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.
Bush seems fixated on his [Oval Office] rug. Virtually all visitors to the Oval Office find him regaling them about how it was chosen and what it represents. Turns out, he always says, the first decision any president makes is what carpet he wants in his office. As a take-charge leader, he then explains, he of course made a command decision — he delegated the decision to Laura Bush, who chose a yellow sunbeam design.
Sometimes Bush describes [The Rug] as a metaphor for leadership. Sometimes he relates how Russian President Vladimir Putin admired the carpet. Sometimes he seems most taken by the lighting qualities.
Though no one will ever be sure, Bush presumably filled out most of Decision Points with his thoughts on the subject; however, he did succinctly summarize The Rug (and its place in history) in the same 2006 WP piece:
“The interesting thing about this rug and why I like it in here is ‘cause I told Laura one thing. I said, ‘Look, I can’t pick the colors and all that. But make it say ‘optimistic person.’”
[Obama] ordered a new oval rug [for the Oval Office] inscribed with his favorite brief quotations from people he admires. “I had a bunch of quotes that didn’t fit [on the rug],” he admitted. One quote that did fit, I saw, was a favorite of Martin Luther King Jr.’s: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
To echo George Will, “if the Republican Party cannot win in this environment, it has to get out of politics and find another business. “
"Perhaps his raw, slightly unkempt suit balances out Romney’s snazzier, controlled appearance. Ryan’s Midwestern sensibilities and baggy pants may appeal to swing voters who think cuff links are wasteful expenditures. The man believes in trimming budgets, not pant legs."
— Katherine Boyledelivering what must be the finest non-Onion sourced political quotation ever written. The Washington Post, everyone. Cannot imagine why that’s an industry in bad decline. Just a tough environment out there for Serious People; it’s not the content at all. No way.
"Romney won’t have 60 votes in the Senate. But if he has 51, he can use the budget reconciliation process, which is filibuster-proof, to get rid of the law’s spending."
— Ezra Kleinreflects on President Romney’s potential chances and methods should he try repealing the ACA.
I’m not sure when, if ever, the DC Commentariat will get this through their heads: the next time the GOP holds the Presidency and a non-supermajority in the Senate, the filibuster will be eliminated approximately 30 seconds into the new Congress. Period, the end, carve it in stone.
Reconciliation won’t even be an issue with ACA repeal. It will be a simple majority vote, no filibusters allowed because there aren’t any allowed for any reason. Same with the functional elimination of Medicare, Social Security, and all the other Glibertarian wonders that await us under the Ryan budget plan when and if Romney wins. There’s simply no other way to get their preferred policies through, and the next time they have control of these levers of power they will get their policies through, no matter what it takes. Eliminating the filibuster will be among the more minor procedural changes and will be lost in the shuffle that heralds the end of the New Deal and basically all of the legislative 20th century.
Those are the stakes. Just when, exactly, will anyone in DC realize it? Sometime six to eight years after it all transpires, apparently. I’m assuming David Brooks already has an editorial in the can praising the end of filibusters. For Democrats, anyway.
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.
"Gingrich’s staff has these five file cabinets, four big ones and this little tiny one. Number one is ‘Newt’s ideas.’ Number two, ‘Newt’s ideas.’ Number three, number four, ‘Newt’s ideas.’ The little one is ‘Newt’s Good Ideas.’"
"The surtax would impact around 345,000 taxpayers, roughly 0.2 percent of taxpayers, or one in 500 of them. Those people would pay on average an additional 2.1 percent of their overall income, or just over 1/50th of that overall income, in taxes.
In a majority of states, only one-tenth of one percent, or one in 1,000 taxpayers, would pay this surtax.
And how many people would benefit from the payroll tax cut? According to the group, around 113 million tax filing units — either single workers or families that include more than one worker — would see their payroll tax cut extended. That’s a lot of people — well over 113 million workers, in fact."
— Citizens For Tax Justice runs the numbers on the proposed funding mechanism that would extend the payroll tax “holiday” currently scheduled to end December 31, 2011. I don’t have to remind you that Republicans are categorically against this tax increase, because it harms the “job creators” out there in that 0.2 percent.
The vast majority of the GOP’s 1% constituency wouldn’t even see so much as a dime’s difference, whilst everyone earning a paycheck would stand to receive ~$1000 dollars more in an aggregate demand crisis. So, of course, we prevent the tiny increase for a tiny fraction of the richest people on Earth in exchange for a further insult to our tottering economy when the payroll tax extension is worth ~$250 billion to our economy. Great policy.
Do nothing, Congress. Ezra Klein and EJ Dionne both write today about the benefits of simply letting various existing policies expire…doing so would net $7.1 TRILLION in deficit savings over the same decade that the “Super-committee” can’t find a way to reliably extract $1T. This path requires no votes, it requires no legislation, it requires no GOP assistance of any kind. Gridlock is all that’s required to make it happen.
So why is it no Serious Person (to whom deficits are, always have been, and always will be the preeminent policy question come-what-may) ever talks about the biggest deficit reduction plan currently out there, a plan that outstrips all other extant deficit plans by several orders of magnitude? Because they don’t actually care about deficits. None of them do. Because deficit reduction is not the goal. The GOP and their media enablers do not care about deficits. They care about eliminating social spending in this country to lower taxes on the richest 1%. Period. Everything and anything else that happens is collateral damage to that desired policy outcome.
Gridlock works. Gridlock will help America. Relying on gridlock is the best possible negotiating tool for Democrats. Period. Be prepared to end the Bush tax cuts. All of them. Be prepared to end the “doc fix.” All of it. Be prepared to end it all. Then you begin to drive policy decisions and have actual governing authority to get jobs bills and other things done.
Instead, they will, of course, continue to negotiate with themselves and parrot right-wing talking points. This is why they fail.
Just sit there quietly and let it all expire. Whenever the GOP talks about deficits, you bring up the $7T you are cutting deficits by over the next decade.
When the GOP gets tired of that, realizes you are serious about this, and is ready to talk, they’ll come to you. Then you set the terms. Then you begin to govern. This is how politics works. The Democrat seems to have largely forgotten this. Again: this is why they fail.
"If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion."
— Rick Perry, governor or Texas and candidate for the GOP nomination for President, apparently accusing Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke of treason.
He really is going to invigorate the GOP primary. What a strong field they have.
Even as the political battle mounts over federal spending, the end result for federal policy is already visible — and clearly favors Republican goals of deep spending cuts and drastically fewer government services.
President Obama entered the fray last week to insist that federal deficits can’t be reduced through spending reductions alone. Federal tax revenue also must rise as part of whatever deficit reduction package Congress approves this summer, he said. Obama has been pushing to end a series of what he calls tax loopholes and tax breaks for the rich.
But even if Obama were to gain all the tax-law changes he wants, new revenue would make up only about 15 cents of each dollar in deficit reduction in the package. An agreement by the Republicans to accept new revenue would be a political victory for Obama because “no new taxes” has been such an article of faith for the GOP.
I think this analysis leaves out a critical piece of the calculation: the December 2012 expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Recall that Obama, above all else, is the “outcomes” President. He’s more than willing to take a temporary political setback or even a seeming political loss in the short term if that in turn leads to the long-term policy outcomes he prefers.
So: to get a deal on the debt ceiling he gives the GOP a fatter ratio of cuts to revenues for now. Keep in mind, these “cuts” are really a framework that then plays out over most of a decade and will ultimately be changed and tuned by several Presidents and Congresses (and that’s assuming they stick to the framework at all). Next year though, assuming Obama’s reelected, everything changes on the revenue front. If the Congress simply fails to act, the full set of cuts expires. If they act, but the GOP includes extension of the cuts for those making more than ~$200k/yr, Obama vetoes it. And, really, if we assume that the GOP will fail in its efforts to destroy the economy in the next few weeks, Obama likely prefers one of those two outcomes. Why? Again, it’s because they are the best long-term outcomes for the country. That both reflect poorly on the GOP is a bonus side benefit going into the 2014 midterms. To be sure, a tax rise represents real short term pain for the less well off, but that pain yields long term stability and, let’s face it, sanity in the revenue structures of the United States.
Expiration of the Bush tax cuts is a key pillar in the “do nothing” solution for our current deficit/revenue issues. The assumption that all or most of them are going to expire if Obama is reelected needs to be included in any meaningful political calculus regarding the ratio of cuts to revenue increases in the current negotiation. Assuming expiration, you ultimately end up with a number of difficult but doable fixes that can be handled one at a time. If those “fixes” are, you know, paid for, the country will once again be on firm financial footing, complete with a reasonably robust social safety net for as far as the eye can see. This is precisely the outcome Obama is playing for.
"So when the GOP’s economic policy team sat down to make the strongest case they could for growth-inducing deficit reduction, they recommended a mix an 85:15 mix, not a 100:0 mix. And then, when the Obama administration agreed to an 83:17 mix, the Republican leadership walked out of the room and demanded that taxes be excluded from the deal altogether. How do you negotiate with that?"