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Posted at 2:14 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Americans don't really want to cut government

By Greg Sargent

Gallup finds more public support for cutting defense than for cutting Social Security, Medicare or education:

gallup.JPG

More than six in 10 oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare and education. This mirrors a CNN poll from yesterday finding that an overwhelming majority, 78 percent, say preserving Social Security from cuts is more important than addressing the deficit. That same CNN poll meanwhile found a huge majority also says they want to downsize government in general. As always, Americans favor cutting government in theory and suddenly aren't so hot on the idea when you start to talk specifics.

In this sense, this debate is very similar to the one about health reform repeal: the case for it gets harder and harder to make the case once you start getting into the details.

This would seem to indicate that if Obama wants to project fiscal discipline by proposing things like spending freezes, he'd have a winner on his hands if he coupled that with a firm stand against cuts to certain specific popular government programs. And as Jed Lewison notes, the conversation about how to balance the budget too often fixates on cuts, when there's another option in the mix: Ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich.

Obama has promised to re-litigate the tax cut fight next year. So you can see the outlines of a strategy taking shape -- support spending freezes and ending tax cuts for the wealthy in service of fiscal discipline; call for public investment in education and infrastructure; staunchly defend Social Security. No idea if that's what Obama will do -- he's still being vague on whether he'll embrace Social Security cuts and won't take them off the table -- but it's a thought.

By Greg Sargent  | January 26, 2011; 2:14 PM ET
Categories:  2012, Social Security, deficit  
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Next: Ryan without a Roadmap

Comments

Another piece from Greg trying to make the case to IGNORE ELECTION RESULTS


The truth is we had an election- Liberalism and Obama have been REJECTED

Bait and Switch has been REJECTED

STOP WHINING

"seized control of the debate"


Obama WORKS FOR the American People.

We had the "debate" - its called an ELECTION.


The liberals are completely out of their minds.


Obama deserves what every employee gets when they don't do what they were hired to do: OBAMA DESERVES TO BE FIRED, ALONG WITH ALL THESE OTHER LIBERALS.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 26, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Turning off my Greasmonkey for a moment just to see what's going on.

So Forest, I've gotta ask. And if you can, just one or two sentences will do.

What's your point with the endless random caps and double spacing?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This entire debate took place last summer and fall - Obama and the liberals lost.


Obama LOST the election - and lost the majority in the House of Representatives.


Two years from now there won't be much of a debate - the American People want Obama OUT and the American People want to TAKE BACK THE SENATE FROM THESE BAIT-AND-SWITCH CLOWNS.


The Obama Circus has been cancelled -


This American government is RUN BY THE PEOPLE, NOT THE LIBERALS.


Get used to it.


The liberals are getting kicked out - at least for a generation. Soon the liberals will only have the most gerrymandered districts. Perhaps the American People can figure out a way after 2020 to take away the gerrymandered districts from the liberals as well.


THE OBAMA CIRCUS HAS BEEN CANCELLED.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 26, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

???

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Mike, not sure it's worth the trouble ;)

think the only thing to do is to hold out for the new and improved comments section. more on that by the end of this week..

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 26, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

And now we know why Paul Ryan did not lay out his road map last night. Frankly, I don't think he ever will.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | January 26, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm just hoping trying to have a rational discussion would have the same affect as this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMEe7JqBgvg

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "So you can see the outlines of a strategy taking shape -- support spending freezes and ending tax cuts for the wealthy in service of fiscal discipline; call for public investment in education and infrastructure; staunchly defend Social Security."

Yes, that will probably get Obama re-elected, but I didn't think the President's job was to get re-elected.

If you agree that we have a looming problem with non-discretionary spending, and understand that simply eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the rich alone won't solve the problem, then I would hope you'd expect a bit more from the President.

Posted by: sbj3 | January 26, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1 "And now we know why Paul Ryan did not lay out his road map last night. Frankly, I don't think he ever will."

There wasn't enough time last night to do that even if he wanted to. It was about setting up the philosophical framework to have the debate about size/role of government with Obama. You either buy his vision of limited government or you don't.

The Roadmap will be rolled out in the appropriation bills if it is rolled out at all.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 26, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

The simple solution for long-term Social Security stability, and the one Obama would prefer if he had his druthers, is to repeal the taxable income limit. Getting that through a Republican House? Impossible.

Posted by: converse | January 26, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Mike

Just wait until the Obama paid trolls show up - 8 or 10 of them per shift, posting just like Cao.


Then you will understand.

Someday, Greg Sargent will grow up, and he will end up being a fanatic right-winger.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 26, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The United States was founded on the basis of individual liberty. As a result, the Constitution assigns to the federal government the primary responsibility to “provide for the common defence.”

It is entirely reasonable to expend 4 percent of national income in the defense of freedom. Never­theless, the federal government is now allocating a smaller share of national income to defense than the average for the past four decades, despite the ongo­ing war against terrorism. Projected growth in entitlement spending (not defense spending at this level) is at the core of the looming fiscal crisis facing the federal government.

Defense expenditures at this level will jeopardize neither the health of the economy nor the prosper­ity of the American people— but a sustained commit­ment to defense is necessary to sustain liberty.

Paying 4 percent for freedom is worth the price. Indeed, it is a bargain.

VIDEO: 4 Percent for Freedom Petition
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41gFaFJvAt0

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 26, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

So Forest, the paid trolls cause you to double space and random caps lock?

I don't get understand how that works. Are they forcing you to do this through say, Jedi mind tricks?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

@Greg

"think the only thing to do is to hold out for the new and improved comments section. more on that by the end of this week.."

Ok guy we're going to hold your feet to the fire...this is one campaign promise we're all going to watch and wait for results :-)
Don't make me send my wife the Dentist to DC to mess with your teeth some more. LOL

@jcn4p

"The Roadmap will be rolled out in the appropriation bills if it is rolled out at all."

Translation: The R's will meet with Frank Luntz and get him to test enough lying talking points..ala gov't takeover..death panels...job killing.

If Luntz is successful with his focus groups the R's will launch yet one more campaign of lies and distortion aided and abetted by Faux news and then as you suggest jcn4p...sneak it through in an appropriation bill.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Mike

I have several times tried to have a rational discussion with you.

You have run away each time.

You are the unreasonable one.

If you want to spend money - get together with some other liberals.

Start a non-profit and have other liberals give you money. Then you can give away all the money you want. Leave everyone else out of it.

Otherwise, you are just trying to spend other people's money without their consent.


IF so many liberals agree with you, they should have no problem giving you the money without being taxed. Everyone then gets what they want.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 26, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

1 in 14 U.S. tax dollars go to Lockeed Martin.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Notice Gallup omits Pelosi-Care from their poll.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-Kickass) Introduces Pelosi-Care Repeal Bill in The Senate
http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=fea64424-fa20-47ee-aa45-0acd9763c4b9

Today, U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) introduced legislation to fully repeal the Democrats’ government health care takeover that President Obama signed into law March 23, 2010.

Thirty-four Republicans have already cosponsored this bill.

“Republicans are standing with the American people who are demanding we repeal this government takeover of health care,” said Senator DeMint. “Repealing ObamaCare is vital to the future of our nation and the health of our people. ObamaCare will raise health costs, reduce choices, ration care, hike taxes, cut jobs, increase the national debt, and put bureaucrats between patients and their doctors. It’s time to start over and implement commonsense solutions that allow Americans to choose affordable plans across state lines, end frivolous lawsuits that drive up costs, and gives equitable tax treatment to those who don’t get insurance from their employer.”

*REPEAL PELOSI-CARE*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 26, 2011 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Who is this a poll of? People who voted in the 2010 midterms? Registered voters? Citizens of voting age? All adults of voting age?

It matters, because the farther you go towards all adults, the better things look for the Dem point of view. But most of those people don't vote, or at least didn't in the midterms. So the GOP can claim that "America has spoken" when what they mean is the 20% or so of adults who voted for GOP candidates, which was larger than the group who voted for Dem candidates.

More people have to care enough to at least vote if they want their preferences reflected in what the government does. Otherwise we will end up with Paul Ryan's dark vision of an austere, dog-eat-dog America where anyone under 55 is totally without help unless they are so disabled as to be "unable to care for themsleves."

Posted by: Mimikatz | January 26, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Who is this a poll of? People who voted in the 2010 midterms? Registered voters? Citizens of voting age? All adults of voting age?

It matters, because the farther you go towards all adults, the better things look for the Dem point of view. But most of those people don't vote, or at least didn't in the midterms. So the GOP can claim that "America has spoken" when what they mean is the 20% or so of adults who voted for GOP candidates, which was larger than the group who voted for Dem candidates.

More people have to care enough to at least vote if they want their preferences reflected in what the government does. Otherwise we will end up with Paul Ryan's dark vision of an austere, dog-eat-dog America where anyone under 55 is totally without help unless they are so disabled as to be "unable to care for themsleves."

Posted by: Mimikatz | January 26, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Obamateur Referred to Himself a Whopping Sixty Times (60X/hour!) @ SOTU Pep Rally
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/01/25/text-of-obamas-state-of-the-union-address/

“I” 55X
“me” 5X

*Textbook Narcissism*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | January 26, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

New Adam Serwer post skewering Paul Ryan's lack of a roadmap:

http://wapo.st/f8oNHZ

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 26, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

"If you want to spend money - get together with some other liberals."

What are you talking about?

And, how are the trolls forcing you to write in random CAPS and double spacing?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@mike
You won't get a satisfactory answer to your question from the fellow, as Greg suggests. He won't perceive it as being in his interest to answer honestly.

But you can deduce what he's up to simply by looking at when and how he posts.

He tries to get his posts at the beginning of threads. He tries to get as many posts in as his time allows, often consecutively, into each thread.

Those behaviors plus his triple spacing and constant repetition kidnaps large portions of the threads and this works to make the threads less inviting, less worthwhile and far more work for others - particularly newcomers - to wade through. Why bother?

He's a classic troll who has the goal of disrupting conversations and of discouraging others from participating in a community of discourse (that is, a community of mainly liberal discourse). Probably the best analogy is the "rock the townhall" strategy devised by Koch/Armey front groups - yell, disrupt, take up the conversation space as a means of preventing certain types of communication passing between individuals (liberal ideas are the target) because it is through such communities of shared speech that consensus (a liberal consensus) might be engendered or strengthened.

Another appropriate analogy is the arrival of club-wielding thugs at 20th century union halls.

Through the many years I've been writing on boards like this, I've never seen his techniques used before. And they are undeniably effective. Whether he has hit upon them by intuition and is a lone agent or whether he has been trained to do what he is doing isn't clear. It certainly could be either.

But we all need to find a means to neutralize these techniques because their intent and their function is to thwart everything which the First Amendment strives to encourage.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 26, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@Mike

"1 in 14 U.S. tax dollars go to Lockeed Martin."

BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lockheed Martin takes in more gross income annually than all but the largest of nations. But Mike surely you're not suggesting that they use some of these BILLIONS to influence our laws, our foreign policy...just because permanent war benefits them enormously you wouldn't think they would try to keep us in foreign military adventures?

Mike is it your suggestion that REPUBLICAN Dwight D. Eisenhower hit the nail squarely on the head with his warning about the power of the Military Industrial Complex.
It's bad enough they have this inordinate and largely unchecked power..but worse still it is becoming increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer companies making the survivors...like the kings of all MIC Lockheed Marietta powerful beyond even Ike's imagination.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@mimikatz

Agree with your post except for the last line.

"help unless they are so disabled as to be "unable to care for themsleves."

They do not care about whether someone can help them-self or not. Read their posts.

What makes you think they give give a rat's behind about somebody in need. Here is Scott's position...btw reaffirming a post of NoVa's. And if you read this blog much you can toss in a dozen other righties who feel like Scott.

""I would say that it does not make one compassionate to use the threat of force to make others give to those you think are more deserving and/or in need.""

I have made this very point to ruk many times for over a year, to no effect whatsoever. Unfortunately ruk, like many others here, seems to believe quite the opposite...that not only is a desire to give away other people's money a reasonable measure of compassion/generosity, it is the best measure."

Helping the needy is simply seen as "a desire to give away other people's money"

They don't get it mimikatz and they are befuddled as to why we view them as heartless and greedy.help unless they are so disabled as to be "unable to care for themsleves."

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

bernielatham, honestly, I don't believe he's that smart.

I think it's more of a case of the Jerry Springer mentality. The sheer repetitiveness and persistence is not normal. There must be a mix of psychological disorder and sheer stupidity.

I just wanted to hear his reasoning is all. Assuming this is a he.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 26, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"So you can see the outlines of a strategy taking shape -- support spending freezes and ending tax cuts for the wealthy in service of fiscal discipline; call for public investment in education and infrastructure; staunchly defend Social Security."

Sargent for President!

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@mike - Perhaps your guess is the correct one re the individual.

But one might ask, how smart were those people who stood up yelling at the 'rock the townhall' events? Or, how smart were the union-busting goons?

It seems to me that whether this guy/woman developed his techniques out of pathology or something more strategic is probably not important. If such techniques can effectively disrupt communities such as this one, they will likely be duplicated at some point by others who are smart and organized.

Thus my notion that some means of nullifying them really needs to be developed.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 26, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree w Bernie, BTW. Trolls are meant to be ignored. Then they stay under the bridges where they belong.

Posted by: wbgonne | January 26, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7-

I have seen you often post about your Fox News-watching mother. Your mention of the military-industrial complex reminded me of our Christmas visit with my dad. He doesn't watch political television -- he prefers watching nature programs and HGTV -- ;)....

...but he couldn't stop talking about the military industrial complex and how that is exactly what is wrong today in every level of our society and how prescient Eisenhower was in that regard.

A tale of two elderly parents......btw, I've read with interest how your mother is coming around in her views of Palin and Bachmann. Bless her heart. :)

Posted by: elscott | January 26, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

bernielatham, you don't have to go all the way back to the 19th century: how smart were the union goons?

http://pumabydesign001.wordpress.com/2010/04/01/union-thugs-invade-tea-party-searchlight-nevada-aggressors-play-the-race-card-videos/

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 26, 2011 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@elscott I'm jealous!!!!! But happy for you.

You have perhaps identified a major reason your father retains his sensibilities...he doesn't watch political tv and watches nature programs. Just Awesome.

My mother is a naturally very fearful person, alarms all around her condo, fear of flying etc...Fox just plays into those fears and quite frankly that is one of the major reasons I detest Faux news on a very personal level...playing into an 85 year old's fears just doesn't seem very ethical to me.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence.....I didn't realize you lived in Alaska...Ahhh but nobody better ever question a thing about saint sarah or what...death threats...

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/death-threat-palin-critic

"I find it very offensive that Andre Mclead [sic] is asking the state for every e-mail written or received in ANY account maintained by Palin and her husband. Where does this b!tch get off thinking the public should shell out for her revenge for the Palin family. I've heard enough from this, and I would like to use stronger words to express my feeling for Andre. Well…I think Andre has used up to [sic] much oxygen. So I have my scope cross hair on her head! She better watch out, the request may have been her last!

I know you won't publish this. ADN relish in bashing the Palin's too!"

Of course this couldn't be the result of Sister Sarah's speech and behavior...she's a victim I tells ya...a victim!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7, I agree, playing into her fears isn't ethical at all. I share your intense dislike of their tactics.

But if she's 85 years old and still lives in her own condo, good for her. It's understandable that she might feel vulnerable in today's society.

I have often wondered if my dad's entire perspective on life was greatly influenced by sitting on the floor around the radio listening to FDR tell America that the only thing it had to fear was fear itself. He often uses that phrase.

We've had long discussions about the impact of 9/11 on young people and their views about the future, and he says that during World War 2, people got busy facing that fear and fighting against it. He says they didn't have time to sit around thinking about what the future might be. They had to go out and fight to ensure it.

Contrast that with the young people who went through 9/11-- they were basically told by President Bush to be more afraid and go shopping. And Fox News picked up the mantle of that fear and hasn't stopped since.

Posted by: elscott | January 26, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

elscott-

Interesting story. Thanks.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | January 26, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@clawrence.....I didn't realize you lived in Alaska...Ahhh but nobody better ever question a thing about saint sarah or what...death threats...

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/death-threat-palin-critic

"I find it very offensive that Andre Mclead [sic] is asking the state for every e-mail written or received in ANY account maintained by Palin and her husband. Where does this b!tch get off thinking the public should shell out for her revenge for the Palin family. I've heard enough from this, and I would like to use stronger words to express my feeling for Andre. Well…I think Andre has used up to [sic] much oxygen. So I have my scope cross hair on her head! She better watch out, the request may have been her last!

I know you won't publish this. ADN relish in bashing the Palin's too!"

Of course this couldn't be the result of Sister Sarah's speech and behavior...she's a victim I tells ya...a victim!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@elscott Agree with Chuck. Thanks for that interesting story. I'm glad your dad stayed true to his values. Alas that's what's most disturbing to me about my mom.
When I was young growing up...she was an FDR true believer...but then again so was St. Ronnie and we know how he ended up.

Thanks for sharing elscott and yes I am lucky to still have my mom. I'm getting on a plane in three weeks from Tampa to Cincinnati..immediately rent a car...pick up my mom and drive right back again...if you know any tips to cure fear of flying...LOL

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 26, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Chuck and rukidding7, thanks for reading my commnets. The thing about blogging is that you're never really sure if you're just talking to yourself. ;)

You're driving from Cincy to Tampa with your mom? You're a good son! My parents don't like sitting in the car that long anymore.

Most people I know who are afraid to fly just drink heavily. LOL But none of us want to liquor up our elderly parents. ;)

Wish I could be of more help with that. Have a safe trip. :)

Posted by: elscott | January 26, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Two myths about Rainforest:

1. He is spamming the blog because it leans liberal. He did the same thing at the Fix, and Fix leans conservative.

2. Ignore him and he will go away. Wrong. He didn't go away at the Fix. After Kevin wrote the TrollHunter script, Rainforest was ignored for days and weeks. He didn't go away, didn't diminish the # of posts, or in any way react to being ignored. Even people who agree with his pov ignore him.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | January 26, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"think the only thing to do is to hold out for the new and improved comments section. more on that by the end of this week.."

Please push for a system where the default is to display everyone and to only filter someone if they are specifically flagged. Filtering everyone out by default has the unfortunate side effect of quashing occasional posters and new posters. It would also make it too easy for people to only read those they already agree with. This country has too much of that already.

Posted by: jimwalters1 | January 27, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

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