Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cliff Notes

Matt Iglesias:  "From the viewpoint I outlined on December 13—"Cutting Spending to Obtain Tax Hikes Is Nuts"—this is a decent deal. Relative to what Obama had already agreed to, there are no spending cuts whatsoever in this package. In exchange, he ended up securing much less tax revenue than he was initially looking for. That's an epic defeat for the Pete Peterson and "Fix The Debt" crowd, but even though liberals are disappointed with this they didn't end up actually losing anything the way they were going to in deals that cut Social Security benefits or raised the Medicare eligibility age. Conservatives, meanwhile, can say that in the face of an objectively unfavorable situation they kept taxes remarbly low and have maintained their leverage to press for further spending cuts in February."

The New York Times sees pluses and negatives in the deal: For the first time since President George W. Bush began the country’s long slide into debt by cutting taxes in 2001, an agreement was reached late Monday in the Senate to raise income taxes on the rich. 

That’s what makes the deal significant: assuming it is approved by the House, it begins to reverse the ruinous pattern of dealing with Washington’s fiscal problems only through spending cuts. Nonetheless, this deal is a weak brew that remains far too generous to the rich and fails to bring in enough revenue to deal with the nation’s deep need for public investments. 

Given that the Bush-era tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, Republicans were forced to give ground on their philosophical opposition to higher taxes, but they made it impossible to reach a farsighted agreement that truly grappled with government’s role in fostering improvements to education, transportation and manufacturing.

JimR's diary @ Daily Kos:
 "This greatest hoax in the history of American politics is only possible because almost half the country believes exactly the opposite of proven macroeconomic time-tested theory, and our own nation’s history. 

The entire debt debate is a farce and an insult to the collective intelligence of a formerly civilized nation. That’s right, America, we’re a laughingstock among countries. 

 In America, where the richest of the rich shelter their wealth overseas to avoid paying the taxes the rest of us end up paying for from our own pockets, where corporations took tax giveaways to subsidize moving infrastructure and manufacturing to low wage, environmental law-free hell holes and their intellectual property to tax havens, where 66% of Fortune 600 companies pay zero taxes in any given tax year and the largest get millions in refunds, where virtually zero net jobs were created in eight years after the Bush tax cuts, almost half the country believes Republican orthodoxy that our debt is the main problem, making the plutocracy pay their fair share raises taxes on “job-creating” small businesses, and entitlements must be slashed for our economic survival."

Professor Krugman:
"The good news for progressives is that danger #1 has been averted, at least so far — and not without a lot of anxiety first. Romney lost, so nothing like the Ryan plan is on the table until President Santorum takes office, or something.

Meanwhile, in 2011 Obama was willing to raise the Medicare age, in 2012 to cut Social Security benefits; but luckily the extremists of the right scuttled both deals. There are no cuts in benefits in this deal. 

 The bad news is that the deal falls short on making up for the revenue lost due to the Bush tax cuts. Here, though, it’s important to put the numbers in perspective. Obama wasn’t going to let all the Bush tax cuts go away in any case; only the high-end cuts were on the table. Getting all of those ended would have yielded something like $800 billion; he actually got around $600 billion. How big a difference does that make? 


 So why the bad taste in progressives’ mouths? It has less to do with where Obama ended up than with how he got there. He kept drawing lines in the sand, then erasing them and retreating to a new position. And his evident desire to have a deal before hitting the essentially innocuous fiscal cliff bodes very badly for the confrontation looming in a few weeks over the debt ceiling. 

 If Obama stands his ground in that confrontation, this deal won’t look bad in retrospect. If he doesn’t, yesterday will be seen as the day he began throwing away his presidency and the hopes of everyone who supported him."



Silverfiddle said...

A one trillion dollar tax hike amid over ten trillion in deficit spending over the next ten years.

The Titanic has slowed its progress towards the iceberg by reducing its speed by one knot...

Let the party continue!

Rational Nation USA said...

Oh the drama of it all. What would we all do in right and left blogistan were it not for all the drama?

As I've said before look to the oligarchs, they're holding the cards and pitting the sides against each other. As they chuckle at the fun. All the way to the Banks they control.

Happy New Year to All...

Rational Nation USA said...

Progress Silver, Progress...

Silverfiddle said...

Here's a graphic that puts it all into perspective:

Zero Hedge: Tax Hikes in Perspective

Ever spit in the ocean?

(O)CT(O)PUS said...

So late last night before the crack of dawn, the Senate finally agreed: "Let's get fiscal." Moments of high drama gripped an entire nation peered over the abyss, it was as American as lovebirds killing each other with apple pie, and everyone knew that the early bird gathers no moss.

All revenue but no cuts by a thousand deaths, unless we tighten our belts, we’ll sink like a stone. Now the measure moves to the House where Republicans will learn how to eat humble crow, butter their nest, ignore the alligators in the swamp and circle the wagons?

There is no use beating each other over the head with a dead horse! The Congressional calendar runneth over.

Infidel753 said...

Around the wingnutosphere I'm seeing howls that the Republicans got pwned by Obama. So this is probably a good deal.

Anonymous said...

It is about time the rich pay their fair share. They have gone to long paying 80% of all income tax collected.

Silverfiddle said...

Infidel: Obama has owned the GOP for years, they are just now realizing it.

Now, here is a lefty I enjoy reading. I don't agree with where Jeffrey Sachs wants to take us, but I always enjoy reading him because he starts by establishing the facts.

Who's ready to turn over a quarter of every dollar you make to Uncle Sam? After giving your 5% to your state?

At least Sachs is honest enough to do the math and throw out numbers other are too scared to touch.

Anonymous said...

Cantor said no. End of deal.

Anonymous said...

Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) slammed Kwanzaa, claiming "almost no black people" care about the holiday.

"Almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa -- just white left-wingers who try to shove this down black people's throats in an effort to divide Americans," Grothman said in a press release, according to Patch.

"Why must we still hear about Kwanzaa?" Grothman asked. "Why are hard-core left wingers still trying to talk about Kwanzaa -- the supposed African-American holiday celebration between Christmas and New Year’s?"

Grothman slammed "irresponsible public school districts" in Wisconsin for trying "to tell a new generation that blacks have a separate holiday than Christians." His comments were heavily criticized, with one Democratic party leader calling the remarks "absolutely jaw-dropping."

Shaw Kenawe said...

Wisconsin state Senator Grothman is an ignorant jackass.

Kwanzaa was created by an African-American, and many African-Americans celebrate it.

A simple search on Google would have enlightened the ninny.

Rational Nation USA said...

Perhaps we ought to start another non religious holiday, called " The Night of Futility."

Thusly we could celebrate our national political diversity and pat ourselves, all of us, dEmocrat, rEpublican on the back for our astute pursuit ps the absurd.

Truth 101 said...

Give me ten trillion in spending cuts Silverfiddle.

Get Cantor to give me a trillion this year and I'll never bother you again.

I am glad to see you hate deficit producing reaganomics though. We can agree on that.

A Friend said...

SF and RN are getting to be a very bad vaudeville act on your blog. Like Abbot and Costello, their shitck is getting old.

Silverfiddle said...

Easy Truth,

Go back to the 2007 baseline.

Rational Nation USA said...

Joe, Reagan created a great economic expansion, a very positive thing which I think you would agree with.

The problem is, somehow we forgot to use some of the wealth created by said expansion to balance the books and pay down debt.

The damn rEpublicans became Keynesian, when was that, around the Nixon years if I remember correctly. But at my age I could be in error.

At any rate they have never turned back to the true fiscal conservatives they pretend to be.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is, somehow we forgot to use some of the wealth created by said expansion to balance the books and pay down debt."

The question is why Republicans followed that mistake for the last 30 years, and made not cutting spending a part of their long term fiscal policies.

Jerry Critter said...

Reagan's "great economic expansion" was only fifth best.

Silverfiddle said...

Les: You're right. It was Nixon, good progressive that he was, who declared "We're all Keynesians now."

Dave Miller said...

RN, we didn't forget at all... Clinton expanded that great economic climate, balanced the budget and was paying down debt.

Then something went awry... could it have been the Bush Amin and the GOP Congress?

Silver, you are taking the easy way out. You know the GOP has said no to any defense cuts, so politically 2007 is a non starter.

How about you, or anyone else in the GOP give us that path in real programs?

Like Ron Paul, it is easy to call for cuts, but like Mitt Romney, no one is identifying specifically what cuts to make.

Is it unreasonable for us tax happy libs, who at least tell you everyone who we want to tax, to expect some level of specificity from the cut happys conservatives?

Dave Dubya said...

The question is why Republicans followed that mistake for the last 30 years, and made not cutting spending a part of their long term fiscal policies.

To make government unsustainable, therefore "starving the beast".

Silverfiddle said...

Dave Miller: I don't represent the GOP.

If you now raise the bar and demand my solution be politically viable, you're nuts. There is no politically viable solution.

I stand by my solution. Go back to the pre-"emergency" baseline and hold it there as we watch the deficit eventually fall to zero.

You guys asked, and that is my answer. Stop raising the bar.

Of course, this will never happen. Obama and the herd of congressional swine will continue spending us into oblivion until they no longer can...

Silverfiddle said...

And Gollum's link is tendentious twaddle.

FDR's economy better than Reagan's?

If you want to believe that, have fun.

Jerry Critter said...

The numbers speak for themselves. Whether you like it or not, SF, the economy has done better under four democratic presidents than it did under Reagan. If that is twaddle, then you have just redefined twaddle.

Jerry Critter said...

Of course tripling the deficit helped Reagan a bit also, otherwise he might have come out even lower.

Silverfiddle said...

It is absurd to say the 1930's were better economically than the 1980's.

You pet bear proves out Mark Twain's lies, damn lies and statistics quote.

Jerry Critter said...

You are putting words in my mouth. I never said that the " 1930's were better economically than the 1980's". What I showed was that the economy grew faster under four democratic presidents than under Reagan. So, if you are going to say "Reagan created a great economic expansion", you must acknowledge that four other Democratic presidents created an even greater economic expansion than Reagan.

Silverfiddle said...

Jerry: What you showed was that it is always possible to pluck a statistical kernel of truth from a pile of manure.

Jerry Critter said...

Well, SF, I've shown you my data. Lets see yours. So far all you have given is opinion and ridicule. That and a couple of bucks will buy you a cup of coffee.

Rational Nation USA said...

Dave, I acknowledge the economic expansion would have been more impressive had the government balanced the budgrt and paid down debt.

I also acknowledge that what occurred under Clinton was impressive. Of course the rEpublicans had a significant impact on that happening. Then along came GWB and Iraq, tax cuts, and later Obama. And we now have what we have.

Obama and the Congress have an opportunity to recreate these success of Clinton's tenure. It's not like I'll be holding my breath or anything.

Rational Nation USA said...

Jerry, I understood your point. I will comment that JFK's policies were largely a continuation and expansion of policies of Hoover. It is likely had Hoover been reelected results would have been similar.

Silverfiddle said...

Jerry: Go to any government site and look at economic data.

Reagan's 80's, followed by the Clinton 90's was an unprecedented time for our economy, and we all know what happened in FDR's 30's. It was a mess. I think they called it a depression.

But continue defending the indefensible, and I'll continue to laugh at you.

Dan Marino was a great quarterback, but he won no superbowls.

Rational Nation USA said...

FAT FINGER I guess, it should read FDR, not JFK.

Dave Dubya said...

we all know what happened in FDR's 30's. It was a mess. I think they called it a depression..

I don't think you know anything. You think Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were liberals.

Honestly, unless it's from FOX(R) and Limbaugh, you have nothing to say. Your hate is quite clear, though.

FDR was left a collapsed market (1929) and depression by Republican Administration under Hoover. Obama was left a collapsed market (Sept. 2008) and recession by a Republican Administration under Bush.

Silverfiddle said...

Dave: Talk to your buddy Jerry. He's the one saying FDR's economy was better than the Reagan/Clinton economy.

Have fun with yourselves.

FDR took a panic and turned it into a decade-long debacle, but it was good for progressivism, wasn't it?

Nothing like a good crisis to lock in some more statism.

Silverfiddle said...

And Dave shows himself again to be either demented or in possession of poor reading comprehension.

I said that I do not compares history's leftists to today's American liberals.

Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were socialists.

Silverfiddle said...

Dave, you show yourself to be a fool by leveling accusation that are not only untrue, but that you have no way of verifying.

I do not listen to Rush Limbaugh, although I have nothing against him.

I also do not watch FOX news, which I also have nothing against.

So go ahead, tell me I'm wrong, and then prove it, old man. Teach this sonny boy a lesson. It will be fun to watch.

Jerry Critter said...

OK, SF. Lets forget FDR for the moment. That makes Reagan number four with three Democratic presidents in front of him...and they did not have to TRIPLE the federal debt to accomplish their economic growth.

Dave Dubya said...

Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were socialists.

And you never called liberals socialists?? LOL!

Those guys were called dictators, sonny. Two were fascists, one a communist. Sheesh...

You are wrong, and you never apologize when proven wrong either. You never did show where I was "slinging around Hitler comparisons" did you?

No, of course not. No need to apologize. We know you think it is evil and Obama-like to do so in your cult.

And to prove you can't teach someone something he does not want to learn:

FDR cut the unemployment level left him by Republicans in half in his first term.

FDR Unemployment rates (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

1933 - 24.9%

1934 – 21.7%

1935- 20.1%

1936 – 17%

1937 - 14.3%

Under pressure from Republicans FDR cut spending and the rate went back up in '38, only to be reduced again.

Keep chugging your koolade. It amuses me.

Jerry Critter said...

SF said "Dave: Talk to your buddy Jerry. He's the one saying FDR's economy was better than the Reagan/Clinton economy."

Once again you misrepresent what i said. I did not say the economy was better. I said the economy grew faster under FDR than under Reagan. And I did not combine the Reagan and Clinton economies, although doing so makes Reagan look better since the economy grew faster under Clinton than Reagan, as it did under LBJ and JKF also. In fact if you split FDR into two parts, 1940 and earlier and 1941 and later, Reagan becomes number six.

Silverfiddle said...

One can foolishly latch onto one statistic and shout, aha! But pan out an look at the larger context, reality, and it becomes obviously foolish.

The final test is, would you rather live in FDR's 1930's or Reagan's 1980's and Clinton's 1990's? For the sane person not eaten up with ideology and partisanship, the answer is an easy one.

Dave, it pains me to have to continue to educate you, but here it goes...

A dictator can be of any ideology whatsoever.

Hitler and Mussolini were fascists, and Mussolini was a Socialist, and Hitler indeed melded nationalism with his own brand of socialism

I know it's hard for some on the left to put down their crayons and look beyond black and white, but yes, extreme rightwingers at one time did adopt leftwing policies. The economic policies of Italy's fascist government were socialist.

What does this have to do with us today in America?

Absolutely nothing.

I do not throw these terms around lightly, although I do employ them at times when I see a historical parallel.

I try to avoid the term fascist because it is inflammatory, so I prefer Statist or Corporatist, and I apply it almost equally to both parties, since they are so hard to distinguish nowadays.

So have fun with your "Four Legs (Liberal, Democrat) Good, Two Legs (Conservative, Republican) Bad" blinders.

We all need to find our happy place.

Rational Nation USA said...

Well said Silvet, and accurate.

Jerry Critter said...

We are not talking about where you want to live. We talking about whose policies produce the greatest economic growth. The analysis that I presented cover about 80 years of economic data and 13 different presidents. It is hardly "one statistic". It shows that Reagan had the fifth best growth behind four Democratic presidents and that overall economic growth under Democratic presidential leadership was several times the growth under republican presidential leadership.

Now, fifth is bad. It is the best of the republicans, and better than Carter, the only Democrat that didn't do better than Reagan. So, if you only compare Reagan to other republicans, then yes Reagan did great....but most Democratic presidents did better.

Dave Dubya said...


foolishly latch onto one statistic

I know this is futile.... What “one statistic” would that be?

So again, Napoleon, who has the “more equal’ right to free speech by money in our politics? (Care to help out on this one, Les?)

A dictator can be of any ideology whatsoever.

On your authority I take it? You are wrong.

No, there’s never been a democratic socialist dictator. You see democracy, like unions, is the enemy of dictatorships, fascism, communism, and of course American Republicans. See Dick Cheney for what Republican dictator would look like if we didn’t have a Constitution that forced him out of power. Tax cuts for the rich, wars of choice and austerity for the rest or us.

And sorry, corporatism is NOT socialism.

“However, as the “corporate state” was put into effect in fascist Italy between World Wars I and II, it reflected the will of the country's dictator, Benito Mussolini.”


Why doesn’t any “conservative” answer any of my questions or offer any real information?

Why so defensive, along with unfounded accusations?

Their amygdala (Latin, corpus amygdaloideum) fear center is apparently overactive.

The science is there. Authoritarian Right Wingers have a more pronounced amygdala. This explains why we went to war over fictional WMD’s and fabricated “ties to al-Qaeda”. It explains wild-eyed fears of Obama the Marxist Kenyan. It explains a racist’s fears of others. It explains why FOX(R) Limbaugh and other fear factories are so prominent in corporate media.

And it explains their quick to fight and flight reflexes where they spew accusations, then run away from them.

Silverfiddle said...

Dave: I've answered your ridiculous blabberings over and over and you come back with irrelevancies about money in politics.

Far from defensive, I've tried to engage you in conversation and hopefully enlighten you, but I see that it is futile.

What statistic? Annualized growth rate in per-capita GDP. Have you not been paying attention?

Your crackpot theories about rightwing authoritarians, while amusing, does not explain why leftwing authoritarian dictators killed over 100,000,000 people in the 20th century.

There's no fool like an old fool...

Rational Nation USA said...

Facism is an economic system that allows private ownership of business and the means of production. However it is tightly controlled and regulated by the state.

In this sense the USA is more closely aligned with a facist economy than a socialist or communist economic system which is one in which the state owns the means of production.

To date anyway the USA has never had a dictator and as long as we have and maintain the integrity of our Constitution we never will.

Buy we are correct to maintain a healthy distrust of government. Why? Because government is made up of people, and people are by nature prone to power. At least many are and to think otherwise is naive to say the least. The framers realized this, hence our Constitution and system of checks and balances.

What those who value and cherish liberty have by far more to fear from the Patriot Act , the far right, and the socons than they do Obama.

So Dave, I don't know if this helped anybody bit you asked. So there you have it.

By the way, I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Huntsman/ Johnson or a Johnson/ Huntsman team up on the Libertarian Ticket in 2016.

Dave Dubya said...

Thank you for your lucid comment of substance.

Thank you for the additional accusation. Yes, to your mind I'm the fool for not seeing both Hitler and Bernie Sanders as socialists. Not that you would compare the two, right?

Silverfiddle said...

I like and respect Bernie Sanders. He is one of the few honest men in DC, although I frequently disagree with him.

I will state it again, since you seem deaf, that old world left and right have no relevance to our discussions of contemporary American politics.

Anonymous said...

RN's comment supports what he has been saying for years. "Obama economics is the same as Hitler economics" is how he wrote it on his blog.

Rational Nation USA said...

One thing I do enjoy as a simply and unintended benefit of visiting this fine site is the comic relief it occasionally offers by such astute and wise commentary as above. LMFAO!!