Happy New Year… I Guess

Happy New Year… may next year be as good or better than than the last.

One thing that would make that possible is if the president rejects a deal that is worse than doing nothing. I know, 11th dimensional chess, he’s smarter than I am, etc… But the current deal being discussed sucks eggs. There is no two ways about it. Low commitment to new revenue. No commitments on debt ceiling. Nothing on protecting the safety net, unless you count a two month reprieve as significant.

Obama could get more on revenue by doing NOTHING. And he’s not actually getting anything in return. Nothing on debt ceiling. Nothing on the spending side other than kicking the can down the road two month.

Obama has maximum leverage NOW. And right now, it looks like he’s gonna trade that leverage for less than he’d get from doing nothing.

I’ve called my reps and begged them to vote against and demand a better deal.

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303 replies
  1. 1
    Glennsyank13 says:

    President of the US, not just Democrats. Besides, I’m sure Obama has a bit more political acumen than bloggers.

  2. 2
    Corner Stone says:

    Loving this.

  3. 3
    jayjaybear says:

    Man, there’s a lot of people with their hair on fire on the internets tonight…strangely, both at Redstate AND Daily Kos. That says to me that this is probably the best deal we’re going to get.

  4. 4
    mk3872 says:

    I just don’t get this kind of talk.

    Without this deal, everyone’s taxes go up, there is no extension of UI and the rich keep their low Bush tax rates. The sequester includes immediate budget cuts that effects nearly all of us, not just Defense.

    The CBO predicts another recession and the U.S. rating agencies promise another downgrade without a deal.

    How is that better than a deal that does not even include entitlement cuts ??

  5. 5
    Hill Dweller says:

    You might just get your wish, because Boehner is reportedly going to open up the Senate bill to amendments tomorrow. I can’t imagine that will go well.

  6. 6
    David Koch says:

    Oh brother. We finally raised taxes on people like me, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, Limbaugh, Murdoch, and Trump and people are whining that the small fish (250-400K) escaped the net.

  7. 7
    mk3872 says:

    @jayjaybear: Agreed.

    The left wing blogs are full of this sort of political gamesmanship crap.

    “Obama sucks at poker” BS.

    The sequester and the tax hikes will actually have negative effects on everyone and the economy.

    But we’re supposed to let that happen to gain “maximum leverage” against the GOP.

    As if that will make the GOP vote for any Obama or Dem legislation.

  8. 8
    Arclite says:

    A Happy New Year to all your BJ’ers out there. I’m just glad that I’m not a vet, as this city has had so many fireworks going off the past hour that it sounds like a war zone. And it’s only 9:12 PM, so still a good three hours of mayhem to go!

    As for the deal, yeah, Dems have the goddamn leverage for once, they should play hardball and use it.

  9. 9
    mk3872 says:

    @David Koch: And no cuts to entitlements

  10. 10
    The Dangerman says:

    2013 just HAS to be better; 2012’s big musical accomplishment was Gangham Style. I rest my case.

    11:11 on the Left Coast. Time to get the Champagne ready.

    /He keeps Moet et Chandon in his pretty cabinet…

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @Hill Dweller: I’d love someone to explain to me legally how they can extend a law that expired just over two hours ago. The cliff tumble has already happened, and the new Congress goes into office on the 3rd. So they will have to close the session no matter what and all bets are off. Maybe I’m missing a subtlety somewhere.

  12. 12
    mk3872 says:

    @Arclite: Yeah! Play hardball! Screw those of us whose taxes will go up, lose unemployment insurance and get hit by the budget cuts! Maximum leverage, baby!

  13. 13
    David Koch says:

    Attica!

    Attica!

    Attica!

    Attica!

    Attica!

  14. 14
    Joel says:

    The deal doesn’t look bad to me. It’s about results, not optics, as far as I’m concerned. This is not a zero sum game.

  15. 15
    The Dangerman says:

    @Yutsano:

    I’d love someone to explain to me legally how they can extend a law that expired just over two hours ago.

    I don’t think it’s an extension; it’s a post-cliff cleanup, just done really early in the New Year. Wonder if they feared a market tumble when it re-opened…

  16. 16
    Hill Dweller says:

    It just passed the Senate.

  17. 17
    BlueDWarrior says:

    How do you negotiate with abnormals knowing full well that A) they are abnormal and B) they can’t be removed from a position of leverage.

    It would seem to be if America doesn’t want crazy people trying to negotiate laws and policy; we should stop putting crazy people in position to negotiate laws and policy. So long as we keep electing crazy people, we get crazy policy.

  18. 18
    Cassidy says:

    You know what? Tonight was a good night. I have been drinking good beer. Bear in mind, that while I was on active duty I stayed sober on New Years in case my Soldiers needed a ride. My kids are passed out on the couch after rocking out to Taylor swift tonight; I have 3 girls. And I made some black eyed peas that were amazing. They were so goddamned good that a black woman somewhere felt a disturbance in the force.

    So, for one day, can we avoid the emoprog, firebagger bait bullshit?

  19. 19
    Hill Dweller says:

    What is/was the ideal scenario for the people who don’t like this agreement?

  20. 20
    hitchhiker says:

    Obama won reelection in part b/c the economy had begun to sit up and take nourishment. Part of the reason for that was the deal he made with those R bastards almost exactly 2 years ago . . . it was a stimulus bill dressed up to look like a Republican Christmas tree.

    The only thing to be concerned about is the stupid debt limit vote, and I believe Obama when he says they can refuse to raise it when the need to do that comes around, if that’s they want — it’s not his problem. What will they do if he simply refuses to play that game?

    Would there be any reason whatsoever to act as if the need to pay for stuff they already bought is a legitimate part of the current discussion? NO. The debt ceiling can’t be part of anything having to do with budget discussions, ever again.

  21. 21
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Hill Dweller: I don’t know honestly. All of the alternative scenarios really only work if the more conservative wing of the Republican party (Tea Baggers and their hangers-on) responded to political pressure like normal legislators would.

    The fact that they don’t is something I don’t know if we know how to reckon with. They just do things that seem insane to us and perfectly sane to them.

  22. 22
    JasonF says:

    Dear Mr. Finel

    I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is signing your name to stupid blog posts.

    Very truly yours,

    JasonF

  23. 23
    JasonF says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    What is/was the ideal scenario for the people who don’t like this agreement?

    Obama magically raises taxes on the rich and cuts defense spending enough to erase the deficit entirely without throwing the country into recession and the right-wing caves in completely on entitlement reform and also we all get a pony and Tinkerbell lives because we clapped loud enough.

  24. 24
    Gian says:

    I posted earlier – I said Boehner couldn’t get plan b to the floor and nothing the senate does as a compromise will get there either.

    It was pointed out to me that this week the house elects a speaker.

    If that speaker is still boehner… that’s interesting. if not, it’s still interesting. On further reflection, I don’t think the house will do anything until they pick a speaker except pass the ryan budget. oh and vote no federal dollars for abortion, again.

    oh and vote to end the afforable care act
    again

    this is an over the cliff and see what shakes out situation.
    and I don’t see the GOP plan to actually win it. their plan was to elect anyone but Obama and renegotiate this after the election. (and really that bears notice/rethinking)

    and they don’t have a plan for this shit after Romney lost. That’s why the Speaker can’t say yes. Will he have a chance after the election to be speaker again? Will some other guy win? (I think JB may be weak, but he knows histories to twist arms for that vote)

    hell it’s 11:28 here in Cali, we are over the cliff.
    Boehner pulled committees from teabaggers recently. He’s trying to be in charge.

    But he’s not.
    nothing happens until the house picks a speaker.

  25. 25
    TooManyJens says:

    Did the entire bag get eaten already?

  26. 26
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Cassidy: Well, if you want some happy news to start your year, apparently Sean Hannity’s lost half his viewing audience since the election…

  27. 27
    David Koch says:

    If this is so simple, then why did liberal Jesus/Moses (Elizabeth Warren) refuse to go on record:

    She declined to describe specific tax rates and spending cuts she would endorse as part of a deal to avert the mandatory tax hikes and spending cuts that will take effect at month’s end unless Washington reaches a deal. She kept her options open when it came to accepting a deal. “I don’t know how to answer the question,” she said. “Let’s see what they’ve got.”

    Now that’s what you call a profile in courage from the person filling Ted Kennedy’s and Jack Kennedy’s Senate seat.

  28. 28
    Cassidy says:

    @Anne Laurie: I’m good. I just think the chicken little shit could take a rest.

  29. 29
    PeakVT says:

    Cole should have spiked this post for another 10 hours.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I blame the commenters in Washington state and Colorado.

  31. 31
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    Happy fucking New Year, Sacramento. Jesus Christ.

  32. 32
    Darkrose says:

    @Cassidy:

    And I made some black eyed peas that were amazing. They were so goddamned good that a black woman somewhere felt a disturbance in the force.

    Oh, so that’s what that was!

  33. 33
    Cassidy says:

    @Darkrose: You made me giggle.

  34. 34
    Darkrose says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: I am no longer second-guessing our decision to stay home and game tonight.

  35. 35
    jayackroyd says:

    Eventually, you have to consider the possibility that Obama is getting the policy he wants.

  36. 36
    Petorado says:

    So all the heat now moves to the House wingnuts and whether they will adhere to their hardline or return to normal politics, circa 1970’s. Maybe it is all 11th dimensional chess, but if this doesn’t pass, then House Republicans will be the only scapegoat. And if it does pass, will this finally cut the the line to tea-baggerism by the hardest righties? It may not be our perfect deal, but if this deal doesn’t pass, only one side will bear the responsibility, and David Gregory will be rendered speechless next Sunday.

  37. 37
    Geoduck says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I blame the commenters in Washington state and Colorado.

    (Thumbs nose)

  38. 38
    Cassidy says:

    @Darkrose: Here, here…tonight was Munchkin. I’ve got a nerdling who likes these things. A few days ago was Deadlands.

  39. 39
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @David Koch: She won’t be sworn in until Thursday, so maybe she feels it would be a little unseemly to weigh in before she’s actually a Senator. Anyhow, “keeping her options open” strikes me as refreshing and sensible.

  40. 40
    Yutsano says:

    @Geoduck: Gotta love how they be jellin’ bout our state.

  41. 41
    Groucho48 says:

    Bill passed in the Senate 89-8. If Boehner can’t round up enough votes to pass it in the House, he, and House Republicans in general, will get all the blame for all the fiscal cliff stuff that happens. Not even the MSM would be able to cover for them anymore.

    I suspect Boehner will allow a couple face-saving amendments to be introduced into the House version of the bill that will quietly be discarded in reconciliation.

    As near as I can tell, there are no bad spending cuts in the agreement. SS and Medicare are untouched. Dealing with sequestration stuff was put off for a couple months, but, unless a deal is made there, the Republicans still suffer the worse, with half the cuts going to the military and SS and Medicare are still protected.

    If our main objective was to screw the rich, this isn’t a great bill. But, if our main objective is to protect the poor and the middle class, this bill seems to be a very good one.

  42. 42
    jayackroyd says:

    @David Koch: Yeah but my reaction is what the fuck are these inside the beltway fucking villagers running out the line that anything is “mandatory.” They’re advocating stripping out social insurance programs that people like me have paid into their whole lives in order to preserve the value of their stock options, post tax. Those were “mandatory.” But now, not so much. F38s OTOH…..

  43. 43
    MattR says:

    @Groucho48:

    As near as I can tell, there are no bad spending cuts in the agreement. SS and Medicare are untouched. Dealing with sequestration stuff was put off for a couple months, but, unless a deal is made there, the Republicans still suffer the worse, with half the cuts going to the military and SS and Medicare are still protected.

    If our main objective was to screw the rich, this isn’t a great bill. But, if our main objective is to protect the poor and the middle class, this bill seems to be a very good one.

    This was kinda my assessment as well based on the caveat that the Democrats stand firm on the stance that Schumer articluated earlier, “We’re not negotiating cuts, revenues or anything else for the debt ceiling. That should just be done automatically. Don’t come and tie the two together because we’re not going to talk to you about that.” If they successfully manage to separate out the debt ceiling from negotiations on spending cuts, the Democrats should still have a decent amount of leverage since sequestration will hurt defense the most (and today’s deal looks like it will have shored up the safety net for any individuals who are harmed)

  44. 44
    Haydnseek says:

    @Cassidy: Maybe we can’t, but you certainly can. Your computer probably has an off button. Press it. Problem solved.

  45. 45
    Allan says:

    Bernie Sanders was a yes.

  46. 46
    Jason says:

    I hate to get all firebagger, but it’s not 11th dimensional chess nor incompetence. Obama is, and has always been, at heart, a moderate republican or a DLC style conservadem. He’s getting what he wants. He didn’t fight chained CPI because his heart isn’t in a partisan populist fight.

    Obama isn’t a populist, he’s a schmoozing elitist, temperamentally part of the Harvard set: socially liberal, but in favor of aristrocratic privilege for him and and his colleagues. He had the misfortune to be born black and middle class poor, but that doesn’t mean he identifies with the people he left behind. He only becomes populist at election time. His populism is about as convincing as Nancy Pelosi’s when she said “God bless the 99 percent”.

  47. 47
    Jason says:

    @jayjaybear: I’m sensitive to the issue of realpolitic.. I could see exchanging, for example, indexing social security on chained CPI (is that still on the table) in exchange for a similar level of sacrifice on, say, the military budget. But Paul Krugman, who I trust, labels Obama’s negotiating strategy the worst he’s seen. You’d think Democrats were in the minority instead of controlling two of the three arms of the legislative process and polling significantly higher on the issues than Republicans.

  48. 48
    Peter says:

    @Jason:

    I hate to get all firebagger

    Don’t, then.

  49. 49
    David Koch says:

    @Allan:

    Bernie Sanders was a yes.

    BWHWHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

    What are the firebaggers and emoprogs gonna say about that.

  50. 50
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Jason:

    I hate to get all firebagger, but

    no, you didn’t. Your subsequent paragraphs, dripping with hatred, belie that.

  51. 51
    Mike E says:

    Yeah! The deal is finalized! I like this agreement: DirectTV will pay to broadcast my local stations and keep them in it’s package after all! Wait, what… never mind.

  52. 52
    Yutsano says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: What was that about armchair psychoanalysis again?

  53. 53
    David Koch says:

    @jayackroyd: Huh? What does you post have to do with my post on Lady Warren cutting and running from taking a stand on the fiscal curb?

  54. 54
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    “I hate to get all but”, “I’m not , but”, etc, why so people bother with them? They’re so obviously bullshit, I wonder why anyone bothers.

  55. 55
    goblue72 says:

    @mk3872: your taxes should go up. everyone’s taxes should go up. the bust tax cuts were never paid for, except through borrowing. every single american’s taxes need to go up. the rich should go up more, but everyone’s needs to go up. its either that, or its massive cuts to entitlement and social welfare programs.

  56. 56
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @Yutsano: do you actually think he hated to get all firebagger?

  57. 57
    David Koch says:

    @Jason:

    But Paul Krugman, who I trust

    Why would you trust a “free”-trader like Krugman who sold us out on NAFTA and the WTO? Gawd, I’m old enough to remember when actual leftists and liberals opposed multinational crime organizations like the WTO and their running dog flaks like Krugman.

  58. 58
    Cassidy says:

    @Haydnseek: /eyeroll

  59. 59
    Mike E says:

    OT: The New England Journal of Medicine put the occurrence of Secretary Clinton’s blood clot in the 4:1,000,000 range. Wow.

  60. 60
    Yutsano says:

    @The prophet Nostradumbass: Sorry, was talking about Jason’s quarterbacking the President. You know, firebaggers can always totes do bettah! Don’t ask them how!

    (Snark fail on my part. Mea culpa.)

  61. 61
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Geoduck:
    @Yutsano:

    Hey, you guys pass pot legalization, you get pot jokes.

  62. 62
    James E Powell says:

    Apart from the specifics of the deal, I do not think the basic message that the Republicans are a-holes who do not care about anything but tax rates for the rich and continuing their refusal to allow the government to function has really sink in. The politically attentive know it, but they already knew that. The Great American Voters still believe that both sides do it and that it is the president who is almost solely responsible for any failures of policy.

    It’s not just about the deal, itself, but about who is running this country.

  63. 63
    David Koch says:

    @Groucho48:

    If our main objective was to screw the rich, this isn’t a great bill.

    I dont’ get this.

    It took 12 long years, we overcame various red baiting efforts and hundreds of millions of dirty campaign money, but we finally eliminated the rotten Bush giveaways to billionaires and millionaires. It’s a great victory. The bush tax cuts for the rich are gone. But noooooooooooo. Liberals are incapable of being happy.

  64. 64
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jason:

    He didn’t fight chained CPI because his heart isn’t in a partisan populist fight.

    Uh, you do realize that there is nothing at all about Social Security in the deal that actually happened, right?

  65. 65
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh it’s in there all right. You just refuse to see DA TROOOF!! silly Obot!

  66. 66
    David Koch says:

    Dan Choi/Brad Manning 2016!

  67. 67
    BruinKid says:

    Andrew White over at GOS takes a look at the specific parts of the deal, and after looking at it all, it doesn’t feel like a “sellout”.

  68. 68
    Liquid says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s the worst part about pot legalization — I still can’t patronize an establishment to buy it, have to go to my friend in Tacoma.

    Too bad I’m out as, in about ~7 hours I’ll look like Death on a Triscuit.

  69. 69
    ruemara says:

    @Jason: Dude. Sit down. You’re simply wrong.

  70. 70
    cat48 says:

    It’s too soon to evaluate the Deal. Two old Pols like joe/mcconnell put nice surprises plus stinkers in legislation. The more I read about it the better it looks considering it has to go thru the House of Demons. I pray they don’t amend it. Everything we get to pass will look like this. Not what we wanted.

    As far as leverage & getting more Revenue over the cliff. The GOP says no mandate, etc. Boehner would probably write up a new tax cut bill for $1M & below and might even get Dem votes for it and days later we might get back to $450t. The House is a box of chocolates now…..

  71. 71
    Jason says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m aware of that. You are aware that Obama and allies were talking up the idea until the despised firebagger set, and, worse, the seniors, jumped up and down about it? And we still don’t know exactly what the deal will be, or if will hold together.

    @ruemara Says:

    @ruemara:
    @Jason: Dude. Sit down. You’re simply wrong.

    I’d love to be. But, like John, my mind simply revolts against the 11 dimensional chess interpretation. Obama postures like Lincoln but acts like George Bush senior.

  72. 72
    WaterGirl says:

    I read in several places that Obama said chained CPI had only been on the table as part of a grand bargain and that it was a non-starter for a small deal like the one that was currently being discussed.

    I cannot figure out how any reasonable person gets from that to “they only ditched that idea when the fire bagger set and seniors jumped up and down”. (paraphrased)

    Good night all, or should I say good morning. And happy new year! I, for one, am infinitely grateful that I can go to bed knowing that Barack Obama is our president. I can only imagine the despair I would feel if Romney was going to be sworn in on January 20.

    I swore on election night that I was not going to take Obama for granted. Like the deal or not, and I’m not sure I do, we are lucky to have Barack Obama as our president.

  73. 73
    Jason says:

    @WaterGirl: @

    “President Barack Obama has agreed to curtail future cost-of-living increases for recipients of Social Security and softened his demand for higher taxes at upper income levels as part of accelerating talks with House Speaker John Boehner to avoid a “fiscal cliff,” people familiar with the talks said Monday.

    Speaking a few hours after Obama and Boehner met at the White House, these people said the president was now seeking higher tax rates beginning at incomes over $400,000 for couples, down from the $250,000 level that was a cornerstone of his successful campaign for re-election.”

    — Washingon Post, 18 December, 2012

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: …but I already have, David, as you know, one of the proposals we made was something called Chain CPI, which sounds real technical but basically makes an adjustment in terms of how inflation is calculated on Social Security. Highly unpopular among Democrats. Not something supported by AARP. But in pursuit of strengthening Social Security for the long-term I’m willing to make those decisions. –
    — Barack Obama to David Gregory, December 30.

    Moreover, in the last round of negotiations in 2011 Obama also placed social security on the table. He’s been offering SS cuts for years, you… silly person.

    This all happened, like, two weeks ago. It’s like debating with People’s Temple followers or something.

  74. 74
    JGabriel says:

    Bernard Finel @ Top:

    Obama has maximum leverage NOW.

    I’m not sure that he does. Yes, he has leverage now, but maximum leverage? I think that comes in during the debt ceiling negotiations.

    I’m not sure why everyone thinks the GOP has the leverage there. They cratered the last time they shut down the government in 1995, and if Republicans blow up the US’s credit rating in a fit of pique, I doubt the country is going to side with them this time.

    .

  75. 75
    Sinnach says:

    Eh, I don’t think it’s a terrible deal but we’re going to have to wait two months before evaluating it. Almost all the components are good but this handed the GOP another hostage for the debt ceiling showdown.

    Republicans are betting that sequestration and the debt ceiling combined will entice more concessions that they’re giving up now. I’m tempted to agree.

  76. 76
    Napoleon says:

    Yep, Obama is just the most spectacularly incompetent negotiator as president in my life time. This “plan” has the Democratic party permanently signing on as the undertaker for the New Deal and Great Society for Grover Norquest and the conservatives by robbing it of income to sustain it going forward all in exchanged for a few temporary extensions (including the transparently bull shit wind extension – folks, seriously how many wind towers get built if they have to start ordering now and have them in service this year? One year is barely any different then on week, yet this is what they are trying to sell us).

    Obama is catastrophically incompetent.

  77. 77
    Xantar says:

    @Jason:

    Do you ever consider the possibility that sometimes President Obama says things in order to get a certain reaction or to appear a certain way to the public? You know, like a professional politician?

  78. 78
    Sly says:

    No commitments on debt ceiling.

    So, just to see if I have this correct, a proposal that was not even on the radar a few weeks ago and no one really cared about until the President himself introduced it is now a hill to die on? Because last week that hill was chained CPI and that’s gone. Which suggests to me, in the immortal words of Jesus, that there’s just no pleasing some people.

  79. 79

    Maybe Democrats have to except the fact that when Obama says that there’s an issue on which he absolutely, positively won’t give ground, you can count on him giving ground early in the game and getting a less than optimal solution–even when he holds almost all of the cards. THAT is the big deal here. The GOP has this now. If this deal is as reported then wait for the next debt ceiling negotiation. The hostage taking will be bloody and it won’t be the wealthy or the military industrial complex who pay the price. Of course it would have been worse with Mitt as incoming President, but is that the standard now?

  80. 80
    Lojasmo says:

    @Jason:

    Let’s unpack this. The bill that currently got passed is a sellout by Obama because he discussed chained CPI, which never even happened?

    Good god, man.

  81. 81
    Paul says:

    @Napoleon:

    Obama is catastrophically incompetent.

    Of course he is. Unlike Clinton and Carter, he managed to get us health care reform. He got rid of DADT. He got us out of Iraq. He saved GM. He killed bin Laden. He got the fair pay act passed. This in spite of the most obstructionist Congress ever.

    But yes, some people on the far far left will still scream that “Obama is catastrophically incompetent”.

    Heck, if the far left think Obama is “catastrophically incompetent” in spite of all his accomplishments, I think it is safe to say that we will want to be called “catastrophically incompetent” by the far left.

    Do you even realize that if Democrats had bothered to show up to vote in 2010, Obama wouldn’t even need to negotiate with the GOP House? Hell, did you even vote for the Dems in 2010, or did you follow the many dailykos people who was going to protest Obama by not voting?

  82. 82
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    As much as I respect anyone who is a Front Pager here, Bernard, I think that you’re wrong.

    The deal would only suck if any of the Congresses of before roughly 2004 was the Congress with which Obama was dealing. To me, Congress has become something less than a deliberative body whose goal is passing bills to fairly govern the nation and more of a scene of trench warfare.

    The deal sucks from the perspective of both sides in those trenches. That suggests to ignorant me that it’s as good as it gets at this time.

  83. 83
    TruthOfAngels says:

    @Jason: Oh, so your ‘Obama sold us out!’ posture suddenly evolved to a ‘Obama would have sold us out were it not for the likes of noble me!’

    I’d be ashamed to look so obviously insincere. I see you are not.

  84. 84
    Gloryb says:

    @Cassidy: So, that explains it! I was wondering…

  85. 85
    kcr says:

    @Paul:

    “he managed to get us health care reform.”

    Here is the problem: he isn’t going to keep health insurance reform because of this deal. The only real leverage he had in the debt ceiling negotiations were the Bush taxes going up. He traded that leverage away for temporary stimulus measures. Now, the GOP believes that he will fold on the debt ceiling because, well, he already has. Their opening bid is going to. be the end of Obamacare plus the Ryan Medicare plan plus CPI.

    Even assuming he stays firm, something he has never done, and the GOP blows the debt ceiling, then the resultant pundit freak-out will blame him for keeping the “unsustainable entitlements” and “his pet program” over the good of the country’s economy. He will be pushed by conservadems to deal, and, a the very least, Obamacare goes. We probably also get the Ryan plan, and certainly get the CPI.

    It seems that the GOP is substantially closer to getting rid of the new deal with this agreement than they were before it. If he had gotten the debt limit taken care of, then I can see trading away what he did. There are some good things in this deal. But he didn’t, and now he has nothing for when the real assault comes in two months.

  86. 86
    TruthOfAngels says:

    @Yutsano:

    ‘I’d love someone to explain to me legally how they can extend a law that expired just over two hours ago.’

    Hmm, how can the people elected to make laws pass a law?

    Beats me.

  87. 87
    Paul says:

    he isn’t going to keep health insurance reform because of this deal. The only real leverage he had in the debt ceiling negotiations were the Bush taxes going up. He traded that leverage away for temporary stimulus measures. Now, the GOP believes that he will fold on the debt ceiling because, well, he already has. Their opening bid is going to. be the end of Obamacare plus the Ryan Medicare plan plus CPI.

    So you think Obama will agree to end health care reform in return for raising the debt limit? I will have to strongly disagree.

    The only reason Obama caved on the debt limit in 2011 was because the politics were different. this time, Obama just got re-elected. This time he doesn’t have to cave. Why would he care if it doesn’t get raised? Hell, who do you think will get punished when defense contractors stop getting government money just because the GOP House refuses to pay them?

  88. 88
    kcr says:

    @Paul:

    “So you think Obama will agree to end health care reform in return for raising the debt limit? I will have to strongly disagree.”

    Or something close to the Ryan plan. I hope I am wrong, but he has already negotiated over the debt limit once, he has given up a lot in this round. The GOP are already publicly laughing at his no negotiation stance. They will let the country default, if for no other reason than they will misjudge his willingnes to not negotiate.

    Once that happens, and the very serious people start screaming about how we have to chose between the New Deal and Obamacare and the economy for “real americans”, conservative and moderate dems will start pressuring him to make a deal, and the GOP will get a huge slice of the new deal and/or Obamacare in exchange. And they will get another huge slice in 2014, when they do it again.

    Now, maybe the business wing of the GOP saves us all, but they haven’t in the past. In addition, a lot of the business wing seems perfectly happy to do thins out of class solidarity that would be bad for them otherwise (normal businesses should have been creaming for the heads of the banksters, but opposed any regulation) — I bet there is little pressure on the GOP and an enormous amount on the Dems. I don’t see how this can play out any other way. The best case scenario is a massive economic recession.

  89. 89
    El Caganer says:

    A lot of the speculation on the effects of this deal seem to take for granted that the House will approve it. I don’t know if that’s a given.

  90. 90
    Paul says:

    Well, if you are concerned that your scenario will happen, you should contact your representatives in Congress. Heck, we all should.

    But I’m not in the least concerned about ACA being cut or included (yes, maybe in the margins where it won’t matter anyway). ACA is already paid for, so why would it be on the table?

    Furthermore, cutting ACA or replacing it with the Ryan plan would drastically increase the deficit. Even if our country has the world’s biggest idiot pundits, even they know what increasing the deficit means.

  91. 91
    Chyron HR says:

    @TruthOfAngels:

    Oh, so your ‘Obama sold us out!’ posture suddenly evolved to a ‘Obama would have sold us out were it not for the likes of noble me!’

    Hey, “eventually, you have to consider the possibility that Obama is getting the policy he wants”. Except when it comes to Social Security, of course.

  92. 92
    Gloryb says:

    @Cassidy: So, that explains it! I was wondering what happened…

  93. 93
    Thymezone says:

    I don’t know who you are, Bernard, but you are fucking idiot.

    In the fine tradition of Balloon-Juice fucking idiot front pagers.

    Honestly, this post is so goddammed dumb it oughta be on Free Republic.

  94. 94
    Quiddity says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur: You missed Biden’s remarks:

    To sell Senate Democrats on a controversial plan the White House negotiated with Senate Republicans to avoid the fiscal cliff, Vice President Joe Biden had to repeatedly reassure frustrated members of his own party Monday night that President Obama and Democratic leaders will not negotiate with the GOP to raise the debt ceiling in February or March.

    “We also talked about something I feel strongly about is that we should tell the Republicans on debt ceiling we are not negotiating any political agenda in return for raising the debt ceiling,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters in the Capitol after a long Democratic caucus meeting during which Biden pitched his deal. “That if they start doing that, we’re saying, ‘We’re not discussing it. … If you want to let the debt ceiling lapse, and we don’t pay our bills, that’s on your shoulders. We’re not negotiating cuts, revenues or anything else for the debt ceiling. That should just be done automatically. Don’t come and tie the two together because we’re not going to talk to you about that.’”

    You can take that to the bank!

  95. 95
    slightly_peeved says:

    @Paul:

    In the debt ceiling negotiations, Boehner suggested changes to Obamacare.

    Obama walked away. Every time.

    Obama has held firm that Obamacare will not be reduced as a result of these negotiations in the debt ceiling and ever since. kcr has just not been paying attention.

  96. 96
    Mike in NC says:

    @Napoleon:As always, you are a goddamn imbecile.

  97. 97
    magurakurin says:

    I think it is hilarious how the usual suspects are so sure that they could have done better than Obama, Biden and Reid in this case. Maybe they could. If so, please, run for office. Get in there and do better. Maybe Obama sucks donkey balls compared to you. So, graduate from Columbia, go to Harvard Law, become president of the Law Review, get elected to the Illinois Senate, US Senate and then POTUS. Obama came from humble beginnings. If you folks are all such political geniuses, then why are you deny us your life saving skills?

    Get into the fucking game.

    And to all those who hold it to be an undeniable truth that letting all the taxes rise will without question result in the Republicans being forced to do what Obama wants…why exactly is that so? It maybe so, it may not. Things might get bogged down for a month or two. In the meantime shit gets real for a lot of folks and the shaky recovery grinds to a halt. Maybe you all have the guts to play with all those people’s lives, and maybe that makes you the better choice for POTUS. Or maybe not.

    In any event, who gives a fuck. You all have been wrong about everything for the last four years, so it is reasonable to assume that you are all wrong in your assertion that Obama will negotiate the debt ceiling, even though he has said he won’t. If you would remember, in this negotiation he consistently stated he wanted a deal and was open to negotiate. He has said quite the opposite in regard to the upcoming debt ceiling.

    time will tell.

  98. 98
    ericblair says:

    @magurakurin:

    time will tell.

    Hey, give them a break. President Elect Jill Stein will fix all this shit.

  99. 99
    AxelFoley says:

    @Napoleon:

    Obama is catastrophically incompetent.

    And you continue to showcase your ignorance. Paul summed up your idiocy pretty nicely, though.

  100. 100
    Higgs Boson says:

    @mk3872:

    You have to consider “taxes go up on everybody”, the sequester, and another recession are a win-win for the House republicans.

    They get to blame it on Obama. “He doesn’t want to make a deal.”

    Plus, if they can’t get everything the want, their way, and NOW!, they get to crash the whole shebang like petulant children.

  101. 101
    gopher2b says:

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that sequester is half “draconian” defense cuts. He still maintains that leverage.

    And, there are a boatload of democrats who represent suburbs of major east coast and west coast cities where many of the constituents make $250,000k and (of whatever reason) don’t feel rich. Those dems never wanted taxes to go up at that level either.

  102. 102
    gopher2b says:

    And also too, if they refuse this deal, 2 million people lose their unemployment benefits.

  103. 103
    chopper says:

    he’s smarter than I am

    that’s putting it lightly.

  104. 104
    Emma says:

    And the sad part is that when it doesn’t happen and Obama gets what he wanted in the first place, the firebaggers will cotinue to move the goalposts. they have been doing it from the beginning.

  105. 105
    Thymezone says:

    @chopper:

    Chopper just added one more person to a very large demographic pool.

  106. 106
    Mike Lamb says:

    @kcr: You think that Obama is going to approve gutting his signature legislation or the New Deal–either option being something that would ruin his legacy (esp. gutting the New Deal, which would send the Democrats past the GOP in the political hinterlands)–because pundits would be yelling that if one or the other doesn’t get whacked, the economy tanks? You think this is a plausible scenario? Because I think it’s patently absurd. It would only be a slightly less absurd scenario if this was 2010. After he was just re-elected? Ridiculous.

  107. 107
    kcr says:

    @slightly_peeved:

    So he trades SS and Medicare away instead, if the GOP doesn’t insist on Obamacare. Remember, he offered raises in the Medicare age the last time and cuts in SS this time.

    Again: someone explain how this does not happen. The GOP mostly thinks that the debt ceiling is not a big deal — without the tax raises, only the sequester and the wishes of the business side are leverage. Business did not appear to reign in the GOP in 2011, and the defense cuts are small.

    So lets assume we trash the debt ceiling, that Obama stands firm. The next morning, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood companies are on the phone to people like Schumer, Levin, and McCaskill screaming that this has to be fixed. The pundits are all on TV talking about how we need shared sacrifice to get our deficit under control and how Obama is so wrong to defend entitlements when it is obvious we cannot afford them. How the hell does that end with anything other than massive cuts to the New Deal/Obamacare?

    Seriously: what is the mechanism that gets us anything other than destroyed in March?

  108. 108
    Emma says:

    @kcr: Why don’t you just wait and see what happens? I would LOVE someone to FOR ONCE scream about something that happens, not something that hasn’t. It’s a pattern: OHMYGAWD Obama did this, Obama’s going to do that… and when it doesn’t happen, crickets. Until next time when y’all start screaming. Again.

  109. 109
    kcr says:

    @Mike Lamb:

    In 2011, he offered raises to the Medicare age. In 2012, he offered cuts to SS. Why wouldn’t I believe he wouldn’t do that? He has already gone don that road. Obamacare, is admittedly, much less likely, but given how hard the GOP has been trying to kill it, it may be a question of what to kill.

    And he wont have the pundits, he will have his business allies, Dem senators and a massive economic retrenchment going on or on the horizon. It will be very easy to talk yourself into massive cuts to the social safety net as the lesser of the two evils at that point. Heck, it might even be the right call at the time.

    And that is why this deal is bad: he has put himself in a position where he has no leverage beyond GOP concern for the economy, and the GOP has already shown that that is not a motivating factor for them.

  110. 110
    Thymezone says:

    Jesus, people, how long have you been around BJ? kcr is probably just DougJ doing his patented spooftroll schtick. Nobody can be that willfully wrongheaded and still operate a computer.

  111. 111
    kcr says:

    @Emma:

    For the same reason I hit the brakes at a red light: I don’t need to hit the car in front of me to know that it would be bad.

    Hope is not a plan. All I see in response to these concerns are nonsense about how criticizing the plan means I am a dirty hippy Obama hatting elitist, OR hand waving about how Obama is playing 11 dimensional chess. Those are not reasonable responses.

    So: tell me how this works out well given the facts on the ground after this deal passes. Give me a reason to believe that the light is not red, or kindly help me try and find the brakes.

  112. 112
    kcr says:

    @Thymezone:

    Tome Cole was on NPR rubbing his hands with glee because, in his words, Obama has removed taxes form the debt ceiling equation.

    The group think here is really disturbing: either I admit that Obama is the greatest,most wonderful president ever who always wins everything all the time, or I am a miserable firebagger who hates Obama, puppies and apple pie.

    Well, you got me — apple pie sucks. But do you think you can take a moment after you are done gloating to suggest a possible scenario that plays out without massive cuts to the social safety net, or do you not have anything other than schoolyard taunts?

  113. 113
    Bostondreams says:

    @kcr:

    What sort of deal do you think is possible RIGHT NOW that will pass THIS Congress that does everything that YOU want? How is this deal to be achieved?
    If, instead, you think there should be no deal, then you support throwing thousands off unemployment right now.

  114. 114
    Jeremy says:

    @kcr: Dude the republicans insisted that the medicare age and Chained cpi be on the table for negotiations and the president tentatively allowed it. There was not agreement for anything and the president knew there were no votes for any deal containing those measures. The president plays this game where he acts like he is compromising (good cop) and offering a concession to republicans when he knows there aren’t enough votes for it. Then when it fails he can fall back on a position that is more to his benefit. Which happened during the debt ceiling and this deal.

    The guy is a politician so expect the political games. The president takes a moderate approach to governance but he knows that you have to play these political games.

  115. 115
    Bostondreams says:

    @kcr:

    Maybe you missed the part where it was stated that there will be no negotiation over the debt limit. It is either raised or it isn’t. No dealing.

  116. 116
    Emma says:

    @kcr: I can’t help you find brakes because you aren’t really interested in them. When it comes to politics, it’s all about the moment and the context. One of the things that happened to Obama is that he got re-elected and CANNOT run again. He can stick to his guns when it suits him and change his mind when it suits him.

    Also, you have a lot of faith in the power of corporations and the rich. The same people who just got their asses handed to them in the election. How much money did they spend to defeat Obama? And they got bubkes to show for it.

    I am not saying Obama doesn’t screw up. I’d like to have a talk with him about his runaway security apparatus. But he has SO FAR gotten a lot for the working class out of a GOP whose only goal is screw the black guy. So, if you look at the results, I am more likely to trust him than his critics.

  117. 117
    kcr says:

    @Bostondreams:

    No deal right now gets me everything I want, of course. The GOP controls the House. This deal plus a solution to the debt limit hostage taking would have been a good deal. This deal that leaves some leverage for the debt limit fight would have been okay.

    If the debt limit crisis wasn’t coming, this would be a solid deal. It gets real help for the unemployed, some stimulus, a long extension on some middle class and poor tax cuts/tax rebates, all for about 200 billion in tax cuts off of the 800 billion we had coming. That’s not great, but not horrible.

    But it also removes all of our leverage for the debt limit fight, as far as I can see, and that can only lead to devastating cuts in two months.

  118. 118
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: Also I might note that the president said no to raising the medicare age, and during the debt ceiling in 2011 the whitehouse confirmed that there was no agreement on it.

  119. 119
    El Caganer says:

    The AP summary of the deal that I read was kind of vague, but overall it doesn’t sound like too bad of an agreement considering how quickly it was slapped together. Appears that a lot got kicked down the road, but that makes more sense than trying to resolve big, tough issues in a few hours; whether those issues ever get resolved is another story.

  120. 120
    stinger says:

    @kcr: “In 2011, he offered raises to the Medicare age. In 2012, he offered cuts to SS.”

    He allowed them to be discussed. Neither one actually happened.

    Boy, some people just don’t understand negotiation.

  121. 121
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @kcr: The mechanism that protects SS, Medicare, Medicaid, and HCR is the same one that has protected them so far: people don’t support cutting them, and Democrats haven’t cut them.

    You see, if someone doesn’t cut a thing, no matter how many times you specifically warn that they will, the only reasonable conclusion is that you’re wrong. Particularly since none of these things were at risk after the last debt ceiling debate, on which we had a much tougher negotiating position.

    So, chill out. Deep breaths, man.

  122. 122
    Bostondreams says:

    @kcr:

    What leverage has been lost? I am not clear how leverage has been lost concerning something that is not going to be negotiated.

    No deal now means that we get those cuts now, we get thousands if not millions in economic dire straits. But you obviously are okay with that.

  123. 123
    kcr says:

    @Bostondreams:

    I don’t believe it. He said that before this round, and then put the debt ceiling on the table. More importantly, the GOP doesn’t believe him.

    But lets say you are right: lets say he does not bend. In that case, it seems certain that the GOP doesn’t raise the debt limit. A lot of GOP members think that the debt limit concern is just about making sure Obama can’t spend any more and the economic consequences are overblown. If that is the case, then Obama will be faced with negotiating or letting the economy tank. In that case, I wouldn’t blame him for negotiating — tanking economies are bad for people. But he won’t have any leverage, anything that the GOP really wants. The defense cuts MIGHT be something, but they are small compared to the prize of huge tax cuts and gutting portions of the social safety net.

  124. 124
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    It’s truly an odd bunch; the 8 who voted against. Murderer’s Row? The New Gang of 8?

  125. 125
    El Caganer says:

    @kcr: I’m not following you – if the House deliberately tanks the economy by having the US government default on paying its bills, what kind of leverage could that conceivably give Republicans? That’s pretty much the point of walking away from negotiations on the debt ceiling: raising the limit has always been a normal function of government, not an issue for negotiation.

  126. 126
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Ugh.

    Senate Republicans, and now quite possibly House Republicans, voted to raise taxes.

    They buckled on their biggest issue.

    You want to talk about a cave? There’s your fucking cave.

  127. 127
    Bostondreams says:

    @kcr:

    But what is this leverage that has been lost? I’m not clear on this. This magical term ‘leverage’ seems to be everything to you. What does Obama no longer have that you say he needed?

  128. 128
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    They buckled on their biggest issue.

    It could have been a lot worse...

  129. 129
    kcr says:

    @stinger:

    He put them on the table. He was willing to agree to agree to them. He reiterated on MTP that he believes in cutting SS. They were saved in 2011 and 2012 because the GOP was too dumb to grab a “grand bargain” when they had the chance.

    Now that he has nothing the GOP wants, he is in a much poorer position to defend them.

    Politics is about power and leverage. The President just gave away his best leverage for too little. His determination is not leverage in this situation. His refusal to deal has real consequences, and he would be arguably correct to try and avoid those consequences. But he will do so handicapped by this deal.

    No one has told me what he can offer to the GOP in exchange for raising the debt limit. I know what they want, but I don’t know what the President can give them instead of what they want. Before today, he could give them an extension of the tax cuts. After today, what?

  130. 130
    Morzer says:

    @stinger:

    Well, I for one wanted to see Big Bad Barry pull out the Glock and snarl:

    “Any of youze mofos mentions Social Security or Medicare, fuckaz deader than Boner’s dick!”

    Anything else is clearly a BETRAYAL of PROGRESSIVE PRINCIPLES and would make Zombie Teddy Roosevelt haz a sadburger.

  131. 131
    kcr says:

    @El Caganer:

    The leverage is that Obama and the Dems need a functioning economy more than the GOP does, at least to a certain degree. It probably means more seats in the House and a takeover of the Senate.

    Talking through this here, that is actually the best hope: that the economy crashes so hard that the GOP is smacked awake by their financial backers. Even if that happens, though, its bad for the country, for working people, and for the Dems(likely. I suppose its possible the voters take this out non the GOP, but the way the House is gerrymandered, that may not matter). If this deal had kep the tax leverage over the GOP, then its much more likely that the debt limit would be neutralized before that damage happens.

  132. 132
    El Caganer says:

    @kcr: Actually, the President has already told you what he will offer the GOP – nothing. Will he walk that back? I don’t know, but Joe Biden went to some length to pursuade Democratic senators that he was serious. There would be an awful lot of pissed off Democratic elected officials if he turned it around, especially after exhorting them to stand tough.

  133. 133
    Jeremy says:

    @stinger: Thank you !
    During negotiations you discuss things and both sides put proposals on the table but that doesn’t mean that both sides agreed to anything. Just like the debt ceiling fight the republicans wanted those things to be on the table but the whitehouse even said that the grand bargain was not agreed to. And Obama can count and he knows that those proposals don’t have enough votes to pass.

    Like I said Obama plays this game like he is being reasonable when he expects the deal to fail and then a new compromise comes up at the last minute which is more to his benefit. Even republicans say that Obama doesn’t negotiate in good faith with them.

  134. 134
    Citizen_X says:

    @kcr: Christ, what a busy, busy crystal ball you have.

  135. 135
    LAC says:

    @Glennsyank13: thank you!! Lord Jesus, I am so fucking tired of the hair on fire rantings of those whose biggest problem seems to be not enough foam on their Half caf latte. If fauxgressive fucktards didn’t sit on their hands in 2010 and generally bitch about shit, maybe things would be easier to work through.

  136. 136
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): It was Rubio’s campaign roll-out. Grassley, who knows? Paul, everyone knows — probably also a campaign roll-out.

    Interesting are the D’s — Bennet (CO), Harkin (IA) and Carper (DE). Not protest votes from the left. Harkin’s liberal, but there were yea votes to the left of him. The other two? Specific provisions they didn’t like?

  137. 137
    LAC says:

    @kcr: gee, if only those brakes didnt work.

    Oh wait, was that a metaphor?

  138. 138
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    CRO seems the most likely connection.

    What do you think about CapGains? My take is that this was the BIGGEST issue for republicans, and democrats. Yeah, the ordinary income increase was the reputed, and very public gadfly in the ointment, but UNEARNED income was a substantial, and UNDERreported
    bone of contention.

  139. 139
    Cromagnon says:

    Well Bernard looks like Obama didn’t listen to you. Imagine that

  140. 140
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): I don’t know what to think. the cap gains and dividends rate went up by a third — from 15% to 20%, at least above the threshold.

    But dividends were slated to return to being taxed at wage-income rates. Now they’re blended permanently with cap gains?

    Burnsesq will sort it out for us.

  141. 141
    Corner Stone says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    What do you think about CapGains? My take is that this was the BIGGEST issue for republicans, and democrats. Yeah, the ordinary income increase was the reputed, and very public gadfly in the ointment, but UNEARNED income was a substantial, and UNDERreported
    bone of contention.

    The CapGains and what would’ve happened to the Estate Tax are definitely the dead bodies behind the couch no one seems to be acknowledging.

  142. 142
    liberal says:

    @kcr:

    The President just gave away his best leverage for too little.

    Agreed, this is the central issue. Nice posts.

  143. 143
    Corner Stone says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    Senate Republicans, and now quite possibly House Republicans, voted to raise taxes.

    They’ll frame it as a vote to cut taxes.
    But really, they didn’t exactly cave on taxes as they had little choice. Taxes were and are coming, no matter what they did.

  144. 144
    Corner Stone says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    Of course it would have been worse with Mitt as incoming President, but is that the standard now?

    What do you mean “now” ?

  145. 145
    kc says:

    @David Koch:

    That. And $15 million estates. And two months from now, we get to fight about how much Medicare and SS will be cut. Bernard is right, this deal sucks.

  146. 146
    Corner Stone says:

    @kcr:

    Here is the problem: he isn’t going to keep health insurance reform because of this deal. The only real leverage he had in the debt ceiling negotiations were the Bush taxes going up. He traded that leverage away for temporary stimulus measures. Now, the GOP believes that he will fold on the debt ceiling because, well, he already has. Their opening bid is going to. be the end of Obamacare plus the Ryan Medicare plan plus CPI.

    I’m of the opinion the debt ceiling should never have been mentioned at all during these “negotiations”. Of course, I’m also of the opinion that SS should never have been mentioned either, even in the scope of a “Grand Screwing”.
    Whatever happens with the debt ceiling, whether the tough talk about no deals holds firm or something else, the absolute one thing that will never, ever happen is Obama agreeing to damage or limit any aspect of the ACA. Never.
    That is his only guaranteed (since it has been passed) part of legislative legacy. And while he’s in office he can veto anything that negatively effects ACA. By 2016 the ACA will be so entrenched, and hopefully successful for some people really in need, that it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

  147. 147
    Heliopause says:

    If the House passes this:

    Income tax rates on the wealthy were at insanely low rates, now they are locked in at absurdly low rates. This is what passes for progress nowadays.

    Capital gains and dividend taxes were at insanely low rates, now they are locked in at absurdly low rates. This is what passes for progress nowadays.

    Estate taxes were at insanely low rates, now they are locked in at absurdly low rates. This is what passes for progress nowadays.

    The debt ceiling has not been addressed, the sequester has not been addressed, the normal budgetary process has not been addressed. This is what passes for progress nowadays.

    The Medicare doctor cliff, dairy cliff, and unemployment cliff cans were kicked down the road for varying lengths of time. This is what passes for progress nowadays.

    I guess we should be grateful that the Paul Ryan Dystopia, which seems to be the baseline from which we judge everything now, was averted.

  148. 148
    Corner Stone says:

    This was always my problem with the slap and tickle fest that led us to this whole “fiscal cliff” shenanny.
    If we just closed our binders full of women and went home and said to the R’s, “Woops, should have taken the “Grand Bargain” we offered you. Now this is happening.” We would’ve gotten everything we wanted after Jan 3rd.
    The rotating hostage that is UI is a farce. We keep agreeing to extend it for little chunks while giving up long term agreement on the other side. How many of those unemployed do we think are in the South? The BLS says quite a bit.

  149. 149

    You know, I just feel like this “cliff” thing is just more evidence of mass-scale institutional failure. Here are my thoughts. I kinda just feel like whatever at this point. The problems run deep and need to be solved and they won’t be solved in Washington.

  150. 150
    Scott P. says:

    Look at the deal from the other side. Republicans voted for higher taxes, without getting any spending cuts, delayed the sequester, and added a bunch of stimulus. All in the hope that in two months Boehner will be able to roll Obama.

    Imagine that Obama had given the GOP everything it wanted, and in return only was able to offer a promise that in 2 months Obama would be able to get something, honest.

    Would the firebaggers be content with that deal? Of course not. And yet Obama is the loser here somehow.

  151. 151
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Heliopause: Property still isn’t theft.

    And the workers still do not own the commanding heights of the economy.

  152. 152
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Heliopause:

    And…what happened to removing the cap for payroll taxes? Every fucking income bracket should be paying into SS and Medicare.

  153. 153
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Very similar to my thoughts. Thx.

  154. 154
    Corner Stone says:

    @Scott P.:

    Imagine that Obama had given the GOP everything it wanted, and in return only was able to offer a promise that in 2 months Obama would be able to get something, honest.
    __
    Would the firebaggers be content with that deal? Of course not. And yet Obama is the loser here somehow.

    I’ve read this several times now. Did you mean to phrase it this way?

  155. 155
    Corner Stone says:

    Well, I’ll be. The Broken Blockquote hiccup has been fixed at some point.
    It’s a New Year’s Miracle!
    Praise be to the FSM and all Her glorious noodly appendages!!

  156. 156
    Corner Stone says:

    And at least some part of what kcr is saying, at least as I read it, is true. The R’s will absolutely torch everything they can if they don’t get what they want. Without having to publicly put their fingerprints on the results.
    They’ve always felt the debt ceiling nonsense was their stronger position. So now they will demand cuts but make the D’s and Obama effectively own them. And if there are no talks then I have no doubt they’ll take their tissue boxes and go home.

  157. 157
    Anya says:

    I don’t know what Bernard and others are mad about? We avoid the fiscal curb without giving up anything on spending or entitlements. I think that’s a win. The one thing that bothers me is the state tax. Considering we are dealing with nihilists this deal is a win.

  158. 158
    Brachiator says:

    @Bernard:

    Obama could get more on revenue by doing NOTHING. And he’s not actually getting anything in return. Nothing on debt ceiling. Nothing on the spending side other than kicking the can down the road two month.

    You are absolutely wrong and uninformed. What a way to start the new year. Doing NOTHING would have resulted in seeing the taxes of 28 million taxpayers go up in 2012 because of AMT. That’s 2012, not 2013. And of course, 2 million would have lost their unemployment insurance extension.

    The president would have still had to battle over expiring benefits for lower income and middle class taxpayers. Do you even know what these provisions are?

    And of course, doing NOTHING would still mean a bigger battle over stupid automatic tax cuts.

    There is much more to tax policy than just increasing revenues.

    @Davis X. Machina:

    But dividends were slated to return to being taxed at wage-income rates. Now they’re blended permanently with cap gains?

    Under the Bush tax cuts, capital gains and qualified dividends were taxed at ZERO percent for people in the 15 percent bracket. So, for example a married couple with two young kids who got $100,000 solely from capital gains and qualified dividends had an income tax of $0.

    If qualified dividends still get a break, but not as generous as before, it is a compromise I could live with.

    I promised myself that I wouldn’t look at the details of the deal if these morans didn’t get something done by December 28, so as not to spoil my New Year holiday. And we still don’t know whether the House will go along.

    Also keep in mind that for 2013, investment income for most people making over about $250,000, including dividends, will be subject to a new 3.8 percent tax, part of the deal to pay for health care reform. I didn’t see anything about this being repealed or tampered with as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

  159. 159
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Brachiator: TNX. I know bupkis about dividends, all I have are two small DRIP’s — no income coming from them, it’s all re-invested.

  160. 160
    White Trash Liberal says:

    Corner Stone:

    Sequestration would have allowed rates to increase as an automatic lapse. Now they are voting, on record, to increase tax rates beyond the Bush percentages. This is a tax increase. That is how the GOP would frame it if the situation were reversed, and you are engaging in a reasonable but misguided reality-based interpretation.

    Hang the tax rate increase around their necks as a capitulation to librards. Then say that steps have been taken to reduce the deficit, so why make additional cuts when the debt limit comes on board?

    Instead of ganging up on Obama, get the message out that we reached a bipartisan decision that reduces the deficit and secures Medicare and SS. Then emphasize that no further action is required unless revenue is on the table, again.

    I swear to god that messaging matters. Yet the first instinct is to view the situation from the frequency of what is lost versus what can be gained.

    Bottom line: GOP caved on taxes. Entitlements untouched. The debt limit and sequestration is unnecessary once the new measures are scored and revealed to reduce the deficit. Frame the GOP as wanting to gut entitlements and ruin economy for no good reason. Then push on raising taxes on the wealthy.

  161. 161
    Brachiator says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    And…what happened to removing the cap for payroll taxes? Every fucking income bracket should be paying into SS and Medicare.

    Well, nobody proposed removing the cap for Social Security.

    And there is no cap for Medicare.

    For 2013, most individuals with wage or self employment income greater than $200,000 will be subject to an additional Medicare tax of 0.9 percent.

  162. 162
    henqiguai says:

    @kc(#145):

    And $15 million estates. And two months from now, we get to fight about how much Medicare and SS will be cut. Bernard is right, this deal sucks.

    Reading comprehension is your friend. Try “$5million estates”, and it’s indexed to inflation. The other? Well, yeah; that was the Republican plan all along. They never denied it and the Administration has simply said go-suck-eggs to them. ‘Course, just this morning, McCain and Graham are affirming that they intend to take the country into default no matter what, just because.

  163. 163
    Pococurante says:

    But the current deal being discussed sucks eggs.

    Call Barney Frank – he’ll be uncharacteristically nice to you.

  164. 164
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Brachiator:

    Well, nobody proposed removing the cap for Social Security.

    I know that. The question is, why?

  165. 165
    Corner Stone says:

    @White Trash Liberal: IMO, I find your reading of this situation to be deeply flawed.

  166. 166
    Dr. Squid says:

    Moron. It’s more important for you to starve grannies and the unemployed than it is to get tax rates at the exact levels you want at every little detail?

    You’re no different from Rand Paul.

  167. 167

    @Corner Stone:

    How many of those unemployed do we think are in the South? The BLS says quite a bit.

    This was my thinking, also. It’s the South sucking the Federal teat harder than anyone right now, yet it’s largely the South that inflicts us with these borderline-retarded teabaggers in Congress.

    So, I still wish: Let’s give the South what they claim to want. Cut their benefits. Close their military bases. Kill their agricultural subsidies. Take away their Interstate highway funds. Without these things, most of the Southern states turn into “Somalia with cable tv”.

    You’d have Rand Paul reading from Mao’s little red book on the Senate floor by Labor Day.

  168. 168
    Brachiator says:

    @Southern Beale:

    You know, I just feel like this “cliff” thing is just more evidence of mass-scale institutional failure. Here are my thoughts. I kinda just feel like whatever at this point. The problems run deep and need to be solved and they won’t be solved in Washington.

    Based on 2008 IRS data, about 2.27 percent of tax filers had adjusted gross incomes between $200,000 and $500,000. Only about 1 percent have incomes greater than $500,000.

    By any measure, this haggling was over a sliver of taxpayers, but it clearly indicates for everyone except die-hard Fox News viewers, the degree to which the GOP worships the wealthy at the expense of all others.

  169. 169
    Groucho48 says:

    Every time Obama is dealing, some folks are absolutely convinced that he is going to eviscerate SS and Medicare. Then, the compromise is announced and that hasn’t happened. But, to these folks, that is just evidence that it will definitely happen next time. So, they keep beating on Obama. Next time comes and SS and Medicare remain untouched. Does this impress the Obama haters? No. Because this is yet more evidence that he will surely mess with them next time.

    In two months, both the House and the Senate will be more liberal. The House will continue to flounder and self-destruct. Republicans will be looking at a half a trillion cut in military spending if they don’t deal. They will already have caved once on tax increases and the Wrath of Grover was pretty impotent.

    Sounds like a good place for Obama and the country to be.

  170. 170
    mir13 says:

    It’s like fucking Groundhog Day every motherfucking time. And I want some more iced tea plz!

  171. 171
    Thymezone says:

    @kcr:

    Your false dichotomy is a false dichotomy. I never said Obama is the best president ever. He might be, but I won’t say so. For one thing, Lincoln. But anyway ……

    No, in the BJ context, my approach is usually something like this. In an exchange with a blog barfly — like me — and when the argument with the other barfly is, I Would Do President Better Than Obama, I have to choose. So far, no blog barfly has ever convinced me that he could do it better than Obama has done it. Not even when I am the barfly and have a beef with an Obama choice or move.

    We elected him, let him do his job as he sees fit. Just the fact that he is there and doing that, is victory for my side. By a wide margin. His being there keeps the hillbillies and the mass murdering neocons out of the White House. Keeps the religious scolds off the court. Keeps the insane right in check. That’s what I voted for. That’s what I got.

    $250k v $400k? The latter is the former, adjusted for inflation since Clinton was president. Big fucking whoop. Take the deal and move on. Good job, etc.

    What say ye?

  172. 172
    chopper says:

    @Scott P.:

    this is the end of just another round, assuming the plan actually passes the house. which it likely won’t.

    who won the round? obama, on every metric. but it wasn’t a KO. emoprogs were demanding that he not only win, he pummel the other guy so mercilessly that he breaks the dude’s spine and the guy never enters the ring again. so clearly O is the worst boxer in history.

  173. 173
    henqiguai says:

    @Groucho48 (#169):

    Republicans will be looking at a half a trillion cut in military spending if they don’t deal.

    And let’s not forget the extra kicker on this – significant Defense dollars are Southern states based. Lot’s more incentive for the <Confederate States> Representatives to think long and hard about any excessive hostage holding.

  174. 174
    chopper says:

    @Dr. Squid:

    never mind that the level we’re talking about, 250K, aint what it was when clinton established higher rates in ’93. 250K in ’93 dollars is 400K in 2012.

    so that 400K individual threshold in obama’s horrible deal isn’t really at all different from clinton’s tax rate.

  175. 175
    Yutsano says:

    @Groucho48:

    In two months, both the House and the Senate will be more liberal.

    Two days actually. Although two months is how long until the debt ceiling shenanigans kick in.

  176. 176
    Paul says:

    @Brachiator:

    Based on 2008 IRS data, about 2.27 percent of tax filers had adjusted gross incomes between $200,000 and $500,000. Only about 1 percent have incomes greater than $500,000. By any measure, this haggling was over a sliver of taxpayers, but it clearly indicates for everyone except die-hard Fox News viewers, the degree to which the GOP worships the wealthy at the expense of all others.

    It always floors me how many non-rich people are so in awe of the rich that every election they keep voting for the rights of the very rich. As in this case of not raising the taxes of folks earning more than $250k. Hasn’t poll after poll shown that at least 30-35% of all Americans are against raising those taxes? Yet, only 1% or so are rich enough to fall into this category.

    I wonder if these 30%-35% realize that the money they are implicitly giving the millionaires ultimately come out of their own pockets.

  177. 177

    @chopper:
    I took the liberty, because I didn’t believe you.

    But you’re right: A little under $400K.

  178. 178
    ruemara says:

    @Jason: You’re still fucking wrong. So shut up.

  179. 179
    Brachiator says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    RE: Well, nobody proposed removing the cap for Social Security.

    I know that. The question is, why?

    Because neither the president nor the Congress see a need to consult you on tax policy?

    And again, you clearly wrote that every income bracket should be paying into Medicare. They are already. If you are going to get incensed over supposed tax failures, you should be more accurate.

    More seriously, this battle was all about getting some extra revenue from the expiring Bush tax cuts. Since the Republicans control the House, they would never consider removing the cap on Social Security wages. Never. A Democrat could try to propose it just for giggles and to demonstrate his or her progressive bona fides, but the proposal would go nowhere.

    Also, if you want to deal with serious tax equity issues, you should be seeking to claw back the benefits of Roth IRAs. Currently, distributions from Roth IRAs are tax free. That’s a nicer deal than capital gains, and reduces federal revenues big time. And the assets of a Roth IRA can be passed on to heirs.

  180. 180
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jason: ha ha ha ha ha

  181. 181
    Pococurante says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    So, I still wish: Let’s give the South what they claim to want. Cut their benefits. Close their military bases. Kill their agricultural subsidies. Take away their Interstate highway funds. Without these things, most of the Southern states turn into “Somalia with cable tv”.

    Ayup. I say that as a Texan.

    But bear in mind Alaskans, a mostly red state, is also the ultimate socialist US state. Republicans have no problem with state socialism when it lines their pockets.

  182. 182
    Bruce S says:

    @jayjaybear:

    I’m sure David Brooks agrees. “Both sides…” etc etc

  183. 183
    chopper says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    i use the minnesota fed, whose calculator comes up with 402K, but it’s all about the same.

  184. 184
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Brachiator:

    you should be more accurate

    Ask a direct question, and this is what you are rewarded with.

    Now….you can go fuck, the fuck off, you self-righteous toady of condescension..

  185. 185
    Bruce S says:

    @mk3872:

    “Without this deal…the rich keep their low Bush tax rates”

    Uh – no. I wasn’t for going over the “cliff” (which it wasn’t) and leaving it at that, but you’ve got the facts wrong.

  186. 186
    xian says:

    @Jason: yeah, sucks that we got chained CPI in this deal, right? wait, what?

    same with jayackroyd and his paranoid oh noes it’s centrist 11th dimension chess wimperings.

    politics, how they fuck do they work?

  187. 187
    Suffern ACE says:

    Egads. My middle class bush tax break didn’t expire! No one raised my less than 250k taxes! Oh the humanity! This is Auschwitz for the new deal! If only Obama would have raised my taxes like he said he wouldn’t!

    #dumbassesoftheleft

  188. 188
    xian says:

    @Jason: well “people familiar with the talks” never lie, right? certainly they never spin things at all. there’s no kabuki going on, right?

  189. 189
    JWL says:

    While your at it, beg your representatives to ask Obama to reconsider his FISA double-cross of 4 1/2 years ago, too.

    It’s been 4 years since he took office. It’s about time everyone face the fact that the president is a Reagan republican.

  190. 190
    WaterGirl says:

    @magurakurin:

    I think it is hilarious how the usual suspects are so sure that they could have done better than Obama, Biden and Reid in this case. Maybe they could. If so, please, run for office. Get in there and do better. Maybe Obama sucks donkey balls compared to you. So, graduate from Columbia, go to Harvard Law, become president of the Law Review, get elected to the Illinois Senate, US Senate and then POTUS. Obama came from humble beginnings. If you folks are all such political geniuses, then why are you deny us your life saving skills?
    Get into the fucking game.

    What a lovely thing to read first thing in the morning of the new year. Well said!

  191. 191
    Brachiator says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    I swear to god that messaging matters.

    No. Governing matters. Obama won the message war when he got re-elected. And he still has to deal with an obstructionist GOP to get stuff done.

    As I noted before, when Clinton got a tax and budget bill passed in 1993, he did not get a single Republican vote. Not one.

    Since then, the GOP has consistently refused to back a Democratic president on tax and budget matters, while insisting that Democrsts fall in line when the GOP is in charge.

    Until and unless the Democrats can get a majority in the Congress, it is going to be tough sledding for the president. But the last thing that he has to be worried about is messaging. He’s more than got that covered.

  192. 192
    xian says:

    @kcr: no, those money people are on the phone to Republicans telling them to raise the fucking debt ceiling since the money was already spent.

    meanwhile, if there is ever a grand bargain, it allows medicare to negotiate with pharmacies, fixes reimbursement rates, puts more controls in place for medical inflation, etc.

    for SS we raise the cap, make tiny tweaks, protect the neediest. voila. problem solved.

    you will, of course, still find a cave in the lack of public option or some other new goalpost.

  193. 193
    Bruce S says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    There is no “ideal scenario”, but the argument against this was to actually go “off the cliff” and use that fact as greater leverage. I have no idea if this would have worked – but most of the smarter “pundits” I tend to agree with held this out as the option that gave the most leverage. We’ve got total Obama administration insiders like Jared Bernstein suggesting that this may not have been the best deal. So I wouldn’t crow about this one. It obviously sucks – given that we’re going to have another debt-ceiling go-round without the leverage that expiration of the Bush tax cuts gave Obama. And the crazy GOPers aren’t going to give Obama any props for compromise on what are now “The Obama Tax Cuts.”

    The notion that this might have been the best we could get isn’t crazy, but it’s not terribly compelling either. But anyone who asserts prima facia that this was a clear victory and “Firebaggers” who don’t like the deal are out to slime Obama because…uh…the economics writer for The New Republic, Paul Krugman and Jared Bernstein have a vested interest in attacking him IS crazy. Also crazy IMHO to assert that Obama is a “secret Republican” or some such. The fact is that the country’s spectrum of politics has shifted Right over several decades and any Dem President has to not only deal with that but reflect it. Otherwise he doesn’t become President. A lot of the discourse among usual suspects here is one-dimensional at best.

  194. 194
    Pococurante says:

    @Brachiator:

    Also, if you want to deal with serious tax equity issues, you should be seeking to claw back the benefits of Roth IRAs.

    Why? Aren’t these benefits available to all citizens? Given the collapse of pension systems doesn’t it make sense to increase incentives for long term savings?

    Personally I’d rather see IRAs completely unleashed with a cap on income around on the first 250k.

  195. 195
  196. 196
    mir13 says:

    @JWL: We’ll get right on that.

    What (the fuck) evs.

    Worst Hitler ever.

  197. 197
    xian says:

    @kcr: you ain’t gonna learn what you don’t want to know.

    here’s my prediction: if we ever get chained CPI, it is combined with minimum guaranteed benefits to protect those at the lower end and a raised cap to capture more revenue from the wealthiest.

    second prediction: you will still scream like a stuck pig and probably aren’t very good at math.

  198. 198
    xian says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): uh, that’s grand bargain stuff. nothing happened on entitlements, either way.

  199. 199
    Brachiator says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    RE: you should be more accurate
    Ask a direct question, and this is what you are rewarded with.

    Had this been the only thing I had written, you might have a point. But I didn’t, so you don’t.

    Most people, including Balloon Juicers, don’t know much about the details of taxation, so when people like you write something that is incorrect or sloppy, it can easily lead to inaccurate conclusions.

    I answered your question. You didn’t like the answer

    And so now, you want to sulk and insult. How typical.

  200. 200
    Pococurante says:

    @kcr:

    After today, what?

    The purpose of government is to benefit the citizenry.

    It’s not supposed to be a video game grudge match.

  201. 201
    Bruce S says:

    @Brachiator:

    “Obama won the message war when he got re-elected.”

    If you think the “message war” is just about getting elected or re-elected, you might as well just give the shit up to the GOP right now.

  202. 202
    LAC says:

    @WaterGirl: Amen to that, water girl! To me that is the perfect 2013 “fuck off, you fucking fucks” to the whiny bitchass left. Please stop acting like you speak for us

  203. 203
  204. 204
    Paul says:

    @JWL:

    It’s been 4 years since he took office. It’s about time everyone face the fact that the president is a Reagan republican.

    I swear; people on the far left are no different than people on the far right in terms of creating their own reality.

    The far left claims Obama is a Reagan Republican, while the far right claims Obama is Socialist, if not Marxist. Do these groups ever listen to themselves to see how outlandish they come across to “normal folks”?

    Reagan Republican? Really? Would Reagan have helped end DADT? Would Reagan have bothered to save GM? Would Reagan have used all his political capital to enact health care reform?

  205. 205
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Brachiator:

    Peddle your helpfulness where you can sell it like day-old bread.

    You are not just Master Cylinder for tax related questions, but fancy yourself the Grand Inquisitor of all things factual. I’m not the only one who has teeth-marks on the ankles, from your Jack Russell Terrier persona. Your burnsesq Lite has reached it’s limit.

  206. 206
    chopper says:

    @JWL:

    he stabbed us all in the black! back. i mean BACK. aw, shit.

  207. 207
    Bruce S says:

    @kcr:

    That’s the argument against this sucky deal – and frankly all I’ve heard to counter it is defensive bullshit about Obama and/or “it could have been worse.”

    Also it’s a damned fact that Obama has toyed with total crap like raising the Medicare eligibility age and chained CPI in jawboning with Boehner about Grand Bargains. There should be no fucking “Grand Bargain” and Obama is wrong to play that game. His “messaging” on this entire issue has sucked from Day One, because he’s played into the hands of the phony “Deficit Hawks.” On actual policy passed, he’s been pretty decent – because ACA has the potential to fix the only fiscal problem that matters over the long term, which is health care costs. But even suggesting that Social Security benefits might have to be cut, when fuckers like Mitt Romney aren’t paying the same rate on their income that “average income” folks such as myself pay is noxious and I resent it if it comes from Obama’s direction or some CEO fuck like Pete Peterson. It’s just wrong – and the President should be forthright about that basic fact.

  208. 208
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @xian: absolutely agree on the circumstances by which anything like chained CPI will happen. And I further stipulate that even the prospect of a greater minimum benefit for the poorest, oldest people, in other words an immediate tangible improvement in their everyday lives, will not stop the dedicated complainers from carrying on about ice floes and cat food.

  209. 209
    chopper says:

    @Paul:

    i have no doubts that you’re part of the conspiracy as well. how much are they paying you?

  210. 210
    MattR says:

    @White Trash Liberal:

    The debt limit and sequestration is unnecessary once the new measures are scored and revealed to reduce the deficit.

    Scoring is complete but the results are not quite what you predicted.

    The net effect of the tax and budgetary provisions will be to increase the deficit by $3.97 trillion between 2013 and 2022 relative to current law, CBO found.

  211. 211
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bruce S: problem is, all of the bellyaching about tax rates not going up in just the right way is actually an argument about the deficit, not an argument about stimulating the economy or any other actual progressive agenda item. Brian Beutler at TPM was getting all mixed up about that when critiquing the emerging deal. He was suggesting that it wasn’t a very good deficit reduction deal. Well, wait a minute, isn’t the much larger left-leaning argument that concern about the deficit is almost always overblown or misdirected in the first place?

    And, frankly, I don’t think there has been any admission by Obama that SS benefits have to, need to, or could be cut, because I’m fairly certain all SS proposals involving chained CPI also had other elements that were, to coin a phrase, redistributive. There was never a prospect that benefits would be cut, or slowed in growth, across the board for everyone. If anyone’s benefits would come out lower, it would affect the higher end of the scale, not the lower end. And going balls to the wall to protect publicly funded retirement benefits for people who _don’t_ rely on them seems like a rather odd strategy for leftier-than-left progressives to embrace — but they do, every time. If Chained CPI with sweeteners is a way to take the SS benefits of the 1% and put them in the pockets of the other 99%, why shouldn’t we be for that?

  212. 212
    Maude says:

    @ruemara:
    178.
    Oh, I do like you.
    Cheered me right up.

  213. 213
    Bruce S says:

    @xian:

    Why the fuck would anyone want to promote Chained CPI as some way of “saving” Social Security. That’s bullshit. Even with a fix for the lowest earners. That doesn’t mean that Social Security shouldn’t have a new CPI – one which is figured for the expenses of the elderly – but chained CPI is an idiotic proposal. Even with a “fix” it fucks middle-income SS dependents. It’s beyond me why anyone would defend this bullshit. As long as people who make more than $110,000 a year aren’t paying full SS tax rates, fix that first. Then let’s talk about the CPI. It’s beyond stupid to put anything else on the table regarding SS. It plays totally into a narrative ginned up by plutocrats like Pete Peterson.

    That’s the fucking “math.”

  214. 214
    Brachiator says:

    @Bruce S:

    There is no “ideal scenario”, but the argument against this was to actually go “off the cliff” and use that fact as greater leverage. I have no idea if this would have worked – but most of the smarter “pundits” I tend to agree with held this out as the option that gave the most leverage

    Greater leverage for what? And why would the Republicans magically become more pliable? They still want to use the debt ceiling as a bargaining wedge even though this caused some damage to the economy the last time around.

    Very few of the smarter pundits I read had a grasp of all that needed to be decided here. Hell, I even saw a congressman get the alternative minimum tax wrong in a tv interview. And he is supposed to know this stuff.

    But here is one area where the clock was ticking. The IRS commissioner warned that if something wasn’t settled soon, up to 28 million taxpayers would not be able to file their 2012 tax returns until March, maybe later. This problem could have been uncoupled from other fiscal cliff issues, but the GOP deliberately kept it hostage. Few pundits had anything to say about this.

    Similarly, the president had to decide whether to fight for the unemployment benefits extension. Yes, these payments could possibly have been made retroactive, but how many of the unemployed might have fallen off their own personal fiscal cliff by then? And it might be reasonable to suggest that these people could be sacrificed so that the president get additional leverage, but that is an extremely cold political calculation, and one that is very easy for pundits to make, since they never have to be held accountable for their opinions.

  215. 215
    Paul says:

    @Brachiator:

    I enjoy your postings. You are a hell of a lot more qualified to talk about this than the utterly useless pundits on TV.

  216. 216
    Bruce S says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Read my comment above. Chained CPI is coming from outer-space as a solution to any solvency issues of SS. It’s a benefit cut – one way or the other. And frankly, anything that makes SS seem more like some welfare program than something that a majority of REPUBLICANS don’t want to cut when they are asked about it point blank by pollsters, is a bad idea. Period.

    Also, I didn’t read TPM on this – I’m talking about folks like Chris Hayes, Jared Bernstein, Noam Sheiber, and yes, the dreaded, hateful Paul Krugman (who is trying to line his pockets by criticizing Obama’s economic stragegies according to one nutcase here who is apparently Stuck on total stupid.)

  217. 217
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    problem is, all of the bellyaching about tax rates not going up in just the right way is actually an argument about the deficit, not an argument about stimulating the economy or any other actual progressive agenda item.

    Bullshit. This is unmitigated bullshit.
    The question of tax rates is of course about revenue and stimulus and how to stabilize and reinforce New Deal programs.

  218. 218
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Blow it out your ass, firebagger. You smarmy piece of prissy shit. No one cares about your duplicitous bloviating crap, self absorbed passive aggressive horseshit and prog hero worship. Get back to washing Krugman’s nuts, something you do best. Then tell us why you aren’t a firebagger, but are a real Obama supporter, amongst all those fake Obots like Stuck. Only to pen some pure firebagger crap on this thread. You are a clown, but a nasty mouth clown. Your arguments are steeped in polemic dismissal of basic fact to make false narrative, just like your prog heroes.

  219. 219
    chopper says:

    @Brachiator:

    besides, even ignoring the issues that would hit middle class-to-poor and unemployed people if we go over the cliff, while it would be possible to push through a tax cut for sub-250K or 400K households in the aftermath of the ‘cliff’, what about all the other things that need fixing? does anyone actually think that legislating all those things piecemeal will work with the house we have? fuck no, every single one of those issues would get stalled or held hostage, except maybe tax cuts.

    people have this insane idea that going over the cliff would make any democratic president’s job easier in getting all the stuff on the wish list. there is no fucking way that that idea comports with reality.

  220. 220
    Pococurante says:

    @Paul:

    Reagan Republican? Really? Would Reagan have helped end DADT? Would Reagan have bothered to save GM? Would Reagan have used all his political capital to enact health care reform?

    Agreed.

    OTOH I think it is a fair argument that Obama has much in common with the pre-1980 George H. W. Bush. And to think my biggest whine about that Bush was that he was a resume hopper. I miss the days when I thought opportunism was a politician’s worst flaw.

  221. 221
    Bruce S says:

    @Brachiator:

    So what is your big idea – given that you’re more insightful and informed than all of the progressive pundits – for dealing with the GOP over the debt ceiling in isolation from ANY LEVERAGE AT ALL. (I admit to not being smarter than the pundits I admire, nor am I smarter than Obama. I AM worried about the next act.)

    I have friends who were terrified about the unemployment ending, but dealing with the fallout of a week or two of “fiscal cliff” might have been no worse than what the GOP is going to try to bring on in two months. The can was mainly kicked down the road – and frankly they are going to extract as much pain as possible. From Obama and from the country. I don’t see Obama with even a knife at the next gunfight. This thing isn’t over. That’s the problem. And – even assuming your great insights – all I see is that now you’ve got nuthin’. I don’t delight in pointing this out – partly because I genuinely like and respect Obama – but more because I care about the politics over the long term. Defending the President at every turn of his decision-making isn’t a strategy, it isn’t “analysis” and it isn’t even helpful to him, frankly. Although I’m not a fan, the truth is that even Daily Kos is doing more to bolster Obama’s bargaining positions than the “best of all possible worlds” hacks I read here.

  222. 222
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Brachiator:

    The IRS commissioner warned that if something wasn’t settled soon, up to 28 million taxpayers would not be able to file their 2012 tax returns until March…

    If I don’t file until March, both kids don’t do second semester – regardless of expiry or non-expiry of the tuition tax credit and the deduction for interest paid on tuition loans.

    And the heating-oil guy goes unpaid till then — if he lets me.

  223. 223
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper:

    people have this insane idea that going over the cliff would make any democratic president’s job easier in getting all the stuff on the wish list. there is no fucking way that that idea comports with reality.

    One number of this thinking is that there are 2 more D Senators and a number more D Congresspersons. Nutters like Allen West and Joe Walsh, et al are gone.
    If those changes aren’t something that can be worked with then what is the point?

  224. 224
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Read my comment above. Chained CPI is coming from outer-space as a solution to any solvency issues of SS.

    No one I know is making any such claim, and any consideration given by Obama on the matter, is simply the matter of the other side wanting it considered. It is a lie that chained CPI has to be a cut for the most vulnerable seniors. It can be constructed to be a progressive element favoring lower income seniors and having wealthy ones pay more. It is the same with means testing, whether a good idea or not, it IS a progressive change. No one is saying any of these things are going to make any of these programs solvent, and Obama et al has made it clear that for any such consideration would have to be in the presence of all sorts of revenue generating changes with more taxes on the wealthy. Such as removing the FISA cap.

  225. 225
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    Boohoo.

    Take a fucking valium.

  226. 226
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    a real Obama supporter,

    Ha! You sound like an enforcer for Jim Jones. Leo Ryan’s ghost agrees.

  227. 227
    chopper says:

    @Corner Stone:

    a few more dems in the senate doesn’t mean the filibuster goes away. likewise, the GOP still has the house.

    congress isn’t going to start having votes on obama’s judicial nominees (that have been in limbo for years), or pass a farm bill, or pass a budget, just because the house has a few more dems in it.

    what’s the point? well, eventually adding more and more dems in the house creates a majority. maybe fixing the filibuster in the senate will help, or adding more dems to get to 60.

    that’s about it.

  228. 228
    Brachiator says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    You are not just Master Cylinder for tax related questions

    Yeah, I am. I have to teach this stuff. And I have to get it right.

    You, not so much.

    @Bruce S:

    RE: “Obama won the message war when he got re-elected.”

    If you think the “message war” is just about getting elected or re-elected, you might as well just give the shit up to the GOP right now.

    No, I said that the message war was bullshit, a tiresome evasion made up by those who are perpetually unhappy about Obama and the Democrats.

    Obama has to govern, and he has to navigate around GOP obstructionism to do so. There ain’t no magic message that will make this easier. And note that the GOP has been fighting tooth and nail over the Bush tax cuts even though every freaking opinion poll I’ve seen mentioned indicate that the people are OK with the idea of raising the tax rates on the wealthy.

    On the other hand, the wingnut core is immune to reality and shrug off any message, since their entire existence is predicated on fear of a black president.

  229. 229
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Take a fucking valium.

    No, somebody has to stand up to blustering bullies like you weaving dishonest memes.

  230. 230
    Bruce S says:

    Brachiator:

    Jared Bernstein has made this argument, from his position at CPBB, but he also said in essentially the same breath that chained CPI wasn’t a good index for elderly and that there was another that was still considered experimental that was the appropriate index for SS.

    Also, if this isn’t a way of cutting SS benefits and turning it more into a welfare style program by isolating the folks at the bottom, why the hell are the GOPers pushing it? My guess it’s not because they’re so good at math. It’s getting the camel’s nose in the tent of cutting SS benefits. There’s no other possible explanation, given what we know about the GOP. And they want to force Obama or some other Dem to be the one to do it, because a large segment of their base – ironically – wants hands off of SS and Medicare.

  231. 231
    General Stuck says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    And you sound like the creepy moron that you are.

  232. 232
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck:

    It is the same with means testing, whether a good idea or not, it IS a progressive change.

    Means testing is the death of Social Security. It is not a change for the better.

  233. 233
    CaseyL says:

    If I understand the CBO’s $3.97 trillion deficit correctly, it’s over a 10-year spread, which works out to increasing the yearly deficit by $400B. I don’t understand how they got that number.

    Does anyone know what the score was if there was no deal, all the Bush tax cuts expired, and sequestration went through?

    Did raising the tax cut cap from $250K to $400-$450K make that much difference?

    Or was it the delay and possible rescission of the sequestration?

  234. 234
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Brachiator:

    Holy Shit. Who do you teach? I can see it now….’Well, that’s clearly, not the same chocolate you offered me yesterday” Student; ” I know, you ate that one” You; “There, you see?”

  235. 235
    Corner Stone says:

    @chopper: The makeup of the House is crucial in ongoing negotiations. Whether Boehner has 50 TP members or 40 could be all the difference in his calcs.

  236. 236
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @General Stuck:

    Ouch…..that was one of your best *chuckle*

  237. 237
    Baud says:

    @CaseyL:

    I believe it’s a comparison to what would have happened if there were no deal at all.

  238. 238
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    The problem you’re having isn’t “dishonesty” it’s that I quoted some crazy shit you said. And it makes you foam at the mouth and shout profanities. Can’t deal with being embarrassed by your own insane defamatory bullshit. Probably best you take something to calm yourself down.

  239. 239
    Maude says:

    @Corner Stone:
    SS would be gone one day. They could means test it to zero.

  240. 240
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    These programs are man made and therefore must by managed and maintained for stability and solvency into the future. This crap about them being some kind of liberal ark of the covenant to never be touched and only revere from afar is nonsense.

    That doesn’t mean these particular changes are needed now. But it does mean it is okay to talk about them, and even consider the ones that are progressive in nature, like means testing and different constructs of determining cost of living adjustments.

    Is it really a benefit cut if there are built in protections to where lower income seniors would not be harmed, and could even have higher colas under a different CPI, while more wealthy seniors paid some more. Medicare is in trouble, and it is going to need more sustainable funding fairly soon. Making any change radioactive politically is not going to fix the problem. It will have to be a comprehensive fix with more taxes and minor structural changes as possible compromises for dems getting more tax revenue, such as the fisa cap. That is just how things work in a democracy, and you try to give up the least offensive things to the opposition, to get what you want.

  241. 241
    liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The rotating hostage that is UI is a farce. We keep agreeing to extend it for little chunks while giving up long term agreement on the other side.

    Exactly.

  242. 242
    liberal says:

    @Thymezone:

    $250k v $400k? The latter is the former, adjusted for inflation since Clinton was president.

    Care to show us the math on that?

  243. 243
    MattR says:

    @CaseyL: The vast majority of the decifict increase comes from decreasing revenue ($3.63 trillion). I am kinda assuming that is compared to a baseline where no deal went through and the Bush tax cuts expired.

    @liberal: 400K is about right if you pick the first year of the Clinton presidency for the comparison. If you compare with when Clinton left office, $250K is worth about $333K now.

  244. 244
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    The problem you’re having isn’t “dishonesty” it’s that I quoted some crazy shit you said. And it makes you foam at the mouth and shout profanities. Can’t deal with being embarrassed by your own insane defamatory bullshit. Probably best you take something to calm yourself down

    Somebody ought to study you for the planetary sized projection you emit as a matter of course. fire with fire. and you won’t bully me.

  245. 245
    Bruce S says:

    If you want to consider why a benefit cut, which is what chained CPI in fact is over time, linked to a form of means testing (i.e. “protecting the most vulnerable”) is such a bad idea to introduce into the SS system, consider how the right has promoted charter schools and what it’s led to. It was just an experiment to introduce competition into the public school system, “choice”, etc. (I have been a supporter of charter schools, although limited, so I’m not coming at this as some purist.) Once they got charter schools into the public school systems, they expanded to the point where in parts of my city there are more charter schools than regular public schools and EVERYONE who knows the school system knows that the charter schools have ways of selecting kids, even beyond the obvious self-selection. It’s at a point where the charters are undermining the system and taking dollars from schools that can’t be as selective as charters. It also undermines the teaches union, which as problematic as many teachers unions are, isn’t a good thing over the long term. So the Right has very long-term strategic ways of inserting their values into existing programs – like SS or public schools. As crazy as the “base” happens to be, they have some very cold, long-game policy people forging their proposals. Means-testing – even marginally – SS is one of those proposals linked to a long-term goal of undermining and ultimately privatizing Social Security. Don’t underestimate these fuckers.

  246. 246
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    nobody gives a shit. Do yourself a favor and either post something that isn’t just more throwing garbage because you’re an emotional wreck with a trash mouth, or take a nap.

  247. 247
    Brachiator says:

    @Bruce S:

    So what is your big idea – given that you’re more insightful and informed than all of the progressive pundits – for dealing with the GOP over the debt ceiling in isolation from ANY LEVERAGE AT ALL. (I admit to not being smarter than the pundits I admire, nor am I smarter than Obama. I AM worried about the next act.)

    Here’s the thing. The pundits simply assert that Obama would have more leverage. This is called speculation. This is very easy for pundits to do from their fairy kingdoms of opinion.

    And if the House goes along with the Senate deal, then it will not matter at all for anyone to pontificate over what Obama should have done.

    For the record, I wrote in Balloon Juice that Obama should have let the Bush tax cuts expire the first time that he was able to do so. But that’s easy for me to say, because I don’t really get to make those decisions. But looking back, I cannot say that I could guarantee that that would have been the right decision, that it would not have caused any damage. And some of the middle class and lower income tax breaks would still be up for consideration now, as would debt ceiling and spending issues.

    And you would still have the same obstructionist GOP. Maybe even an angrier one.

    And you would still have clueless pundits insisting that they know exactly what the president should do.

    BTW, I don’t know yet whether an extension of the Mortgage Relief Act was part of the deal. It is set to expire on December 31. Without this break, many homeowners caught up in foreclosures have to include cancelled debt as taxable income. Again, I don’t know of very many of the wise pundits that ever bothered to mention this, or even knew that it was an issue.

    @Paul:

    I enjoy your postings. You are a hell of a lot more qualified to talk about this than the utterly useless pundits on tv.

    Thanks much.

  248. 248
    xian says:

    @FlipYrWhig: “He was suggesting that it wasn’t a very good deficit reduction deal. Well, wait a minute, isn’t the much larger left-leaning argument that concern about the deficit is almost always overblown or misdirected in the first place?”

    Exactly. The fiscal cliff was a *great* deficit reduction deal. The whole negotiation now was to avoid taking that medicine. It was the opposite of a deficit reduction deal. It was a postponement of deficit reduction deal. Perfect scenario for sloppy pundits to have it both way and bash Obama from left or right as convenient, sometimes in the same paragraph.

  249. 249
    General Stuck says:

    Means testing and other progressive changes to medicare or SS would not change the basic fact that everyone, EVERYONE, will still pay into it the way they are now, as an government insurance program, and not view it as some kind of welfare program. It won’t matter a bit if more wealthy seniors pay a little more medicare premium, or whatever. These programs are deeply woven into the American quilt of daily life. The nutters will get no where claiming they are welfare simply because the rich pay a little more. That is the very definition of progressivism.

  250. 250
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    In a vacuum I’d have to guess you teach H&R Block franchisees.

  251. 251
    Mino says:

    Raise the fucking minimum wage to where it should be. And see what happens to the reserves.

  252. 252
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    Stuck – thanks for actually reverting to substance. I actually thought the previous comment was “Bracchiator” because it made sense.

    Anyway, “Medicare” isn’t in trouble. That’s a lie. Medicare is the most cost-effective health insurance in the USofA. The health care system is in trouble, and ACA lays out a strategy and potential for getting the system out of trouble. But that’s the issue – NOT Medicare. There’s no way to “save” Medicare without fixing the larger system. Medicare and the totally socialized VA hospitals are the only two points of light in the system. It’s crazy to talk about Medicare as needing a “fix” in isolation from the US’ systemic health care issues. And means testing Social Security is an awful idea. The system’s popularity – even among GOP wingnuts of a certain age – is based on it’s universality. Let’s keep it that way. Pete Peterson et. al. understand that universality is their enemy when it comes to trashing Social Security. Which is why incrementalist shit like “means testing” is their Trojan Horse to fuck the entire system over a generation.

  253. 253
    xian says:

    @Bruce S: “Even with a ‘fix’ it fucks middle-income SS dependents”

    Depends on the fix, frothy.

  254. 254
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    nobody gives a shit. Do yourself a favor and either post something that isn’t just more throwing garbage because you’re an emotional wreck with a trash mouth, or take a nap.

    LOL, so you got nothin’. Just throwin’ the garbage back to its source. Bully boy.

  255. 255
    agrippa says:

    @Joel:

    Joel, agreed on all points.

    This is about getting results.

  256. 256
    Bruce S says:

    @Brachiator:

    “This is called speculation.”

    Uh…yeah. And of course it’s just as speculative to say that Obama did the best possible thing. Some folks here seem to assume that is the right answer every time when it comes to Obama. Because, you know, he’s the actual President and…well…the track record of Presidents – even the ones we tend to like – always getting it right from the vantage point of the Oval Office (which has a completely different unobstructed view of the world and the public interest than, say, pundit’s ivory towers) is so consistent.

    The question is:

    What’s Obama’s leverage next time around, with no debt ceiling deal included in this round?

  257. 257
    Brachiator says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    Holy Shit. Who do you teach?

    Tax professionals, CPAs, you know, nobody who really has to know anything about individual income tax. I also have to write the specs for a tax estimator program, and do a few other things here and there. Like proof the tax ed courses that some tax preparers need for certification and licensing.

    The fun thing is that I, and a lot of other people like me, are going to have to re-write our tax law update courses when and if a final deal is reached.

    So, in the real world, I have to get it right for people who have to get this shit right for their tax clients. And so it really makes it fun when I read your stuff.

    This is not to say that I am infallible. But close enough, as far as you are concerned.

  258. 258
    xian says:

    @Bruce S: his leverage is a government shutdown caused by Republican insanity.

    The permanent debt ceiling fix idea was a way of pulling the negotiation to the left. That doesn’t mean it was needed.

    It’s funny: when Obama started too close to the middle, emoprogs pointed out that he was a terrible negotiator (I tended to agree then).

    When he starts further to the left, asking for stuff he is naturally going to have to give on, guess what? emoprogs claim he is a terrible negotatior.

    Way to have it both ways, purity trolls.

  259. 259
    Jeremy says:

    @Paul: I know it’s funny. DW nominate scores which grade politicians show that Obama is to the left of moderate republicans of the 80’s and 90’s and a little to the left of 90’s Democrats. Nate Silver even wrote an article stating that Obama is a typical Democrat between the most liberal and most conservative members of the Democratic party.

    Reagan was for de-regulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, against a universal health care program, reducing government, Obama has created new regulations for green house gases, created more regulations for the financial industry and the creating of the first Consumer financial protection agency, Student loan reform taking away billions from the banks, equal pay for equal work, fighting Doma and getting rid of DADT. I can go on and on but like Paul said Obama is no Reagan republican.

  260. 260
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    Dude – either deny that I got your crackpot comment about Krugman wrong, or shut the fuck up. Do yourself a favor. As for bullying, fuck off. You’re throwing a fit because I made an entirely accurate representation of some utterly asinine comment of yours. Do you really think that shouting at me is anything other than proof that you’re a fucking ass much of the time.

    Take your insane “Firebagger” hysterics and shove them up your ass. Leave them there. You’d be doing yourself a favor.

  261. 261
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Brachiator:

    This is not to say that I am infallible. But close enough

    Holy Jesus; Unchained.

  262. 262
    Corner Stone says:

    @xian: Whatever you say, troll. Now go fuck off. Troll.

  263. 263
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    I was talking about the facts of insolvency for medicare, not the great program it is for health insurance.
    What a silly argument. Chicken and egg nonsense. Of course the overall problem is the overall health care system that needs to be fixed to lower costs. But until then, it wouldn’t hurt to shake loose some more funding going directly to medicare via the FICA tax. And you will have to bargain with the republicans to get that, when the day of insolvency nears with medicare. Maybe the ACA will fix everything by then, and unicorns will roam the earth, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do maintenance on the new deal programs, as well.

    Oh, and you are correct about my being fed up and getting nuts dealing with moronic clowns on this blog, such as yourself and yer fuck buddies corner stone and Ben Franklin, amongst others. So how about a truce for now. You don’t trash talk me, and I;ll do the same.

  264. 264
    Bruce S says:

    @xian:

    The shutdown is the best answer I’ve seen in this discussion so far (a lot of it is just namecalling and bullshit.)

    But if the main reason NOT to go over the “cliff” in this round of negotiations was to spare folks who need unemployment benefits, etc., a shutdown runs the same risk. So I don’t see the advantage of a shutdown in two months, after this game of “cliff” chicken.

    I honestly don’t know the answer, but my inclination is to believe that going over the “cliff” would have given Obama the strongest position. The truth is we don’t know for sure if this deal can get through the House, so it all may be moot. But props for at least coming up with a response that makes some sense.

  265. 265
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Dude – either deny that I got your crackpot comment about Krugman wrong, or shut the fuck up.

    Dude, you haven’t gotten anything right yet in this discussion. It is all warmed over leftist dogma drek, and fuck Krugman and his firebagging ways. And fuck you. also too.

  266. 266
    Jeremy says:

    @Jeremy: Also The Affordable care act is a large tax on the wealthy to finance healthcare for those in the middle class and below. A fairly large re-distribution of wealth.

    Also when calling someone a real liberal or real conservative. Remember that Bush supported a few Democratic ideas like the creation of a Medicare part D program, and greater federal involvement in education. Both of those things are not supported by conservatives but just because Bush supported it doesn’t make him a Democrat.

  267. 267
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    (a lot of it is just namecalling and bullshit.

    Do you have any self awareness at all? even a shred of it? Are you a psychopath with internet?

  268. 268
    Brachiator says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    In a vacuum I’d have to guess you teach H&R Block franchisees.

    Was this directed at me?

    Back when I was a tax pup, I worked part time for Block. Had the third highest accuracy rate of all preparers in the Los Angeles market. And all Block returns were reviewed by a checker who would kick it back if there were errors. Some Block preparers would also moonlight for CPAs. The CPA would sign the return and charge big bucks for it, but never touched it or had a clue what was in it.

    I still know a lot of CPAs who do good audit and corporate work, but who don’t know squat about individual taxation. And when they were at their peak, Block did more and more accurate individual returns than a lot of CPA shops.

    If you want to talk about enrolled agents, well that’s a different matter.

    So, if you intended a jibe, you gotta do much better.

  269. 269
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    But the “facts of insolvency” for Medicare aren’t about Medicare. They’re about a health care system that has been on track to eat into our GDP at an unsustainable level, whether the money is coming through government or funneled through private insurers who are a much bigger problem. Which is why the ACA holds out hope and potential. Unless you make this clear any and every time this issue comes up, you’re in effect not helping the conversation move beyond the crap that gets fed to people on Morning Joe. I know people like to disparage “messaging” but certain issues tend to get tangled in the conventional wisdom about “entitlements” and “deficits” which is mostly just plain wrong. And it’s wrong for a reason. The Right wants people to talk about this stuff in ways that play into their long-term goal of gutting the “entitlement” programs pioneered by FDR, LBJ and now Obama.

  270. 270
    chopper says:

    @MattR:

    use 1993, which is when clinton’s tax rates went into effect, which are the rates we’d be returning to going over the cliff.

  271. 271
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    Deny that you made the insane clam that Krugman criticizes Obama because it increases his “clicks” and he’s in it for the bucks. You fucking said it, and it’s an indication of how shallow, hysterical, emotionally-driven and just plain butt-fuck obnoxious your entire LITTLE game is here when you can’t deal with criticism or pushback.

    Your half-assed, utterly simplistic and counter-productive “Medicare is in trouble” comment was genius by comparison.

  272. 272
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Brachiator:

    It was a jibe. “I was the ‘best danged H&R Block tax guy on the Planet’ is self-parody; one that I will savor for some time.

    There is some credit for being the ‘biggest asshole’, but it’s not without some jibe.

  273. 273
    Bruce S says:

    “Maybe the ACA will fix everything by then, and unicorns will roam the earth…”

    Actually, Stuck, I have more faith in Obama’s health care strategy than you do. To compare the potential of the ACA in controlling health care costs, which is essential whether the payments are coming via Medicare, Medicaid or private insurers, to “unicorns roaming the earth” must be some Firebagger – or maybe Tea Party – bullshit you read on Jane Hamsher’s website. I have no idea. But the ACA is a very serious step toward cost control. Without that, there’s no way for Medicare to be “saved” in a vaccuum.

    I’m beginning to think you’re just here to cause confusion and derail intelligent discussion. Perhaps you’re being paid by the Koch brothers. And your obnoxious portrayal of an “Obama supporter” is cleverly designed to make Obama supporters look like nutcases.

  274. 274
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Deny that you made the insane clam that Krugman criticizes Obama because it increases his “clicks” and he’s in it for the bucks

    Duh. Yes I said it because it is true. Krugman has a blog on the NYT’s that like most newspapers operate for profit. Krugman works for them and part of his success as a blogger is attracting readers to ‘click’ on his blog. It shouldn’t be a secret that when he makes a post with the title “Conceder In Chief?”, he is fishing for morons like you and corner stone and the rest of the swamp critters we call the nutroots, to come read the latest Obama caved nonsense.

    As for personal profit, I don’t know what the Times is paying him, if anything, but his blogging is at some point a business venture via the new frontier of the internet. You some kind of communist, or what?

  275. 275
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    Actually, Stuck, I have more faith in Obama’s health care strategy than you do.

    teehee. I forget you are the real Obot around here, versus all the poseurs like moi’

  276. 276
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: if you then turn the discussion to stimulus, it is. But that has barely at all happened in any of these discussions.

  277. 277
    General Stuck says:

    I’m beginning to think you’re just here to cause confusion and derail intelligent discussion. Perhaps you’re being paid by the Koch brothers. And your obnoxious portrayal of an “Obama supporter” is cleverly designed to make Obama supporters look like nutcases.

    Put your hands up and step away from the bong

  278. 278
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    That’s totally fucking stupid. What a douche characterization. It’s childish at best. Some wingnut could have made the same argument about Krugman when he was dumping shit on Bush, and frankly given that he’s at the Times, it would have made a bit more sense. The Times isn’t exactly the go-to site for Obama haters, and real Obama-haters also hate Krugman. In fact, Krugman’s periodic stridency against Obama annoys many among Krugman’s own “base” readership, including me. But at least you’re acknowledging that I wasn’t mischaracterizing the “substance” of your attack.

  279. 279
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @Bruce S:

    ‘Whack-a-mole’ becomes a pyrrhic victory.

  280. 280
    Pococurante says:

    @Bruce S:

    … Krugman criticizes Obama because…

    Whatever. Krugman is worth listening to on economics. He is a purity troll when it comes to politics. “Perfect is the enemy of Good” and all that.

  281. 281
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    But at least you’re acknowledging that I wasn’t mischaracterizing the “substance” of your attack.

    You are one crazy sumbitch. You totally mis interpreted my comment that I did not say “for bucks”. I said Krugman blogs for profit, and he does. So does Ezra Klein and hundreds of others. Their employers expect a readership and “clicks” are the coin of the internet realm. You just punked your stupid self. Now take a chill pill and take a much needed nap. You seem rather emotional.

  282. 282
    Thymezone says:

    @liberal:

    Christ, does anyone around here have a brain??

    “$250,000.00 in 1994 had the same buying power as $386,954.73 in 2012. Annual inflation over this period was 2.46%.”

    Click this linky thing for more

  283. 283
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bruce S: This is a fine conceptual defense of the way SS is currently set up, and why it would be a bad idea to tinker with it, but it has jack and squat to do with whether changing the structure and funding of the program is _progressive_ or not. It could be more like “welfare” and thus more politically volatile AND AT THE SAME TIME more progressive insofar as it gives more money to poor people who badly need it. The way it’s designed now, it has overwhelming political support because it doesn’t seem like a handout/giveaway. True. Because it’s based on your lifelong income, it’s also designed so that people who did well their whole lives end up receiving better benefits than people who didn’t. By its very nature, that’s the _opposite_ of progressive.

    Chained CPI in isolation seems like a way to obfuscate what is ultimately fewer benefits for everyone. True! But it doesn’t have to be something done in isolation. IMHO if you all at once raised the earning cap, raised the benefit floor, and slowed the rate of growth with some kind of retired-people-cost-of-living-adjustment, you could easily end up with a _more progressive_ public retirement program. Now, here’s the risk: doing that would make a public retirement program that was _also_ less politically popular, because it was “welfare”-like. Would that upside/downside balance be worth it, for some definition of “worth” and “it”? It would at least be debatable.

  284. 284
    Corner Stone says:

    @Pococurante:

    Krugman is worth listening to on economics. He is a purity troll when it comes to politics. “Perfect is the enemy of Good” and all that.

    His politics are informed by his policies. So if you can’t understand his perspective on politics then you have no business saying he’s worth listening to on economics.
    I’m tired of a bunch of chumps prefacing every criticism of Krugman with what a genius he is on economics.
    Just bash the man if you’re going to bash him.

  285. 285
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Pococurante: I’ve said this plenty of times before, but I still think this tendency in Krugman stems from his belief in the notion that better ideas ultimately prevail, and all you have to do is to make your case and show your work and the other guy says, “Oh, jeez, it’s all so simple now that you showed me, thanks!” He doesn’t have enough awareness that some people — a LOT of people — will refuse to be persuaded even by correctness and logic. So his political analysis often ends up veering into “Obama didn’t make his case,” because he’s committed to the idea that when you’re right there’s always a way to make your case.

  286. 286
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    How are chained CPI and Means-testing related? Two sides of the same coin?

    Currently we have a defined benefit retirement system within SS. Is the equivalent of changing to a defined-conribution system?

    I am trying to wrap my head around this.

  287. 287
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): I probably wasn’t clear. They aren’t by nature related, but you could relate them. And you might want to do that if your goal was to use some actuarial finesse to slow the rate of growth in retirement benefits for those who were high earners while they were working. So it would be a way to be somewhat quietly redistributive with SS in a way that does not now happen.

    That said, I don’t know very many people who think that the big problem with SS is that the benefits are just too generous.

  288. 288
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    But the argument against means-testing is that you must pay the requisitely higher benefit to the higher contributions. I say they can package it any way they wish, so this is BS.

    Again…as to defined benefit?

  289. 289
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): I may be getting out of my depth, but IMHO doing a lower COLA/CPI adjustment _with_ this kind of minimum/maximum tweak would be a sort of backdoor means-testing, because richer people’s benefits would tick up more slowly, while poorer people’s would rise quickly at first and then tick up in parallel with those or rich people. So the benefits the richer people _would have_ gotten with the current regime of adjustments would be, essentially, redirected into the stream of benefits poorer people would get instead with the new ones. You could do much the same thing by just capping benefits at the upper end, but that would be (I assume) much harder to accomplish politically, so setting a shallower curve of increase gets you most of the way there without the same political downside.

    It seems clearer in my mind than it looks on the screen. I should figure out why that is.

  290. 290
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Thanks.

    just capping benefits at the upper end,

    This is the reason I keep hearing means-testing won’t work. It creates class warfare between the highest income and the merely well-off. This sounds like total subterfuge to me, like when you vote on a proposition which has been written so that a Yes means No.

    The wealthiest folks have private pension plans aplenty. They don’t need SS, and thusly, should it remain.

  291. 291
    priscianusjr says:

    @mk3872:

    If “everybody’s taxes go up”, then how can “the rich keep their low Bush tax rates”? That’s a contradiction.

    Actually the first is true, the second is false.

  292. 292
    General Stuck says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin):

    This is the reason I keep hearing means-testing won’t work. It creates class warfare between the highest income and the merely well-off. This sounds like total subterfuge to me, like when you vote on a proposition which has been written so that a Yes means No.

    Means testing medicare is not the same as everyone paying on a ‘sliding scale’. That could be demagogued as a welfare system, over time. What Durbin and folks like me are talking about is simply making the wealthy pay higher premiums, as one progressive fix, and as political bargaining for more revenue, or taxes. Everyone else would still pay in and take out the same as they are now, with the same calculated premiums and deductibles. It won’t a big bunch of money, but since the wingnuts want it, and it is genuinely progressive in nature, why could we not consider it for getting something more that we want? Which the obvious is raising or doing away with the FISA cap. Same thing with the chained CPI, geared more toward helping the poor. No one would seriously consider cost of living adjustments favoring the poor as welfare. I don’t think.

  293. 293
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think this is part of it. But it goes further than that, imo.

  294. 294
    priscianusjr says:

    @David Koch:

    we finally eliminated the rotten Bush giveaways to billionaires and millionaires. It’s a great victory.

    It is indeed a great victory, but you’ve got to admit, the millionaires and billionaires were not exactly suffering under Clinton. It just seems that way to them now.

  295. 295
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): But that last bit is basically where the whole idea comes from. Since rich people don’t need SS, it’s tempting — and consonant with progressive aims — to take the part of SS slated to go to them and redirect it into the pockets of the poor. But to think of it that way makes it tantamount to Teh Soshulizm, so you have to wonk your way around it with formulas and thresholds and such.

    People like SS because it feels experientially like their own money coming back to them, even when it isn’t, as opposed to their money being siphoned into some moocher’s pocket. And if you make SS too much like “the dole,” eventually Republicans and Democrats with a hard-on for budget-balancing will get it in their heads to cut it.

    That’s a political problem, no doubt, but it’s not a question of what’s more or less progressive. Making Social Security more like “welfare” would also make it more progressive. The question is, would that ultimately kill the program? It might. Or it might not. It would be an interesting debate. And we can’t have it if we go on a hair trigger about all possible changes taken singly instead of collectively. It’d be like hating the health care bill solely because of the individual mandate, rather than as a package of interlocking reforms.

  296. 296
    Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin) says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    eventually Republicans and Democrats with a hard-on for budget-balancing will get it in their heads to cut it.

    That, pretty much, sums it all up. Thanks for your input.

  297. 297
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck:

    You said that Krugman’s motive for criticizing Obama is because it increases his “clicks” and that’s his profit motive. That is completely ridiculous, at best.

  298. 298
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Machine-Gun Preacher (formerly Ben Franklin): That still means, though, that what proud progressives are stubbornly defending is a program carefully constructed so as to be not particularly progressive — because if it were more progressive, by which I mean more redistributive, it would leak support.

    That’s politically defensible, but on realpolitik grounds, not on uncompromisingly progressively-principled grounds, which actually flips the script on the whole debate (which tends to presume that those who don’t want the program monkeyed with are real progressives and those willing to monkey with it are conservative, neoliberals, DLCers, etc.). My view is that IF YOU’RE CAREFUL you could monkey with it and make it more progressive at the same time. Chained CPI could play a role in that. That’s why to me chained CPI is not a hill to die on. My hill to die on is benefit cuts that affect those who _rely on_ SS, those who never made much money over their whole working lives.

  299. 299
    Bruce S says:

    @General Stuck: “the wingnuts want it, and it is genuinely progressive”

    There’s no contradiction there, right? So what could possibly go wrong with making SS a means-tested program? And, in fact, the “wingnuts” aren’t the ones who want this. It’s the right-wing policy people in the Beltway who want this. Most of the wingnuts, Tea Party GOPers, etc. “want the government to keep their hands off” of their entitlements. I’d rather use this split within GOP ranks against them than become the “progressive” Democrat who, in fact, cuts Social Security benefits for ANYONE. Because, the GOP will not hesitate to use that against the Democrats in the following election. This is pretty much “101” given what we’ve seen them do. That’s the essence of their strategy – force a Democrat to “progressively” fuck with SS. It’s a fool’s errand – especially since the obvious way to fix the modest SS shortfall is raising the income cap. Unless and until that is done, nothing else should even be discussed. THAT’s “progressive” – not caving to some idiotic scheme being pushed by Allen Simpson and Erskine Bowles and the rest of the Beltway Douche crowd, allied with Pete Peterson and his CEOs. At this rate, you should be getting a seat on Morning Joe as one of their house “Democrats” giving Scarborough ideological blow jobs.

  300. 300
    General Stuck says:

    @Bruce S:

    There’s no contradiction there, right? So what could possibly go wrong with making SS a means-tested program?

    Apparently, you have some kind of reading comprehension disorder. I did not mention SS for means testing, only medicare. And the same with the twisted characterization with what I was saying with regard to people writing on the internet these days, are at least in part competing for a readership, and getting clicks by pandering to this or that group of readers of a similar ilk is pretty common place. And I can’t think of many people out there that are more obvious about their pandering than Krugman is, casting for the so called “progressive” community. It is not even a close call. He is shameless about it/

  301. 301
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bruce S: You could, easily, fuck with SS _in order to make it significantly more progressive_. You could do it as straight redistribution, such that the retirement benefit didn’t track so neatly with your lifetime earnings (which isn’t progressive at all, when you think about it). That’s not what Pete Peterson et al want to accomplish, but that’s because not all fuckings-with are created equal. Hypothetically, a fucking-with could be compatible with progressive goals. The downside is political, not ideological, which is why it doesn’t happen.

    Consider the mortgage interest deduction. It’s a crock of shit in terms of progressive policy. But I don’t want it to go away, because, damn, that’s a lot of money going out of my pocket. I want to keep the rule as it is not because things are more progressive this way, but because it’s in my immediate interest to keep them this way, and enough people think like me that it would be folly to attempt it. But that’s not because it’s progressive. Far from it.

  302. 302
    jayackroyd says:

    @Groucho48: Obama’s goal may be to protect the neediest, but our goal is to provide a social insurance system that covers everyone. This was a solved problem in 1990, but our Democratic elected officials have decided otherwise. This is crazy–bad policy and bad politics. But that is what our leadership continues to support.

    So over and over again we have to raise a stink. We have to call our Reps, call our Senators and say that this is stupid, and bad public policy.

  303. 303
    Groucho48 says:

    I still don’t see why raising the income level for the 39.6 bracket is such a horrible thing. As far as I’m concerned, its only a bad thing if the loss of revenue it generates was to be made up on the backs of the poor and middle class. otherwise, folks earning 250-400 thousand are not really a major problem.

    Also, leaving their tax rate lower retains the stimulative effect low tax rates have. Folks in those brackets might not be as big with stimulating the economy as folks who live paycheck to paycheck and spend everything right away, but, taxing them more would have a negative effect on economic growth.

    I do wish we had gotten better deal on the capital gains rates. That’s the big negative as far as I’m concerned.

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