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.
So what do Obama and the Democrats do if the individual mandate in the new health care law gets struck down by the Supreme Court?
Immediately propose what they should have proposed right from the start — universal health care based on Medicare for all, financed by payroll taxes. The public will be behind them, as will the courts.
This is utterly wrong on all counts. It utterly and willfully ignores the year of political sausage making that only managed to barely result in a marginally workable plan that squeaked by under reconciliation rules. The law enacting Reich’s paragraph couldn’t have passed a majority of Democrats at the time, and you’ll recall there were commanding majorities in both houses of Congress then. Aren’t now. And this wouldn’t even see the floor, no matter how passionately Obama or Bernie Sanders or Nancy Pelosi or Jesus Christ Himself argued for it.
What, then, needs to happen if the mandate section of the ACA is struck down? The death spiral needs to happen is what. The ACA without a mandate will destroy the private insurance companies within a decade. But,long before that happens, when the moment arrives that the mega-rich can no longer afford premiums, the party in power on that day, whichever that may be, will be forced to enact Medicare for all. Immediately. Not because they want to, but because it will be the only way forward. And that is the one and only way it ever gets passed. Not through rousing speeches or acting tough or with anything less than a 70-80 seat majority in the Senate and a few hundred in the House coupled to a far more progressive Democratic President than is currently serving.
And until the moment that we as citizens, they the politicians, they the DCCC (and like groups that run the party, its messaging, goals, and determine its candidates), and especially they in the form of the broader media internalize this and begin to act on it accordingly, we and they will fail. Period.
"[Rather than a double dip recession] we may be looking at 2 years or more where the growth could be in the range of 2.0 percent or even less. When we have 9.1 percent unemployment, this is an outrage. If we get people applauding because at least we are not seeing a double dip, then we have to calmly escort these ignorant beings to somewhere far away from economic policy discussions. They clearly do not have a clue and need to try a different line of work.
Finally, it is 100 percent nonsense to say that the government is out of policy options. We can do more stimulus. The financial markets are yelling at the government at the top of their lungs saying “borrow more money.” That’s what 2.6 percent interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds means. There are balanced-budget worshipping politicians who say that the government can’t do anything, but this is not true and the NYT has no business repeating it.
The Fed could also do more. […] Ben Bernanke has himself suggested: targeting a long-term interest rate (e.g. a 1.0 percent 5-year Treasury rate) or a higher rate of inflation (e.g. 3-4 percent). […]
The government could also try to create jobs by taking steps to lower the value of the dollar. The Chinese government has been making threats that it will stop buying up U.S. government debt if we don’t take their advice. The Obama administration could ask what they most want and then do the exact opposite. If the Chinese government stops buying U.S. assets then the dollar will fall against the yuan. This is equivalent to imposing a tariff on Chinese imports and giving a subsidy to U.S. exports. In other words, it should lead to a burst in net exports which will lift the economy and create jobs."
— Dean Baker is either giving great analysis of the nation’s near term economic outlook and policy options —or— reciting a litany of facts, large and small, that you will never, ever hear on any MSM outlet. Even by accident.
I’m not sure which, though.
"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 tax credit from the federal government. And nobody appears to give a shit. What the hell is wrong with people? Have we all lost our minds?"
— Matt Taibbi (via paxamericana)
No, Matt, we haven’t lost our minds. Instead, we’ve all been told for twenty years that government can do nothing right, that taxes are the root of all evil, and that anyone else receiving so much as one red cent of guvmint money is a freeloader and likely a sub-human of some variety.
Where’s the Left’s Grover Norquist, out there day in and day out agitating and extracting oaths over Social Security or Medicare or in favor of single payer health care? Where have they been for twenty years, messaging relentlessly, and not just when their pet subject is “in the news” for a week or two (and we’re lucky to get that)? Where have the folks been who organize guaranteed primary challenges of Democrats and Republicans who stray from their oaths? Where is the Progressive News Network, the most popular national news organ on television, daily vomiting outright lies and relentless spin tuned to the broader national political message and aimed squarely at the lowest common denominator?
Until some version of one or all these things show up: we will fail. This is why.
"I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years."
"In the same way that Wall Street hoovering up a third of all corporate profits is the new normal. Or that 9% unemployment is the new normal. Or that obstruction, rather than legislation, is the new normal for Congress. Or that massive spending cuts during a recession is the new normal. Or that conducting three overseas wars at the same time is the new normal.
The new normal kind of sucks, doesn’t it?"
— Kevin Drumreflects on the “new normal.”
I think this phenomenon, more than anything explains why we’re going to default. Maybe not this time, but sooner than later. And even then, in the economic ruins that follow, there’s only a passing chance that the important lesson, the moral of the story will sink in. More likely it’ll be blamed on ACORN, the EPA, and dread socialist fifth columnists and so forth. But I just don’t see how the boil gets lanced without the paroxysm. And, even then, the end result may be that the boil is simply inflamed further.
In reference to this and this, I think I’ve been less clear than I could have been about how I think Obama and his team should proceed.
For the sake of discussion, let’s take as written the Ezra Klein 83:17 cuts:revenue breakdown. The GOP wanted 85:15 in March, got offered 83:17 (plus a lot of exactly-what type details) in June and walked out. This is their choice. But there has to be a price for that choice.
Since there’s no deal, we’re going to take the GOP’s advice and just pay the interest on the debt. Seems like our only choice, thanks to the GOP’s intransigence re: corporate jet tax breaks and such. So we start by telling seniors to be ready not to receive their Social Security checks in August; if this troubles them, they should call their Congressional representatives. Medicare providers will not be compensated for the foreseeable future; they will receive IOUs in lieu of payment as of August 1. Is this going to be a problem for you? Call the Congress. We tell Wall Street they’d best to do like Cantor and get out of Treasuries.
And, we make clear that the deal, as of right now and for a limited time only is going to be 80:20. Take it or leave it. But if you do leave it, on July 1 it becomes 70:30. July 15th it is 50:50. Want to see where we go on August 1?
Once the GOP actually starts losing things when they pull the old football away, they will stop using the tactic. And until they do start paying a price for it, they’d be foolish not to use the tactic. So far it’s gotten them everything they want and hung blame on the Democrat. That needs to stop. So: you make your case, you state the stakes in clear and unmistakeable language, and then you set the timeline for agreement. Take it or leave it.
"When Republicans reached basic consensus about what they wanted to do [relative to Ryan’s plan], they then delegated the details to a small group of people who fleshed out the plan, it was then presented to the caucus and within a week they had the vote. Democrats, by contrast, put their health reform plans through an agonizing months-long process of public intra-party disputes. That gave people who didn’t care about the details tons and tons of time to organize a backlash while tending to signal to low-information voters that Democrats were doing something controversial even among their own partisans. The backlash against Medicare privatization is overwhelmingly likely to grow over time, but it’s also the case that between today and November 2012 other events will intervene and crowd the agenda space possibly letting members off the hook for an unpopular vote."
"Ryan warns that if we don’t deal with our fiscal problems, we’ll have to raise taxes and cut benefits for seniors. So what can we do to reduce the deficit? Well, government spending is dominated by the big 5: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense, and interest payments; you can’t make a significant dent in the deficit without either raising taxes or cutting those big 5. Defense is untouchable, says the GOP; so that leaves the entitlement programs. And 2.7 of the three entitlement programs are benefits to seniors (70 percent of Medicaid spending goes on seniors).
So let’s see: to avoid cuts in benefits to seniors, we must … cut benefits to seniors.
I’m reasonably sure that Ryan hasn’t thought any of this through."
The Washington Post Editorial Board is beginning, beginning mind-you, to think that maybe the GOP isn’t quite so serious about deficits after all:
Deficit financing is fine, it seems, when it comes to tax cuts. But that’s not all. Under the new rules, not only are tax cuts exempted from the pay-go concept, but the only way to pay for spending increases is with spending cuts elsewhere. No tax increases allowed - not even in the form of eliminating loopholes or cutting back on tax breaks. Of course, if you wanted to expand the loopholes, no problem. No need to pay for that.
Having made clear that no tax cuts need be paid for, the rules then take the extra step of specifying which deficit-busting tax cuts the new majority has in mind. They assume the continuation of all the Bush tax cuts; extension of the new version of the estate tax; and the creation of a big tax break to let “small businesses,” which can be expansively defined, take a deduction equal to 20 percent of their gross income.
Tax cuts for the wealthiest are fully protected. But tax help for those at the other end of the income spectrum? Forget it.
Shocking stuff. Can’t be right…Seems like I read something, somewhere about this, a while back…but that must have been all wrong.
At any rate, that $4T can easily be made up by trimming waste, fraud, and abuse inherent in the discretionary, non-defense budget…which totals around$1.4T for 2010. So, cutting four times that amount (over 10 years, solely to pay for new deficit spending to protect tax cuts for the richest 2%, and most definitely not current levels which would also require similarly scaled cuts in the very same time-frame) shouldn’t be any big deal. And, of course, Boehner’s ~$30M cuts in the House member’s own budgets gets us 0.75% of the way there already.