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Posted at 8:37 AM ET, 12/ 1/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Showdown over Bush tax cuts set for this morning: It looks like we're about to find out whether plans for a bipartisan working group on the Bush tax cuts have any chance of bearing real fruit or will devolve into a typical Beltway exercise in demonstrating bipartisan intent.

A White House official emails that Tim Geithner, Obama's pick to oversee the negotiations, will sit down this morning with GOPers Jon Kyl and Rep. Dave Camp, and Dems Max Baucus and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, for the first stab at reaching some kind of tax cut compromise.

* Let's make a deal? Beware all the chatter you'll be hearing about prospective "deals" in the making. Yesterday word had it that GOPers might support New START in exchange for a temporary extension of all the tax cuts, and today's version holds that Republicans might get a temporary extension of the cuts in exchange for removing their blockade on extending unemployment insurance.

* Nobody is buying Chuck Schumer's million-dollar compromise? It appears Senator Schumer's plan to raise the threshold on the Bush middle-class tax cuts isn't really gaining much traction among Dems, because there's reluctance to redefine the middle class as those making up to $1 million.

* Dems need to pick their poison on the tax cuts: As David Leonhart explains, by punting on a vote on extending just the middle class cuts before the election, Dems have left themselves in a weaker position and will now have to choose "among various versions of retreat."

Also in that link, Leonhart makes an interesting case for Shumer's million-dollar compromise.

* Senate GOP leadership demands Republicans obstruct everything: A rather cryptic Associated Press story claims that the Senate GOP leadership is circulating a letter and asking all GOPers to basically sign a blood oath vowing to vote No on virtually everything Dems try to do in the lame duck session. And this is news?

* But don't say Mitch McConnell isn't open to compromise: He tells ABC News that he's perfectly wiling to discuss the GOP getting its way on the Bush tax cuts in the short term, even without an iron-clad guarantee that the GOP will get its way forever.

* And Obama may agree: Robert Gibbs sure sounds like he's signaling that the way forward will be a temporary extension of all the cuts.

* Some rich folks support letting their tax cuts expire: A group of wealthy individuals is practically begging Big Government to take their money "for the good of the country."

* House GOPers jockey for position: Paul Kane has a useful overview of all the House GOP maneuvering to head various committees.

Interesting nugget: GOP leaders are not looking too kindly on Joe "I'm sorry, BP" Barton's bid to head the Energy and Commerce Committee, because of his "communications style."

* Head-spinner of the day: House GOP climate skeptics duke it out to chair the House Science Committee.

Fun factoid: One of the candiates once blamed global warming on "dionsaur flatulence." Sounds like a good topic for future hearings...

* A simple argument for repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell: Now that the Pentagon report has found that servicemembers have no problem with repeal, maybe Republican Senators should prioritize their views over those of John McCain, Mitch McConnell and the hard-core right-wing minority.

* Good: The White House for keeps up the pressure on the Dem Senate leadership to carve out the time to repeal DADT before the end of the year.

Sayeth David Axelrod: "We need Congress to act to repeal what they've done."

* Why are moderate Republicans still holding out against DADT repeal? Let's hope it isn't just because they fear primary challenges.

* Still more momentum against ethanol subsidies: The Tea Party group FreedomWorks unites with MoveOn to call on Congress to let them expire. What to watch for: If this becomes a litmus issue for the Tea Party, it could make some Republicans very uncomfortable.

* Chris Dodd's farewell: He has been an admirable Senator, but it's hard to understand why he wants part of his legacy to consist of wholesale opposition to filibuster reform.

* The Tea Party rubes are in for a rude shock, ctd.: A Federal judge in Virginia rules that Obamacare is constitutional.

* And we've got a new companion blog: Jennifer Rubin's new blog, which is intended partly as a companion to this one, is now live, and her first post is about the presidential ambitions of some guy named John Bolton.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 1, 2010; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  Health reform, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: Despite McConnell's bluff, Senator Collins could still vote for DADT repeal, spox says

Comments

The Liberal Agenda

It is extremely telling that the democrats are rushing around - trying to press through items which Obama has ignored for two years.

However, NOT ONE AGENDA ITEM is aimed at improving the ECONOMY.


The democrats are completely tone-deaf on the economy - offering virtually no effective solutions and in fact acting as if the Economic Crisis did not exist.


The liberals have made clear that they care about their social agenda and little else.

Obama even went up in front of Congress and arrogantly told the nation that he "did not come to Washington" simply to work on the Economic Crisis.

Ouch.

Ultimately, words are worthless. It is actions that matter.

On this standards, the liberals have failed miserably.

Obama and the liberals have failed the nation. With stunning arrogance, they have REFUSED to deal with the pressing issues of running the nation properly, instead opting to quibble about social issues which do not have the support of the country.


It has amounted to nothing less than two years of shameful conduct.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

What else is happening?

Obama is brushing up on history reading some of LBJ's speeches. This one he should linger over:

"I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President."

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

What else?

Nothing urgent:

"Cancun climate change summit: small island states in danger of 'extinction'"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/8170075/Cancun-climate-change-summit-small-island-states-in-danger-of-extinction.html

Meanwhile, President Alan Colmes apparently has other priorities:

"Is Obama Worse Than Bush on International Climate?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/erich-pica/is-obama-worse-than-bush_b_789915.html

No doubt Pres Colmes will determine that federal workers and Liberals are at fault.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

JOBS JOBS JOBS:

@Reuters

ADP report: Highest job growth in November for 3 years, and last month's total revised up by abt 40,000.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

JOBS JOBS JOBS:

@Reuters

ADP report: Highest job growth in November for 3 years, and last month's total revised up by abt 40,000.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said its purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 55.2 in November, up from 54.7 in October and 53.8 in September.

Monthly PMI readings in China have stayed above 50 - which indicates expansion - for 21 straight months. The latest data showed that China's economy grew at an annual pace of 9.6% in the three months to the end of September from 11.9% in the first quarter of this year."

So, are they going to let us keep on borrowing the value of the dollar from them so we can still afford to "buy" all the stuff they are making? Funny to think we are actually borrowing part of the value of the stuff they are making. Hope no one takes away our credit card.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Senate GOP leadership is circulating a letter and asking all GOPers to basically sign a blood oath vowing to vote No on virtually everything Dems try to do in the lame duck session. And this is news?"

@Greg

Considering the DC press corp continues to treat the GOP as a legitmate party attempting to govern, instead of the craven politicial hacks that have no desire to make this country better they are...then yes, it'd be nice if this was news of some sort.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 1, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

The Truth

The truth is that every survey has proven that the Tea Party is more educated than liberals - and the people in the Tea Party hold far more graduate degrees than the liberals.


So, the truth.


The truth is the liberals are the rubes. The liberal rubes continue to ignore the Economic Crisis. The liberal rubes have not told Obama that he is off-the-reservation on what required to run the nation properly.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

-- * Dems need to pick their poison on the tax cuts: As David Leonhart explains... --

From the linked story:

"If they cannot come up with a plan that can win 60 votes in the Senate, which means at least two Republican votes, Republicans can filibuster any bill. All of the tax cuts would then expire on Dec. 31. When the new Republican House majority arrives in January, it will be able to make its first order of business a retroactive tax cut — forcing President Obama and Senate Democrats to choose between a purely Republican plan and an across-the-board tax increase."

I actually laughed out loud when I read this paragraph. As if allowing all the tax cuts to expire was actually EVER on the table.

But imagine if the Democrats did just let them expire; then they could come out swinging, explaining how it was Bush that set up the cuts to expire after ten years in a display of financial gimmickry and by letting them expire we can eliminate a huge portion of future deficits in one fell swoop, thus negating the need to cut Social Security and other popular programs. Obama could use the same arguments when vetoing the hypothetical Republican retroactive tax cuts that exist only in Leonhart's fevered imagination.

And most Americans, except the rich of course, wouldn't even notice the few extra bucks being withheld each pay period.

But of course this won't happen.

The plan was always to extend the cuts and make up the difference from middle class entitlements.

It's the way Washington rolls now.

Of the millionaires, by the lobbyists, for the billionaires...

Posted by: unymark | December 1, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"Why are moderate Republicans still holding out against DADT repeal?"

@Greg

Here's a random thought...ASK THEM!

Do you expect moderate GOP members to read your blog, then take the initiative to email you an answer to your question? Because I don't see that happening. We need you to be more of a pit bull to get these people on the record.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 1, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

So how is the American worker doing?

"The 0.1 percent drop in unit labor costs in the July-September quarter marked the second quarterly decline in the past three. For all of 2009, labor costs fell 1.6 percent. That was the largest annual decrease on records that go back to 1948 and underscored the downward pressure that a severe recession was exerting on wages." AP

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

-- What else is happening?

Obama is brushing up on history reading some of LBJ's speeches. This one he should linger over:

"I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President." --

Thanks for that; it was a good chuckle.

But don't count on it. Obama is intent on destroying what is left of a once great party and he won't quit until that particular job is finished.

He will run. He will lose, but he certainly won't just quit and let a real Democrat run...

Posted by: unymark | December 1, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to relate a telling anecdote. I was a huge Obama booster, donating money, making T-shirts, the whole nine yards. I even participated in Obama's ask-the-people-to-identify-the-issues program after the election. If you don't recall, Obama encouraged people to weigh in on what issues should be addressed right away. Over and over legalizing marijuana won. Now you can quarrel with the importance of the issue or call it low-hanging fruit or whatever but the fact is that Obama asked people to participate and people did and marijuana legalization won. But Obama repeatedly ignored the polls -- his OWN polls -- of his OWN voters. As I am inclined to do, I complained. One anonymous comment in response stuck in my mind: There is no way in the world, said the commenter, that the first black president is going to legalize marijuana. Of course, I have no idea who wrote that anonymous comment but, soon after, I withdrew my name from Obama's mailing list and stopped participating in his polls. It seemed a relatively small thing at the same but not so small that it didn't stick in my mind. Looking back, that was the first inkling of the tumor that would quickly destroy the Obama Presidency. As John Dean once said: there is a cancer on the presidency. And just as with Nixon, the president himself is the source of the cancer.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

P.S.,

Willie Nelson just got arrested for marijuana possession.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/68404/238588

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

O&O. Keep the faith.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

This is a tragedy...

"Companies cut 8.4 million jobs from December 2007 to December 2009 and produced more with their leaner staffs, so productivity surged."

...even as wages and benefits dropped.

Now that "american" companies are more profitable than ever, thats right, ever, and are sitting on all time record quantities of cash, do you think they are going to start hiring? Sure, just not in this country. Why should they?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Lastly...@Greg

While I understand the idea that you are entitled to promote anything you'd like on this blog, as well as under a certain obligation to help promote other WaPo entities, but it's really dissapointing to see you promoting political hacks like Jennifer Rubin.

Seriously - in her FIRST POST on her new blog, she writes how she was:

"...front and center, sometimes ahead of the pack, on a number of stories, including the New Black Panther scandal..."

You know that story was bullsh*t. You said so in this blog. She's promoting her part in hyping a racially charged, fabricated right-wing freakout. In fact, her FIRST LINE in her line about the Black Panther "scandal" entitled - I kid you not - "Truth, Justice, or the Obama Way":

"It is about to get harder for both the Obama administration and the mainstream media to downplay the New Black Panther party scandal."

Seriously? That's the kind of mindless, FOX propoganda drivel you want to promote on this blog? From someone who constantly shows frustration about how poorly the media conducts itself, you really shouldn't be helping partisan hacks like Rubin get page views. If anything, you should be constantly using her ilk as examples of how the media fails.

The idea that her blog is a "companion" to The Plum Line is a pretty big insult to this blog, and to you.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 1, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@unymark: "He will run. He will lose, but he certainly won't just quit and let a real Democrat run..."

A real Democrat like who? Was Bill Clinton a real Democrat?

Also, it's not a foregone conclusion that Obama would lose. Historically, the incumbent almost always wins, unless he faces a 3rd party or primary challenger (as Carter and H.W. Bush did--indeed, there were both in 1980 election!), fails to secure the nomination of his party (something that won't happen in the modern primary process) or declines to run.

I will grant that Obama may be "polarizing" in the sense that he both unites his opposition and disappoints his base to the degree that he could lose an outright contest. But I still wouldn't be so sure.

Also, as a matter of statistics, Obama bowing out and letting a "real" Democrat run would, most of the time, end with that "real" Democrat, as a representative of the hobbled incumbent party, losing the race. But it would leave them with a better chance than simply engaging Obama in a pointless primary battle.

"explaining how it was Bush that set up the cuts to expire after ten years in a display of financial gimmickry"

This is a very poor argument. It's not a credible argument, given that it's a matter of historical record that Bush and the Republicans wanted to make the tax cuts permanent, but could not get them past opposition in the senate, thus went the reconciliation route. It was Democratic opposition that obligated them to go a route that ended with the tax cuts expiring, not Republican chicanery, and making that argument seems, at best, disingenuous.

And it emphasizes the wrong thing. Are you (royal you, not anybody personally) saying the tax cuts should have been made permanent in the first place, and the only problem with the Bush tax cuts were that they weren't permanent in the first place? Thus we should rush to make them all permanent now? If not, then why are we (royal) complaining about them expiring?

The expiration of the tax cuts is very easy for Republicans to explain and defend, (and end up blaming on Democrats) so it makes a very poor angle for attack. Deficits and the rich getting richer (yet not paying "their fair share") seems to be a much wiser approach, to me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

Thanks for the link to Rubin. Interesting.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@TheBBQChickenMadness:

"The idea that her blog is a "companion" to The Plum Line is a pretty big insult to this blog, and to you."

Apparently, all of Greg's blogging about false equivalencies between the left and right fell on deaf ears in the WaPo front office.

Posted by: associate20 | December 1, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

"This is a tragedy..."

Indeed. How horrible that American businesses have become more efficient and productive. Innefficienty, bloat, and paying 10 workers to do the work of 6 is so much better for our economic prospects and global competitiveness.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

What do you mean by "our"? You and I? The greater good of rich people? It is true I am doing pretty well and am invested, though not too heavily, in large caps, value stocks, foreign index funds and the like. This is all good for me. Somehow, I made the cut. Just lucky I guess. So long suckers! People like C3 and me know which side of our bread has the butter on it and where the juice is too.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

BBQ:

"The idea that her blog is a "companion" to The Plum Line is a pretty big insult to this blog, and to you."

Why?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne: "Willie Nelson just got arrested for marijuana possession."

Oh, no! Willie, I had no idea.

"but the fact is that Obama asked people to participate and people did and marijuana legalization won."

Wasn't that an online poll that Obama's people claimed had been astroturfed? So, they didn't have to pay any attention to it?

That being said, I agree. Marijuana legalization is one of those common sense issues that I would expect liberals, and liberal Democrats, to be on the right side of. Even if they don't stake their reputations on it, they'd at least go on record as supporting it, and try to do something on it--and, if it didn't pass, they did their part, time to move on. But they don't. The DEA under Clinton was as agressive as it had ever been, re: prosecuting purveyors, growers, and even users of marijuana.

Of course, conservatives (those opposed to legalization of marijuana) should show a little more respect for adults abilities to make their own decisions about what they do with their lives, a doctors ability to prescribe treatments for their patients, and of entrepreneurs and farmers looking to feed their families and make a little scratch. So, in my opinion, both sides take a position re: marijuana legalization that is inconsistent with their overall espoused philosophies because it's seen as a 3rd rail issue, and not worth the expenditure, or complete loss of, political capital to pursue it.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"This is a very poor argument. It's not a credible argument, given that it's a matter of historical record that Bush and the Republicans wanted to make the tax cuts permanent, but could not get them past opposition in the senate, thus went the reconciliation route. It was Democratic opposition that obligated them to go a route that ended with the tax cuts expiring, not Republican chicanery, and making that argument seems, at best, disingenuous."

I agree it's a poor argument...but it's certainly a credible one. Just because "it couldn't make it through the Senate" doesn't automatically mean that it's not a valid argument.

The reason permanent cuts couldn't make it through the Senate was because the cost of making the cuts permanent was/is huge. Republicans simply couldn't garner enough support to explode the debt/deficit as much as permanent cuts would have entailed. So, they made them temporary for 2 reasons:

1) It hid the cost of the tax cuts by limiting it's timeframe.

2) Pushed them far enough out as to have the public forget about the whole thing when the extentions came up - so they could frame letting them expire as a "tax hike".

The reason it's a poor argument is that it takes a certain amount of historical and congressional knowledge to understand what happened and how it pertains to todays debate. Most people don't have the time or inclination to get that deep into the weeds.

But most people don't need to, either. In poll after poll after poll, a majority want the tax cuts for the rich to expire. Middle-class permanent, Rich expire...that is consistantly the most popular option.

Unfortunately, the GOP is dead set on doing anything and everything to weaken Dems/Obama, the swing Dems are too corporately owned to care, and populist members are dismissed by pol and media alike.

It's a room full of rich people, who's friends are rich people, and who have worked soley with rich people for years...so it's going to be tough to get them to vote to raise taxes on the rich, even if a majority of people think it's the right thing to do.

I thought it was conservatives who argued for "the will of the people" and against "government knows best". But here we are, a majority of the country wanting the cuts for the rich to expire...but the GOP and some corporate owned Dems holding the line against the public to protect their country-club buddies.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 1, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "Why?"

Because it's filled with Faux Noise lies and propaganda! Or, what is sometimes known as "alternative points of view".

Quoth the Buckley: "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views."

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@ Kevin_Willis -

Bill Clinton a real Democrat? Bill Clinton who adopted the right wing framing of "welfare queens" and used it to end FDR's AFDC. Bill Clinton, the DLC puke who signed the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 which allowed wholesale thievery by Enron and others and set the stage for the financial meltdown we are now "recovering" from?

No, Bill Clinton wasn't a real Democrat. A real Democrat has as their first priority not the well being of the richest 0.1% of Americans, but the other 99.9%

FDR was a real Democrat. Even LBJ with his own war pig tendencies at least tried to make life better for the non filthy rich.

FDR took on the powers that be; Clinton and Obama first and foremost accommodate them.

Want to see a real Democrat speak? See below...

Posted by: unymark | December 1, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

"What do you mean by "our"?"

I mean Americans'.

"People like C3 and me know which side of our bread has the butter on it and where the juice is too."

If you think inefficiency and lower productivity is a bad thing only for a select few, you really don't have the slightest idea which side of our bread has the butter on it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Franklin D. Roosevelt
Acceptance Speech for the Renomination for the Presidency, Philadelphia, Pa.
June 27th, 1936

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small business men and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over Government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor—these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small business man, the investments set aside for old age—other people's money—these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.

Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.

Throughout the Nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.

An old English judge once said: "Necessitous men are not free men." Liberty requires opportunity to make a living—a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.

For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor—other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.

Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of Government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people's mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended. --

Posted by: unymark | December 1, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

what else- oh nothing oops Harry, I guess you forgot that according to the US constitution "all tax revenue producing bills must originate in the house of representatives" looks like this one will be blue slipped too, looks like your entire "feel good" bill is null and void now bud, tough luck, considering Americans don't want the government controlling our farms- and we all know that is what this is-you'll just have to quickly write a new one in the house,get it through committee,get it voted on by the house,sent to the senate,voted on there by unanimous consent(zero chance of that) and reconciled for that last vote- all BEFORE the lame duck ends-ha! File that on the 11th of never- take a CIVICS course you idiots
12/1/2010 7:53:33 AM

Posted by: sayoung809132001 | December 1, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor—other people's lives."

So what? As long as the workers were productive, nothing else matters.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"The Truth

The truth is that every survey has proven that the Tea Party is more educated than liberals - and the people in the Tea Party hold far more graduate degrees than the liberals."

The Truth: Sarah Palin has a college degree. Most Tea Partiers hold similarly worthless college degrees from fourth-rate schools. Tea Partiers idolize the "educated" Sarah Palin. Their "education" has been proven to be worthless.

BTW numbnutz, Tea Partiers are also far older than average. So you'll be dying sooner, especially with your unhealthy diets and lack of exercise.

So, in conclusion: You're old. You're fat. You hold worthless degrees from lousy schools. And you're bragging? LOL

Posted by: Observer691 | December 1, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@BBQChicken: "The reason permanent cuts couldn't make it through the Senate was because the cost of making the cuts permanent was/is huge. Republicans simply couldn't garner enough support to explode the debt/deficit as much as permanent cuts would have entailed."

That is, to over ride a Democratic filibuster (re: those obstructionist Democrats).

"So, they made them temporary for 2 reasons:"

1. Because the alternative was no tax cuts at all.
2. Because the Democrats obligated them to, via their obstruction.

:)

"1) It hid the cost of the tax cuts by limiting it's timeframe."

Well, first, that was the option they had. If they Democrats hadn't threatened filibuster, they wouldn't have used reconciliation. But also, how does having the tax cuts expire "hide" the cost? The CBO projected the costs of the tax cuts over 10 years, after which they were projected to expire. After which, there would no longer be any "cost" associated with the tax cuts. How can you "hide" costs that aren't going to exist because the tax cuts are going to expire?

There was no "hiding" of costs. Again, this is, in my opinion, the worst possible way to go with this argument.

"2) Pushed them far enough out as to have the public forget about the whole thing when the extentions came up - so they could frame letting them expire as a 'tax hike'."

This may be an accurate representation of what happened in a practical sense, but the Democrats engineered that via their obstruction, not the Republicans. If the Bush tax cuts could have been made permanent, the Republicans would have made them permanent. If the Democrats had signed on for a 20 year time frame before expiration, the Republicans probably would have supported that.

Let's say I go to McDonalds and order a hamburger. Then they give me a 4 count chicken nuggets. Then I complain: hey, I wanted a hamburger. And then they tell me, "Hey, it's your fault, you ordered the chicken McNuggets." Well, while that's a defense, it's a poor one, because I clearly ordered the hamburger and everybody saw me order the hamburger, so just because they actually gave me chicken McNuggets doesn't automagically make that the thing I ordered. Even though they're trying to say that that's what happened.

Also, 10 years after 2001 could have seen a president McCain with double-digit majorities for Republicans in both houses. There would be no way to know, ahead of time, that the expiration of the tax cuts could be used for political value. And, as polls indicate, the Republicans obsession with insuring the extensions of the tax cuts for the very rich isn't actually doing them any favors, politically. So, the idea that it was a dastardly plan from the beginning really doesn't hold water.

Cue Comic Book Guy: "Worst. Argument. Ever."

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3-

"'The idea that her blog is a "companion" to The Plum Line is a pretty big insult to this blog, and to you.'

Why?"

Because Greg doesn't promote comspiracy theories, for one.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"Wasn't that an online poll that Obama's people claimed had been astroturfed? So, they didn't have to pay any attention to it?"

"Astroturfed"? By his own supporters? Repeatedly? You make my point better than I.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Quoth the Buckley: "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." "

I have to remember that one. Not sure I have heard that particular buckleyism before.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I am here today to tell you I have never, never in my life ordered a McDonalds hamburger, nor even chicken McNuggets. On the recommendation of a friend however, I have ordered and also eaten the McRib sandwich, just recently in fact (you can imagine the infantile lamentation, the elaborately intellectualized protestation, etc., as I was goaded up to the teenager at the "order here" counter). It was pretty good.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

58% of Marines OPPOSE serving with gays in combat situations.


We don't hear that from the liberals - what we hear from the liberals is a cherry-picking of poll numbers.


The liberals are being deceptive about Don't Ask - and they are being deceptive about this report.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Chuck:

"Because Greg doesn't promote comspiracy theories, for one."

Bernie does. Does that make Bernie's comments an insult to this blog and to Greg?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Well, I'll be damned. Seems like a good investment: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/29/AR2010112905453.html

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

What does Bernie have to do with it?

Jeebus. Is it *his* blog? Eh, uh. No.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

shrink:

"It was pretty good."

I myself have never had the McRib, but was advised a couple of weeks ago that it is fantastic. Is it really that good?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@shrink2: I've long enjoyed McRib sandwiches, since I was a kid. It debuted in 1981. Alas, I'm not supposed to eat them any more. I still had one. I survived it, without a gout attack. It was good.

I have had both the chicken McNuggets (very good, when fresh--which is a crapshoot--and with the hot mustard sauce) and the burgers (think of your average school cafeteria burger, and that's pretty much a McDonald's burger). The best burger from McDonald's was actually the McLean (and the McDLT being a close second). But, both of those burgers were discontinued. Apparently, too much flavor. I've always liked the Filet O' Fish, but it is, when it comes down to it, just a bland, giant-fish-stick sandwich on the whitest bread known to man.

The new McDonald's wraps and hamburgers (the angus burgers) are pretty good, if you like burgers. Can't beat 'em, for the price. But . . . not dietary.

I still prefer Steak N' Shake for burgers, Backyard Burger, or Wendys. And I've gotten to where I don't like many fast food establishments french fries at all. Steak fries at a steak house--those are usually pretty good.

However, I always get a baked potato (fair-to-middling) and the apple walnut salad (excellent!) at Wendy's now. Rarely to I go to McDonalds.

You know what cheeses me? No fast food place offers a decent grilled cheese sandwich. Sonic has one, but it's not grilled, and the bread is too thick . . . it just ain't right. Of course, I remember attending the 1984 (I think) Fantasy Con (where I met Joe Stanton (E-Man, Green Lantern), the guy who was drawing the X-Men at the time (forget his name) and several other icons of the comics world) in downtown Memphis and going across the street to the Grid Iron to get a grilled cheese for lunch and dinner two days in a row. So . . . no grilled cheese will ever be able to compare.

Could I possibly have gotten more off topic? I don't think so.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Chuck:

"What does Bernie have to do with it?"

What do conspiracy theories have to do with it?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Is it really that good?"

I hate to admit it, I enjoyed it very much. It had flavor and it is hard for me even to type those letters referencing McDonalds "food". It had flavor, to be sure.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Wondering if the right has a coherent response to this notion that has been advanced by many but very succintly by Yglesias:

the whole notion that you drive the economy forward by directing more money into the hands of “job creators” (i.e., rich people) makes basically no sense. A job creator is basically a businessman with an idea. If it’s a good idea, a business based around his idea will attract customers. And if it attracts customers, he’ll hire employees to serve those customers’ needs. This is where growth comes from.

But a businessman with a good idea who needs capital doesn’t need a tax cut to get that capital, he needs a loan or an equity investment. This is what we have a financial system for. Sergey Brin doesn’t need to first get rich, then finance Google out of his own pocket. He just needs to start Google and that’s how he gets rich.

The thing of it is, though, that your idea really only works if you have some customers. If everyone in Yuma, Arizona is unemployed then even a very competent proprietor of a dry cleaning establishment is going to have a hard time expanding his business. He won’t take out a loan to expand, he won’t get an equity investment to expand, and he won’t invest his own money in an expansion. You can give the guy all the money you want, and he won’t invest in expanding his business. That’s because unemployed people don’t need much dry cleaning and also don’t have much money to spend on dry cleaning. A guy with $0 and a good idea and a lot of potential customers will find a way to start his business. A guy with $1 billion and a good idea and no potential customers is just a guy sitting on a huge stockpile of cash. Things like the availability of credit matter, but credit is currently available. What’s not available is customers with money and an inclination to spend it.

http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/12/job-creators-dont-need-money-to-create-jobs-they-need-customers/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 1, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Scott-

I guess you and Jennifer are still flying that NBP flad, eh?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

that would be "NBP flag".

apolgies.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne


The Obama campaign organizations and party groups astroturf this blog - and the other blogs.


And they have been extremely offensive to other people exercising their Freedom of Speech.


It has been extremely disrepectful.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 1, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Someone lied: " Now that the Pentagon report has found that servicemembers have no problem with repeal,"
-----------------------------------------
When the FACTS are: The Joint Chiefs AND the FRONT LINE Combat troops: "The chiefs of the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Army disagree with the report's conclusion that the impact on combat readiness would be "low.

Nearly 60 percent of Army and Marine Corps warriors said open homosexuals in the ranks would damage war-fighting capabilities, the study found.

For this reason, the uniformed service chiefs are less sanguine than the working group about the level of risk of repeal with regard to combat readiness," said Mr. Gates"

So, the majority of desk jockeys in the forces say one thing while the guys actually doing the fighting and dying say the opposite... ComPost writers try REALLY hard to lie about facts.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 1, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Kevin I am so sorry to hear you have gout, a nasty affliction. There are worse, but that sucks. Your idea in re the grilled cheese sandwich is a good one.

Nowadays variations on a single item are all the rage in niche restaurants. One of my favorites in Seattle is a place that only makes turkey sandwiches, with the turkeys being roasted right there behind the counter, sliced to order etc. Someone could make a lot of money with a perfect grilled cheese sandwich restaurant franchise.

"A job creator is basically a businessman with an idea. If it’s a good idea, a business based around his idea will attract customers."

There is tremendous pent up demand for a great grilled cheese sandwich.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

All, Susan Collins says McConnell's threat doesn't apply to her:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/despite_mcconnells_bluff_senat.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 1, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should get the polling results from say, 1939 regarding the military readiness of having African-Americans in the ranks, eh?

Or, of allowing A.A.s to be police officers in say, 1961?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"Someone could make a lot of money with a perfect grilled cheese sandwich restaurant franchise. ... There is tremendous pent up demand for a great grilled cheese sandwich."

Too late, Shrink:

http://www.cheeseboy.com/

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "I myself have never had the McRib, but was advised a couple of weeks ago that it is fantastic. Is it really that good?"

It's good. Fantastic? I dunno. I tend to think of fondue at the Melting Pot or brazed venison with mint-and-lemongrass as "fantastic". As fast food goes, it's very good. It's a combination of the bread (different from any other McDonald's sandwich), pork patty, sauce, and onions (I take the pickles off).

That being said, McDonald's has some tasty food. They changed the oil they fry the french fries in years ago (I'm not sure if some franchises have dispensation to use different oil), and they don't taste nearly as good as they did in the seventies, early 80s. Although I got fries at the McDonald's near the Disneyland entrance in Anaheim and it was like going back in time. They were amazing. So, if you're at that McDonald's, try the fries (this was in 2001, but well after most McDonald's seemed to have very mediocre fries).

As far as what's good, I'd sample one of the Angus burgers or the Big Mac Wrap. And by good, I mean flavor wise, not "good for you", obviously. The McRib is tasty, but unless you've got some evidence that the fries are good, I'd skip the fries. Fresh McNuggets with hot mustard sauce are tasty, but being sure they are fresh is the trick.

Anyhow, I've had my McRib for the year. If they bring it back again next year, I might get another. It's tasty, but I don't think it's really an "eat every day" kind of thing.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Chuck:

"that would be "NBP flag"."

I haven't the slightest idea what you are talking about. Now the National Braille Press is insulting to Greg? Huh?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Will this Plutocracy ever end?

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/12/citi_near_hiring_ex-white_house_budget_chief_repor.php?ref=fpb

"Citigroup Inc is in advanced talks to hire former U.S. budget director Peter Orszag in its investment banking unit, Bloomberg reported Tuesday night, citing people with knowledge of the matter."

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

You know what cheeses me? No fast food place offers a decent grilled cheese sandwich. Sonic has one, but it's not grilled, and the bread is too thick.
---------------------------------------

I blame Obama.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 1, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Just queried a couple Senate aides. DADT isn't going anywhere during the Lame Duck.

Posted by: illogicbuster | December 1, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@shrink: "Kevin I am so sorry to hear you have gout, a nasty affliction."

I'm trying to keep my consumption of "bad" gout foods down, and eat more cherries. I've gone of the reservation a few times, and was all right. I think it's a matter of (right now) minor changes to my diet. If I simply consume somewhat less in purine rich (and uric acid foods), and more alkaline foods (cherries, bananas, grapes, etc), it seems very manageable. The key is figuring out what you got. I've be suffering with foot pain and eating stuff that made it worse, because I didn't know what I was doing.

Plus, I've got new (good) orthotic insoles now, and it really helps to be distributing my too-much-weight appropriately on my feet.

"There is tremendous pent up demand for a great grilled cheese sandwich."

I'm pretty sure I don't have a Cheeseboy nearby, but I will say I've had some good grilled cheese sandwiches--just none of them at a place with a drive through. And, generally, if I'm going to a real restaurant, I'm going to order something else. But for lunch? I'd love to grab a real grilled cheese without having to go in.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Scott-

"New Black Panther".

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@ashot: "I blame Obama."

A logical thing to do. However, the great Grilled Cheese shortage has been going on at least since the Clinton era.

And almost noplace (sit down or not) offers a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. It's what I'd get every time I went Elvis Presley's Memphis . . . but, alas, that fine eatery is gone with the wind.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"Write a letter to the editor praising Obama for telling you to poke out both your eyes at once, so you no longer have to choose between believing him, or believing your lying eyes"

http://openleft.com/

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin "A logical thing to do. However, the great Grilled Cheese shortage has been going on at least since the Clinton era."

Fine, then I blame Democrats in general.

There is a place in Detroit, it might be in Birmingham or Royal Oak actually, that evidently serves a fantastic grilled cheese, but it's more of a nuveau, elitist, grilled cheese that costs a bunch of money. I don't know why our local Coney Islands don't make a good one.

I can't eat fast food anymore, it's really lost its appeal to me. I largely blame my dietician wife.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 1, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

McDonalds? For real? Why don't you just cut out the middle man and eat straight from the sewer?

Kevin or ScottC, have either of you ever seen "Food Inc" or any of the recent food-related documentaries?

Would you watch it if I recommended that you rent/netflix the dvd?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Ethan:

"Why don't you just cut out the middle man and eat straight from the sewer?"

Can't say that I've ever eaten straight from the sewer (have you?) but I'm guessing that McD's tastes much, much, much better.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Chuck:

"New Black Panther"

Well, the fact that I didn't know what you were talking about ought to disabuse you of whatever notion you had about me and the NBP. And I still remained unedified as to why Greg's ostensible aversion to conspiracy theories makes Rubin's blog an insult to him.

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"McDonalds? For real?"

Yeah, yeah, that is why I wrote..."imagine the infantile lamentation, the elaborately intellectualized protestation, etc., as I was goaded up to the teenager at the "order here" counter..."

As I whined and groaned I did reference Food Inc. *and* Fast Food Nation...but I ordered and ate the McRib and I liked it. God, I hate myself. I don't do Confession anymore, but I wonder what the Priest would give me as penance if I confessed I ate at McDonalds, an Apostles' Creed? So long as it isn't a Rosary or Stations of the Cross, whose got the time for that anymore?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Scott-

I'm gald you don't subscibe to the NBP conspiracy. Rubin, however, is not as smart as you.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 1, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Kevin or ScottC, have either of you ever seen "Food Inc" or any of the recent food-related documentaries?"

Food, Inc. Supersize me. All the big ones. But I've never had any illusions about what I'm eating, since I was very, very young. And keep in mind, there was once a time where even little kids helped pluck the chickens and skin the rabbits and gut the fish and whatnot, so people are capable of knowing exactly what goes into making the sausage, and yet still enjoy the sausage.

I'm also hyper-aware of what's in food (I have to be, now), and there's little superiority in average prepared food, even from a healthfood store, than there is in fast food or restaurant food. If you want basic, simply foods, you eat fresh fruits and vegetables purchased at a farmers market, buy only staples--sea salt, raw sugar, flour, etc) and make your own bread and pasta.

These days, I'm delighted when I see any prepared food (like Stouffer's Spinach Soufflé) that is made with the basics, and isn't loaded with chemicals, xanthan gum, and autolyzed yeast extract.

Plus, I would note, there are 365 days in the year. You can sample quite a bit of fast food without having it be more than a tiny fraction of your daily diet.

My over-consumed "junk" food recently has been Bumblebee's Thai Chili Tuna and deli pretzel chips. Mmmmmmm. And a Coke. I love Coca-Cola, though I know it's evil.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

All, check out this interesting proposal for reforming the filibuster:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/one_senators_modest_proposal_f.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 1, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "All, check out this interesting proposal for reforming the filibuster:"

Excuse me, Greg. I think the subject here is grilled cheese and McDonald's. Please keep up.

:P

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | December 1, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"Excuse me, Greg. I think the subject here is grilled cheese and McDonald's. Please keep up."

Good one, Kevin! I knew you had a funny bone.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 1, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC: "Can't say that I've ever eaten straight from the sewer (have you?) but I'm guessing that McD's tastes much, much, much better."

I don't eat from the sewer, no. I stopped eating fast food about 15 years ago.

@Kevin: "You can sample quite a bit of fast food without having it be more than a tiny fraction of your daily diet."

That's not the point. How in the world can you support the fast food industry? You are well aware of the health and environmental ramifications of the industry and yet you support it? Where are your principles? Are you suckered in that easily to doing something you know is bad just because "it tastes good"? I'm specifically talking about supporting the fast food industry with your dollars.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 1, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, if you want to be bad you are supposed to hate yourself. Try it, its easy to learn, then you can eat whatever you want and just let yourself go. Plus, everybody will try to save you, even tough love is better than no love. Low self esteem is undervalued, because Democrats control the market.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 1, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"That is, to over ride a Democratic filibuster (re: those obstructionist Democrats)."

First off, using a filibuster does not automatically mean a party is being "obstructionist". ABUSING the filibuster does. The Democrats used the filibuster only slightly more than historic norms when in the minority, however the GOP has nearly doubled the record of times they've filibustered legislation with a cloture vote. This is just another false equivelency between the two parties.

"How can you "hide" costs that aren't going to exist because the tax cuts are going to expire?"

Because anyone paying attention knew that the intention was to make them permanent when the expiration date came up. It was common knowledge, because the GOP made no secret of their long term plans. So yes, when you put a bill on the floor that lasts ten years, selling it to "only" costing that much, but with full intention to extend them permanently later...it's lying, and it's attempting to hide the cost of the bill. It's 3-card monty.

Dems do it too...they did it in portions of the Health Care bill, and I didn't approve of it there, either.

"This may be an accurate representation of what happened in a practical sense, but the Democrats engineered that via their obstruction, not the Republicans."

That doesn't even make logical sense. The Democrats "engineered" how to pass the tax cuts through reconciliation? Because they felt that the cost of them was too high (I love arguing with conservatives who are on the side of giant budget deficits and huge national debt, btw), that somehow magically meant that the GOP was forced at gunpoint to pass it through reconciliation? They could have kept negotiating, they could have simply not passed the tax cuts, and they could have gone through reconciliation. The Republicans decided to do option c, not Dems.

I have to wonder if you were out on the 'nets claiming that Dems putting parts fo the Health Care bill (that had to do with the budget) through Reconciliation was the "nuclear option"...because if you were, it would be ridiculously hypocritical.

Again...I'm in agreement that this is a poor line of attack. Not only does it require an amount of time/knowledge/effort to follow that most of the public won't, but also because I don't have a problem with what Republicans did.

They wanted a tax cut, they figured out a legal way to pass it, they passed it. End of story. That's perfectly fine and "process" attacks (unless ethical laws were broken) are both pointless and ineffective.

I wish Dems would get over it and do the same thing. Instead of debating an extention of the Bush cuts...introduce a NEW bill that offers basically the same thing extending the <$200k cuts would do...and then let all the Bush cuts expire. The new "Obama Tax Cuts" would take effect as soon as the Bush ones ended.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 1, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Also...@Kevin

" There would be no way to know, ahead of time, that the expiration of the tax cuts could be used for political value. And, as polls indicate, the Republicans obsession with insuring the extensions of the tax cuts for the very rich isn't actually doing them any favors, politically. So, the idea that it was a dastardly plan from the beginning really doesn't hold water."

I'm not sure if that's you being naive, or intellectually dishonest.

1) Bush cuts lower taxes across the board.
2) In 2010, they expire, leading to...
3) Jump in taxes across the board in 2011.
4) GOP argues expiration = "tax hike".
5) Congress passes extention of Bush cuts.

It doesn't matter who is in office, they were still always going to frame the issue the same way, and their goal was ALWAYS to say that the Bush Cuts expiration was a "tax hike" that had to be stopped. The difference if it were Pres. McCain would simply mean an easier time to do it.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 1, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Ethan (to Kevin):

"How in the world can you support the fast food industry? You are well aware of the health and environmental ramifications of the industry and yet you support it? Where are your principles?"

Well, you see, I get hungry sometimes. And I need food. Fast. So it's kind of logical to get, well, you know. (The horror. The horror.)

"Are you suckered in that easily to doing something you know is bad just because "it tastes good"?"

Well, er, yeah. It's part of that whacky human nature thing that so befuddles you guys on the left.

Kevin...are you finding it as difficult as I am to resist the hugely persuasive appeal of such self-righteous preaching?

Posted by: ScottC3 | December 1, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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