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begins like this:

It has been a big week for budget documents. In fact, members of Congress have presented not one but two full-fledged, serious proposals for spending and taxes over the next decade.
As it happens, and as one discovers by reading Krugman's entire New York Times column, both "full-fledged, serious proposals" are by Democrats, those in the Senate, and those in the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Krugman acknowledges that 3 proposals were presented this week, but the third was not serious, that it was essentially a cruel joke.  Krugman reminds us that in 2010 when others were treated Ryan as a serious thinker, he himself described him as The Flimflam Man reminding us today that his proposals were obviously fraudulent:

huge cuts in aid to the poor, but even bigger tax cuts for the rich, with all the assertions of fiscal responsibility resting on claims that he would raise trillions of dollars by closing tax loopholes (which he refused to specify) and cutting discretionary spending (in ways he refused to specify).
 Krugman describes Ryan more recent proposals as "even flimflammier," supporting that by noting  Ryan claims that he can slash the top income tax rate
from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, yet somehow raise 19.1 percent of G.D.P. in revenues — a number we haven’t come close to seeing since the dot-com bubble burst a dozen years ago.
 I checked that last assertion, and according to The Tax Policy Center the last time revenues were that high was 2001, when they were 19.5% of GDP.  For the last 4 years or so revenues have been between 15 an 16% of GDP.  Perhaps that is one reason why, as Krugman notes, this time pundits and reporters are greeting Ryan's approach with skepticism and appropriate derision.

But that is not what is really important about this column.

This column praises the budget proposal of the CPC.  After describing the Senate Democratic proposal as not bad, but basically insufficient because it does not call for "substantial though temporary spending increases" which would logically follow from its own analysis, he notes of the CPC proposal that it calls for such increases, largely offsetting them by "higher taxes on the wealthy, corporations and pollution."

Of even greater importance, he takes apart the notion of false equivalency, that somehow the CPC budget is a "Ryan plan of the left" -

There are no Ryan-style magic asterisks, trillion-dollar savings that are assumed to come from unspecified sources; this is an honest proposal. And “Back to Work” rests on solid macroeconomic analysis, not the fantasy “expansionary austerity” economics — the claim that slashing spending in a depressed economy somehow promotes job growth rather than deepening the depression — that Mr. Ryan continues to espouse despite the doctrine’s total failure in Europe.
The plan may, according to Krugman, be as equally audacious as Ryan's proposal, and therefore probably has as little chance of being enacted, but as he writes
it’s refreshing to see someone break with the usual Washington notion that political “courage” means proposing that we hurt the poor while sparing the rich.
His sense is we are unlikely to get a grand bargain, what movement there is is "in a direction conservatives won’t like" and that
Mr. Ryan’s efforts are finally starting to get the derision they deserve, while progressives seem, at long last, to be finding their voice. Little by little, Washington’s fog of fiscal flimflam seems to be lifting.
Now if only the President were not so fixed on the notion of the Grand Bargain, as he clearly is.  If only he would listen to the likes of Krugman and the CPC instead of Simpson and Bowles and Jack Lew.

The one hope we do have is that resistance from Democrats has increased enough that the President might not be able to put together majorities in either chamber of Congress in favor of a grand bargain, with Republicans firmly against raising tax rates or further closing loopholes and Democrats increasingly opposed to cutting benefits on the needy and the middle class.

It is worth noting that the amount of savings aimed for in the originally Simpson Bowles have been more than half accomplished already, and that projections of the impact of the Affordable Care Act helps seriously slow the growth of Medicare spending.  Putting people to work will increase tax revenues at all levels of government, including payments into Medicare and Social Security, as well as decreasing expenditures on unemployment and Medicaid.  

Of the three budget proposals out there, that of the Congressional Progressives is the one that makes the most sense, and the only one whose numbers actually work.

Too bad the Washington consensus does not yet grasp that.

It is nice that Krugman gives it appropriate credit.

And it is even nicer that he again properly labels Ryan and his proposals for what they are:  fiscal flimflam


Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:46 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (133+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jimdotz, Habitat Vic, ItsSimpleSimon, philipmerrill, DWG, Ruinenlust, Dartagnan, jadt65, dkmich, dance you monster, hungeski, DefendOurConstitution, markthshark, 2laneIA, jobu, profh, lostinamerica, buckstop, Jim R, LeftHandedMan, wsbuffalo, DRo, AlwaysDemocrat, Ashaman, Raggedy Ann, WearyIdealist, NoMoreLies, hannah, terabytes, One Pissed Off Liberal, VTCC73, coppercelt, TomP, Dodgerdog1, Dallasdoc, Gooserock, Emerson, WheninRome, LivesInAShoe, Deep Texan, Dretutz, LEP, Debbie in ME, Dark UltraValia, Duncan Idaho, SCFrog, rigcath, palantir, emal, owlbear1, Lily O Lady, carpunder, Kristina40, hlsmlane, gulfgal98, kurt, AaronInSanDiego, Egalitare, annan, Hirodog, tardis10, 420 forever, TracieLynn, Rick B, Ditch Mitch KY, Glass Navel, CwV, srkp23, Shockwave, zerelda, artmartin, Joieau, scooter in brooklyn, VA Breeze, DixieDishrag, susakinovember, dotsright, Mighty Ike, Polly Syllabic, importer, MichiganChet, HeyMikey, cybersaur, Byron from Denver, Johnny the Conqueroo, Sun Tzu, ORDem, TexDem, wonkydonkey, Milly Watt, MufsMom, onionjim, ArchTeryx, SherriG, greengemini, fiercefilms, jediwashuu, niteskolar, tommyfocus2003, AnnieJo, Loudoun County Dem, GeorgeXVIII, BYw, salmo, BradyB, No one gets out alive, yoduuuh do or do not, Born in NOLA, sfbob, thomask, Gowrie Gal, elwior, ferg, spunhard, GAS, zenox, cpresley, Timothy J, Helpless, puakev, Kay Observer2, kenwards, basquebob, Involuntary Exile, where4art, multilee, sawgrass727, tofumagoo, opinionated, mofembot, PeterHug, RiveroftheWest, ItsaMathJoke

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

    by teacherken on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 03:46:35 AM PDT

  •  Why should Obama listen to progressive caucus? (31+ / 0-)

    "flimflam" is too mild a term

    better framed as "The Shock Doctrine"

    it takes both factions (they are not parties) working together to bring down The New Deal and The Great Society

    The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a 2007 book by Canadian author Naomi Klein, and is the basis of a 2009 documentary by the same name directed by Michael Winterbottom.[1]
    The book argues that the free market policies of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman have risen to prominence in some countries because they were pushed through while the citizens were reacting to disasters or upheavals. It is implied that some man-made crises, such as the Falklands war, may have been created with the intention of pushing through these unpopular reforms in their wake.
    The introduction sketches the history of the last thirty years where economic shock doctrine has been applied throughout the world, from South America in the 1970s to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Klein introduces two of her main themes.

    1. That practitioners of the shock doctrine tend to seek a blank slate on which to create their ideal free market economies, which usually requires a violent destruction of the existing economic order.
    2. The similarities between economic shock doctrine and the original shock therapy – a psychiatric technique where electric shocks were applied to mentally ill patients.
    The above is from the wikipedia entry on this topic. The article lists the 7 parts of the book.
    Part 6 discusses the occupation of Iraq, which Klein describes as the most comprehensive and full-scale implementation of the shock doctrine ever attempted.
    The invasion of Iraq is probably more comprehensive than the Grand Bargain, but it shows that Obama has looked backward for strategies.
  •  this is such an important diary (16+ / 0-)

    ... and we are at such a critical moment.

    While it might be too much to hope that Obama will personally take the strong progressive position, it has reason behind it. Anything we can do to push it out there, echo chamber and amplify it, is really vital Right Now. Hooray for Krugman's trumpet. The election supported a balanced approach - not the Grand concessionary Bargain.

    How can we get more trumpets for this? Thanks for your diary.

    •  More trumpets, indeed, because only we believers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest, Kay Observer2

      pay any attention to Krugman, and the media speak for  their owners. The 98% already knows that putting more money in the hands of the rich doesn't create jobs. It shouldn't be too hard to show that the lackeys of the 2% are trying to feed us the same poison once again.

      •  it's easy to feel that way (0+ / 0-)

        Maybe too easy. That tone is fine for preaching to the converted. But that's not what will drive a wedge between the conventional wisdom and its legacy of lackey-lies. Our trumpets should change the conversation and shift the frame to help us get what we believe is best. Saying it "shouldn't be too hard" potentially underestimates the zombie-lies' ability to continue moving while remaining undead. I'm not disagreeing with you, actually. But how can WE next-step this? How can our dKos community participate in the ways where we shift 2% of the national conversation (my personal quantitative estimate of what we do and can do when we are at our most effective)?

  •  Ryan's fantasy budgets - not his first (10+ / 0-)

    His first budget proposal - Path to Something-Or-Other - came out with the lower top individual rates (I think it was 27%), but also eliminated entirely corporate, estate and capital gains taxes.  Down to zero.  I actually downloaded and read the thing.

    The CBO scored that budget and found it would take 51 years to break even (2062 I believe it was) and would add nearly 70 trillion to our national debt, essentially quintupling it.  Ryan then came back to the CBO with laughable assumptions that his budget would bring 5% per year GDP growth within two years of enactment and keep that growth rate for the next 75 years! The US hasn't had sustained GDP growth like that since the early 50s (an odd year here and there under Reagan and Clinton). He quoted some think tank, maybe AEI, who immediately backed away from those fantasy/optimistic forecasts.  Even with this, he still wouldn't balance the budget for nearly 20 years.

    Now Ryan (he's my congressman BTW) uses "magic asterisks" and nebulous statements of overall revenue  and spending levels - all with little or no specifics.  And little to no critical review by the national media.

    Flimflam man, indeed.

    •  Paul Ryan isn't writing his plan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, Habitat Vic, Lily O Lady

      It's being written by others while still other people blow smoke up his ass while telling him how brilliant he is.

      Ryan can't speak to the plan's specifics because he doesn't understand them. He lacks the knowledge to understand them, only he doesn't know it.  Ryan believes whatever his handlers tell him, including how brilliant he is. Ryan is a useful fool.

  •  Taking just one quote - The one hope we have (8+ / 0-)
    The one hope we do have is that resistance from Democrats has increased enough that the President might not be able to put together majorities in either chamber of Congress in favor of a grand bargain, with Republicans firmly against raising tax rates or further closing loopholes and Democrats increasingly opposed to cutting benefits on the needy and the middle class.
    Hope we might, but the evidence appears less than comforting - an embrace, by Pelosi of chained CPI, as a concept.
    "If we can demonstrate that it doesn’t hurt the poor and the very elderly, then let's take a look at it. Because compared to what?,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. “Compared to Republicans saying Medicare should wither on the vine? Social Security has no place in a free society?”
    Which embrace kisses an inherently flawed notion, that the the only alternative available is the vile brew Ryan and the GOP wishes to foist on Congress, and then on us, the people.

    It would be bad enough if Pelosi's latest utterance was merely an indication that for elected Democrats chained CPI, and it's associated erosion of retiree security, is now the likeliest of all unmerited policy concessions. Worse yet is doing so while ignoring the best efforts, the best ideas of her own caucus.

    Oh, and give them an inch and by which longer distance from where we need to be do you think we will find ourselves standing?

    •  you might have real pushback in Senate (11+ / 0-)

      and wouldn't it be ironic if Reid finally moves to filibuster reform not because Republicans are obstructionist on nominees and the jobs bill, but because Bernie Sanders filibusters on chained CPI and protecting Social Security, gets supported perhaps by the likes of Franken and Merkley and enough tea party type Republicans (and maybe even more mainstream Republicans who do not want to give Obama any success)

      Pelosi is attempting to be a team player, and is protecting her right flank - in that read Steny Hoyer -  but just because she said it ought to be looked at, if it hurts the poor (or by extension the middle class) she has left herself wiggle room

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

      by teacherken on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:22:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't doubt her political motivations match (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Habitat Vic, Dallasdoc, tardis10, unfangus

        your description.

        It is the effect which I believe she has miscalculated - badly.

        Her support hinges on the assertion that the chained CPI must demonstrably be benign. To which I'd first ask, by whose lights? Pelosi might rebuff as failed arithmetic a particular analysis supporting chained CPI. Others, to her right, are likely to have a different disposition. Her prior embrace of the concept leaves more than enough wiggle room for Blue dogs, and players further to the right to declare a bipartisan "victory" on the issue. Damage will be done.

        Meanwhile, the other true alternative (from the House) goes begging, ignored, silently declared irrelevant.

        •  How can this benignness be (4+ / 0-)

          asserted when it represents a shit ton of money of what is considered SPENDING which is what the Republicans wish to curtail?

          IOW, if it is so benign to the future recipients, why would it make such a dent in the deficit? Regardless of whether it is phased in, in small increments, the figure must be huge. Otherwise, it wouldn't be pushed.

          The logical disconnect boggles the mind. The bread I like is about $4.69 a loaf [Arnold Oatnut]. The crappy bread is $2 something. People are not going to be able to eat pretty soon. I use bread because almost everybody eats it. Even dry staples like peas and beans are over a dollar a bag now, something like $1.29-$1.79. Rice is up to about a dollar a lb. for bottom grade.

          Something's going to have to give.

          •  Yes, we have to have more money flowing (5+ / 0-)

            to the people and less being captured by the middlemen. Because, they just hoard.

            Also, we have to debunk the illusion that accumulating and hoarding currency is a sign of anything but an obsession. Just because dollars are inherently worthless, people hoarding them is not a benign obsession -- not when the people responsible for managing the national accounts take the resulting scarcity as an excuse to deprive the general population of the necessities of life.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:39:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  pelosi almost always leaves herself wiggle room (0+ / 0-)

        but it's as if she's forgotten that anything outside the Beltway exists.

        Goddamned Steny Hoyer, I can't stand him.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:30:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's hoping that you are right about Pelosi (0+ / 0-)
    •  This is a crap notion. Chained CPI is an extremely (4+ / 0-)

      ugly policy. They'd do better to let the Repubs go full-bore on their "Social Security has no place in a free society" meme, and see what that does for the Republicans in 2014.

      Has she lost her understanding of politics?

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:29:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is no budget crisis (19+ / 0-)

    Even the CPC budget is conservative. There is no point in reducing the deficit now, whether we are talking about the present deficit or some hypothetical future one. There is nothing wrong with our deficits--except they are too small.

    The way to fix the long term budget is to fix the economy. Give the people jobs and money and the deficit will take care of itself. If we run into some unforeseen problem in the future... we can pass a law then.

    Spend money.

    Fix infrastructure.

    Strengthen social security by increasing benefits. No Orwellian bullshit.

    Eliminate the age restriction for medicare. Medicare for all.

    Fix real problems. Ignore the fake ones.

    •  you say "Fix real problems. Ignore fake ones" (10+ / 0-)

      that is not what the two "parties" do these days

      there is a diary up right now in the Community Spotlight with the excellent title:

      Moms Take the Hill: The Rhetoric of Misinformation and Misunderstanding

      That is what goes on in the media and in DC that has been the smokescreen to shift wealth to the 1%.

      The 1% have won the game.

      My comments are harsh criticisms of Obama. That comes from a deep commitment to education in democracy needed in the country. Obama could use his position to take on the crazy Republican positions. He could make the case that austerity is crashing economies around the globe and the US is not going to follow suit. He could point out that Social Security is not going broke. But he doesn't.

      In short, he could take communicate a strong case for the New Deal and The Great Society and how now because of income inequality and jobs outsourcing, and so many other things, there are things that must be done.

      Look at how Elizabeth Warren has shown what it means to be a leader.

      •  I agree and I disagree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, ORDem

        This is still, theoretically, a free country. We can vote for whomever we like, and they, theoretically, can vote for anything. That things are bad in the present in no way restrains us from acting for change and finally making the economy and the government work for everyone, rather than the few.

        Freedom: learn it, love it.

        It's past time for weakness, bullshit, rationalization, or anything like that. We need to make demands that our representatives behave appropriately. The politicians we support must uphold a standard of behavior, that, at a minimum, means ignoring fake problems and making some attempt to solve real ones.

        Supporters of the grand bargain make the point that everyone must suffer for the good of the country--but "everyone" doesn't include politicians or their wealthy benefactors; the people who suffer are those whose suffering immiserates our country, those whose suffering would ennoble it keep doing better at the expense of everyone else.

        How about a new grand bargain: you fix the fucking economy or we vote you out of office.

        •  Democracy is about power, not freedom (0+ / 0-)

          think about it

          we often think about elections to get politicians to attend to the will of the people

          but the 99% have lost out to the 1%

          the 1% have the power

          and even elected representatives, who often win reelection at over 90%, look to their future career more than their current role

          the Grand Bargain is an issue without support of the people

          even with all the flimflam thrown up

          but what is going to stop the politicians from proceeding?

          the reason that the power structure shut down OWS was that they were scared about a movement to show up the bankruptcy of the political and economic system

          here is a dramatic example of what happened as a result of the Iraq war

          Iraq may be broken, but it is our political class that is bankrupted

          But for as long as its lessons are not learned, the Iraqis will not be the last such victims. The Iraq war bankrupted the British and American political class. They no longer speak for the people they claim to represent. Few believe any longer anything they say. Long before Leveson summed up the venality of much of the media – the echo chamber of that class – the people were abandoning that media in droves. Like our other institutions – the banks and the police, to name but two – their credibility stands in ruins. Devastated even more starkly than were Fallujah, Amariyah and Baghdad.
          I added the bold.

          If this is true that the political class is bankrupt, then the issue is how to get their attention. In other words, how to get power.

          •  Democracy is a state ruled by its people (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Don midwest, ORDem

            It's true enough that America is no longer a functional democracy. But I disagree with what sounds to me like defeatism. When you write, "The 1% have won the game." I disagree. That they are currently winning is true enough. And that they will continue to win as long as we play the same way, agreed. But it doesn't have to be that way.

            The 1% wanted to cut social security in 2005. The Democrats had no power (remember: "it takes 60 votes to break a filibuster is only applicable when dems run the senate). But they couldn't. The 1% still ran everything, but without a way to remove accountability social insurance was preserved.

            As long as every Democratic rep and senator knows that a vote to cut social insurance is a vote to lose a primary the grand bargain will be stillborn.

            All members of the democratic party need to drop the fetish of being "reasonable"; reasonableness is a pose, not an intellectual position. The way reason works is you use your mind to figure out how to solve problems and then you solve them. Putting a poster of a shirtless Paul Ryan in your bedroom and giving his avatar a come hither stare isn't reasonable, it's pathetic.

            Fuck the deficit, it's a fake issue. Nobody cares about the deficit, least of all the fix-the-debt sinecurists. We care about the economy, we care about restoring the rule of law and bringing accountability to the 1% and their umbrella holders in public office.

            Anyone who is with that crowd is our enemy. They are against us. There's no point in lying with a reasonable pose or with polite phrases. But it's also wrong to give up. There's no point in doing anything else but resist. So let's do it.

            •  Not giving up - stating that 1% have won (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              is another way of stating the income inequality

              is another way of stating the collapse of journalism, rule of law, etc.

              as you note, the issue is whether they will continue to hold onto power

              It seems to me that the 1% has not extracted enough wealth from the people and governments so they are proceeding at an accelerated pace

              saying the 1% have won makes explicit what the challenges are

              just because they have won, that does not mean the game is over

              it does remind us of what OWS stood for and that we all have to be active in OWS

          •  I agree with almost everything in your post, Don (0+ / 0-)

            with a reservation I find extremely important. While our politicians, the media, and financial systems are profoundly damaged, it's still wrong to think they are

            Devastated even more starkly than were Fallujah, Amariyah and Baghdad.
            Nothing here approaches the bloody slaughter of innocent civilians (mostly women, children, and the elderly) and sending even more fleeing for their lives with just the clothes on their backs to struggle as refugees in places like Syria.

            Let's don't assist in perpetuating that a myth.

            •  Recommend a book to understand how 1% did it (0+ / 0-)

              Socrates: First, shouldn't we explain how a democracy becomes an oligarchy?

              Adeimantus: Yes.

              Socrates: The crutical step is that the rich figure out how to manipulate politics so the laws benefit them instead of the public.

              Adeimantus: So it seems.

              Plato, Republic, 550d

              Translated by the author of the outstanding book, Keith Quincy

              His book is “Worse than You Think: The Real Economy Hidden Beneath Washington’s Rigged Statistics, And Where To Go From Here”

              I just reread the book and I now think that it explains how the 1% have won. They used the government and government statistics to hide what has been going on for decades.

              If citizens understood what was in this book, they would hold politicians feet to the fire.

              The lies that led us to Iraq, and the media support, are fairly straight forward.

              The lies that led to vast income inequality, among other things, are harder to ferret out. This book does it.

      •  If we are to have government by the people, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, Ruinenlust

        the parties are irrelevant, unless they can change their focus from exercising power to developing competent candidates for public office. We don't need "the best and the brightest;" competent workmen would be enough.
        Did you watch Scott Prouty? He knows how to get things done.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:46:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is a crisis in Congress. If they were to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Habitat Vic, Dallasdoc

      admit that the scarcity of money is a sham, an artificial construct, which enables them to play hero or scourge on the home front, it would not only expose a grand fraud but leave them nothing with which to extort votes from the electorate.
      It would reveal that the promis of not collecting dollars from accumulators, both individuals and corporate bodies, is simply a strategy for making friends with presumably influential people -- people who will instruct their subordinates to vote right.
      These Congresscritters are triangulators, par excellence. They rely on one thing or person to manipulate another -- like a pool player hitting the cue ball to sink the others. It's indirection in action and goes along with indirection in speech. The euphemism and the lie are not consequences; they are essential to their approach to the universe. Perhaps an endemic sense of fear makes them lie and deceive. Perhaps what we have in these public officials is autistic persons whose gift of gab is enhanced, rather than depressed.
      What makes them antagonistic? Perhaps being abused early on.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:50:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a crisis for whom? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Habitat Vic, WheninRome

        a crisis in Congress?

        they are doing fine now and have a career path for the future

        they are not doing as well as Mitt Romney, but they are not in the pain of the Scott Prouty who took the 47% video tape

        that was just a little piece of what has been going on

        and Scott had a job that at least kept him afloat

        congress people don't have to get it

        Congress has an approval rating of about 10%

        but with districts leading to incumbents winning at a rate equal to totalitarian societies, voters are not going to get their attention

        Glenn Greenwald makes an important point. In a democracy, elected people should fear the citizens, not the other way around. We have it backwards. The two tier justice system is but another system which has been corrupted.

        •  Having money is not the same as doing well. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest

          Besides, in 2010 there were 93 freshmen in the House. That means 93 old-timers were replaced.
          If you paid attention, you'll have noticed there was no mention of the importance of incumbency to have influence on Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill is in a panic. All the Dufus Brigade have going for them is the gift of gab. What good are connections going to be with more like Warren and Whitehouse and Shea-Porter and Gifford on the hill?

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:50:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We have what is called a managed currency (0+ / 0-)

        It only buys Chinese made goodies and foreign oil to make those massive SUVs run because of government restraint [or the repeated claims thereto].

        If we don't manage the currency ourselves, the Chinese and oil exporting contries will insist on IMF managers in Washington, DC, or they will cut off the supply of goodies and oil.

        People are not entitled by the laws of nature to spend five days a week wasting fuel in massive backups on the George Washington Parkway and Washington Beltway on their way to work at the Pentagon plotting ways to better blow up brown-skinned people followed by two days of shopping orgies loading up their oversized, gas-wasting SUVs with Chinese made stuff at Costco and Potomac Mills Mall.  

    •  This whole discussion is a little like (0+ / 0-)

      being in a funhouse isn't it?

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:31:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish Dems would go on the offensive (8+ / 0-)

    And call out Paul Ryan and the flimflam crowd with a vengeance. Tell the American people what he is up to and call him out on his callousness and deceit. All we have seen this week is Obama meeting with House Republicans again and again. Yesterday, Eric Cantor was crowing on CNN about how an agreement is likely that will not include revenue, meaning austerity will come from the poor and middle class  (aka draconian spending cuts, including Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid).

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:27:29 AM PDT

    •  I actually saw Chris Van Hollen (4+ / 0-)

      [my new rep] take a bite out of Ryan and his "plan" the other day. I was surprised.

      •  Welcome to the district (5+ / 0-)

        I like Chris a lot, but do not at all like his adherence to Obama and Obama's economic ideas, including Chained CPI.

        The thing about Chris, though, is that every now and then, when you least expect it, he will make an attack like the one you describe. It's like facing someone fighting in an Eastern martial arts style. Everything looks gentle and still and he keeps giving way before the other guy and then the other guy is suddenly flying through the air.  Unfortunately, that's only what's going on part of the time. There's also real capitulation to bad ideas. I see both in Chris, and I keep hoping that his capitulation to bad ideas is not a deep conversion but rather something he's doing to maintain his position and gain power, because in that case, there's a small chance things might change in time.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:37:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He did me quite a good turn once. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'd lived in his district (and voted for him!) 3 years, worked at the NIH.  After I was laid off, the state of Maryland refused me unemployment.

          His staffers took it all the way to the head of the Maryland Department of Labor, and she reversed the decision.

          I like the guy alot, even if he's too much go along to get along some times.  In a very real way, I owe his staffers my life.

        •  Your assessment is identical to mine. (0+ / 0-)

          He sure beats Roscoe.

          Haven't heard anything from Delaney yet. I live right on the line.

  •  Oh, they grasp it. (10+ / 0-)
    Too bad the Washington consensus does not yet grasp that.
    It just isn't a part of their agenda.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:27:53 AM PDT

  •  As I've said many a time, Obama likes him a (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest, Habitat Vic, Dallasdoc, emal

    kerfuffle. He likes to raise issues and have them opposed. I suspect he probably still thinks, as lawyers are taught, that the truth will out. What he seems not to have accepted yet is that much of the Congress is not serious. There are people there who oppose not on principle, but because resistance is their idea of freedom. They think that not doing what people want makes them free -- sort of like a cow balking at the shute to the slaughterhouse, if a cow could think. Since the cow balks because it's been spooked by some incidental object, shutes can be engineered to render the cows compliant and head to the slaughter completely unstressed.
    Temple Grandin

    Some of our Congresscritters differ little from cows. They are cowards.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:32:31 AM PDT

    •  What you call them cowards? They are successful! (0+ / 0-)

      look at how much money Congresscritters make after they leave congress!

      this is a society of shoppers and wealthy shoppers can put even more money into the great market place!

      we need to double down on our culture!

      terrible people like the social historian Morris Berman blames the American People and our culture. Shame on him.

      Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of "hustlers" to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country's expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise
      Why America Failed is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman's trilogy on the decline of the American empire. In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase. In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors—e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside—and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy.
      In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the "why" of it all
      Probes America's commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise stretching back to the late sixteenth century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history
      Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country's purpose finally did our nation in
      Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passe, socially divided, and culturally adrift. It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman's study of American imperial decline.
      •  Look at how many flies the cattle attract. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest

        I am not going to be shocked by an observation that the U.S. has failed. Failure is the familiar of the status quo people. Success is risky. The risk-averse prefer failure. Failure prevents market saturation and provides a prompt to "try and try again." Failure is a prescription for longevity.
        Did not Jesus die so he would be remembered (live on in people's minds) forever?

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:43:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, Don midwest

          from your comment above about Obama:

          What he seems not to have accepted yet is that much of the Congress is not serious. There are people there who oppose not on principle, but because resistance is their idea of freedom.
          Maybe he hasn't accepted it because he doesn't know how to handle it.  He needs to learn to develop alternate strategies for dealing with a recalcitrant GOP.

          It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:49:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for that link (0+ / 0-)

      I really like Temple Grandin.  

      It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their victims into fighting their battles for them. FDR

      by Betty Pinson on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:22:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think Obama likes a kerfuffle so much (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      If he did, he and his wouldn't promote doctrines of political inevitability. The political discourse in Washington is so hermetically sealed that it should make a noise like Darth Vader's helmet coming off every time a new Cabinet member is appointed.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When will Obama give the CPC a listen? (11+ / 0-)

    The worse part of Obama's Presidency has been his ignoring the progressive caucus.  I don't see how that's bipartisan.  If he'll listen to right wingers, he should be willing to listen to left wingers as well.

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

    by noofsh on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:32:48 AM PDT

    •  It is Congress' job to put together a spending (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnB47, Deep Texan

      plan. The Republican mantra that the chief executive is some sort of plebian royal and temporary tyrant serves their purpose in shifting responsibility elsewhere. But, Obama is a reluctant scapegoat. He has finally accepted the term Obamacare, even though the components were not initially his. But, he did so overtly, so as to highlight that he was assenting to an apparent inevitability.
      The election of 2012 demonstrated that the top of the ticket is not enough to rid us of the dufuses in Congress. Only nine were replaced in the House. Democrats did not even offer candidates for four of the worst in Georgia and South Carolina. In 2010, there was a new crop of 93 in the House. If the 112 the Congress was largely disfunctional, it was because the freshmen were inept and the leadership even more so. Moreover, the Tea Party people had swallowed the line about not enough money and the need to stop spending hook line and sinker, even though eight years of Bush/Cheney provided proof that there's always enough money for mayhem, just not for cleaning up the mess.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:03:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  actually not quite completely correct (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paleo, gulfgal98

        from the beginning of Section 3 of Article III:  

        He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient
        in operational terms, this means that the budget and spending process BEGINS with the President presenting his budget proposal to the Congress.  

        THereafter you are correct -  it becomes the obligation of the Congress to (1) adopt a budget, and (2) authorize the spending via appropriating the necessary funds.

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

        by teacherken on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:09:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Apaprently, they don't have to adopt a (0+ / 0-)

          budget. That seems to be an in-house requirement. I think the last three Congresses have not agreed on one and have gone with continuing resolutions and ad hoc appropriations.

          The balanced budget is a gimmick which Democrats have been pushing as if the national government were under the same restrictions as the states -- having to collect revenues or borrowings before they can spend. As the issuer of currency, the national body is under a different regime. The national body issues first and then collects. That sequences can't simply be reversed does not seem to register with people whose sense of time is deficient.

          One can spend what one does not have when one can make it on the spot. The llama can spit without having to take a drink.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:59:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, a balance budget amendment is a gimmick (0+ / 0-)

            It is almost like Mr. Wastrel promising not to spend too much.

            Instead of a mere promise of balance, the President and members of Congress with more than ten years of service should forever lose their jobs 30 days after the end of any fiscal year that does not end in the black.

            •  Let's say you're in the business of producing (0+ / 0-)

              nails rather than dollars. Why would you want to have nails left over at the end of the year?

              Or, if you're selling drinks in returnable bottles, would you limit production to those that are returned and can be refilled?  The nation is different from every other public and private corporation and all households, because it is the issuer of currency. What the countries in the Eurozone have done is follow the example of the several United States in adopting a common currency. Some, specifically Greece and Italy and Spain are already starting to regret giving up their autonomy for the convenience of not having to worry about exchange rates when they go on holiday.

              We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

              by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 01:57:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  When he's up for election again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      by Paleo on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:57:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He sees himself as pragmatic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      and seems to completely accept and support the conservative frame that progressives are stupid, naive, dreamers who couldn't actually accomplish anything.  This kind of Stockholm syndrome (in which Democrats adopt Republican mems) seems to be a common problem among "Responsible Adult" Democrats.

      Put another way, why would you expect a self-professed moderate Republican to listen to progressive Democrats as much as he does to his own party?

      More likely though, he has made the tactical calculation that the Progressives are captive votes and can be safely ignored.  

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:05:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you kidding? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      Let me put it this way:  he golfs with oil pipeline executives, but you won't see him hiking with Bill McKibben anytime soon.

      n/t to Fish Out of Water

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:40:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  About the "Grand Bargain" (21+ / 0-)

    one thing that is really frustrating about the bad policy meeting bad politics in Democratic politics in DC is this: some things are so credibility damaging and so reputation mauling that they don't actually have to pass to stick to you in a hurtful and lingering way down the road. You just have to be stupid enough to put your fingerprints on them.  

    You can, if you are really inept enough as a political party, put your Democratic fingerprints on the Movement Conservative dream of cutting the social safety net, even if the debate the act occurs in goes nowhere and the particularly bad policy doesn't get adopted.

    In fact, for the GOP, that's even better.

    Paul Krugman has been warning people for years that there are bad outcomes on many levels beyond just the worst case outcome. Fail comes in many flavors, and levels of intensity.

    Just put the sacred cows in play. That's enough.

    Because it allows the GOP to point out that you put Social Security cuts on the table, and they stopped you. You need to vote GOP. It's a lie, but, thanks to the Village we have, and the Lucy with the Football aspect of the Democratic Party, it's a lie that can be sold to low information voters very easily. Vote GOP! Why? Because they are Social Securities defenders. What hurts my heart is that it will be a surprise when the first American Crossroads ads start running. It shouldn't be. This was done with Medicare in 2010. Democrats cannot depend on their reputation saving them from bad faith lies if they destroy their reputation at the bargaining table. You have to have an unsullied reputation to rely on the effectiveness of it as an 'everybody knows this isn't true' defense. And, rather than learn this lesson, it is being done with Social Security right before the 2014 elections. The one where Democrats are already behind the eight ball as it is without any additional stupidity or own goal epic fail-ism making their lives harder.

    The Progressive Caucus' budget being ignored is as insane as putting Social Security cuts on the table as a cheap bargaining ploy. But it's par for the course. If there is a way to epic fail, the Democratic Party will find a way.

    Putting Social Security cuts on the table, for whatever the tactic, goal, reason, alone is enough of a brand damaging act for the Democratic Party as a whole to be folly. Instead, idiot Democrats will quibble. They are small cuts. They are not all bad. The President says he needs this, and I stand with him. Idiots. All of them. This is about getting played in a profoundly brand damaging way, not how roughly you pinched the butterflies wings.

    But it is even moreso when there are other, better options, like rasing the Social Security cap, that both solve your problem and are good politics.

    The Democratic Party has nobody but itself to blame for it being the Washington Generals of our politics. When people think of it as "the GOP are bullies, and the Democrats are wimps". They did that as much as the GOP did that to them. When they get seen as untrustworthy and unprincipled and as a party that has no core values beyond moderating and humanely implimenting Movement Conservative policy? They enabled it. You can get cruelly slapped down by Paul Ryan, or you can get your pain dosed out over a few years because "we care". That's an echo, not a choice, crowed about like its something to be proud of.

    The Democrats are enjoying a demographic advantage because they are not Republicans. That's it.

    Not because there is a brand there that is thriving, it's a brand living on the accomplishments of the past, and those accomplishments are in play for the right price.

    Only in the beltway is this kind of stupidity seen as good politics and good policy.

    And there is something worse. Something that has been an issue for a lot longer than Democrats being fucking stupid about the beltway take not being the public's take.

    The kitty. The kitty and the ante up.

    Insanely, Democrats like to bargain away past hardfought victories, like abortion rights, and social safety net threads, like the gains of the past are poker chips. Worse, they like to toss those chips out on the felt with people who are blatantly acting in bad faith across from them. The ones with cards up their sleeves, the ones who bribe dealers and try to steal chips from you when you are looking at your cards, the ones who cannot be trusted not to take your pound of flesh and then demand more. Or demand that you put more chips out, and they hand you a knife and demand you hold it to your own throat, then declare than the knifeholder will kill the hostage if conservative demands aren't met.

    Here is why, as a Democrat, you should always resist what is happening right now in DC on Chained CPI.

    "I opposed the Obama/Democrat Party Social Security Cuts...."

    American Crossroads is responsible for the funding of this advertising.

    If you can't oppose the policy because it's bad policy, and it is, you should be smart enough to oppose it because it's absolutely bad politics with no upside and no reward.

    For years, the GOP has been saving the Democrats from themselves, and delusional Democrats have been going around crowing about it as if that's not what has happened. That, see, x didn't happen (ignoring that it didn't happen because the GOP wouldn't take yes for an answer, not because of any genius on the Democratic side) so it was never going to happen. Ha! X didn't happen because the President is so much smarter than the rest of you, it was a trick to get them to harm themselves. No. The GOP was angling for 'we get everything, you get nothing'. And the Democrats keep coming back to the table with a worse outcome being in play if they only say 'yes'.

    Like a Democratic Party, from Barack Obama to Harry Reid to Nancy Pelosi, all being willing to put their fingerprints on Social Security cuts even if GOP extremism means those policy changes never get codified into law.

    They don't even have to ever see a vote on Chained CPI if the Democrats keep talking about it like it's all them.

    "I opposed the Obama/Democrat Party Social Security Cuts...."

    American Crossroads is responsible for the funding of this advertising.

    When Senator Ted Cruz has a Senate Committe Chair, and a gavel, and a large staff of investigators and subpoenas ready to be sent in tsunami-like waves over the Obama White House, and the House Republican caucus is talking about Paul Ryan being the logical choice for a House Impeachment manager, when the Village grabs its popcorn for the show, and the Democrats are reeling that, yes, in fact, Ben Ghazi and the Fast and the Furious "scandals" are being discussed as impeachable offenses, it's actually happening.

    They did this to themselves.

    All the blowback. All the bad outcomes. All the fail.

    It was all predictable as far back as 1993-4. 2000. 2004. 2010.

    The worst thing you can be in DC is right, honest, and a strong voice for the best possible non-Movement Conservative outcome for the poor, the sick, the elderly, and the middle class.

    The Democratic Party has benefitted from the GOP's radical extremism and obstructionism in a way. Their hands-on role in why DC is a fucking mess gets obscured and mitigated by the insanity of the other side. The fool looks better than the sociopath by comparision. But that's a trap, not a good outcome.

    As if "Fools Vs. Sociopaths" is the only viable choice to find yourself arguing.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:57:09 AM PDT

    •  you ought to post this as its own diary (8+ / 0-)

      then put a link to it here

      it deserves its own thread

      it might be more visible on its own

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

      by teacherken on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:00:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  agree Lefty- your comment could be a diary (8+ / 0-)

      what would title be?

      Here are some suggestions off the top of my head.

      Democrats commit suicide

      Democrats reject the New Deal

      Democrats support of the 1% finally becomes undeniable

      Democrats show that the two parties are the same on major issues and framing politics as a debate between the two parties is a flimflam that confuses the public and has allowed the 1% to win

      Clinton showed the way of adopting Republican policies led to collapse of Democratic Party of the New Deal

      Others can add suggestions.

      One other thought: Not sure how to put Obama's name in the title, or is he just a place holder for the larger forces which have succeeded in transferring wealth to the 1% and making us a war mongering country that spends trillions on unwinnable wars and neglects the home front?

      •  I honestly wouldn't put Obama's name (10+ / 0-)

        in the title and here is why:

        We don't have an Obama problem. We have a Democratic Party problem.

        For years, I made the mistake that some, maybe even many, are making with Obama chasing the post-partisan Democrat seeking the magic unicorn of the honest good faith moderate Republican. I saw the Blue Dogs as a usurper, an inworthy outlier cast as the majority voice, instead of a Kabuki gambit that the party itself was encouraging and enabling.

        Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are pushing Chained CPI as much as Obama is.

        Systemic fail, not compartmentalizable.

        Trying to fixate on x, y, or z is a form of kabuki in and of itself.

        My take, after some foolish participation in the Sux Rox Obama fights in the past, is that there is a lot of really unfortunate compartmentalization going on over Obama that obscures the reality that it's a systemic problem, not a problem that can be isolated on key figures who have committed outlier acts of betrayal but are not representative of the whole.

        That's a con we perpetrate on ourselves if we get caught up in it.

        I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

        by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:27:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree - looking to one person not enough (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LeftHandedMan, gulfgal98, hlsmlane

          the president is not the big daddy who will make everything right if he just behaved himself

          the target is the Democratic Party

          and the Supreme Court, and the entire "justice" system which has more and more provided support to the 1%

          need a massive education in citizenship to take the country back from what Chris Hedges calls a corporate coup d'etat

        •  Agreed. Neither political party is keen on (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the people governing. Republicans like telling the people what to do and Democrats like doing for the poor. That's how they divided the playing field. There is no room for the people being the referee.
          And that's not just true in Washington. Political organizations on the state level are the same. That's why Dean started up DFA and Obama is continuing with OFA. Neither, unfortunately, have managed to exploit the kind of personal involvement we see here at KOS. I think it's partly a distrust of the electronic infra-structure and an inability to just let people do their thing. The electronic communications component seems to be not just a lack of technical expertise. If it were, then the White House effort wouldn't be so clunky. Ditto for the DNC effort and now OAF. Unless it's an echo, two-way communication is not appreciated.
          The Wells Fargo fellow didn't want to hear Ms. Badro's story. OFA doesn't want to hear stories it hasn't invited, either.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:14:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know what Reid and Pelosi are doing (0+ / 0-)

          On the one hand, they're parroting WH talking points. On the other, I notice Obama leaves them out of negotiations every chance he gets, running off by himself with Boehner, sending Biden to negotiate directly with McConnell, keeping Reid out of the loop last year, etc. One really creepy thing that's been happening is the breakdown of the division between the WH and Congress. It's as if Pelosi and Reid are now somehow subordinates of the President, whereas traditionally the President isn't supposed to be "above" a Congressman or Senator in that way. Now, if your party has a President in the WH, apparently you're supposed to march along behind him in lockstep, keep your mouth shut, and a tight smile on your face.

          Apparently we now all agree with our President 100%, as the Bush folks used to say.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:52:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I tried to make this point throughout 2012 (10+ / 0-)

      If Democrats didn't end the Senate filibuster and follow up Obama's populist campaign with some real populist achievements, they were likely to lose control of the Senate in 2014.  Republicans in Congress would then savage Obama in an effort to destroy Democratic chances to win the White House in 2016, and they could do to the country what they've been doing to Wisconsin, Michigan and other states where they've seized control.

      The middle ground is disappearing, and the president who seems determined to occupy it doesn't appear to have a clue about that.  He campaigns in populism and tries to govern in austerity.  That kind of shit won't fly anymore, and the president's party will pay the price for its self-misrepresentation.  If we only have two alternatives, that's bad news.  We either need a more honest and progressive Democratic party, or we need to look for other alternatives.

      Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

      by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:49:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what, are you hinting at a third party? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dallasdoc, LeftHandedMan
        If we only have two alternatives, that's bad news.  We either need a more honest and progressive Democratic party, or we need to look for other alternatives
        Blame the Democratic Party?

        They walked away from poverty by 1980 as noted by John Atlas in his book on ACORN "Seeds of Change."

        John's excellent book described effective grass roots anti poverty and political work by ACORN. When I read the book, my response was that ACORN did things that I didn't think were possible. The book is a good handbook for activists.

        The totally "crazy" Republicans - maybe that is the wrong word because they have been able to set the political agenda in programs like the Grand Bargain - in any case continue the attack on ACORN which is gone, and was never convicted of major wrong doing, but support criminal activity of Amgen.

        This is a short and excellent article by John Atlas. The Republicans even in their budget explicitly say no support of ACORN. Both Dallasdoc and others have pointed out how the Republicans will use "Dems attacked SS" to win more elections.

        •  I am noting lack of representation (6+ / 0-)

          The Democratic party should not presume that people will continue to follow them if they don't represent their constituents.  That's how parties die, as the Republicans are vigorously trying to illustrate.

          The corruption and ossification of our politics is not an indefinitely sustainable situation.  Something will change at some point:  if we don't direct the change we will be directed by it.

          Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

          by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:04:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you could point out examples (4+ / 0-)

            in the UK, what happened to the Liberal Party

            in the US what happened to the Whigs

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

            by teacherken on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:06:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We might soon have two more examples (9+ / 0-)

              Both of our current parties are vehicles to pursue the interests of different cliques of billionaires, and both have tired sales pitches to gull a different market of rubes to buy what they're trying to sell.  They assume this situation can go on indefinitely, and so far they've been right.  

              But the proles are grumbling, and the pain is widespread and intense.  The dying middle class is hurting a lot more people than comfortable Beltway gasbags and captured politicians prefer to notice, and that pain wil at some point find appropriate political expression.  Neither party seems in the least inclined to provide a vehicle for that expression, and if they don't change they'd better watch out when another mode of expression appears that motivates people unhappy with their slide into poverty.

              Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

              by Dallasdoc on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:11:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  we are all share croppers now (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gulfgal98, Dallasdoc, JesseCW

                The South won the civil war

                poor whites were held in check because at least they were better off than the blacks

                when we don't acknowledge as a society how bad the condition are, continue in denial

                the kind of denial that let politicians carry off that which is now estimated to cost $6 trillion for the wars started by W Bush

                The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.
          •  "Democrats cut Social Security" is baked in now (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dallasdoc, Don midwest

            The GOP is definitely going to be running those ads, regardless of the outcome.

            THis was kind of Obama's Akin moment in shooting a big hole in the party's foot.

            Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

            by Mindful Nature on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 07:10:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Very well said. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Don midwest, Dallasdoc

            "If we don't direct the change we will be directed by it."

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 09:02:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Cons work by indirection. Like the fox (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, emal

          in the parable of the fox and the crow, they get Democrats to do their work for them. And then the Democrats are so proud of what they accomplished with "Welfare Reform" and "health insurance reform" and "education reform."

          Pride goeth before the fall.

          We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:18:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I voted for Jill Stein. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Don midwest, Dallasdoc

          And so did my entire household. But I knew it wasn't going to do much, as she clearly wasn't going to win. I also kept my mouth shut about it on here for the months leading up to the election.

          If you want to have an effective third party, you have to confront the cost of electoral campaigns. And the heart of that is the media, esp. radio and television.  That's where the biggest cost of campaigns is. If we want a third party to work, we have to reform the media, or create our own, and the blogosphere by itself isn't enough.

          Also, it's very important to begin small. That's where the Right began. School boards, local government positions, hell, dogcatcher if it comes down to it. Don't just run people for the Presidency and the Senate.

          But the most important part of it is the media. Those five corporations that control the news here--at least the non-blogosphere part of the news--are holding the two parties in place. If you want a third option, you have to find a way to change those conditions.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 09:01:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Don midwest, Dallasdoc

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:53:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I also think we need to think about this more: (7+ / 0-)

      The Democrats are enjoying a demographic advantage because they are not Republicans. That's it. It's like profoundly mistaking being in the right place at the right time by sheer good fortune to take advantage of the gross stupidity of somebody else as being the inevitable consequences of your great talent, vision, and hard work.

      This advantage is an opportunity, admittedly, but is also can be squandered very easily. Getting something by default is not securing something lasting. It's luck. Who we used to be is our greatest strength in maintaining it.

      Not because there is a brand there that is thriving, it's a brand living on the accomplishments of the past, and those accomplishments are in play for the right price.

      Only in the beltway is this kind of stupidity seen as good politics and good policy.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:15:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  again, Lefty, need a diary on what you have here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        when you add this comment to your original comment that is enough for a diary

        You make an excellent point:

        Democrats win because they are not Republicans.

        Neither party is defined by what they are for, but by what they are against.

        but all the flimflam hides this

        in other words, both parties are looking backwards, not forwards

        they are looking back to the Oligarchies of the past and bringing another one to the home front

        yes there are important differences, but there is agreement on

        two tier justice system that, for example, does not prosecute banksters

    •  Excellent analysis. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don midwest

      Apparently they don't care what the public thinks.

      Or, like I said above, they are still living in 1988, or 1992, and think that appearing right wing and centrist and bashing poor people under the guise of "fiscal responsibility" is wildly popular. Unfortunately for them, the American people are not the American people of 1988 or 1992 and they don't hold the same beliefs. They may get misty-eyed about Reagan, but that's because they think he was the kind conservative and that his policies don't relate to the conservative policies we have now. All that is irrelevant to what they think about those conservative economic policies now:  they are opposed to them. Especially the most virulent forms of them, as in cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education. Especially the lack of spending on job creation. They don't like it. The sequester, for instance, is not playing as "look at Congress being fiscally responsible by making all these cuts!" it's playing as "look at Congress laying people off."

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:48:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Email the White House (0+ / 0-)

    If thousands of people email the WH and say they are in favor of the CPC budget, then we have spoken.  Email OFA.  If OFA is what it says it is, they might listen to thousands of people saying they favor the CPC.

    Right now, POTUS is saying he has a mandate - he was reelected.  Okay, so, now it's time to listen to those who elected him - us - and if he is really listening and is really sincere about governing FOR THE PEOPLE, email and tell him to take a serious look at the CPC budget.

    That's what I'm going to do because I want to go on the record.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:22:50 AM PDT

  •  If luck holds, perhaps this will be printed-- (4+ / 0-)
    The Soviets' five year plans were considered a joke. Why are U.S. ten year plans taken seriously?
    That's a rhetorical question. The point I really want to make is that since the Treasury is the source of all dollars and the Congress could, as they did for the aggression on Iraq, just order more up for whatever needs to be spent, the only reason to collect the dollars as revenue is to keep them moving in the current of the economy. The MMT people refer to the difference between what is spent and what is collected (spending comes first) as "leakage," but I don't think that's quite right. The excess dollars aren't flowing somewhere else. They're being hoarded by speculators on Wall Street and even as cash in foreign accounts. And the reason for the hoarding, arguing backwards, which I usually don't like, can be easily located in what Congress now calls sequester, but is really just another moniker for what Congress has been doing for decades--rationing the currency.
    Rationing always leads to hoarding. We know that. Why should it be any different when it's dollars that are being rationed?
    That's not a rhetorical question.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 05:24:06 AM PDT

  •  Quotes from Ryan's Budget Plan. (0+ / 0-)

    Here are few quotes from Ryan's plan that cut right to the heart of it.

    "Yes, I AM calling you stupid."

    "This will work because every last one of my Republican colleagues will joyfully lie like rugs"

    "This section is wholly born from Greed and Cruelty, praise Jesus."

    "Don't laugh, I am completely serious!"

  •  Once you realize (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest, tardis10

    And accept That both the GOP (members and leadership) and the Political Leadership of Democratic Party (not all the members) represent the 1% does it all make sense. It is easier to understand the actions of our "representatives" in government.

    It is just a game of various wealthy elites.

    I am thrilled so see Krugman bring attention to this Budget  that has been out there for a while. Ezra Klein weighs in here...with Back to Work -Progressive Caucus Budget finally giving some much needed media attention to what has been out there for a while as a viable , sensible and imo populist proposal that is ignored by the GOP, VSP in Washington, and the Democratic Leadership. Why the democratic leadership ignores it...see above as well as I believe the president doesn't share the same economic philosophy  ...(which I accept despite strongly disagreeing with him on.)

    Thanks for this diary.

    Government of, for, and by the wealthy corporate political ruling class elites. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 06:34:47 AM PDT

  •  Lefthandedman took suggestion and posted diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Many here recommended that he follow up his great comments here in the form of a diary

    It is a letter to the Democratic party about what they have to do right now if they are to continue to have their moral fabric from the New Deal.

    Will they respond to the pressure and do the right thing?

    Or will the Dems pull of what the Republicans have been trying to do since the laws of SS and Medicare were enacted.

    And even that, to blame the democrats.

    I realized today that I used the term "crazy" to modify Republicans.

    Ha. They are smart to get the democrats to shoot themselves in the foot.

    Don't know if Lefthandedman's diary will make it to the REC list so here is a link

  •  Chuck Schumer defined the tax debate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Don midwest

    by offering a tax increase threshold on incomes over $1 million.
    It was settled halfway between Obama's proposal of 250k and that on $450k.

    Democrats define the debate parameters.

    Hopefully instead of Chuck Wall St. Schumer, The President can find the middle ground between himself and the progressive caucus in term two.

  •  I wish McClatchy carried Krugman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rustypatina, fenway49

    Instead, we get George Will and Sowell and others.  Not a liberal in the bunch.  And now Mallard Fillmore in the comics -- a right wing duck.

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 10:48:09 AM PDT

    •  We get Mallard too. I pointed out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that he should be on the editorial page.  If we only have one page of comics, I want REAL comics, not right wing propaganda.

      Private health insurance: a protection racket without the protection.

      by rustypatina on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 11:26:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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