Jesus Christ, where did you get that Cadillac?

We are all welfare queens now:

Did you know that the federal government spends more money on welfare than it does on Social Security, or Medicare, or the military? Me neither, perhaps because it isn’t true. It’s the kind of hooey that the crankier, less-informed sort of conservative is all too ready to believe. Yet the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate budget committee has lately been spreading this meme, and a variation is included in Representative Paul Ryan’s proposed budget. It’s part of a larger bait-and-switch that Republicans have been playing against Democrats, making it harder for both parties to agree on necessary spending cuts that don’t harm those in need.

[…..]

Is Sessions a math dunce? No, he just subscribes to an unrecognizably maximalist definition of “welfare,” one that includes every single federal program that’s means-tested. He includes Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, usually described as health care programs, which account for nearly half his total. He also includes Pell grants, job training programs, and various other functions that are “welfare” in roughly the same sense that all government spending is “socialism.” By stretching welfare’s meaning until it has almost none, Sessions is able to calculate the total welfare tab not at an underwhelming $96 billion, but at $746 billion, which is indeed more than the tab for Social Security, or Medicare, or defense. Then he adds in the state-funded part of these programs so he can say the total exceeds $1 trillion.

You know the drill: definitions of welfare, views differ. Obama needs to show leadership by meeting the Republicans halfway on this, the way Reagan did with Tip O’Neil. Anyway, down with the debt! Reagan never used debt. Only tax-and-spend liberals do






93 replies
  1. 1
    the Conster says:

    So Sessions will quit his government job and give up his government paid for healthcare and Social Security because he doesn’t want to be a welfare queen too, right? No? Then he can STFU.

  2. 2
    Derelict says:

    Yes, if only we could get people like my friend who has been crippled since birth to give up his sucking on the federal teat and instead force him to be productive by, say, begging in the street. That’s the way to prosperity for everyone!

    Besides–doesn’t the Conservative Christian version of the Bible say we must oppress the widow and orphan?

  3. 3
    scav says:

    So, is this scum actually implying that the military doesn’t serve to protect the general welfare of the nation?! Heresy! Hippy Dippy Military Hater! Defense Spending is so much more about welfare than all other kinds of money it should be counted twice or three times over, so there!. Ha!

  4. 4
    Scott S. says:

    Gotta hand it to the Brits — sometimes, their conservatives can be even more psychotically hard-hearted than American wingnuts — as in wanting to force people on welfare to move to smaller homes, because if they’re not living in single-room squalor, they’re not really poor…

    Of course, I’m sure Sessions will propose something like this pretty soon…

  5. 5
    The Moar You Know says:

    He also includes Pell grants, job training programs, and various other functions that are “welfare” in roughly the same sense that all government spending is “socialism.”

    A dismayingly large percentage of the populace sees all these government functions as both welfare and “the philosophy that cannot be named because of the spam filter, even though I’m a registered user who’s been posting here for over six years”.

    You gotta give the GOP this: they have left Democrats in the dust on messaging. They really have. The debate over our nation’s fate is pretty much being held wholly on their terms, using their language and definitions.

    That’s not a state of affairs we can afford to live with.

  6. 6
    Cacti says:

    One of the tribal markers of the modern Republican is that you must believe things that are objectively, demonstrably false.

  7. 7
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @The Moar You Know: I can’t wait for the “Not my child’s Pell Grant” cries when there’s no money. “Why would the government take that money from my child?”

  8. 8
    Highway Rob says:

    an unrecognizably maximalist definition of “welfare,” one that includes every single federal program that’s means-tested.

    We must means test Social Security and Medicare in order to save them, until such time as the right realizes they can lump them in with every other “welfare” program, and kill them. I’d put the over/under somewhere around, what, 10 years?

  9. 9
    RSA says:

    Is Sessions a math dunce? No, he just subscribes to an unrecognizably maximalist definition of “welfare,” one that includes every single federal program that’s means-tested.

    But why not both? From FactCheck.org:

    Sen. Jeff Sessions wrongly claimed that federal revenues “went up every single year” after the Bush tax cuts were “put in.” Actually, federal revenues declined for three straight years after the first tax cut was signed in 2001.

  10. 10
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You gotta give the GOP this: they have left Democrats in the dust on messaging. They really have. The debate over our nation’s fate is pretty much being held wholly on their terms, using their language and definitions.

    They misuse words and phrases until they’re drained of all meaning except “Good” or “Bad.”

    Tax cuts: Good
    Liberal: Bad
    etc.

  11. 11
    dmsilev says:

    By the way, reporting in from the Reagan Memory Eradication Project, the shrine apartment building is basically gone as of this morning. Today, an apartment where the 4-year-old Reagan lived for a few months, tomorrow that airport, and then the world! Dear Leader will be pleased.

  12. 12
    Linnaeus says:

    He’s not “Jeff Sessions”. He’s “Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III”. That should be repeated. Continuously.

  13. 13
    Cassidy says:

    @RSA: I’m going to take “Serial Lying Douchebag” for $100, Alex.

  14. 14

    Let’s balance the budget by making sure all the “welfare states” that receive more in Fed dollars than they pay in have their Free Lunch cut back to what they pay in. Sorry Texas but New York ain’t subsidizing your “Tax Free Lunch” no more.

  15. 15
    Montysano says:

    A wingnut friend who constantly sings the “Cut spending!!!” tune is now suffering acute butthurt because his wife got laid off from her job in the military/industrial complex. It’s all fun and games until the wrong ox gets gored.

  16. 16
    sb says:

    I’m going to hold my breath until someone in the MSM (anyone not running an independent blog) calls Sessions a liar. Not just wrong, but lying.

    It was nice knowing y’all.

  17. 17
    dww44 says:

    @The Moar You Know: Depressingly true. Who is someone among Democrats who can do a better job at messaging? Wasserman-Schultz is not very good at it, imo. Harry Reid isn’t. Chuck Schumer isn’t. Neither Feinstein nor Boxer is very good at it. And, while I like Pelosi, she’s never impressed me with her rhetorical skills. Is there anyone in the mold of Alan Grayson, (and I like him), who doesn’t come with his baggage? If nothing else, if our elected officals and the party spokesmen had better rejoinders to the absolute nonsense that the right message machine gets away with, it might help.

  18. 18
    Wag says:

    Anyway we can get him to include troops salaries under welfare? After all, those troops get to shop at government subsidized commissaries and get government subsidized housing and healthcare.

  19. 19
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Montysano:

    And I can guarandamntee you it won’t make a difference to him in terms of how he votes or how he sees the political process affecting his “bottom line”.

    Asshats all. I have no sympathy whatsover when they lose a job or a limb, etc. I’ve become a heartless bastard living in the middle of red, rurl Misery surrounded by teatards.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    Holy shit that Guardian article referenced above about the slashing of benefits to the poorest in the UK is just jaw dropping in its brutality and cruelty:

    Duncan Smith argues universal credit will simplify the system, making it easier for people on benefits to make the leap into work. According to the government, a third of the 8 million households it covers will be better off. But about 450,000 disabled people will lose financially, according to Disability Rights UK, while 400,000 of the poorest households – such as single parent households with children – will be worse off by 2015, according to the Chartered Institute of Housing.
    This latest phase of benefits reform will bring to 42 the bewildering number of social security cuts introduced by the coalition since May 2010. Collectively, these cuts mean households will cumulatively receive £16bn less than in 2010-11, says the CPAG. By 2015, ministers are aiming to save £18bn a year from the welfare budget, and they have signalled a further £10bn cut from 2016. The spending review in June is expected to set out further measures to contain the growing welfare bill.

  21. 21
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @dww44:

    Howard Dean is good at messaging. Bill Clinton, great at messaging.

    And despite the embarassment he became, John Edwards was good at messaging.

    Oh, and Barney Frank, superlative at messaging.

  22. 22
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Wag: I got paid by the government while getting trained by the government when I was in the Navy, for two years. Some serious welfare going on there.

  23. 23
    Cassidy says:

    @Wag: Oooh…I think I’m going to throw that one out on FB just to aggravate soime friends and family.

    Ending gov’t subsidized housing and food assistance and No more Welfare: get rid of BAH, Commissaries, BAS, and gov’t housing! That should be fun.

  24. 24

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    I can’t wait for the “Not my child’s Pell Grant” cries when there’s no money. “Why would the government take that money from my child?”

    Obviously, they gave it to one of Those People based on a quota system.

  25. 25
    The Moar You Know says:

    Sorry Texas but New York ain’t subsidizing your “Tax Free Lunch” no more.

    @The Ancient Randonneur: Pretty sure Tejas is the only red state that’s a net payer.

    ETA: Georgia and Arkansas are as well. Not sure if North Carolina qualifies as a “red” state or not, but it’s a net payer as well.

  26. 26
    Chris says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    Ditto. I save my sympathy for people who didn’t vote for this.

    It would be one thing if conservatives simply voted against “big government” out of well intentioned stupidity. But they’re intentionally voting to fuck over “lazy bureaucrats,” “union thugs” and other people they think are undeserving and have it too good… until it turns out they’re part of those undeserving.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  27. 27
    scav says:

    @Wag: Listen to some of the things those beuniformed welfare recipients are going to have to do without! US troops in Afghanistan bid farewell to lobster, steak and salsa

    “The PX shops for soldiers will also shrink, cutting back on stocks of goods including computers and high-end sunglasses to concentrate on toiletries and necessities.”

  28. 28
    Scott S. says:

    @aimai: I worry that the next time a Republican makes it into the White House, we’ll see shit that’ll make the Tories look like the Greens… :(

  29. 29
    dww44 says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: I agree with you in part, although as good as he is, Clinton doesn’t come across even now as having legitimate progressive leanings. I don’t know what arrangements he has with the conservative site, NewsMax, but they send out promos of his foundation all the time. Every utterance that he and Hillary make they give space to. This and their past history makes me quite wary of both of them,

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Yeah, Texas I believe. It’s got all the oil industry. Don’t know what the others’ revenue comes out of.

  31. 31
    Sly says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur:

    Let’s balance the budget by making sure all the “welfare states” that receive more in Fed dollars than they pay in have their Free Lunch cut back to what they pay in. Sorry Texas but New York ain’t subsidizing your “Tax Free Lunch” no more.

    Texas actually does pay more in than it receives.

    “Donor/debtor state” status has more to do with levels of urbanization within a state than its political demographics. To create a large and sustainable tax base, you need cities for both the population density and economic activity they provide. Cities also offer logistical efficiencies for the state; Providing services to people living out in the middle of nowhere costs more money per capita than providing services to people in an urban high-rise.

    There are, of course, some exceptions and outliers. Virginia, for example, is pretty urbanized but is a debtor state because it happens to have the Pentagon.

  32. 32
    NonyNony says:

    No, he just subscribes to an unrecognizably maximalist definition of “welfare,” one that includes every single federal program that’s means-tested.

    And this folks is why “means testing” is a bad idea.

    Everyone pays in, everyone gets a benefit is the best approach for government programs. When everyone benefits, it’s in nobody’s interest to get rid of a program. When poor people are the only ones who benefit, there isn’t anyone there to stick up for them.

    Defense contractors figured out this idea long ago – why do you think they work so hard to make sure that the benefits of their contracts are spread across every district in the country? To make it politically toxic to ever touch them across all social classes and all geographic areas.

    (This is also why Republicans fight so hard against any expansion to health care coverage, but even harder against expansions that help everyone instead of just “those who need it” – because they know that it makes it harder to drown the government in a bathtub when the government is providing popular programs used by everyone.)

  33. 33
    JPL says:

    @Scott S.: The only thing a Republican president and congress would do is lower the tax rates for the rich, throw out a small bone for the middle class and increase the debt. That way the next Democratic President would have to cut entitlements. In other words, a repeat of the Bush years.

  34. 34
    Cassidy says:

    @scav: A couple of things. The DFAC is the center for morale when deployed. Everything else is bearable if you’re being fed decently, so don’t begrudge us our steak night. Slightly more serious, though, in the large DFACS on the big bases, there is a lot of wasted food. Same goes with the PX. They’re distraction items to keep you occupied when you’re not performing your mission. I know it may seem wasteful, but the overall idea is to keep the minds occupied. If deployed service members are just sitting around doing nothing for hours on end with little contact with the famoily it leads to increased stress and agitation, degraded mission performance, and, possible, war crimes. Just the nature of warfare.

    The “high end sunglasses” line is misleading. Everyone downrange wears ballistic glasses. You get issued some by the military. You can buy better ones (lighter, slimmer, lower profile, more lens options) at the PX. For instance, we used to get issued the the bright yellow lenses to filter out sunlight during the day. I prefer just regular darkened lenses, but then you have tpo swap them out at night, obviously. A good compromise is a more orange/ apricot colored lense that filters sunlight, but you can still see at night. Secondly, anyone who buys their ballistic glasses fromt he PX is a fool. Oakley has the best glasses and sells them at a deep discount for public service employees.

  35. 35

    Maybe this is a good thing. Sessions seems to be under the impression that every hates the safety net, which is not true, and that everyone is as dumb as the the Republicans who don’t see the safety net as applying to them, which is also not true.

  36. 36
    bemused says:

    @Montysano:

    Did you refrain from saying I told you so? I wouldn’t be able to resist.

  37. 37
    remima says:

    @aimai: I liked this tidbit from the article:

    After the meeting Lammy says the welfare changes have generated a “real fear” about homelessness among his poorest constituents: “The local authority will have to think very hard about its responsibilities. We cannot evict people on to the streets with no alternative: this is not America.”

  38. 38
    The Moar You Know says:

    Howard Dean is good at messaging. Bill Clinton, great at messaging.

    And despite the embarassment he became, John Edwards was good at messaging.

    Oh, and Barney Frank, superlative at messaging.

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: Let’s look at this closely:

    Clinton: great, indeed. He’s been a great cheerleader for liberal and progressive policies that the public already supports. He has been “out in front” on precisely nothing.

    Barney Frank: Amusing as all hell. Speaks like he has a mouthful of slobber and is as photogenic as a pile of wet dogshit. I love the guy, I truly do, but he can’t hold a national audience. (I still use his metaphor of “talking to this table” every day).

    John Edwards: I don’t get this. He always came off to me like a lying used car salesman. If he’d said the sky was blue I’d go outside and check. Twice. The guy was a smarmy coiffed liar from the get go, who missed his true calling in life: major network anchor.

    Howard Dean: On this we agree. He was extraordinarily effective, so much so that some rather drastic steps were taken to stop him from being so.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @dww44:

    Who is someone among Democrats who can do a better job at messaging?

    A lot of it is dealing with a hostile media. Dems can’t get more than 6 words in without being interrupted by either the host or by conservative guests on most shows, the discussion is constantly driven off-topic or in the direction of GOP framing, and the Dem almost never gets either the first or the last word in. And the Dem in question is more likely than not a Blue Dog anyway. The media is the message.

    If the GOP had to deal with a news media as hostile towards their point of view as the Dems do, rather than a media which constantly covers for them, they’d have to wear paper bags over their heads whenever they went out in public.

  40. 40
    Mike in NC says:

    Did you know that the federal government spends more money on welfare than it does on Social Security, or Medicare, or the military?

    I thought that wingnuts believed the biggest part of the federal budget was providing aid to foreign countries that hate us, like Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea.

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Edwards is probably the one I like least on that list. The good old boy phony populism sleaziness is something he does better than anyone.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    @Cassidy: We’re discussing arbitrary definitions of what constitutes welfare, it’s not really about the morale-necessary shades. Because there are people working here against allowing the “unworthy” poor to choose food that might just be tasty instead of the cheapest possible, if we even “allow” them that.

  43. 43
    Splitting Image says:

    I don’t think it is entirely a matter of the Democrats not being able to convey their message very well. It is also a serious problem that a lot of people don’t want to hear it.

    Jesus of Nazareth was terrific at messaging, for example. Somehow the religion that was founded in his name became a haven of “I got mine, fuck you” assholes.

    A lot of the problems we have today come from the fact that businesses have been pursuing a strategy for a long time that says marketing trumps substance. Companies spend more money on corporate branding than developing products, and during the worst of the dot-com boom, people argued in perfect seriousness that concepts like “turning a profit” were part of an obsolete business model.

    Is it any wonder that the political world is what it is? Most of the dot-com companies are gone, but the business philosophy is still out there, and the people who believe it can vote.

  44. 44
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I’m simply talking about the meat of the message, not slobber, photogenic, out-in-front, etc.

    My friend who was a former WH correspondent always told me the exact same things about Edwards that you’re saying here. Turns out both of you were right. However, I watched a crapload of his stump speeches in 08 and they were very effective. He had a progressive message on the stump and it worked very well.

    I see nothing wrong with Clinton not being out in front on things. Hell, half the time we’re defending the decades-long Repup assault on liberal and progressive policies that the public already supports, it’s stoopid but it’s where we are. As such, I’ve got nothing against somebody like Clinton effectively reminding the citizenry of the obvious because we have to keep doing that.

  45. 45
    RaflW says:

    @RSA:

    That makes him more of a history dunce. Which is absolutely required if one is to be a Republican. History is up there with science in ruining all the shining-city-on-a-hill policy dreams of Republicans.

  46. 46
    Chris says:

    @Splitting Image:

    Agree with your first sentence. The dog eat dog ethic is pretty ingrained in a lot of people who don’t want to hear about how we’re all in this together.

  47. 47

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    The media is the message.

    And Faux News is the medium. Is it any wonder the Democrats have trouble with messaging?

  48. 48
    Xenos says:

    Going a bit off on a tangent, but Dizzy had the best of the Cadillac-themed tunes, in an afro-cuban mode.

  49. 49
    Cassidy says:

    @scav: Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to stray outside the lines of acceptable topics. I saw an oppurtunity to fill in some information gaps, but next time I shall ask permission.

  50. 50
    The Moar You Know says:

    Everything else is bearable if you’re being fed decently, so don’t begrudge us our steak night.

    @Cassidy: In 2011 I did a month’s work out in that vast desert. On base. And it was obvious in the first three days that the dining hall, working internet, and the PX were pretty much the only bastions against madness.

    I only had to do a month. The military guys had to do a year. Could I have done it? Yes, but I have an extraordinary capacity for boredom. Could I have done it without steak night? Yeah, but you’re venturing into “downright cruel” territory. Being deployed sucks in ways I could not have imagined. You actually have to do it and live with guys who are doing to it appreciate just how much it sucks.

    I don’t know how the guys and gals with families pull it off. I missed my first wedding anniversary and that really sucked, but in comparison to what the deployed guys miss, that was nothing.

    Not to mention I did not have to worry about getting shot by a local. Are you really going to tell a guy who’s making minimum wage and whose job description is “go hang out with a bunch of pissed off locals who have a earned reputation for shooting Americans in the head for fun” that he can’t have a shitty steak (and boy is it ever) once a week?

  51. 51
    Pokeyblow says:

    Meanwhile, the geniuses at Goldman Sachs do a horseshit job of counterparty risk management and lose $12,000,000,000.00 on a bet with AIG. No sweat, Hank Paulson lifts $40.00 out of the pocket of each living American and makes Goldman 100% whole.

    Hey, where did you get that cell phone?

  52. 52
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @sb: The good news, of course, is that after a brief hint of cyanotic coloring, you’ll pass out and start breathing again. You’ll probably have a hell of a headache though.

  53. 53
    gelfling545 says:

    @scav: I wonder who is getting the steak & lobster. When my son in law was deployed a couple of years ago the food was so bad that everybody ate at the local goat “barbeque” cart. I mean bad as in spoiled and inedible.

  54. 54
    Pokeyblow says:

    And, hey, it really isn’t right for a swell guy like Jeff Skilling to be in jail….

    http://my.chicagotribune.com/#.....-75204879/

  55. 55
  56. 56
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): The military, especially in peacetime, but only slightly less so in what passes for wartime today, is a HUGE socialist operation.
    It’s ALL about subverting one’s own will to the collective good, and receiving government pay and benefits for one’s roll in a collective organization.

  57. 57
    Cassidy says:

    @The Moar You Know: Yeah, it’s completely doable without all the comforts, and I’m sympathetic to the notion of how much the military spends on morale vs. poverty, food insecurity here in the states. If we weren’t mucking around in the ME, theoretically, we could spend the same money on our populace, but we know that would never happen. Fuck the poor.

    As to everything else, you get used to it, sorta. I’ve missed the first year of my kids lives, except for the last one. My last deployment I was in a position to make sure I was home for my 10 year anniversary, but I missed a lot.

    Honestly, I just wanted to fill [what I saw as] an information gap. The “steak and lobster” line is a perfect soundbite for propaganda/ talking points and the “high end sunglasses” is just an outright lie.

  58. 58
    Pokeyblow says:

    I’m going to get a big, big, big
    Big, Big car
    Then I’m gonna drive, drive, drive
    I’m gonna drive so far
    Up your boulevard
    Up your boulevard
    So far up your boulevard

  59. 59
    jamick6000 says:

    Sessions’ methodology is wrong — only government monies disbursed to black people count as welfare.

  60. 60
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: I always love the “end federal government’s redistribution of wealth!” thing where I advocate that states only get money from the feds equivalent to the amount they pay in federal taxes and then I show how the state of Oklahoma would cease to exist without the largess of New Yorkers and Californians.
    That’s guaranteed to get a “discussion” going.

  61. 61
    Scott S. says:

    @JPL: Maybe, but I worry that the current crop of Repubs is so crazy, they’ll actually try to enact all the crap they feed to the rubes…

  62. 62
    scav says:

    @Cassidy: well, in a similar vein, apparently the military and spending there is your off-limit subject that others must get permission to bring up. come-on.

    ETA, why not remember even poor civilians might need morale boosters and similar, because poverty is also often a long-term slog.

  63. 63
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: To say nothing of the fact that the “steak” is only steak in the sense that it came from a cow, and it hasn’t been ground up for hamburger. We’re not talking USDA Prime.
    Same goes for the crab legs.
    And you can have your meat products anyway you want, as long as you want them well done. ALL the meat products.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Soonergrunt: IIRC Wes Clark frequently made that point during his short primary campaign.

  65. 65
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Not sure how it is for the grunts on the ground, but shipboard fare sucks, unless you’re an officer. You have to send care pkgs with BBQ sauce and salsa to your troop to make the fare palatable.

  66. 66
    Raven says:

    @The Moar You Know: this is one reason I’m going to my outfit’s reunion next month. It was strange being RA in a Guard unit in Vietnam but that’s what happened to me. They were pretty clannish and that makes sense but WE did spend that time together in that shit hole so it may be fun to look back 45 years.

  67. 67
    Raven says:

    @The Moar You Know: this is one reason I’m going to my outfit’s reunion next month. It was strange being RA in a Guard unit in Vietnam but that’s what happened to me. They were pretty clannish and that makes sense but WE did spend that time together in that shit hole so it may be fun to look back 45 years.

  68. 68
    Raven says:

    And 45 years ago today we were in the field in Korea when the word came down of the King assassination. Things went from bad to worse.

  69. 69
    The Moar You Know says:

    Not sure how it is for the grunts on the ground, but shipboard fare sucks, unless you’re an officer. You have to send care pkgs with BBQ sauce and salsa to your troop to make the fare palatable.

    @Ben Franklin: I thought the grunt food was “OK”.

    Keep in mind I was raised by a woman, my dear mother, who I did not realize was probably the worst cook on the planet until I left home. My bar is set pretty low.

  70. 70

    @Montysano: Those folks have never had any trouble reconciling their supposed hate for spending with their love of military spending, because they see themselves as competing for dollars with the kind of spending they don’t like (e.g. aid to poor and brown people, filthy artwork, PBS, science about silly-sounding things like duck penises etc. etc.)

    Also, my experience is that they’re hardcore Keynesians about military spending and only military spending, because they know they’re putting money back into the economy.

  71. 71
    dww44 says:

    @Scott S.: They have and are. Look at what’s coming out of those states where they control the levers of power. The pendulum is going so far right it just may fly off and never come back to the sane middle.

  72. 72
    Ben Franklin says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    My bar as well. Me Mum was a depression baby who thought pork chops needed to be the equivalent of jerky, just to be safe.

  73. 73
    Yutsano says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    The military, especially in peacetime, but only slightly less so in what passes for wartime today, is a HUGE socialist operation

    Quiz: what’s the largest socialist health care organisation in the world?

    (hint: you work there)

  74. 74
    Foregone Conclusion says:

    In Britain, the Tories are scaremongering about the ‘welfare budget’, which is supposedly growing at an extraordinary rate. The reason is, of course, that the welfare budget includes pensions, social care for the elderly, and we have an aging population. Now they can’t cut pensions and the like, because old people turn out and vote, disproportionately for them. But they can roll the two numbers together and go ‘oogah boogah welfare spending apocalypse!’ to increase the pressure to cut benefits to the poor, disabled, children, etc. So Sessions is being rather unimaginative, really.

  75. 75
    Cassidy says:

    @scav: not at all. Just tryin’ to make sure people understand the context. Sorry to remove your bullet point.

  76. 76
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    @Montysano:

    Gonna be a lot of out-of-work engineers and technicians by the end of the year once the full force of sequestration hits Boeing, Lock-Mart, BAE, and Northrup Grumman, not to mention all the smaller players. I was lucky that the Army came to its senses and killed FCS/BCTM when they did; gave me a year’s head start on everyone else to find new work.

    Even though I’ve spent more than half my career in the MIC, I do not begrudge any of these cuts. That’s a beast that could stand to be starved a bit.

  77. 77
    Redshirt says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I’ve hit on a similar notion recently. To wit: To understand everything about our current “Conservatives”, know this:

    Whatever they believe is Good, and whatever they’re opposed to is Bad.

    The particulars don’t matter, neither the behaviors or the people. If you’re Conservative, you’re Good. If you’re a Liberal, you’re Bad.

    If a Liberal proposes it, it’s bad.
    If a Conservative says it, it’s True.
    If a Liberal says it, it’s a Lie.

    On and on. For every subject. It all boils down to precisely this simple formulation: My Tribe Good, yours Bad.

  78. 78
    Mike in NC says:

    @Scott S.:

    I worry that the current crop of Repubs is so crazy, they’ll actually try to enact all the crap they feed to the rubes…

    Yesterday the NC Senate voted to repeal the North Carolina Racial Justice Act, which had placed a freeze on executions in the state for the past 6 years while legal appeals were heard.

    Seems our Republicans just aren’t happy unless people are dying.

  79. 79
    maya says:

    @Ben Franklin: That very much depends on what ship you were on. I spent 6 months on an APA (1965) and the food was very good. So good that when we were in certain liberty ports with docking, lunch lines increased noticeably as troops from other ships swelled aboard. Word had gotten out. The US Navy then had competitions among their mess halls. The USS Montrail used to win the top award quite often. Nothing like the smell of fresh baked pastry wafting through the air ducts every morning.

    Then too, was on an MSTS class ship – part civilian owned forerunner of “privatization” – and the chow was so bad fights broke out in mess area between troops and servers many a time. Never had fresh vegies or salad. Always out.

  80. 80
    Ben Franklin says:

    @maya:

    My son was on USS Bataan 22nd MEU. They literally jumped ship when Liberty arrived.

  81. 81
    lol says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The media piled on Dean after his loss in Iowa but you can’t blame the media for him losing Iowa. If he had won Iowa and done the same speech, the media would’ve portrayed it as some kind of alpha male rebel yell or some such because he’d be a winner and not a loser and the media loves winners, not losers.

    Dean was great on messaging but the actual ground organizing was a disaster. The Obama campaign in Iowa used Dean’s field effort as a blueprint for what *not* to do.

  82. 82
    The Moar You Know says:

    Honestly, I just wanted to fill [what I saw as] an information gap. The “steak and lobster” line is a perfect soundbite for propaganda/ talking points and the “high end sunglasses” is just an outright lie.

    I found out that if you try working in a desert environment without sunglasses you’ll be more or less blind by noon.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I found out that if you try working in a desert environment without sunglasses you’ll be more or less blind by noon.

    The same is true on snow and ice. I basically do not go outside without sunglasses unless it is actually raining or after dusk.

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Linnaeus:

    Jayuff Sayshuns. That’s the man’s name.

    And he’s a mor-an.

  85. 85
    kuvasz says:

    Whenever I hear the word “welfare” pass the lips of a Republican I consider the following quote from Lee Atwater.

    “You start out in 1954 by saying, “N****r, n****r, n****r.” By 1968 you can’t say “n****r”—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.… “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N****r, n****r.”

    In other words, why risk losing voters with “n****r” when you can use coded language that your target demographic understands as the equivalent to “n****r?”

    http://bobcesca.thedailybanter.....ategy.html

  86. 86
    gene108 says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    Oh, and Barney Frank, superlative at messaging.

    Frank is good for a quip that can fire up liberals. He’s not good at getting a message out that resonates with everyone.

    The problem with Democratic messaging versus Republican messaging is Republicans have fined tuned their noise for over 40 years, to the point where there’s a Pavlovian response from their base.

    For example, if the MSM reports what Sessions said as untrue, it is in fact actually true because the MSM has – not only a liberal bias – but is in fact an arm of the “Democrat” party.

    If government tries to do anything – build roads, repair bridges, etc., which government used to successfully do in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s – it will be a waste of taxpayer money, because “government is the problem”.

    There’s no way to break through the conditioning with so many people, who are concentrated in enough states to give the Republicans the inherent advantage the Constitution lays out for small/rural states/districts; which is to say the Republicans have a structural advantage in Congress that won’t go away unless we can change the conditioning of a certain percentage of right-leaning voters.

    The clusterfuck that was Bush & Co. moved some voters over to the Democratic column, at least in 2006 and 2008, but we need to somehow break through to some more folks and I don’t know how to do it.

  87. 87
    VividBlueDotty says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Exactly. They’ll force a Democrat to justify an OBVIOUS truth while leaving a giant Republican whopper on the table. I can see some room for improvement in our messaging on some issues, but to “own” some issues with the public, we’re going to have to be able to LIE convincingly to the gullible – is that really where we want to go?

    My first reaction to the question of WHO is good at messaging was Al Franken.

  88. 88
    Calouste says:

    @Yutsano:

    I don’t think Soonergrunt works at the NHS. Or that the US military has 60 million patients and 1 million medical staff.

  89. 89
    scav says:

    @Cassidy: fine fine any mention of the military budget in a discussion of defiinitions of welfare is off-limits and means one hates the troups and wants them to go blind. military budgets and benefits of all sorts are off-limits while civilians are necessarily first on the block for all reductions, eternally. I concede your bullet. OW OW OW OW OW, mea maxima culpa.

  90. 90

    […] at Balloon Juice, DougJ got the day started with yet more evidence that the Republican Party remains committed to a program of immiserating […]

  91. 91
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    The military, especially in peacetime, but only slightly less so in what passes for wartime today, is a HUGE socialist operation.

    I’ve often wondered how exactly a large privatized military would work. With aircraft carriers, lots of nuclear weapons, tanks, submarines, expensive air force, reconnaissance satellites, drones, support infrastructure, etc.

  92. 92
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @Splitting Image:

    people argued in perfect seriousness that concepts like “turning a profit” were part of an obsolete business model.

    “Sure, we lose money on every sale but we’ll make it up in volume.”

  93. 93
    grandpa john says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage: Dean had a great message, too bad the dem leadership couldn’t be bothered to listen to it. now we are paying the price for neglecting to do more on the state and local level. How stupid do you have to be not to understand that to enact your program on the federal level , you must have control of the state governments

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