And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
At least they won it in every way possible that doesn’t involve, you know, actually winning:
[The GOP thinks] they lost because their get-out-the-vote technology failed on Election Day. They think they lag the Democrats in data mining and use of social media. They think media bias defeated them. They think they kinda-sorta won because they won the white vote and the elderly vote. They think a tiny number of anomalous, atypical Republicans spoiled everything for the rest of the party by scaring women with off-putting abortion rhetoric. They think they just haven’t found the right messenger who can explain to Hispanic voters that they’re “natural Republicans.” They think Obama and Democrats win among low-information voters who are too dumb to realize what’s really happening to them and what the two parties really stand for. Or those same voters are being bribed with “Obamaphones.” And, yes, Republicans are still claiming voter fraud.
Oh, and besides, they won the House (even if they lost the total House vote and won only because of gerrymandering, and even if Democrats retained the Senate), so 2012 was a split decision right? Heck, Paul Ryan won — he won reelection to his House seat.
So it’s all good for the GOP! Their ideas are what America wants! It’s obvious!
"Republicans have very decidedly not agreed to any kind of tax reform that raises federal revenues. This is the whole crux of the debate. They have never agreed to anything other than revenue-neutral tax reform."
— Kevin Drum, saying what should be printed in the maximum size possible, laminated in armor-strength plastic, and posted on the wall of every news agency large and small. Every single news outlet gets this simple, straightforward fact utterly and completely wrong every single time they venture here. Wishing hard and clapping louder will not make the GOP sensible. Neither will acting as though they want a “sensible” deal when they have made no such overtures, large or small.
Reporting this as though both parties are equally at fault is doing The Republic no favors.
"[David] Brooks begins [his column today] by noting that the Grand Bargain on the deficit, which he has spent the last two years relentlessly touting, is not actually possible. Why is it impossible? Because, he writes, “A political class that botched the fiscal cliff so badly are not going to be capable of a gigantic deal on complex issues.”
Oh, the political class? That’s funny. In 2011, Obama offered an astonishingly generous budget deal to House Republicans, and Brooks argued at the time that if the GOP turned the deal down, it would prove their “fanaticism.” Naturally, they turned it down. Obama continues to offer a bargain including higher revenue through tax reform in return for lower spending on retirement programs, but Republicans refuse to consider higher taxes. So, in summary, this proves “the political class” is to blame."
— Jonathan Chait thoroughly destroys David Brooks. You should really treat yourself to the whole thing.
"[The Hastert] rule is completely dead. The Democrats now effectively control the floor because nothing ‘big’ will come to the floor without knowing in advance that lots of Democrats support it. That gives the Democrats tremendous power in a body where the minority is not designed to have much power."
Unnamed Republican Aide, likening the appropriate and intended function of the House to “tremendous power.” How we can have an MSM that drones on and on about “reaching across the aisle” in the face of a reality that includes a de facto rule stating that nothing moves unless it will pass with only majority votes is and long has been beyond me.
Even still, former Speaker Hastert’s own reaction to the weakening and even ending of his “rule” is all the more telling:
Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when you start making deals when you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation, you are not in power anymore.
So, then, making a deal at all is tantamount to surrendering all power. Breathtaking.
To see what the Boehner rule means, consider the following facts. Based on projections done last August by the Congressional Budget Office, the national debt will increase over the next decade by about $12 trillion under current law. To cut spending over the next decade by $12 trillion, it would be necessary to cut annual spending by an average of $1.2 trillion a year. Since total non-interest spending over that period will average $4 trillion a year under current law, about 30 percent of projected spending would have to be eliminated. Because big cuts are impossible next year or the year after, the required cuts toward the end of the decade would have to approach 50 percent to satisfy the Boehner rule. As it happens, no one in either party—and, most tellingly, none of those insisting on the dollar-of-cuts-for-a-dollar-of-increase-in-the-debt-ceiling trade-off—has indicated where spending cuts of even one half this amount should come from. Even so, they have declared that they will oppose any increase in the debt ceiling unless these terms are met. And they have the votes to make their commitment hold.
My only real complaint is calling any of these “rules” in the House rules. Hastert, Boehner, what-have-you: they have no force of law and only exist as a “rule” in the sense that washing one’s hands after using the toilet does. If one does so, one is following the rule. If not, well, uh not much really. The Boehner Affectation, or the Boehner Most Dangerous Strongly Held Opinion. Whatever, just not a “rule.”
But: yep. And the reason no one “has indicated where spending cuts of even one half this amount should come from”? Because they don’t give a shit about the deficit. This whole “crisis” was created and continues to exist as a useful cudgel to extract tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor. Period, the end. Positive deficit impacts of said policy, be they large or small, are purely coincidental and entirely unintended.
Bloomberg is reporting that Obama is the first President since Ike to win two elections by a 51%+ popular vote margin. Yes, not even Saint Reagan, he of stayin’ up late and workin’ cross the aisle with ole Tip, managed the feat. And if we hear anything about that era, we hear about Reagan crushingHistory’s Greatest Monster and Son of History’s Greatest Monster. Steve Benen at the Maddow blog points out that Obama now joins a list of six Presidents with 51% or more in two elections: Andrew Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the aforementioned Eisenhower, and now, Barack Obama.
But, of course, the GOP in the House must be allowed to set policy for the country. Obama has achieved no mandate; not in 2008, not in 2012. Whatever in the hell it is that happened in November is certainly not a mandate to govern. Any serious person realizes this implicitly. If anything, he should look for GOP goodwill by moving quickly to eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Then I’m sure they’ll come right around to his way of thinking.
Matt Yglesias makes a strong case re: the likely philosophical underpinnings of Roberts’ joining the more liberal members of the court to uphold the mandate. Namely that, in the absence of mandate, the Democrats would begin campaigning for Medicare for All. And they’d get it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but almost certainly within a millennium or two, and then for a long time.
But! I don’t think nearly that long of a game is needed, though. Presuming Roberts was never going to gut the whole bill, knocking out just the mandate within the political system as currently figured does nothing so well as guarantee the end of the private insurance system we all know and love within 5 or 10 years. This is because, without a mandate, healthy individuals would have powerful incentive not to buy insurance until they are sick. Since the ACA already prevents insurers from refusing coverage for any reason, you’d simply buy insurance on the day you started needing it. That is, to say the least, an unsustainable business model. Some even called for a “poison pill” in the original law designed to create this situation such that even a GOP government would be forced into extending Medicare to all the moment even their constituents could no longer afford insurance premiums.
Roberts knew all of this. He knew he likely couldn’t simply gut the law without adversely affecting the public’s opinion of the Supreme Court in general and the Roberts court in particular, knew he furthermore couldn’t simply kill the mandate without also killing private insurance (gridlock essentially ensured this outcome), and decided the least of these was simply keeping the mandate and letting Congress sort it out. Which, as it happens, was exactly the right decision by any reading of the Constitution and precedent that my not-a-lawyer eyes can detect. Huzzah for democracy.
"We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. We should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction."
— John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, tipping his hand. I’d say this is the first time you can see real fear of the status quo. More broadly, that doing nothing will fix most of the deficit over the near term by eliminating the Bush tax cuts and a few other money-sapping provisions. Were it deemed reasonably likely that Obama will win reelection in the fall, they’d quickly calculate that the only chance the GOP has for full extension of the Bush tax cuts is to force the issue before that happens. You do that by holding the full faith and credit of these United States hostage. Again. And the only way they get there is by reneging on their previous agreements and hope nobody remembers that they’re doing so. Nothing that has transpired in the past 20 years leads me to believe they are wrong on this count.
Sadly for them: they think this cunning scheme to yet again needlessly and recklessly and by choice yet again delivering the nation to the economic precipice has the benefit of being a big political winner for them. Sadly for the rest of us: you can only put this particular gun to the hostage’s head so many times before it gets fired. Maybe this time, maybe next. But soon.
Even more reason to do nothing. The joy of gridlock will hike capital gains taxes up to 25% in the absence of any actions on the part of Congress. Barring anything actually, you know, happening in the Congress, Mitt and other Masters of the Universe will finally see something approaching a reasonable tax rate. Very Serious People will tell you otherwise, but for the next few years gridlock is decidedly Our Friend.
“First, in addressing global terror and violent extremism, we need the kind of comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy I called for last August. We need to strengthen security partnerships to take out terrorist networks, while investing in education and opportunity. We need to give our national security agencies the tools they need, while restoring the adherence to rule of law that helps us win the battle for hearts and minds. This means closing Guantanamo, restoring habeas corpus, and respecting civil liberties.”
Perhaps you are forgetting that Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, put the kibosh on any movement towards even beginning to wind down Guantanamo. Obama did exactly as he said he would and got the ball rolling on the Executive side; he is not a dictator (reports on FOXnews to the contrary). The onus is on all of us, the citizens in various districts, for not pressuring our individual representatives to drop their wrong-headed opposition to a return to rule of law. As FDR said (and Obama frequently quoted on the campaign trail) “You’ve convinced me… Now go out and make me do it.” Precisely. The Presidency is not a political-suicide pact. Underestimating the limitless potential for utterly craven demagoguery around this issue doesn’t in any way change the fact that he walked (partway) into a political chipper shredder trying to restore sensibility in this domain. There was never a broad based, citizen uprising in support of making this entirely sensible return to normalcy, so it died on the vine. Period.
We are getting precisely the government we deserve. We vote these tools into Congress and then blame all the rest of those tools in DC because our tool brought in some needless and destructive water management dollars to the district.
Without an educated and engaged electorate, nothing will change. Inventing supposed lies, “flipflops,” or failures on the part of Obama doesn’t educate anyone.