Note to Teapartiers: your elected representatives, the Teaparty-approved candidates®, are really worthless. In every way possible.
Note to Teapartiers: your elected representatives, the Teaparty-approved candidates®, are really worthless. In every way possible.
Jonathan Bernstein doesn’t think we’re going to see this debt ceiling fight again after the next election, whether a Republican wins the White House or President Obama is re-elected. The political rewards for the GOP just wouldn’t be there:
…if we get a Republican president and a Democratic Congress, the issue won’t play nearly as well in reverse (although it’s certainly possible that President Romney or Perry could veto a clean limit increase and demand cuts – but would a brand-new president really want to risk that?). Of course, a unified Democratic government would not only probably pass a clean increase, but it also might well scrap the debt limit entirely, as Jonathan Chait suggests they demand in the future.
What if we have the status quo in January 2013? Hard to say. But it’s going to be a whole lot easier for Republicans to vote for a clean debt-limit increase at that point (perhaps loaded with some symbolic stuff). One of the key problems for Republicans this year is that they were just elected on a lot of extravagant promises about immediate, absolute change. My guess is that those who are reelected in 2012 won’t repeat those promises, at least not quite as loudly. They will have voted to raise the debt limit. They will have voted for appropriations bills that spend gazillions of dollars. They will have voted for budgets that don’t immediately balance. They may not own up to those things, and some of them will certainly keep up the rhetoric, but the bulk of them? We’ll see.
Moreover, should we have a status quo election in 2012, the incentive of defeating Barack Obama will, of course, be gone in 2013. Instead, members of Congress will be worrying about their own reelections, and triggering an economic crisis just after the president is inaugurated may not work well for that goal.
Deficits don’t matter! Sometimes!
As Jay Newton-Small argues, if we lived in a world where the teaparty didn’t exist, this wouldn’t be a good deal. But the teaparty does exist — at least for now — and when you look at things a little closer, some of this deal is pretty okay:
Maybe someday, say after the 2012 elections, the teaparty will be a bad memory. That’s something everyone can help make possible — if they just vote this time.
Josh Marshall’s take on the arguments over the budget / debt deal:
From TPM Reader RW …
Let me get this straight. The President kept revenues on the table, did not touch the sunset provisions in the Bush tax cuts, ensured that military cuts keep the GOP honest, protected Medicare by adding in only provider cuts in the trigger, made the reduction apparently enough to stave off a debt downgrade, got the debt ceiling raised, wounded Boehner by demonstrating to the world that he is controlled by the Tea Party caucus, took out the requirement that a BBA be passed and sent to the states and got the extension through 2012? What exactly is wrong with this deal?
The fact that there are cuts? If people don’t like that, why in God’s name didn’t they turn out to vote and bring back our Congressional majority? Once these nut jobs were in there, it was inevitable that this crap was going to happen. Whether or not it is advisable to cut spending, what exactly was going to stop this from happening? My experience is that the primary factor in all negotiations are the facts on the ground. The complaints center on a ridiculous notion that if the President had only said “no” harder, that these guys would have caved in. This isn’t negotiating over who gets the side of the bed near the A/C. This is a complex matter involving 3,000 members and staffers. Negotiations in these situations don’t work like this. That’s why I’m irked by the constant parade of people comparing the negotiations to movies and card games. These comparisons obscure more than they reveal.
It’s the single-payer health reform argument all over again. It’s not perfectly progressive, so it’s a “shit sandwich.” OBAMA IS JUST LIKE BUSH.
This is less of a deal and more of an agreement to a process and ‘triggers.’ Some highlights (emphasis mine):
The deficit-reduction side includes $1 trillion in cuts now, $1.5 trillion (or more) in deficit reduction later, and a vote on a balanced budget amendment. Meanwhile, it raises the debt ceiling by $900 billion immediately, and either $1.5 trillion (if the second deficit reduction package or a balanced budget amendment passes) or $1.2 trillion (if neither pass) later. Either way, the Treasury should have plenty of borrowing authority to get us to 2013.
Behind the deal is a creative way out of the impasse that’s held up the negotiations: how do you get “balanced approach” if Republicans refused to consider revenues? The solution that both sides seem to have settled on is to substitute defense cuts where taxes would otherwise have gone.
[…] If Congress doesn’t pass a second round of deficit reduction, the trigger cuts $1.2 trillion over 10 years. Fully half of that comes from defense spending. And note that I didn’t say “security spending.” The Pentagon takes the full hit if the trigger goes off.
The other half of the trigger comes from domestic spending. But Social Security, Medicaid and a few other programs for the poor are exempted. So the trigger is effectively treating defense spending like it comprises more than half of all federal spending. If it goes off, the cuts to that sector will be tremendous — particularly given that they will come on top of the initial round of cuts….
[…] Those cuts are meant to be so brutal that neither party will risk refusing a deal. But a deal means taxes, or at least is supposed to mean taxes. And Speaker John Boehner is already promising that taxes are off the table.
[…] Boehner is misleading his members to make them think taxes are impossible under this deal. But make no mistake: The Joint Committee could raise taxes in any number of ways. It could close loopholes and cap tax expenditures. It could impose a value-added tax, or even a tax on carbon. The Congressional Budget Office would score all of this as reducing the deficit under a current-law baseline. The only thing that wouldn’t reduce the deficit is going after part of the Bush tax cuts. That means they’re likely to go untouched in this deal.
That’s actually good news for…people who want to raise taxes. The Bush tax cuts will still be set to expire in 2012, which means that if Democrats get some revenue as part of this deal, they’ll be able to get more revenue if Congress gridlocks over the Bush tax cuts in 2012.
But that’s really a technicality. Boehner is promising that he’ll oppose any deal that includes revenue, and unless he decides to break his promise next year, that means the House is unlikely to pass any deal that includes revenue. So that leaves us with three options: 1) there’s no deal and the trigger goes off, 2) the Democrats agree to $1.5 trillion in further spending cuts alongside zero dollars in tax increases, or 3) Republicans agree to revenues.
[…] And that gets to the truth of this deal, and perhaps of Washington in this age: it’s all about lowest-common denominator lawmaking. There are no taxes. No entitlement cuts. No stimulus. No infrastructure. Less in actual, specific deficit reduction than there was in the Simpson-Bowles, Ryan, or Obama plans, and even than there was in the Biden/Cantor or Obama/Boehner talks. The two sides didn’t concede more in order to get more. They conceded almost nothing in order to get a trigger and a process, not to mention avoid a financial catastrophe.
[…] Perhaps this deal signals the end of the need to actually reach an agreement, however. If the Joint Committee fails, the trigger begins cutting spending. If negotiations over taxes fail, the Bush tax cuts expire and revenues rise by $3.6 trillion. Neither scenario is anyone’s first choice on policy grounds. But you can get to both scenarios without Republicans explicitly conceding to higher taxes or Democrats explicitly conceding to entitlement cuts in the absence of higher taxes.
Of course, the worst thing about this deal is that the teaparty Republicans get their way in spending cuts in an already faltering economy. And I haven’t yet heard a good explanation from them as to how that’s supposed to help the economy or create any jobs… anyone? But at least there might not be a default and, most of all, the rich and powerful are in a safe place right now.
Here’s a fact sheet from the White House: “Bipartisan Debt Deal,” and Obama explaining the deal:
The President says the deal was not “what I would have preferred,”but said it will “allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest America.” Most importantly, it will ensure we don’t have to repeat the crisis in coming months… [via Think Progress].
Bob Cesca’s summary:
It’s difficult for me to write an “upside” post about the deal because I don’t think there’s an upside. Say it along with me now: spending cuts in a slow growth recovery are a terrible, ridiculous, utterly stupid thing to do. I understand the calculus that there had to be a deal or else we’d default. I get it. It’s better than a global economic crisis. But that doesn’t mean I have to accept a less harmful crisis that will surely ensue by this austerity.
[…] Social Security isn’t cut — yet. Medicaid isn’t cut — yet. But there are still massive spending cuts and no tax increases on the super rich. And it might not even pass.
And from Matt Yglesias:
Here’s the White House’s explanation of the budget deal. Long story short, a lot of spending cuts! The first tranche of cuts is balanced between defense and non-defense elements and will be implemented immediately. The second, larger tranche of cuts won’t happen until at least 2013 (the good news) and could take a variety of different specific forms depending on exactly what happens. In theory, taxes can be raised in lieu of cuts but in practice nothing about the composition of the committee makes that seem like a remotely plausible outcome.
And from Thomas Lane | TPM:
Even if the bill passes the Senate it still has to make its way through the House. Speaker John Boehner provided the GOP caucus with a power-point presentation to try to sell them on the plan. However, he faces a sizable conservative rump that is still unsatisfied, largely because of concerns about defense cuts and the now-downgraded (and ludicrous) Balanced Budget Amendment.
On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has to hand her Democrats a plan that many regard as an utter capitulation to the Republicans. A progressive backlash is already underway. The bill has until Tuesday to clear both chambers and land on the President’s desk.
It ain’t over until it’s over and it’s far from over with this new deal.
Sidenote: if you’re a Lib / Prog / Dem who didn’t bother to vote in 2010, just STFU. Don’t even talk about the budget deal and what Obama ‘should have’ done.
Try to tell me that pic above isn’t an accurate representation of where we are at this moment:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Senate Sunday that negotiators were closing in on a debt limit package, but he warned that unresolved questions remained and that “each of them must be resolved before we have a final agreement. And as we know, one problem can stop the whole agreement from going forward.”
[…] Reid also said that as part of an accord, a 12-member joint congressional committee will be created and given the task of achieving further deficit reduction, once a first round of cuts has been made.
“There are no constraints. It can look at any program we have in government,” Reid said of the new committee. “It will be essential to choose members with open minds willing to consider every option, even when the options are difficult to swallow for both parties.”
[…] Plouffe outlined the structure of an agreement between Obama and congressional leaders.
It would require an initial round of $1 trillion in deficit reduction, mostly or entirely coming from spending cuts, followed by work by the new congressional committee to recommend even deeper deficit reduction which would be achieved, said Plouffe, through “entitlement reform and tax reform.”
He said the committee would be mandated to recommend specific spending cuts, but it “is not going to be charged with just doing spending cuts only. The committee is going to be charged looking at our entire deficit reduction problem and look at things like tax reform and revenue.”
On Saturday McConnell told reporters that, “We all know that if the president decides to reach an agreement with us, the Democrats, most of them, will fall in line. He is the leader of the Democratic Party; he is the president of the United States. He needs to indicate what he will sign. And we are in those discussions now.”
Has McConnell ever met these ‘Democrats’ he speaks of?
The Republican-controlled House on Saturday dismissed a new proposal by Senate Democrats to end the fiscal crisis before the Senate even voted on it…
In an effort to send a message to Senate leaders of both parties, the House voted 173 to 246 against the proposal by Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, to show it had no future in the House.
On Twitter, Speaker John A. Boehner called the Senate measure “DOA” and a “non-starter in the House.” Republicans also said the $2.5 trillion in savings in the measure were illusory.
Later, the GOP Congressmen threw their pudding cups, refused a nap, and held their breath or screamed. They were, as one witness described, “out of control.”
So True! via: reagan-was-a-horrible-president
What else is there to say? Your tax dollars at work. No reason for the Republican Congress to make Boehner’s stupid bill any more compromising or bipartisan, right? They passed it, huzzah! KNOWING that the Senate would reject it. What an accomplishment.
Brian Beutler reports:
The final vote was 218 in favor to 210 against. Zero Democrats joined the majority, and only 22 Republicans voted with the Democrats.
[…] What [Boehner] came up with — a plan that would have forced Congress to accept deep entitlement cuts in the month ahead under the threat of yet another default — unified Democrats in opposition, and left him with the unenviable task of finding 217 Republicans who support a plan that lacked the radical provisions they’ve long demanded.
He couldn’t put it together. That left him to choose between admitting total defeat, or throwing his caucus more red meat and passing yet another symbolic measure. He chose the latter. At this point his bill’s only substantive purpose may be to serve as a vehicle for Senate Democrats and Republicans to pass a viable, bipartisan debt limit bill.
The NYT Caucus blog just posted last night:
The United States Senate quickly dispatched the debt ceiling bill passed by the House Friday evening, tabling the Republican bill indefinitely and moving quickly to start consideration of a Democratic plan that would avoid default on Tuesday.
Less than two hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner pushed his bill through the House over the strenuous objections of nearly two dozen of his own Republican members, the Democratic leadership in the Senate followed through on their promise to kill his legislation.
Are the teaparty Republican Congressmen aware that — by a majority of votes in 2008 and 2010 — the Senate and the White House are Democratic? For that matter, are the teabaggers aware of that fact?
JK! We all know they’re aware of that fact — their ‘job’ is to do nothing and make sure nothing gets done through November 2012! Wouldn’t it be great to draw a paycheck* + benefits for doing nothing (i.e. writing outlandish bills that would never, ever be approved by the Senate or the President)?
*The current salary for all Senators and Members is $174,000. The salary for the Speaker is $223,500 and the salary for the Majority and Minority Leaders is $193,400.
Even After Proposed Hike, Reagan Increased Debt Ceiling Twice As Fast As Obama
rhetoricbold-faced lies from GOP lawmakers, Republican presidents have raised the statutory limit on U.S. debt by a much greater percentage than either of the two Democrats elected since 1981. According an analysis of historical data compiled on the statutory limit by the Office of Management and Budget, former President Ronald Reagan outstrips all other executives to date, increasing the debt ceiling by 199.5 percent during his eight years in office. He is followed by President George W. Bush, Jr. at a 90.2 percent increase over eight years and by President George H. Bush, Sr. at a 48.0 percent increase over only four years in office.
I wonder how guilty McCain feels right about now for Sarah Palin and and the way he ran his campaign in 2008? In other words, for how he started this entire mess. Here he tells the freshmen members to stop lying and to stop being ‘bizarro’
This is what happens when you have Republican freshmen in Congress whose loyalties belong to an astroturf organization rather than to the country they’re supposed to serve. No vote was taken last night on Boehner’s plan:
What we’ve suspected all along can now be asserted with confidence: John Boehner is a SINO – Speaker-in-name-only. And after what went down — or, more accurately, what didn’t go down — in the House on Thursday night, it’s fair to wonder how much longer he’ll even be that.
[…] Over and over again during this debt ceiling ordeal, Boehner has been undercut by the true believers in the GOP’s ranks. Last week seemed embarrassing enough, when Boehner was forced to invent excuses for backing out of a “grand bargain” that, at virtually any other point in modern history, would have been considered a massive political victory for the GOP. But his humiliation on Thursday night — unable to convince his own party to sign off on a plan that would prevent a default, trim about $1 trillion from the deficit, not raise a single new cent in revenue and allow the GOP to play this hostage game with Obama all over again in a few months — seems far, far worse.
This isn’t patriotism. When you want to watch your country burn, it’s exactly the opposite.
1. The crime of betraying one’s country, esp. by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government. 2. The action of betraying someone or something. More »
WASHINGTON — With the United States poised on the brink of a potential default, President Barack Obama appealed to Americans to “make your voice heard” to members of Congress.
They appear to have listened.
Heavy traffic caused a number of websites of members of Congress to crash overnight and the congressional switchboard was deluged with phone calls on Tuesday.
The websites of several members of the House of Representatives and Senate, both Democrat and Republican, were sluggish or simply unavailable, apparently due to the greater than usual volume of visitors.
Let them know you exist and can vote:
What could happen if the debt ceiling isn’t raised next week? You may as well let your representatives in Congress know what should be paid if it’s not raised:
In some quarters of the American political system, there are people — predominantly of the Tea Party Republican persuasion — who believe that Congress doesn’t need to raise the debt ceiling. If the U.S. government isn’t allowed to borrow any more money to pay its bills, runs their line of thinking, that’s fine and dandy. Finally, we’d be forced to tighten our belts and “live within our means!” Ignore the fearmongers predicting disaster — they’re just trying to scare markets and voters.
[…] Let’s start with the basic numbers. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the U.S. Treasury will have about $172.4 billion in revenue in August that can be applied to $306.7 billion in outstanding bills. If the U.S. Treasury is forbidden from borrowing any additional funds, it will therefore have to cut total August spending by about $134 billion, or 44 percent. …Click on over to this cool interactive widget at Bloomberg Government and decide for yourself who gets paid and who doesn’t if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling.
Is anyone surprised by this? Yet discussion of increasing tax revenues from the wealthy and corporations is off the table, no compromise, according to the teaparty Republicans.
… [Institute for Policy Studies’ (IPS) Sam] Pizzigati cites an IPS paper from last spring to make the argument that if corporations and households making more than $1 million paid the same rates as they did in 1961, our debt would virtually disappear in a decade:
Some numbers — from an Institute for Policy Studies report released this past spring — can help us better visualize just how monumental this political failure has been. If corporations and households taking in $1 million or more in income each year were now paying taxes at the same annual rates as they did back in 1961, the IPS researchers found, the federal treasury would be collecting an additional $716 billion a year. In other words, if the federal government started taxing the wealthy and their corporations at the same rates in effect a half-century ago, the federal debt to investors would almost totally vanish over the next decade.
As ThinkProgress has previously reported, the richest Americans are paying their lowest taxes in a generation. Additionally, Center for American Progress experts Michael Linden, Seth Hanlon, and Jordan Eizenga have shown that the United States is actually very low-tax compared to other developed countries.
The teaparty Republicans are proposing that we continue this policy failure, with the end game being a failure of our country, failure to protect our middle-class, and failure of a safety net for future generations.
The average teaparty voter certainly isn’t a millionaire. What are you people thinking?
Contact your House member and tell them you want them to agree on an increase in the debt ceiling and a SHARED sacrifice — spending cuts combined with tax revenue from tax cuts to the rich.
Contact your Senators here: Senators of the 112th Congress
This is happening because, in the fashion of 1984‘s “Newspeak,” the Republican Congress and their teabagging base now call the most profitable corporations and the wealthy “job creators.” And before you say anything, please remember thoughtcrime is death.
Aside from Goldman Sachs earning one billion dollars last quarter and having to dump 1,000 employees because that’s not enough, here’s more outrage comin’ at you from Matt Taibbi. In Rolling Stone Taibbi describes a second “one-time” tax holiday for corporations that’s written into the debt ceiling deal (emphasis mine):
Here’s how it works: the tax laws say that companies can avoid paying taxes as long as they keep their profits overseas. Whenever that money comes back to the U.S., the companies have to pay taxes on it.
Think of it as a gigantic global IRA. Companies that put their profits in the offshore IRA can leave them there indefinitely with no tax consequence. Then, when they cash out, they pay the tax.
Only there’s a catch. In 2004, the corporate lobby got together and major employers like Cisco and Apple and GE begged congress to give them a “one-time” tax holiday, arguing that they would use the savings to create jobs. Congress, shamefully, relented, and a tax holiday was declared. Now companies paid about 5 percent in taxes, instead of 35-40 percent.
Money streamed back into America. But the companies did not use the savings to create jobs. Instead, they mostly just turned it into executive bonuses and ate the extra cash. Some of those companies promising waves of new hires have already committed to massive layoffs.
[…] I’m shocked there isn’t more of an uproar about this. Could you imagine what the Tea Party would be saying right now if there was a law on the books that allowed immigrants to indefinitely avoid taxes on income sent back to family members in the old country, in Mexico and Venezuela and India?
Imagine the uproar if Barack Obama, in the middle of this historic revenue crunch and “We’re so broke the world is going to end tomorrow!” debt-ceiling hystgeria, decided to declare a second “one-time tax holiday” for, say, unwed single mothers, or recipients of public assistance? Middle America would be running through the streets, firing shotguns out its truck window, waving chainsaws in mall lobbies, etc.
As it is, leading members of the Senate are seriously considering giving the most profitable companies in the world a total tax holiday as a reward for their last seven years of systematic tax avoidance. Hundreds of billions of potential tax dollars would disappear from the Treasury. And there isn’t a peep from anyone, anywhere, on this issue.
We’re seriously talking about defaulting on our debt, and cutting Medicare and Social Security, so that Google can keep paying its current 2.4 percent effective tax rate and GE, a company that received a $140 billion bailout en route to worldwide 2010 profits of $14 billion, can not only keep paying no taxes at all , but receive a $3.2 billion taxcredit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?
The income redistribution from the bottom to the top continues without interruption. And the teapartyers are just so proud they can help.