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Posted at 7:15 AM ET, 03/11/2011

Wonkbook: Republicans against entitlement reform (at least right now)

By Ezra Klein

With John Boehner fighting the Democrats' offer to put entitlements and taxes on the table -- "that’s what the next budget process is for," he said -- it's worth stepping back to look at what this continuing resoution fight is about.

It's not about reducing the deficit. If it was, then the tax deal wouldn't have passed in December, entitlements would've been in the mix from the beginning, tax expenditures and defense spending would be on the table, etc. Nor is it about cutting spending. If it was, then the cuts wouldn't be limited to 12 percent of the budget. Rather, it's about cutting non-defense discretionary spending.

But most Americans don't know that. Boehner frequently says that "the American people want us to cut spending," but he never says that "the American people want us to cut non-defense discretionary spending." And that's because they don't: poll after poll has found Americans resistant to the sort of cuts you find in the non-defense discretionary bucket, which focus on education, worker retraining, nutrition programs, heating-oil subsidies, etc. They'd much prefer tax increases on the rich, or cuts to defense.

But Republicans wouldn't prefer tax increases on the rich, or cuts to defense spending. And they know that if entitlements get opened up, tax increases will immediately be on the table -- one of the easiest and most popular ways to cut Social Security's shortfall is to lift the cap on payroll taxes. But for Republicans at this moment in time, that's unthinkable. The beauty of focusing on non-defense discretionary spending is that it's spending they don't really like and that's totally disconnected from any sort of tax. And that gets to what this debate is really about: not cutting spending or reducing the deficit, but cutting spending Republicans don't like while avoiding any and all tax increases -- even if that means the country has higher deficits and the middle- and working-class bear more of the burden. The difficulty for Republicans is they've not wanted to clearly explain that philosophy to the American people, and so now they're in the odd position of arguing against Democratic efforts to do more for the deficit and do more to cut spending but not really being able to say why they oppose those efforts.

Top Stories

Congress will likely pass another three-week funding extension, reports Carl Hulse: "With little hope of a budget deal being reached before the end of next week, House Republicans are preparing another short-term spending measure to give the House and Senate a chance to come to agreement over a broader plan to keep the government operating through Sept. 30. Lawmakers and top aides on Thursday said stopgap legislation to be considered next week would most likely cover three weeks and include an additional $6 billion in cuts, possibly drawn from spending reductions offered by Democrats and the White House in earlier budget talks. The current two-week law expires next Friday and carries $4 billion in cuts. Movement toward another short-term solution came after the Senate on Wednesday rejected competing Republican and Democratic budget measures."

House Speaker John Boehner doesn't want to debate entitlements just yet, reports Simmi Aujla: "House Speaker John Boehner accused Democrats on Thursday of trying to 'muddle' the budget debate with their calls for reforms to entitlement programs. Boehner told reporters that Democrats who want to include a debate about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and tax increases are getting way ahead of themselves. 'The American people want us to cut spending. Because they know that cutting spending will in fact create a better environment for job creation,' he said. 'To try to muddle the current issue with entitlement programs, tax increases -- that’s what the next budget process is for. We’ll have plenty of opportunity to talk about that,' he said."

Wisconsin's anti-union bill passed the legislature, reports Karen Tumulty: "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won his drive to strip the state's government workers of nearly all of their collective-bargaining rights Thursday, after a three-week standoff that brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol. The new legislation represents a major setback for organized labor, but the political battle over public employees and their rights to bargain is likely to continue - not only in Madison. The state Assembly passed Walker's proposal a day after Republican senators outmaneuvered the 14 Democratic senators who had fled Wisconsin to deny a quorum needed for passing a budget measure. By stripping the bill of its spending language, they were able to pass it with only Republicans present."

Guitar heroics interlude: Television plays "Marquee Moon" live.

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

Still to come: The House voted to cut a foreclosure prevention program; the CBO says repealing the individual mandate would increase the ranks of the uninsured, but cut the deficit; Obama is pushing for a government reorganization plan; Obama will address higher gas prices today; and the world's fastest popcorn popper.

Economy

The House voted to cut a foreclosure prevention program, reports Felicia Sonmez: "The House on Thursday voted to end the Federal Housing Administration Refinance Program, one of two federal foreclosure-assistance programs on the chopping block this week. The measure, H.R. 830, passed on a 256-to-171 vote, with 18 Democrats breaking ranks to join Republicans in backing it. One Republican, Rep. Joe Heck (Nev.), joined Democrats in opposing the proposal; Heck represents Nevada's third district, which was the district hardest-hit by foreclosure in 2010...The program has used only $50 million of the more than $8 billion that has been set aside for it, leading to criticism from Republicans that it ought to be terminated and the money used to pay down the federal deficit. The Senate is unlikely to take up the bill, however, and the White House earlier this week issued a veto threat."

Banks are saying that principal write-down will "slow the recovery," report Nick Timiraos and Dan Fitzpatrick: "Bankers are ratcheting up their rhetoric as they fight a mortgage-servicing settlement proposal, predicting lasting damage to the U.S. economy in an effort to force regulators to soften terms of any penalties. On Thursday, Wells Fargo & Co. Chief Executive John Stumpf said extensive loan principal reduction would increase the U.S. deficit if taxpayers are forced to pay for write-downs of loans held by government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 'It's important to the country so that whatever happens does not slow down the recovery,' Mr. Stumpf said. Bank of America executives issued similar warnings on Tuesday, calling principal reductions 'no panacea' and questioning the fairness of the approach."

The Federal Housing Administration's head is leaving: http://wapo.st/fAq3wF

A study suggests the SEC needs a bigger budget, reports David Hilzenrath: "The Securities and Exchange Commission needs more money to meet its expanding responsibilities, but it hasn't made the most of the funds it already has, according to a study of the agency ordered by Congress last year. The consultant's report, a draft of which was obtained by The Washington Post, mentioned other issues that may be undermining the effectiveness of the agency responsible for policing Wall Street. Those include low morale, few staff members with experience working in financial markets, and a slowdown in reviews of money managers and brokerage firms. The study, performed by Boston Consulting Group, is due to be submitted to Congress by March 14."

February's deficit was the biggest in American history: http://on.wsj.com/hI50Lp

Obama is allowing Republicans to dumb down the deficit debate, writes Paul Krugman: "As the national debate over fiscal policy descends ever deeper into penny-pinching, future-killing absurdity, one voice is curiously muted -- that of President Obama. The president and his aides know that the G.O.P. approach to the budget is wrongheaded and destructive. But they’ve stopped making the case for an alternative approach; instead, they’ve positioned themselves as know-nothings lite, accepting the notion that spending must be slashed immediately -- just not as much as Republicans want. Mr. Obama’s political advisers clearly believe that this strategy of protective camouflage offers the president his best chance at re-election -- and they may be right. But that doesn’t change the fact that the White House is aiding and abetting the dumbing down of our deficit debate."

Businesses want smart investment from state governments, not lower taxes, writes Delaware Gov. Jack Markell: http://wapo.st/ehuDvW

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell are playing an effective game of "bad cop, worse cop", writes Keith Hennessey: "Rather than good cop, bad cop, Republican Leaders are playing bad cop, worse cop with their Members. Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell are together the bad cop. On both substance and tone they have positioned themselves with the aggressive spending cutters in their party. At the same time, they can privately tell the Democratic negotiators, 'You think we’re bad? You should see our freshman. They’re nuts. We’re not sure we can deliver them for anything short of the House-passed bill.' While Boehner and McConnell are the bad cop, the freshman / Tea Party / conservative rank-and-file Republicans are the worse cop...The Republican Leaders’ weakness at delivering votes for a weak bill becomes negotiating strength."

Time lapse interlude: Grapes shriveling into raisins, sped up from 3 months to 30 seconds.

Health Care

The CBO found that repealing the individual mandate would increase the ranks of the uninsured, but cut the deficit, reports Derek Thompson: "The CBO finds that repealing the mandate would increase the number of people without health insurance by 16 million people in 2021. From the CBO: 'About 4 million fewer people would have employment-based coverage; about 6 million fewer people would obtain coverage in the individual market; and about 6 million fewer people would have coverage under Medicaid or CHIP.' CBO also estimates that striking the mandate would increase premiums for policies in the individual market by '15 percent to 20 percent.'...The upshot is that repealing the health insurance mandate would trim our deficit at the cost of more uninsured people and higher health care premiums."

The insured don't currently pay for the uninsured's health care, write John Cogan, Glenn Hubbard, and Daniel Kessler: http://on.wsj.com/dOPIj1

Two House Democrats want to undo Medicare's Independent Payment Advisory Board, reports Julian Pecquet: "Two House Democrats have signed onto a Republican bill to repeal a health reform provision that the Obama administration has touted as a central tool to keep health costs under control. Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) became a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the Medicare payment board on Wednesday, one week after Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). A spokesman for the congresswoman said she remains committed to the law's cost-cutting goals but wants Congress to be in charge...The Independent Payment Advisory Board fast-tracks cuts to Medicare payments when spending reaches a pre-determined target. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would save $28 billion through 2019."

Domestic Policy

Obama wants a government reorganization plan within 90 days, reports Ed O'Keefe: "President Obama is giving aides 90 days to find ways to overhaul federal trade and export agencies, according to senior administration officials familiar with his plans. The president is expected to sign a memorandum Friday formally launching a reorganization plan he announced during his State of the Union address that is set to focus first on revamping 12 trade and export agencies and may later shift to other government operations. The process will be led by Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Jeffrey D. Zients and Obama's former staff secretary, Lisa Brown. Other top officials from across the government are expected to join the discussions, according to the aides, who were not authorized to speak on the record."

The just-passed Wisconsin bill allows the firing of striking workers: http://bit.ly/frE6KP

Republican budget plans include big cuts for Head Start, reports Jennifer Steinhauer: "The difficulty Senate Republicans faced voting this week for a bill full of spending cuts is best illustrated on the home page for the Alaska Head Start program’s Web site. On the bottom of the page is a picture of Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, receiving an award for her long support for Head Start, the preschool program for poor children. At the top of the page is a note imploring Alaskans to call Ms. Murkowski’s office and beg her not to vote for a Republican bill that would cut the program’s budget by $2 billion, or nearly a quarter of President Obama’s 2011 budget request of $8.2 billion. The current level is $7.2 billion. On Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Murkowski did so anyway... Research on the program has shown that children who complete it do better socially and academically than children not enrolled in the program."

New York and other states should do away with "last in, first out" teacher layoffs, writes Michelle Rhee: "With looming budget cuts, New York's governor and legislature must act quickly to save our best teachers. It is abundantly clear from the research that the most important school factor in determining a child's success is the quality of the teacher at the front of the classroom. That's why it's absolutely imperative that state leaders completely eliminate the 'last in, first out' policy, which mandates that the last teachers hired must be the first fired, regardless of how good they are. This policy makes absolutely no sense. Why sacrifice our children's future when we can enact laws that save great teachers while ridding the system of those we know are less effective?"

Street vendor interlude: A vendor in Shanghai gives new meaning to "instant popcorn."

Energy

Obama will use a press conference to address higher gas prices today, reports Laura Meckler: "President Barack Obama will address rising energy prices at a news conference on Friday, but he is not expected to call for releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has driven up gasoline and heating oil prices in the United States. Republicans in Congress have raised the volume on their criticism of Mr. Obama's energy policies, and some Democrats have called for Mr. Obama to release oil from the strategic reserves in an attempt to moderate prices by increasing supply. White House officials would not say what steps Mr. Obama would put forward, if any, during his press conference. But an administration official said Thursday evening not to expect an announcement on drawing oil from the strategic reserve."

High gas prices are improving GOP environmental legislation's chances in the Senate: http://politi.co/fFQoH7

A House bill to strip the EPA of its climate-regulating power is moving forward, reports John Broder: "House subcommittee voted on Thursday to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its power to regulate greenhouse gases, chipping away at a central pillar of the Obama administration’s evolving climate and energy strategy. The sharply partisan vote was preordained by the Republican takeover of the House. Republicans and their industry allies accuse the administration of levying taxes on traditional energy sources through costly environmental regulations, threatening the economic recovery and driving jobs overseas...A parallel bill has been introduced in the Senate, although passage remains uncertain. President Obama has vowed to veto such legislation."

GOP Rep. Joe Barton argues that cutting oil subsidies will lead Exxon Mobil to go out of business: http://bit.ly/hfPdc9

Some House Democrats have introduced a bill to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, reports Andrew Restuccia: "A group of House Democrats introduced legislation Thursday to tap the country’s oil reserves in response to rising prices. 'This is the time to deploy a responsible amount of reserves before it is too late,' Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the author of the new bill, told reporters. Markey's bill represents the latest effort by Democrats to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a 727-million-barrel emergency stockpile of oil. But the proposal faces opposition from Republicans and at least one senior House Democrat. The legislation would require that over the next six months at least 30 million barrels of oil be released from the SPR. President Obama ultimately has the authority to release oil from the SPR."

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

By Ezra Klein  | March 11, 2011; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  Wonkbook  
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Next: Why does Mike Huckabee want Medicare to waste money?

Comments

So Boehner set an entitlement trap, promising to support obama if he agreed to reform entitlements, and the dems took the bait and now Boehner is the protector of entitlements. what a liar.

Posted by: lauren2010 | March 11, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Ezra and anyone else that reads rthe web, is now an instant expert. Ezra, what you are best at is probably not in your resume. Is there really a groove in your tongue?

Posted by: dblument | March 11, 2011 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Ezra and anyone else that reads rthe web, is now an instant expert. Ezra, what you are best at is probably not in your resume. Is there really a groove in your tongue?

Posted by: dblument | March 11, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Boehner and the Republicans are lo-life POS. And how these Tea-Freaks can't see what's going on here is beyond me. Walker has 2 thirds of his corporate crony friends in Wisconsin with a zero tax rate while gutting teachers for every penny. This is the biggest transfer of wealth in American history. And its not going from the top down. And these criminal politicians in Washington took their bogus war on terror & Defense spending from 200+ billion a year in 97 thru 2001, to 1+ trillion a year today. And that doesn't even cover the cost of long term medical care and other things associated with their bogus war on terror. Is there any question as to who or what is bankrupting this country? They stole 4.36 trillion dollars between Social Security and Medicare, so that isn't the problem. Social Security has drawn a surplus almost every year its been around. And they spent it on tax cuts for the rich, and wars that enrich themselves. I'm sick if this. I've had it with all of them. This whole Govt. needs to be replaced, CIA and all. It has turned into one big Mafia operation.

Posted by: HemiHead66 | March 11, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

agree totally with Michelle Rhee that FILO needs to end. While the focus has been squarely on Washington I hope it turns to the Northeastern states where Governor Cuomo is proposing more cuts and layoffs of teachers than Governor Christie who is proposing more financial responsiblity on the part of the public sector union towards the cost of their benefits and they're balking at it surprisingly enough as a "threat" to their collective bargaining trying to grab the positive public sentiment that Wisconsin unions are getting.


Oh and the WSJ is totally wrong on the cost shifting issue. I can't see what they're getting at because its behind the paywall but the insured absolutely pay for the uninsured whether it be through a combination of higher charges for those of us with insurance if hospitals don't get reimbursed or if the government reimburses them then we pay it through taxes. Its not as if those costs just disappear.


And repealing the indivdual mandate would not only increase the ranks of the uninsured but it would also increase the costs for those of us with insurance because the people that would remain uninsured without a mandate would be the young and healthy that are needed to balance the risk pool.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 11, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

As far as I can tell meither party is for any but the most minimal entitlement reform. If they cut discretionary spending and entitlements they can't buy votes anymore. So to believe that either party is for entitlement reform is delusional.

Posted by: g30rg3544 | March 11, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

It always seemed odd to me that the Obama administration vilified the insurers on the way towards healthcare reform. At the end of the day "reform" will benefit the insurers as the administration gently herds 80 million cats into the insurance pool.
The status quo seemed to promise escalating cost shifting, (as the docs bill anybody with deep pockets for everybody else's care(plus their bentley percentley))
the insurers were on a death spiral.
Now trillions of dollars are being shoveled into the maw and the insurers will surely benefit.
I think that their expertise is required, they are the only ones who can manage costs ( a great description of the role of insurers going forward is contained in Charles Boorady's CNBC interview of a few days ago)..
It is almost as though the insurers are designed to be hated, because they say "no", they say "no" to docs and they say "no" to patients.... somebody has to occasionally say "no" and nobody else in the healthcare world has the guts to do it.
Steve

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 11, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Love him or hate him, Scott Walker seems to have identified the weak link in the whole domocratic money machine.
By acting to staunch the flow of dollars in involuntary union dues plus the money flowing through the health and welfare funds which is channeled through schemes like the WEA Trust, Walker is putting a focus on what, in my opinion, is this funding mechanism's biggest weakness.
All the cash flows first through the sticky fingers of the union bosses and then on out into the democratic political beast.
Walker put his finger directly on the carotid artery... on one side is an array of philosphically driven "progressive" forces and on the other, from my point of view, a stunningly corrupt union bureaucracy. On one side, the heart and soul of the democratic party, on the other a bastion of thugs who hand union locals down to their children like family businesses.
That worm in the core of the democratic fight, those corrupt sticky fingered paymasters of the left's elite thinkers are destroying the soup and I think Walker has stumbled on the flaw.
Does Obama support workers or the union bosses that funnel in hundreds of millions of dollars ripped out of workers paychecks and skimmed off their health insurance premiums?
S

Posted by: Cheesy1959 | March 11, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Nihil Obstat today.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 11, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"The difficulty for Republicans is they've not wanted to clearly explain that philosophy to the American people, and so now they're in the odd position of arguing against Democratic efforts to do more for the deficit and do more to cut spending but not really being able to say why they oppose those efforts."

But tell me Ezra, seriously where do you see GOP in any difficulty for this policy contradiction? They are enjoying their political ascend, winning elections and clobbering unions with impunity.

They would be in difficulty ONLY IF Obama and Dems want to make it! Right now as Krugman said, GOP is 'ra*ing USA' and Dems are simply watching this ra*e as if this is film shooting of Stanely Kubric's 'Eyes Wide Shut' going on....

Disgusting and pathetic. Who are these moron advisers who tell Obama and Dems that no fighting is necessary in order Economic Recovery is not be disturbed? Obama is taking a wrong lesson here - for the fear of destroying the apple cart of Recovery, he is not picking any political fight howsoever cynical GOP is and even if GOP is digging graves for Dems and in the end for this Nation.

Posted by: umesh409 | March 11, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I like how things like funding for food safety are considered "discretionary."

Posted by: arm3 | March 11, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

"Gov. Scott Walker announced on Friday that he was rescinding layoff notices for 1,500 state workers after Wisconsin lawmakers approved his plan to cut collective bargaining rights and benefits for public employees. The approval, after nearly a month of angry demonstrations and procedural maneuvering, will create enough budget savings, Mr. Walker said, that layoffs will not be needed now."

( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/12/us/12wisconsin.html?_r=1&hp )

Say what?

The Wisconsin state legislature passed the bill into law without a quorum on the grounds that abolishing collective bargaining rights has no fiscal impact for the state's budget.

If there is no fiscal impact, how could passage of the law possibly have averted immediate layoffs of state employees?

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 11, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Patrick:

It's not about fiscal impact, because obviously everything has that. It's about bills that concern the budget, raising revenue or requiring outlays, as I understand it. I'm sure if I'm wrong, it will be pointed out to me shortly!

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 11, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"It's not about fiscal impact, because obviously everything has that. It's about bills that concern the budget, raising revenue or requiring outlays, as I understand it. I'm sure if I'm wrong, it will be pointed out to me shortly!"

johnmarshall5446,

Either there are funds in the budget to pay the workers who received layoff notices, or the funds are not in the budget.

If the funds were not in the budget prior to the bill's passage when the notices went out, but somehow those funds are magically there today, logic dictates that passage of the law must have had a positive effect on the budget.

Or alternatively it could mean that Scott Walker was not a truthful fellow when he mailed out those layoff notices.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 11, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Patrick:

Tryiing to corner me into defending Walker are you? LOL

I'm looking at it from a legal perspective not a political one. (to the extent they can EVER be separated)

The budget for the schools presumably sets salaries and benefit amounts authorized and employment numbers with a maximum ceiling, without actually saying there are currently 712 teachers that will work here this year, no more or less. Hiring or firing within authorized figures will change the actual outlay in dollars, but doesn't require a separate authorizing legislation to do so.

The Federal budget includes about 2 million workers but the budget legislation doesn't change everyday when literally hundreds of workers die, retire, get fired etc., to be replaced by hundreds of others.

Make any sense?

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 11, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

For just once, I'd like to see a journalist take on the what-if of cutting Social Security benefits, specifically: Will that actually reduce the deficit?

If you're just robbing Peter to pay Paul -- and that's what it is when the government borrows from the SS trust fund -- then it helps not one whit, and actually accelerates the debt owed, not to mention the interest the government pays on that debt. The net effect on the nation's balance sheet as a result is not good.

There are two things only that will reduce the deficit that is so overlooked by all, and that is: Reduce general fund expenditures or increase non-FICA (SS) tax revenues.

Any business owner knows that if you keep borrowing on the one side to fund a losing business afloat, the only way to break out of the cycle is to increase revenues the proper way or cut spending -- the proper way.

Posted by: pmay2 | March 11, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

johnmarshall5446,

I did some poking around and here's what I found out:


---

Under Article VIII, §8 of the Wisconsin constitution, only “fiscal” bills require a three-fifths (“super”) quorum. And these aren’t merely bills that affect fiscal matters in the generic sense. As restated in Joint Rule 11 of the legislature:

A fiscal bill is any bill which:

(a) Imposes, continues, or renews a tax.

(b) Creates a debt or charge.

(c) Makes, continues, or renews an appropriation of public or trust money.

(d) Releases, discharges, or commutes a claim or demand of the state

---

I remain puzzled why layoffs were essential prior to the passage of a bill that had no "fiscal" impact, and why said layoffs are suddenly not needed after those rights were removed.

Note also that (as reported in the Wisonsin State Journal): "Walker and Republican leaders have repeatedly said that collective bargaining is a budgetary issue and as such, they would not strip fiscal components from the measure. None of the Republican leaders would speak to reporters following the vote, but Walker issued a statement in which he praised the move."

And Walker's own website is still loaded with content that insists that collective bargaining IS a fiscal issue:

http://walker.wi.gov/journal_media_detail.asp?locid=177&prid=5675

Have an excellent weekend, John.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 11, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Patrick

The language comports exactly with what I suggested. It not fiscal impact but whether it requires an additional outlay or increases revenues through the legislation itself.

There is no additional legislation required to layoff the teachers. Otherwise as suggested before you would need legislation each time you hired or fired anyone because you would be spending or gaining additional revenues, or conversely if you had an unusual winter and spent more or less than your snow removal budget.

You are confusing legislation necessary to authorize spending, with the exact dollar amounts spent in any given year.

Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | March 11, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"...not cutting spending or reducing the deficit, but cutting spending Republicans don't like while avoiding any and all tax increases..."

If this is true, isn't the Democratic strategy obvious?

Set a ratio of spending cuts to tax increases on the wealthy -- 3:1, 10:1, whatever -- and refuse any and all spending cuts unless the GOP gives us the one thing they'd sell their mother to avoid: any tax increase.

Given that people are already on the record as opposing the Bush tax cut being extended to millionaires, wouldn't this have the benefit of making Democrats seem quite reasonable and the expose the GOP as being obsessed about protecting the monied class?

Posted by: Jamesaust | March 11, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

johnmarshall5446,

I am sorry if I am unclear. I know that the constitutional language comports with what you suggested. That's why I posted it.

That legal definition issue aside...I still find it mysterious why the Governor needed to lay off workers at the beginning of the week but not at the end of the week. The actual money part of the "budget repair bill" was stripped out, the law as passed contains no spending cuts or revenue generators ... yet somehow its passage means no need to layoff workers.

My point is that the Governor is playing games and that he previously argued that the collective bargaining provisions could NOT be in a stand-alone bill because collective bargaining DID have direct fiscal impact (see his web pages). Throughout the stand-off, Walker and his minions have shown a remarkable tendency to adjust their arguments 180 degrees from one day to the next, in order to meet the immediate situational strategy for taking out the unions.

That is all.

Again, have a pleasant weekend.

Posted by: Patrick_M | March 11, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse


Refinancing replaces your current mortgage with a new loan that has a more favorable interest rate and terms that you can afford to manage. The new loan is secured on the same property as your current loan. I refinanced and saving $451 every month! search online for 123 mortgage refinance they got me a 3.11% rate

Posted by: lindagunter77 | March 12, 2011 2:56 AM | Report abuse

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