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Posted at 3:06 PM ET, 03/ 3/2011

Senator Merkley unleashes harsh attack on GOP budget cuts

By Greg Sargent

Senator Jeff Merkley opens fire on the House GOP plan for budget cuts in some of the harshest terms I've heard yet:

The GOP budget plan will destroy 700,000 jobs. The last thing our nation can afford right now is further job losses. We need to be creating jobs, not destroying jobs.

There are common-sense budget cuts that could reduce our deficits without wrecking the economy or attacking working families. We can start by cutting back on the bonus tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires that Republican leaders insisted on just ten weeks ago. We could end tax subsidies for oil companies and save tens of billions of dollars in the process.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner summarized his perspective on the Republican budget as follows: if people might lose their jobs, "so be it." You might think the House Republican leaders would show some humility after their failed agenda turned record surpluses into massive deficits in 2001, or after their policies reduced the wages of working Americans during the modest expansion in the middle of the decade, or after they burned down the economy with unregulated derivatives and predatory mortgage securities in 2008.

Apparently not. Their proposals are exactly the same: give massive tax cuts to the wealthiest, shred the safety net, and eliminate investments that would help restore American economic leadership.

It's tempting to imagine what would happen if Dems were united behind a hard hitting message emphasizing the charges Merkley leveled here: GOP budget cuts will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs. Republicans are hacking away at programs that benefit working and middle-class Americans even as they preserve tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. And Republicans have no business lecturing America with pieties about the deficit, given that their policies played a major role in creating it.

But Dems are not united behind such a message. It's true that we've had some strong statements lately from Senate Dem leaders. But at the same time, we have Dem strategists privately counseling Dem officials that they face certain disaster if they aren't seen to be wholeheartedly embracing cuts. And some "centrist" Dems are worried that they will be political toast if they don't do everything in their power to shore up the conservative government-is-always-bad narrative.

Look, I get that Dems facing tough reelection fights in Republican-leaning states have their reasons for thinking they can't breathe populist fire as Merkley does here. But Merkley's strong stand reminds us that by and large Dems are not really united behind a powerful, coherent, and consistent critique of the GOP's fiscal policies. And Republicans are rubbing their hands together in glee about it.

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 3:06 PM ET
Categories:  House GOPers, Senate Dems, budget  
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Comments

Right on, with one quibble: it was the Clinton admin that first refused to regulate derivatives. But the core message would seem to be a no-brainer.

Posted by: sprung4 | March 3, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

where did that 700,000 jobs figure come from?

Posted by: sold2u | March 3, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

sold2u, it's based on the Zandi report, which Republcains have disputed.

and thanks sprung4.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 3, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Fine, I will post it YET AGAIN (for the 3rd time in two days? 4th time? Can't remember)!

-Ben Bernanke: GOP’s plan will cut jobs-

“Our sense is that the 60 billion dollars cut spread out in the normal way would reduce growth. But we think given the size it’s one to two tenths [of a percentage point reduction to gross domestic product], about a couple hundred thousand jobs,” he told the House Financial Services Committee. “It’s not trivial.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/50503.html

Btw, people, “It’s not trivial” is what we call, in the English language, an UNDERSTATEMENT.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 3, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Keep beating your drum, Ethan!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 3, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

The Dems are always slow in establishing a unified coherent message because they are Democrats. They all seem to have their own ideas and it takes time to collate them, whereas the modern GOP is like a pack of lemmings. Barry Goldwater would be ashamed.

One thing is certain, and that is in his first two months Boehner has shown himself to be a woeful Speaker. He's great at passing out tobacco lobbyist's checks on the floor of the House, but he doesn't have leadership skills.

Posted by: filmnoia | March 3, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Even one Democrat--whose middle name happens to be Hussein--would be a big help.

The utter fecklessness of the Democrats never ceases to amaze (and depress) me.

Posted by: joeff | March 3, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING: PelosiCare Repeal is officially bipartisan.

The House voted 314–122 to repeal the 1099 provision of Obamacare on Thursday, with significant bipartisan support. All 238 Republicans (who voted) supported the measure, while Democrats split 76–112.

The Senate already voted to repeal the measure earlier this month, by a 81–17 margin.

The 1099 provision of the health-care law had been scheduled to go into effect in 2013, and had horrified small business because it would have mandated that all companies record and report to the IRS any business-to-business transactions in excess of $600. Democrats added the provision in order to “recover” an estimated $17.1 billion in “unreported income” and boost their claim that Obamacare would reduce the deficit by about $100 billion.

“The 1099 mandate has been a major source of uncertainty for small businesses trying to grapple with the costs and consequences of the government takeover of health care,” House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said in a statement. “By repealing the 1099 mandate, we are continuing to listen to the American people and taking another step towards creating a better environment for job creation in America.”
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/261269/house-passes-1099-repeal-andrew-stiles

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 3, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

If the premise of 700,000 jobs lost is wrong, does that change your conclusion and strategy?

http://johnbtaylorsblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/goldman-sachs-wrong-about-impact-of.html

Posted by: bzod9999 | March 3, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Pelosi-Obama-Reid (POR) Recovery Update

Gallup: Unemployment Rate Hits 10.3% in February, Underemployment Surges to 19.9%
http://www.gallup.com/poll/146453/Gallup-Finds-Unemployment-Hitting-February.aspx

*very POR*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | March 3, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

""The high unemployment we are experiencing now is due to low private investment rather than low government spending. By reducing some uncertainty and the threats of exploding debt, the House spending proposal will encourage private investment.""

You'd have to take this on faith to believe that those job loss numbers and loss of growth are wrong. I don't. They just got two more years of the Bush tax cuts and they're still crying in their green milk over uncertainty? Anytime a Republican says we're going to grow the economy by cutting spending and cutting taxes my eyes roll back in my head, again.

Posted by: lmsinca | March 3, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Keep beating your drum, Ethan!"

Thanks!

It's the Economy, stupid.

It's the Jobs, stupid.

What are we, stupid?

We should be slamming the GOP all over the place for clearly proposing job-killing budget cuts and when confronted with this reality they say, "So Be It"!

I can't understand why this meme is not hammered home on every leftwing blog and by every left wing commentator on a daily, if not hourly, basis.

That and the fact that >80% of Americans SUPPORT rescinding tax cuts for the rich.

Come-freaking-on people. And I'm talking to YOU, brother and sisters on the LEFT! Get wit it! Know what I'm talkin bout? Spread the word in every way you know how.

GOP wants to kill jobs and they frankly DON'T CARE if they do, and >80% of America would rather roll back tax cuts for the rich.

Get on it!

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 3, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

they're still crying in their green milk over uncertainty?
-----------------------------------------------
These businesses are busy investing all over the world, where there is more uncertainty over taxes and who will be in power. Don't believe for one second that the U.S. represents more risk for business. That is NOT the reason, American businesses are investing in India and China, but not here. For heaven's sake, American business is investing in a communist country, but not here. That says something.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 3, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaker Boehner, Where's the jobs Republicans promised in the 2010 election?

Republicans have done nothing since they took the House in January. They will be held accountable if unemployment doesn't go down soon.

Posted by: Beeliever | March 3, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"Come-freaking-on people. And I'm talking to YOU, brother and sisters on the LEFT! Get wit it! Know what I'm talkin bout? Spread the word in every way you know how."

I just posted your message on FB and 14 people un-friended me.

Posted by: sbj3 | March 3, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Why would business invest in jobs here when they can find workers in [fill in the blank] who will work for $1 a day? That's why American businesses are not investing here. Reduce corporate taxes and they will still go to India and China.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 3, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

O/T, but BRAVO, SECY CLINTON!!!!

Hillary Clinton Calls Al Jazeera 'Real News,' Criticizes U.S. Media (VIDEO)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Al Jazeera is gaining more prominence in the U.S. because it offers "real news"--something she said American media were falling far short of doing.

Clinton was speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and she said the U.S. is losing the "information war" in the world. One of the reasons she cited for this was the quality of channels like Al Jazeera.

"Viewership of Al Jazeera is going up in the United States because it's real news," she said. "You may not agree with it, but you feel like you're getting real news around the clock instead of a million commercials and, you know, arguments between talking heads and the kind of stuff that we do on our news which, you know, is not particularly informative to us, let alone foreigners."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/03/hillary-clinton-calls-al-_n_830890.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 3, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

"American business is investing in a communist country, but not here. That says something."

Indeed. It says everything.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 3, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

OT-

Folks kinda like their 'Soshulist' States of America http://elections.firedoglake.com/2011/03/03/center-right-yeah-right-americans-favor-progressive-taxation-socialism/

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | March 3, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey, where is Senator Jeff Merkley from?

On Obama's coattails, he beat Gordon Smith (R), whose agribiz fortune was made exploiting illegal labor, allegedly.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 3, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

"American business is investing in a communist country, but not here. That says something."

Indeed. It says everything.
--------------------------------------------------
Sometimes, we can all know something (like the outsourcing of millions of jobs to China) and know that China is a communist country, but not connect the dots. Business has decided to change horses. They have decided that democracy is not the only way to make money, and now they're trying the hybrid communist/free market approach. It will be interesting to see just how this experiment comes out.

Forgive me for nostalgia, but I miss the 50-60's when business invested here, when our great middle class was built, when people could eventually own their own home, own a couple cars and maybe even send a kid to college for the first time in the family. Now, that's happening over there in India/China. Good for them, but I miss those times.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | March 3, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

So a trillion dollars in new spending drove unemployment up to 10% plus and cost America a few million lost jobs.

Now Dem Merkley thinks a modest $64 billion in cuts will cost 700,000 ?

What wrongs with this math ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 3, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Business has decided to change horses."

So much for the free market. Communists win Cold War 2.0

Posted by: shrink2 | March 3, 2011 4:29 PM | Report abuse

This is just disgusting. America faces a significant issue and all Mr Sargent can do is play inside baseball.

What part of we're broke doesn't the left get?

Do you folks need a harsh reminder of the sorry state of our affairs? Will that restore your sense of urgency?

This is from the "Little Hoover Report" which was commissioned to look at the pension situation in California. Here's a quote:
"Using the most recent data available, the state’s
10 largest defined-benefit plans for public
employees reported an actuarial shortfall in
2010 of $240 billion, based on the pension plan
methodologies and the market value of assets as
provided to the Commission."

Let me restate this in terms that make it more personal. The people of the state of california owe their civil "servants" 240 billion dollars they haven't got.

240 billion. One single state.

so still wanna talk about spending cuts costing jobs? Can you guys stop the blame game for just a moment and ponder the gravity of this?

States like WI and Ohio seek to avoid California's fate. Christie in NJ is now actually changing the deal for employees soon to retire. Why? Because his state cannot afford this. We can't afford business as usual.

something has to give. Instead of bluster, how about some ideas? Instead of scantily sourced predictions from the guy who engineered the stimulus, how about some real ideas?

It seems to me that the ideas for confronting this mess, at the federal level are all coming from the right.

yesterday we got a glimpse at a GAO report that ripped the feds for wasting our money. I didn't hear a peep from Greg or the other spendthrift liberals here.

We face a serious problem. Are we serious?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 3, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@sue re al-Jazeera:

"I wonder if anyone clued Mrs. Clinton in that among al-Jazeera’s most popular programs is “Sharia and Life,” starring Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s leading light. Millions of viewers regularly tune in to hear such real news as: that the punishment for homosexuality and adultery is death by stoning; that female genital mutilation is to be encouraged (though it’s not a requirement — that’s the moderate part!); that women invite rape by dressing immodestly; that Ayatollah Khomeini was right to order the murder of Salman Rushdie because he “disgraced the honor of the prophet [Mohammed] and his family, and defiled the values of Islam”; that Israel should be destroyed; that suicide bombing, even by women, is laudable “resistance”; that American soldiers and support personnel in Iraq should be killed to drive the U.S. out; and other pearls of wisdom."

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/261265/hillary-real-news-tune-al-jazeera-andrew-c-mccarthy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yusuf_al-Qaradawi

Posted by: sbj3 | March 3, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"So a trillion dollars in new spending drove unemployment up to 10% plus and cost America a few million lost jobs.

Now Dem Merkley thinks a modest $64 billion in cuts will cost 700,000 ?

What wrongs with this math ?

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

SO do you think cutting spending will add jobs since you apparently think increasing spending costs jobs?

An alternative to your inane conclusion is that if increased spending didn't end job loss, than cutting spending would lead to even more job loss.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 3, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I just posted your message on FB and 14 people un-friended me.

Says a lot more about your friends than the message SBJ...Post IGMGFY and all your "friends" will return immediately.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 3, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Now here's something on which we all can agree:

"We can't afford business as usual."

Posted by: shrink2 | March 3, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "I just posted your message on FB and 14 people un-friended me."

I find that hard to believe...

YOU had 14 friends?

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 3, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Classic:

http://yfrog.com/h08midoj


Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 3, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Our defense spending has increased 67% since the beginning of the reign of George the Stoopid...67% in a decade!

Our tax burden is at 15% of GDP historically very low..the lowest in over 50 years! We normally..at least historically ran at 18% of GDP...we've enjoyed prosperity with the rate as high as 20%.

But where do the mental midgets like skippy, and bzod wish to begin..why of course...let's look FIRST at S.S. and Medicare because somebody is getting helped and guess what...they may not have paid for it...great logic..let the robber barons consume more and more of our national pie but forget the little people.

If R's were anything besides selfish scumbags they'd start looking at defense and raising the taxes back to their NORMAL levels! But no let's cut programs that help our fellow Americans! And they call that patriotism? I think I'm about to puke!

BTW shrink thanks for keeping the nine deaths of the innocent teenagers in front of us...we should all be ashamed..yet we have senile McCain and Joe LIEbermann wishing to reprise that fiasco..great now we can start murdering innocent Libyans...oops it won't be murder..we're exceptional..when we murder it's called collateral damage.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 3, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

sbj,

I bet you didn't notice that 5 of the 6 comments on that nro post agree with Clinton...

Posted by: suekzoo1 | March 3, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

NIce try ashot I like the approach. But let me restate the person's concerns:

Zandi touted the stimulus as a rescue package for the economy. It failed to achieve the goals that were stated.

Since Zandi got that completely wrong, why the heck should we believe his predictions about spending cuts?

What the argument amounts to is this: Is Keynes right or wrong? I and many others believe he was wrong. There is no "multiplier effect" for government spending. So therefore there isn't a "multiplier effect" for the reverse of that, which is less government spending.

Yesterday Mr Sargent was whining (yes, that's the correct word) about how his words were misused by people with whom he disagrees. he railed against the media megaphone that was repeating a falsehood.

Yet here we have a Senator quoting Zandi's controversial prediction as if it were gospel. I don't see any disclaimer in the senator's statement, as quoted above. He states it as if it were fact. Mr Sargent, ever the dutiful cog in the big lie machine upon which the left relies, dutifully repeats the Senator's words.

the veracity of the statement doesn't really matter much, does it? All that matters is that the statement be repeated continuously by the interlocking phallanx of liberal agitation groups funded by unions and Soros-esque elites.

yesterday I noted that in war truth is the first casualty. Looks like the left has taken their stab at it today. Et tu?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 3, 2011 4:51 PM | Report abuse

All, this is pretty interesting: Cop union chief says GOP proposal to detain missing WI Dems may be unconstitutional:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/03/is_wisconsin_gops_proposal_to.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | March 3, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

Thanks for the link it was hilarious.
The fake palm trees were terrific...how about in your face Fox News you egregious lying propagandists.

Posted by: rukidding7 | March 3, 2011 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@sue: "I bet you didn't notice that 5 of the 6 comments on that nro post agree with Clinton..."

I sure didn't.

And?

You don't want to condemn a network that would play host to such views? That guy's carp reaches 40 million - far more than FNC, right?

Posted by: sbj3 | March 3, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

If name calling is all you've got RUK, and that's how it appears, you can't expect much else in return.

That said, show us the proof of your statements. Provide a link that proves your contentions about the percentage of gdp consumed by the government. I ask this because I've seen, and used, data that disagrees with your contention.

then provide a quote from me about medicare and SS. go ahead.

then provide proof of your contention about the amount of defense spending. Go ahead.

and by all means, feel free to puke. Old guys like you need a good emetic now and then.

all the left has is myth and emotion. If you had some relevant facts you'd post them and support them, the way adults should argue their points.

Instead you puke. Take the advice of an old sailor: Down wind son. Hurl over the leeward rail.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 3, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"No, Fox News Did Not Lie With “Wisconsin Palm Tree” Violent Protest Video"

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/no-fox-news-did-not-lie-with-wisconsin-palm-tree-violent-protest-video/

Just in case y'all did not see the truth...

Posted by: sbj3 | March 3, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

skip- As for your GAO report, I think it's a bit blunt to draw the conclusion that the Feds are wasting millions. Much of the waste is from fraud and improper billing. And in order for the Feds to do a better job of addressing this waste, they will need to hire new people or at least shift people around from other areas.

Another thing is that attempts to stamp out fraud and improper billing often impose huge burdens on hospitals who have to respond to fraud investigations that may not be legitimate and to react to honest mistakes. (Look into Recover Audit Contractors (RACs)) Of course these increased administrative costs have to come from somewhere.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | March 3, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

@ss28:Let me restate this in terms that make it more personal. The people of the state of california owe their civil "servants" 240 billion dollars they haven't got.

Let me restate this in a way that reflects reality. CA workers took pension benefits INSTEAD OF GETTING IMMEDIATE PAY INCREASES. CA WORKERS TOOK DEFERRED COMPENSATION. THE FACT THAT THE STATE OF CA CAN'T MANAGE THEIR PENSION FUNDS IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE PEOPLE WHO PUT THEIR DEFERRED SALARIES INTO THE PENSION ACCOUNTS.

Wisconsin state employees are in the same boat. They took deferred compensation (ie pension contributions) instead of immediate pay raises. Taking that away now is a breach of contract.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@skip: Of interest ==> Goldman had to "clarify" their analysis - they're more in-line with Bernanke now:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/03/fiscal_policy

Posted by: sbj3 | March 3, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@shrink2 ""Business has decided to change horses."

So much for the free market. Communists win Cold War 2.0"

The other ironic aspect of this is that labor typically has fewer rights in communist countries than they do in capitalist ones.

Posted by: jnc4p | March 3, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

no ashot, go look at the report. It is a strong indictment of the federal government.

And the gummint can deal with fraudulent billing without hiring a single additional person: move to vouchers for medicare.

srw3, writing in caps doesn't improve the "merits" of your "argument". I stated fact. The people of california owe their so called civil sevants billions that they do not have.

Nice try though. Go read the report. then get back to me with fact. OK?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | March 3, 2011 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@KDAFFY: The 1099 change makes the plan better, at least according to those who support the change. Great! Nobody is claiming that HCR can't be improved (certainly Dems want some changes as well). I personally can think of lots of ways to make the bill better. I am sure there are more technocratic changes to be made as well. I like the Wyden/Brown proposal to accelerate states' ability to opt out of the plan and set up their own system as long as it covers at least as many people,(especially the currently uninsured) with comparable coverage, at the same or less cost.

Now increasing public health clinic funding is a really good idea and the repub cuts to this program should be avioded at all costs

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2011 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"So a trillion dollars in new spending drove unemployment up to 10% plus and cost America a few million lost jobs.

Now Dem Merkley thinks a modest $64 billion in cuts will cost 700,000 ?

What wrongs with this math ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 3, 2011 4:26 PM"
What's wrong is the part where you think the government spending is what caused 10% unemployment.

I could check your figures, if you had any.

The other part is much easier to verify. Budget cuts lead to people being fired. That part of the math is simple. So my guess is that the problem lies in the first part.

I seem to recall that the recession was caused by the "meltdown" of the financial system which followed the burst of the housing bubble. Not by government spending.

Posted by: rick_desper | March 3, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@sbj,

The Economist article says:

WITHOUT CUTS = 5% annualized growth

WITH $25B CUTS = 4% annualized growth

WITH $61B CUTS = 3-3.5% annualized growth

The GOP wants to cut economic growth almost in HALF. At best by 30%, at worst by 40%.

If you think that is smart economic policy to cut economic growth by that much, well, it's just simply not.

Posted by: ronnieandrush | March 3, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

@sws28: I stated fact. The people of california owe their so called civil sevants billions that they do not have.

This is just false. In fact, there is lots of money in CA. Lots of Billionaires and millionaires are citizens of the state. For example, by releasing non violent drug offenders the state could save billions that could go toward workers' pensions. The state could pass any number of revenue enhancements to make up the shortfall. It is in fact the minority republicans in the state legislature that are creating this impasse by not allowing any revenue enhancement for the state. California is not Somalia or Haiti. CA has lots of assets.

It is not the workers' fault that the state mismanaged the pension funds.
I stated the fact that the state entered into an agreement with workers to defer the workers' compensation instead of paying them raises while they were working. The state has assets. The state could sell off some of its assets, raise taxes, stop paying legislators who created this mess, sue and collect from the fund managers that invested pension funds in risky MBS, etc. It is not the fault of the workers that the state was negligent in its fiduciary obligations. If the state files for bankruptcy, then workers get in line (hopefully at the head of the line) like other creditors and may not get all of their pension money back. But don't spew this BS about how the state of CA's fiscal mismanagement should be somehow the responsibility of its creditors. CA government dug this hole for themselves. Why should the state workers take all the pain for the Govt's F*ucups?

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

@jnc4p:The other ironic aspect of this is that labor typically has fewer rights in communist countries than they do in capitalist ones.

But labor has far more rights in European and Canadian democracies than they have in the US. So there is a kind of bell curve. At the extremes, in "free market capitalism" in the US and "communism" (really autocratic repressive regimes with little in common with the principles of communism espoused by Marx), labor has few rights. But in the majority of hybrid systems that reflect most of the industrialized democracies, workers have more rights to organize, bargain collectively, etc. than at either extreme.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

@R_D:I seem to recall that the recession was caused by the "meltdown" of the financial system which followed the burst of the housing bubble.

Reminding the repubs of the facts might make their heads explode.

Not by government spending.

Certainly not be government spending on unemployment insurance, job training, infrastructure, education, or health care. Now starting 2 wars and adding Medicare D without paying for them is the kind of spending that will make the domestic economy suffer, but these in and of themselves didn't do as much damage as the Wall St crash and the housing bubble popping. The massive debt that Bush built up just made the recovery harder to do.

Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"So much for the free market. Communists win Cold War 2.0"

The other ironic aspect of this is that labor typically has fewer rights in communist countries than they do in capitalist ones."

Well doesn't that just put the cherry on top. So, as Corporate abandons America, is there is anything about America to protect? Memories? Why do we bother with borders and wars?

American rich people still operate the degenerate star culture, Hollywood and pro sports.

Posted by: shrink2 | March 3, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"Dem Strategists" will be the end of life as we know it on planet Earth.

How pitiful is it that Merkley and Sanders are like little beacons of light in a sea of murky special interests and electoral calculation.

Posted by: bcinaz | March 3, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse


When you're shopping quotes from lenders, beware of points that they'll try to impose on your refi. Each point is a fee of 1% on the amount you borrow. I worked with "123 Mortgage Refinance" search online for them. I would strongly recommend them since they got me 3.24% rate on my mortgage refinance.

Posted by: davidvinci123 | March 4, 2011 4:48 AM | Report abuse

A commenter on Steve Benem's blog appropriately asks Greg:

Which Dem strategists are privately counseling which Dem officials to embrace cuts?

Posted by: Poster3 | March 5, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

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