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Posted at 8:40 AM ET, 11/30/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Boehner and McConnell stake out hard line on tax cuts: With the big meeting between Republicans and Obama set for today, the two GOP leaders weigh in with an Op ed in the Post that's intended as a preemptive strike to frame the meeting in advance. In it, they state repeatedly that the elections proved Americans favor an extension of all the Bush tax cuts, signaling they are unlikely to budge on one of the central points of contention today.

Indeed, Boehner and McConnell explicitly write that they have no mandate to reach a deal with Obama and Dems on their priorities, arguing that "voters did not signal they wanted more cooperation on the Democrats' big-government policies that most Americans oppose."

As it happens, yesterday's McClatchy-Marist poll found that 51 percent favor extending only the tax cuts for those under $250,000 (the position of many Dems), while 45 percent favor extending them all (the GOP position).

* White House doesn't expect real progress with Republicans: White House officials are conspicuously downplaying expectations for today's meeting, suggesting they think the pressure is on them to demonstrate compromise and progress.

* Obama's private position on the tax cuts: Also in the above link: "Obama is believed to favor a two- or three-year extension of all the tax cuts, accompanied by an extension of unemployment benefits."

* Vote set for this week: This is not unexpected, but House Dem leaders have confirmed they will hold a vote this week on just extending the middle class tax cuts.

What to watch for: Whether GOPers will use a procedural move to force a vote on extending also the high end cuts, and how Dems respond.

* Get ready for the Pentagon's report on Don't Ask Don't Tell: Its release is expected around noon today, and it will find:

Officials familiar with the 10-month study's results have said a clear majority of respondents don't care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results.

The report's details, however, are important, and keep an eye on how moderate Republicans react to it. Their responses could signal whether the report is successfully removing one of their last pretexts for opposing repeal.

* Discrediting the Pentagon report in advance: Also: Expect opponents of repeal to do all they can to discredit the report. For instance, GOP Rep. Buck McKeon, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, is already questioning that 70 percent number: "I'd like to know who these 70 percent are." Uh, yeah, okay.

* Another false attack on Obamacare goes bust? The White House is psyched about this Post story finding that the Medicare Advantage provision of the health reform law is largely running smoothly, despite dire predictions to the contrary.

* Ben Nelson's definition of "sacrifice": The Nebraska Senator supports the pay freeze on Federal workers, on the grounds that we "we all have to share the sacrifice," but that doesn't appear to include those making over $250,000, whose tax cuts Nelson wants to temporarily preserve.

* Modest proposal of the day: Forget a Federal pay freeze. Digby suggests Obama and Dems prove to Beltway commentators that they're fiscally "responsible" by reviving debtors' prisons.

* Related question: Did Obama want the left to attack him over the pay freeze?

* Today in Congressional megalomania: It looks like GOP leaders are none too happy with GOP Rep. Joe Barton for his rather bellicose suggestion that if he's made head of the Energy and Commerce Committee, a plum House GOP gig, he'll go after the Obama administration thusly:

"I want to be George Patton -- put anything in my scope and I will shoot it."

* And: Barton wants the Tea Party to know that he would be their eyes and ears on Energy and Commerce: "I was Tea Party when the Tea Party wasn't cool."

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | November 30, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: We can't blame Rahm, after all

Comments

I recommend Fred Barnes column in the Weekly Standard appearing this morning on the 2012 GOP race. The main thesis: it's the "young guns" who are the future, not the old guys. Rubio and Christie (less so) get special attention. But Barnes does a bit of a dance on Palin. Of course, he has to.

In the next to last graph, Barnes concludes...

"Palin looks increasingly formidable".

But in the graph just preceding, he writes...

"In Palin’s case, the media treat her every wink and nod as newsworthy. Reporters and columnists are obsessed with her. And some Republicans fear she could lead their party to defeat in 2012. What this assumes is amazing: that she can sail through the primaries and win the nomination. That’s quite an assumption."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/not-yet-great-race_519583.html?page=2

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse


North Korea

The wikileaks documents has one interesting nuance on the North Korean situation which might explain some things.


For years, the West has been wondering why China has not done more to restraint North Korea.

According to one wikileaks document, the reasoning could be this: China believes that North Korea will collapse.


Apparently there are people in China who believe the collapse will happen politically a few years after the present leader dies.

Economically, China believes North Korea has already collapsed. They believe that North Korea will re-united with the South.

Quite a different take.


In the West, few are seeing a relatively quick re-unification. Few are preparing for it. And few really believe that the Chinese will agree to it.


The issue is the massive costs of rebuilding the North. For an indication, the costs of East Germany were extremely high - however there was an economically strong Germany which was politically ready to shoulder the costs.


South Korea is in a different position.

The alternative long-term option is in the event of a collapse, for the Chinese to move into the North and handle the situation with the North remaining an independent country with a gradual opening to the South.


This analysis may provide the reasoning why the current negotiations are not going that well - China believes it has little influence over the North.

The situation is clear, the West believes that North Korea does not live up to its agreements, so it has been kicking the ball over to China, who is supposed to be able to have the influence that the West does not. However, that just may not be the case.

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Re the Boehner/McConnell op ed and it's arrival in the Post this morning. The agreeable timing (pre-emptive framing, as you suggest Greg) once again brings up the question... How exactly did they manage to get this platform? Who called up whom?

Perhaps we can get Assange to release Hyatt's communications.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"Obama is believed to favor a two- or three-year extension of all the tax cuts, accompanied by an extension of unemployment benefits."

Bye bye Barack.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 30, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

So, the context of the current military situation could be vastly different than is portrayed in the press. The North could be in the end game of its collapse - one in which "grabbing the gun" is the last thing left when leadership is up, when there are few other power centers except for the military.

Also, important to consider, is that both South Korea AND China are reluctant to take the lead on picking up the pieces, which will be an extremely expensive propostion.


The South Koreans may want to re-unify, however the practical situation may be diffent, espeicially in the light of cultural norms which are significantly different from those of Germany and the West.

Despite the rhetoric, and statements to the South Korean people, the South may prefer if China would step in, and shoulder the vast costs of modernization of the North.


With China overbuilt, and perhaps on the verge of a real estate bubble-burst - and perhaps way too dependent on exports to the US, China may not want to take on such an economic situation which is in the North.

___________________________

In the context of those players reluctant to step in if North Korea should collapse, then delaying that time would make rational sense for all sides.

Meanwhile, the actors in North Korea are attempting to hang onto power, and see the military-industrial complex as the only game in town for their own survival.

So, building nuclear weapons and "shooting up an island" might actually be rational if the objective is end up on the top of the power structure once the current leader is out of power.


Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Re: Barton, you know you've gone too far when you piss off GOP leadership. That's almost impossible to do these days given their penchant for attempting to destroy the President.

WB, what is your preferred compromise position on the tax cuts? Ideally, I would pass them just for the MC, but I would accept Schumer's $1M in an effort to form a compromise. What is your compromise position?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Re: Barton, you know you've gone too far when you piss off GOP leadership. That's almost impossible to do these days given their penchant for attempting to destroy the President.

WB, what is your preferred compromise position on the tax cuts? Ideally, I would pass them just for the MC, but I would accept Schumer's $1M in an effort to form a compromise. What is your compromise position?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"Officials familiar with the 10-month study's results have said a clear majority of respondents don't care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results."

Could there be a more clear and definitive piece of evidence demonstrating the how the gay agenda is reaching into every corner of America and how close it is coming to turning this once great nation into a cesspool of ungodly perversion? What's next! Interrogation rooms with recessed lighting? Cher performing at Mullen's birthday party? Pastel nukes?

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Re: bernielatham post -- "What this assumes is amazing: that she can sail through the primaries and win the nomination. That’s quite an assumption."

I think it's a pretty reasonable assumption, especially considering that Republicans have a proportional delegate system for their primaries.

Palin can absolutely win the South, do well in the Midwest, and she'll be competitive in the Northeast and out West.

This all boils down to exciting the base, and Palin does that. I think the nomination is hers, if she wants it.

The real question is whether or not she wants to give up her pat job as a professional Twitter & Facebook-based political conflict instigator for a job with real accountability.

Posted by: associate20 | November 30, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"What is your compromise position?"

None. No compromise. Full stop. Period. Obama can veto any tax bill he doesn't like. But Obama doesn't understand what being president means. Obama is not the solution he is part of the problem. Obama needs to go.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 30, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

North Korea

So, in the light of all of that, one gains some more understanding of why the Korean situation has been dragging out the way it has been dragging out.

One might wonder why the US and China haven't gotten together and attempted to solve this with some obvious potential solutions - and the answer is perhap China doesn't have much influence with the North Korea government leaders.


Significant that the Russians are involved too, but not too much.

It would require significant US leadership to break this impasse - but also the realization on the part of the public in the South that re-unification probably is not the best way to go long-term.

The idea of a re-unified penisula has many more implications for the strategic situation in the area than the German situation did.

In that situation, a stronger Germany probably led to more stability in the region - as oppposed to what a stronger Korea would mean.


The cables indicated that leaders in China were gaming out this situation, and wondering if a friendly Korea could be achieved, and how all that could work out. On one hand, a US military presence closer to China might worry Chinese leaders, however given the US track record around the globe, such a US presence could not be all that threatening at all.


However, the bottom line from the cables is perhaps the insight that when it comes to North Korea and the costs of its collapse, re-unification or modernations, "no one wants it" might be closer to the real situation than anyone realizes in the US.


.

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"I'd like to know who these 70 percent are."

Top drawer reporting from the WSJ.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

TARP estimate reduced to just $25B

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/11/30/estimate_of_bailout_cost_falls.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

TARP estimate reduced to just $25B

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/11/30/estimate_of_bailout_cost_falls.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"I'd like to know who these 70 percent are."
------------------------------

Good to see such a strong statistical critique from an elected official.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: " Obama is not the solution he is part of the problem. Obama needs to go."

If he goes, he's going to be replaced by a Republican. Primary challenges end up disaffecting voters who then don't show up; 3rd parties split the vote. Unless you're wanting Obama to be replaced with a Republican, I'd worry more about who'd be running in the Democratic primary in 2016. Because a primary challenger is unlikely to win the challenge (but will weaken Obama) and, on the longshot that the primary challenger did win, there will be too many disaffected voters left in that wake. And the Republican wins. Even if it's Sarah Palin.

So, be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

@asociate - I guess Barnes and I see it differently. Time will tell, if she even tries, that is. Of course, then there's the problem of the world that isn't the GOP base. This is anecdotal, of course, but I yak politics in my store every day with folks from all over the country.

The broad level of utter disdain for this lady is something I've not seen a precedent for in politics in my lifetime. Some fans, of course, but very few. Now, I'm in Portland but as I said, folks from all over arrive in the store.

National polls reflect something similar. So the real question is, if she looks certain to lose (and Rove ain't gonna get that very much wrong) then how do the big boys proceed? Do they let the party go down to defeat?

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Excellent if deeply depressing piece by Toobin on Gore v Bush...

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/12/06/101206taco_talk_toobin

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

@associate20: "Palin can absolutely win the South"

Like Tennessee hometown boy, Fred Thompson in 2008. No, wait . . .

"do well in the Midwest, and she'll be competitive in the Northeast and out West."

You can't count your primary chickens until they hatch. If she goes clever, smarter-than-everybody with her campaign, ala Rudy Gulliani, or waits until the last minute to throw in her hat, like Fred Thompson, she may crash and burn early on. Republican primaries often tend to reward previous primary contenders first--so Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee will be the folks to beat.

I like Palin but, based on the history of the primaries over the years, awarding Palin the victory this early on is way, way, way premature.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"clear majority of respondents don't care if gays serve openly"

____________________


"Don't care" is not the same thing as "support"


And this is getting to be the rub with the liberals - they are skipping over the part about convincing people that their ideas are worthy of support.

Instead, the liberals take the tact that "people don't care" - and they try to push things through without a vote, or administratively - it really has become a joke.


_____________________


The Republicans are not going for this

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"be careful what you wish for"

I said it yesterday and I'll repeat it today. Obama is a failure. He is the Puny President, utterly disrespected by everyone. I am not a Democrat. I am a Liberal and, at least so long as Obama is the Democratic standard-bearer, the Democratic Party does not promote Liberalism in any significant way. So I no longer support the Democratic Party.

If there is a Democratic primary challenger to Obama on the Left, I will passionately support that candidate. Barring that, no Democrats will get my support through 2012. Obama's presidency has retarded the growth of Liberalism. Worse, Obama is wrecking Liberalism without even being Liberal. Like many, I blamed Rahm and the WH advisors but it is now clear that the problem is Obama himself.

As for the prospect of President Palin, that is Obama's fault not mine. If Obama were even an average president, Palin would already be an historical footnote. But if that is now what the country wants so be it. If the American people really want Conservatism they will have it. So let's get it over with. The sooner we enter the asylum the sooner we can get out and get on with it.

This president is unworthy of support by Liberals. So is the current Democratic Party.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 30, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "WB, what is your preferred compromise position on the tax cuts? Ideally, I would pass them just for the MC, but I would accept Schumer's $1M in an effort to form a compromise. What is your compromise position?"

My compromise position (and my political strategy, were I in the Obama Whitehouse) would be to hold firm on $250k, explain that the tax is on money made after the first $250k, not anything before, and then propose a permanent, much, much deeper middle class tax cut that Bush's or Obama's temporary stimulus tax credits. Put another $1000 in the hands of middle class consumers.

I'd also suggest, rather than 3% on everybody over $250k, they stagger it up between 5% and 10%, which each extra percentage point (marginal) on each $250k-$500k increment. Which means that folks who'd feel it the most (those making between $250k-$500k) would suffer the least increase, just 1%. Then the folks making between $500k and $750k would pay an extra 1%. And so on.

The million dollar compromise is good, too, because it makes the Republicans defend raising taxes on the middle class because they are trying to preserve tax cuts for millionaires. That they can't make more political hay with that, thus far, is striking.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Heck, might as well just do this efficiently and drop the pretense.

"With a host of candidates lining up to challenge embattled RNC chairman Michael Steele, one large group of voting RNC members' is bringing in FreedomWorks -- the branch of the tea party run by Dick Armey -- to help with the vetting of candidates."

FW is, as we all know, just a grass roots citizen organization with millions in funding from Scaife and the Koch brothers and Verizon and Phillip Morris and with mega-millionaire lobbyist Dick Armey at the helm (how grassroots can ya get?)

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/rnc-members-invite-tea-partiers-to-help-choose-the-next-chair.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: bernielatham | November 30, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"I was Tea Party when the Tea Party wasn't cool."

Dorchester and Congress Rules !!!

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham:

No doubt, she's a polarizing figure -- for non-Republicans. But, if polling of Republicans is taken as an indicator of her prospects, I still believe it's going to be difficult for another Republican to stop her, IF she chooses to run.

Because of her popularity among Republicans, any opponent is going to have to figure out how to oppose her without alienating himself from her supporters (e.g., Tea Partiers, etc.) who are highly protective of their favorite "Mama Grizzly."

By the way, if all else failed, and she (for some reason) didn't win the nomination, I think she has enough support to mount a 3rd party (i.e., "Tea Party" nominee) run, and completely muck up the Republican chances. I don't think she would do that, because I think she can win the Republican nomination. But, whatever happens, whether or not she runs, her strong support among the Republican base will strongly factor into whether or not she's the nominee, mounts a 3rd party run, or serves as kingmaker.

Posted by: associate20 | November 30, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Worse, Obama is wrecking Liberalism without even being Liberal."

I knew there was something I liked about him. ;)

@bernie: "Excellent if deeply depressing piece by Toobin on Gore v Bush..."

Not bad, but I think it lacks some context. I hardly think the Bush V. Gore is the first chicanery every indulged in by the supreme court, nor even (nearly) the most egregious.

That being said, the decision always mystified me. They should have thrown out (and properly so) the Florida Supreme Court decision and the wash their hands of it, having done their duty. Eventually, as I understand it, the decision of appointing electors would have fallen to the Republican controlled state legislature, and Bush would have won, anyway. Why the Supreme Court felt it necessary to step in and stop the recounts entirely and otherwise micromanage the case was never clear to me. It seemed a poor decision. One could argue it was partisan (although only the remedy), yet it was almost guaranteed that, as long as the Florida Supreme Court was not allowed to write retroactive election law from the bench, that Bush would still win the electoral contest. So . . . I dunno. All in the past now, I suppose. I wonder if it will be another 100 years before a presidential election comes down to a few 100 votes in a single county in a single state.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"What is your compromise position?"

None. No compromise. Full stop. Period. Obama can veto any tax bill he doesn't like. But Obama doesn't understand what being president means. Obama is not the solution he is part of the problem. Obama needs to go.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 30, 2010 9:12 AM


______________________________


I wonder why no one is talking WHAT the rate should be


A compromise could be putting the top rate up from 35% to 36% - which would eliminate the Clinton Temporary Surcharge, but NOT keep in place Bush's tax cuts for those over 250K.


It is a beautiful solution actually, everyone can claim a victory - and EXACTLY what they said they wanted


Bush ONLY lowered the rate to 35% from 36% - THAT is what the democrats do not realize.


.

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@KW,

I emphatically endorse your tax proposal! I'd love to see both parties come together to support a graduated, progressive system that supports the middle class and the overwhelming majority of Americans.

A question: do you think that more money in the hands of the top 2% will create the kind of robust job growth that the GOP is implying the continuation of the tax cuts for the top brackets would create?

I, personally, do not.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

America's head is firmly planted where the sun don't shine. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, next Spain, then Belgium and Italy...have kicked the can down the road, of the cliff. In some places, the bank problems are turning into public problems and in others, the public deficits (government borrowing) has turned into bank problems (sovereign funds pulling out), but the two are impossible to disentangle.

The euro is in trouble and indeed, many say the EU is not going to collapse, but that it will be smaller a few years from now, maybe 6 or 7 countries (the places that made sense in the first place). How does this cause problems for us, for the US? Well because we are not doing anything about our trade deficit, the rising costs of health care, unemployment, the deficit...we are not serious about doing anything about it, not a bit.

So the hope is to once more grow our way out of debt, which means another bubble that must grow faster than the debt crisis. That won't happen, not this time.

For these reasons, I believe it will only mater in terms of social policy who runs government, the culture war issues, the Supreme Court nominees, etc. That is important obviously, but there is nothing quite as good for social progress in general than the economic safety of all social classes.
Conversely, history tells us societies with a great masses of downwardly mobile citizens tend to disintegrate, in more ways than one.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 30, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The democrats do NOT realize that they are really arguing over the Clinton Temporary Surcharge, NOT the Bush tax cut.


This is significant

By, the way, if the income tax law is not passed by the end of the year, ALL income tax brackets go to ZERO.


.

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

U.S. stocks pared an early decline after two key data points encouraged investors. The Chicago Purchasing Managers' Index was 62.5 in November, better than the 60.0 reading economists were expecting. The manufacturing report "reminded people that it's not all doom and gloom," said Bill Vaughn, portfolio manager at Evercore Wealth Management. "The manufacturing sector of the economy has been strong for a while."

Separately, the Conference Board's November reading of consumer confidence came in at 54.1, better than economists' forecast of 52.5.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-trim-losses-after-chicago-pmi-confidence-data-2010-11-30

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin_Willis:

"Republican primaries often tend to reward previous primary contenders first--so Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee will be the folks to beat."

I guess I do sound pretty bullish on Palin's chances, huh?

I know that Republicans typically reward previous primary contenders. But, that seems to be based, in part (if not overwhelmingly), on the issue of name recognition. Palin was no wallflower in the 2008 contest, and she's not one today. So, she doesn't have an issue with people knowing who she is, nor does she have to worry about building a base of support; she's starting -- if she jumps in -- with both.

Add in the fact that neither Romney nor Huckabee excites the base like Palin, and I don't find it unreasonable to be so bullish on her chances. That excitement drives successful campaigns; the lack thereof (for various reasons, including the lack of a base & relatively limited name recognition) is what ultimately doomed Giuliani's and Thompson's campaigns.

Furthermore, there's a reason that "establishment" Republicans are privately voicing concern about Palin, and it's not because they believe that she's not a real threat. Rather, they've probably conducted some preliminary polling and seen that she would be difficult to beat, and they can see -- anecdotally & empirically -- the kind of excitement & support she commands.

For those reasons, I stand by the notion that the nomination would be very difficult to wrestle away from her if she runs. And when you add protective & forgiving supporters into the mix, I think it would be a mistake to dismiss her viability among Republicans in the primaries.

Posted by: associate20 | November 30, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

shrink2 at 10:22 AM


It would certainly make sense if the southern countries of Europe had their own currency - which could float against the Euro.

The issue with that - although that transition would solve many long-term problems - is that people in those countries would want to keep their money in Euros.


That would lead to a "run" on the banks in those countries - in theory. However, if those southern countries made sure that their banks offered their customers the option to keep their money denominated in Euros, or some combination - that would help because that option would not spark a "run."


The issue would then be - how to keep people in a currency when it is clear it may fall - however, that is a temporary adjustment. And those governments could offer some "security" -

For instance, up to a certain amount, the governments could compensate citizens for holding onto the new currencies for a certain amount of time, enough to equalize the markets.


Krugman had a piece recently on some of these issues.


.

Posted by: RainintheForest | November 30, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Some interesting stuff up at Gallup:

Americans Less Pessimistic About U.S. Progress in Afghanistan
http://www.gallup.com/poll/144944/Americans-Less-Pessimistic-Progress-Afghanistan.aspx

Thanksgiving Week Spending Tops 2009
http://www.gallup.com/poll/144953/Thanksgiving-Week-Spending-Tops-2009.aspx

In U.S., 62% Exceed Ideal Weight, 19% at Their Goal
http://www.gallup.com/poll/144941/Exceed-Ideal-Weight-Goal.aspx

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Like Tennessee hometown boy, Fred Thompson in 2008. No, wait . . ."

Fred was more interested in taking a nap than running for POTUS. I never understood why he threw his hat in the ring when it was pretty clear he wasn't really up for winning.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 30, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, don't be duped by legal hackery by Toobin. There was nothing about Bush v. Gore akin to chicanery.

There were complex issues involved, but keep in mind a few simpler realities.

Seven justices in including two of the liberal Democrats agreed that the ongoing 'recount' was unconstitutional.

The case made by three justices that the 'recount' ordered by FLOTUS patently violated Florida law was even stronger, but O'Connor and Kennedy didn't reach that issue given the EP violation. That FLOTUS opinion -- joined solely by Democratic justices -- is the real piece of legal chicanery involved. I have little doubt that Kennedy and O'Connor avoided that issue out of diplomacy -- they didn't want to go on the record opining what most reasonable obsevors recognized: that FLOTUS had flouted Florida law.

It is a common misconception, which Toobin again purveys, that SCOTUS "stopped" the election, etc. The truth is that it stopped only the unconstitutional recount in progress and remanded the case for further proceedings. Florida still could have conducted a recount that was constitutional. It just didn't have time, and that had nothing to do with SCOTUS. FLOTUS could actually have revisited the Dec 12 "deadline" issue, but even this would have only given the state until Dec 18 to do a proper recount, and Bush's victory would have remained inevitable. FLOTUS actually declined to do that and issued another opinion finding that a constitutional recount was not possible.

All of this is why Gore finally accepted reality and stopped trying to reverse the election in court. Remember, 5 conservatives and 2 liberals on SCOTUS agreed the 'recount' was unconstitutional. The FLOTUS decision they reversed was made by all Democrats.

The rest of Toobin's column is 90% generalized and unsupported bunk. For example, the Roberts court has upheld state sovereignty in cases like the Levine preemption case (trial lawyers' dream case) (wonder why Toobin only cites the EPA case?), and they hardly adopted a "novel" 2d Amendment theory (that the 2d protects an individual right). Indeed, it is one accepted by many or even most liberals at this point, because it is obviously correct. Judicial conservatism has never meant simply deferring to legislatures but fidelity to the Constitution and laws as written.

Toobin is another propagandist, and his tales shouldn't bother anyone.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I hate to link to politico, but here's an interesting piece by Joe Scarborough re Palin. He really thinks it's time to get serious about denying her any credibility as a Presidential candidate and wants is compatriots to "man-up" about it. Wonder what her response will be, she can't seem to ignore any criticism.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45687.html

Posted by: lmsinca | November 30, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

All, interesting post from Adam Serwer on the White House's quest for bipartisanship:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/i_guess_we_cant_blame_rahm.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 30, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "A question: do you think that more money in the hands of the top 2% will create the kind of robust job growth that the GOP is implying the continuation of the tax cuts for the top brackets would create?"

I think it's conceptually valid, and, having long subscribed to supply side economics (as such), I've always thought the concept made but logical and intuitive sense, and was not remotely persuaded by those who snarkily dismissed it out of hand.

That being said, there is plenty of money in the hands of the top 2% in terms of income and/or cash on hand--more than ever. Yet, at best, this seems to be a neutral factor in regards to the over all economy. So, I'm open to other strategies that would benefit everybody (including, arguably, the rich, who will tend to benefit from a more robust economy). Some of this would have to be achieved via compromise, so my compromise would be a more progressive tax structure for the top 10% of earners and a steep cut to the middle class. I'd be willing to trade a capital gains tax cut for the more progressive income tax, or a corporate tax cuts for corporations with under, say, $5 million dollars gross receipts.

But I would like to try something different in terms of tax code. In my opinion, we tried low rates on the top 5%, and that hasn't saved or created jobs as I would have predicted. So, I'd like to see more money in the hands of the working middle class and the revenue made up at the top end of the spectrum.

If the idea is to stimulate job creation with tax policy, then make it easier for individuals to incorporate and file as a corporation, and cut corporate rates for companies with less than $5 million in revenue, or thereabouts (i.e., in the level of small businesses where the majority of job creation takes place).

And with a graduated tax hike on the upper-upper class, the very rich will still remain hugely rich, and that's awesome. I have no desire to address the unfairness of wealth inequality or make rich people "know what it's like" or any of that. Indeed, ideally, they'd only become richer, even though paying an extra few percent in income tax on money made after each additional $250k.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

QB1-
I don't know that anything you said disputes what Kevin said. Kevin said that what the the Flordia SC did was unconstitutional, but suggested that the SCOTUS should have stopped there.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Palling around with extremists much? Boehner has a private meeting with Randall Terry:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_11/026849.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@QB: "Kevin, don't be duped by legal hackery by Toobin. There was nothing about Bush v. Gore akin to chicanery."

I use the word loosely. It just always struck me as the wrong resolution. I still believe Bush would have won.

"Seven justices in including two of the liberal Democrats agreed that the ongoing 'recount' was unconstitutional."

Which I agree with. The problem is in the judicial micromanagement of the remedy. The best opinion I recall reading in the whole sordid affair (it's been 10 years, admittedly) was the primary dissent from the original FLOTUS decision, where they dissenting justice really (as I recall) ripped apart the decision they had made.

But I should be clear in that I have gotten over it, and so I'm really relying on my modest memory, some 10 years out, as to the particulars of the case, and I better remember what I thought about things than what, specifically, made me think that at the time.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Kevin, thanks for the reply, I agree entirely. I do find it interesting the thought that while you generally believe in supply-side economics, you don't feel that NOW is a good time to force the issue since the wealthy have done exceedingly well in the last decade. I appreciate that there is a time and a place for different policies and that at no one time is any ideology 100% correct nor 100% incorrect. I really appreciate that sensibility.

That said, the only thing that would prevent me from supporting supply-side economics more robustly is the fact that profits can be, and often are, "misappropriated" by corporate executives. What we need to build into our corporate tax code is a strong, undeniable incentive for domestic growth, for reinvestment of profits into sustainable Americans businesses. The idea that the wealthy "job creating class" should get more take-home money when executive pay and bonuses are skyrocketing is ludicrous. That is particularly so, imho, when we are in the midst of trying economic conditions. In fact, NOW is the time to reinvest in America. It is probably needed now more than any time since the slump of the early 80s. This is one big reason I have been watching the manufacturing sector, and the reason I posted the econ link earlier.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

qb:

Thanks for the refresher on the Bush v Gore details. At the time I was living in London and I got quite deep into the weeds of the various legal decisions trying to explain to people there what was actually going on (as you might imagine, the UK media was hardly a paragon of clarity on the issue). But I had since forgotten a lot of the details.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@associate: "For those reasons, I stand by the notion that the nomination would be very difficult to wrestle away from her if she runs. And when you add protective & forgiving supporters into the mix, I think it would be a mistake to dismiss her viability among Republicans in the primaries."

You make a compelling argument. And, based on the contenders now, I'd vote for her in the primary--although, but the time the primaries are held in Tennessee, if she's still in the race she will have, for all practical purposes, already won it.

Just, given what I've seen in the past, I am skeptical. But you make a good case.

@lmsinca: "He really thinks it's time to get serious about denying her any credibility as a Presidential candidate and wants is compatriots to 'man-up' about it."

I don't think he's going to get a lot of takers. I predict most of the other primary candidates, if Palin runs, will focus on themselves and beating the other candidates and save a few, limited zingers for Palin, but will avoid trying to make it about her (or acting in any way as if she is the one to beat though, of course, she probably will be). And denying her credibility based on what? The fact she's rural and lacks a Harvard education? That she's a woman? That an inside-the-beltway television pundit doesn't like her?

None of those things will be particularly compelling to primary voters.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

kevin

I didn't judge his comments, neither agree nor disagree, just thought it was an interesting piece coming from a conservative. I personally believe she will run and I don't think the pundits like Scarborough, Noonan and whoever else will be able to stop her.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 30, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The fact she's rural and lacks a Harvard education?
--------------------------------------
Well I think many of her critics would settle for an educational background that didn't include so many rather anonymous colleges. That said your line amuses me to know end. Maybe you're offering it up tongue in cheek, but Palin supporters, such as yourself, clearly don't care (much)what degree someone has or where the degree came from. Unless, of course, that degree came from one of the best schools in the country in which case it's a point of criticism. So people are only bothered when someone has a really good education, or perhaps more specifically, when a liberal has a really good education.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

That said your line amuses me to know end.
-----------------------------------
Oye...amuses me to no end.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Palling around with extremists much? Boehner has a private meeting with Randall Terry"

Terry is indeed an extremist. And a creep. Perhaps Boehner could meet with Fred Phelps next.

Don't want to anger an activist who influences (maybe) a lot of voters, I suppose.

"I do find it interesting the thought that while you generally believe in supply-side economics, you don't feel that NOW is a good time to force the issue"

I believe if there was going to be additional benefits to tax cuts for the wealthy, or in general to the wealthy having a lot of money with which to, presumably, do things that create jobs, then we'd be seeing that. The wealthy do have more money, right now--more than ever. If that led directly to robust job creation, we'd have it. While I'd like everybody to pay a little something in taxes, I'm just thinking it might be more beneficial to the economy to cut taxes on the middle class, to a point where almost every middle class family has an extra $1000 to spend on top of the original Bush tax cuts, and see how that helps.

What I'd like to see is us try some alternatives. At the bare minimum, I'd like to see either side advance the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts on the top marginal rates expire while slashing rates for those under $100k. I really think putting more money in the hands of the great majority of American consumers could have a solid, stimulative effect on the economy. And it would be worth having folks who earn $250k or more to pay an extra 3% on the dollars earned after the first $250k in order to get to that point, for me.

I also support a small national retail sales tax if bundled with a law making a full-on VAT illegal. I think Value Added Taxes are practically designed to strangle economies. ;) With, naturally, the sales tax being deductible from income tax.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Deficit Panel Hits Gridlock; Vote in Congress Is Unlikely

"A presidential commission on balancing the U.S. budget likely will fail Wednesday to secure enough support for its deficit-cutting plan to trigger a congressional vote on it, aides and analysts said.

With just a day left before it releases the plan, the commission's co-chairmen were still scrambling to nail down 14 votes among the commission's 18 members—a super-majority threshold called for when the panel was created in February.

"We do not think that the commission's report will get 14 votes," said Brian Gardner, a Washington policy analyst at the investment firm of Keefe Bruyette & Woods."

http://www.cnbc.com/id/40433427

Posted by: associate20 | November 30, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@ashot: "So people are only bothered when someone has a really good education, or perhaps more specifically, when a liberal has a really good education."

Well, not me. A really good education is (in my opinion) one aspect of a person, and an important one, but hardly the end all, be all. George Bush attended Harvard and Yale and nobody on the right held it against him. :)

I was just coming up with the sorts of things I could see as being used to "deny her credibility", and I don't see any of those playing with primary voters. So I'm curious what Scarbrough actually expects Republicans to do, re: denying Palin credibility.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

OT: I just still want to remind everybody I'm irked that Ruk bailed. Anybody know how to get in touch with him? I want to show him a screenshot of the Troll Hunter. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 30, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

kevin,

"The problem is in the judicial micromanagement of the remedy."

You have my respect for being able to remember any details of Bush v. Gore. I do think this is a point where you might be misremembering some details.

It would be more accurate, I think, to say that the two justices who dissented on the remedy wanted to micromanage the remedy -- I believe they wanted to remand (send back) with explicit instructions for the FL court to order a recount under a uniform standard complying with the Constitution.

A problem with this was that it was already Dec 12, and, per FLOTUS itself (at least it appeared that is what they had just held), that was the deadline for certification. Thus, there was no way for SCOTUS to order FL to recount by the state-law deadline, even if it had wanted.

What they instead did is held the ongoing recount unconstitutional (again, 7 votes for that) and simply remanded. At that point, FLOTUS in fact could have clarified or changed its mind on whether Dec 12 was an actual deadline, and could have fashioned a recount. Admittedly, that might have raised further questions.

But it really isn't the case that SCOTUS micromanaged anything. They just held that the ongoing recount was unconstitutional and sent the mess back, at which point FLOTUS and Gore realized there was no way around the fact that no legitimate recount complying with state law and the Constitution was feasible.

So, of what you said earlier, I think this:


"They should have thrown out (and properly so) the Florida Supreme Court decision and the wash their hands of it, having done their duty. Eventually, as I understand it, the decision of appointing electors would have fallen to the Republican controlled state legislature, and Bush would have won, anyway."

is essentially just what they did. But this:

"Why the Supreme Court felt it necessary to step in and stop the recounts entirely and otherwise micromanage the case was never clear to me."

is not. They stopped the ongoing recount but did not otherwise dictate what Florida had to do.

I do recall thinking at the time, like you, that the principle dissent in the FLOTUS decision as on the mark.

Hope some of that is clear. I get very frustrated by people like Toobin (and Bernie) who periodically try to confuse and mislead people about it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"I don't know that anything you said disputes what Kevin said. Kevin said that what the the Flordia SC did was unconstitutional, but suggested that the SCOTUS should have stopped there."

As I tried to explain above, that's precisely what they did. They held it unconstitutional and sent the mess back, in legalese, "for further proceedings not inconsistent with" their opinion, for FLOTUS to deal with, which FLOTUS did by issuing another opinion that said, in essence, proper recount by the deadline (which they did not disturb but could have) isn't possible.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

I saw that you have, sadly, disappointed Bernie for the very last time.

As I noted on that prior thread, perhaps the silver lining is that TrollMcWingnut can now find new self respect in the fact that you have fallen even lower in Bernie's regard than him (or me?).

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Kevin,

"That being said, there is plenty of money in the hands of the top 2% in terms of income and/or cash on hand--more than ever. Yet, at best, this seems to be a neutral factor in regards to the over all economy."

The reason I consistently hear for the cash buildup is anxieties about more taxes, regulation, and big government. Do you doubt that?

"But I would like to try something different in terms of tax code. In my opinion, we tried low rates on the top 5%, and that hasn't saved or created jobs as I would have predicted."

How would you explain the massive long-term job creation of the past 30 years? Do you think there would have been even more jobs with no tax cuts?

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

cnn.com has picked up Joe Scarborough's trashing of Palin:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/30/trending-palin-must-be-stopped-says-scarborough/#more-137446

Wait, did I say trashing? She's already trash. Let me rephrase: cnn.com has picked up Joe Scarborough's ripping Palin a new one.

Posted by: Observer691 | November 30, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@QB- "How would you explain the massive long-term job creation of the past 30 years? Do you think there would have been even more jobs with no tax cuts?"

I think you explain it by saying that job creation occurred in the first 20 years not the last 10. The results of the Bush tax cuts are pretty clear, strong corporate profits, but stagnant job and wage growth. Shouldn't the most recent 10 years be given a little more weight? Shouldn't we take into account that corporations have money to spend? Do you really think the answer is always to cut taxes?

Not to mention that nobody is proposing cutting taxes. They are proposing maintaining the status quo. If Conservatives truly believe that job growth is due to tax cuts then why are they not advocating for tax cuts?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

qb:

"As I noted on that prior thread..."

Yeah, saw it. I was touched by the support from you, KW, McWing, and sbj. Thanks, guys!

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 30, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"I think you explain it by saying that job creation occurred in the first 20 years not the last 10. The results of the Bush tax cuts are pretty clear, strong corporate profits, but stagnant job and wage growth."

There was job growth after the Clinton recession and Bush cuts, but job contraction resulting the financial meltdown, which had nothing to do with tax cuts.

"Shouldn't the most recent 10 years be given a little more weight?"

I suppose so. But longer windows and larger sample sizes with strong variables tend to be better. The vast bulk of rate cuts came starting with Reagan, and jobs and GDP have grown massively since then.

"Shouldn't we take into account that corporations have money to spend?"

Sure. Raising taxes won't make them spend or invest it.

"Do you really think the answer is always to cut taxes?"

I've never heard anyone say that.

"If Conservatives truly believe that job growth is due to tax cuts then why are they not advocating for tax cuts?"

They don't. That's a silly caricature.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Scott,

I guess your long road to rehabilitation must now begin. Probably involves Siberia first, but we'll be there for you.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

QB: "There was job growth after the Clinton recession"

There was no "Clinton recession," spanky.

Posted by: Observer691 | November 30, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

IF Obama caves in on the tax cuts for the top 2% of the population then his agenda FOR THE REST OF HIS TWO-YEAR PRESIDENCY is DONE!

He WILL loose all support from most left-of-center democrats, independents and anyone else that has a brain...

CAVE IN=FAILURE.

Posted by: rbaldwin2 | November 30, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"There was no "Clinton recession," spanky."

Well, whatever that recessiony thingey was toward the end of his term.

If we're going to assign recessions and such to Presidents, he has to take his, too. Or do you want to call it the Gingrich recession or something like that?

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

"There was job growth after the Clinton recession and Bush cuts, but job contraction resulting the financial meltdown, which had nothing to do with tax cuts."

There was also plenty of job growth after the first Bush and Clinton increased taxes. The job growth during Bush II was very low (historically low) even before the financial meltdown. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,242424,00.html

I don't understand why Conservatives claim Bush's cuts did anything other than cost a bunch of money, increase the tax burden of the wealthy and increase corporate profits considerable. I also don't understand why Democrats have completely failed to make anyone aware of these facts.

"The vast bulk of rate cuts came starting with Reagan, and jobs and GDP have grown massively since then."

Government spending has grown massively since then, too. To credit GDP growth to government spending would be just as overly simplistic as your argument.

"Raising taxes won't make them spend or invest it."
I never said it would but it will increase revenue which should be used to address the deficit which I thought was a something fiscal conservatives were concerned about.

"They don't. That's a silly caricature."

In response to Kevin's claim that reducing taxes didn't create jobs you asked him "How would you explain the massive long-term job creation of the past 30 years?"
I'm not sure how to interpret that response other than as giving credit to tax cuts for the job growth of the last 30 years. If that wasn't your point, what was it?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Well, whatever that recessiony thingey was toward the end of his term.

If we're going to assign recessions and such to Presidents, he has to take his, too. Or do you want to call it the Gingrich recession or something like that?"

Let's go with the more accurate Bush recession. He started his term in office with one, and ended his term in office with one. Quite a record.

Posted by: Observer691 | November 30, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

"There was also plenty of job growth after the first Bush and Clinton increased taxes."

Mmm, if the first part were true, then I don't suppose Clinton would have been run on "the worst economy since the Great Depression." Yes, I know that was a colossal lie of his.

Are you suggesting that Bush and Clinton tax increases actually created jobs? How does that refute the larger point that job growth since Reagan cut rates has been large? How can you give credit to Clinton when he benefitted from Reagan's cuts and admitted he shouldn't have raised rates as much as he did? How do you credit Clinton with the tech boom, which fueled virtually all the growth of the 90s? Kinda silly, huh?

"The job growth during Bush II was very low (historically low) even before the financial meltdown."

First, that's debatable. Second, Bush II was affected by a little thing called 911, as well as factors like demographics (surprisingly, slower growth in worker populations corresponds with slower job growth, hmm). Third, the economy was going into recession as Bush took office (like it was recovering when both Clinton and Obama took office).

"I don't understand why Conservatives claim Bush's cuts did anything other than cost a bunch of money, increase the tax burden of the wealthy and increase corporate profits considerable."

That is apparent. Two hints: tax reductions don't "cost" money, and tax rates do affect economic activity. It's hard to prove one way or another that rate reductions as small as Bush's have significant impact, but we do know that the recession ended and growth resumed.

"I also don't understand why Democrats have completely failed to make anyone aware of these facts."

You didn't notice that Dems have incessantly shouted your beliefs from the rooftops? And they are your beliefs, not facts.

"Government spending has grown massively since then, too. To credit GDP growth to government spending would be just as overly simplistic as your argument."

The original claim was that job growth has not accompanied tax reductions. You can debate more complex issues of cause and effect (or just throw up your hands in despair), but the fact is that there has been massive job growth after taxes were cut, hence the original claim is falsified.

"I never said it would but it will increase revenue which should be used to address the deficit which I thought was a something fiscal conservatives were concerned about."

You certainly seemed to imply it; else why make the statement? The deficit should be cut by cutting spending and adopting polcies more friendly to renewed rapid growth. That's fiscal conservatism as far as I am concerned. I want no part of going back to tax collector for the welfare state.

(cont'd)

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure how to interpret that response other than as giving credit to tax cuts for the job growth of the last 30 years. If that wasn't your point, what was it? "

Do you see a difference between noting that massive job and economic growth over 30 years since tax rates were substantially cut, and your questioning why conservatives aren't calling for further cuts now, ending with your question: "If Conservatives truly believe that job growth is due to tax cuts then why are they not advocating for tax cuts?"?

I happen to think taxes should indeed be cut more, along with spending (which never happens). But it's an absurdly reductionist caricature to suggest that anyone believes simply that "job growth is due to tax cuts," or that taxes should always be cut.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Let's go with the more accurate Bush recession. He started his term in office with one, and ended his term in office with one. Quite a record."

Let's go with you are an idiot and leave it at that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

It is impossible to have a rational debate with QB. He either leaves the blog or starts with the name-calling whenever his back is against a wall. He thinks he is never, ever, EVER wrong. He thinks that he is, in fact, infallible and practically omnipotent. But I guess that is the kind of personality it takes to be totally and completely subservient to the corporate GOP.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 30, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I guess Ethan is again feeling hurt for being unable to defend his most recent argument posed to me.

Want another chance to explain the "arrogance" of "bring it on"?

Btw, I do always love Ethan's cries of name calling. It brings back so many memories of his own name calling, particularly his calling me a Nazi and then later calling for banning of anyone who called someone a Nazi.

You're a stitch, Ethan. I await having you put my back to the wall. Bring it on. Any time.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"First, that's debatable."

Fine, show me something that indicates it's a debate. I posted a link from Fox News you've posted the above sentence.

"You didn't notice that Dems have incessantly shouted your beliefs from the rooftops? And they are your beliefs, not facts."

See above, I'm open to any links you can provide showing that job growth was anything other than low, (whatever the reason you want to provide) that corporate profits didn't increase significantly (you've agreed to that by pointing out an increase in GDP), that wages weren't stagnant, or that the cuts didn't increase the tax burden of the wealth.

"You certainly seemed to imply it; else why make the statement?"

At first I thought this was ridiculous, but I understand that in the broader sense we are talking about letting the Bush tax expires which is a tax hike. I don't see how you then get to me claiming that would increase jobs, but at least I see where you are getting the tax increase point.

You seem to be saying "I'm not saying growth is due to tax cuts, I'm just saying jobs increased after tax cuts." If that's your point, congratulations that's some pretty heavy intellectual lifting there. Heck I'll even agree that the number of jobs has increased since Reagan cut taxes nearly 30 years ago!

I think any tax increase (heck not change or a tax cut too) needs to be accompanied by real and clearly identified spending cuts otherwise there should be no tax increase.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, Ethan, do you claim that GWB caused this recession?

http://www.nber.org/cycles/november2001/

Did he cause the tech bubble to burst or the stagnation of production and job growth in 2000?

Did he cause 911 and its deepening impact on the recession?

Or do you agree that to suggest he did and that this was "Bush recession" is idiotic?

I can't wait for you to put my back against the wall by showing how the Bush tax cuts caused all that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"Fine, show me something that indicates it's a debate. I posted a link from Fox News you've posted the above sentence."

The link you posted serves the purpose just fine. It shows that there were several million net new jobs created before whatever its date was in 2007, despite the fact that the economy was going into recession when Bush took office, and the strong negative impact of 911. It's almost miraculous that there was any job growth given 911 alone.

"See above, I'm open to any links you can provide showing . . .."

What you asked for was something more limited. As for corporate profits, however, I don't know the trend of data over the decade but can't see why you would have any objection to profits increasing. I certainly don't. Profits lead to spending, investment, jobs, and, your presumed favorite, more tax revenues. Profits are good, not bad.

Wages stagnant? We've debated that lots of times here. I think the stagnation claims are exaggerated, particularly in real terms. That's easier to see as well over long periods. To people who claim, for example, that working and middle class people have made no gains since the 1970s, for example, I have nothing to say, really, except, that's lunacy. You can wrap it in all the statistics you want, but if you were alive in the 1970s or earlier, you know it is bunk.

Higher tax burden on the wealthy? I presume by this you mean that the "wealthy" now pay higher percentages of all the taxes paid? That appears to be true, and yet I don't see how it is an objection. You feel tax cuts on the wealthy are unfair to them? Interesting if unorthodox.

"At first I thought this was ridiculous, but I understand that in the broader sense we are talking about letting the Bush tax expires which is a tax hike. I don't see how you then get to me claiming that would increase jobs, but at least I see where you are getting the tax increase point."

You originally said, in the context of a discussion of whether taxes should be raised (or cuts expired, potato/potato), that it should be taken into account that businesses/the wealthy have cash on hand. I simply couldn't see what the point was.

"You seem to be saying "I'm not saying growth is due to tax cuts, I'm just saying jobs increased after tax cuts.""

Sort of, only because I was only trying to rebut a simple claim that, despite tax cuts, we haven't had job growth. I think that is empirically and undeniably not true.

Cause and effect are another question.
What I think on that is that tax rates influence the economy, and I think they should be low and flat for multiple reasons.

Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"It shows that there were several million net new jobs created before whatever its date was in 2007"

Which, is rather anemic when compared to historical figures. You're clearly incapable of admitting this. That's fine but it doesn't change the facts.

"As for corporate profits, however, I don't know the trend of data over the decade but can't see why you would have any objection to profits increasing. I certainly don't. Profits lead to spending, investment, jobs, and, your presumed favorite, more tax revenues. Profits are good, not bad."

I was just trying to be fair by pointing out profits went up rather than ignoring something that points to the tax cuts helping the economy. I could have been the typical blogger and ignored all evidence that runs against my beliefs. Rather than appreciate this you make snide comments.

"I presume by this you mean that the "wealthy" now pay higher percentages of all the taxes paid? That appears to be true, and yet I don't see how it is an objection."

Yes, that is what I meant and despite this people point to this burden as a reason to cut their taxes further. The burden has increased over the last 30 years despite tax cuts. My point is that wanting the rich to pay less % of the taxes is a terrible argument for tax cuts (not that you have made that argument).

"You originally said, in the context of a discussion of whether taxes should be raised (or cuts expired, potato/potato), that it should be taken into account that businesses/the wealthy have cash on hand. I simply couldn't see what the point was."

My point was more wondering if that was the case when other tax cuts were made. That and I'm not sure a tax cut is what will change the mind of those who are currently holding onto their cash.

"Sort of, only because I was only trying to rebut a simple claim that, despite tax cuts, we haven't had job growth. I think that is empirically and undeniably not true."

I think when peopel say that they don't mean literally zero jobs were created. In historical perspective 3 million jobs in 6 years is not much job growth particularly when GDP was increasing as much as it did.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 30, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Obama is believed to favor a two- or three-year extension of all the tax cuts, accompanied by an extension of unemployment benefits."

------------------

And then the Republican president who will be elected in 2012 will make all the tax cuts permanent. That's what Obama is going to get for his increasingly foolish attempts to compromise with Republicans who have no other purpose than to destroy his presidency in order to make way for permanent one-party GOP rule, just like Karl Rove and Tom Delay always dreamed..

Posted by: Spacer | November 30, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"Which, is rather anemic when compared to historical figures. You're clearly incapable of admitting this. That's fine but it doesn't change the facts.

Sorry, but "anemic when compared to historical figures" isn't a fact. Cite some other historical periods that are otherwise similar to 2000-2007 and make your argument if you'd like. For example, Clinton inherited a growing economy, the end of the Cold War, the tech boom, and the rise of Baby Boomers to middle age and Gen Xers to teen age. Not quite the same as Bush II, who inherited the tech bust, a recession, and 911.

So, to say it is a "fact" that job growth under Bush was "anemic" not only isn't a "fact" but is a highly debatable opinion -- debatable on specifics. If you just want to assert that "period X fell below historical levels," without reference to historical circumstances, you are making a statement without any real meaning to this debate.

"I was just trying to be fair by pointing out profits went up rather than ignoring something that points to the tax cuts helping the economy. I could have been the typical blogger and ignored all evidence that runs against my beliefs. Rather than appreciate this you make snide comments."

You have an odd understanding of snide comments.

You said above that tax cuts didn't result in "anything but" a short litany of things including rising corporate profits. I don't think anyone reading that would interpret your comment as acknowledging a positive.


Posted by: quarterback1 | November 30, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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