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Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Please define `fiscal hawk'

By Greg Sargent

Jon Chait has been tearing his hair out because many media figures have conferred automatic credibility on Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP's front man on the budget, as a "fiscal hawk."

Chait points out that no media figures seem to care that Ryan keeps attacking Obama for ignoring the recommendations of his deficit commission even though Ryan himself was on that commission and voted against those same recommendations:

You know what a good follow-up question would be? "So, Paul Ryan you voted against the commission's proposals! How can you attack Obama for failing to endorse policies you voted against?"...

Ryan is not a fiscal hawk. He voted for George W. Bush's 100% debt-financed Medicare expansion. He voted against the Bowles-Simpson plan. Isn't his authority on these issues just a wee bit suspect? Why do the media not only fail to question his sincerity at all, but give him an uncritical platform to question the sincerity of others? It's bizarre.

Chait's question about the deficit commission is a good one. So I posed it to Ryan spokesman Conor Sweeney. His answer, which you can read in full right here, is essentially that Ryan likes some of the commission's ideas but not the overall package.

As for Chait's broader question -- why commentators confer automatic credibility on Ryan as a "fiscal hawk" -- I'd say this is akin to asking why they keep arbitrarily designating lawmakers who embrace entitlement cuts and tax cuts for the rich as hard-headed "centrists," when only small minorities support both, and why they arbitrarily refuse to allow that calling for tax hikes on the rich is a sign of fiscal seriousness.

I think the explanation for this is pretty simple. The term "deficit hawk," as it's commonly used in Washington, simply doesn't mean "someone who fully committed to reducing the deficit by any means necessary, tax hikes included." Rather, it means "someone who is fully committed to reducing the deficit through tax cuts, entitlement reform and frequent expressions of general hostility towards government." It has been arbitrarily decided that tax hikes on the rich carry an aura of big government liberal squishiness and hence can't be associated with whatever people think they mean by the word "hawk." Shifting the tax burden upwards is "soft," the stuff of bleeding hearts. Shifting it down is "hard" and "tough."

The arbitrary meaning of "deficit hawk," just like the arbitrary meaning of "centrist," has been hardened through repetition. People hear others using these terms in these ways, and they repeat them. Still others hear them doing this, and they also repeat them. And so on. The unfortunate truth is that there is a very high degree of consensus around the arbitrarily-designated meanings of these terms among a lot of people who have a great deal of influence over our daily discourse. It's a major problem that's going to be very hard to crack.

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 12:56 PM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Social Security, budget, deficit  
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MADISON, Wis. -- Democratic state senators have apparently walked out of the state Capitol on Thursday as protests are expected to begin again pertaining to the governor's union bill.

http://www.channel3000.com/news/26900252/detail.html

No Democrats are present at the start of the Senate session shortly after 11 a.m. to vote on a bill stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights.

Republicans are pushing the bill proposed by Gov. Scott Walker.

Thousands of people clogged the halls of the Capitol for a third straight day in opposition. Observers in the balcony shouted "Freedom! Democracy! Unions!" as Republicans tried to start debate.

Republicans ordered a call of the house to force Democrats to show up.

Seventeen Republicans were present so the session began without the Democrats. Calls to Democratic leaders and others in the 14-member caucus were not immediately returned.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Ryan also addressed his reasons for voting no at the time. The stated reason was that the commission didn't address health care costs and/or made them worse by "entrenching Obamacare.

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/monitor_breakfast/2010/1202/Why-Paul-Ryan-will-vote-no-on-deficit-commission-report

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/131635-ryan-says-debt-plan-would-entrench-obamacare-

Posted by: jnc4p | February 17, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Rather, it means "someone who is fully committed to reducing the deficit through tax cuts, entitlement reform and frequent expressions of general hostility towards government."

Funny and true, but don't forget DeMint's homily to the "values voters" last Fall. It turns out you can not be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative. So to be a legitimate deficit hawk, you also have to be in on the right side of the culture wars.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Sure, just as soon as you or Adam define "nonstop lies about Islam."

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 17, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

When is the media going to catch on that Paul Ryan just isn't really all that intelligent.

Take his appearance today on Morning Joe, which he should be walking back any minute now....soon as he figures out he compared the new GOP governor to Hosni Mubarak.

Not that I really mind his gaffe....I think it's pretty valuable...for progressives, that is.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/paul-ryan-on-wisconsin-protests-its-like-cairo-has-moved-to-madison-video.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

[clawrence12 parried: "Sure, just as soon as you or Adam define "nonstop lies about Islam."]

ha! you beat me to it

*touche'*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 17, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Paul Ryan Hearts Scott Mubarak Walker.

Has Paul Ryan found his 2009 Health Care Reform Bill yet?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Very well said and right on the money.

Paul Ryan, of the Iraq War, Bush's tax cuts, and Medicare Part D (the giant PhRMA giveaway) is a total joke on this. So is Mitch Daniels, and tons of others who are for whatever reason seen as "serious" on the deficit.

Actual deficit hawks would be talking about getting people back to work, letting people buy into Medicare (or straight up Medicare For All) and Rx re-importation, and ending the Bush tax cuts for the most wealthy and the two wars.

Posted by: michael_conrad | February 17, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Language is a virus."

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

Posted by: sbj3 | February 17, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

As a parent of two lovely and successful children I long ago recognized that there is a line between whining and sniveling.

In this essay Mr Sargent crossed that line. For anyone in the media to complain about the media is just sniveling.

Further, it seems to me that the American left is absolutely incensed about anything in the media that portrays their political opposition in any way other than as father stabbers or mother rapers.

the lazy people who are Mr Sargent's peers are using terms he doesn't like. Oh my, quel dommage.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 17, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Republicans think that the only way to have a strong economy is by given more money to the Oligarchs, by taking it away from everyone else.

Republicans are promoting A Dyslexic Jesus Economic Doctrine.

Watch Scott Mubarak Walker up in Wisconsin, and all those other Republican Governors, as they flog the poor from The Temple, for daring to seek a living wage.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Ryan voting for Bush's Medicare expansion must sting to those grasping to the fallacy of Ryan being a deficit hawk. Notice how they all avoided that little bit in their denouncing this post.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | February 17, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

[suekzoo1 snift: "Paul Ryan just isn't really all that intelligent."]

Obama’s SOTU Address: Least Smart Since FDR
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2011/01/keeping_it_simple_obama_record.php

"President Obama now has the LOWEST average Flesch-Kincaid score for State of the Union addresses of any modern president — with his 8.5 grade level falling just below the 8.6 score recorded by George H.W. Bush during his presidency."

*wicked smaht*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 17, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Ha!

The WI Senate Dems walked out, thereby leaving the GOP without a quorum on budget vote. What's the GOP gonna do? They are threatening to call the State Police to go out and round up the Dems.

Yup, Ryan, looking more and more like Cairo all the time.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/source-wis-dem-state-senators-walk-out-blocking-budget-quorum.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Paul Omar Suleiman Ryan, has Scott Hosni Mubarak Walker's back, as he attempts to turn Wisconsin into a Right Wing Fascist Police State.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I believe it is very telling that the progressive commentators here are discussing the issue(s) at hand while the conservative commentators are trying to change the subject. Actions speak louder than words and your actions truly are defining you and you values.

Posted by: kindness1 | February 17, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Fiscal hawk n.

A phrase most frequently used to describe members of the Republican Party whose facial expressions, when they are speaking, are meant to give the audience the impression that they are serious about reducing the U.S. deficit and debt when in fact they are not.

Related: see "Compassionate conservative"

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know whether Ron Johnson has an iron in the labor fire back home? I am busy following the ME and actually working once in a while.

Johnson is the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce (and the District of Columbia), so it isn't as if this wouldn't matter to him.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"The WI Senate Dems walked out, thereby leaving the GOP without a quorum on budget vote. What's the GOP gonna do? They are threatening to call the State Police to go out and round up the Dems."

Jesus. I was sure you wer just kidding about that State Police part until I read the link.

Wow!

Posted by: DDAWD | February 17, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

[kindness1: "conservative commentators are trying to change the subject."]

That's hilarious given that this "issue" thread is transparently intended to obfuscate the progressives' epic fail this a.m. in their Islamo-supremacism denial campaign.

Do Adam and Greg have any hair left to tear out?

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 17, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

UK Foreign Office says it will review recent licensing decisions for arms sales to Bahrain, Reuters reports. Heh, heh, that is no joke. Hey, yeah you, Your Highness! Stop shooting protesters with our weapons, ok? Those were supposed to be mostly for parades and to combat terrorism, Iranian invasions and stuff like that.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from TPM, this is insane:

So now we have at least one report from local TV in Wisconsin that the state's Democratic senators have left the state entirely, putting them out of the reach of the state police who have been ordered to round them up so that Republicans have a quorum and can take up Gov. Walker's union-busting budget bill.

But wait. There's more.

The Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, who is ordering the state police to track down the wayward Democratic senators is the son of the head of the state police, Steve Fitzgerald, who in turn was appointed to the top spot by Walker. Steve Fitzgerald is also the father of the state's speaker of the House, Jeff Fitzgerald.

As for whether the Democratic senators have in fact left the state, the spokesperson for the state Democratic Party tells TPM: "I know the whereabouts of not a single Democratic senator. I do not know what latitude they're on, or know what longitude they're on. I assume they're in this hemisphere, I'll say that."

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know whether Ron Johnson has an iron in the labor fire back home? I am busy following the ME and actually working once in a while.

Johnson is the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce (and the District of Columbia), so it isn't as if this wouldn't matter to him.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 1:39 PM
................

Rove's PACS, and The Chamber Of Con Artists ran massive amounts of attack ads against Russ Feingold, so you can be sure that they own Ron Johnson.

The guy became the head of a manufacturing company by marrying the owner's daughter, and he outsourced a lot of of the manufacturing to China, so you can be sure he is anti-labor.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

OT:

* Threatening racist, misogynistic letter sent to Dem who suggested they pull military advertising in NASCAR *

FIGHTING the Marxist N-WORD thugs Hussein Obama & Eric Holder

...

Death to all Marxists!

Article:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/after-taking-on-nascar-dem-rep-is-threatened-document.php?ref=fpi

Letter:

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/documents/2011/02/mccollum-hate-mail.php?page=1

This guy must be one'a dem "fiscal hawks"!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

This seems like an appropriate time to reiterate what the protests in WI are about. It's not about the changes in retirement and health benefit contributions which Paul Ryan seems to believe, it's about collective bargaining. The unions have already said they're open to the budget needs. Ryan either doesn't know, doesn't care or is just lying, take your pick.

""Democrats attempted an amendment to take all non-budget policy pieces out of the repair bill, as determined by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, who saw no fiscal impact in nine items, including the collective bargaining changes. But it failed on a party-line vote. Members of the Joint Finance Committee warned Republicans about what they were doing.

"But Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said that’s not what the outrage on display the last two days from union employees is about. He said union employees are willing to make the extra contributions Gov. Walker is asking for to help balance the budget.

“The goal (of the budget repair bill) is to eliminate collective bargaining,” he said. “You don’t need to end collective bargaining to solve the economic problem.”

Rep. Jen Shilling, D-La Crosse, called this a “transformational week.”

“And it’s not over yet. It is not over yet,” Shilling said. “This is going to have a ripple effect. They (the electorate) are not going to forget about this. This is going to be seared into their memory."”""

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/02/17/in-wisconsin-budget-repair-bill-passes-committee-mass-teacher-walkouts-planned/

Posted by: lmsinca | February 17, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, who is ordering the state police to track down the wayward Democratic senators is the son of the head of the state police, Steve Fitzgerald, who in turn was appointed to the top spot by Walker. Steve Fitzgerald is also the father of the state's speaker of the House, Jeff Fitzgerald.
..........................

The Hosni Mubarak Walker Regime will not tolerate descent.

How long will it be, before he unleashes his camel riding goons, to attack the labor protesters?

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@ronnieandrush "Reposting from TPM, this is insane:

So now we have at least one report from local TV in Wisconsin that the state's Democratic senators have left the state entirely, putting them out of the reach of the state police who have been ordered to round them up so that Republicans have a quorum and can take up Gov. Walker's union-busting budget bill.

But wait. There's more.

The Senate majority leader, Scott Fitzgerald, who is ordering the state police to track down the wayward Democratic senators is the son of the head of the state police, Steve Fitzgerald, who in turn was appointed to the top spot by Walker. Steve Fitzgerald is also the father of the state's speaker of the House, Jeff Fitzgerald.

As for whether the Democratic senators have in fact left the state, the spokesperson for the state Democratic Party tells TPM: "I know the whereabouts of not a single Democratic senator. I do not know what latitude they're on, or know what longitude they're on. I assume they're in this hemisphere, I'll say that."

Pity the Republicans didn't think of this as a way to prevent the enactment of the Health Care law. I assume quorum requirements for Congress must be different.

Posted by: jnc4p | February 17, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Please kill the meme of the "Deficit Commission Report". There was no consensus report ever released. Chiat refers to the Bowles-Simpson plan because it was one of at least 3 recommendations from members of the commission. Remember, the didn't finish because they couldn't come to a consensus.

Posted by: gyolland | February 17, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting to note who stands for the taxpayers and who stands against them?

The correlation between those who were irate when the Bush tax rates were retained and the folks who are cheering for the fiscal rapists in WI is just about perfect.

Here is liberalism at it finest. Basically people like Mr Sargent and his camp followers believe that Americans should go to work so they can pay a massive amount to the government so that the government employees can enjoy a better life than the tax payers.

We're seeing Greece re enacted right before our eyes. the unions are throwing a tantrum because the can no longer rape the taxpayers at will. And the thoughtless lefties here are cheering on the rapists.

you go kids. Show us just exactly who you are. Stand with the rapists.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 17, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

OT, re WI:

WI was headed for a SURPLUS before Gov Walker stepped in!!!

This WI matter has literally NOTHING to do with fiscal balance. This is an overt assault on Unions for no other reason than that they are Unions.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/wisconsin-gov-walker-ginned-up-budget-shortfall-to-undercut-worker-rights.php

Posted by: ronnieandrush | February 17, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Two comments--

On Ryan, maybe it isn't his policies but his hair that makes people think he's a hawk.

On Wisconsin, I have a lot of history there including a positive relationship with the excellent pension and healthcare plans (they're instead of much in the way of salary). The thing about Wisconsin is that it has two very strong and traditions that are at opposite poles. There's the progressive history that everybody should have read about in history books (I stress should), and a tradition that's much more comfortable with someone like native son Joe McCarthy and various far right wing ideologies

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 17, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Ims: "Ryan either doesn't know, doesn't care or is just lying, take your pick."

There's no reason it's not some of each.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING: Reports of deaths and injuries surface in spreading Libyan protests
http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/02/17/libya.protests/

"CNN does not have journalists in Libya and was unable to confirm the extent of the demonstrations unfolding there."

*sob*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 17, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The Senate sergeant of arms can, and has, arrested senators to bring them to the floor to achieve a quorum. it's not surprising that states have similar rules. It's rare, but it happens. whether or not it's an outrage depends on who's being arrested and why.


http://www.nytimes.com/1988/02/25/us/a-senator-is-captured-but-not-his-mind.html

Posted by: NoVAHockey | February 17, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

skippy: "Isn't it interesting to note who stands for the taxpayers and who stands against them?"

Yup, all those school teachers and other state workers are indeed tax payers.

Every.Single.One.Of.Them.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | February 17, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"the folks who are cheering for the fiscal rapists in WI "
Wrote Skippy.

The guy is clearly off his meds, so all the daily sessions with his mental health counselors(that he revealed) are down the drain.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Sue,

What Hosni Mubarak Walker is attempting to do in Wisconsin, is not about balancing the budget. It is about destroying the teacher unions, so that they will be forced to quit their jobs. That will allow the Republicans to privatize the public education system, which they have been trying to do, for a long time.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't remember what the issue was (maybe redistricting), but there was the Texas incident a few years ago when one party went AWOL--left the state--and law enforcement was involved.

My last post submitted itself before I'd finished it. I meant to say that I don't know exactly where survivalism falls on the political spectrum, but part of my Wisconsin years included living a few miles from someone who'd built an underground bunker and surrounded his property with a stockade.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 17, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent raises some good points.

Sadly, he only does so by attacking Republicans. The DNC has ceased to exist because there weren't enough Democrat "centrists" to form an organization. That seems to have slipped Mr. Sargent's mind.

He also seems to have forgotten that not a single Democrat is hailed as a "deficit hawk" by anyone. Even in Mr. Sargent's own piece, he uses attacks on GOP positions to define the term. He makes no attempt to point out the "deficit hawks" in the Democratic Party. That being because there apparently are none.

Finally, Mr. Sargent attacks Paul for not supporting the findings of Mr. Obama's budget committee. He fails to point out that few Democrats, including the President, support that report either.

In short, Mr. Sargent is quite correct in asking what "deficit hawk" and "centrist" really mean. Sadly, he framed those questions as a useless partisan rant. Yet another WaPo contributor apparently paid by the word and not based on content and intellectual honesty.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | February 17, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This is an excellent analysis, Greg. Thanks for speaking out on this issue.

Posted by: elscott | February 17, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor and John Boehner voted for all of George W. Bush's Massive Deficits, so only Tea Party Idiots, could still believe that the Republican Leadership are really Fiscal Hawks.

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"The DNC has ceased to exist!" Wow Liam, all your jokes about the potted plant Tim Kaine hit pay dirt. You killed the DNC!

Posted by: shrink2 | February 17, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry - I meant DLC, not DNC.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | February 17, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

In response to Richmond Giant bemoaning the "apparent" lack of Democratic deficit hawks --

It's clearly obvious...and clearly "apparent"...that the last President to take a huge deficit and turn it into a huge surplus was a Democrat -- Bill Clinton. If tackling that level of deficit and turning it around doesn't merit the label of a true "deficit hawk" then the term shouldn't even be part of the modern lexicon.

I guess the short memory of some on this issue is due to the blatant squandering of the huge surplus we enjoyed after President Clinton left office by his GOP successor.

And that brings us right back to Greg's original point -- that Republicans have somehow grabbed the rhetorical mantle on the deficit when none of it is based on actual fact or accurate historical record.

Posted by: elscott | February 17, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Hi all! I'm with those encouraging public employees to protest, conduct work slowdowns and strike. The end result will be beneficial.

Shrink, hope all is well. Here's a link from Instapundit (forgive shrink from clicking it Bernie, it's for the greater good. ;-)) linking purported video of Saudi tanks and APC's moving into Bahrain.

"BAHRAIN NEWS? Dave Foulk, a Knoxville radio news guy, emails: “I just spoke with a person in Bahrain, and they indicated to me that Saudi tanks and APC’s were coming across the causeway into Bahrain. Says the video of it is on YouTube. This individual was spot-on with warnings of protests the other day.” I couldn’t find the video on YouTube, but stay tuned."

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/

Great comments everyone!


Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 17, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

In response to Richmond Giant bemoaning the "apparent" lack of Democratic deficit hawks --

It's clearly obvious...and clearly "apparent"...that the last President to take a huge deficit and turn it into a huge surplus was a Democrat -- Bill Clinton. If tackling that level of deficit and turning it around doesn't merit the label of a true "deficit hawk" then the term shouldn't even be part of the modern lexicon.

I guess the short memory of some on this issue is due to the blatant squandering of the huge surplus we enjoyed after President Clinton left office by his GOP successor.

And that brings us right back to Greg's original point -- that Republicans have somehow grabbed the rhetorical mantle on the deficit when none of it is based on actual fact or accurate historical record.

Posted by: elscott | February 17, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

In response to elscott

Mr. Clinton inherited a boom economy, one of the longest in American history. To Mr. Clinton's credit, he worked with the Republican Congress to control spending and give us a surplus. Remember, Congress makes the budget - the president signs it into law. Both parties did their jobs during those years.

All that said - where's the Bill Clinton of today? The DLC Clinton helped form disintegrated for lack of centrists and triangulators.

I'm not trying to praise or defend the GOP. The Dumbya years were certainly a blot on American history. Let's not forget that several of those years included Democratic control of at least one chamber of Congress. Partisan liberals tend to forget that fact and blame Bush for everything.

My point is that Mr. Sargent diminishes a valid discussion by turning it into a partisan rant.

The real discussion is about how to get government spending back into control. Most sane people acknowledge that cuts and tax increases will be needed. But few people are are really trying to discuss specific cuts and the amount of tax increases. Mr. Sargent added nothing to that discussion.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | February 17, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing - your points fall on deaf ears when you conflate fiscal policy with rape. Rape is a serious violent crime and should not be in this discussion at all.

I apologize, on your behalf, to any victims of rape who may have read your insensitive and unacceptable comments.

Theft may be the analogy you want to use in the future.

Posted by: quinnser33 | February 17, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Attention lefties:

If you have your undies in a wad over what's going on in WI, they you'll have even more angst about what is happening in Ohio.

In that state the voters gave the Republicans majorities in both houses. they put a republican in as Govenor and AG too.

The Republicans in the legislature introduced a bill that will limit the public sector unions negotiating ability.

Ohio faces a budget short fall of at least 8 Billion. And like WI the state also faces a huge unfunded pension liability issue.

One liberal here crowed that WI may have had a budget surpius. How nice for them. What is their pension liablity situation?

This is an issue because it speaks to the credit worthiness of the state. And it also predicts just how much of our children's money today's greedy union members and their liberal lackies will spend.

This is an important fight. Let's have it. Among the manifold benefits of this confrontation is the fact that it shows the liberals for exactly who they are. Tax payers be darned it seems. Who is surprised by that?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 17, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It is what it is in quinnser: rape. I'm married to a rape victim and she agrees with my analogy. Too bad for you pal. We're getting screwed against our will.

Is this yet another hypocritical call for "civility" from the left?

Seen the signs in use in Madison? yet another example of do as the liberals say, not as the liberals do. In WI the union thugs carry signs depicting the death of their opponents. In NJ, the teachers union prayed for Christie's death. And you want to quibble about my choice of words?

Grow up. This is now a tough fight. The thugs you support have taken the gloves off. Best get ready. We're taking it to the streets.

Spare me the smarm. Mr Obama's DOJ refused to prosecute some Black Panthers. Remember the sixties? probably not, but I do. In those days the Black Panthers had a motto: Arm yourself or harm yourself.

That works for everybody now

Posted by: skipsailing28 | February 17, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Bush and GOP spent over trillion dollars on War based on lie, give tax cut to the rich, and now they are crying foul, OMG there is no money.

Posted by: tqmek1 | February 17, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

RichmondGiant -- I appreciate your thoughtful response, but you seem to have forgotten that the Bush recession of 1991-1992 was one of the main reasons that Bill Clinton was able to deny him a 2nd term. Yes, the 1992 economy was starting to turn around a bit, but job growth was very slow. So I wouldn't call that inheriting a "boom" economy.

At any rate, I agree with Greg that the GOP has been the longterm beneficiary of very positive labeling that belies actual facts. I think the GOP takes great pride in their ability to do that, and that's why they have a 24 hour news channel that freely admits that mission.

And I also believe that too many in the media are much too quick to attach meaningless labels on both sides of the political spectrum that do nothing to solve the complicated economic issues that we face. Perhaps you and I can find some common ground on that point.

Posted by: elscott | February 17, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

skip, last time I looked, Wisconsin's pension plan was fully funded per state law.

Posted by: AllButCertain | February 17, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Since many posters continue with the myth that the GOP and Dumbya are responsible for debt, and ignore the Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending spree, let's review some history.

Geo W. Bush: January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009

House:
Nancy Pelosi - Jan 2007 - Jan 2011 (DNC)

Senate:
Thomas Daschle: Most of 2001 - 2003 (DNC)
Harry Reid: 2007-Present

An observant person might notice that during the eight years of Bush's presidency, Democrats controlled at least one chamber of Congress for half of his presidency. Budgets come from Congress to the President, not the other way around. Democrats share at least as much in the budget mess and the wars we are currently in as the Republicans. Please stop trying to pretend innocence.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | February 17, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: elscott | February 17, 2011 3:06 PM
"And I also believe that too many in the media are much too quick to attach meaningless labels on both sides of the political spectrum that do nothing to solve the complicated economic issues that we face. Perhaps you and I can find some common ground on that point."

========================================
Indeed - we have common ground on that point. I'm very disappointed in today's media. They all seem to be partisan shills propagating the "us vs them" mentality rather than looking at the issues objectively.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | February 17, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Neither is valid.

A true deficit hawk like ryan or christie would go after SS or HHS.

SS is double the pentagon budget. it is double HHS. it is double the interest on our debt.

pentagon is growing slowly or not at all compared to inflation.

SS and HHS are growing quickly. And there are many valid reasons why they will grow as quickly or faster for the next 30-50 years.

We are victims of our own success. By funding seniors without limit, they have outlived all actuarial estimates. Every year we prolong an 85 year old's life for a year with massive spending through medicare, we are still paying his SS and/or pension.

These are the perot charts. These are the facts.

Posted by: docwhocuts | February 17, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The Defense Budgets keep on skyrocketing, and on top of them, they throw in a seperate 110 Billion or so each year, for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The USA has been spending more on The Military, than the next forty nine nations' budgets defense budgets combined totals

Posted by: Liam-still | February 17, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, Liam-Still. Even if we used estimates from SIPRI (and quarterback1 has a good point that there are no accurate public comparisons), the U.S. does not spend more on The Military than the next 18 nations combined.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

Now, do I think those 18 (or more) countries are suddenly going to get together and attack us, no. But the U.S. spent more on The Military in 1941 than Japan, and they still attacked us. Better safe than sorry when it comes to national defense.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 17, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Using those estimates, as a percentage of GDP, at least nine (9) countries spend more than us.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 17, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 says:

Rather, ("deficit hawk") means "someone who is fully committed to reducing the deficit through tax cuts, entitlement reform and frequent expressions of general hostility towards government."

A deficit hawk would want to reduce the deficit anyway he could, including tax INCREASES.

Posted by: michael_chaplan | February 17, 2011 9:55 PM | Report abuse

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