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Posted at 6:36 PM ET, 02/14/2011

Happy Hour Roundup

By Greg Sargent

* Despite the Egypt crisis, Obama's budget includes cuts to organizations that promote democracy abroad.

* Reality check of the day: Josh Green digs into the historical record to remind us that "deep cuts in government are nearly impossible to enact," and as a special bonus, recalls that government under Reagan grew.

* Eric Cantor says Republicans will propose an overhaul of Social Security and Medicare, and Republicans will dare Obama to come along.

* Scott Lemieux does a nice job puncturing the inane argument that the individual mandate is a slippery slope to the government force-feeding you broccoli.

* Shirley Sherrod sues Andrew Breitbart, on the grounds that his bogus video damaged her reputation and interrupted her work.

* Sam Stein has an interesting take on how Obama's budget cuts hard into priorities that are at the center of his life story, an apparent effort to demonstrate that he thinks everyone should feel some pain.

* Hillary Clinton goes there, charging that GOP budget cuts "will be detrimental to America's national security."

* Interesting: With Gabrielle Giffords apparently on track to recovery, Dems are growing more serious about a Giffords Senate run.

* Head-spinner of the day: Steve Benen notes that Senator Jeff Sessions is rather quick to change his assessment of the value of $1 trillion in deficit reductions, depending on who's proposing it.

* Ezra Klein, commenting on the centrality of health insurance costs to the budget, reimagines government as a "an insurance conglomerate protected by a large, standing army."

* Digby adds lots more, including this nice line:

There used to be another name for it -- "the welfare state" -- but don't tell anybody.

* The AFL-CIO unleashes a hard-hitting campaign targeting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's plan to roll back the collective bargaining rights of public employees, a sign the union is bracing for other states to make similar moves and hopes to defeat this one to set an example.

* You knew this was coming: Professional anti-mosque activist Pam Geller is very, very annoyed with Grover Norquist for insisting that Republicans should purge Islamophobia from their ranks for the good of the party.

* And for the sucker-born-every-minute files: Michele Bachmann asks supporters to give her their money so she can level the playing field in her public battle with former president Bill Clinton.

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 6:48 p.m.: The Post has a great breakdown of the impact of Obama's proposed budget, agency by agency.

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 6:36 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, Social Security, budget  
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Comments

"What else is happening?"

Epic - EPIC - slapdown of Obama's foreign policy re Egypt. A must-see.

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/harvard-professor-niall-ferguson-schools-morning-joe-on-obamas-failed-foreign-policy/

Posted by: sbj3 | February 14, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Neal Ferguson got in some deep hot water in 2009, over Racial Insensitivity.

"Paul Krugman has responded to Niall Ferguson's warning about our mountain of debt, though he basically says that Ferguson doesn't have a point worth responding to. Instead, Krugman calls him out for being racially insensitive:

Wow. I was airborne when Niall Ferguson published this:

President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat. One of the best-loved cartoon characters of the 1920s, Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky. And that pretty much sums up the 44th president of the US …

I cannot fathom the state of mind that led Ferguson to think this was a good way to introduce a column; admittedly, it doesn’t really distract from his larger point, since as far as I can tell he doesn’t have one."


Posted by: Liam-still | February 14, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

"What else is happening?"

Great take-down of Media Matters, too. A taste:

"Why would such a provocative and interesting piece get lost in shuffle? Perhaps because, in the current hyper-partisan landscape of opinion media (and watchdogs) it’s difficult to take seriously a post that alleges that “stuff is just made up” from a story that is unwilling to identify its source. Boehlert’s lack of a primary focus on journalism (versus agenda) undercuts the story... when their stated mission is “dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media,” it is very difficult to take such a report as an objective analysis... Media Matters was once a pioneering project that is now generating lower quality content than ever before."

http://www.mediaite.com/online/the-diminished-relevance-of-media-matters-fox-news-insider-story-largely-ignored/

Posted by: sbj3 | February 14, 2011 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Seems like the public employees and the AFL-CIO campaign against the Republican Governor is a bit late: it would be interesting to reveal how all these people voted (or did not vote) in the WI 2010 election for Governor.

Posted by: dozas | February 14, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

If only president Obama *did* have a bag of tricks! (Bolton as The Professor?)

Posted by: sbj3 | February 14, 2011 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Carried over from two-threads ago.

Shrink, thank you so much for such a thoughtful response. Do you think they are willfully ignoring the Democratic lesson of 2004 about defeating incumbents?

Again, many, many thanks for your powerful insights! :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

No, the mistake isn't necessarily willful, I think a lot of people, unlike you of course, think the momentum from the mid-terms will somehow translate into an easier time against Obama than when he was all about hope and change, not Bush/Cheny, etc. You know, the miss my smirk yet? crowd that is the base, they can't imagine Obama winning again.

They may well produce a shall we say, naive ticket, a ticket that does not consider what happened in '08 as all that important, let alone '04. We'll know a lot more about who knows what and who their strategists are in the run up to Tampa next Summer, but I wasn't impressed at all, obviously, with anything coming out of CPAC. To beat Obama, these folks are going to have to tack hard to the center and it doesn't seem like they get that, or perhaps their base won't let them - they may be spooked by the ghost of Mike Castle.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Go Sherrod. I hope she bankrupts Breitbart.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Since Grover is now incurring the wrath of the batsh*t Right wing and once held hands with Jane Hamsher, does this mean he's now a rung or two below the Koch Brothers on the Liberal ladder of ignominy?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | February 14, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

" the wrath of the batsh*t Right wing"

Present!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 8:05 PM | Report abuse

"Go Sherrod. I hope she bankrupts Breitbart."

Great point, DDAWD, she really could! Nice insight. I read somewhere that perhaps Breitbart used the original video to goad Sherrod into suing. Then, he can depose her, and pursue a line of questioning about the Pigford case. I don't think he's that shrewd. You?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Clearly war is the way to promote a peaceful transition to democracy:

Egypt: "Egypt's military leaders have told a coalition of young opposition leaders that they plan to convene a panel of distinguished jurists to submit a package of constitutional amendments within 10 days for approval in a national referendum within two months, setting a breakneck schedule for the transition to civilian rule."

* It's genuinely amusing to see Egypt's state media quickly shift gears from pro-government propaganda to celebrating Mubarak's ouster.

* Iraq: "A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday near a crowd of Shiite pilgrims at a bus depot in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra, killing 38 people and wounding scores of others, police and officials said."

* Afghanistan: "Taliban fighters deploying car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades killed at least 17 members of the Afghan security forces and two civilians in the southern city of Kandahar on Saturday, the U.S.-led coalition said in a statement."

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 14, 2011 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Seriously can someone tell me WTF is wrong with our brains. Why are we cutting emergency funds for folks freezing their arses off in the North..2 Billion..are you kidding?

How did the freaking defense budget get so untouchable? Have we simply become a country of paranoid right wing loons...I mean besides you troll. :-)

I thought we won WWII. We won? a war over 60 years...AGAIN 60 YEARS AGO...and we have
57,000 troops in Germany and 32,000 in Japan. Why? It's been TWENTY YEARS since the breakup of the Soviet Union. They're not going to invade Europe.

I get that we have air bases and hospitals in Germany that are part of the moronic wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...but 57,000 troops? And they were there before the two wars!

And again..how about Korea. 28,500 troops!
Hyndai...Samsung...they can afford their own freaking defense!

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

I'm ready to puke on the next Republican who says "we're broke"! What a bunch of idiotic irrational losers. We're broke but we can't even return tax levels to Reagan era levels. Why..was St. Ronnie a socialist? He supposedly made enough cuts in taxes that the rich would get rich and the wealth would trickle down to the rest of us. Well at least they got the first part correct. We weren't even broke when St. Ronnie took office...does it not stand to simple reason that if we're REALLY broke we'd at least return to taxation at St. Ronnie's level. If we're REALLY broke..why are we spending money on Koreans? Germans? Japanese? I have nothing against any of those nations but if WE'RE BROKE...let's do what everyday Americans are being forced to do...make some prudent choices. I defy anybody here to defend these deployments as making us one iota safer. BS!!!!

The Republicans are either total liars and we're not really all that broke...or they're buffoons!

And sorry DDAWD but Obama is not far behind. He wussed out as well on the obvious FAT in our budget...the BLOATED defense establishment.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

"No, the mistake isn't necessarily willful, I think a lot of people, unlike you of course, think the momentum from the mid-terms will somehow translate into an easier time against Obama than when he was all about hope and change, not Bush/Cheny, etc."

You're too kind, and I thank you. And I agree that a lot of people think they have momentum. What I don't understand is how that obvious knowledge, about the near impossibility of defeating an incumbent President, is lost on the likes of Romney, Daniels, Pawlenty and Barbour. I'm not trying to be disrespectful, and value your wisdom, but it seems to be stretching credulity to think all of the Republican hopefuls are making the same mistake and willfully ignoring information that can be achieved through a simple Google search. Again, no offense intended, and if your tired of my, for lack of a better phrase, "flogging a dead horse," please ignore it. And thank you in advance, should you choose to reply. ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

I can't imagine most lawyers would say changing your story after you've been sued is a shrewd move.

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/breitbart_changes_tune_on_why_he_released_sherrod.php?ref=fpblg

Breitbart is a lot of things, shrewd is not one that comes to my mind.

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 14, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think he's that shrewd. You?"

He might be, but there's no evidence. I'm tired of hearing about how right wing figures are somehow these media geniuses. It's the easiest thing in the world to become recognized by the mainstream press if you spout Conservative Things. Not everyone is Gretchen Carlson and I'm sure that Breitbart isn't.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 8:29 PM | Report abuse

"He might be, but there's no evidence. I'm tired of hearing about how right wing figures are somehow these media geniuses. It's the easiest thing in the world to become recognized by the mainstream press if you spout Conservative Things. Not everyone is Gretchen Carlson and I'm sure that Breitbart isn't."

Now that's interesting! Thanks for sharing that! :-)

And thank you as well pragmaticagian.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 8:35 PM | Report abuse

"Since Grover is now incurring the wrath of the batsh*t Right wing and once held hands with Jane Hamsher, does this mean he's now a rung or two below the Koch Brothers on the Liberal ladder of ignominy?'

He's been targeted before, not just on the Muslim issue (his wife is Muslim) from the Gaffney corner of insanity. There was a big fight with Tucker Carlson some years ago, for example, regarding Norquist's lobbying activities for whomever pays him the big bucks (a Marxist government in that case).

I'd be hard pressed to establish some measure to gauge who's hurt democracy more.

Posted by: bernielatham | February 14, 2011 8:40 PM | Report abuse

"as a special bonus, recalls that government under Reagan grew."

NOOOOOOOOOOO! It CAN'T be true! NOOOO!

Posted by: bernielatham | February 14, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Troll, you left out Palin. The guys you included, one or two will run and if Tpaw does it will be for next round. For Mitt this is it and no I can't understand why he is bothering.

Why the x-tra emphasis on simulated propriety? We know we like each other.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Quirky fact:

Breitbart was the architect of the concept, platform, layout, graphics, and business model of the Huffington Post.

No Andrew, no Arianna.

Crazy.

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

"Why the x-tra emphasis on simulated propriety? We know we like each other. "

Bill O'Reilly is talking about Saturday Night Live and it's the only joke Troll knows. Maybe Hannity will provide him some better stuff to repeat on here.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, I'm bringing this forward from a couple of threads back. You may have chosen to skip it, in which case, I apologize for missing the hint. Or, since it was on the tail end of a thread, you may have moved on, in which case, you still may choose it skip it. ;-)

"One last factor, too, seems to be proving quite destructive to the party producing a cadre of good candidates - the increasing reliance upon right wing media to define "conservativism" and to promote or demean individuals and ideas in other than the most shallow and cynical ways. "Is the person marketable?" rather than "Would this person be competent?""

Bernie, your comments are always deeply thought provoking and provide me with deep, deep insight into your fascinating.  I thank you for what you do for my benefit.

Getting back to the above comment, who should Conservatives let decide what Conservatism is, if not their own media?

Again thank you for your insights, and thanks in advance for your answer (should you decide to provide one.  I'm good with either of your choices.)! :-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

""Why the x-tra emphasis on simulated propriety? We know we like each other. "

Bill O'Reilly is talking about Saturday Night Live and it's the only joke Troll knows. Maybe Hannity will provide him some better stuff to repeat on here."

DDAWD, that is absolutely hilarious! LOL! LOL! Yesterday, 12bar twive provided me with great guffaws... One down! ;-) It's been one of those days, if you know what I mean, where every little bit helps. I thank you!

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Bernie,
Please know that I'm a huge fan of your comments. Understand, this is written by somebody who thinks there is a conspiracy surrounding the uteruses of Sarah, Bristol and perhaps Willow Palin. He doesnt know how deep the rabbit hole goes. That should help you in deciding how much credibility to give it.

I apologize in advance for th link.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/02/obama-to-the-obama-generation-youre-on-your-own.html

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 9:16 PM | Report abuse

"NOOOOOOOOOOO! It CAN'T be true! NOOOO!"

Of course it's true, it's never been disputed...actually it can't be disputed, the numbers are what they are.

What is also true, however, is that from 1981 to 1989 total spending as a percentage of GDP dropped by 1%. Clinton actually did better at almost a 4% drop. Both accomplished this by less domestic spending, more private sector growth.

To just get to zero Mr. Obama would have to shut down the Federal govt, excepting the IRS, until the NFL starts up again.

Just like the admin thought Tucson=OKCity, they think this will be Clinton v. Gingrich. Two problems: Mr. Obama is not as smart as Mr. Clinton (and his domestic/econ advisors are dweebacademics), and the GOP aren't brimmed up to the top with fantasies of their own transcendence like Newt.

I'm surprised at Mr. Obama's Will Kane gambit (he ain't Gary Cooper either).

BTW: Mr. Obama is clearly repudiating his own stimulus as a fail. He and his close staff must think he's in more trouble than is apparent.

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

"What is also true, however, is that from 1981 to 1989 total spending as a percentage of GDP dropped by 1%. Clinton actually did better at almost a 4% drop. Both accomplished this by less domestic spending, more private sector growth. "

you people are bad enough at subtraction, so I don't know if I should give a lession in division.

But clue #1, the bottom number matters.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

How did Conservatives fall in love with Bill Clinton?

I mean, they have very similar policies.

Must be something else...

Hmmm...what could it be...?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Cut the shite DD, you're growing tiresome.

The only time you post something other than two lines of snark is when you're writing about yourself and your ongoing training (good for you BTW).

Show us how the Spending to GDP metric is not significant. It better not be because Mr. Obama is on the way to 30%. Clinton's was around 18%.

Give us a lession.

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Go for it, Eric (Cantor)! I can't imagine anything else better designed to help Obama win the White House again in 2012. (Aside, that is, from policies that would actually help grow the economy.)

Posted by: bmoodie | February 14, 2011 9:59 PM | Report abuse

"Show us how the Spending to GDP metric is not significant. It better not be because Mr. Obama is on the way to 30%. Clinton's was around 18%."

Hell, it's your argument. Why IS it significant? Economically, it's an idiotic measure. The public sector should be countercyclical to the private sector.

But here's the thing. Clinton and Reagan had rising GDPs. Not so with Obama. And yeah, I know it's because Clinton's policies are finally coming into effect to cause an economic collapse and blah blah.

Second, Obama is not responsible for much of the increase in spending.

I've explained what you wanted explained. Now tell me why government spending divided by GDP is such a crucial measure of anything. I know Sean Hannity and Dick Morris were talking about it today, so of course you coincidentally Independently Come Up With this measure, but what is the significance?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 10:01 PM | Report abuse

"you people are bad enough at subtraction, so I don't know if I should give a lession in division.

But clue #1, the bottom number matters."

Uh, I was told there would be no math on this blog. ;-)

(I mean no offense, DDAWD, just a little joking.)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 10:08 PM | Report abuse

K St gives K a problem. Meanwhile I've been playing Monopoly on Skype with my kids for an hour.

We are at the point we need to trade and deal, game suspended, no way I am going to get fleeced by little kids when i am stuck in real hotel.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Liam

Instead of responding to Niall Ferguson's points in the Newsweek cover story, you want to personally attack the man


President Barack Obama reminds me of Felix the Cat. One of the best-loved cartoon characters of the 1920s, Felix was not only black. He was also very, very lucky. And that pretty much sums up the 44th president of the US …

_________________________________

So, until you have something intelligent to say about Egypt, I suppose everything you say should be held up to the same standard you are holding Ferguson to.


Liam, you participated in a SMEAR CAMPAIGN on this blog - your record is not good, to say the least.

And yet, you still think that personal attacks are a good way to start a conversation.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 14, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Shrink

I'm sure you will have to cheat when you play your little kids - it is the only way you can win.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 14, 2011 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Troll, stick a cork in the cutesy crap, it's getting old real fast. Yeah you're a member of the vast right wing conspiracy huh huh huh winky winky winky. We already have Jake to hold up the stupid caricature contingent and one is enough.

==

The more I read about budget cutting of absolutely essential programs while indisputable waste like defense and low taxes for the wealthy continue, the more convinced I am that America is truly washed up and will never recover. My only question from now on is whether the downward slide will remain gradual and incremental or whether there will be a real lurch. Given the insanity of things like billions in subsidies for oil companies enjoying record-smashing profits, not even urban cannibalism seems far-fetched anymore.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 10:17 PM | Report abuse

The liberals have failed the country and they continue to charge up the credit cards.

Maybe they should just be asked to leave the country after Obama is out of office.

What good are they?


.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 14, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

You've explained nothing. The metric has been used in macro/econ before Hannity was born. WTF are you talking about (and WhyTF are you listening to that cementhead Hannity)?

"Second, Obama is not responsible for much of the increase in spending."

How is that possible? Did gnomes submit this budget.

Positive GDP2Spending means growth, and jobs. Is this somewhere in dispute? If so tell us why.

{{{countercyclicalgiggle}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Last week this Socialist was told by his newly 7 yo, "You should go waymore so you can bring home more money." Yeah, it is like that, these guys are being raised to compete in the 15 years from now job market.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Troll, stick a cork in the cutesy crap, it's getting old real fast. Yeah you're a member of the vast right wing conspiracy huh huh huh winky winky winky. We already have Jake to hold up the stupid caricature contingent and one is enough.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Knight says a bucket right now would be important for Kansas State and it would be equeslly important for Kansas.

Sounds like The Fix.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Funny how all the Conseratives regard government as the wasteful one. As though government spending is money burned. That's certainly true for defense.

I've worked part of my career at major corporations like Microsoft and Intel. It's hard for me to imagine anyone being more wasteful than them. In fact a manager's importance to the organization could almost be measured by how much he wasted, from huge paper printouts that went directly into the trash to entire projects that were discarded as soon as they were done.

And I never heard of a government administrator getting an eight-figure bonus after presiding over his agency's worst year ever.

I really don't get the whole government-bad private-sector-good thing.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

@tao and troll

OK let' do some zero based budgeting here.
Nobody bit on my defense cuts so perhaps you guys have better ideas.

We started down this trickle down road with Reagan. The middle class has been shrinking ever since. Do you two call that a coincidence? Perhaps you attribute it all to globalization?

Bush cut taxes even more than Reagan and we've reached the point where the taxes are the lowest since 1950. Where are all those jobs you guys promised if we'd just cut taxes.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2010-05-10-taxes_N.htm

We've tried YOUR way for close to 40 years...where are the jobs and why is the middle class shrinking? I can supply a gazillion links btw that show statistically the middle class has been shrinking since 1977.

Now is this really the country you want for your children and grandchildren? Wealth increasingly distributed to the top 2% while the middle class and the American dream literally disappears?

"The incomes of the top 400 American households soared to a new record high in dollars and as a share of all income in 2007, while the income tax rates they paid fell to a record low, newly disclosed tax data show.
In 2007 the top 400 taxpayers had an average income of $344.8 million, up 31 percent from their average $263.3 million income in 2006, according to figures in a report that the IRS posted to its Web site without announcement that were discovered February 16. (For the report, see Tax Analysts Doc 2010-3372 .)"

Meanwhile guys...

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/background/numbers/revenue.cfm

"Revenue from the corporate income tax fell from between 5 and 6 percent of GDP in the early 1950s to 2.1 percent of GDP in 2008."

"The number of people living in poverty in America rose by nearly 4 million to 43.6 million in 2009 — the largest figure in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available — the Census Bureau said Thursday.
The bureau said in a statement that the official poverty rate was 14.3 percent, or 1 in 7 of Americans, the highest proportion of the population since 1994."

People earning more than 300 MILLION ANNUALLY getting a double digit jump in their wealth while their taxes went down! Meanwhile we now have 1-7 living in poverty!

And so Tao and Troll without any snark and genuine interest..two simple questions.

1.)Do you not find this picture disturbing?

2.)Seeing as how we arrived at this juncture after DECADES of tax cutting...doesn't it seem a little counterintuitive to suggest duh...tax cuts as a means to escape this situation. Isn't that actually a perfect example of Einstein's famous definition of insanity...doing the same thing (cutting taxes!!!) over and over again and expecting a different outcome?

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

"Rock peaked in 1971 and plunged downhill the next year. On afterburners. From bands to vocalists, ugh, ugh, ugh."

Hi cao! Hope your having a terrific day. You posted the above comment this morning, and I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. The '70's, in my humble opinion, were the peak years for rock and roll, that ended, some say on a mid January night in 1978. I prefer to use the date of December 12, 1980 as the start of rock's downward slide. The release of Sandinista signaled the end of rock music creativity. Obviously a highly subjective, er, subject however. ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like The Fix.

==

On the one hand, it remIains to be seen. On the other hand, cum grano salis.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 10:47 PM | Report abuse

cum grano solis ... does that have something to do with a Mega Boehner?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 14, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

cum grano solis ... does that have something to do with the Mega Boehner Greg mentioned on a previous thread?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | February 14, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

We've tried YOUR way for close to 40 years...where are the jobs and why is the middle class shrinking? I can supply a gazillion links btw that show statistically the middle class has been shrinking since 1977.

Now is this really the country you want for your children and grandchildren? Wealth increasingly distributed to the top 2% while the middle class and the American dream literally disappears?

==

haven't you been reading their comments? This is exactly what they want.

The Reagan Revolution came from Republicans, and, dude come on, Republicans care about the wealthy and nobody else. That's not a stereotype or caricature, it's the only possible conclusion to draw from what they say and what they do.

It's a mystery, and it will always be one, why people who stand to lose along with everyone else would endorse this, and against this opposition to one's own self-interest we can rail and rant all we want, but it is what it is.

For us it seems plain: there is no rational reason for anyone not in the very highest wealth brackets to vote Republican. But the key word here is rational.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 10:55 PM | Report abuse

"I've worked part of my career at major corporations like Microsoft and Intel. It's hard for me to imagine anyone being more wasteful than them. In fact a manager's importance to the organization could almost be measured by how much he wasted, from huge paper printouts that went directly into the trash to entire projects that were discarded as soon as they were done."

We must have worked for the same companies! ;-)

Some might argue (perhaps wrongly) that one could choose to refuse to give money to a wasteful corporation, though a boycott perhaps, or the divestment of shares one held. Waste by the government however, seems more "painful" because one's ability to control, or impact, or even voice a complaint tends be so much more nuanced?

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

"How is that possible? Did gnomes submit this budget."

*sigh*

http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution.html

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"WTF are you talking about (and WhyTF are you listening to that cementhead Hannity)?"

Why not? It gives me a head start on all the talking points for the night.

Of all my time posting here, I've NEVER seen Conservatives use the spending divided by GDP metric. Then it's the feature on Sean Hannity and minutes later tao Independently Comes Up With that Conservative Thing.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

So it has been established that Reagan was a big government liberal who gave us collective prosperity. What exactly is the Reagan level of taxation to which weshould return?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 14, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Troll, I found very little rock past 1971 to be even listenable. Once David Bowie and Roxy Music sold out and ELP lost it there was nothing for me to pursue. I was into Krautrock and ambient by then. I'd say the knife in the heart came from Grand Funk Railroad.

But after 1971 it just went to hell. There was never a repeat of the golden years of Ten Years After, Spirit, The Who, Tull, Traffic .. just Bad Boy Vocalist and hair acts.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 14, 2011 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Ruk,

I've stated before, I think we should pull out of Afghanistan and completely eliminate the Army. So I'm at least meeting if not upping your Defense Department cuts.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 11:06 PM | Report abuse

BTW More evidence of Ike's prediction about the MIC.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704032704575268952046992076.html

Lawmakers from both parties, including the top two House Republicans, are pressing in a vote Thursday to add $485 million to the defense budget for a fighter-jet engine that the Pentagon says it doesn't want.

The White House and Defense Secretary Robert Gates say the backup engine for the next-generation Joint Strike Fighter is a waste of money that will deplete funds for military priorities.

The fight highlights a vexing issue for those who want to rein in Washington spending. Members of both parties express concern about rising budget deficits, and Republicans have made a campaign issue of what they describe as excessive spending by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. But lawmakers on both sides are rarely willing to stand up against government projects that benefit businesses and employees in their districts."

And why would two such "devoted" spending hawks as Boehner and Cantor blow all this money on something the Defense Dept DOESN'T EVEN WANT?

Yeah I'm sure you're ahead of me here..of course...GE is just outside Boehner's district in Ohio and Rolls has built a plant in Cantor's district.

$$$ to help the freezing poor in Tao's home district...not a good deal...$$$ on a project the Defense Dept doesn't even want...great!

$$$ to pay for the Korean's defense..28,000 troops...great investment..let's subsidize Hyndai and Samsung and take care of Koreans...Americans...let's make their graduate educations even more difficult to afford. And so while those socialist hell holes in Finland, Sweden, Norway are providing higher education and producing a populace for today's competitive global market place...to borrow from Pink Floyd..here in the good ole "exceptional" USA "We don't need no education."

While we cut proven programs for our youth...let's provide some more taxpayer $$ for oil company subsidies...we've all seen their sorry P&L statements right? The oil companies are hurting big time and desperately need our tax dollars!

@Cao My friend I'm afraid one long visit to Vietnam was enough for me..although I readily concede it wasn't under the best of circumstances:-)....but I'm seriously considering alternatives. Alas I'm probably too old to qualify for emigration to Australia...I truly fear for my native land...we've become a nation of boorish, selfish, uninformed and unthinking people.
I hate to admit it...but I'm beginning to consider what I'm going to do if the nation keeps careening down this path of lunacy.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

manypeople think GunsnRoses was the best R&R of all time, top 5. The people here don't have to act silly, too mean or too nice, but we wouldn't be here if we din not know some certain things, by the way if you are using modern technology fixing typos is a huge pita

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

DD,

You're kidding with the Constitution, right?

What did Mr. Obama submit today? Did it project a deficit? Why yes, it did! And for fun it's on track to go red to $7.2Trillion over 10yrs. Wait till the CBO takes a long look at the doc. Laff riot.

What did Ms. Pelosi pass last year? (Trick question...the Dem majority did not pass a budget last year.)

Now tell us how a bill becomes a law.

{{{I fear for our youths...that are now pushing middle-age and spending to much time at Sadly No.}}}

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Very, very, DEEP cuts must be done to save America from total ruin.

But our political poo-bahs are too gutless to do the job.

Total ruin is in the works.

America must be laid to waste before it can rise from ruin.

This may be the Obamanation's only contribution to the good cause.

A contribution unwitting.

Posted by: battleground51 | February 14, 2011 11:16 PM | Report abuse

@Troll

"I've stated before, I think we should pull out of Afghanistan and completely eliminate the Army. So I'm at least meeting if not upping your Defense Department cuts."

Wow! Now can we also raise taxes back to the level of St. Ronnie and trickle down.

Because the reality my Marine buddy is that those two things would balance the budget. How much would we save if we ended 57,000 troops in Germany...30,000+ in Japan and another 26,000 in Korea.

If Sarah Palin became President and did those two things...taxes back to her hero St. Ronnie's levels...and your suggestion about eliminating the Army...wait is this a trick..what about the Marines? Tell ya what you can keep the Corps if you just get us out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Germany, Japan and Korea. :-) And if Sister Sarah pulled that off I'd vote to give her a second term!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

"Troll, I found very little rock past 1971 to be even listenable. Once David Bowie and Roxy Music sold out and ELP lost it there was nothing for me to pursue. I was into Krautrock and ambient by then. I'd say the knife in the heart came from Grand Funk Railroad.

But after 1971 it just went to hell. There was never a repeat of the golden years of Ten Years After, Spirit, The Who, Tull, Traffic .. just Bad Boy Vocalist and hair acts."

With all due respect and civility. Please look at this list (and please take no offense that Hunky Dory is only ranked 58th. In a just world, it would replace Plastic Ono Band) and excuse my impertinence.

http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_albums70s.html


http://www.digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_albums70s.html

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

battleground did you suffer major losses in the derivative values market? Republicans have to sell optimism

Kansas just got blown out. Are they done?
No it was good for them. You old people better not sell my kids short.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 11:21 PM | Report abuse

"You old people better not sell my kids short."

As an "old" person with a 34 year old son and three grandchildren...I fear that's already a fait accompli.

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 14, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

"manypeople think GunsnRoses was the best R&R of all time, top 5. The people here don't have to act silly, too mean or too nice, but we wouldn't be here if we din not know some certain things, by the way if you are using modern technology fixing typos is a huge pita"

I'll admit to liking G&R, but just check the list I linked too, with the exception of the Plastic Ono Band (the one album capable of disqualifying the whole decade) and far to many "Springsteen" albums, trying to deny the '70's as the best rock music decade is like, no offense bernie, admitting you enjoyed the film version of Sgt. Pepper's.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have a handle on the plans to phase out Freddie and Fannie?

I have read that the complete phase out of Freddie/Fannie will result in somewhat higher interest rates and the death of the 30 year fixed mortgage. Rates will be higher since there will be no government backing for mortgages and lenders will phase out fixed rates as too risky for the same reason. I have read that the U.S. is virtually the only country whose real estate market makes 30 year fixed rates. Variable rate loans are the products sold everywhere else.

It seems to me that if rates increase and mortgages become variable rate, the total value of real estate as an investment will decline, as demand will decline.

Anyone have any insight on this?

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 14, 2011 11:28 PM | Report abuse

"DD,

You're kidding with the Constitution, right?"

Oh yeah, I forgot, the Conservative Constitution.

Article I - Black candidates can't be President without producing an imagined long-form birth certificate.

Article II - Obamacare is Unconstitutional

Article III - The Bush tax cuts have 0.00% effect on the deficit.

--The End--

Posted by: DDAWD | February 14, 2011 11:31 PM | Report abuse

C'mon RU, no ones freezing here. It's illegal, you know, and there's ample fuel assistance in NYS.

You know what they're debating here this very day at the Statehouse in Albany?

Retaining the "Millionaires Tax" on 2 income households over $500K. It will likely continue (and I don't have that much of a problem with that as long as there's accompanying spending cuts).

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 11:32 PM | Report abuse

"Wow! Now can we also raise taxes back to the level of St. Ronnie and trickle down."

28% it is! ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 14, 2011 11:34 PM | Report abuse

ruk, your kid didn't get into medical school? Oh what a disaster, but don't feel bad, how could anyone have known so long ago that health care would be the only job that could not be exported.

If you don't get born into money, you have to slip and fall, or get into health care.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Via Article II, you're assuming I'm a racist?

You got the wrong guy. Can you possibly be more weak, more delusional, more malignant?

The constitutionality of Obamacare will be determined via the Judiciary as per the Constitution.

And the Bush tax cuts clearly enlarged the deficit.

Posted by: tao9 | February 14, 2011 11:44 PM | Report abuse

12BB you missed my F&F deposits (archival value). Tiny keyboards are not good for screeding but bottom line, everything will stay the same. They can not make changes now. They talk for cover.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 14, 2011 11:48 PM | Report abuse

@shrink,

No I didn't see your posts on F/F. Sounds entirely plausible that this is just a long term plan to phase out/down F/F. A mortgage broker told me the entire real estate market would simply stop if F/F was abruptly ceased.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | February 14, 2011 11:53 PM | Report abuse

RU,

GE is the biggest private (kinda) employer here. GE Turbine and GE Power at their original Edison Ave campus, right on the Mohawk, is across the street from my office. GE Global Research next town over. GE LifeSciences 3miles up the road in Rotterdam. GE Plastics up in Waterford. KnollsAtomicPowerLabs(GE/Fed) nuclear research is about a driver, a fairway wood, and a stiff 6 iron from my house (DOH!).

The new ObamaBattery plant is over on the old campus, too.

GE is the largest recipient of the Stim, and was one of the largest recipients of TARP via GE Capital.

No one has ID'ed the Ohio plant $$$ to Boehner yet, wouldn't surprise me at all if Immelt (GE CEO, huge Obama $$$man) teed that one up. Its just smoke so far. Typical ThinkProg BS.

Posted by: tao9 | February 15, 2011 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Worse, but yeah, that is what I saud. You know, the toxix are @ $1.5T, makes TARP look minor, all of that has to be sucked up and then after all the pain in the cash printing exercises does what it does to ibterest rates, after the people barely hanging on to the positive get off their liabilities,..no one can pull the plug onF&F it is a wet wash cloth in the face. Obama is teaching America how bad the cost of the Cold War and the next and the next and the next was, how much we need to take care of our country for a change.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 15, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Worse, but yeah, that is what I saud. You know, the toxix are @ $1.5T, makes TARP look minor, all of that has to be sucked up and then after all the pain in the cash printing exercises does what it does to ibterest rates, after the people barely hanging on to the positive get off their liabilities,..no one can pull the plug onF&F it is a wet wash cloth in the face. Obama is teaching America how bad the cost of the Cold War and the next and the next and the next was, how much we need to take care of our country for a change.

Posted by: shrink2 | February 15, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

my 11:31 was for DDAWG

meant Article I

heart being called a racist, thats why I love PL...it's a forensic eden

F'n-A, out

Posted by: tao9 | February 15, 2011 12:11 AM | Report abuse

No I didn't see your posts on F/F. Sounds entirely plausible that this is just a long term plan to phase out/down F/F. A mortgage broker told me the entire real estate market would simply stop if F/F was abruptly ceased.

==

In the 1950s anyone with a job could buy a house.

By the 1970s home ownership was out of reach for most .. by the 1990s it meant two working adults and now home ownership is all but out of reach. The latest burst has millions foreclosed and millions more underwater, one fit of pique away from walking away. In some areas over 70% of mortgages are underwater.

Yeah we need to stifle the American Dream to address the deficit, but we have to continue tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthiest people and industries in America.

The end of an era.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 12:27 AM | Report abuse

@Cao My friend I'm afraid one long visit to Vietnam was enough for me..although I readily concede it wasn't under the best of circumstances:-)....but I'm seriously considering alternatives. Alas I'm probably too old to qualify for emigration to Australia...I truly fear for my native land...we've become a nation of boorish, selfish, uninformed and unthinking people.
I hate to admit it...but I'm beginning to consider what I'm going to do if the nation keeps careening down this path of lunacy.

==

Well I fear for what's going to happen in America in terms of simple physical survival, not just loss of income or downward mobility. If you can afford to get out now, you should seriously think about it.

America is like a 90 year old man about to get in a serious auto accident.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

There is major stuff going on at that great University where Robert Bork is a law school prof.

Apparently things aren't going very well . . .

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/blog/get_the_door_its_dominos_react.php

earlier article

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/feature/pie_in_the_sky.php?page=all
(Since Safranek’s ouster, the law school has been in a freefall. Most of the original faculty have fled or been pushed out, and the quality of the students has tumbled. One current professor told me, “Our student body now is one of the four or five worst in America.” The instability has also wreaked havoc on the school’s reputation: in the 2009 U.S. News & World Report law school rankings, Ave Maria tied for last place in the peer-assessment category, the most important measure in determining a school’s standing. (The school was not officially ranked because U.S. News doesn’t rank schools that land in the bottom tier.))

Posted by: smd1234 | February 15, 2011 1:16 AM | Report abuse

More Republican humor at work!

http://thestir.cafemom.com/in_the_news/116195/republican_ecard_valentines_arent_spreading?quick_picks=1&utm_medium=sem2&utm_source=outbrain&utm_campaign=outbrain&utm_content=outbrain_feb_test

Posted by: DDAWD | February 15, 2011 1:26 AM | Report abuse

"More Republican humor at work!"

DDAWD, that's a scream! LOL! LOL! Thanks for finding that and sharing! A great ending to a hard day! I owe you, big time! ;-)

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | February 15, 2011 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Why am I not surprised the liberals don't seem to know what St Ronnie tax rates they are pining g for?

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 15, 2011 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't aware Troll McWingnut was a liberal in your view, QB

Nobody on earth to your right yet you regard yourself as a centrist.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 3:23 AM | Report abuse

"Eric Cantor says Republicans will propose an overhaul of Social Security and Medicare, and Republicans will dare Obama to come along."

It is dismaying to see the work of giants being tinkered with by mental pgymies like Cantor and the rest of the Republicans.

Posted by: rhallnj | February 15, 2011 5:52 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans in the House should put together a $300 Billion deficit and sit on it.

TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT FREESPENDING OBAMA.

Simple. Let the American People decide from there whether they want a 300 Billion deficit or a $1.6 Trillion deficit.

The liberals are INSANE.


It has to be done - it has to be done now.

Posted by: AllSpendingMustBeCut | February 15, 2011 6:28 AM | Report abuse

Couple of budget thoughts:

1. EPA gets slashed which is quite odd for an Agency about to be tasked with regulating carbon dioxide. Ahem.

2. I truly hope that the WH is not planning to exchange cuts in the Welfare State for "repealing" the Tax Cuts for the Rich.

3. Barack Obama is a Compassionate Conservative. Who knew?

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Well as Gomer Pyle once said...surprise..surprise..surprise...

We have some disingenuous righties here who can't seem to figure out what taxes I might have been suggesting when I said let's go back to the Reagan era....

5 of Reagan's 8 years the top marginal rate was 50%. How about that...I'd settle for the rate that was in place for FIVE OF REAGAN'S EIGHT YEARS! Can you figure that one out. 28% was one year his last year and of course "coincidentally" was followed by a horrible recession that cost Bush I his job..although the selfish pig righties would say it was because the rate was moved back up a WHOPPING 3% to 31%

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=213

And another adjustment I would be in favor of was the way Capital gains were treated during the Reagan Administration. This would be HUGE considering Rick the Scumbag
Scott pays 15% in taxes on 10 MILLION in annual income. Really really fair eh righties?

"Under the Tax Reform Act of 1986, all capital gains are now taxed like wages and other ordinary income - at rates of 15 percent, 28 percent or 33 percent"

Imagine that...treating the coupon clippers who move a mouse around and peck on a keyboard the SAME as those who actually are performing some kind of LABOR!

So there it is confused righties...a tax policy right out of St. Ronnies terms.

BTW...ONE YEAR, the last year, Reagan cut marginal rates to 28% and again "coincidentally" job creation went in the crapper for the next four years. Clinton raised the rates back to 39.6% and again "coincidentally" job creation skyrocketed!!!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobs_created_during_U.S._presidential_terms


You losers have nothing to offer but snark...ZERO facts to back up your claims...NO record of success in creating jobs...

And so now it's your turn...that fundamental question to prove to us you're not as Einstein suggested INSANE...Since St. Ronnie this country has been on a tax cutting binge (slowed somewhat by Clinton).
Where are the jobs? Seriously righties hook us up with some stats that show YOUR INSANE way actually works!

Posted by: rukidding7 | February 15, 2011 7:35 AM | Report abuse

So the extension and expansion of the tax cuts jumped the deficit from 1.1T to 1.6T, the defense budget is ginormous, according to Obama's budget unemployment will still be at 8.6% next year, and meanwhile we're fighting with R's over a 30 to 40 billion difference in cuts to about 12% of our budget. While as we wait breathlessly for the R's to show us how to cut SS and Medicare sometime in the spring, no one will take on either the MIC, the HIC (health industry complex) or the BIC (banking industry complex) for fear of losing an election. Instead we're taking on the public employee unions, poor people, college students, the EPA, airports, community development, etc. etc. in order to dig out. Brilliant.

"" Defense Secretary Robert Gates already has revealed the Pentagon will seek $553 billion in its 2012 Pentagon budget plan — the largest request ever — and slower growth than planned over the next four years. He also has revealed proposals to end several major weapons programs, including the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).

That means the spending plan “will be anti-climactic in the broad sense,” according to one senior House defense aide.

Indeed, while Gates promised to cut $78 billion over five years, most of that reduction would take place in 2014 and 2015. As Center for American Progress senior fellow and President Reagan’s former assistant secretary of defense Larry Korb points out, Obama’s request is “5% higher than what the Defense Department plans to spend this year. In inflation-adjusted dollars, this figure is higher than at any time during the Bush years or during the Cold War.” In fact, the total military budget this year “comes in at a thumping $750 billion — an annual tax of more than $7,000 on every household in the country.”""

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/14/pentagon-budget-largest/

Posted by: lmsinca | February 15, 2011 7:40 AM | Report abuse

I think the tech bubble and peace dividend were more attributable to the end of the Cold War and Silicon Valley than to Bill Clinton. I don't fault Ronald Reagan for any of what rukidding7 has posted.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Why should anyone care what you "fault" Ronald Reagan for, Jake? You're just a moron.

So where were all these Fiscal Kommandos in the Congress when Bush was MasterCarding two wars and giving tax breaks to billionaires? Didn't hear a peep out of them then.

No Tea Party either. Gee, what could the difference be?

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 7:57 AM | Report abuse

And another adjustment I would be in favor of was the way Capital gains were treated during the Reagan Administration. This would be HUGE considering Rick the Scumbag Scott pays 15% in taxes on 10 MILLION in annual income. Really really fair eh righties?

==

You're just giving the trolls a snark opening here for a winky-winky rejoinder.

It's not worth wasting any more time wondering how people could hold views so contrary to their own interests, nor pointing out their hypocrisies. Just note it and move on, call it a mania for self-destruction. Go back a few weeks to a post about a sparrow and a curtain rod.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Were I Prez, my budgetary goal would be

to adopt Bowles-Simpson, to

adopt significant tax reform aimed at trading off exemptions and loopholes for flatter rate structures while increasing revenues, and to

open the discussion on Med/Med reform while proposing one or more of the standard "fixes" for SS OASB.

I do not know how I would reach those goals or if my opening gambit could lead in the right direction. I do not think my Budget proposal could address all of my goals. Knowing that I could not dictate the ultimate result, I would probably announce general goals, but not specifics. So much of what happens domestically depends on Congress. So little depends on the Prez.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2011 8:05 AM | Report abuse

In fact, the total military budget this year “comes in at a thumping $750 billion — an annual tax of more than $7,000 on every household in the country.

==

Yeah just in case Stalin decides to invade West Germany.

Christ, that's justban amazing figure. Seven grand for every household in the country. Talk about one seriously fụcked up country.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Bob Herbert discussing the Reagan "legacy".

ruk, Scott as much as said he doesn't dispute the numbers in your links the other day and that was the end of that. It's just not worth the effort to try to persuade them anymore with challenges to deny the facts, apparently they don't care about facts when it comes to economic policy.

""No less than other public figures, Reagan was complicated. He was neither the empty suit that his greatest detractors would have you believe nor the conservative god of his most slavish admirers. He was a tax-cutter who raised taxes in seven of the eight years of his presidency. He was a budget-cutter who nearly tripled the federal budget deficit.

The biggest problem with Reagan, as we look back at his presidency in search of clues that might help us meet the challenges of today, is that he presented himself — and has since been presented by his admirers — as someone committed to the best interests of ordinary, hard-working Americans. Yet his economic policies, Reaganomics, dealt a body blow to that very constituency.

Mark Hertsgaard, the author of “On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency,” says in the film, “You cannot be fair in your historical evaluation of Ronald Reagan if you don’t look at the terrible damage his economic policies did to this country.”

Paul Volcker, who served as chairman of the Federal Reserve during most of the Reagan years, commented in the film about the economist Arthur Laffer’s famous curve, which, incredibly, became a cornerstone of national economic policy. “The Laffer Curve,” said Mr. Volcker, “was presented as an intellectual support for the idea that reducing taxes would produce more revenues, and that was, I think, considered by most people a pretty extreme interpretation of what would happen.”

Toward the end of his comment, the former Fed chairman chuckled as if still amused by the idea that this was ever taken seriously.""

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/opinion/15herbert.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

Posted by: lmsinca | February 15, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

cao, I'm pretty disgusted with the whole lot.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 15, 2011 8:15 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin, I think you are going to be pleasantly surprised how far the House goes. If the Senate and/or President refuse to go along, I hope you take that into consideration when you cast your 2012 ballot.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

The Laffer Curve,” said Mr. Volcker, “was presented as an intellectual support for the idea that reducing taxes would produce more revenues, and that was, I think, considered by most people a pretty extreme interpretation of what would happen

==

Three fun facts about the Laffer Curve

(1) at no point did any analysis of it deal with actual numbers

(2) despite not a single piece of supportive evidence and despite being counter-arithmetic, the idea that cutting taxes increases revenue remains an article of the firmest Conservative conviction

(3) the Curve was presented to Ronald Reagan on Dick Cheney's cocktail napkin

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Since rukidding7 never addressed jnc4p's reply on the previous thread:

"I don't see any evidence that either Obama or the Republicans are proposing to reduce U.S. Forces on the Korean peninsula, or anywhere else in the world, beyond the already scheduled draw downs in Iraq. I'm perfectly happy to reduce U.S. defense spending and obligations to the rest of the world, but I don't see it being on the table, aside from the proposal of Ron Paul & Barney Frank. These reductions will have real consequences, though, and we need to be prepared to live with the results of say a successful invasion of South Korea by North Korea or another Middle East war against Israel if we eliminate or substantially reduce our overseas presence."

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Ims & Cao:

Obama is GOP-lite. So is the Democratic Party. Obama cedes the entire philosophical and economic argument at the outset: government spending is the problem. Government itself is the problem, just like the GOP says. In so acting, Obama fails in his most important task, which is to move the country away from the Radical Right ideology that has descended upon us like a plague of stupidity.

And then we have $7,000 per American family to pay for the military, for wars nobody wants and a standing army that the Founders and Framers deemed more dangerous than anything else in the republic. We have Plouffe "reassuring" Liberal bloggers that Obama won't cut SS "too much," while the Administration -- Fox News style -- bemoans how difficult it is to "repeal" tax cuts that don't require repeal b/c they will expire.

Obama pre-compromises every position in the vain hope that he will be seen as reasonable, only to have the GOP take his compromises and then double them, at least, every time. Obama touts Eisenhower and admires Reagan while he calls FDR a political opportunist. Obama is a Compassionate Conservative, GOP-lite and we all know what Harry Truman said about that. Anyone who still has illusions about Obama is acting out of willful blindness. Obama is a Compassionate Conservative and the Democratic Party is nothing but not-as-bad-as-the-GOP.


Greens in 2012!

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

or another Middle East war against Israel

==

So?

They've made their bed by letting the settler movement dictate policy. Let them lie in it.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, when did Obama call FDR an opportunist?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 15, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

There would be no reason to make such drastic cuts to the budget if: (1) Rich people and corporations would pay their fair share in taxes (they should donate their billion dollar bonuses to the people at this time of crisis; (2) Take a hatchet to defense spending and do away with all the military spending which we are not using, have not used, and will not use. Trillions go to that budget. Surely they can cut it in half. These things alone, would give the U.S. plenty money to begin to build a 21st century economy. It is well known by the "powers that be" that Saudi Arabia is running out of oil, that there will be tremendous food shortages due to freaky weather patterns. We should be building alternative energy sources and addressing real climate changes. A high-speed rail system that could transport people faster than a car, would do much to address cutting back on oil consumption. We need smart men running our country; men and women who are forward thinking, ahead of the curve. Not people who offer a No and Cut to every single proposal offered to make this country better, faster, sounder.

For a feel-good story:

The Facebook Freedom Fighter

Wael Ghonim’s day job was at Google. But at night he was organizing a revolution.

After spending almost two weeks in detention, Ghonim found himself anointed a leader by the leaderless movement he'd helped to create. The telephone call from Cairo came late on Thursday, Jan. 27. “I think they’re following me,” the caller told the friend on the other end. “I’m going to destroy this phone.”


http://www.newsweek.com/2011/02/13/the-facebook-freedom-fighter.html

Posted by: wdsoulplane | February 15, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/02/the_morning_plum_187.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | February 15, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

lms:

""Scott as much as said he doesn't dispute the numbers in your links the other day and that was the end of that.""

Let's recall the actual conversation. ruk proposed a slew of statistics as the starting point for a discussion about compassion and morality. I stipulated agreement with the statistics for the purposes of advancing the discussion. And then ruk never came back with anything tying these stats to the larger discussion. Or, at least, I never saw one.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, I would dispute that either of Obama's nominations to the Supreme Court were conservatives, but I welcome your joining me in refusing to vote for him in 2012. Careful, or rukidding7 is going to accuse you of ODS too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

In so acting, Obama fails in his most important task, which is to move the country away from the Radical Right ideology that has descended upon us like a plague of stupidity

==

Reading some of the posts from the Conservatives and some of the utterances of Republicans in the Congress always makes me think of that flick from a few years ago where people get disoriented and suddenly start looking for a way to off themselves.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

DDAWD;

Obama said that back when he was capitulating on the Tax Cuts for the Rich. He bristled when compared unfavorably to FDR and said that, unlike FDR, he (Obama) didn't let the economy collapse for 6 months post-election just so he could enact his political program.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

That seems like a really odd thig to say - that FDR allowed the economy to collapse. Got a link?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 15, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Let's recall the actual conversation. ruk proposed a slew of statistics as the starting point for a discussion about compassion and morality. I stipulated agreement with the statistics for the purposes of advancing the discussion. And then ruk never came back with anything tying these stats to the larger discussion. Or, at least, I never saw one.

==

I don't recall this particular exchange, but I tried for several days to engage with you candidly and without rancor, and time and time again you left me with the impression that you were more interested in playing games and working in argumentative goads than you were interested in an honest exchange.

Wouldn't surprise me of ruk ended up coming to the same conclusion.

Sorry Scott but that's how it looks me me.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I have been thinking about one of the legs of Scott's argument for a flat tax on personal income. Scott argues that a flat tax, because it would be very painful, *would limit the public's desire for more benefits, not simply incur the public's desire for less tax, and therefore more deficits*.

As I have restated it, the reader can see that I am skeptical.

But I think it may be worth a try. Set the flat rate at 40% with a high standard deduction/family exemption and no itemization. Set the flat corporate rate at 28% with no special industry wide tax credits and a de minimus exemption for less than $50,000 of corporate income. Inflation will make ever more folks pay taxes and increase revenues accordingly. Then see if the highly taxed public complains about taxes, or about spending.

The interesting numbers would be the flood of small businesses choosing to be taxed like C corporations, of course.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 15, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Obama said that back when he was capitulating on the Tax Cuts for the Rich. He bristled when compared unfavorably to FDR and said that, unlike FDR, he (Obama) didn't let the economy collapse for 6 months post-election just so he could enact his political program.

==

Yet he admires Ronald Reagan who arranged for the Iranian embassy hostages to be detained till after his inauguration so he could claim credit for their release.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 8:55 AM | Report abuse

ScottC3, it's not just you that rukidding7 "conveniently" ignores. He's old though, so maybe it's just Alzheimers.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Okay Scott, stipulated, end of conversation.

Posted by: lmsinca | February 15, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

That seems like a really odd thig to say - that FDR allowed the economy to collapse. Got a link?

Posted by: DDAWD | February 15, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Yup.

"This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis. We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly."

http://www.oliverwillis.com/2010/10/27/full-transcript-of-president-obamas-meeting-with-progressive-bloggers/

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:05 AM | Report abuse

But I think it may be worth a try

==

Why don't you give it a try in computer simulations instead of risking a nation on another nutty experiment.

The last time the American economy was used as a crucible for some nut job's cute little idea it didn't work out so hot.

You're a well-educated and well-informed guy mark but I wouldn't give a pail of spit for any of your positions.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"This notion that somehow I could have gone and made the case around the country for a far bigger stimulus because of the magnitude of the crisis, well, we understood the magnitude of the crisis. We didn’t actually, I think, do what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did, which was basically wait for six months until the thing had gotten so bad that it became an easier sell politically because we thought that was irresponsible. We had to act quickly."

==

Nuts. The stimulus was way too small and everyone not genuflecting to Reaganomics said so, but Obama had this naive idea about playing patty cake with the Republicans and only pumped about 400 b into the economy when it should have been more than twice that.

The tax breaks didn't count.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"You're a well-educated and well-informed guy mark but I wouldn't give a pail of spit for any of your positions."

You and me both, Cao. I mean, Mark isn't bad for a Republican but as a Democrat? Oh, noooooo.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@wbg: the guy is justt our own David Broder. Knowledgable and articulate but when you read the positions it's just generic "center right" mush and of no real interest.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Cao:

We will know the American political duopoly has been restored to sanity when Mark is recognized as a Moderate Republican. Same as President Obama.

Don't hold your breath.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Well I'm no big fan of Obama, WBG, hope you don't think I am. He's a huge disappointment, and if the filth were really paying attention they'd be hooting their glee with what a Bush successor he's turned out to be instead of rolling their eyes about socialism and tyranny.

As for mark, I stopped reading his posts a long time ago because I don't find them terribly interesting, but lately I read a few and it seems to be the quality is way down, and the positioning much further right, than a few years ago.

You can take those two judgments as orthogonal or dependent, 'sup to you.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"they'd be hooting their glee with what a Bush successor he's turned out to be instead of rolling their eyes about socialism and tyranny."

The Cons are are using strategery. They always say Obama is too far Left and they call him Liberal names until he capitulates. Then they pat him on the head. FDR he ain't.

Posted by: wbgonne | February 15, 2011 9:47 AM | Report abuse

mark:

""Then see if the highly taxed public complains about taxes, or about spending.""

Your suggestion is not a reasonable test of my thesis.

Since the wider population is already accustomed to, and expects, current levels of spending, but is not accustomed to, and doesn't expect, having to pay the taxes necessary to support the spending, naturally they would, in your proposal, object to the taxes, not the spending.

Progressive taxation, particularly highly progressive taxation, entices many in the voting public to expect and even demand something for nothing. Or, at the very least, it entices them to believe that things cost a lot less than what they actually cost. As I pointed out the other day, what is necessary is a cultural shift, which will in turn alter policy, not some abrupt policy change to see how people react. (BTW, I have no illusions about the difficulty in bringing about such a shift.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

claw:

""ScottC3, it's not just you that rukidding7 "conveniently" ignores. ""

I don't think ruk ignores me in general or in this instance. I suspect he just lost where he was going with the thread (if he ever had a destination in mind to start with.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I have no illusions about the difficulty in bringing about such a shift.

==

Yeah first you would have to convince people that libertarian politics are worth burying half their children.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""Sorry Scott but that's how it looks me me.""

Sometimes there is just no accounting for what a person sees.

All I know is that, in an effort to understand the principles which underlie your foreign policy preferences, I posed a couple of questions on how you think the US should interact with other nations. I posed the same questions several times. I still await an answer. Which makes me wonder just who it is that is not interested in an honest exchange.

BTW, I don't know what argumentative "goads" you are talking about. Perhaps you misinterpreted something I said, because I am aware of no such "goads".

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""Sorry Scott but that's how it looks me me.""

Sometimes there is just no accounting for what a person sees.

==

That's an example of what I was talking about right there

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

All I know is that, in an effort to understand the principles which underlie your foreign policy preferences, I posed a couple of questions on how you think the US should interact with other nations.

==

And as with your response above, you kept trying to steer the conversation into ever more general and intangible terms. Had I followed you there we could have had a jolly time discussing nothing at all, in terms so vague and unreferential they had literally nothing to do with anything.

No thanks. Play idle fluffery with someone else. Someone with infinite free time.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

ScottC3, we'll see.

Posted by: clawrence12 | February 15, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""And as with your response above, you kept trying to steer the conversation into ever more general and intangible terms.""

As I pointed out before, one cannot have a sensible discussion about specific preferences (ie fund Israel, fund the Palestinians, fund neither) in the absence of any principles grounding the preferences. It would be like discussing which is a "better" or "good" choice of meals, steak or chicken.

We need to establish some objective measure of what is "good" or "proper" foreign policy before it makes any sense to discuss and analyze a specific FP policy or proposal.

My sense is that you want to avoid discussing principles because you want to retain the ability to make otherwise contradictory arguments regarding different specific FP preferences that you hold without being called out for being inconsistent. That is understandable, I suppose, but not solid ground for an honest discussion.

""That's an example of what I was talking about right there""

Wow. That seems a tad overly sensitive on your part, but I will try to avoid such asides in the future if it bothers you.

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

As I pointed out before, one cannot have a sensible discussion about specific preferences [] in the absence of any principles grounding the preferences ...

==

.. Etc. Etc. Etc.

This stuff makes my eyes glaze over.

You're just corroborating whatmi said.n if you want to disuss "principles grounding the preferences," find someone made of air.

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

cao:

""This stuff makes my eyes glaze over.""

That's fine. But then don't pretend that you are looking for honest or substantive discussion. You are apparently just interested bantering with people who already share your policy preferences, and insulting those that don't.

(BTW...note my avoidance of the snarky reply to this hanging curve of yours. Hope you appreciate it.)

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

.. But first we'd need to discuss the presumptions underlying the principles grounding the preferences ..

.. Right after we'd establshed the predicates behind the presumptions underlying the principles grounding the preferences ..

Jesus!

Posted by: caothien9 | February 15, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

cao:

""Jesus!""

Indeed.

"We should arm the Palestinians!"

"Why?

"Because it is clearly the right thing to do!"

"It doesn't strike me as the right thing to do."

"Have you no conscience? Have you no morals?"

"Funny, I was thinking the same of you."

"You people disgust me."

That is so much more useful and edifying, isn't it?

Posted by: ScottC3 | February 15, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

ruk said:

"We're broke but we can't even return tax levels to Reagan era levels. Why..was St. Ronnie a socialist? He supposedly made enough cuts in taxes that the rich would get rich and the wealth would trickle down to the rest of us. Well at least they got the first part correct. We weren't even broke when St. Ronnie took office...does it not stand to simple reason that if we're REALLY broke we'd at least return to taxation at St. Ronnie's level."

Then, after I asked what "St. Ronnie's level" was that he wants, he said:

"We have some disingenuous righties here who can't seem to figure out what taxes I might have been suggesting when I said let's go back to the Reagan era....

5 of Reagan's 8 years the top marginal rate was 50%. How about that...I'd settle for the rate that was in place for FIVE OF REAGAN'S EIGHT YEARS! Can you figure that one out. 28% was one year his last year and of course "coincidentally" was followed by a horrible recession that cost Bush I his job..although the selfish pig righties would say it was because the rate was moved back up a WHOPPING 3% to 31%"

Let's be clear about who is disinguous here. My liberal friend constantly invokes Reagan by saying we should return to his tax rates. But he doesn't mean the rates Reagan left after several rounds of cuts; he means the earlier rates in effect before Reagan was done cutting.

He's implying that Reagan favored tax rates higher than those we now have. That's a disingenuous attempt to trade on Reagan's name in support of higher tax rates.

ruk goes on to say that capital gains should be taxed like ordinary income, as they supposedly were under Reagan. But that was not true for most of Reagan's terms. Cap gains were historically taxed far below the rates for ordinary income. In the 50s the differential was something like 60-65%. They only approached similarity when ordinary income tax rates were significantly cut.

Most people with sense can understand the reasons for differential treatment, but that won't ever satisfy those thirsty for the blood of the plutocrats and "coupon clippers," as ruk scorns them.

Posted by: quarterback1 | February 15, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Test. I agree that there is no fair test of your premise, Scott. In my heart I think folks will always opt for more bennies and lower taxes, except, perhaps, in wartime.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 16, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

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