need.  

    President Obama will pull all the stops in this state of the union and he is a vastly better orator than negotiator but this is going to be one hell of an uphill battle, requiring the full help of all Democrats.  

    Please do not discourage and disparage those who were committed to the plan of our last 12 years and had higher hopes for this stage one, as you will need us more and sooner than you may realize.

    Whatever.. Happy New Year Vote4Obama.  I hope we can still be friends.  

    And, if there is some major aspect of this situation I fail to grasp, please let me  apologize in advance for not being smart enough to see it yet.  Please explain your plan so I can be helpful in more constructive ways.  Or, if it turns out you don't have a plan please join in the discussions of those of us who feel an explicit vision, with strong, well explained strategies and back up plans we either stick to, or explain changes to,  are helpful in winning uphill and challenging political battles.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:15:46 AM PST

    •  No matter how you parse it (7+ / 0-)

      18% of GDP going into federal coffers is not nearly enough for a functional government. Especially the one left to us by "Junior."

      Rick Perry wanted to get rid of which Federal Agencies again. Remind me. I forgot one.

      Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

      by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:27:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If we now have to reduce the size of government (4+ / 0-)

        from 18% from its current 23% I'm not sure we will have any functional agencies Anthony Page as a large part of the budget is non-discretionary, such as interest payments, retirement for veterans, certain entitlement payments.

        Of of the remaining discretionary spending we have to split it with defense.  I haven't done the math myself yet, nor seen calculation from others but whereas it is easy to see on average this is approximately a 22% reduction across the board, it could well be twice that the the discretionary programs.

        But, with the GOP in steadfast opposition to reductions of military spending, it looks like at an approximate level we'd have to zero out all agency and social spending.  

        On the plus side, at least we will not be in that embarrassing situation Rick Perry  was when he couldn't remember which 3 he wanted to eliminate, as now we can just "all of them."

        Once we get by the unimaginable human suffering, and complete chaos implied by this situation isn't politics sort of funny in a poignant way? Who could ever have imagined, that in retrospect, compared to what we've just done, Rick Perry's moderate and restrained plan to only eliminate the Departments of Education, EPA, and Energy (or whatever that other one was) now seems remarkable progressive and brilliant.

        Maybe we can appeal to him to share with us his plan for how we might save all the others?

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:59:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  You should write you're own diary on (5+ / 0-)

      the subject. Thoughtful post. thanks.

    •  quick response (7+ / 0-)

      First, it is fair to see that many of the most prolific posters here have written or said that Obama caved. The main argument given by the most prominent posters here and elsewhere is lost leverage. The language used against President Obama gets tiresome, especially when, as in this case, it does not apply.
      While I did remove the most offensive part of the diary, the ending, it easily could be justified based upon the derision of those of us who correctly understand that the deal is simply not a bad one. It just flat out is not.

      The problems you refer to are not ones that the House GOP is going to allow us to address. You get what you can. Raising taxes on the middle class to provide funding for earned benefits is not a good idea now. It would have badly damaged our economy. Going over the cliff would not have helped those on unemployment insurance who need to eat. You get done what you can. And you work hard to elect more and better democrats. We need to win back state legislatures. New maps won't be drawn until 2020. However, gerrymandering is not the only reason that we are in the minority in the House. Part of the problem is that our voters are in urban areas. And we simply do not turn out at high enough rates in off year elections as well. Only 15 House Republicans represent congressional districts that President Obama won. That would be bring us to near parity. However, we have representatives that serve areas that President Obama lost. We have Democratic Senators in states President Obama lost badly. In sum, we need to win back the House - and that may be very difficult for some time to come.

      Bottom line: if you align with those who use intemperate language against the President, then being allies will be difficult. Those whom you have aligned with in this matter have poisoned the well. My language was much more restrained that theirs - and more restrained than they deserved. Furthermore, I removed the most offensive part of the diary, the end.

      The thesis that this was a bad deal simply is not true.
      The theory that a much better deal that addresses issues regarding funding for social programs could have been had is quite dubious. I have yet to hear a compelling case for it.

      I am a very even tempered, easy going person and commenter. However, even I have my limits. And when daily I see 3 or more ODS diaries which such Obama caved or Obama is a sell out or such and when the logic behind their arguments is so flawed, I will and I must speak out and protest. Where the battle is the hottest is where the most noble warrior is found.

      Purge the epithet Obama name callers from your midst and we can have a reasonable and constructive dialogue. Align yourself with those who are more thoughtful and who offer more reasonable and informed positions. Then, we can work together. As you know, I first started at DKos in 2006 as math4barack. My values are progressive values. I don't categorically reject criticism of the President's policies or views. I dislike and do not approve of or agree with ad hominem attacks on the President and his character. I do not find such attacks constructive; I find them divisive. I will tell you that President Obama is quite popular among Democrats and will be even more popular when he leaves. He will leave nearly deified by our party.

      Criticize policies or bills. Be specific. Offer specific and politically feasible solutions. Support your positions by facts and reason using temperate language. And note the good things that the President has done. And note the good parts of legislation passed. Show some perspective. Show you understand context. Show you understand the legislative process and the nature of our political system with its three branches. Show some political realism.

      These are the the specific requests that I (and other supporters of the President here) have. Those who cannot accede to these requests are not those with whom I will find myself allied.

      •  Thank you for your well thought out response (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan, cheerio2, eXtina

        Vote4Obama2012.

        I don't know which exact posts  of others you  were referring and that you  say your were responding to that made intemperate attacks on the President, as I ignore most of those,  but as you know reacting in tit-for-tat fashion just leads to escalation, and counter attacking all progressive not jumping up and down in enthusiasm isn't valid. Perhaps, it would have been helpful to have been more specific?

        I'll have to go back and see which couple paragraphs you felt were most offensive in your original post, that you say you removed.  I wasn't asking you to take them out, as they are authentic expressions of your thought. Please put them back in an updates, so we have an accurate record of the exchange.  

        These are real authentic emotions we have to work through. I do not favor censorship and see passionate exchanges as

        Rather my hope was to enlist you in acknowledging that the core issues are not just those of leverage but now how how we pay for of social programs with only 18% of GDP in tax revenue, when we now have 23% of GDP in expenses.

        Thanks for reminding me you used to be math4barack as I had forgotten, but probably explains the very friendly feelings and respect I have for you.

        With regard to you closing excellent closing paragraphs:

        Criticize policies or bills. Be specific. Offer specific and politically feasible solutions. Support your positions by facts and reason using temperate language. And note the good things that the President has done. And note the good parts of legislation passed. Show some perspective. Show you understand context. Show you understand the legislative process and the nature of our political system with its three branches. Show some political realism.

        These are the the specific requests that I (and other supporters of the President here) have. Those who cannot accede to these requests are not those with whom I will find myself allied.

        This is a fair response, and  I aspire to support positions with reason and facts, as you will note my comment is more densely packed with them than most.

        However, you can't hold me and others responsible for policing how others express themselves here. When others are intemperate and make what you consider to be "blanket, unfounded attacks on the President."  

        Asking how he plans to pay for existing social programs and close a deficit gap of 5% of GDP is not an unfounded attack but a completely fair and even necessary  question, if we are to have a hope in opposing the GOP demands for cuts of this magnitude now.  

        This does not justify the same kinds of response against blanket groups of progressive thinkers asking these legitimate questions.

        BTW, please append a note in an update, if you haven't already, that you took out several paragraphs I was responding to or it may look as if my challenge to your post was unfair or excessive.

        I will grant we have  many with great passions, including ourselves, and even some hotheads that discussions can quickly cross over to where we say things that are not alway optimally constructive.

        Whatever, I consider you to be one of most effective advocates for our President and our Democratic Party policies Vote4Obamain2012 and intend to continue to work as close allies to fight for our commonly held values.

        I look forward to you you  responding to, or at least commenting on your opinion of the validity of my substantive logic and facts, as these appear to me to be legitimate questions, urgent, and vital questions.

        You seem to have an opportunity here to explain this situation to the many followers you have that see you as a trusted leader. Can you at least acknowledge the substantive validity and appropriateness of asking the question of how are we now going to gain the revenue to sustain our social programs?

        And, acknowledge the validity that many of us believed our progressive strategy, led by President Obama was  to use the threat of the entire return of Bush tax cuts to trade for other more progressive revenues of almost an equal magnitude -- 2% of GDP which we need to fund vital social programs.

        Our strategy in endorsing Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 was not to endorse the Republicans "starve the beast" programs to create a government so small we could "drown it in a bathtub" but rather to replace those revenues with more progressive additional taxation on corporations and the wealthy.  The threat of Bush tax cuts expiring for all was our biggest leverage.    

        As a mathematician you must realize the magnitude of our dilemma now?  

        How are we going to fund these social programs?  Obama did not run an slashing tearing down the New Deal, Great Society, and Obamacare programs, which were the strategic intent of Reagan, and then later with the Bush tax cuts.  

        Progressive supported the idea of middle class tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 to be more progressive in how we replaced the revenues not to join Grover Norquist in the Repubican's "starve the beast" strategy of setting taxes at 18% of GDP and then block any attempts to raise other revenues, which is where we are not.

        Are you not puzzled at the vast asymmetry of trading a one year extension of unemployment for 2 million (that will be about 30 weeks per person) worth a total of $30 billion in return for a total tax revenue package forever measured in trillions per year?

        The day before the votes on this deal a RedState frontpager lamented what he considered was the sad fact that we Democrats could win the unemployment, 250,000 tax cuts, and the Medicare doctors fix with not concessions because of the bad politics of it.  At worsts we could have extended the Bush tax cuts for two years.

        So are you not at least puzzled, if not distressed by this?

        I am still a full fledged Democrat who will continue to pull all the stops to fight for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, tuition grants, unemployment benefits for all year, not just next year, etc.

        But, we now are in jeopardy on how to fund them.  I sincerely hope we can find a way to prevent the upcoming demands for unprecedented cuts, and hope we win back the House prior to the next 2020 census.

        But, if we fail and President Obama goes down in history as the President who unravelled the New Deal, Great Society, and Obamacare after passing it he will not be anywhere near as popular you you predict.

        I'm in this fight to make him and us successful as is possible, Vote4Obama as a failure will be a failure for all of us.  But, we need to face the facts of our current challenge and not deceive ourselves about the fact of the challenge or attack and make fun of those trying to educate us about the true magnitude of this challenge.  

        So what is our plan now?

        I hope we can look forward to building it, or if it already exists, implementing it as soon as someone tells us what it is.

        Protecting our Social Security recipients, Medicare, Medicaid, sick, poor, elderly and supporting our social programs is my highest priority, and more important than squabbling about short-term reputation of  individual politicians, parties, or other means of accomplishing these noble goals.

        Thanks, hope you are having a better New Years celebration than I'm having.  We will get through this, Vote4.  

        Thanks again for you polite and substantive response, and sorry if I've expressed my sentiments in an excessively sharp way. It's a personality short-coming I still need to work on.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:20:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  HD, you are speaking for me and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina

          a lot of kossacks on here including Kos. We are Americans, first and foremost. We can criticize any politician including the POTUS. That's precisely what freedom of speech means. Our concerns as expressed in today's comments are legitimate. I'm not attacking PBO; I voted for him. Attacking and criticizing are 2 different animals according to Webster's Dictionary. R'cced!!!!! You need to expand these comments into a diary, IMO.

          Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

          by orlbucfan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:36:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  My question is this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog
          Rather my hope was to enlist you in acknowledging that the core issues are not just those of leverage but now how how we pay for of social programs with only 18% of GDP in tax revenue, when we now have 23% of GDP in expenses.
          I recognize what you're saying here, but what tax deal would have allowed us to get to 23% of GDP?  Raising the rates even higher than the Clinton rates on the super rich would 100% be blocked by the House.  Letting all the tax cuts expire on everyone would certainly be bad for the state of the recovery.  Setting the rate hike at 250 instead of 400 maybe would have taken us to 18.001% of GDP in revenue.  There seem to be very few feasible options here.  
          •  My understanding is that the total size of the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cheerio2

            Bush tax cuts were about 2% of GDP which is several trillion dollars, I forget the exact amount.

            So the majority here are saying the $250,000 threshold was going to deliver only $800, billion, so we traded a few hundred billion down for worthwhile short-term programs for the next few years.  What is the big deal?  What was the alternative didn't we say this is what we were going to do?

            If this were the whole story I'd say fine, let's move on.  Well we have to move anyway, but since you ask.

            My understanding is that our intent when endorsing the tax cut for those earning under $250,000 wasn't an endorsement of the Republican starve the beast tax revenues capped at 18% of GDP but would occur in conjunction with using the threat of the expiration of these taxes to get agreement on a more progressive, but still substantial package of taxes on corporations, capped deductions for the wealthiest on closing loopholes, so we can sustain social spending.

            So now what will we do?

            Most want to move on, but how long will it take before such folks take responsibility for the new added agenda item of raising new revenues equivalent to 2% to 3% of our GDP, or admitting to people what the sad alternative is?

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:03:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree taxes will be a big issue going forward (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HoundDog

              Given how greedy and craven the GOP interests are, though, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which they would agree to a more progressive tax regimen than then the Clinton regimen.  I think the GOP would prefer having tax cuts expire on everyone instead of raising taxes more on the wealthy while extending the Bush tax cuts for the rest.  They already believe that not enough poorer Americans pay taxes.  

    •  There's plenty of leverage. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      I say: anything that lets the economy grow for two more months and beyond strengthens our hand.

      I say: the republicans want defense spending more than we do.  They want ag spending more than we do.

      I say: the republicans aren't really so hot on negotiating a cut in entitlements.  Thats' why they weren't in the sequester to begin with.  They accepted no entitlement cuts, a big tax hike, and big defense cuts in the sequester.

      I say: very few give a shit about deficits except as arguments for their idea of a spending and taxing mix.  If anything, they care less then they should, long term.  Thats' not going to change.  So the easiest thing for them to do is, vote for spending spending spending.  Nothing much has changed in the last fifty years, talk big but spend big.

      One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

      by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:45:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your sentence here may the single most important (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA

        observation and the key to our success and President Obama's apparent strategy.

        I say: the republicans aren't really so hot on negotiating a cut in entitlements.
        I've been surprised a few times to see evidence of this recently.

        Much of the apparently zealotry of the right-wing may be more bluster than deeply held convictions, and more impotent rage that passionate commitment to ideology.

        And, some may even have either a deeply hidden limit to their apparent lack of compassion or enough political savvy to realize how bad the political consequences will be if they push to hard on these cuts.

        I was really surprised two days ago to red a front pager at RedState suggest that we Democrats would get the unemployment extension, doctor's fix,  and 250K tax cuts without any concessions for this reason.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:30:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The signs are there: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FiredUpInCA

          Krugman says that the R strategy is to have Ds propose cuts in entitlements, and then campaign against them for the proposals.  He notes Romney Ryan going after Obama for cuts to Medicare as they proposed ending the program, but not for anyone over 52...does that sound like a decided rush to cut entitlement spending?  And that's not even social security.

          And note how quickly McCain said that chained COL increases in SS were off the table.  

          I think that the congress will quickly realize that they had started to buy their own hype.  

          Not to say there aren't going to be fights: Medicare is one of those programs that is reevaluated literally every year for best practices and payments to providers, and that's never going to stop.  It has to be used as a tool to keep costs down, and that's huge.  

          But that's not the same as the Rs wanting to burn the fucking house down to save on heating bills.

          One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

          by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:12:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Best comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      in this entire comment section for this diary.

      I wish people would transition from campaign/election mode to policy/governing mode.  This isn't a sporting event.  It's a critical multi-phased process and this deal should not be viewed in isolation because it is, as the president and Congressfolk have all said, only one part of a longer process.  The talking points issued by the White House are surprising.  Talking about how there is a (what was it) 42 to 1 ratio of tax cuts to spending cuts.  That really is kind of an absurd statistic to cite since the spending cuts were specifically delayed and because everybody here knows that this deal set us up with a huge revenue void that according to stated goals must be resolved by huge cuts in the trillion dollar range and we also know that getting any additional revenue is near impossible from the current House and the future House.

      The taunting and victory laps really are bizarre.  This diarist is very proficient at math too, so he clearly can understand the numbers here.  I have been baffled by the response to all of this.  

      Anyway, HoundDog, thank you for laying things out like this.  I think that you probably have read the Jeffrey Sachs article that I read too.  Sachs is no bleeding heart liberal!  And he is sick over this and lays out the specific reasons why.  He is not on the far left and has taken quite a bit of criticism for being neoliberal. But the man does understand poverty.  And he explains why this deal was such a bad move.  

      I have numbers and analyses from several well written articles but have not studied the CBO report yet on this bill, something I plan to do tonight or tomorrow.  I'm also a bit confused about why this bill was voted on before the CBO numbers were finished.  


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:51:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agreed with all your excellent points expecially (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joanneleon

        the one about treating policy debates and facts like sporting events where we trash talk down "opponents," logical arguments, and facts we don't like rather than engage in a vigorous pursuit of truth, learning, and concentrated efforts to collectively build understanding and coalitions around better policies to accomplish our goals.

        This is a new Sachs article, I wrote two post about the previous one and quoted it about two dozen times to see if we could start to raise the level of discussion after reading one poster suggesting that anyone complaining about the possible long-term loss of over a $trillion dollars a year in tax revenue was trivial compared to the victory of attaining a one year extension of unemployment comensation (worth $30 billion.)  The discussion didn't include the numbers but made me realize that many are passionately trash talking as if its a sport event with not even a remotely functional understanding of the magnitude or significance of the numbers or the economic and mathematical relationships involved in this problem.

        However, often their dramatic styles have developed such a fan base that they can rally great support to the detriment of actionable valid insights that have any potential to influence others beyond the fan club, or carry weight with those that have some base understandings, objective third parties, neutral observers, opponents, or even others on our own team who want to do everything  we can to support and defend social programs and Democratic goals but need to understand our core strategy, goals, trade offs,  and how we intend to  accomplish our goals.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:51:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We now know why Paul Ryan voted yes, and (8+ / 0-)

    it isn't because he got scolded by the nuns.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:28:56 AM PST

  •  Great diary, thanks. (5+ / 0-)

    A lot of people in a venue like this, they come down on the side of "purity:" to make the Republicans look good--which shouldn't be his job, at all--Obama caved. We got rolled. Some who take this view, are well-informed and thoughtful. I listen to them; voices like theirs inform policy discourse. Most others who espouse purity, I'm sorry to say, are (fellow) 2-bit armchair quarterbacks. (If said pipsqueak were in Obama's exact position, the Dems would've made out so much better this time around. Yeah, sure...)

    So your diary is really refreshing. It sounds a note I've picked up again and again during Obama's presidency: it's not over till its over, and we can't know what's coming next. The man often looks like he's caving; perhaps he really is. And yet, given the longest odds, he does nothing but over-achieve. Look at his accomplishments in any honest historical context. The stimulus. HCR. LBGT rights. The victories on his watch, jaw-droppers, just keep piling up.

    Another new variable: Republican confusion and disarray unprecedented in recent decades. No, we can't count on things happening our way because of that. But it is a big deal, one that probably stands to benefit us.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:30:58 AM PST

  •  Instead of defaulting, Obama should use the 14th (4+ / 0-)

    amendment to raise the debt ceiling and see the GOP in court if he has to.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:39:47 AM PST

  •  Obama had sought $1.2 trillion in revenue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    According to the WaPo, Obama only got a bit over $600 billion - hardly enough to make a dent in the projected parade of  enormous deficits for the next 5 years.

    New revenue may be off the table - with only cutting to be done, which the conservative Repubs are eagerly awaiting.

  •  Tipped and Rec'd for this very point (10+ / 0-)

    Fact: I am not fully able to follow every bit point of the Fiscal Cliff and subsequent Sequester scenario, despite being a fairly intelligent person (there are too many variables which I am uncertain about and also, there's plenty that's happening on the inside which I am not privy to). I would wager that the vast majority of Kossacks and people in general similarly can't follow some of this because it is complex and, in places, contains unknowns which involve the future, behavior, public mood, economic markets, and basic subjective interpretation. Fine. That is and has been my position throughout: to try to pay attention while also admitting to myself that there are parts of this which I find deeply confusing.

    Thus I look to those who voted for it -- and right away, I saw the CPC and Sanders supporting it, and before that, in the Senate, all of the Progressive Senators also supported it. In the Democratic Party, the opposition came largely from Blue Dogs, who I tend to oppose. And then, from the Republicans, obviously they are gnashing their teeth and wailing and while a few voted for it, they were more those in vulnerable and Blue districts and few were Tea Partiers.

    So I think to myself, "Self, this must not be the shit sandwich it's being made out to be; it may not be perfect, a point which was conceded by those who spoke before the vote last night, but Sanders was particularly hardline about it AND stated outright that this was wholly a Republican-opposed issue (on MSNBC he said this)."

    Now, I don't know about the ins and outs of this legislation. I know that I oppose austerity measures, obviously. I don't know why it will be harder, in sixty days, to get through the sequester either when if anything we'll have a more Progressive-inflected Congress and the bargaining chip of defense spending which was why the fiscal cliff was designed as it was -- with that as the bargaining chip, knowing full well how little the Republicans want to bargain that one away. So the history of the fiscal cliff as a constructed entity meant to be a sort of check and balance between Republicans and Democrats, with both being forced into a position of sacrifice to ensure neither party appropriated too much power, has barely been discussed, and yet I read a brilliant article somewhere which laid this out quite nicely and explained that it was PREDICTABLE and MEANT to cause sacrifice, anger, loss, and that this would be distributed. That is another critical piece of this.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:53:47 AM PST

  •  THANK YOU!!!! As soon as I saw that Sanders, (10+ / 0-)

    Brown and even Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley voted in favor of this deal, I knew it couldn't have sucked as much as people here were claiming it did.  Don't get me wrong, it's not my ideal deal either but I'm not going to jump on the "Obama caved!" boat and scream about it.

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:55:53 AM PST

    •  They didn't vote for it because they liked it (5+ / 0-)

      They voted for it because the alternative was even worse, which it was, which pretty much everyone agrees on. But this doesn't mean that they didn't think that a better deal could have been had, had Obama been tougher or smarter, not just on its own merits but politically. But they weren't offered the chance to vote for such a deal, nor had much say in the matter. They were offered this deal, or no deal, and being responsible people, they voted for this deal.

      But, I repeat, this doesn't mean that they endorsed it. They just voted for it.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:22:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was tough and no one should celebrate (5+ / 0-)

        this as a win. In no way was this a win. Seriously. It was more like the avoidance of an immediate loss. I feel like that was made crystal clear by Sanders too. I see too many people screaming like they've got crazy glue in their eyes and then people practically roasting marshmallows in glee over the deal too. It's ridiculous. The Progressive "Yes" votes weren't endorsements. They were to avoid the Chained CPI issue. Kucinich and Sanders both were fire and brimstone on this days before the vote. There might have been other elements that they also voted for. It's unclear. I know Sanders specifically blamed the Republicans for trying to hurt the Middle Class via the Fiscal Cliff, and that someone asked him on MSNBC, well isn't this a bipartisan issue, and he said (in his gruff and wonderful manner) "NO!"

        Not sure if this is the same video, but it's from Dec 30th, so it's quite recent, showing his most recent shared views that I have found.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:34:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wait, no, this just came out 30 mins ago (6+ / 0-)

          It's since the vote. I'm just now watching it.

          Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

          by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:36:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Our mutual love of all things Bernie Sanders (3+ / 0-)

          resumes anew. Nice to be back, and have you be the "welcome party". :-)

          And I just saw this too on MSNBC. Meanwhile, this site will be consumed with two months worth of silliness over whether THIS TIME Lucy will not yank the football at the last second, instead of organizing to prevent any meaningful cuts to entitlements. Instead of having the president's back, why not convince him to get ours this time? Isn't that, er, his job?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:40:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's the reactivity here (5+ / 0-)

            One camp spends too much time over-shouting and it gets tiresome, so the other side shouts back as vociferously. And in that dynamic, those who are being reasonable fail to have dialogue in what amounts to a wind storm. I feel that all of the time. I am perfectly happy to articulate my concerns about this bill, and as you know, was strongly trying to even make heads or tails of it throughout. I came away with reservations (although I would have passed it for the same reason that the Progressives did: lack of another option).

            So how on earth, seriously, can we get anything done here, on this site, when people only accept the hardest of hard lines.

            Here, let me share with you something that was said to me last night to illustrate:

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            I made a statement of fact to explain why there was a perceived sense of urgency about this bill, and this was based off of my own watching the speeches on c-span last night, and for making this statement of fact, I receive an abusive tirade of ad hominems about all sorts of ridiculous things including that I'm a stupid person who refuses to use my brain, etc.

            Kovie, in this climate, how on earth are more temperate people supposed to discuss this? If we can't even speak factually about this, or to do so implies some sort of ideological stance, that's just not going to fly. I can barely say anything here without someone shouting this way, no less. The fact is, I would LOVE to have a rational and reasonable conversation, but that's clearly not happening. And then we on the Left complain that the President tunes Progressives out. Hell, I have to tune Progressives out too when they are so Hell-bent on turning this into a binary-like game of Axis and Allies or whatever. Sorry to rant, but the personalization involved in this does hurt our political abilities to communicate a coherent vision which could be used to organize effectively and make clear to our own Progressive representatives (and other Democratic Congressional leaders, and yes, the President, although I'd prefer to not vest too much power in him since to me, that's part of what is wrong with U.S. political process) what we expect of them down the road.

            Nice to see you, by the by! You know I am glad to talk about this one even when I may see things differently (although I don't feel well-qualified to discuss it one way or another in most cases, other than in terms of factual stuff -- like this person said this, or that person voted this way, or this has been xyz pattern in the past, etc.) The personalizations and camps and ad hominems are very distracting right now, however, and just stall conversation entirely.

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:58:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  A most excellent comment, mo. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mahakali overdrive, kovie

              War and Peace? Perhaps ;-)

              You speak for me, but in a much more coherent manner, heh.

              Your antagonist in the thread you linked to is known for being a total jerk. Sorry, but there it is.

              He has no credibility with me because of his insulting speaking style, which is too bad… he might have a thing or two to say that I may appreciate. But can't see that when wincing when even seeing his username.

              •  He wasn't even talking to me (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                highacidity, Code Monkey, kovie

                I think he was talking to some prototype of me. That's what really exhausted me.

                Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

                by mahakali overdrive on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:00:30 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's a really easy trap to fall into. (3+ / 0-)

                  You (well, not you, but you know what I mean) get worked up about a group of people or pattern of behavior and feel the need to vent at someone in that group or exhibiting that behavior, and you get to where the next person you see who might be a target becomes one by the power of wishful thinking, and off you go; this is, I suspect, usually how someone merely expressing confidence in Obama becomes an Obamab*t. Dammit, those 'bots make me so mad, and look there's one now NOW FEEL MY FURY!!

                  (I, of course, have never made this error.)

                  Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
                  Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
                  Code Monkey like you!

                  Formerly known as Jyrinx.

                  by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:28:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That's the most idiotic thing I ever heard (3+ / 0-)

                    And total and COMPLETE bullshit!!!!!

                    /snark

                    (I.e. I'm with you on this, in case it's not obvious and you're ready to pounce which you otherwise would and should be by now--sometimes humor is the only way to handle such things.)

                    :-)

                    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                    by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:30:26 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  FWIW, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kovie

              I do tend to find my disagreements with you to be some of the most agreeable around here :-)

              I think one important principle is just to try and talk substance as much as possible. Which is not easy, partly because drama and pie fights are, on some level, fun (at least while you're typing the comment that starts one). Also, we operate in an environment with imperfect information all the time, especially when the sausage is being made. I think being willing to be uncertain and speak in hypotheticals (such as “if the President truly intends not to negotiate over the debt ceiling”) might help navigate the minefield (if nothing else, it's better for your blood pressure as there are fewer surprises).

              Also, and this is easier said than done, it's good to keep perspective on oneself when criticizing others' behavior. I've seen way too many threads with little more than back-and-forth “you are divisive and there is NO ROOM on DKos for divisive people!”

              Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
              Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
              Code Monkey like you!

              Formerly known as Jyrinx.

              by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:21:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  I get what everyone's saying in response to one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, tardis10

        another's comments and I agree with a lot of what people are saying here but what I'm saying is knowing Sanders unrelenting stubbornness (and I mean that as a compliment) he's usually good at continuing to vote no on unfair and bad deals.  Same with Merkley.  So I'm neither celebrating or screaming about this deal because there are aspects of it I like and aspects I don't but I'm just already getting tired of the fiscal cliff diaries today.  Especially the insanely negative ones because they're not entirely honest, same goes for the ones calling it a victory.  My attitude is "the deal is done, what's next and what do we have to do?"  Kind of wish there was more of those types of diaries today.  Love the community but I like the people here more when they're in a proactive mind set instead of a depressing, overly skeptical "we're fucked" mentality.  Some times a change in attitude can be a good thing.

        Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

        by poopdogcomedy on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:34:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  it can be a good deal (0+ / 0-)

      and still give up leverage down the road. the two do not cancel each other out

      this diary is based on the faultiest of logic

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:17:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Russ Feingold voted yes on Roberts (4+ / 0-)
    •  So, Senator Sanders caved and sold out ? (5+ / 0-)

      as did Senator Brown as did Rep Grijalva and Rep Ellison and Leader Pelosi and the vast, vast majority of our Democrats in Congress ?

      This seems to be a bad case of false equivalence.

      You can do better.

      •  No (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Supavash, itsbenj, gulfgal98, orlbucfan

        they were wrong.

        As was Russ Feingold on Roberts.

        It seems to me the people who most use the phrase "sold out" are the ones trying to put words in people's mouths.

        Obama did not "sell us out," he bargained poorly.

        Imo of course.

        Why are you trying to make a difference of opinion a character flaw?

        •  Actually, you have it backwards. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beetwasher, Vote4Obamain2012

          The reasons most users think Obama bargained badly is because he's a sellout who really wants to cut entitlements.
          Nobody has made an argument that Obama bargained badly, except by implicitly assuming that the tax hikes and spending cuts incurred by going over the cliff would lead to a better deal, and implicitly assuming they wouldn't cause another recesssion while Obama and congress dickered.

          Oh, BTW: Obama voted against Roberts.  So by your logic, he's never wrong.  Or something.

          One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

          by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:56:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  BTW (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        itsbenj, orlbucfan

        I'm not sure what you mean by "false equivalence."

        I would argue you are the one making the mistake of saying someone was wrong equals "sold out."

      •  House dems don't know about House GOP, I guess (0+ / 0-)

        Apparently, there are manuevers and tactics that would have brought the GOP caucus to its knees that are only apparent from the blogosphere and are unknown to people who have spent decades in Congress.

        One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

        by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:00:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Compromise means (3+ / 0-)

    we don't get everything we want.  Neither do they.

    Objectively speaking, the balance of this compromise greatly favors us, not them.

    The hand-wringing over this seems to me to be the biggest case of "didn't-get-my-pony-ism" I've seen in a long time.

  •  So do you have a link to.. (0+ / 0-)

    ...a statment by Sanders about why he voted for the bill?

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:08:37 AM PST

  •  what would the ... (0+ / 0-)

    ...estate tax rate be is we had gone over the cliff and all the tax rates expired.  Same question for capital gains.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:12:42 AM PST

  •  "Turning your back on people who are starving... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alumbrados, Laconic Lib

    ...and freezing is not a Republican value."

    And you want people to believe that no leverage could have been applied on UI, or SS, or any other component of the deal? This happened not even one day after the house passed the deal. Not one day.

    This is why it's so frustrating that the President never uses his bully pulpit in a meaningful way, at least as it relates to results. Yes, this is personal for King, but it doesn't matter. He's just Peter King. All the Democrats had to do was let the cuts happen and do exactly this. What better example is there?

    All of that is now lost for good, and the precedent for "shared sacrifice" has been set, with a built in, significant bent toward the rich.

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:17:52 AM PST

    •  Letting the cuts happen would have had (4+ / 0-)

      very real and serious consequences for the unemployed and on the markets. I am talking risking another recession bad. Some people seem to just gloss over this.

      "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

      by 815Sox on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:39:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like I said (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        orlbucfan

        The UI and the payroll tax could have been negotiated separately. The markets? You mean the wealthy people who just had their tax cuts institutionalized, and are gearing up to destroy our social programs, with help from Democrats who have openly said they're bargain with them?

        This isn't viable argument. King and Chrsitie are proving exactly how hypocritical the arguments about the UI, and the crux of this diary WRT "leverage," are.

        All the Democrats accomplished was status quo - at best  - for the middle class on the economy for the next two months. And that in exchange for a long term precedent on what "shared sacrifice" is that amounts to "three for me (the rich) and one for you (the middle class)."

        Slap happy is a platform.

        by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:48:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, its a real arguement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beetwasher

          I was on unemployment for a year and live in the rust belt where people are still unemployed. If UI were to suddenly stop, then children would start to starve. Doesn't get any realer then that. People on UI live payment to payment. Not having it for even a month would be devastating.

          And the markets, like it or not, effect more people then just the wealthy. Taxes can be changed at any time if the will is there and I still am waiting for this gutting of social security that our dastardly devious President wants... I have been hearing about for years.

          Is the deal perfect? No. But elect a better house.

          Also, who are you to tell me that my opinion and argument is "fake". Is every opinion counter to what you believe somehow not real?

          "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

          by 815Sox on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:22:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  They chose to make it a compnent of the deal (0+ / 0-)

            They didn't have to. They CHOSE to. Why? People here are arguing with the UI as a hostage, against people who genuinely care, to drive a wedge of guilt into legitimate arguments that the deal stinks. What you said proves that point. The argument is "the deal had to be cut otherwise the UI would expire." That's not true, so IN MY OPINION the argument isn't valid. It was a CHOICE Democrats made. They created that crisis in the context of the larger one.

            My point is that it can't be used to validate the deal at large, epsecially when it didn't have to be a component. So let me ask you then - do you think a year of UI, that didn't even need to be a deal component, is worth the permanent extension of tax cuts for people who would do away with the UI - and your future or current SS - altogether? Because that's the stark choice you present to me. And that's only one crappy part of the deal. There are many more.

            Do you think giving them more $ to wage that war makes any sense at all?

            Now, we just have more and more manufactured crises to look forward to.

            Slap happy is a platform.

            by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:46:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  ok (0+ / 0-)

          So what spending are you willing to cut-which House Republicans will agree to-to get that extension of UI? Because that is what they are demanding...and have up to this point, an offset in spending for that extension. Or is there another reason that hasn't gotten done? Or the farm bill? Or the American Jobs Act? ad infinitum...
          All of the arguments I have heard against this bill are perfectly plausible...in 1995.
          We are no longer in 1995...sensible Republicans were primaried long ago.
          And if people here somehow think the House Republicans will not dicker for months(while the rich people just wait us out) and cause all kinds of pain and suffering-then I am going to need some hard evidence that that will not happen...

          If you think it's a good idea to not have to call your insurance company immediately after being pulled from a flaming wreck to make sure the ER visit is covered-you might be FOR the PPACA

          by workingclasszero on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:14:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Faulty logic here, empirically: (6+ / 0-)
    So, then, what are they left with ? We will allow the country to default. President Obama has repeatedly said that he would not negotiate in order to get a debt ceiling bill passed. He reiterated that commitment immediately after the bill passed the House of Representatives. President Obama said that he had learned his lesson about not negotiating for the debt ceiling. Vice President Joe Biden told the House Democrats that they would allow the country to default rather than negotiate for a new debt ceiling bill.

    Given what they have said, unless one is absolutely committed to hating the President, then default is not a weapon that Republicans can use either.

    Fine words from Obama, but it's simply indisputable that he has, on multiple occasions, made similarly adamantine statements about what he absolutely will not do, only to end up doing them, claiming this or that reason or excuse.

    Now, one could argue that in each or most of these cases he did have an excellent reason to go back on his word (and I'm not saying that he didn't, at least in some cases, e.g. raising the cap for extending the Bush tax cuts from $250k to $450k, which I'm actually ok with because we're not talking about that much money, lowering the deficit isn't a huge priority right now and in any case the best way to do that is to get the economy back in shape, and we can always revisit tax rates in the future), but the fact is that he has a clear track record of going back on his word, multiple times, which logically means that his word is not worth much. Which it isn't.

    I would bet all the money in the world that if someone created a financial instrument tied to Obama keeping or going back on his word, those who bet on the latter would come out on top in the long run. His word is simply not worth anything at this point, and EVERYONE with a stake in the game knows it. It doesn't mean that he's a bad person, just a weak and untrustworthy one when it comes to matters of governance and negotiation.

    So yes, I do worry about what he's going to offer to give up to avoid defaulting on our debt. In the end, I don't believe that it'll happen, not because of Obama's strength (sigh) or the GOP's sense of responsibility (hah!), but because Wall St. and Main St. won't let it happen, pressuring both sides to avoid it. Which, for the GOP, means saving face, which means getting something substantial in return from Obama. Which means major cuts to entitlements. I literally don't see any other way of avoiding that unless Obama's really willing to go over that cliff (and in this case, it WILL be a cliff).

    And, as I said, I simply don't believe he has it in him. He's not a high-stakes player. He folds, always, when the going gets tough. And the GOP knows it.

    I hope I'm wrong. I doubt I will be.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:18:49 AM PST

    •  first off, he has a record of keeping promises. (4+ / 0-)

      Second, he said that he learned a lesson; he said that he learned he should not negotiate regarding the debt ceiling.

      After specifically saying that he learned a lesson about doing something, I find it unlikely that he would repeat it. Where has he used that exact same language and then indisputably repeated the mistake ? So, your claim of faulty logic is flawed.

      You have been an Obama critic for many years now.

      •  What does this have to do with anything? (4+ / 0-)
        You have been an Obama critic for many years now.
        This is an ad hom rebuttal which I do not respond to substantively. I find it laughable that you would resort to such a silly way of disqualifying someone's views. This is truly the lowest form of rebuttal.

        And again, it is simply indisputable that he's gone back on his words multiple times, on FISA, on closing Gitmo, on refusing to cut Social Security, and now on the 250k line in the sand.

        I realize that not all of these are equally egregious and that some were mandated by political reality (e.g. Gitmo), but it's simply beyond reasonable dispute that after promising to do X or not do Y, he did not do X and did do Y, multiple times. You can try to get fancy by playing with semantics, but that's where we get into silly territory and I'm not going there.

        I have no problem with someone trying to defend his going back on his word. I did it myself above. But denying that he did do so, that's just bizarre.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:36:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This "history of keeping promises"... (4+ / 0-)

        Is 50/50 at best. He keeps repeating the same mistakes over and over and you're saying he's learning? He "learns" where his goal can be better applied. And what does being an "Obama critic" prove? I saw up-thread that you praised someone for no ad hom and this is your response? "You're an Obama critic?" How much you want to bet that the commenter voted for Obama?

        Maybe since you responded to this, you can respond to my comment and tell me how Democrats couldn't have used their leverage the same way King and Christie are doing, not one day after the deal passed.  

        Slap happy is a platform.

        by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:40:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It seems to me that a lot of Obama defenders here (0+ / 0-)

          are missing the point, that it's not whether he should or shouldn't have gone back on this or that specific promise, but that he's done this so often, it's pointless to take him seriously when he promises something, which weakens him politically. I'm actually ok with some of his broken promises, like on the $250k limit. I just wish he hadn't promised it, let alone made it a line in the sand. It just makes him look silly, whether or not he was being pragmatic in changing his position. It's simply poor negotiating skills. You never score points or improve your negotiating stance by breaking your word.

          And yes, people, I realize that the other side has broken its word far more often. But they're not trying to play an honorable game, as Obama is, so different rules apply. When you play an honor game, you have to keep your word except in very extreme circumstances. And since each of these circumstances has come to be extreme, due to the GOP's radicalism, it's pointless for Obama to make such promises unless he absolutely intends to keep them. And I see no reason to believe that he does.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:11:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention he stated he would NOT negotiate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, SilentBrook

        over the debt ceiling immediately after passing this latest bill. People claim he doesn't use the bully pulpit, but he seems to have used it pretty effectively recently. Look at who is getting the blame over this latest fiasco. Its not him or the Democratic party.

        "The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian... America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance." The Real Ron Paul

        by 815Sox on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:41:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  He also stated that he wouldn't cut SS (0+ / 0-)

          or go above $250k, and ended up offering to do one and actually did do the other. Whether or not the first was a bluff or not and the second meritorious or not is irrelevant in the context of his keeping his promises. We're talking purely about facts here and not their importance or reasons. And on that basis alone, he has certainly gone back on his promises, so his word is not good as I see it. And it's not even about "betraying his base" because ALL pols go back on their word. Rather, it's about the other side no longer taking him seriously on his vows anymore, which weakens his hand considerably.

          At some point, he's going to have to stick to one of his lines in the sand even if it's politically unwise, just to show that he should be taken seriously on such things. Otherwise, why should the other side fear or respect him?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:01:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for talking me down off the ledge. (4+ / 0-)

    This is a well reasoned argument as to why this bill isn't a cave to the Rethugs, but rather a move to consolidate rare gains for progressives.

    "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

    by pengiep on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:26:42 AM PST

    •  Actually, it's neither (3+ / 0-)

      The diarist makes a solid case that this wasn't a "cave" to Republicans, but it's an awful stretch to claim it as a "move to consolidate...gains for progressives"...the truth is, it's the best that could be expected from the current crop of clowns on Capital Hill, period. Nothing good can happen until control of the House is wrested from the grip of the right wing crazies who nixed the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:49:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I absolutely love the title of your diary. (3+ / 0-)

    Very clever alliteration.

    President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

    by askew on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:53:32 AM PST

  •  Why don't you note what the estate tax was in 2011 (0+ / 0-)
    —Estate tax: Estates would be taxed at a top rate of 40 percent, with the first $5 million in value exempted for individual estates and $10 million for family estates. In 2012, such estates were subject to a top rate of 35 percent.
    I think its misleading not to make note of the face that 2012 was what accountants called the "throw momma from the train" year (at least for those with wealthy estates, and heartless kids)

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. Fuck the NRA.

    by democracy is coming on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:54:18 AM PST

    •  my mistake - it was 2010 I was thinking of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orlbucfan

      But still to say 2013 is better than 2012 is not the whole story. See the Bush years for instance

      From Wikipedia

      Year     Exclusion Amount     Max/Top tax rate
      2001     $675,000     55%
      2002     $1 million             50%
      2003     $1 million             49%
      2004     $1.5 million     48%
      2005     $1.5 million     47%
      2006     $2 million             46%
      2007     $2 million             45%
      2008     $2 million             45%
      2009     $3.5 million     45%
      2010     Repealed
      2011     $5 million             35%
      2012     $5.12 million     35%
      2013     $5 million             40%

      People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. Fuck the NRA.

      by democracy is coming on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:20:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a sop to the rich. Rec'ced (0+ / 0-)

        (hope I finally spelled that term right LOL.).

        Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

        by orlbucfan on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:56:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly 2000-2008 (0+ / 0-)

          maybe you can expect the estate tax rates go down because Bush is "in power".  

          shouldn't the last four years have been Obama's turn now to push them up and the exemption amount down?

          2008-2012 looks like we continued with a Republican president. (2013 will be the first time the rate goes slightly up)

          BTW- estate taxes keep the Walton's and the Hilton's rich for generations; its not about the farmers and the small business owners.

          People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. Fuck the NRA.

          by democracy is coming on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:24:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  King and Christie are giving a clinic on leverage (0+ / 0-)

    As we speak. What they're doing, and the pressure it will apply to Republicans - and the potential damage it can do - are invalidating your arguments.

    What's your response to this? Do you really believe that the pressure of OWNING all the tax increases, defense cuts and "turning your back on people who are starving" wouldn't have led to a better deal for the middle class? The polls showed as much. People blamed Republicans. Democrats have thrown all of that away.

    All of that and the leverage was just a tiny component of what they threw away, as others have put it, a chance they won't have again "for decades."

    Slap happy is a platform.

    by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:55:43 AM PST

    •  ??? (5+ / 0-)

      What leverage did King and Christie have? They were IGNORED by the House GOP, their own party! Presumably had they had leverage they would have secured "a better deal." They are reacting in the aftermath because having demonstrated insufficient leverage (being a Republican in Hurricane-affected areas apparently not enough to get leverage) they are seeking NEW political leverage, namely they are threatening to ally themselves with Democrats. If that's called Democrats "throwing it all away," then I just don't get it.

      •  Let's see, if you want to argue the semantics (0+ / 0-)

        Of chicken or egg leverage....

        It's the bully pulpit the President refused to use. The polling that showed the public blamed Republicans. It's the same leverage you yourself just claimed they are seeking! All they have to do is threaten it. No one HANDS the leverage over. You think Democrats, or any sane person, would say "no, you're wrong, fuck the starving cold people."

        More? The same leverage deal apologists are using to claim it had to be made? For instance in the context of the UI? It's the same. How they got there doesn't matter. The leverage is already there. All they had to do was threaten it. It's a perfect example of what Democrats could have done to get a better deal. Melodramatic, theatrical or otherwise.

        The point is that they are using it. I can't claim to understand what would compel Republicans to deny the relief. I can, however, claim to understand why Republicans voted for the deal bill and are using the political cover they were handed, and that's because the deal was a GREAT one for them under the circumstances.

        The Democrats leverage was easily identifiable. If there's isn't, from my perspective that makes this display an even better example of how badly Democrats screwed the pooch. They didn't need to hold anything hostage. They CHOSE to negotiate in the context of the deal over components that could have been addressed individually. The major pieces people argue the deal had to be made based upon are things Republicans have ceded repeatedly.

        Slap happy is a platform.

        by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:33:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They did not get what the wanted (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beetwasher, Vote4Obamain2012

        Lucy pulled the football. Boehner is waiting until a new congress  convenes before he helps them, even after he explicitly assured them they'd get a vote yesterday.

        Just as he has before, Boehner  walked away when it was time to step up and lead. King and Christie got Boehnered by their own party and only now is this behavior "disgraceful."

        The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

        by FiredUpInCA on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:51:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There you have it, "Boehner wins King back" (0+ / 0-)

        King used his leverage.

        King wasn't even smart about it, and Democrats had the entire effing country on their side. And they still have to deal with Christie. I would have demanded it now, of course, but not so overtly. King blew himself out right away. In any case, he'll get something. The Democrats didn't even try, and this diary is based largely on the assumption that they couldn't.

        The semantics don't matter.

        Slap happy is a platform.

        by averageyoungman on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:56:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  they're squawking (0+ / 0-)

      what has that to do with leverage?

      "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

      by eXtina on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:13:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ANd my thought is that the CBO scoring this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    averageyoungman, itsbenj, Code Monkey

    thing as adding 4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, means that sever austerity is 60 days around the corner.

    Expose the lies. Fight for the truth. Push progressive politics. Save our planet. Health care is a right, not a privilege.

    by lighttheway on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:56:24 AM PST

    •  I love the new found Dkos deficit hawks (4+ / 0-)

      so desperate to paint the reasonable compromise as a negative that they go full blown deficit hawk. It adds 4 trillion by extending tax rate on lower (and not low but up to 400k), by patching the AMT, by UI, by extending tax credits including energy.

      The 4 trillion number is only valid if you think us going off the fiscal cliff completely and staying there permanently was ever a good idea. It's a right wing talking point whether you realize it or not. The actual increase of spending is 33 billion a year/330 over 10.  I can attribute that much just to stuff Democrats did want to fight for.

      •  Yeah, where did the defict become the concern? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beetwasher, Vote4Obamain2012

        And where is it going to go when they want to complain about spending cuts?

        One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

        by Inland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:04:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get that from that comment. (0+ / 0-)

        I think the point was that, whether or not we think it's okay to add $4T to the deficit, the fact that it does will be used as an excuse for austerity.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:33:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what will the Senate pass ? in exchange for what? (0+ / 0-)

          why ?

          •  The worry is that the Senate might pass (0+ / 0-)

            something like Simpson/Bowles, in exchange for a debt ceiling hike or in negotiations to avoid the sequester, and because the deficit is supposedly still big and scary (as Krugman says, ONE TRILLION DOLLARS, even though the majority of that is due to the economy remaining squarely in the shitter).

            Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
            Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
            Code Monkey like you!

            Formerly known as Jyrinx.

            by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:55:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  So you are saying (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    that if there isn't a deficit agreement in 8 weeks we automatically go to sequester?
       I hadn't heard that. Can you confirm?

    ¡Cállate o despertarás la izquierda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 12:08:13 PM PST

  •  The estate tax was lowered from 55% to 40%. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    priceman

    Saying it rose from 35% is misleading, since that tax cut expired January 1, raising the rate to 55%.

  •  Excellent diary. Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vote4Obamain2012

    He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

    by Sophie Amrain on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:38:53 PM PST

  •  Re: Your last update (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eXtina

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    As it turned out, your diary was much more reasonable than I'd feared from the title.

    But still, I don't think you're following your own principles here:

    Criticize policies or bills. Be specific.
    The “Sanders supports it. Game, set, match.” school of argument is not the kind of substantive discourse you're calling for here. He's working within constraints, too, you know; certainly he takes more principled stands than most (any?), but that doesn't mean that his support for a deal means it was the best one possible or that we shouldn't be worried about what happens next.

    Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
    Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
    Code Monkey like you!

    Formerly known as Jyrinx.

    by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:55:10 PM PST

    •  while the title and part of the diary refer (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Code Monkey

      to the support by Senator Sanders and others, the diary relies principally upon other arguments.

      •  I know, and it's to your credit. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vote4Obamain2012

        But still, the title is important for establishing the tone both for the diary itself and for the comments. I was all braced for the familiar “Are you saying you're smarter than BERNIE SANDERS?!!” sledgehammer rather than your more reasoned argument.

        (I wish I could come up with a way to improve the title without ruining the alliteration, though :-) )

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:44:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry but you're wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Code Monkey, priceman

    your long treatise on the sequester is irrelevant. It's water under the bridge and will not affect (or prevent) the Repubicans from extracting cuts to Medicare and Social Security in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. They have announced their intent to do so!

    Republicans seemed to be looking forward to future chances to extract cuts.
    "We still have more opportunities. We've got the debt ceiling coming, sequestration," Fleming said. "So we're going to get taxes off the table. The president can't say, 'We've go to raise taxes first before we get to spending cuts.' We will have already done that.Now the topic will be spending cuts, from this point out."
    I have problem with the tax cutoff going up to $450k from $250k actiually, I think it' more fair.

    But there is now nothing to stop Republicans from holding the debt ceiling hostage.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:00:26 PM PST

  •  Bernie Sanders is very focussed (0+ / 0-)

    on his goals in all this. (see video above) I hope when the meta-nonsense subsides around here,we are all on Bernie's side.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:40:40 PM PST

  •  The fallacy of this argument amazes me (0+ / 0-)

    What did Bernie have for breakfast? I guess it's going to be a good day! Bernie Sanders also voted for health clinics that will be cut in HCR for his vote. It's about issues, not whether someone's progressive bona fides is going to get em to love these shitty deals.

    Also the Woodward memo shows you don't know what you are talking about. In 2 months the debt ceiling will scare the shit out of the White House like last time and many of the same cuts, Draconain cuts to SS and medicare will be on the table that we know from Jack Lew's office as Obama's OMB so it can't be denied.

    The only leverage is a 14th amendment challenge or a platinum coin which the WH denied, so they have no leverage and will give away whatever it takes to stop the mess they made in 2010 by giving the debt ceiling to John Boehner as a hostage because they took him at his word instead of making a deal to raise it then.

    I don't negotiate grand bargains with deficit terrorists!

    by priceman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:20:58 AM PST

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