Ahem

Like I said:

Orszag’s Op ed yesterday was big news because it was assumed that foes of ending the tax cuts for the rich could point to his stance — and to Orszag’s deficit hawkishness — to buttress their own position.

But Orszag told me that a key point had gotten lost: He only favors temporarily extending the tax cuts for the rich reluctantly, and only if it’s the sole way of obtaining a deal that would end them altogether.

“The point I was trying to make is that we can’t afford the tax cuts over the medium term, and they shouldn’t be made permanent — but the middle class tax cuts should not expire today,” Orszag told me.

“If the price to be paid for that a temporary extension of the upper income tax cuts, my view is that we should reluctantly accept that,” Orszag continued. “I would prefer that that not be the price that is paid.”

This is, to be sure, slightly at odds with Obama’s position — but less so than yesterday’s coverage suggested. In his speech today, Obama will come out against a compromise, insisting that we let the tax cuts for the rich expire right now. Orszag, by contrast, is willing to support a compromise if it’s the only way to obtain a deal on ending the tax cuts.

Orszag’s position in his piece yesterday was evident to anyone without an axe to grind or headline to sell- he thinks extending the tax cuts on the wealthy are a bad policy, but he would suck it up and accept it to keep the middle class cuts in place. The only way to read Orszag’s op-ed yesterday and come away with the coverage we got yesterday was to, well, ignore what he actually said in the op-ed and start salivating about conflict.

But I’m kind of used to that by now.

172 replies
  1. 1
    Matt says:

    Jake Tapper, where art thou?

  2. 2
    freelancer says:

    These people are going to be the end of us all.

  3. 3
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Does Orszag maintain that he really had no clue he was shitting in the punch bowl by publishing that wishy-washy tripe?

  4. 4

    Dogs nibbling at Jake Tapper’s balls.

  5. 5
    Punchy says:

    Can we get a NFL thread at some point? So much meta shit about who interpreted whom how and when. Just how many games will Jay Cutler lose for my Bears…..these are the questions that matter.

  6. 6
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I don’t think the modern media is very good at processing information more complex than “Like” and “Don’t Like.”

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    Why doesn’t Sargent ask the writer of the Post’s op-ed for a comment about this? Why didn’t Sargent call up Tapper?

  8. 8
  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    “The Orszag Challenge”, as Mrs. Greenspan and her guest just dubbed it.

  10. 10
    Mark S. says:

    I can’t believe I’ve been defending Tapper for the past two days, but his post explained Orszag’s position very clearly, which is more than could be said about the NYT’s own piece on it.

  11. 11
    Nazgul35 says:

    I know it’s not the place for this, but I just had to put to sleep a second cat in the last six months.

    Our baby cat had failing kidneys and the costs of keeping her alive with a diminished quality of life (if it worked at all) was just too high.

    So in addition to losing her we now have the guilt of having to do it for monetary reasons.

  12. 12
    Frank Chow says:

    John Cole 1 – Jake Tapper 0.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    “Orszag ups the ante, says let’s make a deal and keep the tax cuts for the rich”

    man, i could work in the media.

  14. 14
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Corner Stone: as in, Orszag is challenging Obama to dare to give in? Jesus Christ.
    That’s worse than I would have expected, but I ask again, was Orszag really so stupid that he couldn’t see what he was stirring up?

  15. 15
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Nazgul35: Damnit, Naz, that’s rotten. And I’ve been there myself. Shit.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    @MikeJ: Because a) that would sully the sacred bond between journalists or b) because who the fuck cares what Jake Tapper thinks when the guy at the center of the shit storm is Peter Orzag.

  17. 17
    azlib says:

    I think all the cuts should expire which may very well be what happens, since it only takes 41 Senators to block action on any bill extending any of the tax cuts. If the potential HRA savings come true and if Congress continues PAYGO along with expiring all the Bush era tax cuts, we will have solved our medium and long term deficit issues. All the above are big IFs given how insane our politics is these days.

  18. 18
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yeah, I would say that his first column for the NYT was not a grand success. If it wasn’t intentional, I would guess that he is greatly embarrassed.

  19. 19
    Violet says:

    Jake Tapper wouldn’t have a job if he didn’t report the conflict. That’s what our political media overlords do these days. Facts, issues, the good of the country…to hell with all that. It’s all about conflict, the horse race, who’s up and who’s down.

    It’s predictable and they’re pathetic for doing it.

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    @Nazgul35:

    Sorry to hear that. I had two cats die within 6 months of each other several years ago from feline leukemia. Don’t beat yourself up.

  21. 21
    trollhattan says:

    I keep coming back to the chart included in this Chait piece as to why the Republican “plan” is business as usual, and we need to stick with our Kenyan usurper here, regardless of how da media is reportin’ it.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonath.....-tax-trade

    To continue the Bush rates unaltered is to dig the defecit hole that much deeper, which seems rather at odds with the Standard Republican Line these days (shock).

    BTW, whither the Death Tax?

  22. 22
    BTD says:

    Really dumb John. the President is about to make a speech in which he rules out the compromise Orszag is willing to accept, and you still insist you were right.

    Sheesh.

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    @Nazgul35: My heart goes out to you. It broke my heart to lose my 10 year old kitty to kidney disease. That was just way too young. You called yours your baby cat, which sounds very young. That would only make it that much worse. I’m so sorry.

  24. 24
    feebog says:

    @azlib:

    The problem with letting the lower end tax bracket cuts expire is that we have a crappy economy with very weak demand. Take away a couple thousand dollars in taxes for a couple making 75K a year and demand will weaken that much more, leading us from a weak recovery to a double dip recession or even depression.

  25. 25
    MikeJ says:

    @trollhattan:

    BTW, whither the Death Tax?

    Aren’t we incentivisng people to die this year, and then we stop next year?

  26. 26
    eemom says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    and if he is that stupid, why should anybody care what he thinks? Why was he ever put in charge of important money stuff?

    As I said yesterday, I think it was an asshole backstab move to write that column, for all the reasons that were gone over ad nauseum yesterday. Stupidity seems less plausible of an explanation.

    And — AHEM — of course in light of the shitstorm it ignited, he’s gonna try to walk it back today. D-u-h.

    On a more positive note, at least we all know how to spell Orszag now.

  27. 27
    david mizner says:

    Well, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is, in practical terms, a world of difference between Orszag’s position and Obama’s.

    Orszag is doing what Obama usually does, opens with a compromise (which is, in fact, a compromise of a compromise.)

    Here, at long last, Obama is drawing a line on the sand, which increases his chance of getting what he wants and, in any case, reveals conviction (hooray!), differentiates himself from the GOP (and blue dogs), and energizes Dems.

  28. 28
    david mizner says:

    Well, of course, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is, in practical terms, a world of difference between Orszag’s position and Obama’s.

    Orszag is doing what Obama usually does, opens with a compromise (which is, in fact, a compromise of a compromise.)

    Here, at long last, Obama is drawing a line on the sand, which increases his chance of getting what he wants and, in any case, reveals conviction (hooray!), differentiates himself from the GOP (and blue dogs), and energizes Dems.

  29. 29
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: Are you seriously this slow? The conflict was over whether or not Orszag thinks extending the tax cuts for the wealthy was a good thing or not. He does not. Obama does not. Orszag has only said, twice now, speaking slowly and clearly the second time for the lawyers and journalists in the crowd, that no, he does not think it is a good policy, but he would accept a compromise for political reasons.

    Jesus christ. This is no “Orszag thinks boss is wrong and extending tax cuts on the wealthy is a good idea!”

  30. 30
    BTD says:

    Maybe an update is in order – Greg Sargent writes:

    “To be clear, there’s still a policy difference here, at least in public: Obama won’t support a compromise extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich for two years, while Orzag does support it. The clarification is a matter of nuance: Orszag wants it clearer that he only supports a compromise extending the tax cuts for the rich if it’s absolutely necessary; his stance can’t be used as ammo by foes of letting them expire. He hinted at that in yesterday’s Op ed, but it got lost in the “rift rift rift” coverage.”

    As for Orszag, well stupid does not even begin to describe his actions.

  31. 31
    Mark S. says:

    OT does anyone here use Chrome? Is there something screwy about it on this site? It will say there are three comments for a post when there are like thirty. Is there something weird with the way it does caches?

  32. 32
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Yes, we are the ones who got it wrong – INCLUDING the guy you are linking to.

    Are you really hanging your hast on this? You were wrong. Period.

    The President is proving that today.

  33. 33
    trollhattan says:

    @MikeJ:

    As a grand experiment, I suggest we make it unambiguous that the death tax will be…resurrected Jan 1 and then count the unexpected millionaire deaths that occur before year’s end.

  34. 34
    Downpuppy says:

    There’s a simple rule: Proposal first, compromise if needed.

    And let the other guys make their proposal, don’t make it for them. Even with the clarification, Orszag is a turkey.

    Because we’ve seen this movie way too many times, and it still turns out the same.

  35. 35
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    Not to mention that the President is proposing a permanent tax cut for the middle class, which Orzag opposes.

  36. 36
    Allison W. says:

    that was my take on his op-ed also. I don’t know why there was such a fierce debate.

    OT: (not really)- Obama interview tomorrow on GMA with George S.

    Don’t miss Stephen Colbert tonight with Joe biden and an audience full of our troops.

  37. 37
    Legalize says:

    Judging by Obama’s declaration of “no compromise” on ending tax cuts for the rich, I guess the WH and Orzag didn’t get together on anything. I hope that’s the case, and I hope Obama continues to “no compromise” approach- or at least that he goes to the table with this approach.

  38. 38
    ed says:

    Orszag’s position in his piece yesterday was evident to anyone without an axe to grind or headline to sell- he thinks extending the tax cuts on the wealthy are a bad policy, but he would suck it up and accept it to keep the middle class cuts in place.

    Yeah, but there’s still the problem of negotiating with himself. Why write an op-ed that cedes any bargaining power from the outset? Team Obama’s done this a shitload (indeed, it’s one of their calling cards and bane to Professional Liberals), and it sucks. Ass.

  39. 39
    david mizner says:

    @John Cole:

    That’s like saying Obama and Jane Hamsher had the same position on the public option. They both thought it was a good idea.

  40. 40
    david mizner says:

    @John Cole:

    That’s like saying Obama and Jane Hamsher had the same position on the public option. They both thought it was a good idea.

  41. 41
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Mark S.:

    I use Chrome all the time and Balloon Juice looks great. I don’t get the screwy comment count like you do.

  42. 42
    BTD says:

    @ed:

    True, but factually, John is wrong.

    The President has rejected “sucking it up” and accepting extending tax cuts for the rich, contra Orszag.

  43. 43
    MikeJ says:

    @trollhattan: That’s exactly what we’re doing. And Dorothy L Sayer wrote the story about it in 1927.

  44. 44
    John Cole says:

    @BTD: I give up. You are right. Orszag clearly thinks extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are the best idea in the world. He is pining for them. He wants them no matter what, and his op-ed and clarification today are merely a smokescreen for what he truly believes- something those of us with a reading comprehension over grade school can not seem to grasp, but you have somehow divined out of thin air. He is clearly at odds with Obama. Orszag, despite multiple statements to the contrary, thinks the tax cuts for the wealthy are a great idea.

    I liked it better when you spent all your time telling us Obama would never win the general election.

  45. 45
    John Cole says:

    @ed: I have never once discussed whether the op-ed was a good idea. Pretty clearly, idiots can decide what you say does not matter, but what they want you to say is all that matters.

  46. 46
    Steve says:

    @John Cole:

    The conflict was over whether or not Orszag thinks extending the tax cuts for the wealthy was a good thing or not.

    That’s one conflict. The other conflict – and a much bigger deal, really – is that Obama wants to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent, while Orszag wants to let them expire in two years. Tapper keeps pointing this out, but for some reason you keep focusing only on the shiny object called “tax cuts for the rich.”

  47. 47
    eemom says:

    There’s also the minor matter of Orszag wanting to let all the tax cuts, including those for the 98%, expire in 2 years, which is absolutely not what the admin is advocating…..and which is a moronic and politically insane thing to advocate at this point.

    And the fact that his piece breathed yet more life into the “Deficit Is All” meme.

    But hey, the important thing here is…….uh……WHAT was the point of all this again? Wasn’t John’s point to begin with that Orszag’s piece would be seized upon by “foes of ending the tax cuts for the rich,” which is exactly what happened — and likely would have happened even if Tapper didn’t twitter his stupid tweet?

    ETA: John, I don’t understand why you keep refusing to acknowledge that Orszag and Obama don’t agree. It is in no way inconsistent with the point you started out with yesterday.

  48. 48
    Midnight Marauder says:

    The only way to read Orszag’s op-ed yesterday and come away with the coverage we got yesterday was to, well, ignore what he actually said in the op-ed and start salivating about conflict.

    I, for one, am STUNNED that a person with the journalistic integrity of Jake Tapper would commit such a mistake.

    Stunned, I tell you.

  49. 49
    david mizner says:

    @BTD:

    Yeah, but we can’t be sure the positions are all that different unless and until Obama issues veto threat.

    Still, for once, he’s taken a position.

  50. 50
    Zifnab says:

    Call me crazy, but I still just don’t see the virtue of extending even middle class tax cuts. If Obama could roll the savings into extended state aid or food stamps or something more economically productive, I’d say the $400 / year in savings would be better spent saving some teacher her job than maintaining some poor guy’s netflix subscription.

    Why fight so hard to preserve middle class tax cuts when everyone is falling out of the middle class anyway? The 10% (17%? at U-6) unemployed aren’t going to give a shit about an income tax break anyway.

  51. 51
    cmorenc says:

    @John Cole

    But Orszag told me that a key point had gotten lost: He only favors temporarily extending the tax cuts for the rich reluctantly, and only if it’s the sole way of obtaining a deal that would end them altogether.

    A fatal flaw in Orszag’s reasoning is the assumption that ANY sort of deal with GOP congresscritters is possible whereby they would ever concede ending the tax cuts for the wealthy “altogether”. That’s not to say that the GOP might not be willing to accept some sort of deal whereby cuts for the wealthy get extended two more years as the price for a deal extending tax cuts for the middle class, but you BETCHA they would do so with DEFINITE plans to revisit the issue (possibly as soon as January if they succeed in taking control of both houses of congress) with legislative proposals to make tax cuts for the rich permanent.

    In other words, the only thing the dems would accomplish by agreeing to a deal along the lines Orszag is proposing is to set themselves up for getting screwed the first moment the GOP possibly can manage it, and without the political benefit of forcing the GOP to publicly hold middle class tax cuts hostage to cutting taxes for millionaires.

  52. 52
    BTD says:

    @John Cole:

    I give up John.

    You ignore the point that has been made to you now a number of times.

    No, Orszag does not believe that extending the tax cuts for the rich is the best policy.

    However, IN CONFLICT WITH THE PRESIDENT, Orszag is willing to accept extending tax cuts for the rich in exchange for an agreement (and that’s worth nothing of course) that all the tax cuts will lapse in 2 years. The President’s view is that the sucha deal is unacceptable on two points – 1, he wants to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent. 2. he will not accept extending tax cuts for the rich.

    Is Orszag’s position being distorted? Of course. You also seem to be shocked gambling is going on in the casino.

    But you are wrong factually in insisting that there is no conflict between the Orszag position and the Obama position.

    And thank God for that.

  53. 53
    Allison W. says:

    @Steve:

    if that was tappers main point then it should have been in the title of his post.

  54. 54
    Frank says:

    As I said yesterday, Jake Tapper’s tweet was yet another piece of evidence that you simply can’t trust the media. I used to think they were glorified stenographers. But hell, they can’t even do that as shown by Tapper’s tweet.

  55. 55
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Steve:

    That’s one conflict. The other conflict – and a much bigger deal, really – is that Obama wants to make the middle-class tax cuts permanent, while Orszag wants to let them expire in two years. Tapper, however, keeps -pointing this out, but for some reason you keep- focusing only on the shiny object called “tax cuts for the rich,” which is why John rightly took him to task.

    Fixed.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Nazgul35:

    So in addition to losing her we now have the guilt of having to do it for monetary reasons.

    When one of our cats had cancer, we had a really great vet who always made sure to tell us that we always had the option to do nothing and let nature take its course because there really wasn’t a whole lot we could do other than make her comfortable. We did opt to do some expensive stuff (like have the tumor surgically removed) but it was good to have a vet who would tell us that it wasn’t our only option and not make us feel guilty when we decided to stop treatment.

    Our other cat died slowly from kidney failure, and it was really hard to watch him go. I know in my heart that he suffered at least a few days longer than he needed to because I just wasn’t ready to let him go. So you can at least have the comfort of knowing that at least your kitty didn’t have to suffer even if you feel like you put her to sleep too soon and for the wrong reasons.

    From our own experiences and from talking to other pet owners, you will always feel like you either did it too soon or waited too long. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone who really thought they did it at the exact right time.

  57. 57
    Church Lady says:

    @BTD: Exactly. John seems to have overlooked the part where Orzag says ALL the tax cuts need to expire if we are ever going to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in, not just the ones for the top 5%. I’ll be happy to let my supposedly “rich” person tax cut expire when everyone else’s does. Until then, no I’d prefer to keep mine in place, thank you very much. Color me selfish, but anyone else not willing to give up their tax cut will find it pretty hard to throw stones without being a complete hypocrite.

  58. 58

    @Nazgul35:

    My sympathy. I don’t think there is any way make that decision without taking on a load of guilt. You also have guilt if you wait too long.

    Your beloved friend will very likely forgive you fully. Go to the Yellow Pages and find a pet psychic and have him/her contact your friend and convey that forgiveness to you.

    Okay, I am kidding. Sort of. About the Yellow Pages, anyway.

    I’m sending a hug.

    (( ))

  59. 59
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I still can’t figure out why this fucking matters except as another balloonbagger effort to shield Obama from any and all imagined harm.

    So Orszag and Obama disagree. Big fucking deal. So Orszag and Obama agree. Big fucking deal.

  60. 60
    batgirl says:

    @Allison W.: Misleading headline, and in today’s news not many people read beyond the headline. So while Mike S. is technically correct about the article Tapper wrote, the headline he (or his editors) wrote was crap and misleading and I bet it was crap and misleading on purpose so that people could say, “see, even Orzag thinks tax cuts for the rich should be extended.”

    In a headline culture, things like this matter and set the tone of the narrative. I have to agree with Cole here.

  61. 61
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @MikeJ:

    Aren’t we incentivisng people to die this year, and then we stop next year?

    Are they rich, conservative people? In which case, might incentivizing them to die not be worth the lost revenue? If they’d promise to croak in a timely fashion, I might be willing to consider extending the estate tax holiday another year or two. But, nah, their offspring will be just as bad, so this really nets us nothing.

  62. 62
    cmorenc says:

    @John Cole: Orszag’s proposal is full of STUPID not because of any misunderstanding on our part that he thinks extending tax cuts for the rich is good policy, but rather because he thinks any sort of worthwhile “compromise” is possible with the GOP and blue dogs on only making the extension “temporary” for another two years and then ending it than, as the price for middle class tax cut extension now. The GOP would have no intention whatever of honoring any sort of deal two years down the line, and it would be necessary to make the same stand against the cuts then as now, but with the dems own position compromised by purportedly having recognized their possible benefit two years earlier. STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES.

  63. 63
    WereBear says:

    @Nazgul35: Crap.

    However, I do think that for animals, such a dicey procedure is really not worth the wear & tear on the pet, who, after all, cannot take the long view.

    Last summer, we also didn’t have a financial choice about tricky neurological interventions for a 13 year old cat. But even if they guaranteed an eventual cure, we couldn’t put him through that.

  64. 64
    geg6 says:

    Bwahahahaha. Tapper gets pantsed again. Maybe he should stick with sniffing the Preznit for cigarettes.

    OT, but if anyone is interested, the Rude Pundit has started a new Facebook group:

    http://rudepundit.blogspot.com.....right.html

    LOL.

  65. 65
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Church Lady:

    Color me selfish

    OK, consider it done.

    but anyone else not willing to give up their tax cut will find it pretty hard to throw stones without being a complete hypocrite.

    I’m happy to give up mine, but I wouldn’t presume to demand that a family of four living on $40,000 per year give up theirs too or else.

  66. 66
    catclub says:

    @MikeJ:
    “Aren’t we incentivisng people to die this year,”

    No, we are incentivising their heirs to kill them this year,
    but not next year.

  67. 67
    eemom says:

    @batgirl:

    But the point is, Orszag’s article was going to enable people to say that even if Jake fucking Tapper had never been born.

    Are you all seriously arguing that no other republican or emmessemmbot would read Orszag’s article and go, “Holy shit! We get to use Obama’s own former budget guy against him!! Woohooo!”??

  68. 68
  69. 69
    ed says:

    @ed: I have never once discussed whether the op-ed was a good idea. Pretty clearly, idiots can decide what you say does not matter, but what they want you to say is all that matters.

    @John Cole

    I can dig that–it also, too, is an ongoing problem–but the lame-ass self-negotiating going on here needs to be noted for the record and added to the lengthy list of such by this Administration.

  70. 70
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Nazgul35: I know it feels that way, because you actually had to think of money, but honestly, without the money issue, you could have very well made the same decision. But I understand the guilt.

    I had to put my beloved BJ (no relation) down two days before I left on an extended trip. Her kidneys were failing and there were no good options. My guilt was she may have had a few more weeks left with lots of care, but since I had to be gone, that wasn’t possible. That was 7 years ago and I still tear up thinking I rushed the decision. Even if the reality was only 2 or 3 more weeks of diminished quality of life, I feel like I rushed it for convenience.

    OK, going to go cry behind closed doors now.

    EDIT: It probably goes without saying, but I will add, I am so sorry for your loss.

  71. 71
    jl says:

    If Orszag is going to write columns regularly, he should write more clearly. He wears two hats, an economist who (supposedly) can do or at least remember some macroeconomics, and an political insider. He should have the sense to know that and be careful about how he writes.

    The macroeconomics is simple. If you believe that there is a persistent macroeconomic disequilibrium, and there is excess capacity to produce in the economy, and demand is deficient, then the most effective stimulus policy is to end all the Bush tax cuts and use the additional future revenue for direct government purchases of goods and services or transfers to people who you know will demand goods and services.

    The only objection here is disincentive effects of higher tax rates on the very rich that will hurt economic productivity and harm recovery so much it would outweigh the effects of the fiscal stimulus. However, a short review of the history of this failed tax experiment would show that in this case those disincentive effects are relatively small.

    If ending tax cuts for middle class might cause distributional hardship among poor and working class (which is not a consideration for aggregate macroeconomics), then keep the tax cut for those groups and let them end for everyone else. The cutoff point for an effective policy is probably lower than that proposed by Obama.

    Next he might discuss why extending the tax cuts will be a less efficient stimulus policy (which will be a way of repeating the first point).

    He might also find the time to point out there there is a big inconsistency in the GOP’s and conservative Democratic deficit hawks’ positions in the debate. These people have been scaremongering about the long run deficit when it comes to relatively smaller contributions to the deficit like stimulus spending. They have also said that the prospect of long run deficits is currently harming recovery and should be (will be any month now, really will happen any day now) increasing interest rates through the roof, making it too expensive to borrow money and sending us all to ruin. The bond market vigilantes are at the door now to kill us all, or they will be any minute, or if they are not, then they are temporarily insane, but will snap too any minute. (edit: note that the bond market is temporally insane excuse for lack of bond vigilantes contradicts their position that the market always always knows best, which is the reason they prefer tax cut stimulus to government spending stimulus)

    Yet when it comes to the Bush tax cuts the GOP and deficit hawk conservative Democrats become pure ‘hydraulic Keynesians’ of a unique species that says only tax cuts are stimulative, and long run deficits from tax cuts don’t count and are not relevant to their previous scaremongering about debts, and any tax increase will be disaster.

    Orszag might find time in his 1000 words to point out that what they say makes no sense.

    Then Orszag might write ‘Thus endeth the economic analysis, now I will write about the politics, from my wise perspective of a bigshot insider’. And then go on to write about what can be done politically, and costs of the various tradeoffs.

    He could have done that. But he didn’t. He wrote a confused column liable to distortion and misinterpretation.

  72. 72
    John Cole says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Oh blow it out your ass. Obama had nothing to do with this, as his position on the tax cuts for the wealthy was never in question.

    Really, all you ever do is come in here and pretend we are all in the bag for Obama.

  73. 73
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @eemom:

    Are you all seriously arguing that no other republican or emmessemmbot would read Orszag’s article and go, “Holy shit! We get to use Obama’s own former budget guy against him!! Woohooo!”??

    I don’t think anybody is suggesting that, but why does that let Tapper off the hook? If he hadn’t done it, and some other idiot journalist had, we’d be arguing about that other idiot instead.

  74. 74
    John Cole says:

    @Steve: Tapper’s initial piece did nothing of the sort, and his post has been edited and updated. What started all this was the following tweet:

    “Going Against Former Boss, Obama’s Former Budget Director Says Bush Tax Cuts Should Be Extended for Two Years”

    Which played up the tax cuts for the wealthy angle. Yes, Orszag has said let them all expire in two years in the case of this hypothetical compromise, but that was not the focus of this discussion and is just ad hoc ass-covering. The focus and the immediate press coverage was “OBAMA’s FORMER OMB DIRECTOR DISAGREES WITH HIM ON TAX CUTS FOR WEALTHY.”

  75. 75
    John PM says:

    @John Cole: #29

    Orszag has only said, twice now, speaking slowly and clearly the second time for the lawyers and journalists in the crowd…

    Well, see, that is your problem right there; everyone knows that you need to repeat things for lawyers and journalists at least 100 times before they begin to understand, and I say that as a lawyer.

  76. 76
    John PM says:

    @John Cole: #29

    Orszag has only said, twice now, speaking slowly and clearly the second time for the lawyers and journalists in the crowd…

    Well, see, that is your problem right there; everyone knows that you need to repeat things for lawyers and journalists at least 100 times before they begin to understand, and I say that as a lawyer.

  77. 77
    BTD says:

    Meanwhile, the President is delivering a rip roaring speech. Great stuff.

  78. 78
    ruemara says:

    @Nazgul35:
    *hug* I’ve been there. It’s not fun, it won’t feel good, but in the end, you chose not to make her/him suffer.

  79. 79
    david mizner says:

    @John Cole:

    But if he took Orszag’s stance, Obama would call into question his position.

    What a pol, or person, thinks is a “good idea” matters almost not at all. What matters is their bottom line.

  80. 80
    John Cole says:

    @eemom:

    Are you all seriously arguing that no other republican or emmessemmbot would read Orszag’s article and go, “Holy shit! We get to use Obama’s own former budget guy against him!! Woohooo!”??

    Holy loads of impressive strawmen. Actually, not one person has argued that.

  81. 81
    BTD says:

    “I believe we should make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent.” President Obama.

  82. 82
    slag says:

    @BTD:

    the President is about to make a speech in which he rules out the compromise Orszag is willing to accept, and you still insist you were right.

    I’m sorry, but this is dumb. Who gives a damn what Orszag “is willing to accept”? Are you seriously contending that was the main argument in Tapper’s article? That Orszag and Obama have different ideas on the deal they’d be willing to make in order to end Bush’s richboy tax cuts? Really?

    Because if so, that’s a weak-assed article that really doesn’t deserve a click-through, let alone multiple defenses of it on your part.

  83. 83
    geg6 says:

    @John Cole:

    Not true. Every now and again he gives me a tongue bath.

    As he should. ;-)

  84. 84
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Y’know, I’m personally of the opinion that whenever a stupid person grossly misinterprets something that a wonk says or writes, the blame generally shouldn’t be laid upon the wonk.

    i.e., what the fuck is up with you people saying “He should have written clearer” or some shit? Does Orszag need to write in caveman speak for you people? The column wasn’t that hard to understand properly.

    And don’t try to say this is for the media. No matter how dumbed down he could have made it, the media would find some way to manufacture some conflict story out of it. That’s part of their job description.

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    @John Cole:
    Used to have a kid working for me that another employee (same age, punk rocker) called, “Mad At The World”.
    Didn’t matter what anyone said, they were against him. Didn’t matter what happened in the world it was a slight against him. Didn’t matter if you agreed with him, you were wrong. I’d say the maturity level was about 5 or 6.
    I see a similar pattern.

  86. 86
    John Cole says:

    That’s like saying Obama and Jane Hamsher had the same position on the public option. They both thought it was a good idea.

    Jane Hamsher and I DID and still do have the same policy position on the public option. I’d love to have it. Hell, I’d love to have many of the things they wanted. I think it is a great idea.

    The difference is I could count to 50.

  87. 87
    BTD says:

    Seriously, Obama is killing it.

    Hitting it just right.

    Kicking Orszag;s ass too John.

    “We should not hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy.”

  88. 88
    Steve says:

    @Allison W.:

    if that was tappers main point then it should have been in the title of his post.

    It was in the title of his post. The title was “Going Against Former Boss, Obama’s Former Budget Director Says Bush Tax Cuts Should Be Extended for Two Years.” It doesn’t say that only “tax cuts for the rich” should be extended for two years – you’re just choosing to read it that way. And here’s what Tapper wrote in the body of his post:

    Orszag’s column disagrees with the president’s policy in two ways, one political and one substantive.
    __
    First, he argues that in order to get the Bush tax cuts for the middle class extended for two years, Democrats should be willing to also extend those for wealthier Americans if need be.
    __
    Second, he says all of the tax cuts — including those benefiting the middle class — should be ended in two years. President Obama wants the tax cuts on the middle class to continue in perpetuity.

    Honestly, that’s a very good summary of the issues. But everyone just wants to pile on Tapper, so they’re paying no attention to the facts. Here’s an example:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    Tapper, however, keeps focusing only on the shiny object called “tax cuts for the rich,” which is why John rightly took him to task.

    Uh, no. See above quote from Tapper’s original post.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ed:

    I can dig that—it also, too, is an ongoing problem—but the lame-ass self-negotiating going on here needs to be noted for the record and added to the lengthy list of such by this Administration.

    You do know that Orszag doesn’t work for the administration anymore, right? He wrote the column as an employee of the New York Times, not the White House. At least some of the ongoing media chatter is that this explains why Orszag left.

  90. 90
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Nazgul35: It hurts so much to have to make that decision. I will add to the chorus of people who say that whatever decision you made will haunt you in some way.

    I had a dog who had kidney failure plus old age, and after much agonizing we finally called the vet to come and put her down the next morning. She died during the night, so we were spared the putting to sleep part but for years afterward I felt guilty that she had died alone in the backyard and not with her head in my lap.

    It’s always somethin’. You have my deep sympathy.

  91. 91
    eemom says:

    @John Cole:

    then why are you singling out Tapper?

  92. 92
    eemom says:

    @John Cole:

    ok, that is proof that you aren’t actually reading these comments. Unless Paypal is right that you’re not who you say you are. And oh boy, they don’t know the half of it.

  93. 93
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    then why are you singling out Tapper?

    No way you are this dense.

  94. 94
    Steve says:

    @John Cole:

    What started all this was the following tweet:
    “Going Against Former Boss, Obama’s Former Budget Director Says Bush Tax Cuts Should Be Extended for Two Years” Which played up the tax cuts for the wealthy angle.

    That doesn’t make any sense to me. The tweet (which is just a broadcast of the title of his blog post, a common convention among people promoting their blogs) doesn’t say anything about tax cuts for the rich. Unlike Obama, Orzsag wants to extend the middle-class tax cuts for only two years, and that’s a big deal. The fact that you read “extend the tax cuts for two years” and assume it’s about the tax cuts for the rich rather than the middle-class tax cuts isn’t because of anything Tapper wrote in that tweet.

  95. 95
    Corner Stone says:

    @Midnight Marauder: ***SPUTTER***

  96. 96
    danimal says:

    I’ve been paying attention to GOP talking points for the past few weeks and I think I’ve come up with a solution to the estate tax problem. As you know, the estate tax is $0 this year and then increases back to (much higher) 2001 rates next year.

    The GOP is very concerned about “uncertainty” these days, so I believe it is in the interests of certainty to clearly communicate that the estate tax will go back to 2001 rates. That way, rich GOPers deciding whether to live or die will know that it is in their best interests to die this year.

  97. 97
    eemom says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    please read my other comments above and explain why I am dense.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    Tighten those belts bitchez!

  99. 99
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @trollhattan:

    As a grand experiment, I suggest we make it unambiguous that the death tax will be…resurrected Jan 1 and then count the unexpected millionaire deaths that occur before year’s end.

    I’d like to kill the fuckers regardless. Having their next of kin do the dirty deed (instead of enraged mobs armed with pitchforks and torches) is small compensation for not being able to have the satisfaction of stringing them up from the nearest lamppost, but I’ll take what I can get.

  100. 100
    demo woman says:

    Yesterday Jake Tapper’s initial headline had to do with keeping tax cuts for the wealthy. The President has been clear on this issue because we can’t afford it.

    MSM would do the country a service if the gave the President’s speech as much time as they do the repubs refudiations.

  101. 101
    John Cole says:

    @Steve: That is the edited version of the post after my post went about.

    I’m about to do a damned Dean Scream.

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    Reduce the deficits bitchez!

  103. 103
    demo woman says:

    @John Cole: Phone or no phone, I can hear you now.

  104. 104
    Corner Stone says:

    I am about to have some serious whiplash. I start leaning forward, getting into some red meat pimp slappin’ shit, and then, WHAM! Bullshit!
    It’s hurtin I tells ya.

  105. 105
    Mark S. says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Y’know, I’m personally of the opinion that whenever a stupid person grossly misinterprets something that a wonk says or writes, the blame generally shouldn’t be laid upon the wonk.

    Thank you. I’m starting to wonder if this country is too stupid to have an honest policy discussion. If so, we’d be better off with a dictatorship.

  106. 106
    slag says:

    @Steve: Actually, I agree that those four sentences aren’t bad summaries. Odd that I missed those the first time I read the article. In fact, if that had been the whole post, it would have been a decent one. And the title could have been: “Orszag: Bush’s Middleclass Tax Cuts Should Expire”. But it wasn’t.

    So, Tapper is actually capable of distinguishing politics from policy. Good. We’ll know to hold him to a higher standard next time.

    That said, the post’s title is crap, and you know it. It was designed to stir up nontroversy rather than address the only issue worth addressing in this little contretemps, which is whether or not the middleclass tax cuts should end.

    ED: “@Steve: That is the edited version of the post after my post went about.”
    AHA! I’m not a crazy person. At least not in this instance, anyway.

  107. 107
    batgirl says:

    @geg6: Love it! The American Library Association in counter-protest is going to read out loud from the Koran on 9/11 in front of their headquarters in Chicago.

    I like it. The best way to deal with book burning is to read the book being burned!

  108. 108
    Frank says:

    @Church Lady:

    Until then, no I’d prefer to keep mine in place, thank you very much. Color me selfish, but anyone else not willing to give up their tax cut will find it pretty hard to throw stones without being a complete hypocrite.

    Yes, you are selfish.

    What in the world does a wealthy person’s tax cut have to do with a middle class person’s tax cut? Their after tax pay checks are not even in the same ball park.

    The tax cuts in 2001 should not have happened in the first place since they were not accompanied by any corresponding spending cuts. Now we are stuck with huge deficits. Furthermore, they were designed to expire in 10 years. Why is this so difficult to understand?

    Finally, we have huge deficits. It is beyond me how people can sit there and scream about keeping their own tax cut with little to no regard about anyone else or the deficit.

  109. 109
    Mark S. says:

    @John Cole:

    Oh, I didn’t know he edited it. If that is the case, then I don’t want to have Tapper’s Internet babies.

  110. 110
    batgirl says:

    @eemom: No, I’m not. I’m arguing that Jake Tapper’s headline was wrong and misleading. Read what I wrote.

    Orzag’s article is a whole different point (and yes, full of stupid). Doesn’t excuse Cole calling out Tapper.

  111. 111
    licensed to kill time says:

    @demo woman:

    MSM would do the country a service if the gave the President’s speech as much time as they do the repubs refudiations.

    Oh, this, a million times this! I get so tired of the media completely ignoring the substance of a speech and heading directly to the ‘he said, she said, some say’ conflict/is it a political ploy baloney.

  112. 112
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @John Cole: I don’t have to pretend that which is so. Everything here starts with the Dear Leader angle, mainly because that is how you Republicans are programmed.

  113. 113
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    please read my other comments above and explain why I am dense.

    It’s tough to single someone out who goes out of their way to be an idiot. And no one here can pretend that Jake Tapper doesn’t have a track record that would invite extra scrutiny and criticism when he makes a careless mistake. And because of comments like this:

    ETA: John, I don’t understand why you keep refusing to acknowledge that Orszag and Obama don’t agree. It is in no way inconsistent with the point you started out with yesterday.

    Orszag makes it perfectly clear that they only way he favors this “compromise” is if it’s absolutely necessary in order to ultimately eliminate said tax cuts for the rich. While Obama doesn’t agree with the “compromise” element, he does agree with Orszag that the tax cuts for the rich should expire. There was never any fucking “rift” between the two.

    Tapper didn’t have anything of substance to go on in the first place.

  114. 114
    El Cid says:

    @Mark S.:

    I’m starting to wonder if this country is too stupid to have an honest policy discussion.

    Yes we are, but if we had a less stupid and catty and dishonest and right wing argument-favoring national news media, we’d be less stupid.

  115. 115
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Well, that was a hell of a speech.

    The WH clearly made a decision several months ago to keep campaign Obama on ice until Labor Day. Maybe that will keep the electorate from getting sick of him before Election Day, or maybe it means he’ll be too little, too late.

  116. 116
    roshan says:

    __

    Immigration Crackdown Steps Into the Kitchen
    FOR a man facing the possibility of up to 30 years in prison, almost $4 million in fines and the government seizure of his small French restaurant here, Michel Malecot has an unusually jovial and serene air.
    __
    In April, Mr. Malecot, 58, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of illegally hiring 12 undocumented immigrants and, in what prosecutors portray as a brazen deception, continuing to employ them after learning that they were in the country illegally. He pleaded not guilty. Now, if convicted, he faces the possibility of forfeiture of the restaurant building, along with an adjacent rental property, Froggy’s Bar. Legal experts say it would be an exceptionally stiff punishment, but one that could be a sign of things to come for an industry that is one of the nation’s largest employers of immigrants.
    __
    “They’re using a body of law intended for drug dealers and money launderers and going after an iconic bakery and philanthropic business,” said Jot Condie, the president of the California Restaurant Association, which has 22,000 members. “If their strategy is to get the attention of the industry, mission accomplished.”

    Emphasis in bold, mine.
    What does that mean? Iconic and philanthropic businesses can break laws?

  117. 117
    Zifnab says:

    @Church Lady:

    I’ll be happy to let my supposedly “rich” person tax cut expire when everyone else’s does. Until then, no I’d prefer to keep mine in place, thank you very much. Color me selfish, but anyone else not willing to give up their tax cut will find it pretty hard to throw stones without being a complete hypocrite.

    Well, that’s what I’m asking. Stock traders got a 10% clip – from 25% to 15%. Everyone else got a 3% clip, which is fantastic if you’re making seven figures a year but not nearly as impressive if you’re barely making five.

    Why the hell are we fighting so hard over 3% of stagnant wages and declining benefits? Why go to the mat for money the unemployed won’t even get to see? What was so terribly unfair about income taxes under Clinton or Reagen that we can’t ever return to those oppressive times.

    FDR didn’t overcome the Great Depression by giving everyone a $400 stimulus check. Ford and Carter didn’t battle stagflation by renewing a 3% tax cut for those making under $250k / year. When has such a piddling sum of money – a couple grand for the year at best for the folks making in the $30-60k range – made or broken the economy?

    Why do we need Bush’s trickle down? I say we just fuck it all. Let the tax cuts expire for everyone. See if I give a shit.

  118. 118
    DougJ says:

    @Mark S.:

    Also too, Twitter isn’t the best place for nuance. As much as I hate to opt out of any anti-media jihad, I have to opt out of this one, at least as it concerns Tapper.

  119. 119
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mark S.:

    Thank you. I’m starting to wonder if this country is too stupid to have an honest policy discussion.

    I started to wonder about that when Poppy Bush started squeaking about the Pledge of Allegiance and “card-carrying member of the ACLU”. By the time Dim Son announced he was gonna stop Al Gore from turnin’ Social Security from sumkyna fedrel prograyum, and the media wrote it off as one of his adorable gaffes, I didn’t need to wonder anymore.

  120. 120
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @El Cid:

    Yes we are, but if we had a less stupid and catty and dishonest and right wing argument-favoring national news media, we’d be less stupid.

    Yeah, that’d be a start. But a pretty good bit of what passes for serious analysis on the left, while infinitely better than whatever the right is doing, is still pretty moronic. For instance, reading what HuffPo had to say about financial reform occasionally made me want to rip my eyes out.

  121. 121
    Zifnab says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Your own dick must taste delicious, the way you suck that thing.

  122. 122
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @roshan:

    What does that mean? Iconic and philanthropic businesses can break laws?

    Why do you have to resort to petty class warfare like this?

    My question is, what happens to a drug dealer who gives a lot of money to charity?

  123. 123
    Zifnab says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Oh, this, a million times this! I get so tired of the media completely ignoring the substance of a speech and heading directly to the ‘he said, she said, some say’ conflict/is it a political ploy baloney.

    What is the purpose of a speech if not to have Karl Rove on to analyze it? I can’t wait for more of his razor wit and keen insight.

  124. 124
    Ash Can says:

    Jeezus H. W. Christ on a pogo stick, this is one of the stupidest fucking arguments I’ve seen on this site in a long time. Jake Tapper writes a tweet that can be described most generously as misleading (and as verging on a flat-out lie otherwise), John Cole takes him to task for doing so, and people amass to pile on…John Cole? Seriously, what the flying fuck?

    This is like entering “2 x 2” on a calculator and then punching the equals sign over and over until there’s a fourteen-digit number in the window — the results have absolutely fuck-all to do with the original issue.

    What a waste of time. I’m off to do something productive for a change.

  125. 125
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Zifnab:

    What is the purpose of a speech if not to have Karl Rove on to analyze it? I can’t wait for more of his razor wit and keen insight.

    Not to mention how easy he is on the eyes. I’m not gay, but Karl’s jiggly corpulence and ferret-like features do give me pause.

  126. 126
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: Stop your whining. You’ll get out there and vote like you should. And you need to get other people out there to vote. Why? Because you know what the alternative is. And as little as Obama’s doing for you now, imagine how little Speaker Boehner will do for you later. Suck it up, Nancy, this isn’t baseball.

  127. 127
    El Cid says:

    @fasteddie9318: One of the big international institutions (before Googling), the UN or whoever, with a division monitoring organized crime and narcotrafficking, estimated that drug dealing profits in banks to the tune of about $300 billion kept many banks afloat worldwide.

    Sort of a cocaine/opium bailout.

  128. 128
    Corner Stone says:

    @fasteddie9318:

    My question is, what happens to a drug dealer who gives a lot of money to charity?

    I’ve heard of the hooker with a heart of gold, but the street thug philanthropist?

  129. 129
    eemom says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, as you’ve obviously read neither Orszag’s article nor the 10 zillion comments here that point out the 2 precise ways in which he and Obama disagree.

    1. Obama: I WILL NOT extend tax cuts for the rich. No compromise on that.

    Orszag: I don’t want to extend tax cuts on the rich, but I would do it in order to extend all the other tax cuts for two years.

    2. Obama: Tax cut for the middle class should continue indefinitely.

    Orszag: All tax cuts should expire in two years, including the ones for the middle class.

    Get the “rift” now, Midnight Asshole?

    And fuck you for gratuitously insulting me. I’ve never done that to you.

  130. 130
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: Playing the fear card dog?

  131. 131
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Zifnab: You can taste it any time you like.

  132. 132
    dday says:

    But there’s a huge difference between the Obama and the Orszag positions. Orszag wants all the Bush tax cuts to expire. Obama doesn’t; he wants to keep them all but the ones on the top 2%. That’s a $3 trillion dollar difference over the next ten years.

  133. 133
    slag says:

    @Corner Stone: Damn skippy. Though I like to call it the Reality Check card. Cuz you know it’s true.

  134. 134
  135. 135
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @eemom: And another thing about wonks…they disagree on things. That’s the natural order of things. And especially when they’re on the same side of the political spectrum, these disagreements are very rarely totally huge fucking deals that cause fistfights, shouting to each other about how the other guy’s mother is a whore, peeing on the conference room table, or other sorts of things that cause irreparable harm to the relationships of the relevant parties.

    This disagreement between Orszag and the White House? Most certainly doesn’t fall into the “big fucking deal” category.

  136. 136
    roshan says:

    My bet is on 281. The total # of comments. I will not cheat, so I am off this thread.

  137. 137
    cleek says:

    TPM:

    The takeaway that most took away was: extend ALL the Bush tax cuts for two years. Not just the ones for lower and middle income Americans which could play a significant stimulative role (or the absence of which could further depress demand) but the high income ones too, even though there’s not a lot of good stimulative argument for doing so.

    His [He? Orszag] says quite clearly that extending all but the upper income tax cuts is the best way to go. But then he writes it off saying that Republicans might not agree to that so, whatever, just do the whole thing. In other words, take a political fight in which the Democrats have the economic argument on their side and in which they most likely have the political argument on their side too and instead of contesting that ground — just concede the whole argument in advance and start the debate on the basis of the Republicans’ maximal position.

  138. 138
    licensed to kill time says:

    What the hell is going on? Site is loading funny and taking forever…is John messing with the PayPal thingy?

  139. 139
    MikeJ says:

    @DougJ: If the margins are too small to hold your argument, write it somewhere else.

  140. 140
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @eemom:

    Get the “rift” now, Midnight Asshole?

    Do you mean with his former budget director who has has no direct influence on the eventual outcome? Yes, I get that. And, of course. I like how you continue on the extension for the middle class, as though that was Tapper’s angle the first time around. Also:

    And fuck you for gratuitously insulting me. I’ve never done that to you.

    LOLWUT? Did you somehow forget about the sentence you wrote right before this?

  141. 141
    chopper says:

    @BTD:

    i gotta say, BTD, these last couple of days have really cemented my view of you as a childish douchebag. if only being a picky bitch on the internet meant anything at all.

  142. 142
    Corner Stone says:

    @slag: Kind of sad, don’t you think? You reduced to making the argument a parent uses against their 4 yr old child?
    “Go nighty night like a good girl or the Boogeyman’s gonna get ya!”

    Yes, I do in fact see where this is going to go.

  143. 143
    chopper says:

    @batgirl:

    that’s the whole crux of it. tapper’s tweet was stupid and misleading. it took one ‘maybe, possibly if we can’t avoid it’ and made it sound like that was orszag’s firm position.

    imagine if gates came out and said ‘yes, we’re keeping 50,000 troops in iraq. that’s the plan all right. now, there could possibly be a situation in which we would need to bring in some more dudes, but i don’t wish to see that’, tapper would be all OMG BUCKING HIS BOSS, GATES SAYS WE NEED MORE TROOPS IN IRAQ!

  144. 144
    WaterGirl says:

    @TaMara (BHF): For awhile last December it looked like I was going to be in exactly situation you describe. My sweet boy, kidneys failing, but hanging in there because of lots of care and our emotional connection. 3-week trip ahead that would upset a lot of people if I didn’t go.

    It was an impossible situation, and I thought my head and heart were both going to explode. I was spared that decision by my sweet quiver when it became clear (a week before my trip) that we were at the end of his days. The guilt I feel is because it did not go smoothly when I had the vet come out to put him to sleep.

    All we can do is remember the love and the bond we shared.

  145. 145
    Corner Stone says:

    @licensed to kill time: Tapper has set forth his minions to DDOS Cole’s ass.*

    *More likely just FYWP.

  146. 146
    Arclite says:

    @Mark S.: I use Chrome and I haven’t seen this problem. Make sure you have the most recent version. Either turn on Google updater or download it manually.

    http://www.google.com/chrome/i....._medium=ha

    The only time I have seen this issue, and not on this site, is with IE, b/c it allows you to browse offline content and it stores stuff in cache. Chrome always loads the most recent page from the internet.

  147. 147
    LT says:

    I’m behind schedule and was only able to read the first few lines. Could someone tell me: Was John Cole right and everyone else wrong?

    Thanks.

    P.S. Obama (rightly) against a compromise, and publicly fighting Rs on it; Oszag for one, and publicly giving Rs handjobs for it. Not different at all!

  148. 148
    jeffreyw says:

    Need a new thread, Mrs J has had time to bake a cake while y’all been arguing on this one.

  149. 149
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Corner Stone: Always, always FYWP! I’m getting a big blank space at top of page above the header, that is when the page finally loads. But hell, I’ll blame Tapper, too.

  150. 150
    Martin says:

    @danimal: Actually, that’s not quite right.

    The estate tax is a benefit to those settling estates because built into the estate tax is a blanket exemption from having to pay capital gains. With no estate tax, those estates will need to calculate capital gains from their cost basis on all transferred assets rather than just paying a blanket rate. In the end, the amount of tax may be higher or lower (probably lower because the long-term cap gains rate is pretty damn low), but without question the amount of work that’s going to be paid to lawyers, estate appraisers, and so on is going to be much higher without the estate tax in place.

    There’s no need for an explicit estate tax as cap gains still applies, but the presence of an estate tax makes it so you don’t need to dig through 70 years of grandmas receipts to figure out the cost basis of that asset you just received. You just pay the flat rate on the value of the asset.

  151. 151
    birthmarker says:

    @Nazgul35: We’ve all been there. Don’t beat yourself up. Condolences to you and your family.

    @trollhattan:

    we need to stick with our Kenyan usurper

    John, can we PLEASE have this on the rolling whatchamacallit??

  152. 152
    LT says:

    Boehner on Orszag:

    “If the president is serious about finally focusing on jobs, a good start would be taking the advice of his recently departed budget director and freezing all tax rates, coupled with cutting federal spending to where it was before all the bailouts, government takeovers, and ‘stimulus’ spending sprees.”

    But never mind! Oszag says that John Boehner doesn’t actually exist! So it’s alright!

  153. 153
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @dday:

    But there’s a huge difference between the Obama and the Orszag positions. Orszag wants all the Bush tax cuts to expire. Obama doesn’t; he wants to keep them all but the ones on the top 2%. That’s a $3 trillion dollar difference over the next ten years.

    Not quite. Orszag doesn’t want the taxcuts on the lower 98% to expire immediately. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be willing to trade extending the cuts for the -nobles- top 2% to get the other cuts extended. Where the two differ is that Orszag wants only a 2-year extension for the lower 98% but is willing to accept a 2-year extension on cuts for the top 2% to get it. What Orszag doesn’t understand, because he knows less about politics than he does about finance and knocking women up, is that he is basically asking for a pony. Republicans and their enablers will accept nothing less than permanent tax cuts for the top 2% (and they are willing to make other tax cuts permanent to get them).

    This is entirely a political fight, with the goal being to expose to the rubes that Republicans are all about rich people and are willing to vote down tax cuts for the middle class if they don’t get their way. With people like Harry Reid playing left tackle, I’m less than optimistic that the strategy will be executed successfully.

  154. 154
    Bender says:

    The point I was trying to make is that we can’t afford the tax cuts over the medium term

    How is it that we almost never hear anyone in government saying that “we can’t afford” the latest vote-buying giveaway spending program? Why is it that letting people keep their own hard-earned money is pretty much the only thing that “we can’t afford?”

  155. 155
    mnpundit says:

    Actually I’ve now seen charts that indicate that the “middle-class tax cuts” actually go to people who are quite wealthy. Not the 50-60k guys.

    So fuck it. I’d rather have all the tax cuts extended.

    Even Joshua fucking Marshall criticized Orzag for this op-ed.

  156. 156
    BTD says:

    @chopper:

    LOL. Just the past few days?

  157. 157
    MikeJ says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Yea! A two year extension that gives us expiring tax cuts in September of 2012!

  158. 158
    chopper says:

    @LT:

    “If the president is serious about finally focusing on jobs, a good start would be taking the advice of his recently departed budget director and freezing all tax rates…”

    this is a stupid thing to say. in trying to zing the president, the dude just went on record saying it’s a good idea to let the bush tax cuts expire.

  159. 159
    DougJ says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    That’s my question too.

  160. 160

    Don’t confuse politics with policy. Nor presidential politics with congress. Sometimes they can be the same, but often as not they aren’t/ Beohner coming out endorsing a specific two year extension plan for both sounds that may well be the plan from consultation with House dems. Obama can bluster his presnit politics all he wants about his preference, which are correct in policy but not in passage, it is not up to him, unless he plans to veto such a compromise and he won’t do that right now. But getting anything passed through the senate right now in the heat of a campaign would be like untangling the mysteries of black holes/

    So it is quite likely nothing gets done on dealing with the bush tax cuts before the election, and who knows with a lame duck congress. So there is a good likelyhood they will all expire, and dems can propose new mc tax cuts of their own, and will have covered themselves politically as trying to extend the ones for lower income folks.

  161. 161

    @DougJ: He may have been floating a trial balloon for a compromise for Obama, that apparently Boehner heard, either from Orzag, or more likely a compromise in the congress works.

  162. 162
    Jules says:

    Obama today:

    But the Republican leader of the House doesn’t want to stop there. Make no mistake: he and his party believe we should also give a permanent tax cut to the wealthiest two percent of Americans. With all the other budgetary pressures we have – with all the Republicans’ talk about wanting to shrink the deficit – they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next ten years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 to folks who are already millionaires. These are among the only folks who saw their incomes rise when Republicans were in charge. And these are folks who are less likely to spend the money, which is why economists don’t think tax breaks for the wealthy would do much to boost the economy.

    So let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everyone else: we should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer. We are ready, this week, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less. For any income over this amount, the tax rates would go back to what they were under President Clinton. This isn’t to punish folks who are better off – it’s because we can’t afford the $700 billion price tag. And for those who claim that this is bad for growth and bad for small businesses, let me remind you that with those tax rates in place, this country created 22 million jobs, raised incomes, and had the largest surplus in history.

    In fact, if the Republican leadership in Congress really wants to help small businesses, they’ll stop using legislative maneuvers to block an up-or-down vote on a small business jobs bill that’s before the Senate right now. This is a bill that would do two things: cut taxes for small businesses and make loans more available for small businesses. It is fully paid for, and it was written by Democrats and Republicans. And yet, the other party continues to block this jobs bill – a delay that small business owners have said is actually leading them to put off hiring.

    You can read the whole speech at Ezra:
    http://voices.washingtonpost.c.....nship.html

    Or watch it on Cspan.com:
    http://www.c-span.org/Watch/Me.....reaks.aspx

  163. 163
    Ailuridae says:

    @LT:

    So now Cole is responsible for the fact that John Boehner is deliberately mischaracterizing Orzsag’s comments?

  164. 164
    Ruckus says:

    @General Stuck:
    OK I had this long post going and then I looked up and read:
    So it is quite likely nothing gets done on dealing with the bush tax cuts before the election, and who knows with a lame duck congress. So there is a good likelyhood they will all expire, and dems can propose new mc tax cuts of their own, and will have covered themselves politically as trying to extend the ones for lower income folks.

    This is what I see as well.

  165. 165
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Sentient Puddle: We just disagree on whether or not we’re disagreeing about the supposed nature of this disagreement.

  166. 166
    Joshua says:

    The rich benefit from Obama’s plan too.

    What percentage of people in this country understand the concept of marginal tax rates? I would say it’s pretty low. I think most people believe that a $1 raise would give them less money if that $1 bumps them to the next tax bracket. A guy making $250,001 gets all the tax advantages a person making $250,000 gets, only the extra $1 is taxed at the Clinton-era rate. And since the Clinton era rate was less than 100%, that guy ends up taking home more than the other guy.

    That’s why doctors “going galt” makes no damn sense. It’s really not a very hard concept to grasp and everyone should know it.

  167. 167
    Cain says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    I still can’t figure out why this fucking matters except as another balloonbagger effort to shield Obama from any and all imagined harm.I still can’t figure out why this fucking matters except as another balloonbagger effort to shield Obama from any and all imagined harm.

    haha.. I love it,, balloon-bagger… I will wear that proudly.

    cain

  168. 168
    Nazgul35 says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    Thanks for that…and to everyone else for the kind words.

    I call her my baby cat because she was the youngest of three. She was about 14 years old.

    She had a good long life. My wife is taking it really hard, I think I am more stunned than anything and with one cat left (15 years), I guess I am just waiting for the other shoe to fall.

  169. 169

    […] blogger John Cole at Balloon Juice responded to Orszag’s statement, highlighting the fact that Orszag advocates a tax cut […]

  170. 170

    @slag: Wow. I’m a little late to the party but was that an impressive display of authoritarianism or a satire of same? I honestly can’t tell. Taking the “booga booga Republicans!” thing to the point of telling people what they will do is a new level by me.

  171. 171

    @slag: Wow. I’m a little late to the party but was that an impressive display of authoritarianism or a satire of same? I honestly can’t tell. Taking the “booga booga Republicans!” thing to the point of telling people what they will do is a new level by me.

    @MikeJ:

    Twitter was used to promote the post. Media figures stop promoting themselves because of a concern for nuance? That’s realistic.

  172. 172

    @chopper: No. Rates haven’t gone up yet. He’s calling for them to be frozen at current levels.

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