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National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-Chairmen Alan Simpson (L) and Erskine Bowles (R) speak at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce "Jobs for America Summit 2010" in Washington, in this file photo from July 14, 2010. In 1983, a civil servant
The erstwhile Catfood Commission, now recreated as "Fix the Debt," is bemoaning the "missed opportunity" of inflicting real pain in the fiscal cliff curb deal.
“The deal approved today is truly a missed opportunity to do something big to reduce our long term fiscal problems, but it is a small step forward in our efforts to reduce the federal deficit. It follows on the $1 trillion reduction in spending that was done in last year’s Budget Control Act. While both steps advance the efforts to put our fiscal house in order, neither one nor the combination of the two come close to solving our Nation's debt and deficit problems. Our leaders must now have the courage to reform our tax code and entitlement programs such that we stabilize our debt and put it on a downward path as a percent of the economy.

Washington missed this magic moment to do something big to reduce the deficit, reform our tax code, and fix our entitlement programs. We have all known for over a year that this fiscal cliff was coming. In fact Washington politicians set it up to force themselves to seriously deal with our Nation’s long term fiscal problems. Yet even after taking the Country to the brink of economic disaster, Washington still could not forge a common sense bipartisan consensus on a plan that stabilizes the debt. [...]

These future negotiations will need to make the far more difficult reforms that bring spending further under control, make our entitlement programs sustainable and solvent, and reform our tax code to both promote growth and produce revenue.

Of course they see the bright side—this agreement was just a bypass on the way to real austerity, and they still have the next two months to push their punitive agenda. And push it they will, because they see very likely success. Raising the Medicare eligibility age and Social Security cuts in the form of a chained CPI are fully in the potential mix of cuts, handy bargaining chips. One way or another, Simpson and Bowles are going to get their catfood agenda imposed on us.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Apparently they don't (11+ / 0-)

    see what is happening in Europe where the budget cuts are causing their economies to crash and burn. I can't understand how people do not see this.

    I always think of the saying "The beatings will continue until morale improves". They will just keep cutting the budget until the economy improves.

    •  The President's Men -- what winners! (7+ / 0-)

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:22:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, come on, Slink. (12+ / 0-)

      These guys just have our best interests at heart. They've presented a set of serious policy proposals that definitely need to be addressed in order to rectify the issues the deficit have on our economy.

      Oh, okay, that's about as far as I could go without gagging.

      That pair of millionaire geriatric sociopaths need to get the hell out of the public discourse and they need to stop spreading horrible ideas and policies that will end up hurting a lot of normal people.

      Unfortunately they were given a huge place in the national discussion by the President.

      These are his guys, and they just popped out their lair of reprehensibly immoral ideas to remind everyone that yeah--we still want our cuts.

      So they're going to get their cuts. And we're all going to suffer for it. Well, the 99% that is...

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:35:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You really think (0+ / 0-)

        Erskine Bowles is a sociopath? Immoral? Do you actually know him?

        •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cybersaur

          If he's advocating cutting the Social Safety Net, which will result in a lot of people being harmed because of it, then yes.

          Bowles doesn't, and never will know anyone who will ever need the Social Safety Net. To him, the people who will be affected are just numbers on a spreadsheet. And the "savings" from entitlement cuts will just go to his friends on Wall Street. That's some pretty sick shit.

          So yes, I find him to be a terribly loathsome human being as a result. He brings nothing positive to the national discourse in regards to economics when it comes to the needs of ordinary people. His class is doing great. Us, not so much. In fact, we're still sinking, albeit slowly.

          Everything I've read about him and seen about him pretty much affirms that if I did know him--I'd still find him absolutely and irredeemably loathsome.

          So, should I give him a chance? Maybe he's a nice guy? Doesn't matter to me...the policies he advocates will hurt millions of people. And I'd do everything I could within my means as an activist to prevent him from doing that.

          The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

          by cybrestrike on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:29:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You do not know this (0+ / 0-)

            "Bowles doesn't, and never will know anyone who will ever need the Social Safety Net. "

            and your response belies of your blind hatred.

            I know some of his relatives and have met him. He is a decent and dedicated (and comes from a long line of) public servants. And by the way I suppose you think the President is also "a terribly loathsome human being" and  "do everything I could within my means as an activist to prevent him " as well?

            Just what is your workable plan that would you preserve SS? Medicaid? Medicare? Reduce the deficit?

            •  Here's a link below to Mr. Bowles' proposal (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cybersaur

              entitled, The Moment of Truth (PDF).

              Mr. Bowles' personality and perceived public record aside, I implore you to read this document.  I would be very surprised if you would be willing to defend him, after doing so.  

              The cuts that he and Mr. Simpson prescribe, will mean a loss of up to 35% of the monthly Social Security benefit for many seniors.

              Don't take my word for this.  Here's a link to the Reuters article entitled, "The Sham of Simpson-Bowles."  This is an op-ed written by Illinois US Representative Jan Schakowsky.  She quotes the above statistic in her piece.

              So, yeah, in a nation in which literally '1 in 2 Americans Are Now Poor or Low Income' (here's a link to my diary on that subject), I don't consider it a stretch at all to say that Bowles' proposal is very loathsome.

              “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:12:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

                I am familiar with the proposal. And there are parts i do not like and parts I do. And parts I think could use further discussion. But the big picture is that they DO have a plan. the fact that you and Grover Norquist BOTH hate it speaks well of it.

                In 2033 when SS starts reducing benis by 25% maybe this plan will look better.

                Your 35% stat is misleading (hence the "up to" qualifier). That figure reefs to total outlay reductions over time. Look, the plan IS progressive. The benefits are reduced in growth but not "cut". The poorest and disabled will see increases. The income cap is raised. The alternative is a shortfall in 2033.

                •  "the fact that you and Grover Norquist BOTH hate (0+ / 0-)

                  it speaks well of it."  "Huh?"

                  That is the most perverse logic (and right-wing talking point) that I've ever heard.  You may think that you know someone about Norquist, but you clearly know nothing about me.  So making that judgment is quite a bit of a stretch, to say the least.

                  Could use"further discussion" is an understatement, don't you think?

                  The idea that right-wingers want to "preserve" Social Security and avoid cuts amounting to 25%, by cutting the monthly benefit by up to 35% for the bulk of middle class and more affluent seniors IS LUDICROUS ON ITS FACE.
                  And even more ridiculous, the Bowles-Simpson "formula" starts the reduction of monthly benefits at $9,000.  That's absolutely worse than 'loathsome' policy.

                  "Look, the plan IS progressive."  ROTFL.  

                  So NOW it's acceptable to achieve progressivity or equality in benefits by "lowering" the benefits of those seniors who are middle and higher income, so that they are more in sync with those of low income seniors.
                  Another right-wing talking point:  "The benefits are reduced in growth but not cut."
                  ANY CHANGE IN FORMULA that "reduces" benefits, IS a cut.  Period.
                  The raise in the income or wage cap is paltry, and happens over MANY YEARS.  Should be lifted completely--IMMEDIATELY, OR WITH A MUCH SHORTER PHASE-IN.
                  According to the CBO analysis, only a very small portion of the lowest income seniors will qualify for the due to the fact that most, having not had dependable transportation, child care, etc., will not met the 30-year full career requirement to reap this benefit in full.  [BTW, this is nothing new.  The Greenspan Commission included this benefit, which became obsolete by about 2010.]
                  Here's the excerpt from The Moment of Truth:
                  RECOMMENDATION 5.2:  REDUCE POVERTY BY PROVIDING AN ENHANCED MINIMUM
                  BENEFIT FOR LOW-WAGE WORKERS.  

                  Create a new special minimum benefit that provides full career workers with a benefit no less than 125 percent of the poverty line in 2017 and indexed to wages thereafter.

                  Social Security reform must ensure that the program can continue to meet its basic mission:  to prevent people who can no longer work from falling into poverty.  The Commission recommends creating a new special minimum benefit which provides full-career (30-year)
                  minimum wage workers with a benefit equivalent to 125 percent of the poverty line in 2017 and wage-indexed thereafter.

                  The minimum benefit would phase down proportionally for workers with less than 30 but more than 10 years of earnings.

                  And surely you "jest" that the following policy, which will raise the Social Security benefit by a paltry 5%, AFTER THE BOWLES-SIMPSON COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS 'LOWER' SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS BY AS MUCH AS 35% FOR MANY SENIORS, is a sufficient or acceptable "20-year bump up."

                  Here's that excerpt:

                  RECOMMENDATION 5.3:  ENHANCE BENEFITS FOR THE VERY OLD AND THE LONGTIME DISABLED.  

                  Add a new “20-year benefit bump up” to protect those Social Security recipients who have potentially outlived their personal retirement resources.

                  [My words here:  Again, this is a 5% benefit 'bump up' AFTER TAKING AWAY UP TO 35% of a beneficiaries' initial monthly benefit.]

                  The oldest old population – those over age 85 – is projected to expand rapidly over the coming decades: from 5.8 million this year to 19 million in 2050. To better insure against the risk of outliving one’s own retirement resources, the Commission proposes a new “20-year
                  benefit bump-up” that offers a benefit enhancement, equal to 5 percent of the average benefit, 20 years after eligibility.  The enhancement is phased in over five years (1 percent per year).  Eligibility is defined by the earliest eligibility age (EEA) for retirees and the
                  determination of disability for disabled workers.

                  You know, the Brits went to "means-testing," or progressive price indexing decades ago.  And guess what?  They had to implement a supplemental senior welfare program because the cuts that resulted from indexing benefits were so steep.  [And generally speaking, Brits were much better off than their American counterparts, since they also have (or had) defined benefit retirement plans.  This type of retirement plan has all but 'withered on the vine' in the US for almost 40 years.]
                  Generally, what the indexing does is "flat-line" the actual benefit amount.  IOW, "indexing" disengages one's monthly benefit, from one's lifetime earnings.
                  Therefore, eventually "a Bill Gates-type" and his janitor will receive about the same Social Security stipend.  Not in the next couple of decades, but again, years down the road, this is the effect of "indexing" Social Security.  Some experts project that this will be achieved by approximately 2100.
                  As a matter of fact, Senator Tom Harkin, IA, has already presented a plan to institute mandatory private retirement accounts.

                  Here's an excerpt and a link to his plan, entitled, "The Retirement Crises And A Plan To Solve It":

                  The first proposal would rebuild the private pension system by providing [mandatory] universal access to Universal, Secure, and pension plan that would give people the opportunity to earn a secure benefit and would be easy for employers to offer.
                  I have VERY mixed feelings about a "government mandated" private retirement savings account.
                  I especially feel this way due to the current push to eviscerate our social insurance programs.

                  How would one know but what future politicians would want to (and find a way to) raid those funds for deficit reduction.

                  I hope when the real push comes for this, and I believe that it will be soon, that the progressive community will actually put partisan politics aside, when they evaluate his plan.  

                  From what I've seen lately, many will jump on board without so much as an inkling about his proposal.  IMO, he needs to spend more time actually standing up against cuts to Social Security, not coming up with plans to implement mandatory "private" retirement savings accounts.

                  Bottom line, Mr T, "to each, their own."  You have as much right to advocate for what I consider to be 'draconian cuts' to our social insurance program, as I have to fight against them.

                  All I know is that I will continue to share the link to the Bowles-Simpson proposal, The Moment of Truth, every chance that I get.  It's only 66 pages long, and written in plain English.  So I hope that more and more folks will take the time to familiarize themselves with what "austerity coming to the US," will look like.

                  I sincerely do NOT believe that most Americans would find this proposal to be an acceptable solution to deficit reduction.  

                  But, I guess time will tell.

                  [This is a bit of a mess. Sorry.  Major time constraints.]

                  “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                  by musiccitymollie on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:41:40 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

                    a few things as I am pressed for time. I should have more accurately said since the left and right seem to be highly dissatisfied with it, I'd say it is a good middle ground.

                    Not sure where your quotes are coming from?

                    as for "right wing talking points"? Please ...

                    Harkin's plan is an outline with no specifics and no proposals.

                    Your 35% stat is all wrong. That is possible for some very high income retirees. Which is much preferred over ALL losing 25%.

                    It is very simple actually. Things that cannot be paid, will not be. SS is not able to continue as currently construed.

                    So there is a plan, and you and me and others may disagree. But that does not make Erskine Bowles sinister.

            •  I think cybrestrike's response is just fine. I (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cybersaur

              don't care how strongly worded the personal feelings about Bowles are.  Here's what matters - "the policies he advocates will hurt millions of people. And I'd do everything I could within my means as an activist to prevent him from doing that."

              Thank you, cybrestrike.  With all the fatalism I've been hearing around here, it's good to hear from someone who sounds like he intends to fight.

            •  Anyone gunning for benefits... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              musiccitymollie, Nespolo, cybersaur

              ...that working people earned over working a lifetime deserves any scorn I throw in their direction. The middle class, working poor, and the poor didn't create this deficit. Bowles and his allies economic policies did.

              Erskine Bowles and his allies are dead set on cutting the Social Safety Net for the benefit of Wall Street and the corrupt investor class. The only service he wishes to deliver is to them and their interests. He has no interest in the lives of ordinary Americans. Because if he did, he'd be leaving the Social Safety Net alone.

              We paid into those programs. We earned those benefits. Now the oligarchs and elites want that money.

              It doesn't belong to that band of overpaid, over-respresented, elite, out of touch gamblers. They want even more money after shattering the economy and getting away with it. They created the conditions for this deficit hysteria...and they want to complete their Shock Doctrine tactics by stealing from us "for our own good" and for "shared sacrifice".

              I don't care about the President. He's a neoliberal (moderate conservative in general) as well, and I've made clear my feelings towards him in the past (I don't like or care for him either because of his conservatism). And I've called up my congresspersons (on both sides of the aisle) to urge them to oppose any policies that I felt were harmful to ordinary people that he has proposed (Catfood Commission, NDAA, Trans-Pacific Trade, etc).

              The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

              by cybrestrike on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:18:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hear, Hear! N/T (0+ / 0-)

                “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 11:07:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You are a fool (0+ / 0-)

                for posting among the other tripe, this especially:

                "He has no interest in the lives of ordinary Americans."

                As I said you do not know the man or his intentions or values. One can disagree without thinking the opponent is vile. Well, civilized people can anyway. The blind incoherent hatred on this site can be so fatiguing.

        •  Hell yes! (0+ / 0-)
          You really think Erskine Bowles is a sociopath? Immoral?
          That clueless sociopath is advocating for policies that will hurt and kill people. Yes, he is an immoral sociopath that can go suck a box of snake dicks then go die in a fiery car wreck. Fuck that fascist sonofabitch!
  •  Good thing POTUS will be standing firm. (16+ / 0-)

    No Chained CPI on the table next time around.  Nosiree Bob.

  •  so, if S-B is pro-catfood (9+ / 0-)

    and they think this bill is a "missed opportunity" that didn't go far enough, doesn't that, then, suggest that the bill maybe isn't so terrible, horrible, no-good a bill?

    i.e., if austerions hate it, how bad can it be?

    that would be the internally consistent position, anyway.

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

    by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:42:53 AM PST

    •  Well, it didn't order euthanasia of seniors. (14+ / 0-)

      It's sad that we who call ourselves progressives are willing to get giddy if our opponents can put words together to say they didn't get 100% of what they wanted.

    •  But they always complain (20+ / 0-)

      if they don't get every jot and tittle of what they want, immediately. So looking for Republican/Republicrat unhappiness as an indicator of won/lost tells us nothing about what was won or lost.

      Just means they'll keep pushing for more in two months, and in the hostage taking on the budget and deficit limits in 2014, '15, '16, '17,...

      Now would be the time to see who has a grasp of the objective political situation: predict whether we'll see chained-CPI and Medicare/caid reductions enshrined in law in two months or not.

      I say: Absolutely on the CPI, 90% on the Medicare/caid.

      And you know what? Republicans will still say they are unhappy. Serfdom and expiration of the useless eaters is the goal.

      Imagining that we are part of Inside Beltway Baseball, instead of citizens with duties to ourselves without a proxy, that just blinds us to the reality of the intent of our current, right-leaning, political class.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:17:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  they do like to whine (6+ / 0-)

        regardless, don't they?

        i just don't see this as obama/dems losing leverage.  what has the GOP got, really?

        obstructing on the debt ceiling?  even business groups are appalled by the brinksmanship.  if the GOP can't even get business behind them, they're screwed. they still haven't recovered from the last time they pulled that crap.

        obama finally achieved his goal of decoupling the tax breaks question from larger budget considerations.  now the new congress has to work through the budget/debt nonsense, only the budget now includes the increased tax revenue, which weakens the justification for spending cuts.

        now any "grand bargain" type nonsense can be a straight-up sacred cow cage match pitting the safety net against bloated MIC spending.  it rather calls the deficit scolds' bluff in an epic way.

        also, too, LOL @ "expiration of useless eaters"

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

        by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:43:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what has the GOP got, really? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cslewis

          One thing they've got is an ally in the White House. They've also got plenty of friends on the Democratic side of the aisle in Congress.

          “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

          by Sagebrush Bob on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:56:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh how cute! (0+ / 0-)

            obama is secretly republican.  got it.

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

            by Cedwyn on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:11:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not talking about any secrets (0+ / 0-)

              I'm talking about policies that he has openly advocated and implemented. Even Obama has gone so far as to compare himself to "moderate" Republicans from the 80s. But the reality is that there is a lot of agreement between Republicans and Democrats (not just Obama) on some of the most fundamental issues - at least within the beltway.

              “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” – Abraham Lincoln

              by Sagebrush Bob on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 12:33:12 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  They really do want to see... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RJDixon74135, cybersaur

        ...suffering and preventable death in the streets.

        I used to think they assumed that "without a net" we'd all become extraordinary entrepreneurs.

        But they really do think there are too many of us and that we live too damn long. Cutting the safety net culls the herd at minimum possible costs to our Financial Overlords.

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

        by Egalitare on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:37:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Getting older myself, and having cared for my (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Egalitare, Nespolo

          MIL with Alzeimers, I am totally disgusted by claims that seniors will be able to force down the cost of medical care by shopping carefully and unleashing competition in the health care / health insurance industry. Not all of us will get Alzheimers (although the Alzheimers Assn. tells us that about half of us will by age 85), but let me be the one to say that negotiating Medicare coverage (parts B, D, and a supplemental) for myself at age 65 was no piece of cake even though I'd done it for my MIL when I was 60 and for my husband when I was 62.

          As for there being "too many of us," the largest generation yet, the millenials born in the late 70s to the early 2000s (aka generation Y), at 80+ million strong, would be doing a lot to alleviate financial problems in both Social Security and Medicare IF they had jobs. Yes, it always comes back to that.

          “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

          by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:51:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The rising cost of health care is absolutely a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        denise b, cybersaur

        problem for Medicare; however, it is no less a problem for Americans 64 and younger trying desperately to keep pace with health insurance prices, not to mention those with preexisting conditions or other reasons for not having health insurance at all.

        Any "fix" for Medicare that neglects taking into account the real reason for problems with Medicare -- underlying cost increases in the for-profit health care and health insurance industries -- will fail our entire society. It will be nothing more than health care rationing based on ability to pay.

        “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

        by RJDixon74135 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:29:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that's the whole problem (0+ / 0-)

          We don't have a Medicare problem. We have a cost of health care problem. If the dumbfucks in government push seniors off of Medicare, their costs will rise astronomically. People will die.
          Medicare cuts will have nothing but negative consequences. What we really need if we're serious about containing costs is Medicare for all!

    •  No, it doesn't mean that. Understand that these (11+ / 0-)

      two gentlemen are extreme right-wing corporatists.  

      If President Obama actually ended the Social Security program tomorrow, they would continue to say that it was "a missed opportunity."

      How do you think it is that the Democratic Party is so right-wing today, compared to even the Republican Party of 30-40 years ago?

      That's how it happens.  Keep pushing, relentlessly.

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:57:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  kos points out the problem (9+ / 0-)
      But the fact that he would even consider offering something like a Social Security benefits cut is disappointing, and without the tax rate issue as leverage, Obama will have little to pressure Republicans into making major concessions of their own.

      So this is all fantastic for Republicans. They extract major concessions on the Bush tax rates, and in two months they get to go after government spending in a major way holding the nation's economy hostage, negotiating with a president who has zero history of standing up to this sort of economic terrorism. All of this just months after getting their asses kicked in the election.

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:25:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's just political posturing & lobbying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cslewis

      They know the cuts are going to come up in Round 2 of the Deficit Hysteria Show, coming next March.

      That said, Obama's Third Way Group knows the real fun is coming up next.

      See, they actually think Americans arejust begging for cuts to Social Security and Medicare to pay for highway construction and NASA projects

      Obama's Third Way group thinks Americans will love them for cutting entitlements because it will fix the economy!  If not, they will have to raise taxes on the middle class.  Cuz all those safety net programs are headed for insolvency anyway.

      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 06:43:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  why are you calling (0+ / 0-)

        it Obama's Third Way group?

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:05:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because its run by his top donors (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cslewis

          from Wall Street.

          Of the money they have to report for 2012, their board donated over $3,000,000 in hard money to his campaign and to his PACS, as well as senate and house Dem PACS.  Who knows how much they donated that didn't have to be reported.

          These are the people who funded Super PACs like American Bridge to the 21st Century and Priorities USA Action

          Here's a list of their major players and board members

          Link

          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 08:29:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wait until we get Round III in two months. (5+ / 0-)

    This "deal" is a friggin' band-aid, and not a very good one at that.

    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:51:43 AM PST

  •  Any deal is not good enough, (9+ / 0-)

    won't be ever for these guys. They have a nice little money making racket going on now........

  •  OT but - nagging question around revenues (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Eric Nelson

    If unemployment were to fall to 6.5-7.00%, how much tax revenue could be realized from that improvement in the economy? Would that offset the increase to the deficit from these middle-class tax rate extensions?

    America is a COUNTRY, not a CORPORATION. She doesn't need a CEO. Vote Obama.

    by manneckdesign on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 09:14:16 AM PST

    •  Of course (7+ / 0-)

      That is why Obama should have been pushing hard for stimulus for the past 4 years instead of appointing these clowns to a commission and then repeating their calls for more austerity. If we had enough stimulus -- funding for infrastructure, clean energy, and tax cuts for poor people who would immediately spend it -- then the economy would boom and the deficit would mostly go away. But S-B don't care about deficits; they only care about cutting Social Security and Medicare. Obama should never have given them a platform for promoting their nonsense. And no one should listen to them now.

      And by the way, the way to fix the long-term funding problems of SS (if there are any) is to eliminate the limit on SS taxes. This is an easy fix and completely eliminates whatever problems there might be. But S-B focus on cuts instead. This shows that their true aim is to cut SS and Medicare, not to eliminate deficits.

      •  Thanks for your comments-agree on stimulus (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hnichols

        Re: SS Cap, that has been my thought all along. What is the big deal about raising the cap? Higher earners have to pay more? They reap more in the end also.
        Simpson-Bowles can go pound sand for all I care. Asshats, both of them.

        America is a COUNTRY, not a CORPORATION. She doesn't need a CEO. Vote Obama.

        by manneckdesign on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:06:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But the formula bend points can be changed so (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nchristine, hnichols

          that the amount that high earners take home in monthly benefits, does not go up as far as it does under the present formula.

          Otherwise, it'd be a "useless exercise."

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:05:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  "these clowns"--quite apropos N/T (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hnichols, Timothy J

        “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:02:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Calling sister Simone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nespolo

        Not sure where we will be in two months but we need to have the nuns on the bus tour go to DC with all the stories of how difficult it is for most Americans, especially our seniors to live even with social security and Medicare. A movement to oppose any more cuts and away of strengthening these institutions as a way forward .
        Calling Sister Simone and flooding the WH and congress with letters, faxes and emails.

  •  On the bright side... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, Gooserock, Timothy J

    They have sought their catfood several times.  There have been several ginned-up crises in the past few years.  They haven't got their catfood yet.

    Yes--I'm as worried as everyone else that the coming series of crises may yet deliver their catfood.  I'm not too optimistic.

    But:  I feel much better than if they already had it.  We still have the opportunity to fight.  The future is malleable and not fixed.

    So--time for grim determination, prepare for the worst/hope for the best, etc.   But despite several opportunities, the catfood has eluded their grasp so far.  That's cause for hope, not premature despair.

    •  Yes and No. The fact that the deep entitlement (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, hnichols, Timothy J

      cuts have not already been made a part of the deals, is mostly a tactical and/or strategic matter.

      So don't bank on that.  That's exactly what the PtB hope you take away from this, and then disarm.

      NOW is the time to push back against this, with everything we've got.

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:08:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Middle Class 1970 vs Middle Class 2012. (0+ / 0-)

      They've gotten megatons of cat food.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:36:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just saw the NY Times article on Latvia (8+ / 0-)

    According to NYT they are doing just peachy and it's all due to austerity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Except if you read the article they are actually in horrible shape, only slightly less horrible than before. What a success story!

    Paul Krugman says it so I don't have to.

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

    I guess the point is the creditors are happy even though the citizens are suffering terribly. In austerity world that's what passes for a win.

    •  Of course it's about making creditors happy (0+ / 0-)

      The so-called boom of the Clinton years was created by getting people massively into debt. And in the middle of it all, the credit card companies forced Congress to "reform" bankruptcy law.

      The crash of 2008 raised the possibility that a lot of creditors who held mortgage debt might lose their shirt. So they got Congress and the Fed to bail them out.

      Now they're worried we might go the way of Argentina (which, last I heard, was doing pretty well).

  •  Isn't it time for the Depends Twins to retire to (6+ / 0-)

    the meadow to yell at clouds and bore the posies?

    Poverty and Income Inequality isn't Democratic, Justice or American. It is Tyranny.

    by Wendys Wink on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:17:46 AM PST

  •  Shouldn't that be Bowles-Simpson or as it's (9+ / 0-)

    been called many times, B-S?

    You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

    by Throw The Bums Out on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 01:42:35 PM PST

  •  Let's all remember to thank Obama for elevating (8+ / 0-)

    the stature of these two clowns by making them co-chairs of the presidential cat food commission.

    •  Thank you for posting this Twitter feed. May I (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, Timothy J

      ask, how did you do it?

      I can't even embed a Tweet at DKos, although I do at other blogs daily.

      Please fill me in, or, maybe direct me to a "Help Desk" that can, if you would please.

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:01:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you have an account? It's easier if you do (5+ / 0-)

        But you can click on @nogrand bargain   to open a small window - or right click on @markos in my comment and choose open a new window then skip to the pick a tweet step

        Once open, right click on #nograndbargain (not the HTTP//nogrand bargain)
        (you don't have to follow if you don't want to)

        Next pick a tweet you like and click on expand

        Once it expands click on details at the bottom

        Then you'll see embed this tweet also at the bottom - click on it

        grab that code by cutting it (scrolling over it with your mouse clicked to highlight it) and paste the code wherever you want it :)

        •  Thank you, Eric Nelson. I've managed to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson, hnichols

          embed Tweets on a couple of other blogs, but could only manage something that looked like a blockquote here at DKos.

          I do have an account, so I'll give it another shot, with your instructions.  I appreciate your help.

          “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:46:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Two jackasses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, hnichols, cybersaur

    Will these two dudes ever go away ...

    Sick of deficit scolds.

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

    by noofsh on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:17:50 PM PST

  •  Can't we just declare Simpson-Bowles dead (6+ / 0-)

    and old history, and start ignoring them?

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:18:09 PM PST

  •  magic moment indeed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, enemy of the people
    Washington missed this magic moment to do something big to reduce the deficit, reform our tax code, and fix our entitlement programs.
    And push it they will,

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:20:53 PM PST

  •  these two clowns (4+ / 0-)

    should be made to live on food stamps for at least six months. That would wipe those cheesy smiles off their face, to be replaced by persistent frowns of desperation.

    Conservatives, conserving the lifestyles of the rich and infamous. Those < 1/4 billionaires need not apply.

    by longtimelurker on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:21:03 PM PST

  •  No. 1 enemies of the people; fuck em! (3+ / 0-)

    Go to Fix the Debt web page and have a good look around if you have doubts.
    http://www.fixthedebt.org/

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

    by smiley7 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:22:28 PM PST

  •  If these two were better men... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols

    with a sign of kinder hearts, I'd trust them.  But everything I have seen tells me they are not good men, and no one should spend much time listening to them.

    They could have won me over if I had seen signs that they wished to cause a little discomfort to people like themselves, rich and heavily sucking on the public teet--as they have been in high class positions.

    But they choose to hit the old and the sick.  I don't trust them

  •  Shameful... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, hnichols

    You'd think these well fed, well oiled guys in their tasselled loafers would be embarrassed.
    But, of course, they're not.

  •  Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on the Ed Show (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, Gooserock, hnichols, Lucy2009, emal

    said the debt ceiling will feature cuts to entitlements like the one's included in Obama's latest "grand bargain" deal. Sounds like she is on the same page as Simpson and Bowles.

    "...on the (catch a) human network. Cisco."

    by hoplite9 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:24:08 PM PST

  •  They don't give a shit about SS or Medicare (4+ / 0-)

    because they don't need it, so it wont affect them.  Now, if there were proposed cuts on things like, say, women's eyeglasses, they'd be outraged.

  •  Who the f*ck cares what (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, longtimelurker

    Homer and Camilla think?

    These two clowns should go back to the Muppet Theater balcony where they belong.

  •  other barking walruses might (0+ / 0-)

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:49:26 PM PST

  •  This is in our hands, guys! (0+ / 0-)

    If enough of us cause a big enough stink and make it clear that we DO NOT WANT cuts to Medicare/SS and that there will be electoral repercussions, it will eventually sink in.

    It will be much easier to just prevent this from happening, than to try and get it reversed in 50 years when most of us are dead!

    So many on this site ranted and raved (myself included) about what a shit Obama and the Dems were because of no Public Option, etc, etc..... and then we all turned around and voted for them in 2012.  What lesson do you think they learned from that?

    We have to hit them where it hurts..... it is the only recourse that we have as voters.

    Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

    by Lucy2009 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:55:49 PM PST

  •  "This Magic Moment" ... (0+ / 0-)

    ...  I think that song doesn't get played NEARLY enough as background music when rich old white men talk about the economy.

  •  Fuck these fucking fuckers. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur

    This morning on Morning Joe on Faux Noise, they were going on and on and on at great length how the nation needs to adopt Simpson-Bowles to show they are 'serious.'

    Just keep fuckin' that chicken.

  •  Or as I heard some Republican (0+ / 0-)

    say on NPR tonight: "The President got his revenue, now it's time to look at spending cuts and entitlement reform." Good stuff. Should be a fun two months! If you're a 1%-er.

    We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

    by minorityusa on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:08:27 PM PST

  •  every time they (0+ / 0-)

    get interviewed, the interviewer should ask why we should listen to them, when they couldn't even wind up their commission on time and with a report.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:10:38 PM PST

  •  getting picky here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minnesota Deb

    but when people tlike these two say "our nation", I don't think that it means what it used to mean say 25-30 years ago. Whose America is a republican referring to?  Or a Democrat, a plutocrat, a southerner, or a teabagger, or a rush limbaugh, a hanity, o'reilly, a rich man, or a middleclass citizen, or the poor? It has been very evident that we are not all speaking of the same America, or we are not all seen as "equally" American.

    to reduce the deficit, reform our tax code, and fix our entitlement programs. We have all known for over a year that this fiscal cliff was coming. In fact Washington politicians set it up to force themselves to seriously deal with our Nation’s long term fiscal problems.
    The so-called entitlements are not theirs, it does not affect them or their families, but it sure affects us, so that one, entitlements, is ours, and we should have as much to say about it as any of these "upperclass" americans, who seem to want more and more, and they are willing destroy any safety net or entitlement in order to receive further government handouts.

    Conservatives, conserving the lifestyles of the rich and infamous. Those < 1/4 billionaires need not apply.

    by longtimelurker on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:11:29 PM PST

  •  Progressive Tax Policies Needed!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, tardis10, machka

    Quoting J.J. Goldberg at forward.com:  

    [...] Eisenhower inherited a top marginal income tax rate of 92% from his predecessor Harry Truman when he entered the White House in 1953. He quickly lowered it to 91%, where it stayed until Lyndon Johnson lowered it again to 77% in 1964 and then 70% in 1965.  

    During his eight years in the White House, Eisenhower managed to reduce the federal deficit by 75% — down to a quarter of the size he inherited — while building the Interstate Highway System and launching America’s space program. GDP growth averaged 3% per year. Unemployment averaged just under 5.5%.  

    Reagan, entering office in 1981, inherited Johnson’s 70% top marginal income tax rate and immediately lowered it to 50%, then to 38.5% and finally to 28%. His theory was that high taxes stifle economic growth, while lowering taxes unleashes growth and creates jobs. It was a great national experiment, and the result was conclusive: It didn’t work. Growth averaged 3.4% per year during Reagan’s presidency, hardly better than Eisenhower’s, while unemployment averaged a shocking 7.43%, far worse than Eisenhower’s and hardly better than the much-maligned Obama record. [...]  

    So the next time you listen to a presidential debate, remember that nobody up there is taking the Democratic side. The debate we’re having today is between a robust Reaganism and a faint, timid echo of Eisenhower Republicanism. In fact, when you get down to it, the Democrats can’t even bring themselves to take Eisenhower’s side with any conviction. We’re all touting variations on a flimflam theory that’s been tried and proven a colossal failure.

    --------

    How To Cut Spending: End Corporate Welfare!!!     

    As Rex Nutting of Marketwatch noted in his 12/18/2012 article "Why isn’t Obama demanding corporate welfare cuts?", "$2.6 trillion could be saved [...] It’s possible to achieve all the budget savings we need for the next 10 years simply by cutting the fat out of discretionary spending programs and tax expenditures [removing all of the corporate welfare] without raising tax rates on the wealthy or cutting the safety net at all."     

    Oil and gas companies, which are raking in record profits, certainly don't need $4 billion a year in subsidies, and even the oil company CEOs admit they don't need it!     

    Why are cuts to Social Security and Medicare even being discussed while literally billions in corporate welfare are constantly spilling out of the Treasury? 

    White House petition to End Corporate Welfare: http://wh.gov/...   
    ~

  •  I just don't get it (0+ / 0-)

    this statement is quite true:

    "Our leaders must now have the courage to reform our tax code and entitlement programs such that we stabilize our debt and put it on a downward path as a percent of the economy."

    And yet most here seem to think that there is only one part of that equation that is accurate. Erskine Bowles is not a rabid neocon seeking to destroy the country and kill grandmothers. He is a sensible, dedicated public servant (like his father).

  •  F-35 are only $130 million a piece (0+ / 0-)

    And with 100 of those and some predictors drones  in the hands of a standing army, would could forget about the NRA, I tell you what.

    Quarter some troops in the homes of Muslims, and it is pay for itself. No one is going to disagree with that. Am I right. Am I right.

    I mean I know the $130 million is just a start, the maintenance and training of pilots is going to be a lot more.  But, why spend money on safety nets, when you could have the most KICK ASS army in the world?  

    Yeah baby! Forget you New England Patriots, and Denver Broncos, we have F-35s!!!!

    [/snark]

    America grows an amazing amount of food. Up to the point were we pay farmers not to grow it. And still Simpson-Bowles would throw the baby out with the bath water - and I am not sure I mean that figuratively.

    It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America. - Molly Ivins

    by se portland on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:55:49 PM PST

  •  Fatalism isn't helpful. eom (0+ / 0-)

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