The Obama Administration is calling "bullshit" on this one. And they are right to do so.
We had a balanced budget a dozen years ago. Then George W. Bush slashed taxes, especially for the rich, and engaged in two wars that were 100% paid for by deficit spending.
Seems to me that if we get out of the second of the Chimperor's Wars and restore some of the Bush tax cuts, we can get well on the road back to were we were before the Republicans fucked it all up.
Here is the other thing: The House is bullshit. Whichever party controls a state when it is time to redistrict gerrymanders the shit out of their congressional delegation. So the House of Representatives isn't terribly representative of anything in particular.
In the 2012 election, one of the central planks of the Democrats was to let the Bush tax cuts lapse on the rich. The President won, handily,* making him only one of eight presidents in our nation's history who was both elected and re-elected by a majority of the popular vote.** Moreover, in statewide elections for the U.S. Senate, Democrats prevailed and will control 55 Senate seats.
The American people are with the President on this one. He knows it. Formerly, what would happen is that he would put out an idea, the Republicans would say "no" and then Obama would say "OK, how about this" and the GOP would pout and whine and stamp their feet until they got the deal they wanted.
This time around, he is not playing that game. And you can just smell the fear emanating from the Republicans.
"Your opposition will constitute Obstruction of Justice, Aiding and Abetting in the elections fraud in forgery and treason in allowing a foreign citizen to usurp the U.S. Presidency with an aid of forged IDs and usurp the civil rights of the U.S. citizens," she wrote. "At any rate your opposition and your attempt of intimidation and your allegiance or lack of allegiance to the United States of America is duly noted. Just make sure not to forget to bring with you Mr. Obama's application, registration, and financial aid application."
Pity the car salesman
…the only profession rated more dishonest than the Congress:
"As Congress remains involved in protracted negotiations over the pending "fiscal cliff" that could disrupt the nation's economy if not addressed by Jan. 1, one in 10 Americans rate the honesty and ethical standards of its members as very high or high. This puts the lawmaking body second lowest on a list of 22 professions measured — higher only than car salespeople."
But at least car salesmen want to make a deal.
Could this be some good news on the climate crisis?
President Obama is "putting in place the building blocks for a climate treaty requiring the first fossil fuel emissions cuts from both the U.S. and China," Businessweek reports.
"State Department envoy Todd Stern is in Doha this week working to clear the path for an international agreement by 2015. While Obama failed to deliver on his promise to start a cap-and-trade program in his first term, he's working on policies that may help cut greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 in the U.S., historically the world's biggest polluter."
I realize that China is a major hurdle in all of this, but while I'd like to see this as positive news, I can't get excited about a 2015 agreement given how action needs to be taken now.
The SEC charged the Chinese affiliates of Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, BDO and Ernst & Young with securities violations today.
The hype and fearmongering over the so-called "fiscal cliff" is not having an impact on domestic auto sales. In fact November sales reached their highest point since 2007.
Chrysler saw its 32nd consecutive month of sales growth during the month of November. Because, you know, the company imploded just as predicted after they received a federal bailout.
"Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" will likely be remembered as a defining position of the Republican party at this current period in our history. Mitt Romney may have written the column, but it was adopted by the entire party as their official position on rescuing the auto-industry. And they rode that position all the way to electoral defeat.
In his second term, President Harry Truman condemned the snail's pace at which lawmakers actually got some work done, labeling it a "Do-Nothing" Congress. After all, the 80th Congress (1947-1948) only passed 906 bills over its two-year period.
The current Congress, by comparison, has passed just 196 bills, easily the lowest total since the U.S. House Clerk's office started keeping track.
Considering that the House of Representatives will have virtually the same leadership structure during the next session of congress as it did during the current session, there's no reason to expect the House will be any more productive in 2013 and 2014 as it was in 2011 and 2012.
John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the Tea Party will still be calling the shots.
Sheldon Adelson got screwed, and some of the guys who did it are bragging:
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson vowed to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama and help the GOP take control of Congress. According to two GOP fundraisers with close ties to the Las Vegas billionaire, he made good on that promise—and then some. Adelson ultimately upped the ante, spending closer to a previously unreported $150 million, the fundraisers said.
Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama's foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring "vilification of people that were against him." As that second term begins, Adelson's international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.
$30-40 of that $150 million went to Karl Rove, who at some point has to start running out of fools.
If some of the federal investigations into Sheldon's casinos do bear fruit, he'll try to get something out of that $150 million by casting himself as the victim, so perhaps he'll get some ROI in the end, but it's going to be damn little at best.
The first thing to know about the so-called "fiscal cliff" is that it's not a cliff—it's a choice. It's a choice between making the 1% richer at the expense of everyone else, or lifting up 100% of Americans. It's a choice between American prosperity and European austerity.
In this new video, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich breaks down the fiscal choice in 2 minutes and 30 seconds—with pictures, too. He also explains what Democrats must do to make sure the rich pay their fair share and get the economy working for everyone.
A Catholic priest is counseling hosts of Fox & Friends to chill out and enjoy the holiday season instead of being "so angry about this war on Christmas" that their network has been hyping.
Fox News co-host Clayton Morris began a Sunday segment about the "war on Christmas" by announcing that "across the country, nativity displays [are] being nixed and Christmas trees being called holiday trees instead."
"I'm going to bet that Father Jon, our religion contributor, has some thoughts on this," co-host Alisyn Camerota said, setting Father Jonathan Morris up to blast atheists' supposed "war" on the Christian holiday.
"The reason I'm not angry is that -- yes I think it's silly, it's out of place for people to dedicate so much energy to try to get rid of Christmas scenes like this -- the good news is when Christianity has been persecuted, when it has been outlawed, when people have died for this faith, it hasn't gone away," the conservative Catholic priest explained. "And everybody has an opportunity to make sure that their faith does not go away in this Christmas season and to live that faith as a family, as a community."
Morris added that fighting a "very small percentage of people who are working to try to get rid of these public expressions" was not worth "losing the peace."
"If our Christmas is going to be all about getting upset at people who are to trying do away our Christmas, isn't that silly, too?" he asked the hosts.
"We needed you to shed some light on that four hours ago [before the show started]," co-host Dave Briggs admitted.
"You guys look so angry about this war on Christmas," Morris concluded. "I can tell."
"Thank you, father," Morris said as he transitioned into a segment about the recreational use of marijuana.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer issued this statement via e-mail in response to the proposal from House Republican leadership.
"The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires. While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes—and the American people agree—that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won't be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs."In other words, bogus tax "reform" that actually cuts tax rates for the wealthy isn't going to fly.
And this just happened, too.
The proposal floated by Boehner & Co. was based on some ideas Erskine Bowles had given the Super Congress last year. He's not going to be providing them any cover now.
2:17 PM PT: Bowles's full statement, via e-mail:
While I'm flattered the Speaker would call something "the Bowles plan," the approach outlined in the letter Speaker Boehner sent to the President does not represent the Simpson-Bowles plan, nor is it the Bowles plan. In my testimony before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I simply took the mid-point of the public offers put forward during the negotiations to demonstrate where I thought a deal could be reached at that time.
The Joint Select Committee failed to reach a deal, and circumstances have changed since then. It is up to negotiators to figure out where the middle ground is today. Every offer put forward brings us closer to a deal, but to reach an agreement, it will be necessary for both sides to move beyond their opening positions and reach agreement on a comprehensive plan which avoids the fiscal cliff and puts the debt on a clear downward path relative to the economy.