Playing Games

I suppose it is too much to ask that the Democrats run a competent political operation and point out that the Republicans have no actual plan for governance, but intend to simply play chicken with the debt ceiling and hold investigations of the travel office and other crap like that.

If Lindsey Graham wants to go after social security, the Democrats should not do or say a thing until the Republican proposal is in bill form and the details are included. Let them be the party that wants to go after grandma’s income. Let’s see DeMint’s plan for the default of the United States.

Having watched Obama the last two years, I’m reasonably sure the brain trust in charge of the political operation will instead pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut but the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left. That’s just how they roll. Morans.

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212 replies
  1. 1
    mk3872 says:

    Wait a SECOND, John … Whose responsibility is it to call this out as garbage? The Dems or the Media?

    If the Dems call it out, the media is likely to play up the drama as he said v she said and Dem v Repub.

    It takes the MSM to call it as it is: The GOP is playing games with the nation’s well-being instead of governing.

  2. 2
    david mizner says:

    Yeah, sure, it’s all the fault of the “political operation.”

    A president who opposed cuts to Social Security (one who didn’t, say, put together the Catfood Commission) would come out and say he opposed cuts to Social Security and dare the GOP to force a default, knowing they won’t because Wall Street won’t let them.

    But to do so, you have to actually oppose cuts to Social Security.

  3. 3
    Darius says:

    I suppose it is too much to ask that the Democrats run a competent political operation and point out that the Republicans have no actual plan for governance, but intend to simply play chicken with the debt ceiling

    One of Obama’s advisors (Goolsbee, I think) said exactly that over the weekend.

    Problem is, we don’t have a functioning media to explain to the American people why allowing the United States to default on its debt would be a bad thing.

  4. 4
    Punchy says:

    and then watch themselves get undercut but the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left. That’s just how they roll. Morans.

    You got a big “but” where you need a “by” and a very vague, undefined pronoun (“they”) that without clarity, destroys the meaning and direction of your ire.

    Kthxby

  5. 5
    Mary says:

    Having watched Obama the last two years, I’m reasonably sure the brain trust in charge of the political operation will instead pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut but the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left.

    Wait…I’m confused. Is John a “firebagger” now?

  6. 6
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    It’s been this way since Rick Warren. We “compromise” with the right. We eschew the extremism of Falwell, only to get the compromise “moderate” that wants to kill gays. We are compromising with people who view politics as an existential fight to the death. Compromise is losing to them, so they are more than glad to see us start from the center or center-right and “meet them halfway” towards bat-shit insane.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with the Dems or the media – it’s to do with who we are going against. The other option for Dems is to play stupid all or nothing games like they do. It’s the same old same old – heads they win, tails we lose.

  7. 7
    Xenos says:

    It may have been ugly, but the catfood commission served to get the issue deferred, and then it proceeded to die a predictable death. And the compromises with the Senate Republicans actually worked, even it was a deal too far for most of the Democratic base.

    I don’t see any upside to Obama taking the first step to ‘reform’ SS. 11-dimensional chess apologetics just can’t be made to stretch that far.

  8. 8
    TooManyJens says:

    @Mary: No, for him to be a firebagger he’d have to think that it was all a plot by Obama to enact the far-right legislation he secretly wants to pass. John just thinks Obama gets rolled a lot.

  9. 9

    Blue Dogs got handed their asses in November and are an endangered species, so this time might be different. It will be interesting to see….

  10. 10
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Who says Obama is going to do any of that?

  11. 11
    Paul in KY says:

    With a playbook like you posted John, an administration staff job seems like a certainty.

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    @david mizner:

    A president who opposed cuts to Social Security (one who didn’t, say, put together the Catfood Commission)

    And when Obama told the military to issue a report on the impact of DADT repeal it was *proof* that he hates gay people and will never,ever,ever in a hojillion years actually repeal it.

  13. 13
    Chris says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex):

    We are compromising with people who view politics as an existential fight to the death.

    An analogy to Munich might not be entirely out of place here.

  14. 14
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Having watched Obama the last two years, I’m reasonably sure the brain trust in charge of the political operation will instead pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut by the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left. That’s just how they roll. Morans.

    Yep. Cosign on this one.

    A lot of the flying juice monkeys will start screaming now but you’ve painted an accurate portrait of how it’s gone the past two years, and just what people have been complaining about.

    No, it doesn’t mean “I wish I voted for Sarah Palin”. Yes, it does mean on occasion wanting to ask the White House: “Look, I’m on your side, but who the hell is running your political strategy, David Broder?”

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    __

    Having watched Obama the last two years, I’m reasonably sure the brain trust in charge of the political operation will instead pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut but the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left.

    Let’s assume that this is what happens, and also that the similar complaints about the lack of perspective brought by the billion dollar media is (as always) are also accurate predictions.

    Is there supposed to be some imaginary other group which would do something else, and presumably better? Is someone supposed to read that paragraph and instantly know that since they aren’t a part of any of those groups doing the screw ups, they know what to do instead?

  16. 16
    david mizner says:

    @MikeJ:

    Do you think Obama opposes cuts in Social Security? What’s your proof?

    If he opposes cutting SS, why doesn’t he come out and say so?

    It’s as simple as: “Social Security will not be cut on my watch. Period.” Next?

  17. 17
    maye says:

    It takes the MSM to call it as it is

    When I worked in public relations, blaming the media got you fired.

    It was my job to get the media to do what my clients wanted it to do. If I failed, my clients took their business elsewhere.

    I don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

  18. 18
    Chyron HR says:

    @david mizner:

    If he opposes cutting SS, why doesn’t he come out and say so? It’s as simple as: “Social Security will not be cut on my watch. Period.”

    Oh, well, there you go. He only said, “I won’t let it happen. Not while I’m President.” Which is completely different than “Not on my watch, period.” and is a clear tell of his desire to cut Social Security.

  19. 19
    Tim says:

    @TooManyJens:

    No, for him to be a firebagger he’d have to think that it was all a plot by Obama to enact the far-right legislation he secretly wants to pass. John just thinks Obama gets rolled a lot.

    OK, but any theories on WHY Obama gets rolled a lot?

    Is he stupid? Gullible? Ignorant? Weak-willed?

    To many of us the explanation you mention, however distorted, simply makes more sense than the alternatives listed above. The Obotic refusal to even CONSIDER that O is getting mostly what he WANTS is childish.

    It’s simply the most logical explanation.

  20. 20
    cleek says:

    @david mizner:

    A president who opposed cuts to Social Security (one who didn’t, say, put together the Catfood Commission) would come out and say he opposed cuts to Social Security

    he did say that, in person, and on his website, during the 08 campaign: About.com.

    the jury’s still out on the issue of whether campaign promises mean anything or not.

  21. 21
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: BTW “Flying juice monkeys” is a term of endearment, but that should be obvious ;)

  22. 22
    p.a. says:

    Long Game! Long Game! Long Game! SullySullySully!!!

    those sneaks at FDL have disguised their site to look just like Balloon Juice! and Hamsher is posting as John Cole! is that legal?

  23. 23
    david mizner says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Wow. You don’t know what you’re talking about do you?

    He was talking about privatization.

  24. 24
    Anya says:

    Didn’t the President do this already when the Republicans were apposing the HCR? He asked them to come up with a plan that will “bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured”? As I recall the President also challenged them about the economy and Republicans came up with a pitiful budget plan that everyone laughed at (Paul Ryan’s Plan).

    I think you are right, though, about the Dems reaction. They will never have a unified message and stick with it. They should Let the media run stories about playing with the debt ceiling, and what it means for the country. But the Dems are hopeless. Instead of traping the Republicans, you will see Liebermann, Nelson and Conrad running to the nearest camera yelling about the deficit and the firebaggers to the nearest keyboard screaming about how Obama is a secret Republican and how it was his plan all along to dismantle social security. Also too, he’s an inadequate black man.

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    (nothing to see here)

  26. 26
    david mizner says:

    @cleek:

    Exactly. During his campaign. We don’t know if that’s still operative. He could clear it up in three seconds.

    In any case, it’s good to see that everyone hear opposes any sort of cut to SS. I look forward to joining with you to oppose them.

  27. 27
    Chyron HR says:

    @david mizner:

    He was talking about privatization.

    Oh, golly, my mistake. Obviously he was using weasel words to hide his hatred of Social securty. Thank god we’ve got you here to tell us the TRUTH.

  28. 28
    TooManyJens says:

    @Tim:

    OK, but any theories on WHY Obama gets rolled a lot?
    __
    Is he stupid? Gullible? Ignorant? Weak-willed?

    I’ll take “Struggling to figure out the best way to govern around a bunch of nihilists who are perfectly willing to blow up the country if anyone but them is elected” for $500, Alex.

  29. 29
    Chyron HR says:

    @david mizner:

    Exactly. During his campaign. We don’t know if that’s still operative. He could clear it up in three seconds.

    And why won’t he release his REAL birth certificate, eh? What’s he hiding?

  30. 30
    NobodySpecial says:

    Oh Cole, you wonderful troll. You wonderful, wonderful troll.

  31. 31
    david mizner says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Got it:

    To want him to make clear his position on Social Security = birtherism.

    Thanks for that painful peek into the mind of an Obama loyalist.

  32. 32
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    So let’s see. The problems are Obama, the Dems, and the professional left?

    I can’t keep track of whether it is better to be with us because we have nuance and diversity of opinion or if it would be better if we just played hardball and forced everyone to agree with us or kick them out of the coalition.

  33. 33
    BGinCHI says:

    Cole is right that with this new, GOP-controlled iteration of the House, the WH ought to pull the cape away (this is a bullfighting analogy) and let the stupid self-righteous know-nothing bull slam into the wall.

    Let the GOP run with their bad ideas. Make it obvious that they stand for crazy, unpopular governance.

    Stop enabling their legitimacy as a partner in governing.

  34. 34
    guster says:

    I’m pretty sure that Cole is self-trolling here, with: “Having watched Obama the last two years, I’m reasonably sure the brain trust in charge of the political operation will instead pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut by the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left.”

    Even he wouldn’t prefer: “… pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut by the douchebag Blue Dogs then supported wholeheartedly by the professional left.”

    Right?

  35. 35
    KJ says:

    I think it is a bit premature to predict how the Obama White House and the Congressional Democrats will play this. If history is any guide, Pelosi knows that she has no obligation to roll out a plan and Obama is pretty consistent about respecting the authority of the co-equal branches of government, sometimes to a fault. So I think, and this only just a guess, that both will play this correctly.

  36. 36
    kay says:

    @Anya:

    Instead of traping the Republicans, you will see Liebermann, Nelson and Conrad running to the nearest camera yelling about the deficit

    Well, they can do that and still trap the Republicans. It’s probably better to set it up that way, I think. The key is to throw any substantive action back to the GOP majority in the House. Let them propose specific cuts, now that they’re the governing majority. That’s what Howard Dean is suggesting, and that makes sense to me.

    Don’t dodge, or try to change the conversation, but instead challenge them to come up with legislation. Because conservatives are kidding themselves if they believe people younger than 55 want Social Security or Medicare cut. And that’s what they believe. That’s how they plan to weasel out of what they promised in the midterms, without political damage. Make cuts apply to those 55 and younger.

  37. 37
    cat48 says:

    The guy who used to run Newsweek,?? (escapes me) said on Mojo this a.m. that Goolsbe framed the debate on the debt level yesterday. Only a crazy person would play chicken with the debt level, default, etc. I watched the video, not bad actually. He was on This Week, abc.

    Frum was angry enough about his response to blog about it.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    Out of curiosity, david, which of the proposed steps by the deficit commission do you oppose, the raising of the current cap on wages to $250,000 or increasing the minimum benefit to the poorest retirees?

    Please note that we’re discussing the actual report by the actual commission that I linked to above, not the PowerPoint presentation that Bowles and Simpson did on their own to try and undercut the report.

  39. 39
    Citizen_X says:

    Jesus, Cole. I’m all in favor of slamming Obama and the Dems for things that are actually happening, but this is just one more spontaneous, firebaggery burst of preemptive shirt-rending. Was it inspired by anything more newsworthy than “REPUBLICANS STILL CRAZY | Report: Water Still Wet”? In other words: LINK, PLEASE.

  40. 40
    srv says:

    The art of the possible is to surrender early, surrender often. I don’t know why we’re even asking employers to pay SS now, not like anyone would get upset about it.

  41. 41
    John S. says:

    Three whole days into the new year, and Cole is already trolling the shit out of his own blog…

  42. 42
    FlipYrWhig says:

    My favorite part of this post is its firm connection to recent news and information.

  43. 43
    Culture of Truth says:

    Perhaps they are all morans, but Austan Goolsbee was on MTP yesterday calling out GOP insanity on the debt ceiling.

  44. 44
    Pangloss says:

    @david mizner: I just did a search for Obama+”He could clear it up”. From a quick browse, at least 8 of the top 10 results were birther-related.

    Chyron was pointing out that you’re using birther language and arguments.

  45. 45
    Brachiator says:

    Having watched Obama the last two years, I’m reasonably sure the brain trust in charge of the political operation will instead pretend the Republicans are serious and offer more than the Republicans as an opening bid, and then watch themselves get undercut but the douchebag Blue Dogs and flayed alive by the professional left. That’s just how they roll. Morans.

    There is some interesting misdirection going on here which the media (as usual) and Balloon Juicers just are not getting. Take taxes for example.

    Obama is still getting grief for compromising on the Bush tax cuts, even though everybody knew that the expiration date was looming and a number of tax issues had to be addressed by the end of the year. And yet the Democrats in Congress never, ever, EVER drafted a tax bill, and the White House stood pat with its stimulus bill.

    Meanwhile, when the shit starts to hit the fan, the only drafted legislation on the table contains rehased Republican proposals and Obama tax proposals. Again, nothing from any Democrat, mainstream, progressive, or Blue Dog.

    So, the question is, were Congressional Democrats outmaneuvered, or did they sell out to corporate hogs? Some of the goodies hidden away in the tax plan suggests that while some Democrats love to talk about caring about “the peoples,” their actions don’t back their lofty speechifying.

    Also, too, the IRS commissioner warned that game playing between the Congress and the president might result in problems for 2010. And guess what? That’s exactly what happened (50 million taxpayers must delay filing – IRS)

    Itemize your tax deductions? Itching for a refund? You’re going to have to wait.
    __
    The IRS said that it needs until mid- to late-February to reprogram its processing systems because Congress acted so late this year cleaning up the tax code. The bill, which includes deductions for state and local sales taxes, college tuition and teacher expenses, wasn’t signed into law until Dec. 17.

    Right now, I am really not sure who in Washington is playing fair, and who is only going through the motions.

  46. 46
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Well, because I said cuts, I oppose cuts, not increases in revenue or benefits.

    Which is to say I oppose those provisions that would cut benefits for wealthy retirees (essentially means testing) and cost-of-living increases for all retirees. I also opposes the provision that would raise the retirement age.

  47. 47
    cleek says:

    @david mizner:

    In any case, it’s good to see that everyone hear opposes any sort of cut to SS. I look forward to joining with you to oppose them.

    well, i’m not actually 100% opposed to “any sort of” cuts. increasing the eligibility age a bit wouldn’t freak me out, for example – though i’d need to be convinced it was necessary in order to keep the program solvent for the long term, and not just a way to pay for more tax cuts.

  48. 48
    Culture of Truth says:

    If Lindsey Graham wants to go after social security, the Democrats should not do or say a thing until the Republican proposal is in bill form and the details are included.

    I thought you were mad at Dems for not calling out GOP nuttinness. I’m confused.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @KJ:

    If history is any guide, Pelosi knows that she has no obligation to roll out a plan and Obama is pretty consistent about respecting the authority of the co-equal branches of government, sometimes to a fault.

    That’s what I suspect, too. If you come at it from a perspective that Obama has been deferring to the legislative branch to come up with legislation — you know, their motherfucking job — then continuing to do that with a Republican House will have the right effect.

    Of course, if you’re one of the conspiracy theorists who’s convinced that Obama is a secret Republican trying to get all of their favorite ideas passed and secretly undermining his own proposed legislation, you’ll be running around with your hair on fire.

    Given Pelosi’s actions the last time the Republicans had a bright idea about Social Security (“When are we presenting our plan? Never. Is never good for you?”), I’m not terribly worried.

  50. 50
    david mizner says:

    @Pangloss:

    So the teabggers have a patent on language!!

    This is a parody. You’re like a bither c-c-c-ause you breathe air and so do they.

  51. 51
    danimal says:

    Ok, I’ll put on my Obot shinguards on and disagree a bit with Cole. The strategies for Obama change dramatically with the new Congress.

    For two years, Obama has sucked it up and absorbed a lot of punches rather than punch back in order to keep legislation moving. I’ll note that he needed to absorb punches to keep conservadems and Blue Dogs in line, not the GOP. It still hasn’t sunk in to a lot of folks that the conservadems/Blue Dogs were Obama’s counter-party and that the GOP was secondary in his legislative strategy. The end result was of Obama’s strategy was mixed and definitely unsatisfying from an emotional POV. However, he did get a fair amount done (HCR, finreg, DADT, stimulus, etc).

    With a new, orange sheriff in town, the legislative dynamics change. Obama still has to play the adult, but he’s not responsible for the whole government. Expect Obama to throw a few more punches and conduct negotiations from a different place for the next two years. He’s not nearly as stupid as this post assumes.

  52. 52
    Citizen_X says:

    @danimal: Thank you. The dynamic for the next 2 years is completely different from that for the last 2 years. Past performance is not a guarantee of future earnings, etc, etc.

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    Well, because I said cuts, I oppose cuts, not increases in revenue or benefits.

    You said you opposed the ideas from the Catfood Commission. I’ve shown you what those actual ideas are. Are you now saying that we should follow the suggestions of the Catfood Commission?

    Which is to say I oppose those provisions that would cut benefits for wealthy retirees (essentially means testing) and cost-of-living increases for all retirees. I also opposes the provision that would raise the retirement age.

    Looking at the planned formula, I don’t think that making the benefits calculation more progressive amounts to “means testing,” but I know you’re attached to your catchphrases and have a hard time not applying them if one of the proposals vaguely resembles your catchphrase.

    Changing the cost-of-living calculation is certainly open for debate and is not the open and shut case for “no change” that you seem to think it is. The proposal to change the retirement age would increase it by 2075 to two (2) years over the currently legislated increase to 67.

  54. 54
    Elie says:

    You know, I have been away from this and many other blogs over the holiday. This one is the best but I tell you, its another world here…

    I always think that the discussion will eventually become more reasonable and balanced around what Obama is and is not doing, but I am always wrong. Starting with John’s lede, its just the same ol same ol, reacting to the immediate here and now without a view towards the larger progress or process of governing and making policy… like in one snapshot point in time we KNOW all the possible outcomes of a strategy that we think we see coming from the White House or anywhere else in the administration, or from the Republicans for that matter.

    Its not only tiring and demoralizing, but more and more stupid and purposely misleading if not cynical. And this is among the best sites…

    I understand that John and others here will adopt a tongue in cheek approach to solicit good comments and witty repartee but even knowing that, it still gets pretty old..

    Sorry, don’t mean to be a downer — just reflecting on a New Year that already seems very old and tired..

  55. 55
    Mnemosyne says:

    @danimal:

    It still hasn’t sunk in to a lot of folks that the conservadems/Blue Dogs were Obama’s counter-party and that the GOP was secondary in his legislative strategy.

    It’s so weird that the same people who spent the past two years whining about “President Baucus” and “President Lincoln” seem to be oblivious to what that actually meant when it came to getting legislation passed in the Senate. The Blue Dogs and conservadems had to be catered to, like it or not, to get them to vote for the legislation. Getting the Republicans on board was always secondary, at best.

    But why look at reality when you can concoct conspiracy theories about Obama being a secret Republican who actually opposes all of the legislation that he’s publicly proposed?

  56. 56
    JAHILL10 says:

    Playing Games indeed. It sounds to me like JC is kicking the cage to get the firebaggers riled up again. I knew the peaceful holiday spirit couldn’t last forever. Way to troll your own site, Cole.

  57. 57
    jl says:

    I think I have shown I am no Obot, but Cole and others seem premature in kibbitzing over what Obama might or might not do.

    Rather than precomplain about what Obama might do over the next three months, might be better for people to write the WH about the best policy to take, and make a fuss in the blog about the facts of the matter.

    Seems to me, as a matter of fact, that the only way cutting Social Security would help with the current large budget deficits, or those that will come in next few years, is if it provided a way to steal the Social Security trust funds that have been borrowed to finance budget deficits. In other words, find a flimflam scam to not pay the borrowed funds back to Social Security. And that in my mind would be theft, and I think the population would see it that way.

    I am sure Talkingpointsmemo, Krugman and Mark Thoma at Economists View blogs will be all over this topic, so why not follow those blogs, and use the ferocious irresistible blogoshpheric force that Ballon-Juice is, to blast their messages into the public eye? Rather than criticize Obama for stuff that he has not done yet.

  58. 58
    Anya says:

    @danimal:

    He’s not nearly as stupid as this post assumes.

    To tell you the truth, I am confused about the intent of this post.

  59. 59
    srv says:

    @Tim:

    OK, but any theories on WHY Obama gets rolled a lot?

    Naive to think Obama really thinks he has been rolled at all.

    But not a real power player like Nixon or Johnson, and doesn’t have the crew to manipulate the levers ala Reagan/Bush. Clinton didn’t have all the right people at the start, but he is politically wicked smart and figured it out.

    Whether Obama can figure out a way in this environment, tbd. Nancy is the one wearing the pants in this party, and she’s a tool to her reality.

  60. 60
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Now you’re just making shit up. I didn’t say I oppose ALL proposals of the Catfood Commission. Hell, I’d love to see some of their proposals enacted. Defense cuts, for example.

    I said I oppose Social Security cuts.

  61. 61
    Ash Can says:

    LOL! Cole would be great in a baseball dugout — light everyone’s shoelaces on fire, then stand back and watch ’em all dance. Good stuff.

  62. 62
    JohnR says:

    ..the Democrats should not do or say a thing until the Republican proposal is in bill form and the details are included. Let them be the party that wants to go after grandma’s income. Let’s see DeMint’s plan for the default of the United States.

    Preparing to start a career in standup, I see. Needs some work on the punchline.

  63. 63
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I neglected to respond to your point about cutting benefits for the wealthy.

    Mean-testing and the like may appear to be progressive reforms; in fact, though, such provisions undercut the very thing that makes Social Security so strong: its universality. Once it becomes essentially another welfare program, it’s all but dead.

  64. 64
    BGinCHI says:

    Maybe the JRT finally put Cole over the edge.

    Can anyone verify that Tunch is not able to type?

  65. 65
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I am glad that you and others have the energy to explain the same things over and over to people who probably don’t want to know facts or reality. I have read your patient explanation over and over and over and the same folks keep saying the same things anyway, over and over. There is no light or movement — just the grinding of gears. And we get to yell and scream at each other for those who like that…

  66. 66
    TooManyJens says:

    @jl:

    Rather than precomplain about what Obama might do over the next three months, might be better for people to write the WH about the best policy to take, and make a fuss in the blog about the facts of the matter.

    Hear, hear. This has been my biggest complaint about damn near every left of center blog for the last couple of years. Too much time and energy spent reading tea leaves and moaning, “Oh, this is how we’re going to get screwed over, woe is us,” relative to time spent mobilizing to make our voices heard.

    That’s why I loved last year’s big push to make calls for HCR. Where have you gone, TimF? A blog turns its lonely eyes to you.

  67. 67
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Elie: Agreed. I am not going to get sucked into an Obot v. Firebagger shouting match today.

  68. 68
    Ash Can says:

    @BGinCHI: If a JC post ever starts out with, “Fuck politics, let’s talk TUNA!” we’ll know what’s going on (and alert the homicide squad).

  69. 69
    PIGL says:

    @maye: So how would one get “the media” to tell the truth support a non-crazy agenda? I seriously believe that the only solution would be as follows.

    Deadly ninja assassins from the blackest of black agencies visit Murdoch and selected others, carrying the severed head of a favourite child, nephew or catamite and say thusly: “back the hell off, or the rest of your family will start dying in tragic car accidents and accidental suicides, one at a time, once a week, until you divest your holdings, or your turn comes up. Have a nice day.”

    If you can think of some other way to get the media to do what we want, I’d like to hear it. But I don’t think there is one. PR notions may work in getting local or regional media to favour one side or the other of a factional dispute within the ruling class. It’ll never work in a broader context where class interests themselves are at stake.

  70. 70
    JAHILL10 says:

    @jl: Second this. I am sick of the endless kibitzing. Put some skin in the game or shut up.

  71. 71
    sb says:

    @TooManyJens: No, no, no! You’re playing the game all wrong! You only use “Alex” and a monetary amount when picking a category. Like this:

    ALEX: Firebagger, you’re turn!

    FIREBAGGER: I’ll take “the right-wing Obama that exists in the mind of others” for $500, Alex.

    ALEX: “And the answer is, ‘Struggling to figure out the best way to govern around a bunch of nihilists who are perfectly willing to blow up the country if anyone but them is elected’.

    FB: “Why does Obama cower in the face of big decisions and cave into the needs of wingnuts?”

    (BZZZ!)

    Alex: “No, I’m sorry. It’s…”

    FB: “Wait! I know!”

    Alex: “You already answered, I’m sorry…”

    FB: “Why does our weak-willed, gullible, profoundly ignorant, spineless President avoid waving his magic wand and start using his power?”

    Alex: “That doesn’t make sense and, again, you’re turn is over.”

    FB: “It’s not wrong! Why do you love Obama so much? Are you an Obot or something?”

    Alex: (stunned silence)

    FB: “You’re silence speaks volumes, Alex. Because of your silence, soldiers are dying, people are being tortured in Guantanamo, social security will be eliminated!”

    Alex: “Well, all of that doesn’t have to do with the game being played now but given enough time, those problems can be dealt with and will be dealt with…”

    FB: “Oh, blah, blah, blah. More promises that will never be kept! Look how long it took to end DADT!”

    Alex: “But DADT was ended, as promised.”

    FB: “But not right away.”

    Alex: (regaining control) “And the correct response is (ahem) ‘What is Obama actually doing while others believe he is caving in?’ See, we’re looking for an answer based on the reality of what is happening today and what has happened over the last two years. The Republican party has essentially decided that rather than govern through consensus, they are going to instead obstruct at every turn, even if such obstructions harm the country. And it’s not just Republicans but Blue Dog Democrats who often join in such obstructions. This, combined with a complacent if not entirely competent media, has led some to believe the President is running away from big decisions when, in fact, he is carefully building consensus. Today’s political climate is similar to the battle over the Civil Rights bill passed in the 60’s. Even thought it was clearly evident to many that it needed to be passed, it took many years for it to actually happen.”

    (pause)

    FB: “And what happened to single payer?”

    Alex: “I don’t think you’re listening to me.”

    FB: (mocking) “Wow. You really love him, don’t you? Obot Alex! Yep, that’s who you are! Obot Alex! I’ll bet you have a poster of Obama, that you light candles and chant his name over and over again! Every nght! Right, Obot?”

    Alex: (deep sigh) “Let’s take a break. We’ll be right back.”

  72. 72
    Ron says:

    John, you get an A for effort here. As everyone sane has pointed out, Obama has had to deal with the reality of the bluedogs in the house, and getting to 60 votes in the Senate required at least one republican and some conservadems. I think it will be interesting to see how trhis congress plays out. The GOP is promising an awful lot for a party that controls only one part of the legislative branch.

  73. 73
    BGinCHI says:

    @sb: FTW.

    I can only hope the analogy holds between today’s GOP and the civil rights era. The last gasp of obsolete ideas; the overcoming of fear to forge progress.

    I fear we’re stuck in a loop though, going over the same ground again. That’s a depressing thought.

  74. 74
    Uloborus says:

    @Tim:
    …Obama gets rolled a lot? What the HELL are you people talking about?

    The only issue on which I know he got ‘rolled’ was closing Guantanamo, and there’s not a Hell of a lot he can do when congress is nearly unanimous. You guys may think his negotiating strategy doesn’t make sense, but it’s gotten results that have beggared anyone’s – including The All-Powerful Reagan’s – since LBJ. We GOT HCR, the extension on unemployment, finreg, DADT repealed… god damn. Am I the only person here who’s looked at the actual results and realized Obama’s mopping the floor with these people while he smiles and nods and pretends to be their friends?

  75. 75
    gene108 says:

    Democrats should let the Republicans do everything they want.

    I think there’s a certain part of the Republican Party that gets goofy as they can, because they know no one will let them do what they want.

    Let them do it. Let them be 100% responsible for the consequences.

    It’s the only way to try and get them to own up to the destructive shit they keep spouting on and on about.

  76. 76
    cat48 says:

    I always think that the discussion will eventually become more reasonable and balanced around what Obama is and is not doing, but I am always wrong.

    I agree w/everything you wrote. After the initial argument, then it devolves into relitigation of anything that was passed. I’ll start that part……..Stimulus was too small; no public option & he never wanted one; etc., etc., etc! I’m going back to diet blogs, recipies, etc.

  77. 77
    General Stuck says:

    I’m not sure Balloon Juice can compete with The Onion, but I guess it’s worth a shot.

  78. 78
    srv says:

    *ah, misread your thread david.

    Thow shalt not pass. I will protect Social Security with a Payroll Tax Holiday, which will never be undone, and sabotages SS funding.

    Monty Python on defending Social Security.

  79. 79
    maye says:

    @PIGL: If Murdoch can lead people by the nose, so can his polar opposites.

    The non-Murdoch media will cover whatever you spoon feed them as long as you get (and stay) creative with what you’re dishing up.

    From the White House to the entire Dem Party apparatus, a national media strategy does not exist.

    Apologies to those who are tired of me repeating myself ad nauseum.

  80. 80
    TooManyJens says:

    @sb: ::applause::

    @Uloborus:

    Am I the only person here who’s looked at the actual results and realized Obama’s mopping the floor with these people while he smiles and nods and pretends to be their friends?

    I wouldn’t go as far as “mopping the floor,” but I do think that anyone claiming that their preferred approach would have accomplished even more has a burden of proof that’s not met by yelling “bully pulpit!” a lot.

  81. 81
    General Stuck says:

    OT

    This thread needs a true fact.

    My water line has been froze for two days, and now is unfroze.

    Now that is change i can believe in. thanky you FSM and Obama

  82. 82
    cat48 says:

    @Uloborus:

    Agree with you too! Totally cleaned their clock the last 2 yrs when it came to legislation.

  83. 83
    TooManyJens says:

    @General Stuck: Oh dear. No burst pipes, I hope.

  84. 84
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @NobodySpecial: Yeah, I’ve been here enough that I’m starting to catch on. :D

  85. 85
    General Stuck says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Not so far, the flow seems clear and strong, though sputtering a little.

  86. 86
    Steve LaBonne says:

    Some of you understand zip, zilch, nada about politics. “Precomplaining” is the ONLY way (unless you have $millions at your disposal) to influence politicians. What, you think you’re just supposed to wait for them to present you with a fait accompli? And when it turns out to be something you opposed, then what?

  87. 87
    WereBear says:

    @Uloborus: Am I the only person here who’s looked at the actual results and realized Obama’s mopping the floor with these people while he smiles and nods and pretends to be their friends?

    I’m with you on that. Some amazing stuff has gotten passed, and I’m also handing out credit to Nancy Pelosi, too.

    (replied to you in the ebook thread, too)

  88. 88
    PIGL says:

    @maye: as for lack of national strategy, I agree with you, for what it’s worth. I have no detailed knowledge comparable to yours, I am sure, but I have commented elsewhere that no serious national political organisation would have allowed the fiasco of the loss of the Senate seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy—while his fracking body was still warm. Assumptions of competence in any respect are not justifed.

  89. 89
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    Now you’re just making shit up. I didn’t say I oppose ALL proposals of the Catfood Commission. Hell, I’d love to see some of their proposals enacted. Defense cuts, for example.

    You know, it’s weird, but using the term “Catfood Commission” sure makes it seem like you’re dismissing every idea that they have and want no changes at all. It’s pretty funny to see you insist that you’d just love to see the ideas of the Catfood Commission put into practice. Because, what, now it’s a good thing that they’re going to force old people to eat cat food with their horrible, society-destroying ideas just because you think that some of those ideas are good now that you’ve actually found out what those ideas are and not what you were totally sure they would be?

    “Catfood Commission” is turning into the left’s version of “Democrat Party.” We can’t have a serious discussion about Social Security — including the necessity of raising the salary cap — while people are running around insisting that any change will leave old people eating cat food.

  90. 90
    homerhk says:

    @Uloborus:

    No.

  91. 91
    Punchy says:

    Why do any of you care about 2012 (or 2011 for that matter)? Haven’t you heard?

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve LaBonne:

    “Precomplaining” is the ONLY way (unless you have $millions at your disposal) to influence politicians.

    It depends what the “precomplaint” is. If it’s that you feel that changing the calculation for Social Security benefits would be means testing and put the program at risk, that’s a perfectly valid precomplaint that can actually be discussed and debated in a rational manner.

    Running around screaming, “OBAMA’S GOING TO KILL SOCIAL SECURITY!! WE’RE ALL GOING TO END UP EATING CAT FOOD!!” is not a valid precomplaint, because you’re not complaining about a policy, you’re freaking out about an extremely remote (to put it kindly) possibility.

  93. 93
    TooManyJens says:

    @General Stuck: There’s a joke in there, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  94. 94
    General Stuck says:

    We eagerly await John Cole’s take on the sinking of the Titanic last night.

  95. 95
    Catsy says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I’ll take “Struggling to figure out the best way to govern around a bunch of nihilists who are perfectly willing to blow up the country if anyone but them is elected” for $500, Alex.

    QFTMFT.

    Which is not to say that he doesn’t give away too much in the opening bids, or that he shouldn’t call out the criminal negligence of the GOP more directly and often. It’s the downside of his non-confrontational approach, and unfortunately part of the problem is that racism in this country is still strong enough that he can’t afford to appear as the Angry Black Man.

  96. 96
    General Stuck says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Yes, it’s a mainstay for the Urologist waiting room.

  97. 97
    sb says:

    @General Stuck: What’s the weather been like near the Black Range?

    :)

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @david mizner:

    Mean-testing and the like may appear to be progressive reforms; in fact, though, such provisions undercut the very thing that makes Social Security so strong: its universality. Once it becomes essentially another welfare program, it’s all but dead.

    There are already AGI tests to determine taxable Social Security benefits. Been there for years.

  99. 99
    General Stuck says:

    @sb:

    below zero two nights in a row. But last night a balmy 14.

  100. 100
    srv says:

    @General Stuck: Take your payroll tax holiday cut and buy yourself some insulation.

    You’re going to need that when you’re eating cat food.

  101. 101
    TooManyJens says:

    @General Stuck: Well, no wonder I can’t … oh, never mind.

  102. 102
    MikeJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: Bang on. Whenever somebody talks about framing or moving the Overton window, that’s a fancy way of saying that they aren’t arguing in good faith.

  103. 103
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Uloborus: This.

    Remember, John, for the last two years Obama has needed to persuade the Blue Dogs or a couple of Republicans in order to get his legislation passed, so that’s what he did. And it worked. Take a look again at what he accomplished, at what you rightly talked about him accomplishing.

    Now, it’s a different game. He can’t just sway one or two votes. I will bet you Obama’s strategy will be more confrontational, though a lot more subtle than most bloggers are able to write, which means Jane and Markos are still going to get bent out of shape.

  104. 104
    General Stuck says:

    @srv:

    I been eating catfood since GWB, it is quite tasty with the right sauce. When Obama guts SS, I plan to catch me a flying pig to et.

  105. 105
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Well, because anyone with a half-a-brain and some vague understanding of politics knew that a debt commission headed by two conservatives and stacked with others hostile to Social Security would be on balance regressive and that progressive things like defense cuts would never see the light of the day whereas cuts to social programs, granted “legitimacy” by the CFC, could well pass.

    Surely you understand that a bad collection of proposals could include some good provisions?

  106. 106
    Mark S. says:

    I’ve been reading a bunch of comment threads at different places concerning the debt limit and the teabaggers want an all out war on this. It feels like being on the Titanic and a third of the passengers are screaming “Come on, let’s run straight into that fucking iceberg!”

    I’m not usually the one here calling for unity, but defaulting on the debt would be such a fucking disaster I can’t even describe it. We’d turn into Sierra Leone overnight. Let’s put the Obot-Firebagger civil war aside for a little while and make sure this doesn’t happen.

    Just a little while.

  107. 107
    Catsy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You know, it’s weird, but using the term “Catfood Commission” sure makes it seem like you’re dismissing every idea that they have and want no changes at all.

    I’ll take that position. There is no Social Security crisis. It is a completely manufactured controversy. The “Catfood Commission” is an unnecessary mistake stacked with people who want to destroy SS, not save it, convened purely as a sop to deficit peacocks who against all evidence and sanity think that the deficit is actually a major issue. Nothing good could have come out of the Catfood Commission, and nothing good did.

    “Catfood Commission” is turning into the left’s version of “Democrat Party.”

    This is pure, unadulterated, weapons-grade horseshit of the false equivalency variety.

    We can’t have a serious discussion about Social Security—including the necessity of raising the salary cap—while people are running around insisting that any change will leave old people eating cat food.

    This is a false dichotomy combined with a complete misrepresentation of the objections to the Catfood Commission.

    I have yet to hear a single person object that any change to SS, regardless of what it is, will leave old people eating cat food. But that outcome wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration if the Catfood Commission had been taken seriously. Did you actually bother to read the insanity that they did produce? It was a conservative’s wet dream.

    Incidentally, the people who use the term “Catfood Commission” tend to be the same people who are in favor of raising the payroll cap and are consistently advocating for that. I have no idea where you pulled this argument out of, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    Well, because anyone with a half-a-brain and some vague understanding of politics knew that a debt commission headed by two conservatives and stacked with others hostile to Social Security would be on balance regressive and that progressive things like defense cuts would never see the light of the day whereas cuts to social programs, granted “legitimacy” by the CFC, could well pass.

    So since, in your imaginary world, you’ve already pictured all of the bad ideas being passed while the good ideas are shunted aside, it’s okay to reject the commission’s actual report and claim that any changes at all will lead to old people eating cat food?

    Can we at least deal with reality and facts and not with what you’re totally sure is going to happen at some point in the indeterminate future?

  109. 109
    General Stuck says:

    @Mark S.:

    Let’s put the Obot-Firebagger civil war aside for a little while and make sure this doesn’t happen. Just a little while.

    I happen to agree with this sentiment, and the serious nature of the loose wingnut tea tard, and others talk about playing chicken with such a thing, is way beyond, or should be, partisan politics, whether external or internal. It is hard for me to accept that the wingnuts would go through with such a bluff, and it is a bluff. It is threatening to blow the world, not just the US, and is not the least bit funny, nor sane. There are some tricky dates to pass elements of the debt ceiling raising that could easily be missed accidentally from taking it to the edge.

  110. 110
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    then watch themselves get undercut but the douchebag Blue Dogs

    The Blue Dogs are irrelevent, there aren’t very many of them and they’re in the minority party.

    and flayed alive by the professional left.

    It appears to be their new strategery to cast themselves as sensible centrists. Obama positively basked in the pundit worship following the December compromise, it was the happiest I’ve ever seen him. Expect more of the same, and I think they will be privately chuckling with glee whenever Olbermann or whomever goes off on them. Whether the resulting policies will be what’s best for the country is an entirely different question.

    Ah well, it was a good two year run. We got some half-assed incremental improvements and the best political theater in a long time. Now the destruction of the Republic begins in earnest.

  111. 111
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Catsy: Make sure you separate the Simpson-Bowles report from the recommendations by the entire group (yes, I know there was no official vote, but they did release a report). That report does talk about raising the salary cap among other things.

  112. 112
    Chris says:

    @Mark S.:

    It feels like being on the Titanic and a third of the passengers are screaming “Come on, let’s run straight into that fucking iceberg!”

    You reminded me of something. Here’s another PJM article from earlier this year whose basic thesis is that if the Titanic had rammed the iceberg instead of trying to avoid it, the ship would have been fine.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/ejecte.....e-iceberg/

    It’s all a metaphor, the iceberg = the progressives who annoyingly keep getting elected every now and then, the Titanic = the Real Americans.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Catsy:

    But that outcome wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration if the Catfood Commission had been taken seriously. Did you actually bother to read the insanity that they did produce? It was a conservative’s wet dream.

    Cutting the defense budget is a conservative’s wet dream? Going to a single payer healthcare system is a conservative’s wet dream?

    Again, I think you need to read the actual commission report that I linked to above, not the PowerPoint presentation that Bowles and Simpson released first to try and undermine it. Contrary to what you seem to think, they don’t resemble each other very much.

  114. 114
    Punchy says:

    QFTMFT

    ?

    Quit Fuckin Trollin the MoFo’in Thread?

    Que Frothy Tramps Mandating Future Tricks?

    Queer Folks Think Mistermix Fellates Turtles?

  115. 115
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Mark S.: I want to ask a bagger who thinks defaulting is a good idea if they really want China to come here demanding that we pay them all the money we owe.

  116. 116
    Chris says:

    There is no Social Security crisis. It is a completely manufactured controversy. The “Catfood Commission” is an unnecessary mistake stacked with people who want to destroy SS, not save it, convened purely as a sop to deficit peacocks who against all evidence and sanity think that the deficit is actually a major issue.

    This absolutely and a million times.

  117. 117
    Ash Can says:

    @david mizner:

    stacked with others hostile to Social Security

    Exactly how is this true?

  118. 118
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You think a President who keeps increasing the military budget is going to propose cuts in military spending that are going to be passed by a GOP-controlled House? And you wan t me to face reality!!

    As I said up top, Obama could simply say he opposes cuts to Social Security, but he won’t, because he doesn’t, nor do you.

  119. 119
    Catsy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Can we at least deal with reality and facts and not with what you’re totally sure is going to happen at some point in the indeterminate future?

    Sure. And while we’re getting back into the habit of dealing with reality and facts, why don’t you try dealing with the reality that there is no Social Security “crisis” and the fact that with some very minor tweaks such as raising the payroll cap, it will continue to be solvent for a very long time provided that Congress will stop stealing money from it in order to make up for shortfalls elsewhere?

  120. 120
    General Stuck says:

    Of all the firebagging bullshit, this Obama to gut SS is likely the most mind fuckingly ignorant to be continually flogging. I guess that’s what is left after Obama mostly cleared the pony list before the New Year. That said, there is going to be needed something done with medicare fairly soon, as the baby boomer retirement started 3 short days ago.

  121. 121
    Catsy says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Again, I think you need to read the actual commission report that I linked to above, not the PowerPoint presentation that Bowles and Simpson released first to try and undermine it. Contrary to what you seem to think, they don’t resemble each other very much.

    And I think you need to bear in mind this thing that we like to call “context”. Mr. Context is your friend. He keeps you from looking like an asshole. Well, at least, not as much of one.

    The context, in case you’re having trouble scrolling up that far, is that we were talking about changes to Social Security.

    It is true that Social Security is only one piece of the budget being examined by the Catfood Commission. The full scope of the Commission was the deficit, to which defense spending and health care costs are indeed critically relevant.

    But they have fuckall to do with Social Security or changes to it, which is what we were discussing.

    Seriously, come on. You’re usually an asshole, like most of us here, but you’re not usually this dense.

  122. 122
    Elie says:

    @cat48:

    Yep!

    If there was learning going on or a genuine desire to communicate and respect the limits of one’s knowledge, then it wouldn’t be so damned bad so much of the time. But what passes for discussion of points of view so rapidly devolves into some of the worst stupid you could imagine, that you just have to throw up your hands..

    Its like a big gossip based community with all that gossip entails — half truths with occasional malicious intent and impact. Unfortunately, those most impacted most are ourselves and other progressives who care — the demoralization, the impotent anger — is turned on ourselves. We lose faith in liberalism as a social force or value — liberalism as the ability to tolerate differences and disagreement. It just becomes who you can shout down and it shapes and warps us to expect that and define our leadership as effective ONLY if they scream insults at the opposition and employ coercion and revenge.

    BIG saving grace here is the pet, nature and food posts which give me some air to breathe.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    You think a President who keeps increasing the military budget is going to propose cuts in military spending that are going to be passed by a GOP-controlled House?

    You can’t have already forgotten the reason why Obama’s defense budgets are so much larger than Bush’s.

  124. 124
    david mizner says:

    @Catsy:

    “I have no idea where you pulled this argument out of, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.”

    In order to try to make Obama look good, some commenters have to do contortions of Comenechi caliber, to the point where it’s not oftwn clear what their position is, probably even to them.

    Or conversely, sometimes they actually share positions with the critics — most people here oppose cutting SS — but they are loath to admit this because to do so would be to implicate Obama.

    And for others, those who fear the hypocrisy charge, it’s important to keep their positions murky, so that when Obama comes out and does the wrong thing, they can defend him whole-heartedly.

    I oppose cutting Social Security. (In fact, I believe it should be expanded — not possible, of course, in this climate.) That’s my stance.

    I want Obama to say he opposes any debt ceiling bill that includes cuts to SS — who’s with me?

  125. 125
    jl says:

    There is no Social Security crisis now or in the near future. Maintaining scheduled Social Security payments will have no impact on the federal budget until about 2040, when there will probably be a 15% to 25% shortfall in scheduled benefits.

    The only relationship between Social Security and the current federal deficit, and deficits expected in the near future, is that the deficit will be worse if the federal government has to pay back the money it borrowed from the trust fund to finance unwise wars and the GWB tax cuts for the rich.

    Even the deficit commission report, and and Simpson and Bowles preport admitted this fact. Bowles and Simpson simply decided to take on Social Security because… well, because…

    Simpson called Social Security the cow with three hundred million teats, or something similar. I think Bowles and Simpson, the heads of the commission, can be considered hostile to Social Security.

    The official report of the deficit commission had plenty of good ideas, but all of their good ideas were too small, or too speculative, to be a reliable solution to the deficit problem.

    Any good ideas that the deficit commission report had for reform of Social Security should be considered separately from the deficit problem, since the BS preport and the deficit commission admitted that Social Security was not related to the current deficit problem.

    I think that is the message blogs should be putting out, not anticipatory worryworting about what Obama might or might not do.

  126. 126
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Jeez, even when you change the subject, you get it wrong.

    He’s broke that promise a long time ago, passing war supplementals that avoid the normal budgeting process.
    http://themoderatevoice.com/79.....ding-bill/

    A helpful hint: when you’re tying to find his current position, don’t consult his campaign promises.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Catsy:

    The context, in case you’re having trouble scrolling up that far, is that we were talking about changes to Social Security.

    And the changes proposed by the actual commission are:

    1. Make the retirement formula more progressive
    2. Reduce poverty by providing an enhanced minimum benefit for low wage workers
    3. Enhance benefits for the very old and long time disabled
    4. Gradually increase early and full retirement ages
    5. Give retirees more flexibility in claiming benefits and create a hardship exemption for those who cannot work past age 62 but do not qualify for disability
    6. Gradually increase the taxable minimum to cover 90 percent of wages (this is the proposal to increase the salary cap, if you find the wording to be confusing)
    7. Adopt improved measure of CPI
    8. Cover newly hired state and local workers after 2020
    9. Direct SSA to better inform future beneficiaries on retirement options
    10. Begin a broad dialogue on the importance of retirement savings

    So now can we discuss the actual proposals of the commission and not just scream about how any changes will leave seniors eating cat food?

  128. 128
    Elie says:

    @david mizner:

    I want Obama to say he opposes any debt ceiling bill that includes cuts to SS —who’s with me?

    And you know, when I elect YOU and/or understand why your strategy is so much better or understand why your point in time snapshot of what you think is the reality should be obeyed, well, then I would consider being with you. Instead, I just think you are banging your gums and waving your me,me,me flag for some attention.

  129. 129
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    Did you read to the end of your own link?

    Now, my Googling also turned up the additional information that Democrats have included spending for some pressing domestic needs (education, veterans, oil clean-up, border security, economic aid, and disaster relief, e.g.) in the supplemental, and maybe this makes it a positive move, on balance. But still… It would be nice to know why our wars (god, what a horrible phrase that is) are still being funded this way.

    So, first off, the entire supplemental was not for the war. There were a bunch of other things in it as well.

    Second, the whole war is not being funded by supplementals, which is how Bush did it. The recent addition of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan required a supplemental, because it was not something that was planned for in the budget because the strategy had not been decided on when the budget was written.

    If you can’t see the difference between requesting a supplemental to, you know, supplement the already requested money for the war because of a change in strategy and funding the entire war through supplementals, then I can’t help you. Your ODS has gone too far.

  130. 130
    General Stuck says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    you don’t get it Mnem. The Firebaggers invented “The Catfood Commission” misnomer, and a deficit commission was no longer that, but an assault on SS, why? because shut up, that’s why?. It is classic right wing framing. Invent an Orwellian word or phrase, and keep repeating it until folks think it’s real, then attack a president you oppose for wanting to gut SS, and seize on a bogus pre report for evidence, to keep the propaganda catapulted

    and from a disloyal proposition, not a loyal opposition.

  131. 131
    david mizner says:

    @Elie:

    ????

    So you support cuts in SS?

    Obviously this discussion has gotten tangled up in the tired, endless. Obama pie fight. Let’s keep him out of it. I’ll stipulate for the sake of this discussion that he’s a great president doing his best.

    I oppose cuts in Social Security — how about you?

  132. 132
    Chyron HR says:

    @david mizner:

    I like how your brain simply cannot process the idea that some people might not think Obama is planning to abolish Social Security. No, they’re doing logical contortions! They’re covering up for him! They secretly support his evil plot! These are the only possible explanations for the otherwise incomprensible posts being foisted upon your virgin eyes!

    P.S. I 100% completely oppose cuts in SS and will smack my tender forehead in disgust if Obama suggests it. And yet I’m a mindless Obama cultist, so I must be lying, right? Shame on me.

  133. 133
    Anya says:

    @david mizner:

    As I said up top, Obama could simply say he opposes cuts to Social Security, but he won’t, because he doesn’t, nor do you.

    Is that not a bit like saying, why won’t he deny he’s a wife beater?

  134. 134
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    A bit O/T, this (but it *is* about how Obama is worse than anyone):

    I foolishly turned on daytime MSNBC for a few minutes, and Mrs. Alan Greenspan was talking to (I think) Jonathan Alter about how that mean nasty uppity Obama *TOTALLY DISSED* Bill Clinton that time Clinton got those two American women out of that North Korean prison. Something to do with Bill flying back to the U.S. separately from the women (NO, I’m NOT going there: I leave those jokes to ABL and JSF). I don’t know whether Bill has been grousing or Alter is making shit up, but it’s all reminiscent of Newt carrying on when he had to go to the back of Air Force One coming back from Rabin’s funeral, so he shut down the government. Anyhow, Alter and Mrs. AG were very clearly trying to stir up a story of bad blood between Bill and Barack, based on (I’m guessing) possibly some tiny throwaway line months ago.

    Maybe they’re trying for a Hillary primary of Obama in ’12.

  135. 135
    david mizner says:

    @david mizner:

    Which is to say, Elie, that we need not discuss strategy at all. I’m asking you what your position is.

  136. 136
    david mizner says:

    @david mizner:

    Which is to say, Elie, that we need not discuss strategy at all. I’m asking you what your position is.

  137. 137
    david mizner says:

    @Chyron HR:

    As I said above, let’s keep Obama out of it.

    I oppose cuts in SS — how bout you?

  138. 138
    TooManyJens says:

    @Anya: Also, he’s said that, but it doesn’t actually help.

  139. 139
    david mizner says:

    @Anya:

    Let’s keep Obama out of it, I oppose cuts in SS — how bout you?

  140. 140
    Yutsano says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Umm…yeah…that’s why Clinton told Obama to shove it when Barack asked him to do that press conference for him after they had that long meeting after the lame duck session. Yeah. TOTAL diss there.

  141. 141
    david mizner says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Link?

  142. 142
    Mnemosyne says:

    @david mizner:

    I oppose cuts. If nothing is done, benefits will be cut by 22 percent starting in 2050.

    So if you oppose cuts, taking a position that the proposals of the actual deficit commission have to be rejected because they will leave seniors eating cat food is nonsensical.

  143. 143
  144. 144
    david mizner says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Uh, no — that has to do with privatization. Try to keep up and/or stop lying.

  145. 145
    Chyron HR says:

    @david mizner:

    I oppose cuts in SS —how bout you?

    I 100% completely oppose cuts in SS.

    I wonder how many times I need to post this before your brain actually processes the words I’m typing? I’m guessing somewhere in the low double-digits, but we’ll see.

  146. 146
    david mizner says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Good, thank you. I won’t make any further predictions about what Obama will do.

    We’ll come together to applaud him if/when he opposes cuts to SS or to criticize him if/when he supports cuts to SS.

  147. 147
    david mizner says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Okay, thank you. Ditto what I said above.

  148. 148
    jl says:

    @General Stuck: Maybe. But maybe the idea of naming it the catfood commission was to avoid bringing a spork to a knife fight.

    I think Bowles and Simpson tried to hijack the commission, and their crummy preport that attempted to co opt the real report was evidence of that.

    In the real world media attention I saw, Bowles and Simpson and their own little dog and pony show got almost all of the attention.

    So, as it applies to the whole commission, I think the ‘catfood’ label was unfair. As applied to the likes of Bowles and Simpson, who I think acted in a dishonest way, and the reason the project turned into a dangerous joke, I do not mind the word ‘catfood’ at all. And Bowles and Simpson were the official heads of the deficit commission.

  149. 149
    TooManyJens says:

    @david mizner: God damn it, now you made me do your work for you. Scroll up to comment #20.

    Try to keep up and/or stop lying.

    Try to consider the possibility that you may be mistaken.

  150. 150
    Mike Kay (Christine O'Donnell's Co-Witch says:

    …………………./´¯/)
    ………………..,/¯../
    ………………./…./
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    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
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    ………\……………..’…../
    ……….”…\………. _.·´
    …………\…………..(
    …………..\………….\…

  151. 151
    Mike Kay (Team America) says:


    …………………./´¯/)
    ………………..,/¯../
    ………………./…./
    …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……………………..’…../
    ……….”…………. _.·´
    ……………………..(
    ………………………..

  152. 152
    david mizner says:

    @TooManyJens:

    That was a campaign pledge. Irrelevant, of course, as meaningful as Obama’s blasting indefinite detention.

  153. 153
    TooManyJens says:

    @david mizner: So, you don’t just want him to say it, since he already has. You want something else. Which is fine, but then you should stop claiming you just want him to say it.

  154. 154
    Yutsano says:

    @TooManyJens: He wants Obama to be the great liberal hope of the universe. And a pony.

  155. 155
    david mizner says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I didn’t say you were lying. I said you were either lying or struggling to keep up. Turns out, it was the latter.

    Anyway, I’m assembling a Balloon Juice team of people opposed to any and all cuts in SS.

    Three members so far. Want to join?

  156. 156
    General Stuck says:

    @jl:

    Seems to me, the only thing that is legitimate to criticize a commission about, aside from all the mouthbreathing, is what they ended up reporting, and as an unofficial report at that, since it didn’t get the votes required. The rest of it is manufactured, including the blatherings of Bowles and Simpson. It was an entity, and only relevant as to what that entity did or didn’t do. Hanging on every word of politicians and their operatives mining them for ill intent, is a fools game for the neurotic, seems to me, or the strategy of an opposition, in this case from the left. Take your pick as to which.

  157. 157
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: The shortfall in benefits that may begin in 2040 are from scheduled benefits. Even a 25% cut in scheduled benefits would result in an increase in real benefits over what are received now, though they would place future Social Security recpients at a relatively lower part of the future income distribution.

    Also, these future cuts, may not occur, since it depends on which scenario is most likely. Some scenarios show no cuts at all, and no long run crisis at all.

    The danger in panicking about the long term 22% shortfall is that you might fall for purported fixes that will reduce future scheduled benefits by far more than 22% or 25%.

    And example is that Bowles and Simpson (though I do not believe the whole commission) recommendation, that indexing of future benefits to current workers by the real wage be replaced by indexing to inflation only. That change would eventually result in very small social security benefits, and would gradually eliminate the program.

    But, this is all beside the point with regard to anything done for current or near term federal deficit problems. That is one thing I think we can all agree upon.

  158. 158
    Mnemosyne says:

    A metacomment about the “Catfood Commission” fears:

    As far as I’ve been able to tell, the people who have been most insistent that Obama is going to kill Social Security are people in their late 40s and 50s who lost half the value of their 401(k) and other retirement accounts in 2008, often lost their jobs at the same time and have been unable to find new ones, and saw the housing market crash, leaving that investment worth half of what they paid. Now they’re understandably panicking about how the hell they’re going to be able to retire. That’s why they’ve latched on to this idea that Obama is going to kill Social Security — SS really is the only lifeline they have left.

    So shouldn’t we maybe have a conversation about how to help those people rather than having this stupid speculative debate about how Obama is going to kill Social Security?

  159. 159
    TooManyJens says:

    @david mizner: Now that you mention it, I am struggling to keep up with your shifting goalposts.

    I do oppose cuts to Social Security, but color me skeptical about your “team”. What do you plan to do with it?

  160. 160
    jl says:

    @General Stuck: OK, I see your point. But I feel that Bowles and Simpson were dangerous, even if the whole commission was not. If the firebaggers decided to fight BS (Bowles-Simpson) fire with fire, it does not bother me too much.

    But then, I have been using the term catfood commission every since Simpson had his tantrum outside the secret meeting room door in from of a video camera, so I am guilty of Orwelliansim too, if it is guilt.

  161. 161
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    The danger in panicking about the long term 22% shortfall is that you might fall for purported fixes that will reduce future scheduled benefits by far more than 22% or 25%.

    True, especially since by every account I’ve seen, there’s a very simple fix for that shortfall: increase the cap on Social Security taxes to $250,000 of salary instead of the current $106,800.

    I don’t think it’s something to panic about, but I do think there are some sensible fixes we can make that would strengthen the program. Unfortunately, it’s hard to advocate for those changes when people are screaming that any proposed change means we want to kill Social Security and force seniors to eat cat food.

  162. 162
    david mizner says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Thank you. Four members!

    What do I plan to do with the team? Not much — I was being mostly facetious — but I do like cutting through the pro and anti-Obama bullshit to find out where people stand.

  163. 163
    catclub says:

    @Mark S.:
    I predict the debt ceiling renewal will turn out to be like New START,
    an inevitable victory for the sensible on an issue that should not even be debated.

    Think back to what the wingnuts achieved by making New START approval a partisan battle. Nothing as far as I can tell.

    Thus, when the wingnuts cave and/or are overwhelmed by the money party combined with democrats, they will lose.
    What will they gain by making it a big deal?

  164. 164
    JC says:

    Social Security is deep in the black, and to say otherwise is to lie your ass off.

    Bottom line. Push back against the lying sociopathic banksters and investors who say otherwise.

    I’m a broken record on this, but I’ll keep posting this George Carlin video until I see it disproved.

    The choice quote:

    ‘and now, they’re coming for your Social Security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back. So they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all from you sooner or later, cause they own this fucking place. It’s a big club. and YOU AIN’T IN IT’.

    Every liberal, every progressive, and every honest moderate, has to go to war over this. No ifs ands or buts about it.

  165. 165
    TooManyJens says:

    @david mizner:

    Not much—I was being mostly facetious

    That’s very nice for you. I think I’ll go write some letters to my representatives now instead of wanking away on this thread any more.

  166. 166
    chopper says:

    @david mizner:

    i don’t think anyone’s interested in being in your club, in spite of any opposition to cuts in SS. mostly because you’re an annoying dicksack.

  167. 167
  168. 168
    david mizner says:

    @TooManyJens:

    That’s the second time you’re threatened to leave.

    Here’s what you should write to your representatives:

    Dear Sir/Madame:

    The coming showdown over the debt ceiling provides an excellent change for the Democratic Party to recapture momentum and become dominant once again. We all know that the titans of Wall Street won’t let the GOP default, because it would be disastrous for them, so I urge you to oppose all cuts to Social Security and to dare the GOP to force a default.

    And if you support cuts to Social Security, even “modest” ones, I will never vote for you again.

    Sincerely.
    TooManyJens
    Vice Treasurer, Balloon Juice Protect Social Security Team

  169. 169
    Yutsano says:

    @chopper:

    i don’t think anyone’s interested in being in your club, in spite of any opposition to cuts in SS. mostly because you’re an annoying dicksack dickhead.

    FIFY. In keeping with the blog’s new tradition.

  170. 170
    david mizner says:

    @JC:

    Thank you.

  171. 171
    catclub says:

    @Mnemosyne: Have you seen the Irrational Investor website by Allan Roth?
    It is at moneywatch.com

    I just found it recently and may have learned a little.
    (And I know that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.)

    He points out that although many people may have lost almost 50% of their investments in 2008-2009, that the market is NOW essentially back within 10% of its 2007 top.

    The problem is for those people who SOLD in 2008-2009 at the worst possible time and therefore did not recover.
    He repeatedly points out this very human ( but irrational)
    way many treat their investments – buying at peaks and selling at lows.

  172. 172
    david mizner says:

    @chopper:

    No need to join the team. But can I count you as another voice opposed to all cuts in SS?

  173. 173
    jl says:

    @Mnemosyne: I don’t mind discussing fixes to Social Security, as long as the following ground rules are followed:

    1) it is discussed as a social insurance policy issue, not as part of the deficit problem,

    2) the federal government must pay back the money it borrowed from the trust fund. The trust fund is real, it is not a fiction. Not paying the money back would be theft.

    I do think it is important to recognize that there are ruthless and/or deluded people who want to end Social Security, and will not be very mindful of the truth in pursuing that end. So, while I want to be truthful, I do not want to be forceful and effective in fighting back. Wrecking Social Security would, IMHO, be a macroeconomic and ethical disaster.

    And I do think that Bowles and Simpson’s work (though not that of the whole commission) can be truthfully described as ‘catfood’. And 90% of what I saw and heard in the news was BS (Bowles Simpson) not the real commission report. So I do not mind being very forceful in responding to the BS.

  174. 174
    JAHILL10 says:

    @chopper: This, this, a thousand times this!

    Why has no one bothered to mention in this whole cat food commission bull crapfest that SS is the third rail of politics in this country and that no one I repeat NO ONE is going to gut it? Least of all the bleeding Republicans. Their rapidly shrinking base is composed almost entirely of old people who rely on Social Security.

    Jeez, people, get a grip.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @jl:

    And I do think that Bowles and Simpson’s work (though not that of the whole commission) can be truthfully described as ‘catfood’. And 90% of what I saw and heard in the news was BS (Bowles Simpson) not the real commission report. So I do not mind being very forceful in responding to the BS.

    I totally agree. I wish there was a useful way to separate the BS PowerPoint presentation from the actual commission’s actual report, but if the media insists on eliding the two, it’s going to be tough.

    I pretty much knew from the day that Alan Simpson had his temper tantrum for the cameras that there would be no Social Security cuts proposed by the commission. It’s been very discouraging to have to fight the people on the left who watched that same footage and insisted that it was proof — proof! — that there would be cuts because why else would one of the commission heads throw that tantrum? (I dunno, because the other commission members wouldn’t go along with his plan? Ya think?)

    Logic does not exactly rule when it comes to this topic.

  176. 176
    Anya says:

    @david mizner: That’s easy. I appose, unequivocally 100% to any cuts to SS. However, changing the retirement age is something that should be considered.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JAHILL10:

    The Republicans won the House of Representatives by telling old people that Obama was going to take away their Medicare. I can’t picture any logical way that Republicans are going to even float the possibility of ending Social Security without being massacred.

    I just worry about the few remaining Blue Dogs deciding to be “sensible” and side with whatever hideous proposal Paul Ryan belches out. That sets up even more of the internecine warfare that’s already been so damaging to the Democrats.

  178. 178
    General Stuck says:

    @JAHILL10:

    Yup, political suicide for the wingnuts to do it on their own someday, and equal that for dems to let it happen, when they had the votes to stop it. SS isn’t going anywhere, though medicare is the elephant in the room. If it did happen, SS reduced in a significant way, I just hope the military budget is strong, because we might need a well fed army, when granny goes on the war path over a shrinking SS, or doing much of anything with it, other than making it stronger.

  179. 179
    TooManyJens says:

    @david mizner: WTF are you babbling about? Not wanting to talk to you =/= “threatening” anything. It’s just good sense (something I evidently don’t have enough of, as I keep letting myself be baited by your bullshit.)

  180. 180
    Nick says:

    I suppose it is too much to ask that the Democrats run a competent political operation and point out that the Republicans have no actual plan for governance, but intend to simply play chicken with the debt ceiling and hold investigations of the travel office and other crap like that.

    Go here and look at comment 7

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2331982

  181. 181
    JAHILL10 says:

    @Mnemosyne: They tried this game once before when Bush was president: basically try to sucker the Democrats into proposing a plan to privatize Social Security, because if they can’t point to a Democrat as the culprit NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE on the Republican side is going to go there.

    I think someone has already quoted the marvelous Nancy SMASH response to that little gambit above. She wouldn’t go there and guess what, the chicken shit Republicans, who happened to have the House majority then too, STFU about it.

    Whether you believe Obama has a hidden evil heart that he is hiding from the world that secretly wants to kill Social Security or not, you have to believe that no savvy politician is going to let the Republicans hang that around his neck. Obama is a savvy politician and he’s not going to help the Republicans make him a one-term wonder.

  182. 182
    Elie says:

    @david mizner:

    I dunno. What you calling “cuts”…

    Devil is in terms and understanding the context. In general, I want social security to effectively support seniors and the long term disabled. But that has to be figured out in a context with other “supports” and I need to know more. I know that you never need to KNOW MORE because in your world, you know everything and have all the information to tell the President and everyone else what to do unilaterally without weighting any other factors. Its called the illusion of expertise and knowledge over an area and scope you could not necessarily know everything about. But you of course, would never never never say that — or think it. So we have to go along with your version of events assuming you are 100% able to provide solid recommendations that you are indeed in no position to provide. In fact, anyone spending a lot of time blogging here is probably not in position to make much of anything except speculation — ME included.

  183. 183
    cathyx says:

    @Anya: I hope you are aware that it has already been raised once. I have to be 67 and a half before I get full benefits. What do you propose it be raised to now? Should I be 70? If you are younger than me, maybe you should be 75?

  184. 184
    Anya says:

    @cathyx: My bad. I actually thought it was 65. I don’t have to think about this for another 42 years but 67 seems reasonable.

    I am in Toronto visiting my parents, so I’ve mixed up the Canadian debate about retirement with US SS debate.

  185. 185
    Texaschick says:

    No cuts, raising the age or means testing of Social Security. This is worth fighting for. If we had fought for a public option/medicare for all, we might have gotten it. By fight I mean actually getting off our asses and on our feet to protest/rally in Washington, DC. This is way more important than the stupid Sanity rally. Why isn’t anyone organizing regarding this BS? Petitions, emails, faxes and phone calls just isn’t going to cut it this time IMHO. My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!

    Here is the truth regarding Social Security. Why isn’t the media reporting this?

    http://www.cjr.org/campaign_de.....p?page=all

  186. 186
    liberal says:

    @Anya:
    Except for the fact that gains in longevity have been much less for people with lower incomes. And except for the fact that 67 isn’t reasonable if you do manual labor.

  187. 187
    liberal says:

    @Elie:

    …I need to know more.

    All you need to know is that focusing the debate on SS is either stupid or purposefully deceptive when it’s really the US medical system (both government-funded Medicare, and private) that’s spiraling out of control.

  188. 188
    liberal says:

    @General Stuck:

    …when granny goes on the war path over a shrinking SS…

    I thought the gambit for gutting entitlements was to gut them for future but not current beneficiaries? Like “…our proposal won’t affect anyone under 50 y.o.”

  189. 189
    liberal says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The Republicans won the House of Representatives by telling old people that Obama was going to take away their Medicare.

    Silly me. I thought they won because the economy sucks, and this was predicted by standard political science models.

  190. 190
    lol says:

    @Anya:

    It’s 65 for people retiring right now but it’s already scheduled to gradually slide up to 67 by 2027.

    IIRC, the Deficit Commission’s suggestion was to have it go up to 68 by 2040s or so but I might be confusing it with another proposal. (in addition to raising the payroll tax cap)

  191. 191
    liberal says:

    @catclub:

    …the market is NOW essentially back within 10% of its 2007 top.

    Is that actually true? My calculation says 18%.

    Implicit in your post is the idea that the market is fairly valued. IMHO there’s a good chance that it’s overvalued.

  192. 192
    AnotherBruce says:

    @Mark S.: As I’ve said before Mark, I think that minds (well, some of them) are going to be wonderfully refocused by the end of this month.

  193. 193
    Nick says:

    @liberal:

    Is that actually true? My calculation says 18%.

    18% from the highs, 10% from where it was at the end of 2007.

  194. 194
    Nick says:

    @liberal:

    Silly me. I thought they won because the economy sucks, and this was predicted by standard political science models.

    That’s the simple explanation, but if you dig deeper, you’d find that in the demographics where the economy most sucked, they won.

  195. 195
    Mark S. says:

    @liberal:

    All you need to know is that focusing the debate on SS is either stupid or purposefully deceptive when it’s really the US medical system (both government-funded Medicare, and private) that’s spiraling out of control.

    That’s true. I certainly do not think every criticism Obama gets from the left is true, but he often cedes the rhetorical ground to his opponents. Another example of this was extending the tax cuts for the top 2%. Besides being bad policy, it plays into the gooper philosophy that tax cuts are always good and the only way to control the deficit is through spending cuts.

    I’m not saying it was a total mistake, since it allowed some productive stuff to get done in the lame duck session, and the next two years are going to be total gridlock.

  196. 196
    General Stuck says:

    @liberal:

    I thought the gambit for gutting entitlements was to gut them for future but not current beneficiaries? Like “…our proposal won’t affect anyone under 50 y.o.”

    Somewhat true, but seniors are suspicious of any major changes to SS and are not prone to care much about details and promises that they will not be affected. It is called the third rail of politics for a reason. Just look at HCR and how easy it was to demagogue that for fears of false claims of tampering with medicare. Costing dems quite a few seats the past election. Not to mention it would have a similar effect on those younger voters who would suffer cuts. Same goes for any effort to privatize SS. The political effect of substantial cuts to either medicare of SS would be greater than gutting the military budget for either party. That is why, until there is a true crisis, there will be no likely changes until then, and completely bipartisan at that, to diffuse the pol repercussions for all. The coming medicare crisis will be something to watch, however. SS is secure for the time being, despite rumors of it’s demise.

  197. 197
    catclub says:

    @liberal:
    Did you use either Dow Jones or S&P 500 for your calculation? He makes a point of using neither of those, since they are NOT the entire market.

  198. 198
    General Stuck says:

    @liberal:

    Silly me. I thought they won because the economy sucks, and this was predicted by standard political science models.

    yep, silly you. Exit polling was clear that seniors went the polls at considerably larger numbers than is normal for a mid term, and ditto for flipping votes to the wingers at about a 10 percent increase (20% gap). For the reason of medicare fears concerning false claims by the right about HCR.

    It is also true dems lost a lot of seats due to the economy, and whether that would have been enough alone to lose the House is unknown. Dems went to the polls and voted dem in normal numbers to past mid terms.

  199. 199
    PWL says:

    You know, everybody was jabbering about Obama’s “victories” at the end of the lame-duck Congress, but for me the defining moment of his Presidency is his cave-in on the tax cuts.

    It seems Obama is following the Democratic pattern of the last few years on Big Issues: surrender and retreat. And I think that’s what Repubs expect with their little game of debt-ceiling chicken. And I’m afraid they may be right–again.

    Yes, I think Obama is a fool if he thinks his little give-in on the tax cuts is going to buy him any Republican love. More like sharks smelling blood…

  200. 200
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    @PWL:

    You know, everybody was jabbering about Obama’s “victories” at the end of the lame-duck Congress, but for me the defining moment of his Presidency is his cave-in on the tax cuts.

    Yep, health care reform, fin reg, DADT repeal… but the defining moment was when he temporarily put on hold sticking it to the rich. Just another class traitor, eh comrade?

  201. 201
    Nick says:

    @PWL:

    You know, everybody was jabbering about Obama’s “victories” at the end of the lame-duck Congress, but for me the defining moment of his Presidency is his cave-in on the tax cuts.

    Well, yeah, because it was the moment he secured his reelection.

  202. 202
    Triassic Sands says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’ve read the report and I don’t think much of it. However, I think a lot of concern about Social Security may stem from the commission proposing unnecessary changes to Social Security, when its financial problems are easily solved, more or less forever, by simply raising the income limit.

    Why raise the retirement age if it isn’t necessary? Because wealthier people both live longer and don’t perform physically demanding jobs, raising the retirement age because “people live longer” is flatly dishonest. Expecting someone to continue to cash multi-million dollar bonuses at Goldman Sachs into their seventies is a very different proposition from expecting a sixty-two year old to continue hanging drywall.

    As I read the report, there were several points that jumped out at me crying this is what the “plan” is really all about. The major point was “sharply cutting tax rates.” Coupled with “capping revenue,” this is a fine foundation for fiscal disaster. To a great degree I read the plan as fashioning a straitjacket and then forcing the country into it. That’s very different from discussing what we need to do and deciding how to pay for it. Since raising revenue is “off the table,” there has to be pain, which, of course, will not be equally or fairly shared. (I found it extraordinary that the commission claims to make tax rates more progressive and begins doing that by raising the lowest tax rate from 10% to 12%, while lowering the top rate from 35% to 28%. Based on 2010 rates, the lowest rate goes up 2%, the middle rates drop 3% to 6%, and the highest rates drop between 5% and 7%. Who do you think the commission cares about?)

    When reading through the plan’s prescriptions, I think it is worth considering how likely various measures are to actually be enacted into law. For example, which do you think has a better chance of getting through a Republican legislative body (and I am more or less assuming at this time that the Senate will go to the GOP in 2012 — it’s not guaranteed, but the likelihood is significant) malpractice reform or government-subsidized medical education? Further tax cuts for the wealthy or a guaranteed minimum benefit for low wage workers? Raising the retirement age for everyone including people doing physically demanding labor or making the retirement formula more progressive?

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    Elie says:

    @liberal:

    Its probably even a little more complicated than that.. and both ss and medicare are tightly woven into our economic wellbeing since both allow seniors to pay either providers of care or food, housing and other vendors using ss. The allocation is very important as that is how healthcare got to be 17% of GNP — what we are talking about is not just providing resources to ss beneficiaries, but to a bevy of other members of the economy and that is why it starts getting complex and we need to be thoughful and considered rather than providing knee jerk slogans without much information behind them. EVERYBODY wants seniors to have food, a roof over their heads and healthcare. Its how that has to be sctructured and how the rest of the economy and population must also be served… THAT is what I mean when I say “I need more information”. My guess is that you and a whole lot of other folks need more thought and information too, all emotional messaging aside…

  204. 204
    royalblue_tom says:

    Triassic Sands, the gains in the plan on the tax rates come from pushing capital gains to match your tax tate. So 15% capital gains goes to 29% …

    And yes, I was unimpressed by the arguments for raising the SS age.

  205. 205
    chaseyourtail says:

    John, every time you play at Glenn’s house you come home talking just like him.

  206. 206
    JR says:

    All the GOP knows about governing they learned in kindergarten:

    -Any time you don’t get exactly what you want, yell “not fair!”
    -Tantrums get results.
    -Make fun of the kid with the funny name.
    -Girls are icky.
    -Anything outside what you know is “gross” or “stupid.”
    -If anyone other than you gets hurt, it’s either funny or annoying, but not sad.
    -Everything you do deserves praise, damnit! And anyone who says otherwise is either mean or jealous.

    They’re a party of toddlers representing America’s temper tantrum. The only difference is that preschoolers could legislate more sensibly than Michele Bachmann and Paul Broun.

  207. 207
    Mnemosyne says:

    @liberal:

    Silly me. I thought they won because the economy sucks, and this was predicted by standard political science models.

    Look at the exit polls and the demographics of who voted. Old white people flooded the polls, because Karl Rove’s Crossroads organization spent all of 2010 convincing them that Obama was going to kill Medicare.

    Sorry, but the actual facts on the ground do not match up with your feeling about how it should have happened.

  208. 208
    NR says:

    @The Sheriff’s A Ni-:

    but the defining moment was when he temporarily put on hold sticking it to the rich.

    Yeah, it’s not like $700 billion is a lot of money that could have been used to help any number of people or anything like that. No, it’s all about “sticking it” to the rich.

    Congratulations on adopting right-wing frames, btw. Rush would be proud.

  209. 209
    PWL says:

    SHERRIF:

    HEALTH CARE REFORM: A REPUBLICAN PLAN…

    FINANCIAL REGULATION: WATERED DOWN BEYOND WHAT IS NECESSARY TO ENSURE EFFECTIVE REGULATION OF THE FINANCIAL SECTOR.

    DADT: OK, GOOD.

    BUT (COMRADE), THE TAX CUT ISSUE WAS SOMETHING HE COULD HAVE FOUGHT ON AND WON. BELIEVE ME, IT WON’T BE TEMPORARY, IF THE REPUBS HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT. AND WE’LL ALL GET TO PAY FOR IT (NOTICE HOW WE’RE BNEG TOLD (BY LINDSAY GRAHAM, AMONG OTHERS, HOW WE’LL HAVE TO “SACRIFICE” THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER?).

    AND THAT “PAYROLL TAX HOLIDAY”: A NICE BACK-DOOR WAY TO KILL OFF SOCIAL SECURITY DOWN THE LINE. AND GUESS WHAT….THEY GOT A DEMOCRAT TO DO IT FOR THEM!

    YOU WILL ALSO NOTENONE OF THAT BOUGHT HIM ANY GOOD WILL FROM THE REPUBLICANS…JUST MORE GRIEF…

    YES COMRADE, THERE IS A CLASS WAR ON. AND IT’S BEING WAGED BY THE PLUTONOMY ON THE REST OF US. AND THEY’RE WINNING. (AND HOW ODD THAT YOU THINK THAT STICKING UP FOR THE REST OF US MAKES ME A COMMIE, IN YOUR EYES..)

    HOPE YOU ENJOY CATFOOD…COMRADE….

  210. 210
    Yutsano says:

    @PWL: Ur capslock iz broked. Or ur shouting, which is even worse.

  211. 211
    bob h says:

    Social Security is being taken hostage?

    When Goldman Sachs and Pimco find their bond portfolios roiled and trashed by all this debt default talk, word will go down to the Republican children to cool it.

  212. 212
    PWL says:

    yutsano: caps lock. I don’t shout (although it does look like a good soapbox speech…).

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