Skip to main content

President Barack Obama to Scott Pelley of CBS News in an interview broadcast before Sunday's Super Bowl, making the case that the only sensible way to reduce the deficit is by making "smart" spending cuts, reducing health care costs, and closing tax loopholes to generate more revenue:
The question is, if we're going to be serious about reducing our deficit, can we combine some smart spending cuts [...] reduce health care costs [...] and close some loopholes and deductions? [...] If you can combine those things together, then we can not only reduce our deficit, but can continue investing in things like education and research and development that are going to help us grow.
The president's bottom-line:
There's no doubt we need additional revenue, coupled with smart, spending reductions in order to bring down our deficit. And we can do it in a gradual way so that it doesn't have a huge impact.
The problem, of course, is that unless Congress changes current law, we're going to end up with massive, across-the-board spending cuts from the sequester. Those are scheduled to kick in on March 1—less than four weeks away. As we saw with last quarter's GDP report, the sudden and severe fiscal austerity is guaranteed to hurt economic growth. It's obvious that the president does not want that to happen, but neither Pelley nor he explicitly discussed it.

The silence on the sequester is curious, given that it's an imminent threat that Congress could make go away simply by snapping their fingers, but we seem to be in the middle of a game of chicken, with House Republicans claiming they want the sequester to take place and the White House and Senate Democrats saying the only way to get rid of it is by replacing it with a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. But the only way we're going to get rid of it is if Republicans are willing to accept revenues or both parties agree to either eliminate it altogether or postpone it again.

Everybody knows it's a terrible idea. Nobody wants it to happen. But unless Washington, DC does something to fix the problem that it created, the sequester is going to happen—and we're the ones who are going to pay the price.

Tags

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  I'm not sure nobody wants it to happen. (5+ / 0-)

    If Republicans think it will help them at all, they want it to happen.

    •  Defense contractors are going to go nuts. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shoeless, hawkseye, gmartini, Faito

      "Austerity" now is of course a bad thing. However, the only way we are going to be able to roll back the MIC is if we use "budget discipline" to do it.

      This is jujitsu. The Pres. and progressive Dems want to roll back long term spending on defense and the gop wants to let the poor die.

      Right now, the President and our side have the mechanical advantage, politically.

      We still need short term investment in infrastructure, new technology and education, to further the recovery, and we need to chart a long term deficit reduction scheme that will slowly shrink the MIC without causing a crash on Wall Street.
      We need the tax loophole reform.
      We still need cost containment on health care.

      If we do that we can quit worrying about the social safety net.
      Our side of the equation is so sensible and understandable, and their side is hysteria and nonsense, coupled with bullying and "looky over there" by the Wall Street Media.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:26:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's how we know the Republicans are (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hawkseye, David54

        full of shit. They are bluffing even though everyone can see the cards that they are holding.

        You ever notice that everyone who believes in creationism looks really unevolved? Eyes real close together, big furry hands and feet. "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks like he rushed it.- Bill Hicks

        by shoeless on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:40:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, if Dems and Repubs didn't want (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      it to happen, they have a very easy way out of it.

      They created this "crisis;" they can unmake it.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:12:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tax rates off the table (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, psnyder, shoeless

    As per the President.  

    I believe there were people on this web site claiming during the last showdown that tax rates would still be open.  Nope.  

    Don't worry, tiny percentage of Americans who own all the wealth in America - the President isn't going to be raising your rates!  (he'll just be raising your effective taxation rate).

    •  Tax rates already went up. (7+ / 0-)

      Payroll tax temporary cut was ended, and closing loopholes and removing deductions are an increase for those taking advantage of them.

      I see what you did there.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 07:43:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was not aware they were realistically (14+ / 0-)

      "on the table."  I thought $450,000 was too high, but that was the deal.   In my view, all things considered, the President has done reasonably well with the Republican House.

      Cap Gains and dividends should be more than 20%, but that battle will have to be fought in the future.

      Removing deductions would be a good thing.  I'm glad he is still fighting for revenue.  The key is "gradual" deficit reduction.  

      I agree with Krugman that the whole deficit reduction in a recession is misguided, but if we can push cuts to the future, it is less worse.  In addition, while I favor revenue increases, I also understand that has an austerity effect.    

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

      by TomP on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 07:45:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Realistically, they weren't. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP, Mindful Nature

        However, while the President was ironing out the current tax scheme, there was a debate in the comments of Daily Kos.  I and others argued that the President was locking in the current rate structure.  Others argued that the President was doing no such thing, and that he could still get revenue by increasing rates.  

        This was just one of the missing pieces of information on the deal brokered by the President - what would be the long term impact of the deal?  Well, now we know one more piece - the rates are locked down.  It's all "loopholes" from here on out..  We'll see how much success there is with that angle - despite years of Democratic attempts to end them, for example, oil companies still get significant tax preferences.  

        All this to say, I agree with your comment, but I was just pointing out what I think is a useful piece of info.

        •  I see. Thanks. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MPociask

          I did not see those threads.  Had, I seen them, I would have agreed with your posiiton.  Based on how difficult it was jsut to increase rates by a little over 4%, and the limited number of familes subjected to that raise, I think your view was correct.  That raise would not have happened unless the Bush tax cuts had been expiring.  

          I do not expect many, if any, loopholes to be ended.  Nonetheless, I'm glad they are arguing for revnue because otherwise we just debate the amount by which we cut spending, which gives the Rs too much and ensures a poor outcome.    

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

          by TomP on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:00:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  With a dozen or more "progressive" Dems (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, FiredUpInCA, joe from Lowell

        angling for the $500,000 mark (loud and clear on the talk shows over the past year) the prez went in with a  low offer of $200,000 on the table and then adjusted up. It's a strategy he's often been criticized for NOT using.

        But now of course, he's criticized for "caving". I always predicted $500,000. He did well, imo.

        The problem now is that the republicans are publicizing loud and clear that tax cuts "have been done and they're off the table"...forever

        the kicking and screaming ensues with lots of heel marks from the dragging

        "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

        by Sybil Liberty on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:07:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's still ridiculous (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FiredUpInCA, SouthernLiberalinMD

          That Democratic politicians were so publicly undercutting the President and the progressive case in general while he was still publicly holding the line at 250.  

          The idea that taxes are punishment, that we all need relief from taxes, and that if you're making less than 500k a year, you need that tax relief too - those are not Democratic positions.  And yet there they were, coming from as you said many, many sitting Democratic politicians.  I guess that's what you get when the average net worth of Congress is one million +

        •  This is called providing your leader (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Laconic Lib

          with a more extreme right flank so that his actions look more progressive. It can also be done from the other side, of course.  Huey Long provided a left flank threat which caused Roosevelt's reforms to look good b/c they weren't as scary to businessmen as Long's were. Obama's tax reforms look good to progressives b/c they don't pander as badly to the 1% as the proposals of the 500K people do.

          This stuff is just business on the Hill. My guess is that those people weren't undercutting him at all; they were all working together.  There's nothing wrong with that--I just wish it were happening to move the Overton window to the left rather than to the right. But that's not going to happen from the inside.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:21:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  In what future will we raise capital gains (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass

        and estate taxes?

        It better be a future which includes profound campaign finance reform, because we're all about to get a lot poorer, and if it still costs millions to get someone to DC we're going to be shit out of luck.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:16:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Off the table for this round. (0+ / 0-)

      That's not to say they're off the table forever.

      Closing the loopholes that keep the effective rate so low for people like Mitt Romney should be the priority now anyway.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:41:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is that Bowles-Simpson doesn't just (0+ / 0-)

        recommend taking away tax deductions "for the wealthy."

        You might want to check out Section II of The Moment Of Truth, entitled "Tax Reform." (the Fiscal Commission's proposal).

        They would remove these for most everyone.

        Including the decades-long ability to "not pay taxes on one's employer's contribution" to your group health insurance.

        THAT ONE will hit many working and middle class Americans the hardest!

        Here the link to the B-S proposal.

        Here's an excerpt:

        Lower rates, broaden the base, and cut spending in the tax code.  The current tax code is riddled with $1.1 trillion of tax expenditures:  backdoor spending hidden in the tax code.

        Tax reform must reduce the size and number of these tax expenditures and lower marginal tax rates for individuals and corporations – thereby simplifying the code, improving fairness, reducing the tax gap, and spurring economic growth.  Simplifying the code will dramatically reduce the cost and burden of tax preparation and compliance for individuals and
        corporations.

        Please take time to read this section of the proposal.

        The "reform" clearly benefits the wealthy and corporations, much more than it does the working or middle classes.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "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 Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:35:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bowles-Simpson is dead. (0+ / 0-)

          Why would anybody waste their time on the report that Simpson and Bowles couldn't get their committee to pass?

          That thing is dead, and one of the reasons it is dead is that it recommended things like eliminating the mortgage interest deduction in its entirety.

          Going after tax expenditures doesn't have to be done in as blunt a manner as the Chairmen's Report recommended.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:07:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Respectfully, the entire "Fix the Debt" Campaign (0+ / 0-)

            that's spearheaded by Repubs and Dems (like former Governor Ed Rendell and Sam Nunn, to just mention a couple of Dems) is all about getting the Bowles-Simpson proposal passed (sometimes referred to as a "framework for the Grand Bargain.")  

            That's exactly what "the Grand Bargain is."

            And, it's absolutely not dead.

            Read it (here's the link), and then study each bill/law that's been passed as a result of each of our faux "fiscal crises."  Some of their proposals are "sprinkled" throughout the bills that have passed after each "crises."

            For instance, the recommendation that the Social Security Administration quit sending out annual statements (eliminating unnecessary printing was a B-S proposal), as was freezing the pay of Federal Employees, as was the recent so-called negotiation of the capital gains tax, back to 20% (instead of 15%).

            IOW, portions of Bowles-Simpson's The Moment Of Truth have been passed "piecemeal" for over two years now, and will continue to be, until almost every component of it is law.

            Jack Lew told Financial Times reporter James Politi [in a taped interview] that the President supports "all six pillars" of Bowles-Simpson--he said "Simpson-Bowles," actually.  This was while he served as his Chief-of-Staff, BTW.

            And guess how many sections or categories the proposal is comprised of?  You got it--SIX.

            [I posted it at one time on blogs, but my subscription to Financial Times has lapsed and I can no longer access the video archive, or I'd show you the video, itself.  Sorry, that this is not possible.]
            With the Peter Peterson Foundation behind the push to get this proposal (Bowles-Simpson) through, please don't be lulled into thinking that the fight is over.

            It is ongoing, with the cuts to Social Security and Medicare on-the-table.  It is just being enacted "in drips and drabs."

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "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 Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 03:51:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  One other thing, I hope that you will closely (0+ / 0-)

            follow the tax reform negotiations.  The "mortgage deduction" will likely just be reduced, instead of completely eliminated, since it has the support of the affluent.

            What the "Fix the Debtors" are really going after are loopholes that mainly benefit lower and middle income folks.

            Such as eliminating the provision that allows employees to not be taxed on the portion of the health insurance premium that their employer's pay on their behalf.

            This will substantially raise taxes on many "working stiffs," at a time when it can hardly be afforded.

            They're "foaming at the mouth," to eliminate that one.  And why not?  Except for "CEO's" of major corporations or big business, many wealthy small business entrepreneurs don't personally benefit from this type of tax expenditure.

            I have a feeling that the tax fight is going to get "really ugly."

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "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 Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 04:21:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Here, please allow me to repost the link below. (0+ / 0-)

          Bowles-Simpson's The Moment of Truth, PDF.

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "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 Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 04:10:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  We need leadership out of the sequester (6+ / 0-)

    Simply say it was a bad idea, the election has since happened, and no deal ever is coming out of the sequester.  Nobody even knows what the fucking word means, and in this case it's even incorrect.

    Presto gonzo, make a real budget.  If the Republicans are stupid enough to balk make them own it.  We saw this work with the debt ceiling, it's easy.

    We're lost in space, we should be talking about how to nail the Republicans for not spending more on stimulus.  Bassackwards, man, and it's easy to see too.  Where are the fucking jobs, DC?

    China.  I see.  Wrong answer, American.  Time was when that label really meant something instead of doing stupid wrong things.

  •  Wasn't Groundhog Day Saturday? (5+ / 0-)

    I feel like we've lived through this a few times recently.  We keep playing chicken again and again.  

    Theatre of the absurd.

  •  ALEC has no problem raising taxes on middle class (8+ / 0-)

    and poor Americans at the state level, as long as taxes are cut on the rich and corporations.

  •  Of course this means Obama will cut everything (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Faito

    unilaterally using his dictatorial powers in order to hand everything over to the Illuminati.

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 07:44:35 AM PST

  •  Dear Mr. President: (23+ / 0-)

    The way to balance the budget is to create a shitload of jobs.

    Sincerely,

    John Maynard Keynes

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 07:45:31 AM PST

  •  The Service Economy ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dfarrah, psnyder, shoeless

    .... is the problem. We make NOTHING. Obama could close every loophole, raise taxes to 99% on the 5%, etc, etc, etc ... it would mean nothing. The money DOES NOT EXIST to balance the budget and avoid going the way of Europe.

    When is he going to address the fact that too little is made here? That all we are doing is sending more and more jobs overseas? Get the jobs back to this country and the revenue problem will solve itself.

    •  Disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace, katiec, Faito

      Both goods and services have economic value, and often today the two are intertwined.  Is Apple iTunes a good or a service?

      The real problem is that our economy generously rewards people who produced, effectively, nothing--no value in the good, or no utility in the service. They are the Wall Street and corporate gamblers, along with many other flavors of huckster.

      Included in the non-producers are people who gain most of their income from interest or inheritance.  These are the ones who didn't build it or make it or do it.

      All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

      by YankInUK on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:55:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree .... (0+ / 0-)

        Services have value. But half the economy is gone .... get it back and up go the revenues. Lets have the service AND the manufacturing. Not everyone is cut out for "Service" types of jobs; bringing them back would revitalize the middle class, and allow a whole wave of the "lower class" who are not "Serviced oriented" to lift themselves up.

    •  I don't think those jobs are coming back. (0+ / 0-)

      Even if US corporate tax rates go down to zero, those companies who outsource are all about the bottom line.  If they can get somebody to build an iWhatever in Bangladesh for 97 cents an hour, they're going to continue to do that.

      The upside of globalization is that it is lifting at least some out of grinding poverty.  The downside of globalization is that middle-class Americans are losing their standard of living.  I don't see how it will ever come back again.

  •  Why is it always that we... (16+ / 0-)

    ...have to have stuff taken away from the people who didn't cause the problem to serve the whims of those who have

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

    by delver rootnose on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 07:58:21 AM PST

  •  As long as the sick and the poor are unfairly (4+ / 0-)

    targeted to balance our budget so that the rich and more deserving can have easier lives with little worry or discomfort.

    Since they are so much better than us common folk.

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:03:12 AM PST

    •  As long as we're consumed with balancing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      our budget, we'll be in a mess.

      The deficit should float against the real economy.

      Bad investments should be corrected.  Not because of budget issues, but because of bad effects.

      The Fed Gov issues a fiat currency -- which relies upon the infinite numerical system.

      It doesn't have a check book, it has a money making machine.

      It balances the financial sectors:  public, domestic private and foreign trade.

      Every dollar is both a public liability and a private asset.

      Public -1  =  Private +1

      If you want both the public and domestic private sectors to be in surplus at the same time, foreign trade must be in enough surplus to pay for it.

      We have  a trade deficit.

      Thus, if the public were to go into surplus, households  must pay for it.

  •  Mr. President (17+ / 0-)

    Please stop this "everyone has to have skin in the game" stuff. You are wrong. Please start listening to Mr. Krugman, Mr. Stilitz, Mr. Baker, Mr. Reich, etc. Reducing expenditures is the road to failure. Please ask someone else for advice. Thank-you.

  •  End the Drug War. (5+ / 0-)

    Save a bunch on wasteful spending there.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:05:28 AM PST

  •  Why doesn't (8+ / 0-)

    BO mention that our taxes are at historical low levels?

    Why doesn't he connect austerity with economic contraction?

    You would think by now, he could talk about these things now--everybody else is.

    BO's usual inability to make the right case strikes again.  And we're gonna pay for it again.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:06:44 AM PST

    •  I wonder too (0+ / 0-)

      Why he doesn't mention the low tax levels.  Probably because they don't feel low, to anybody.  They don't feel low to me.  My property taxes are high; my state taxes are high.  My fed taxes are creeping up.  I look at what's missing from my paycheck and think it's all going to feed the war machine.  If I were a Repub, I'd think it was going to feed moochers and welfare queens, I suppose.

      The cost of our family's health insurance is holding steady, thank gawd.

      Those who are pushing for "austerity" for the middle and lower classes in America (but never for the M/I/C) are many.  They are also very well organized and financed, and they are spread across the nation, and they are smart about keying into sympathetic outfits like state and town/city governments.

  •  Further tax rate rasies off the table if fine... (3+ / 0-)

    Now just close ALL the loopholes and enforce total compliance.  

    I don't see how the GOP can think they can win the argument against closing loopholes.

    Also the sequester isn't going to happen.  Don't believe for a second the GOP when they say "We're perfectly okay with the sequester happening"  because two major backers of the GOP is the Chamber of Commerce and the Military Industrial Complex - and both lose big if the sequester happens.  MIC sees pretty major defense cuts, and the CoC sees a lot of federal spending taken out of the economy and a potential shock recession.  

    All the talk of the GOP wanting the sequester cuts is them trying to pretend they have any negotiating ground to stand on.  They don't.  

    President Obama will have 40 minutes of prime time media next Tuesday for the State of the Union, which will be watched by 25M people.  He'll make the case for the balanced approach of making more cuts while closing loopholes.  

    So many of the special loopholes for the rich were created in backrooms by lobbyists and their bought and paid for politicians.  Neither really wants to see what they cooked up together front and center in any political debates because they're indefensible.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:17:06 AM PST

  •  Thankfully, nobody has thought of "Jobs" (6+ / 0-)

    as a way to increase revenues and relieve the safety-net. Good Jobs for Americans in America.

    But once you get onto that whole "Jobs" thing you start questioning the value of the "Holy Global Marketplace" where we have to compete with slave-labor or damn close to it

    And then there's the utility, viability, and soundness of our Financial system. Which for some reason never got around to lending like they said they would with TARP money; various trillions supplied by the Fed and Treasury.

    Apparently, there's something wrong with their ability to Trickle Upon the, mostly expendable (actually a burden), general population.

    Still, as long as we can avoid creating Jobs -- even talking about that -- we'll have time to address the Sacred Deficit.

    And it's very sporting of both parties to not focus on Jobs, as the one which does will of course win elections resoundingly. Don't want any party with an unfair advantage in the public's eye, nope.


    Markos! Not only are the Gates Not Crashed, they've fallen on us. Actual Representatives are what we urgently need, because we have almost none.

    by Jim P on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:17:21 AM PST

    •  As someone said above, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, Laconic Lib

      one person has thought of jobs--John Maynard Keynes. Too bad he's been dead (literally) since 1946 and figuratively since 1981.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:17:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like the "closing loopholes" part (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl, FiredUpInCA, howd, Laconic Lib

    By claiming "closing loopholes" as his own idea, Obama deprives his enemies of a talking point.  Give them the "tax rates" meme.  That is so 2012.    The practical question for any increase in revenue is "who pays?"

    Generically, "closing loopholes" is a nonpartisan issue.  The key question about closing loopholes is the same as it was when Rmoney refused to answer it:   which ones?

    A whole lot of loopholes preferentially benefit the super-rich.  Indeed, some preferentially benefit the 0.1-percenters.  For example, Romney's IRA-derived tax dodge (which was probably legal according to current law) has also been used by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg to create tax-free shelters worth hundreds of millions.

    I'm not a tax expert, but surely there are loopholes that, if eliminated, would deprive 1%-percenters preferentially.  And surely there are loophole closures that would increase the effective inheritance tax (and associated loopholes) without actually raising "rates."   Let's talk about those.

    All forms of fundamentalist thought breed magical thinking.

    by YankInUK on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:20:24 AM PST

    •  Exactly. Remember Mitt Romney's tax returns? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YankInUK

      The tax loopholes that rich people exploit to keep their effective tax rate low was the core policy point of that argument.  Mitt Romney didn't want to release his taxes because he was embarrassed by how low his effective tax rate was.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:48:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      ... some of them are large enough that they raise a signficant amount of revenue, but be difficult politically (see, Deductions: Home Mortgage and Charitable)

      ... some of them are small enough that they might be doable politically but won't raise a signfcant amount of revenue (See, Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts)

      Closing loopholes sounds good, but at the end of the day, it will be hard to find enough to "fix the budget problem"

      Of course, that assumes that there is a budget problem to be fixed immediately, through such measures.

      (Did someone say more jobs = more income = less budget deficit?  I thought so...)

  •  So.................. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    penguins4peace, Laconic Lib

    adopt Mitt Romney's policies, then?  I wonder if team Obama is even aware of the irony here.


    "Just because you win the fight, don't mean you're right," - Funkadelic

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:30:02 AM PST

  •  No Doubt? Really? (4+ / 0-)

    Obama says:

    There's no doubt we need additional revenue, coupled with smart, spending reductions in order to bring down our deficit. And we can do it in a gradual way so that it doesn't have a huge impact.
    Actually, as I read Krugman, "spending reductions" are the very last thing we need to end the current depression.
    •  Obama doesn't say we need (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA, joe from Lowell

      spending reductions to end the current recession, he says its needed for deficit reduction. Now, you may argue that deficit reduction isn't needed now, and I agree, but thats not the same as attributing Obama with the republican belief that cutting spending will lead us out of the recession. If he believed that he wouldn't have proposed the American Jobs Act or pushed for its components.

    •  As I read Keynes, "in a gradual way" is exactly (0+ / 0-)

      the right way to implement spending cuts as the economy recovers.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:45:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mr. Keynes might disagree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Libby Shaw, Laconic Lib, AoT

        on our current use of the term "recovery."

        It's not much of a recovery for the unemployed, and the real unemployment rate is higher than 7.9%. And what recovery is happening in the private sector is being to a large extent offset by massive cuts in public-sector jobs.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:32:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm pretty Keynes would be fine with GDP growth... (0+ / 0-)

          as a measure of economic activity.

          "It's not much of a recovery for the unemployed" is an empty cliche that tells us nothing about the state of the economy.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:45:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. The rate of real unemployment (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Libby Shaw, Laconic Lib, AoT

            tells us nothing about the state of the economy?

            And losses in public sector jobs dragging on the economic recovery don't matter, as our leaders contemplate policies that will cut still more?

            If you really believe that, there's no more point in talking.

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:44:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It tells us many useful things. (0+ / 0-)

              That's the problem - real unemployment is influenced by a lot more than the rate of economic growth, so as a measure of economic growth, it's a second-best measure.  Think about the effect of off-shoring jobs.  In a growing economy, this would be expected to speed up, but those job losses wouldn't indicate slower growth.

              Employment is also a lagging indicator of economic growth and contraction, which job losses coming months after recessions begin, and job gains coming months after growth returns.

              Regardless of all that, noting the snapshot unemployment number doesn't tell us anything whatsoever about the rate of growth.  Is 7.9% a higher unemployment rate than the rate six months ago, or lower?  (Hint: lower).

              The loss of public sector jobs is not a consequence of the rate of economic growth, so much as a consequence of political decisions.  The private-sector employment numbers are a much better indicator of the real state of the economy.  Why, JM Keynes himself recommended adding public sector jobs during slowdowns and reducing them during booms.

              But I am perfectly fine with you not talking anymore.  You seem much more interested in point-scoring than in understanding, and you're not even very good at it.  Goodbye.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:17:01 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't want to point score--not on this issue (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                I want a job. for me, or for my boyfriend. I want some way out of this trap. This is not an abstract discussion for me.

                It seems to me that you divide politics from economics in a very strange way, indeed.

                this, for instance:

                The loss of public sector jobs is not a consequence of the rate of economic growth, so much as a consequence of political decisions.  The private-sector employment numbers are a much better indicator of the real state of the economy.  Why, JM Keynes himself recommended adding public sector jobs during slowdowns and reducing them during booms.

                Political decisions affect the economy, both in its private-and public-sector aspects, profoundly. If George W. Bush taught us anything, surely he taught us that. So separating "economic growth" from "political decisions" seems a little off-base, especially given the reactions in the marketplace to political decisions and lack thereof in Washington of recent years. Actually, there's historical precedent for this as well:  surely FDR's "political decision" to enter WWII had an effect on U.S. economic growth!

                Your statement that private-sector numbers are "a much better indicator of the real state of the economy" presupposes an idea of what the "real state of the economy" is which doesn't seem at all based around the experience of most of its participants, most of whom don't care whether the money circulating--in part through their salaries and wages and spending--comes from Uncle Sam or Uncle Sam Walton.

                Reading your words, it's as if the public sector with its attendant political decisions, somehow isn't inextricably involved in real economic growth. Your argument doesn't seem to include any notion that the public and private sectors have any real relationship. In fact, it seems pretty close to saying "ah, those public-sector jobs are just a function of politics; they don't matter much; the real economy is over here in the private sector--" when in fact the drain and shrinkage in the public sector is having a seriously bad effect on our economy, including GDP.

                Krugman describes fairly accurately the relationships I see.

                if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:48:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  If 50% of the people in the ghetto can't find jobs (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib, AoT

            you can bet it does affect the economy.

            "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

            by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 11:57:02 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But does it indicate the state of the economy? (0+ / 0-)

              Ghettos, by definition, are places that are cut off from the economic, social, and political mainstream.

              In the half-century following WW2, for instance, periods of economic growth just sped up the process of jobs fleeing "the ghetto."

              Employment figures, especially localized employment figures, are influenced by a lot of factors other than overall economic growth.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:19:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  47% of Americans have ghetto income levels (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                And you don't think their not being able to finds jobs is going to affect the economy?

                Can you count?

                "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:28:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's not the same thing as unemployment. (0+ / 0-)

                  You really shouldn't throw around arrogant, vacuous insults if you're going to make such elementary mistakes.

                  If you have a point, chumpie, throw it on out there.  This pretentious asshole act isn't getting you anywhere.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:43:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You are completely missing the point. (0+ / 0-)

                    Are you doing this intentionally?

                    Someone counseled me that my thought process is not mainstream so let me try and reword this.

                    Almost half of America is ghetto. Between 30% and 50% of the people there are unemployed. That many people that can't pay their bills will invariably cause financial repercussions to the greater economy.

                    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                    by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:49:53 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  How can I miss a point if you won't make it? (0+ / 0-)

                      Stop doing the "I'm so awesome, you're so stupid" internet asshole act, and just SAY WHATEVER THE HELL IT IS YOU HAVE TO SAY.  You'll find that people have a much easier time understanding you that way, if they don't have to wade through line after line of your dick-swinging.

                      Now, not only do I understand your point, it's central to what I've been saying; that employment and overall growth are two different factors, that are imperfectly correlated.  They don't match up perfectly in either time, or in space (geography).  You can have areas that have elevated unemployment even during economic booms, and you can GDP growth that doesn't reduce unemployment as much as it should.

                      Given these uneven areas, and, yes, the drag they can cause to overall growth, you need to go deeper than the top-line unemployment number to understand what is happening with economic growth overall.  You cannot just note that unemployment is higher than it should be and conclude that growth isn't happening.

                      Art is the handmaid of human good.

                      by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:58:50 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The point is what it's been the entire thread (2+ / 0-)

                        If you think the GDP is the only figure that matters then you're sadly wrong.

                        GDP growth doesn't matter if it's just more money being shifted by financial institutions, and that's what most of this recovery has been.

                        •  Not the only figure "that matters." (0+ / 0-)

                          "The only figure that reliably tells us whether economic growth is happening."

                          Economic growth - the expansion of the amount of wealth being produced - is an important factor to understand.  It's not the only factor, you're quite right about that, but it's an important basis for everything else.  In the absence of an increase in wealth-generation, we're never going to accomplish any of the important purposes, like getting everyone a job.

                          Keynes focused very heavily on economic growth (the expansion of economic activity).  He made the famous remark about burying money and having people dig it up.  If that isn't "money being shifted around," I don't know what is.

                          Art is the handmaid of human good.

                          by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:11:31 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not important for everything else (0+ / 0-)

                            I'd add that we really need to move away from a growth based model, it simply isn't sustainable in the long run.  We're already seeing the limitations with global warming.  I get tired of arguing the minutia of an economics that refuses to accept that growth is a dead end.

                            Honestly, I rather see the numbers on what percentage of people are well fed and housed.  That is the basis for a good economy in my eyes.  I only look at employment because we're still expected to work despite the fact that little to none of it really contributes in a meaningful way to society, either supporting people or making the world a better place.

                      •  Who makes the "Product" ? nt (0+ / 0-)

                        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

                        by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:07:11 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

          •  What does the fact that we have ... (3+ / 0-)

            ...12.3 million officially unemployed, 8 million working part-time who want (and need) full-time work, and 6.8 million who want a job but have given up looking, a total of 27 million unemployed and underemployed.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:03:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That we're RECOVERING from a deep recession. (0+ / 0-)

              Why do so many people have trouble understanding what the word "recovery" means?

              Why do people think it means "boom" or "everything is fantastic?"

              If your friend had surgery, and the nurse told you "He's in recovery," or "He's recovering," would you think she's saying that he's ready to go play basketball?

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:42:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't have trouble understanding the... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                ...word "recovery," which is appropriately placed in quotation marks.

                Three years ago here, the handful of us who questioned the pace of "recovery" were ridiculed and told that we'd soon be seeing 300,000 or more jobs a month being created. Just be patient. But three-and-a-half years after the "recovery" officially began, we are still nine million jobs short of the "full employment" level we were at in December 2007 when the Great Recession began. At the present level of "recovery," it will be 2022 before we return to "normal."  

                I agree with you that off-shoring of jobs and the uneven distribution of benefits form technological productivity (and the plague of income inequality and need for tax reform) all should be among the economic issues that we push. But it doesn't help when, for the past three years, the happy-talkers have been telling us that we're just about to see job growth soar and just to be patient. Probably, some day, it will soar and then they can claim to be right.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:04:58 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This shouldn't be about "right on the internet." (0+ / 0-)

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:28:38 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nobody seems to mind when we... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    ...point out that Ronald Reagan's wrongheaded policies did a lot of to get us where we are economically today. Or that financial deregulation, a bipartisan (but more Republican and Democratic) approach in the '90s did a lot to get us where we are economically today. Or Bush's approach to taxation and elective wars did a lot to get us where we are economically today. Or that Ben Bernanke was utterly wrong when he continued to say we weren't falling into recession nine months after we had already fallen into one helped get us where we are economically today.

                    Why is it therefore that those here who were describing what should and shouldn't be done economically over the past four years can't be criticized for getting it wrong and still getting it wrong while telling those of us who got it right that we're economic ignoramuses?

                    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                    by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:37:48 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  And that there are structural issues. (0+ / 0-)

              There is a lot of dislocation in our economy, and trends that tend to reduce job growth below what it "should" be, given a certain level of GDP growth.

              This is a point that people on the left should be pushing, not something they should need to be reminded of.  Trends like outsourcing and ever-expanding productivity numbers are problems that need to be addressed separately from overall growth rates.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:51:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  If the welfare of the individual isn't (0+ / 0-)

            important to the economy or economic indicators then those things are useless.

            •  Not useless; useful for certain things. (0+ / 0-)

              Also, the difference between GDP and employment rates as measures of economic performance is not "individual vs. collective."  Those are both collective, aggregate measures.  They are collective, aggregate measures of two different things.

              But all of this is off-point.  A snap-shot unemployment rate reading doesn't tell us whether the economy is or isn't recovering.  We were at 7.9% at a particular point on the way down, and we're now at 7.9% at a particular point on the way up.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 12:47:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  When so much of the GDP is FIRE (0+ / 0-)

                then I'd say it's a pretty useless gauge of how "The Economy" is doing.  Really, I could care less about "The Economy."  What I do care about is how actual people are doing, and saying that high unemployment is beside the point is exactly the problem with economics.

                •  Stop thinking "useful/useless," and ask... (0+ / 0-)

                  "Useful for what, and not useful for what?"

                  You can't just say you don't care about "the economy."  While GDP growth is not a sufficient condition, in and of itself, to bring down unemployment, it is a necessary condition.

                  We're never going to see the people who need help get it if the economy isn't growing.

                  Art is the handmaid of human good.

                  by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:02:37 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It isn't necessary when it isn't (0+ / 0-)

                    necessarily connected to any real growth.  When there is job growth then there will likely be GDP growth, but not vice versa.  Given that there's GDP growth and pathetic job growth I say that counts a a pretty pathetic recovery, regardless of what high finance may say.

                    Stop thinking "useful/useless," and ask...
                    "Useful for what, and not useful for what?"
                    Yes, welcome to the conversation.  This is what I've been saying.  GDP isn't the key thing to look at because it isn't useful in determining whether or not people are doing better.  I've said this numerous times.  GDP mattered when we were primarily a manufacturing economy and not primarily a finance/service economy.
  •  The Very Serious People (0+ / 0-)

    are saying the Sequester will happen. I heard Cokie (I am a mouthpiece for privilege) Roberts say it this morning.

    And then another VSP said it would happen, but wouldn't matter because Congress could 'fix it' whenever they wanted.

    But then, the VSP are usually full of shit.

  •  So you support "smart, spending reductions"? And (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SouthernLiberalinMD, Laconic Lib

    where are these "smart, spending reductions"?  She asks, rhetorically.

    Acceleration is a thrill, but velocity gets you there

    by CarolinNJ on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:07:58 AM PST

  •  If we miss this chance for defense cuts... (0+ / 0-)

    I am not at all confident we'll ever see them come back.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:44:13 AM PST

  •  Can we please stop blaming the city... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Apost8

    of Washington, D.C. for things that lay at the feet of Congressional Republicans? Please, pretty please. That way, when I, a resident of Washington, D.C. travel to other parts of the country and answer the question about where I am from, I don't get death stares that imply I am the source of all that is wrong with the nation. Thanks.

  •  Lockheed Martin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    et.al. are not going to allow the sequester to happen, and the President knows it, all he has to do is sit back and wait for the GOP to fold.

  •  Nobody wants it to happen (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, musiccitymollie

    But they proposed, wrote, and voted on the deal that made it happen, back in summer 2011.

    And until I get solid information that contradicts this, I will consider that nobody up there is discussing this issue in good faith.

    Seems to me that both parties' leadership are interested in using crises like this to force cuts to earned benefits and force revenue raisers that their constituencies don't want. And in the case of earned benefits cuts, that 50% of Republican voters don't want either. America won't accept those cuts. They are going to be hideously unpopular.  So in order to achieve them, there has to be a really big crisis, or a series of crises, to at the very least confuse and befuddle the American public into passivity.

    To contradict your diary, I'd say that almost everyone in DC does want these cuts to happen, but that almost no one wants to take the blame.

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 10:11:48 AM PST

    •  You nailed it. It's called "holding hands and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SouthernLiberalinMD

      jumping together."

      This way they believe that they can inoculate themselves from voter wrath at the polls.

      I say they're dreamin'.

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "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 Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 05:01:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  tl;dr Austerity.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib, jennylind

    Shame Obama is still drinking the koolaid. I don't know if he actually believes this stuff or if he's just saying it to avoid getting treated as a kook like Krugman has been.

    Either way, no, revenue increases and spending cuts won't help the economy, gradual or otherwise.

    We need stimulus.

  •  There are loopholes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musiccitymollie

    and then there are loopholes.

    I hope the loopholes to be closed will include the ones only available to rich people. Something tells me otherwise though.

    We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

    by denise b on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 01:35:30 PM PST

  •  Sequester (0+ / 0-)

    The sequester will be here in three weeks. We as progressives must act now to put our ideas to our representatives in congress. In as much detail as possible. Let your representative know what you want your tax dollars spent on. Is it billion dollar jet fighter planes, half a million man army, an exploding drone air program. Our would you want your money spent on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These programs support the elderly and the poor, but in doing so they produce commerce which stimulates business. This helps grow the local economy which is good for the community as a whole. The wealthy in this country are trying to centralize wealth to them. An in doing this hurting local communities. We must shop local and support local business. And most importantly protect the older and poorer amongst us.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site