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Posted at 6:48 AM ET, 02/25/2011

Wonkbook: Senate Dems announce their own spending cuts

By Ezra Klein

Thumbnail image for M1X00192_9.JPG

We're days away from a possible government shutdown, and the messages the two sides are offering are becoming more clear. The Republicans are the side that wants to cut. "It sounds like Senate Democrats are making progress towards our goal of cutting government spending to help the private sector create jobs," said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner. "Hopefully, that means they will support the [bill] with spending cuts that we will pass next week, rather than shutting down the government." Democrats are the side that wants to negotiate. "We're willing to go further," Sen. Richard J. Durbin said. "But that requires the sort of good-faith negotiations House Republicans refuse to engage in."

The endgame for both messages seems obvious enough: if we hit a shutdown, Republicans will accuse Democrats of ignoring the will of the people and the message of the election, while Democrats will accuse Republicans of being ideologues who were unwilling to negotiate a pragmatic compromise that would've avoided disaster. The bet the Democrats are making is that voters are ambivalent about specific cuts and care more about a well-run government than about slashing spending. Republicans are wagering that thd public thinks the mark of well-run government is slashing spending, even at the cost of a shutdown. I'd say something sage and predictive here, but I don't think anyone really knows how this will turn out. For all the confident allusions people make to 1994, that's but one data point.

Top Stories

Senate Democrats have announced their own spending cuts, report Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane: "With a political standoff over spending threatening to trigger a federal shutdown next week, Senate Democrats began drafting a plan Thursday to slice billions of dollars from domestic agency budgets over the next seven months, yielding to Republican demands to reduce the size of government this year. The plan will involve accelerating some of the $33 billion in program terminations and reductions included in President Obama's proposed budget for next year, a senior Senate Democratic aide said Thursday. Democrats are also looking at cuts that have been adopted by the Republican-controlled House, such as a plan to strip $8.5 billion for pet projects known as earmarks out of a measure aimed at keeping the government running through Sept. 30."

Freshman Republicans are finding that government "waste" has some supporters back home, reports Shailagh Murray: "As they return to their districts after the budget debate, Guinta and many of his fellow Republicans are discovering that fiscal responsibility can be a tricky business. Many federal programs reside in a vast gray zone, somewhere between worthy and wasteful. And while pledging to rise above local interests can establish a candidate as a principled outsider, for a member of Congress, it's often a quick way to guarantee a short career. 'This is not campaigning, this is governing,' [Rep. Frank] Guinta said in an interview. 'They're two very different things. And you have to be very careful what you say when you're campaigning, because people will hold you accountable.'"

GOP governors outside Wisconsin are backing down on labor issues, report Ariana Eunjung Cha and Amy Goldstein: "Republican leaders in several states softened their attacks on public employee unions on Thursday in an effort to avert the fiery demonstrations that have gripped Wisconsin's state Capitol for two weeks. In Ohio, Republican lawmakers agreed to modify a bill that would have banned collective bargaining, allowing state workers to negotiate on wages. Michigan's GOP governor offered to negotiate with public employees rather than create political gridlock...Even in Wisconsin - where more than 60,000 demonstrators have camped out at the Capitol for the past week to protest a budget plan by Gov. Scott Walker (R) to end collective-bargaining rights for public employees - Republicans and Democrats took a small but significant step toward resolving their clash."

Banks are skeptical of the White House's mortgage plan, report Nick Timiraos, Dan Fitzpatrick, and Ruth Simon: "The banking industry privately knocked the Obama administration's nascent proposal to force banks to modify mortgage loans, saying the plan won't help solve problems facing troubled borrowers. The nation's largest banks haven't yet seen a proposal that is designed to help resolve mortgage-servicing errors that affected troubled borrowers. But industry executives are bristling at the administration's new approach, disagreeing that principal reductions will help borrowers and, in turn, the broader housing market. Though a unified settlement is uncertain and would have to appease regulators, banks and state attorneys general, some officials are pushing for banks to pay more than $20 billion in civil fines or to fund a comparable amount of loan modifications for distressed borrowers."

Mitch Daniels should run for president, writes David Brooks: "This is the G.O.P. quandary. The man who would be the party’s strongest candidate for the presidency is seriously thinking about not running. The country could use a serious, competent manager, which Governor Daniels has been, and still he’s thinking about not running. The historic moment calls for someone who can restrain debt while still helping government efficiently perform its duties. Daniels has spent his whole career preparing for this kind of moment, and still he’s thinking about not running."

Cat Power interlude: Chan Marshall plays "Maybe Not" on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Got tips, additions, or comments? E-mail me.

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Still to come: The House wants to defund mortgage modification; the administration is assuring governors they have flexibility on health care reform; the White House has been meeting with lobbyists off the books; the administration is under increased pressure to allow offshore drilling; and the Muppets rock out to LCD Soundsystem.

Economy

The House wants to defund the administration's mortgage modification program, reports Alan Fram: "House committee plans to write legislation next week ending the Obama administration's flagship effort for helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure and abolishing three other housing assistance programs. At its meeting next Thursday, the highest-profile target of the Republican-run House Financial Services Committee will be the Home Affordable Modification Program. The Treasury Department has acknowledged the program won't meet its original goal of preventing 3 million to 4 million foreclosures, and last month a federal inspector general said it has been a failure. The bill comes at a time when Republicans are proposing deep spending cuts across the federal budget."

Senate Democrats are reviving Al Gore's Social Security "lockbox" idea: http://bit.ly/eSqafV

Regulators are warning against budget cuts to the CFTC, reports Ben Protess: "Top regulators of the derivatives markets are fighting back against a Congressional assault on their budget, arguing that funding cuts will derail a much-needed overhaul of the $600 trillion industry. The Republican-led House of Representatives passed a federal spending plan on Saturday that would cut the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s budget by a third. The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, is unlikely to approve such deep cuts, although the agency’s budget remains a target there. In contrast, President Obama has proposed increasing the commission’s budget by more than 80 percent. The agency’s Democratic commissioners asserted on Thursday that any cuts, big or small, would be disastrous."

Consumer groups are pleased with Obama's antitrust chief: http://politi.co/gzFb6I

Wisconsin is, like Iraq, an instance of the "shock doctrine" at work, writes Paul Krugman: "From Chile in the 1970s onward, [Naomi Klein] suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society...Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions -- an offer the governor has rejected. What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab -- an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy."

Our debate about the debt ceiling and budget cuts is silly, writes Alan Blinder: http://on.wsj.com/hJ6iJ1

The US shouldn't have a debt limit, writes Pete Davis: "Why do we have a debt limit? Congress wouldn't pass the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917 to fund the First World War without it. Ever since, it has levered all manner of extraneous spending increases, tax cuts, and special interest amendments without having the slightest downward impact on federal spending. As the first two sentences of today's GAO report say, 'The debt limit does not control or limit the ability of the federal government to run deficits or incur obligations. Rather, it is a limit on the ability top pay obligations already incurred.' If you really want to control spending, control spending."

Democrats should not fall for "fiscal conservatives"' bait, writes Jeff Frankel: "The zeal to cut funding for such tiny programs as the National Endowment for the Humanities and Planned Parenthood is accepted as evidence of the sincerity of the fiscal conservatives. I wish the Democrats would not fall for that bait. Their anguish over such cuts, while understandable, plays into the old narrative of big versus small government. The same with the bigger, but still small, categories of domestic spending such as food stamps. The Right reacts to such liberal anguish with glee, while the Center infers - less vindictively, but no more accurately - that such cuts are part of a painful but necessary fiscal adjustment. Losing the center is no way to put together a political majority. "

Muppet interlude: Kermit and the gang rock out to LCD Soundsystem's "Dance Yrself Clean".

Health Care

The White House is assuring governors they have flexibility on health reform, reports Mary Agnes Carey: "With the nation’s governors about to descend on Washington for their winter meeting, the Department of Health and Human Services today continued its campaign to calm their concerns that the health law is too expensive and complex for cash-strapped states to implement. In a letter responding to Republican governors who have been complaining they need more flexibility in setting up health insurance exchanges, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated that the law gives states the authority to pick which insurers can do business in their states and allows for a diversity of health plans to be sold on the exchanges. In a separate report, HHS said that the federal government has offered or provided $2.8 billion so far -- and will provide 'billions more' -- to states to implement the law."

Mitt Romney is still defending the Massachusetts health law while attacking the federal one: http://politi.co/hSzjyK

Domestic Policy

The administration has been meeting with lobbyists outside the White House to keep it off the books, reports Chris Frates: "Caught between their boss’ anti-lobbyist rhetoric and the reality of governing, President Barack Obama’s aides often steer meetings with lobbyists to a complex just off the White House grounds -- and several of the lobbyists involved say they believe the choice of venue is no accident. It allows the Obama administration to keep these lobbyist meetings shielded from public view -- and out of Secret Service logs kept on visitors to the White House and later released to the public. 'They’re doing it on the side. It’s better than nothing,' said immigration reform lobbyist Tamar Jacoby, who has attended meetings at the nearby Jackson Place complex and believes the undisclosed gatherings are better than none."

Darrel Issa has issued his first subpoenas: http://wapo.st/eAmlmx

Freshman Republicans are finding it hard to avoid local spending, reports Shailagh Murray: "As the government programs fell and the tens of billions in savings piled up during the budget debate in the House last week, freshman Republican Frank Guinta was right there cutting with the rest of them. The former Manchester mayor axed funds for after-school programs in his hometown. He voted against money to replace an aging bridge in Portsmouth. And he backed steep reductions for health centers that treat thousands of New Hampshire's uninsured. But Guinta also found that he had some limits. He wasn't willing to cut a subsidy for heating bills...Guinta and many of his fellow Republicans are discovering that fiscal responsibility can be a tricky business."

Teachers' union leader Randi Weingarten has a plan to reform teacher tenure: http://nyti.ms/hFCLhc

Simpler times interlude: A compilation of '90s TV news segments on what the "Internet" is.

Energy

Pressure on the White House to allow offshore drilling is mounting, report Tennille Tracy and Ryan Tracy: "Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to meet with oil industry executives in Houston Friday to assess the industry's readiness to handle a major offshore oil spill, amid growing pressure from congressional Republicans and a federal judge to resume deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Salazar is expected to meet with representatives of an industry-led consortium, Marine Well Containment Co., and Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc., a company that aided BP PLC with BP's response to last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The Obama administration has said the oil industry must demonstrate it can quickly contain a large offshore spill before it will allow companies to resume drilling in waters deeper than 500 feet."

A report has cleared US scientists of misconduct in "climategate": http://wapo.st/gNkHKS

House Republicans want to block EPA air pollution rules, reports Andrew Restuccia: "House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) raised the specter late Wednesday of taking action in Congress to change the Environmental Protection Agency’s final air pollution regulations for industrial boilers, which the lawmaker said were issued hastily amid a looming court-ordered deadline. 'If congressional intervention is needed to provide EPA the time it needs to provide careful, defensible rules that will not invite additional judicial challenge, the Committee on Energy and Commerce is prepared to act,' Upton, who was joined by energy subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), said in a statement."

House Democrats want Obama to tap strategic oil reserves: http://bit.ly/gbcYTF

Closing credits: Wonkbook is compiled and produced with help from Dylan Matthews and Michelle Williams.

By Ezra Klein  | February 25, 2011; 6:48 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: How do unions affect state spending and taxation?

Comments

Friedman had a great article yesterday.

In his analogy, the US has built its house at the foot of a volcano spewing molten lava as we speak.

The US is the modern day Pompei.

Yet most of our leaders continue to insist that we do nothing to eliminate our dependence on oil, and in fact they seem to entrench us in more oil

We are as idiotic as those easter island people who cut down all their trees then learned after it was too late those trees were their lifeline.

Rick Scott cancelled the FL HSR. In 20 years, when oil is too short in supply to allow people to drive to their jobs between tampa and orlando, we will wonder, who killed the train that could have helped FL prosper thru the oil shock?

And the GOP refuses to even cut oil subsidies in order to help with their crusade to cut gvmt spending. This alone proves that the US gvmt is IMPOTENT and no longer an architecht of our future (instead foreign corporations are).

Oil companies today are ramping up plans to spend MONEY in US elections, so guess which party and which industry that will favor.

All of you/us are idiots and deserve the hell coming your/our way in a very few short decades, if not sooner.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I'm looking forward to the shutdown. I say we leave it shut down until the GOP's entire $100B has been saved.

You libs greatly overestimate how many people will miss it.

Posted by: whoisjohngaltcom | February 25, 2011 7:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't see why the Democrats don't say "Go ahead and identify as many billions in spending cuts you'd like, and we'll match it with that many billions of dollars worth of cancellation of Bush tax cuts for people making for than $250K, and we'll be happy to pass that."

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

its nice that Ms. Weingartner is finally (after years of speaking about it) addressing tenure. Now she just has to pull back the millions in attack ads the union is placing all over NY television.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVoJzsnR3Ic&feature=player_embedded

oh and yesterday you linked to the wrong Chris Christie article. This is the one you should have linked to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/magazine/27christie-t.html?src=me&ref=general

Governor Christie clearly blows up the union talking point.


“Now, do you really think that your child is now stressed out and unable to learn because they know that their poor teacher has to pay 1½ percent of their salary for their health care benefits? Have any of your children come home — any of them — and said, ‘Mom.’ ” Pause. “ ‘Dad.’ ” Another pause. “ ‘Please. Stop the madness.’ ”

Just pay for my teacher’s health benefits,’ ” he pleads, “ ‘and I’ll get A’s, I swear. But I just cannot take the stress that’s being presented by a 1½ percent contribution to health benefits.’


Hysterical and sad all at the same time.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

and in everyone's whining about the Koch brothers and the prank phone call, etc you don't for some reason show the other side of the story. You don't see unions paying millions to raise taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703293204576105760131773034.html


It would really be nice to see both sides of the story so those who don't know any better won't be misguided. The continuing premise that these are big bad billionaires picking on the poor and the downtrodden really needs to be adjusted to fit the truth that's really happening.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The WI unions have agreed to the cuts.

What they don't agree to is removing their collective bargaining rights.

Would be nice if the media would tell the whole story instead of just the GOP governors stories.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The scenario by whoisjohn is a Democratic dream scenario.

Imagine all those seniors not getting their SS and medicare checks/benefits for an extended period of time.

And make no mistake who would get the blame: the GOP.

I cant think of a better way to convert strong GOP leaning areas such as The Villages, here in FL, to a Democratic stalwart. Yeah, do it GOP, shut it all down.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"and in everyone's whining about the Koch brothers and the prank phone call, etc you don't for some reason show the other side of the story. You don't see unions paying millions to raise taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars."

Visionbrkr,

You don't get it. The unions have a right to as much taxpayer money as they can get their hands on.

The problem is all of those awful rich people who want to keep a little of their own money - see, that's actually money which rightly belongs to public sector workers.

If you disagree, you hate working people.

Posted by: justin84 | February 25, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

eggnogfool

you are so right.

But the reason they don't is that Dems don't really want to raise their own taxes either. They are liberal imposters.

And their own concern over unions is really about losing campaign donors.

That's why the Dems are losing support, because too many of them don't really believe in the things they publicly say they do.

And why is it conservative Dems, a so-called minority within the caucus, are the ones always leading the debt commissions, or the health care reform commission, or the finreg commission, and so on. The reason, again, is the Dems are not as liberal as they pretend.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I've never seen a situation more deserving of the term "race to the bottom." We have massive unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, people being evicted from their homes, overpriced healthcare, and are bogged down in 2 endless wars and these idiots think austerity and cutting holes in the social safety net is what is needed.
The fix to our deficit problem is simple. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, increase marginal tax rates on incomes over $500,000; restore the estate tax on non-earned windfalls over $10M; raise the cap on payroll taxes, and enact a special tax on wall street bonuses.
Let's really share the sacrifice.
The real American patriots are those who pay their fair share of taxes.
And yes I am one of those who would have to pay more taxes.

Posted by: JTinAlex | February 25, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr:

not clear what 'talking point' christie thinks he is responding to.

i would argue, however, that the students aren't going to be learning a whole lot at school while the teachers are on strike.

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse


If they are so concerned about cutting costs it should start with the Congress and Senate themselves. We pay for their LIFETIME FREE MEDICAL even after they no longer work for the public (us). Even after they go and get jobs elsewhere. Where can the public get these kind of benefits. If they don't like the health care plan already approved and have no alternative then fine I'll take what they have FREE HEALTHCARE FOR LIFE. By the way I do pay a portion for my Medicare it comes out of my Social Security every month.

Posted by: carolrosati | February 25, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@eggnogfool,

so why are the teachers on strike again? becuase they have to pay 1.5% of their salary towards benefits? Becuase they don't get pay raises every year? Because they won't get to have lifetime pensions paid by the taxpayer? Please tell the private sector how they have it so hard when the private sector lost millions of jobs over the last several years and the public sector lost thousands.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

In the big picture of countervailing forces, the foreign and domestic corporations and big businesses in general are dominating the gvmt and the country and the media, and very little is allowed to pass without their approval, and now they are allowed to directly influence US elections. The fact ACA is gravely imperiled is proof of that. The fact high end tax cuts pass at this grave tie of debt is proof of that. The fact pay and benefits of average americans can be sacrificed to pay for high end tax cuts is proof of that. The fact that so many conservatives commonly refer to teachers and gvmt workers as scumbags and that they should all be fired is proof of that.

Meanwhile, for several years, unions are being destroyed and they are accepting significant cuts in pay and benefits, losing membership in droves, and aren't being paid MORE than anyone else, and they literally are like Custer as they are swarmed from all directions by overwhelming odds.

Yet, we have propagandists here who pine over criticism of billionaires and the unfairness of what they have to go thru to survive.

Any smart or fair person will stop and wonder when, even in the name of their own ideology, that maybe they are taking things too far. That's why I ceased being a Republican in 1992.

It is clear the GOP is engaged in a wide range of fronts (from union busting, to voter caging, and many other similar activities) to destroy the voices of their political opponents, which to me is un-American (well, up until 30 years ago, it was).

Every time I visit these comments on this blog, I come away feeling dripping wet from the saliva of the lusting ideologues as they mass and lunge for the kill, and who, at the same time complain that their victims, because of their squirming, are making the job of the final neck bite a bit difficult.

Modern day Republicans (and conservative Democrats) are a disgrace to the traditional ideals of their own party and this country. Their loyalty is to big business (foreign and domestic).

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Imagine all those seniors not getting their SS and medicare checks/benefits for an extended period of time.

And make no mistake who would get the blame: the GOP.

I cant think of a better way to convert strong GOP leaning areas such as The Villages, here in FL, to a Democratic stalwart. Yeah, do it GOP, shut it all down.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 9:12 AM | Report abuse

WAKE UP.

This has already been debunked as a lie. Why Senator Reid and President Obama continue down this path is unknown to me.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/23/news/economy/shutdown_social_security/index.htm

And this is Harry Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, in a statement on Tuesday: "A shutdown could ... mean no Social Security checks for seniors."

Here's the rub: It doesn't appear to be true.

During the last major shutdown, which lasted about a month starting in late 1995, the Social Security Administration mailed checks throughout the crisis, and a close reading of established law makes clear the agency has the legal authority to do so again.


Keep making crap up and I'll keep telling you its a lie.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"And yes I am one of those who would have to pay more taxes."

You can start paying more, right now.

https://www.pay.gov/paygov/forms/formInstance.html?agencyFormId=23779454

Posted by: justin84 | February 25, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

oh and before i get accused of calling you a liar Lauren I was speaking to the likes of Senator Reid not you.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr:

to my knowledge, 1995 was about not having appropriated funding, where right now we have money appropriated (for a while) through continuing resolution, but are about to hit the deficit cap, which is a whole different animal.


@justin84:

the whole "if you think higher taxes would be good, feel free to pay more" thing makes the same kind of sense as saying "if you think a nuclear iran is a threat, feel free to buy a gun and a plane ticket and go resolve it".

there are some things that we need to address as a country, or not at all. policies that selectively and adversely effect those that care about our country the most are bad policies pretty much by definition.

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr: (re: teachers in NJ)

there isn't any current strike in NJ, and in point of fact, apparently they are outlawed in NJ (as in WI).

what the teachers union in NJ is doing is negotiating for the best contract they can get. i don't see what is so wrong with that.

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@eggnogfool,

Did you link to the article?

What's your response to this:

"The shutdown refers to discretionary spending, and Social Security is mandatory spending. It doesn't need an appropriations bill to go forward," Reischauer said.

And because Social Security benefits -- which go to roughly 60 million Americans -- are paid out of the trust fund, the agency has the implied legal authority to keep paying staffers who administer them.


the deficit cap is a whole different animal but that's not what Harry Reid is saying and its not what the article says. It says Reid is claiming because the government shutdown SS checks may not go out WHICH IS FALSE.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"i would argue, however, that the students aren't going to be learning a whole lot at school while the teachers are on strike."

You mean the ones in the liberal city of Madison?

I have to wonder what private sector leftists think of having to babysit their kids so the public sector unions can profiteer.

But more likely they will simply try to trick people. Just look at this thread, where the Republicans are continuously blamed for President Clinton's 25 year oil subsidies.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 25, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

@eggnogfool,

I have no problem with teachers negotiating. The problem is most times they're not really negotiating. Whatever entity they're "negotiating" with (whether it be the school board, the state, whoever) has their jobs because of the teachers unions. They're too powerful. If they were actually negotiating i would be fine with them keeping their collective bargaining rights but they're proven time and time again that they're not negotiating.

What will happen when Dems get back in majority control in WI? The first thing they'll do is reinstitute the problems of the past. They don't learn.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The real question. Do Senate Dems believe ENOUGH in wastefully spending taxpayer $ to shutdown the Gov?

Posted by: illogicbuster | February 25, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr:

i read the article, and it is pretty clear that they are talking about a 1995-style 'shutdown'. which isn't a relevant precedent.

they are entirely correct about what will eventually happen if no budget ever gets passed. they don't begin to consider what will happen if the debt limit isn't hiked.

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Again, Justin84, I ask: explain how the natural outcome of your policy positions, a state like India, China, one of the nations of Africa, or America at the turn of the 20th century, is a better place to live than our current society.

America is great because its middle class was empowered, and living standards are higher.

Posted by: arm3 | February 25, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

@illogicbuster:

do repubs believe enough in low taxes for the richest americans to shut down the government?

'wasteful spending' is great to say, but now that they've been forced to give specifics what they came up with is things like border security, nutrition programs for children living in poverty, and birth control for poor women.

vs. billions for billionaires? will this really be a winner in 2012?

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@eggnogfool,

I agree with you that if the debt limit isn't hiked that it may affect SS Payments. The point is that isn't what Reid and Obama were saying. There are two seperate issues. The government shutdown and the debt ceiling issue. They were claiming a government shutdown (next week) would cause SS payments to be stopped. CNN Money saw through their lies. Why can't you or are they in on some conspiracy???

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"the whole "if you think higher taxes would be good, feel free to pay more" thing makes the same kind of sense as saying "if you think a nuclear iran is a threat, feel free to buy a gun and a plane ticket and go resolve it"."

I don't want you to drag me into your war with Iran either. And if conquering Iran isn't what's on your mind, then don't worry - Iran will eventually get nuclear weapons if it wants them.

If we leave Iran alone and it unilaterally attacks America out of the blue, that's something different. But I doubt that will happen if we leave them to their own devices.

Your political solution will likely have severe unintended consequences (Iran closes the straits of Hormuz, Iran recovers and builds nukes anyway, our attack on Iran solidifies support for the current regime, terrorist attacks on American civiilians, etc).

I'm not interested in policing the world, and occasionally killing or destroying the property of innocents while we go about it - and I especially don't want to force other people to pay for it.

If there is a new evil dictator bent on world conquest - and is strong enough to make it a plausible possiblity - you'll have my attention. Otherwise, leave me out of it.

Posted by: justin84 | February 25, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"Again, Justin84, I ask: explain how the natural outcome of your policy positions, a state like India, China, one of the nations of Africa, or America at the turn of the 20th century, is a better place to live than our current society."

It would be nothing like any of those examples.

Life was tougher in America circa 1900 because it was a low productivity economy (very high for 1900, but low compared to 2011). That said, America wasn't even very libertarian back in 1900.

By the way, India and China are fairly collectivist socities - China in fact is a dictatorship and nominally a communist country. Modern African nations are even further off the mark.

In any case, if it were up to me I would reduce government well beyond what it was in America back in 1900 - you wouldn't have to worry about political machines or big business being in bed with government, because the politicians would have very little power. Government would exist to protect the life, liberty and property of the nation's inhabitants, and for no other reason.

Posted by: justin84 | February 25, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Banks are skeptical of the White House's mortgage plan, report Nick Timiraos, Dan Fitzpatrick, and Ruth Simon"

As I told you YESTERDAY, this part of the plan, the reduction in principal is DOA. Why wait until tomorrow's NYT, when you can read it here in my comments the day before? LOL

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

"House Democrats want Obama to tap strategic oil reserves:"

A silly idea by demagouging people who don't understand markets.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@vision:

"The point is that isn't what Reid and Obama were saying. There are two seperate issues. The government shutdown and the debt ceiling issue. They were claiming a government shutdown (next week) would cause SS payments to be stopped."

since they are talking about next week, I'm assuming they are talking about a 'deficit-limit-shutdown'. The author of the CNN article never hints at awareness of the deficit cap, how such conditions would be different from 1995, or anything of the sort. I don't see it as a 'conspiracy' so much as a clueless journalist, of which there are many. Not being too hard on the guy, the whole thing is complex and 1995-style problems are very possible at this point as well.

That said, it is not clear to under what deficit cap conditions SS checks would be shut off. So you may be right (the author of that article clearly has no clue either way).

Posted by: eggnogfool | February 25, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"In any case, if it were up to me I would reduce government well beyond what it was in America back in 1900 - you wouldn't have to worry about political machines or big business being in bed with government, because the politicians would have very little power. Government would exist to protect the life, liberty and property of the nation's inhabitants, and for no other reason."

The government actually didn't protect life, liberty and property very well back then. I'm sure life was pretty good if you had Rockefeller or Carnegie money, but for others -- not so much. There were no child labor laws -- heck, no worker protections at all. You worked a 7-day week, perhaps in dangerous conditions (Triangle Shirtwaist factory, anyone?), making very little money, with no backup if you were horribly injured and unable to work. You worked until you died, or if you got too old or sick, you had to hope your family could support you, but of course that wasn't always the case. If you were lucky enough to set aside any savings, you lost it all if the bank crashed (no FDIC), and if you could afford food it was produced in conditions that Sinclair Lewis exposed in "The Jungle."

Most of the regulatory structures and safety net programs that were created in the 20th century were designed to respond to events or conditions that were often horrific. Those who don't know their history are awfully eager to make _all_ of us repeat it.

I wish there were a Tea Party time machine, so those who wish to go back to those golden days of yesteryear could just do it and leave the rest of us alone.

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"since they are talking about next week, I'm assuming they are talking about a 'deficit-limit-shutdown'."

I don't think that's right. My understanding is that Congress never actually passed a FY2011 budget, and the government has been operating under a continuing resolution that expires next week. The debt ceiling (not "deficit limit") is a separate issue that also is coming up around the same time.

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

If you've been missing what this whole climate/EPA controversy is about, it's this OIL.

You won't hear it in mainstream media, but the US has perhaps the world's largest oil reserves, an estimated 800 billion to one trillion barrels worth. The problem is that it's shale oil, not light sweet crude.

The technology exists to tap it, but two things are holding us back. The first is obviously price. The extraction costs are great, and only become viable when WTI goes over the $100 mark or so, and remains there.

The second obstacle is environmental. It's a helluva messy way to get oil, with lots of blight on the landscape and massive earth movement that makes moutain top removal in WVA look friendly by compariosn.

If you check into the backlash into the the EPA, and the funding for those who oppose climate change, you will find that energy companies are the biggest wallets.

You may have thought this was about worries about overregulation of cars and power plants on the part of producers. It isn't. It's about shale oil!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@eggnogfool,

to my understanding the debt limit is OK until the end of the month of March or so. The government shutdown they're speaking of is in the beginning of the month. Two different things, two different timeframes.

The CNN author never hints at the deficit cap because he's not talking about the deficit cap. He's talking about the government shutdown.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

thank you Janine1,

my simple point is that Senator Reid and President Obama are demagouging the issue. Trying to turn seniors against Republicans and claiming that with the government shutdown seniors won't get their SS checks.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

vision

If you look, you'll see I wasn't responding to a typical, several day gvmt shutdowm.

There's absolutely NO WAY Obama would allow SS checks to be missed for something like that. NO WAY.

I was referring to what that earlier fellow was suggesting or implying, a prolonged gvmt shutdown. Well, IMO a prolonged and unprecedented shutdown does have a high chance for unpredictable things like SS check interruptions. True, the fellow did limit his suggestion by saying it should be shutdown until 100 odd billion are "saved", but still, his idea was to shut down in an unprecedented way, and again, such an action would indeed cause consequences, possibly ranging from SS check interruptions to severe stock or bond crashes, and in the end my point remains valid that the GOP would probably be blamed.

And the fact you "bring up" the concept of lying just goes to show what I've talked about so many times. You just can't seem to bear having a disagreement without bringing it up.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Here's some great data on the government education industry complex.

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d09/tables/dt09_180.asp

Why does the American public tolerate the tripling of employee benefit costs for bus drivers?

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 25, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

krazen wrote:

"Why does the American public tolerate the tripling of employee benefit costs for bus drivers?"

Because we won't allow "death panels".

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

can michael steele or one of the repuglicons explain how eliminating hundreds of thousands of jobs, as this bill would, will create jobs? Or if you eliminate 200,000 jobs, and create 2,000, is that still "job creation?" Of course it is in the peabrainedminds that vote for these miscreants.
democrats cave again, gee, I am just so suprised that it took a whole week almost! Democrats should all resign, they're too weak to stand up for anything, they're quite sickening. I used to try to convince people to vote for the party that will do something for them, instead of the one that has pulled the wool over the eyes of the sheep and who serve big business and rich people, but from now on I will encourage all democrats to stay home on election day. The democratic party no longer serves a purpose that I can discern. They yield because their disgustingwussies. can I vomit now?

Posted by: red2million | February 25, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"Government would exist to protect the life, liberty and property of the nation's inhabitants, and for no other reason. "

The extent of government now does exist for those purposes. Much of the expense goes into compliance and enforcement, because human nature has demonstrated time and again that people will look to their own self-interest at the expense of others if they think no one is watching. As a result, we have agencies in place such as the SEC, the FDA, the FTC, and the EPA. These agencies exist to make sure that as much information as possible is available and that bad actors are brought up short, because the consequences to liberty, property, and ESPECIALLY life can be so dire. Lord God Almighty, if you are so interested in correlations, I invite you to research the correlation between air pollution and the occurrence of asthma in our society, and then come back and tell me that regulating emissions isn't necessary.

Posted by: arm3 | February 25, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

To all the Republicans who denounce the Wisconsin legislators who have left the state, consider how that most revered Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, established his reputation in the Illinois legislature by depriving a majority of a quorum to vote on a measure during a budgetary crisis:

"Abraham Lincoln's first success in the world of politics came when he won a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives. He learned the craft quickly and by 1840, he was in a life and death struggle with the Democrats over the Illinois State Bank in Springfield. This set the stage for one of the most bizarre episodes in the career of Abraham Lincoln.

Now it just so happened that Illinois was in deep financial trouble in 1840. Its bank had given out more paper money than it had gold and silver in reserve. That's when the Democrats saw their chance to destroy the despised institution. They agreed to allow it to suspend its obligation to exchange its paper money for specie, but only for the remainder of the legislative session.

That's when Lincoln determined to keep the legislature in session in order to buy precious time for the bank to find a way to survive, and that's how he jumped into the national limelight on December 5, 1840. On that date, the Democrats proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That's when Lincoln made his move. He headed for the second story, opened a window and jumped to the ground!

For a while Lincoln's escape denied the House its quorum, but it didn't last long. He was returned to the chambers and the House voted to adjourn.

Although Abraham Lincoln wasn't able to prevent the vote on adjournment that day, his determined antics put him in the media spotlight for the first time. The newspapers couldn't resist telling their readers of "Mr. Lincoln's celebrated leap" from the 2nd story and how it "caused him no harm because his legs reached nearly from the window to the ground."

They knew they had not heard the last of Abraham Lincoln. Any politician who was willing to jump out of a window on principle was bound to amount to something some day."

http://www.kmph.com/Global/story.asp?S=9803297

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

@lauren,


as I said in the post right after that I wasn't referring to you as a liar but Senator Reid and President Obama and anyone else demagouging the government shutdown over it.

If you say you were speaking of the debt ceiling issue then I take you at your word an we were simply speaking of two different things. If you felt I was calling you a liar I apologize as I was not and the fact that I mentioned it in the next post shows that.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"my simple point is that Senator Reid and President Obama are demagouging the issue. Trying to turn seniors against Republicans and claiming that with the government shutdown seniors won't get their SS checks."

This may be the one and only time I'll ever tell you that I agree with you. ; ) (Though where we disagree is that this demagoguing neither surprises nor bothers me. This one is garden-variety political strategy. My gosh, one side is demagoguing an issue that favors it and disfavors the other?! Oh my, where are my smelling salts? Shocked, gambling in this establishment, etc. etc.)

The one side point I would add is that, in the event of an extended shutdown, it may well be that new applicants for SS (those now ready to retire, or who have become eligible for disability) might have to wait because such applications won't be processed. But, for the most part, direct deposits to existing recipients would probably continue uninterrupted.

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"krazen wrote:

"Why does the American public tolerate the tripling of employee benefit costs for bus drivers?"

Because we won't allow "death panels".

"

What? Can anyone else figure this out? The tripling of benefit costs happened well before anyone knew who Sarah Palin was.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 25, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

@Janine1,

I think we should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan now. Do we agree twice??? WOW!!!

onto the point I do realize that Republicans demagogue as much if not more than Dems but my point (in being here) is to note the hypocrisy of some around here who act like its only Republicans who do it. I mean we really have a new Party of NO in the Wisconsin Democrats, right? The voters spoke loud and clear in November and now these 14 people think they can over-ride what the voters voted for? If Republicans could have successfully walked out on PPACA talks and stopped that law from being passed I'm sure they would have and I'm sure we'd have had riots in the streets from liberals.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"The voters spoke loud and clear in November and now these 14 people think they can over-ride what the voters voted for?"

visionbrkr,

Politifact has searched the record of the 2010 Wisconsin Governor's race and could not find a single instance in which Walker mentioned (let alone "campaigned on" as Walker now falsely claims) any plan to strip public employees of their rights to collective bargaining. In fact many of his campaign statements imply a continuing environment of "re-negotiating" with a unionized public workforce.

http://politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/22/scott-walker/wisconsin-gov-scott-walker-says-he-campaigned-his-/

There is a reason he described this proposal as "dropping the bomb" during the prank phone call.

You can be for or against what he is trying to do, but it is a real stretch to say that there is any mandate from Wisconsin's voters for a secret plan of which they were never made aware, and to which the current polling shows they are very much opposed.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

krazen:

I wan't linking this to Sarah Palin. I was just pointing out that the major driver in increased benefit costs is health care. If you try to trim the availability of any exhorbitantly priced medical care, someone scream death panels or otherwise accuses you of witholding treatments.

I was actually on your side in a way. LOL

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

@patrick,

while he may not have campaigned directly on breaking a union he did campaign on reducing their power. His next logical step was to break the union. If people didn't see this as a real possibility then they just weren't paying attention. Again as I've said I'm not in favor of breaking the union per se but I see a strong need to end the blurring of lines between the Democrats controlling Wisconsin prior to the Walker administration and the unions and their control of them.

I would expect/hope that Governor Walker feels that if this isn't done the next moment Dems get back in power they will repay that with reinstating collective bargaining and as you allude to you can agree or disagree that public workers NEED collective bargaining. I disagree with their need for it. To me its patronage, plain and simple.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@visionbrkr,

Yes, I'll agree re Iraq and Afghanistan. (OK, now I do feel faint.) Bonus points if you agree that the former was a mistake from the start.

But I don't agree re Wisconsin. Not being a close follower of Wisconsin politics, I'm not sure what the voters knew (Walker said he'd make cuts -- which the union has already agreed to -- but did he campaign on killing collective bargaining entirely?). I've read that current opinion polls in the state are running heavily against the bill, so I don't know whether that's a change in opinion, an awakening of people who weren't paying attention or didn't believe he'd really do it, or what. I am often torn between thinking "yeah, they voted for these people, let them reap what they sowed" and wanting to see Dems put up a fight anyway. But in this case, I think that (1) the Democratic senators in the minority are representing the wishes of their constituents (and arguably the will of the majority of the public) in what may be the only way available to them, and (2) that unions have long been among the most loyal and active constituencies of the Democratic Party, and Dems can't count on their help in the future if they don't take a stand on their behalf when it counts.

I'll add that, while I'm not bothered by demagoguing, and would never claim it's a one-party game, I think Walker is being fundamentally dishonest here. If the cuts in pay and benefits are a necessary part of balancing the budget, that's one thing. (Never mind the simultaneous adoption of big tax cuts for business. Much like Obama's choice to throw feds under the bus by unilaterally freezing pay at the very same time that he agreed to extend huge tax cuts for millionaires, by the way.) But once the union conceded the very cuts he wanted, it became clear that this is not really about the budget, but rather is a ploy to break the union on the pretense that it's all about the budget.

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@Janine1,

you may want to sit down because I do believe it should never have started (plus i think its ridiculous to waste a trillion dollars chasing about 100 people or so not to mention the fact they're probably laughing at us over it.


I'll get back to reality by reminding you that President Obama didn't just extend the tax cuts for millionaires he extended them for everyone and most of the cost of that comes from myself (the non-millionaires).

And as I've said before I think its important this happened because we need to ensure that the perverse bargaining that goes on between Democratic controlled legislature and unions needs to stop. My own state of NJ's previous Govenor was literally in bed with the head of the CWA in our state. If that's not a conflict of interest I don't know what is. Now thankfully Governor Christie is proposing government workers pay their fair share (30% of healthcare costs) similar to the private sector. We'll see if the Democratic controlled legislature goes along.


Also breaking the union may not be about this year or the 1-3 year budget window but its about the long term budget window. At least I hope that's what his intent is about.


Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"The extent of government now does exist for those purposes."

No, it now exists so that people can entertain the fantasy that everyone can live at the expense of everyone else.

Government is the biggest violator of liberty and property in America - in fact, it is likely a bigger violator than all other entities combined. It is far, far, far too big, and with too large of scope.

"if you are so interested in correlations, I invite you to research the correlation between air pollution and the occurrence of asthma in our society, and then come back and tell me that regulating emissions isn't necessary."

If someone is damaging your property, you should be able to sue.

Posted by: justin84 | February 25, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"I'll get back to reality by reminding you that President Obama didn't just extend the tax cuts for millionaires he extended them for everyone and most of the cost of that comes from myself (the non-millionaires)."

Yes, but he had always said he wanted to extend them for $1m that was a concession to Republicans. And my point was that he made the deal in nearly the same breath that he froze fed salaries "to save money." Hence the comparison to Walker demanding union concessions for cost-saving reasons while handing out new business tax cuts. Bull in both instances.

"Also breaking the union may not be about this year or the 1-3 year budget window but its about the long term budget window. At least I hope that's what his intent is about."

Aww, that's so cute. And I'd like to sell you a baby unicorn.

[In all seriousness, it's nice to have a serious, civil exchange with you. So many in the Post comments sections are, well, not like this at all.]

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"I wan't linking this to Sarah Palin. I was just pointing out that the major driver in increased benefit costs is health care. If you try to trim the availability of any exhorbitantly priced medical care, someone scream death panels or otherwise accuses you of witholding treatments. "


I don't think Republicans or conservatives care about exhorbitantly priced medical care for public sector unions.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 25, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"while he may not have campaigned directly on breaking a union he did campaign on reducing their power. His next logical step was to break the union. If people didn't see this as a real possibility then they just weren't paying attention"

...I am not sure whether you followed the Politifact link that I gave you, it does not seem so.

Not only did the Governor give no indication that he would "break" the unions (plural), but he often discussed strategies for dealing with the unions that implied exactly the opposite (i.e. reducing the scope of mediation and binding arbitration for grievances, etc.). So a reasonable person would have had the impression from his campaign platform and other statements that he would impose major spending cuts, renegotiate existing arrangements, but not end the basic rights to engage in bargaining as contracts expire.

Had Walker made clear his intent, then won the election, and had the Senate Republicans allowed a normal process of open hearings and floor debate before scheduling the vote, the Democrats would not have had any nominal justification to depart from Wisconsin. The fact that the legislation appeared out of nowhere a few days before it was too be voted upon, created the atmosphere of an ambush, that caused the Democrats (and thousands of peaceful protesters) to cry foul.

The argument that Wisconsin voters spoke loud and clear on this issue is not borne out by the facts, or by the current polling.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

@janine1,

i'm up to my ears in baby unicorns so keep yours! As far as the tax cuts I hope they don't get extended for anyone come 2012 so that we all get realistic about what we can afford in services and what tax breaks we need.


@patrick,

I obviously didn't follow the Wisconsin elections back in 2010 and don't know many outside of Wisconsin that did. I've seen that Politifact link before so i didn't link to it now and don't see a need to link to it again. Maybe stating that they "spoke loud and clear" was wrong. Governor Walker was clear in that he was attacking public employee benefits costs but he wasn't clear in saying he'd try to break the union. Should he have said that he was trying to break the union if he wanted to? Sure. Would that have destroyed his chances of election, ABSOLUTELY. He's beholden to the taxpayers of his state. Not just the public unions.


Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"As far as the tax cuts I hope they don't get extended for anyone come 2012 so that we all get realistic about what we can afford in services and what tax breaks we need."

Total agreement. Now this is just disturbing.

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Should he have said that he was trying to break the union if he wanted to? Sure. Would that have destroyed his chances of election, ABSOLUTELY. He's beholden to the taxpayers of his state. Not just the public unions."

So ... you are saying on the one hand that the voters spoke loud and clear, and saying on the other hand that the voters would have turned him down at the polls had he revealed his plan? Both can't be true.

Imagine if Obama had campaigned on the health care reform program that was in his in platform, but then announced on a Friday afternoon that he was introducing a single payer system, and that the final passage would happen the following Wednesday. Imagine the howling that would have ensued.

The campaign was a job application being put in front of the voters, and Walker was deceitful on his application. I am one that firmly believes that "elections have consequences." I don't believe that elections should have secret consequences.

The integrity of the process, and the appearance of basic fairness and honesty, matters in our politics, as it does in the other spheres of our lives.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"Also breaking the union may not be about this year or the 1-3 year budget window but its about the long term budget window. At least I hope that's what his intent is about."

As so many have showed, breaking the unions has nothing to do with the budget. Walker et al are actually doing things to worsen the budget, and I am not even talking about the union issues, but the way the tax and other issues others have written about.

It is about breaking the Democrats. It is an overt and heavy handed display of political power that makes the so-called mandate threat to liberty look like a BB gun in a talk battle.

Last time the GOP was in office they expended significant efforts in many states to gerrymander. This time it appears to be their plan to destroy the unions.

If you were fair minded, like me, you'd call an end to collective bargaining ONLY when the greater counterforce of corporate influence in gvmt was SIMULTANEOUSLY weakened.

All this other rationalizing by you and others is poppycock.

I am concerned with Democracy and process and fairness, not about achieving some ideological end. People who support union busting care little for Democracy and process, rather, they smell ideological blood and lust after it.

Wisconsin voters deserve what happens to them. They voted for these thugs after all. Just like the Iranian people voted for the dictator they now enjoy.

But don't pretend this is about fixing the budget. You are only fooling yourself.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, attacking unions is also about the long term GOP goal of destroying public education and to privatize it. Once they destroy teacher unions, that goal will advance.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

@janine,

ya crazy right? Total agreement which is more than i can say for me and others (sigh).


@patrick,

I would think the voters spoke loud and clear that they wanted the budget fixed and agreed with him that the union was too powerful. He did run on that platform but didn't as you say run on going so far as to break the union. That's like President Obama having run on single payer. He'd never have been elected if that was his premise and I'll agree that he (president obama) didn't after he was elected then go and attempt to ram single payer down our throats but again he couldn't, Govenor Walker can (well if the Dems ever come back).

@lauren,

oh well what can I say, I guess the Dems never gerrymandered, never obfuscated, never did anything negative.

As for the tax issues I would expect that he was attempting to stimulate the Wisconsin economy. One of the cuts I remember was to give deferral or something towards new businesses in their first two years of business. that to me isn't like he's handing the Koch Brothers anything as many have speculated (NOT YOU THAT I RECALL). That being said I'm 100% against the no-bid contracts of energy suppliers and that should be stripped out of the bill.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr,

We must agree to disagree.

I don't think government officials should enact measures that are far more extreme than were ever debated openly during a campaign, simply because they "can."

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@patrick,

We will agree to disagree and thank you for doing so respectfully.

I also think that it would have been smarter for Governor Walker if he has a problem with the perverse system that governs union contracts to bring it more into the light so that the populace can see and judge for themselves. To just go and attack shows that he was acting more idealogically than not.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

visionbrkr,

Yes I think this process has already proved counter-productive to Walker's own goal. He has not made a clear case to the people. Even if he had not campaigned on de-unionizing, imagine if he had approached it as follows....

"Since taking office it has become clear to me that in order to solve the long-term budget outlook for our state, we can no longer to afford to allow our public employees the power to engage in collectively bargaining. I know this is a significant step, so during the Spring I am asking the legislature to allow stakeholders on all sides of the issue to fully argue their case, and for our legislators to talk to their constituents, and then have an up-or-down vote."

With the Republicans still having a super majority in both houses of the legislature, they still could pass the legislation, and within a matter of weeks, without the malodorous feel of a "stealth" attack on the right of public employees tacked on to a temporary budget fix with virtually no opportunity for the public to speak.

A more intelligent politician than Walker would have gone in that direction, instead of behaving like an autocrat.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

@patrick,

agreed and Govenor Walker will certainly pay for this and I assume this is why while Republican governors agree with him in principle not many are backing him in reality. and as i've said I don't even think it needs to go that far as i'd prefer simply making the public sector union negotation process more transparent. It doesn't work as its currently constituted. Its like my 10 year old negotiating an allowance with my teenager instead of me.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

lauren wrote:

"As so many have showed, breaking the unions has nothing to do with the budget. Walker et al are actually doing things to worsen the budget, and I am not even talking about the union issues, but the way the tax and other issues others have written about"

I'm a big anti-Walker guy, but I'm not so sure about your statement.

Wisconsin is a declining state, as are so many of the exteme northern states. It's been losing population in relative terms for 100 years. It used to be ranked 13th, and now is 20th. Also as percentage of the total US population it has declined in every decade during the last 100 years.


It does not receive a large percentage of immigrants, and the aging population is reducing the birthrate essentially to zero. I'm guessing that Walker is in larger terms going to be able to drive a number of teachers out of the state to neighboring states for better wages, especially the young ones. He may interest other employers in coming into the state if it gets known as generally a pro-business, and anti-labor environment.

I'm not making any predictions at this juncture, just pointing out that there will be long term budget effects from this battle that aren't quantified right now.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"oh well what can I say, I guess the Dems never gerrymandered, never obfuscated, never did anything negative."

They have. And at that time I was a Republican.

Since 1992, i have become aware that neocons have infested and taken over the GOP.

Their misdeeds make Democratic abuses look tiny in comparison.

They systematically cheat in most elections and intimidate minority voters and engage in massive and widespread voter caging and impeach democrats when possible and employ recalls when possible (almost always empowered by money from big business). When you understand what Tom delay and abramoff were trying to do to subvert our democratic process, anyone with true love if this country shutters.

Citizens united should be proof enough and atrocity enough for anyone to understand why I bolted the GOP once I learned what they were truly about. These blatant union busting efforts are more proof of their war on our rights.

You are sleeping with the devil and rationalize that by observing we all sin to some degree.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

lauren:

As always I'm with you part of the way, but not as far as the intimdation of minority voters. GOP voters are simply as a whole more dedicated and zealous than Dem voters. There's nothing that has happened in the last 30 years that would be considered intimidation on a historical scale.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 25, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not making any predictions at this juncture, just pointing out that there will be long term budget effects from this battle that aren't quantified right now."

...which makes it hard to contend that Walker's motives are purely (or even mostly) budgetary, especially when you look at the pushes he has made for no-bid outsourcing of public power, the expense that comes along with the new voter eligibility requirements, and his own grandiose rhetoric about taking down the unions in the fake Koch phone call.

If passed, union-busting may or may not have significant effects on future state budgets, but (even if so) that is clearly not what the current standoff is "about." It is about taking the political/financial clout of the public sector union organizations away from the Democrats in the key swing state of Wisconsin, and then replicating the move in other states.

Hey visionbrkr...

I agree with all you said in that last post, so we can now "agree to agree."

Have a nice weekend, all.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 25, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@patrick,

i think we all can agree to have a nice weekend. I hope you do the same.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

John

You are wrong

I am surprised you aren't aware if the various tactics they employ, including sending mail with fake election instructions or dates, voter caging, reducing funding for voting machines in minority areas to force them to stand in lines fir hours compared to minutes, uniformed presences intended to scare away both the criminal and the suspicious, etc. This is only a handful of tactics they use.

Oh, and they love purging voting rolls of so called criminals yet thousands of legal democrats always end up not being able to vote.

Arizona is particularly awful.

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 6:14 PM | Report abuse

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caging_(voter_suppression)?wasRedirected=true

Dems cheat too, but not like modern repubs

Look at that link and tell me the GOP believes in democracy

Posted by: lauren2010 | February 25, 2011 6:23 PM | Report abuse

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/05/us/05acorn.html

http://www.komonews.com/news/8729967.html

http://app1.kuhf.org/houston_public_radio-news-display.php?articles_id=1282692652

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/23/voter-fraud-houston-tea-party-truethevote-texas/

These are just the five googled lists of "voter registration fraud" that came up. I don't honestly know (or care) if they're for or against Dems or Republicans. Again if Republicans did what you claim they did then the people responsible should be sent to prison NO QUESTIONS ASKED.


You said:

"They systematically cheat in most elections"

That's wrong. if they did what you said they did and that's deemed illegal then those doing it should go to jail plain and simple but to say they did it in MOST elections? You just jumped all the way to Looneyville. I'd expect there have been MILLIONS of elections in the last 10 years and to assume MOST have done this illegal is just plain idealogical foolishness.

Don't look for a reply if you post anything because i won't waste my weekend on it.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 25, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse


It is fantastic time to refinance home mortgage. As Clark Howard says it is very tough to find these low rates for long time. Search online for 123 Mortgage Refi they found me THE lowest possible rate.

Posted by: alexiskeegan | February 26, 2011 4:09 AM | Report abuse

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