It's a Simple Question, Mitch

McConnell: What are you talking about, paid for? This is existing tax policy. It’s been in place for ten years. 

[yada, yada, yada . . .]

Gregory: For a final time, I’ll go back to my question which is, the extension of the tax cuts would cost $3.2 trillion. That’s borrowed money, that adds to the deficit. Do you have a plan to pay for that extension?

McConnell: You’re talking about current tax policy. Why did it all of a sudden become something that we, quote, ‘pay for’?

Earlier this month, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that the push by Congressional Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts without offsetting the costs elsewhere could end up being "disastrous" for the economy. "I'm very much in favor of tax cuts but not with borrowed money and the problem that we have gotten into in recent years is spending programs with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money," he said. "And at the end of the day that proves disastrous. My view is I don't think we can play subtle policy here."

They've already been "disastrous" turning the Clintonian budget surplus into a budget deficit. Over the past decade those tax cuts added $3.8 trillion to the national debt. President Obama's proposals are simple: in 2011 the top two income tax rates — now 33 percent and 35 percent — would revert to the levels before the Bush Administration, 36 percent and 39.6 percent, respectively. But the four lower rates would remain 10 percent, 15 percent, 25 percent and 28 percent. 

Paul Krugman tells us what's at stake.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.

And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that’s the least of it: the policy center’s estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. Take a group of 1,000 randomly selected Americans, and pick the one with the highest income; he’s going to get the majority of that group’s tax break. And the average tax break for those lucky few — the poorest members of the group have annual incomes of more than $2 million, and the average member makes more than $7 million a year — would be $3 million over the course of the next decade.

It's a simple question, Mitch, how will you pay for the Bush tax cuts?


Presidential Zeitgeist: A Timeline Of Public Opinion, 1998 to 2010

1998:  "Bill Clinton may not be husband of the year, but he sure knows how to be president.  His enemies are impeaching him for no good reason, and he's still getting the job done."

2000:  "The cold war is over.  The budget is in surplus.  The economy is okay.  How hard can it be to be president these days?  George W. Bush looks harmless enough, like his old man.  Let's put things on cruise control for a while.  Besides, Al Gore is such a know-it-all."

August 2001:  "Bush got his tax cuts passed, and now he seems to be on permanent vacation. How much brush can there be on that 'ranch' of his?  You know, this guy really is a lightweight.  I wonder if we can do better next time around. . ."

September 2001:  "Did you see Bush standing in the rubble with his big bullhorn?  Now there's a man who won't back down from the terrorists.  So he's not the sharpest tool in the shed.  That's why he hired guys like Donald Rumsfeld."

2002:  "There are so many people in the world who want to kill us!  Bush is keeping us safe.  He'll get bin Laden one of these days.  We just need to trust him."

2003:  "Did you see Bush on that aircraft carrier?  Now that's a president.  He kicked Saddam Hussein's tail all the way to Bagdad.  After we mop up a few more terrorists, we'll be back on Easy Street."

2004:  "This Iraq war isn't going very well, but John Kerry won't even defend himself, let alone the rest of us.  I'm holding my nose and voting for Bush again.  Politics is beginning to give me a headache, anyway.  What's on cable tonight?"

2005:  "George Bush wants to do what?  Privatize Social Security?  I don't think so.  Why doesn't he just get us out of Iraq?  Oh, that's right -- he hired 'Brownie' to manage hurricane relief.  Well, what do you expect from a guy who slept through a tsunami?"

2006:  "Only two short years till we send Bush's ass back to Texas.  In the meantime, let's see if the Democrats in Washington can make some changes.  By the way, what does their party actually stand for?  'Reply hazy,' says my Magic 8 Ball."

2008:  "I'm voting Democratic this year -- period.  After eight years of Bush, what choice do I have?  And if Barack Obama wants to 'change the tone in Washington'?  Whatever, boss.  Knock yourself out down there.  Just make sure you fix the damn economy and act presidential.  And by 'acting presidential', I don't mean putting on a flight suit like Bush did.  I mean doing your job -- like Clinton did."

2009:  "I kind of like Barack Obama, but what does the man really stand for?  He seems to think Republican ideas are just as good as Democratic ones.  Maybe he's right. . ."

2010:  "Do I want to see a Republican in the White House?  Not really.  But somebody needs to get a handle on things.  I'm keeping all my options open.  One thing, though -- no teabaggers.  They're crazy."

From my blog:



Public Opinion Monthly

Looking Back on the Past Year
Reflecting on the Last Decade
Outlook on the Next Year
Expectations for the Coming Decade►

This month's Public Opinion Monthly examines people's feelings on the past and the future as we enter not only a new year, but a new decade.  The last ten years have been full of change, uncertainty and often struggle, yet people hold on to hope and show great resilience in their optimism as they look ahead to what the next ten years may hold.

The Past Year

Mixed emotions on 2009:  According to a new AP GfK Roper survey, nearly three in four (73%) believe that 2009 was a bad year for the country.  A plurality (42%) expressed that 2009 was a very bad year, and 31% assert that 2009 was a somewhat bad year for the country overall.  For individuals and their families, a majority (61%) expressed that 2009 was actually a good year and 38% reported that it was a bad year.  Only a small minority (15%) felt that 2009 was a very bad year for them individually.

There's more...

"Internet left fringe" Prediction Thread

How many troops will Obama increase the US occupation of Afghanistan by?

I might as well go with what the Republicans want and say 40,000.

Bonus question: Not unrelated, if the 11/2/10 election were held today instead, would Harry Reid lose?

Yes, without a doubt. As typical, the CW says that a competitive primary lessons the Republicans chances, when the opposite is more likely.

But what do I know? I'm just a "left fringe" hobo living in Obamaworld.

Update [2009-10-12 12:13:24 by Jerome Armstrong]:

Jesse Lee and Dan Pfeiffer are both savvy enough to know that anyone of Axelrod/Gibbs/Emanuel/Rouse could call up Hardwood and find out whom exactly made those quotes, and have them fired.

Update [2009-10-12 13:23:10 by Jerome Armstrong]: From the clip above, its obvious that only McGovern is talking sense. Susie Madrak is right on this count: "Afghanistan Strategy on This Week: Find Yourself in Hole, Dig A Bigger One?"

I understand that Obama said he would focus more on Afghanistan while campaigning for the GE (I don't seen to recall much of any mention that he was a hawk about increasing Afghanistan troops in the primary). But he never once said he'd increase troops there by 17,000 then send another 40,000 or so 9 months later when the strategy wasn't working, did he?

MCGOVERN: I would urge them to keep in mind that stabilizing Afghanistan should not mean and does not mean enlarging our military footprint there. I think it would be counterproductive. I also think we're going bankrupt. We have wars in Iraq, in Afghanistan, hundreds of billions of dollars that are all going on to our credit card. Our kids and our grandkids are paying for this. You know, we need to be smarter about where we deploy our -- our resources. And I think enlarging our military footprint in Afghanistan would be a mistake. We need to come up with a strategy that includes an exit strategy because it'll also put pressure on the government of Afghanistan to step up to the plate, which it has not done so far.

There's more...

Guys, cheer up! Obama's off to a pretty good start

In the view of this primary Clinton supporter, it is way way too early to start crying over the demise of health care reform or the failed Obama Administration. We can all point to something disappointing about any politician, but I cannot say things would be better off if Hillary had won the primary and been elected President. No doubt things would be better in some areas, probably worse in others, but largely the same.

For perspective, lets just remember: at this point in the previous administration, President Bush's one accomplishment was a giant tax cut for the wealthy with no attempt to pay for it, and W himself was finishing up a month-long vacation at the "ranch" in Texas, cutting some brush, riding bikes, and ignoring his National Security briefings. "OK, you've covered your ass, now you can go back to Washington." In other words, we can - and have - had much worse leadership.

For all the defeatism of my fellow lefties on health care reform, let's keep in mind that there is still an decent chance we will get a good bill in the end. The Obama team seems to finally be engaging, and the bully pulpit is a very powerful tool.

And if we get a crappy bill? Or no bill at all? I guarantee that health care costs are not going away as an issue. We just go back to work on raising consciousness, educating the public, and pressing our representratives for action. If the insurance lobby succeeds in killing real reform this time, the issue will be back with more momentum in a few years. The current system is flat out unsustainable. It would be best to fix it before a total collapse, but it simply cannot continue as it is.

There's more...


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