Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 22, 2010

KRUGMAN FEARS 'MAKING AMERICA UNGOVERNABLE'.... I'd noticed recently that some credible political observers have been making the same uncomfortable point about congressional Republicans: they may be tempted to keep the economy down on purpose to advance partisan goals.

Matt Yglesias, for example, said the Obama White House should be prepared for "deliberate economic sabotage." Budget expert Stan Collender has predicted that Republicans perceive "economic hardship as the path to election glory." Paul Krugman noted in his column last week that Republicans "want the economy to stay weak as long as there's a Democrat in the White House."

I tied all of this together in an item on Saturday, noting that their collective points are at least worthy of discussion. The response from the right was less than kind -- the post generated far more conservative anger than I'm usually accustomed to dealing with. (My personal favorite: Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson passing along a message on Twitter calling me an "idiot.")

That's fine, of course; criticism is just part of the job. It's obviously a provocative argument, and I didn't expect conservatives to like it. I'm not entirely sure why the right was more angered by me than by Krugman, Collender, and Yglesias, but I suppose I should be flattered by the attention.

With all of this in mind, I was glad to see Paul Krugman return to the general subject in his print column today, embracing a line similar to mine. In fact, Krugman seemed at least as intemperate about the issue as I was, insisting that the Republican Party "isn't interested in helping the economy as long as a Democrat is in the White House."

The fact is that one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no interest in making America governable, unless it's doing the governing. And that party now controls one house of Congress, which means that the country will not, in fact, be governable without that party's cooperation -- cooperation that won't be forthcoming. [...]

On one side, Republicans oppose just about everything that might reduce structural deficits: they demand that the Bush tax cuts be made permanent while demagoguing efforts to limit the rise in Medicare costs, which are essential to any attempts to get the budget under control. On the other, the G.O.P. opposes anything that might help sustain demand in a depressed economy -- even aid to small businesses, which the party claims to love.

Right now, in particular, Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits -- an action that will both cause immense hardship and drain purchasing power from an already sputtering economy. But there's no point appealing to the better angels of their nature; America just doesn't work that way anymore.

And opposition for the sake of opposition isn't limited to economic policy. Politics, they used to tell us, stops at the water's edge -- but that was then.

These days, national security experts are tearing their hair out over the decision of Senate Republicans to block a desperately needed new strategic arms treaty. And everyone knows that these Republicans oppose the treaty, not because of legitimate objections, but simply because it's an Obama administration initiative; if sabotaging the president endangers the nation, so be it.

There's that word again, "sabotage."

To be sure, I'm not saying my point has merit because Paul Krugman is on the same page. As far as I know, the Nobel Laureate and I might both be, to use Gerson's word, "idiots."

But after a weekend of unpleasant criticism from the right, I find it fairly reassuring to know Krugman and I are thinking along the same lines.

Steve Benen 10:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

IOTIADDI: "It's only treason if a Democrat does it."

Posted by: chrenson on November 22, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"But after a weekend of unpleasant criticism from the right, I find it fairly reassuring to know Krugman and I are thinking along the same lines."

You are not the only ones who believe it. Weighty circumstantial evidence supporting the 'sabotage' conclusion is also found in the uttlerly preposterous position of the Republican Senate leadership, Kyle, et. al., on the SMART Treaty.

You can always tell the argument is striking home if the other side starts screaming.

Posted by: robert on November 22, 2010 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Don't second guess yourself, Steve, you and Krugman are not idiots. The strategy is clearly to not allow governing to create the best conditions for the President to lose: high unemployment, international humiliation, gridlocked Congress, etc.

Since the public is mis- and DIS-informed, this strategy has a good chance to work.

I think sabotage is the right word, and there's another word that's appropriate for those who carry it out this strategy: traitors.

Posted by: r_m on November 22, 2010 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

So...the response from the right is to take to Twitter and call you an idiot?

Sounds like you may have hit a nerve. Glen Beck is probably scratching on his chalkboard at this very moment, connecting the dots that link Steve Benen to the Prince of Darkness himself.

Posted by: delNorte on November 22, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Kudos, sir! When an upstanding Village nimrod like Gerson calls you out with ad hominem language, you can be sure you've touched a nerve!

Posted by: Millstream Pigworker on November 22, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

If you- and Krugman- are idiots, then you are Useful Idiots. And I mean that as a compliment. . .

Let's hope this meme goes viral!

Posted by: DAY on November 22, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

for crying out loud -- we just had two full years where a nominally left-of-center administration wrote legislation that contained many old GOP ideas. and they voted against their own legislation every time, economic or otherwise.

what other evidence is necessary that the GOP electoral strategy is tear down obama at all costs, including collateral damage to the entire economy?

Posted by: ahoy polloi on November 22, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

illegitimi non carborundum.


Posted by: Phil in Denver on November 22, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sabatoge, that word should take root. Email McConnell, Boehner, Cantor and the rest of them and use that word. Email the Democrats and the white House and ask how they plan to fight the sabatoge of our country. Don't email once...keep sending them. Email media figures and use that word.

Force that word into the national dialog and brand the Republicans with it...that's exactly what they would do. Death Panels, anyone?...

Posted by: SaintZak on November 22, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Enough with the false modesty. You know damn well you and Krugman are not idiots. Maybe with the blowback FINALLY starting to ratchet up, we can expect the lazy media that prefers controversy over journalism will start featuring military brass, nobel prize winners, etc. challenging the sanity and patriotism of (to quote Olbermann) those who play with their poop.

Posted by: chopin on November 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Being called an idiot by Gerson is akin to being called ugly by a warthog, isn't it?

Posted by: Blue Girl on November 22, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I think the title is incorrect. Shouldn't it be "ungovernable"?

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on November 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans have spent years creating a perfect weapon for themselves: media insulation combined with the divide-and-conquer Culture War. They can, with impunity, sabotage at will. And the best we can do is simply note the phenomenon. Make no mistake here: there is no cost for Republicans except for a nation so weakened that it will ultimately collapse. Maybe the T word (traitor, treason) will have some resonance but our hyper-patriotic ultra-nationalists own a majority share in that company.

Posted by: walt on November 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, thanks for speaking out, and calling a spade a spade.

Posted by: evan500 on November 22, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

It is decidedly unAmerican to accuse people you disagree with of treason simply because they have bad ideas. It was ugly when the GOP accused anti-war Dems of "rooting against the country". And it is ugly when Benen and other commentators do it.

In a properly functioning democracy, ideas should be debated and the best ideas should prevail. Unfortunately, Democrats have largely decided that they have no interest in entering into a debate with the GOP and pointing out WHY their ideas are bad.

At best, Democrats flee from the debate. At worst, as when Obama decides that what the country needs is for him to spend more time listening to the Chamber of Commerce, Democrats actively enable the GOP in pushing their allegedly "treasonous" bad ideas.

The reality is that Steve Benen simply cannot come to terms with the fact that his beloved party refuses to stand up for good policy and attack bad policy. And being unwilling to criticize the Democrats for their failures, Benen needs find some excuse for why we have bad policies: The GOP plays unfair! They are traitors! They need to unilaterally stop pushing their agenda!

Whatever. Politics ain't beanbag. Republicans apparently believe that a short-term hit in the economy will result in long-term benefits for the country if the Republicans retake the WH and Senate. They are entitled to take that stand. I disagree. And I -- unlike Benen's beloved party leaders -- think that the Democrats should be pounding them over the head every single day, and telling the GOP to go f--- themselves. But I respect the rights of Republicans to advocate bad policy without suggesting that they are "traitors".

Posted by: square1 on November 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

What SaintZak said. Repetition, repetition, repetition. And make sure you use the word "sabotage" (which is much more effective than "obstructionism").

Maybe, for once, the left will succeed in altering public perceptions about an important issue by using the right's signature method: repeating a talking point and a related buzzword again and again and again, in all kinds of media and venues, using identical, simple language. Until even people who don't follow politics closely have heard the argument, and people who do follow politics closely are sick of it.

Posted by: Basilisc on November 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

These people are the same people drawn to the anti-choice movement. You can't compromise with murder is their thought. They have been convinced that Obama is evil and must be stopped by all necessary means. Now we know they've been convinced by a group of corporatists and hucksters that Obama is evil. A very black and white group. Remember the old Blackstone quote "the law holds that it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer."? Do these people it's just the opposite, better all get convicted then one criminal go free.

Posted by: KK on November 22, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I take issue with you and Krugman on only one point. The press is not lazy or amnesiac -- they are bought. What's the proof? That there are no mainstream journalists willing even to question the lies of Republicans and Tea Partiers.In the cutthroat world of broadcasting NOBODY is willing to investigate and become the next Woodward/Bernstein? What could possibly have killed any sort of ambition in these people? Why, fear they'd lose their jobs, of course. The difference is, the owner of the Washington Post backed Woodward and Bernstein during Watergate. The owners of today's media are the ones who wish to neuter our government.

Posted by: dalloway on November 22, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

@square1:

- Steve has criticized Dems for not standing up for good policy, often.

- Yes, Republicans have the "right" to advocate bad policy. And Dems have the right, and the obligation, to point out exactly what that policy entails, using language as vivid as possible. Krugman's column is the best example of that I've seen yet.

Posted by: Basilisc on November 22, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Saint Zak is on to something, but don't just send letters to Boner and McConnell. Don't just send them to elected Democrats and the administration. They all know what Republicans are up to. Senhd letters to your hometown newspaper. Send them again and again until they are published. Tell your friends. Tell their friends. Do it over and over again. The truth needs to be said. Republicans need to be told that it is our country too, and we don't want them pooping on the lawn.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 22, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

The meme that needs repeated over and over loudly:

The Republican party can't govern!

The Republicans have no workable policy ideas!

The Republicans are not credible!

Say it loudly, and say it often!

As for the Republican mouthpiece, FOXNEWS needs the following meme:

FOXNEWS is partisan!

FOXNEWS hates America!

FOXNEWS makes shit up! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 22, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I love how Americans can be so vicious in debate yet learn their opponents are decent human beings with whom they just happen to have disagreements with. In other parts of the world, they imprison and kill each other. God bless America.

Posted by: moen faucets on November 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I recall that during the administration of Bush the Lesser, when Democrats predicted -- correctly, as it turned out -- the likely negative consequences of Republican economic policies, they were accused of "rooting for failure" and sometimes even sabotaging the economy by undermining confidence -- again, simply by expressing disagreement with Repulbican policies that the Democrats still refused to obstruct.

Now we have the Republicans openly admitting they hope for Obama's failure and actively obstructing policies they once advocated, but if their obvious actions are mentioned, the so-called "liberal media" either heads for the fainting couch or gives a megaphone to Republican fauxtrage.

Feh.

Posted by: Gregory on November 22, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Of course they want to sabotage effective government. It is really just part of a longer game conservatives have played at least since the 1960s. They have systematically discredited and torn down every institution in the country, from unions to public schools to responsible regulation to science and on and on. It is part of a long-range strategy of devaluing the worth of everything until at last there will be only The Party to look to. They want to control everything. If that sound like a paranoid fever dream, then so be it. But I think Americans need to come to terms with the reality that conservatism's goal, for those really in charge, is to create, enrich and protect a new aristocracy in this country.

Posted by: kw on November 22, 2010 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

You can always tell the argument is striking home if the other side starts screaming.

Yep. As Truman famously said, "I don't give 'em Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

Posted by: TR on November 22, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you, Greg. You have hit them in a weak spot, with an increasingly focused argument. Keep whittling that argument and keep pressing it. You're onto something.

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on November 22, 2010 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

This is hardly a recent phenomenon and was articulated at least a year ago if not before.

See http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/65853-hatch-health-bills-threaten-two-party-system

Posted by: monocle on November 22, 2010 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, that one hit a raw nerve, it must be close to the truth. They want to pretend that they were forced into shutting down the government, if the Dems point out their tactics early enough and loud enough, they won't be able to get away with it. And so they scream.

Posted by: danimal on November 22, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

The same Party that is screaming about deficits, Big Government and Wasteful Spending is the party that did ALL of that for the 8 years of George W. Bush. And didn't say one damn thing about it. Now after two years of Obama, that's all they want to talk about. Clear hypocracy, yes, but there has to be another force that causes an entire Party to completely approve of that set of actions under a GOP president and unanimously disapprove of, well, any action under a Dem. My guess is that the GOP isn't happy about a black guy being president. As Mitch McConnell has said - it's all about beating Obama....they country be damned. A happy, employed citizenry will easily re-elect Obama.

Posted by: T2 on November 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

I'd go further - I believe that republican leaning CEOs deliberately sat on their piles of cash and did not hire back workers in order to hurt the Obama administration.

This bunk about "not enough demand!" is crap.

Posted by: fourlegsgood on November 22, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, on this issue, every insult that is hurled at you, every threat, every crude and vile name flung your way means just one thing.

You're right. You speak truth. And they know it.

Posted by: Six_of_One on November 22, 2010 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

A correction to the following should be in order...

"But after a weekend of unpleasant criticism from the right, I find it fairly reassuring to know Krugman and I are thinking along the same lines."

Should read...

After a weekend of unpleasant criticism from the right, I find it a badge of honor that my pointing out the truth hurts them so much.

Posted by: SadOldVet on November 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

When (if ever) will it ever occur to the Obama administration and the Democratic leadership in Congress that there's no reasoning with these people? It's long past time to take to the airwaves, to go directly over their heads to the American people, the way that FDR did, to call them out for what they are. Make whatever inroads that one can make with the few reasonable people left in the GOP, make deals, do whatever you have to do to pry them loose from the leadership. The Republican Party has become a cancer that will kill the America that we know unless they're stopped dead in their tracks.

Posted by: Rasputin22 on November 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans are at war between the stupid and evil wings of their party. Some, like Sarah Palin have been able to bridge the gap between the two. Sabotage is not strong enough to describe their careless behavior.

Posted by: sparko on November 22, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

That's fine, of course; criticism is just part of the job.

Is it fine? I missed this discussion and went to read the thread with interest this morning. How disappointing to find that your moderator had closed the comments and removed the comments of critics. As a result, trex appears to be arguing capably and inimitably with thin air.

The irony is that you probably don't even know your moderator did this, because you so rarely read your own comments. So now you're in the fairly humiliating position of publicly congratulating yourself for your thick skin while your mod has yet again indulged her exceptionally thin epidermis at your expense. She's made you look pretty foolish.

Posted by: shortstop on November 22, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

"FOXNEWS is partisan!

FOXNEWS hates America!

FOXNEWS makes shit up! -Kevo"

Here's a better one:

Fox is owned by a Saudi prince and an Australian billionaire who are both in bed with the ChiComs. You gonna believe them? You see any actual Americans in that sentence?

Square1, screw that noise. They're traitors - I know it, you know it, they know it, everybody knows it - they know it just as well as you and I do. I mean, this is a group of people who take at least one million dollars from Tata Industries and friends with a smile.

Posted by: burritoboy on November 22, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The next liberal commentator to observe that Republicans don't have immoral or unethical motives will be the first.

Posted by: Dave H on November 22, 2010 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

When an idiot calls you an idiot, it's a good sign.

Posted by: bdop4 on November 22, 2010 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's speech in Madison Square Garden in 1936:

For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace: business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me - and I welcome their hatred.

It doesn't seem like much has changed in the past 64 years, except that Republicans are that much closer to returning the United States to the Gilded Age. Perhaps we should all "welcome" the hatred of the Republican party. It is the only approach that makes sense in times like these.

Posted by: broken arrow on November 22, 2010 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Being criticized by the fascist scum of the American Right is a badge of honor. Sadly, such criticism violates a rule of drama, that the hero must be opposed by a "worthy opponent" of equal power. This completely leaves out the "conservative intellectuals" of the Right.

But kicking them hard between the legs and jabbing them in the eye with a sharpened pencil as they go down is always fun.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 22, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this administration is well aware that there is no reasoning with Republicans who have become more and more irrational in their so-called agenda, which is internally incoherent and self-contradictory not to mention destructive to the nation. They DO NOT CARE. They believe that "winning is all." No ethics -- yeah, get rid of that pesky committee -- no decent values (let 'em starve and die in the streets). They have embraced the most sadistic rhetoric I've seen in this country.

But as Axelrod said, you take the world as you find it. Inch by inch by inch this administration has made a big difference. Now they must adhere firmly to THEIR agenda, despite the boobs in the Senate and the recalcitrance of the house.

The biggest, very biggest problem of this administration is the fact that every single move made to get something actually passed and made into law is characterized by the press as 'caving' and by the Republicans as backing down. The press, including progressive blogs have the same values as Republicans: they want a 'strong' man leader, not someone who knows how to work things out for the best possible outcome under the most adverse circumstances.

This is our national shame.

Posted by: jjm on November 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, 80 years ago in another country, there was another revolutionary right wing political party that - when it became the second largest party in that country's legislative body following an election - adopted a policy of deliberate sabotage of government policy regarding the economy, in the belief that this would make things so bad that in a few years this party would be put into power by a public that believed (as a result of some very effective propaganda that is obviously still studied by folks like the GOP here today) that said revolutionary right wing part was the only force able to "save things."

Sadly, 78 years ago this coming January 30, these scum were proven right.

One hopes (but is not very optimistic, given that a majority of the American public is unaware that the Republicans will have a majority in the House next year) this history will not repeat itself.

Posted by: TCinLA on November 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK


Great- another whiny screed from the minions of the Democrap Party- the party of " elections have consequences" and "we won - deal with it"

The never ending mewling that "if only Republicans were more like us" then everything would be ok -

Posted by: tom on November 22, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

It's about time this point began to be made -- the Republicans HAVE been little more than saboteurs for the last 2 years, and there's NO indication that they have any intention of changing. Which is not a surprise, considering that for 10 years now their party has followed a course that to me has been morally reprehensible and incredibly irresponsible, cynical, and unpatriotic. In the words of Worf, "They have no honor."

Posted by: jjram on November 22, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

well done Steve. The vitriol shows you struck a nerve. They have no comeback other than taunts.

Posted by: angler on November 22, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Your Saturday column addressed the counter-argument, while the folks you cited did not. That sent the right-wing over the edge. As a matter of rhetoric, we might keep that in mind.

Here's the key quote from Saturday's column, in my view:

"But Jon's benefit-of-the-doubt approach would be more persuasive if (a) the same Republicans weren't rejecting ideas they used to support; and (b) GOP leaders weren't boasting publicly about prioritizing Obama's destruction above all else, including the health of the country.

Indeed, we can even go a little further with this and note that apparent sabotage isn't limited to economic policy. Why would Republican senators, without reason or explanation, oppose a nuclear arms treaty that advances U.S. national security interests? When the treaty enjoys support from the GOP elder statesmen and the Pentagon, and is only opposed by Iran, North Korea, and Senate Republicans, it leads to questions about the party's intentions that give one pause."


That's a fairly devastating line of attack. It addresses the possibility of decent motive (offered by a liberal commentator btw) weighs the evidence against it, and shows the consequences on national security.

Posted by: Measure for Measure on November 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

As FDR said: "They are unanimous in their hate for me--and I welcome their hatred."

Be proud of the enemies you have made. If such as they are your friends, you would be rightly ashamed.

The GOP only cares about their Thousand Year Republican Reich, and have no shame to lie and let the country burn in order to get it. Power is its own reward for them today.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on November 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

For God's sake, stop the self deprecation. For all you know, you and Krugman may be idiots? Way to take a stand, Steve. How about calling a spade a spade?

You might as well face it: you and Krugman are correct! The Republican's would rather see the country destroyed than a Democratic president be successful. Period. They are the epitome of evil.

Posted by: LPB on November 22, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, by all means, keep up this drumbeat, Steve. This Republican behavior should be called exactly what it is: treason. At the very least, Obama should have the FBI start looking into cases where congresspeople do their trash talking abroad with foreign leaders.

Posted by: Stephen Spear on November 22, 2010 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

The fact is that one of our two great political parties has made it clear that it has no interest in making America governable, unless it's doing the governing.

Funny how some things can be so easily put into just a few words. One sentence, crystal clear, right on the money.

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on November 22, 2010 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, since Regan, none of these so-called Regan Republicans are and were interested in helping out the country or the little man, and the middle class is all but dead! They are just not that interested in us, only CEOs and big corporations. People should get that by now!

When will the Dems act like grownups and be responsible and let these irresponsible tax cuts for the rich Expire, as that will only add to the deficit, and, with the expiration of these tax cuts, more revenue will be generated into the economy, the rich and wealthy will begin to pay their fairshare and not leave the tax burden to the middle class and working poor.

Posted by: angellight on November 22, 2010 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

LPB makes an excellent point Steve. (You're NOT an idiot, idiot!)

Seriously, Republicans are obsessed with maintaining the position of the wealthy, and to hell with everything else.

They need their tax cuts so they can pay off their gambling debts.

Posted by: Doug on November 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sabotage is what they've been doing since the day Saint Ronnie of Reagan took office. David Stockman said out loud in the early 80s that the deficit was being run up deliberately in order to provide political cover for reducing and eliminating popular social programs.

They. Said. It. Out. Loud.

Repeatedly.

And yet, no one seems to have heard them.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on November 22, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I personally would take it as a badge of honor if Gerson called ME an idiot.

Too bad you can't frame a tweet and hang it above your desk. Can you clip it and use it as background on your monitor?

Posted by: Maous Brain on November 22, 2010 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

I want the budget ballanced. I don't want to balance it in 10 years either. I want to balance in next year. We spend around four trillion. We take in around three trillion. I may be off, but we need to cut a trillion in spending.

There will be blood. Is it the end of America? I don't think so. Spending money we don't have is the end of America in my book. If we keep doing that the dollar will collapse.

We can't afford the government that we have. Say goodbye to a lot of things. We need to bring troops home and gut the defense budget. We need to shut down or seriously the Depts of Education, Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the National Institute of Health (I would keep some of the CDC).

We either make the cuts we want now or have the cuts forced on us later. It will be ugly if we do it now and only uglier later.

I have kids. We shouldn't mortgage their future. We need to pay as we go. People say that cutting government will be a big diaster. That is some big conspiracy to crash the system. It isn't. It is a plan to save this country.

Feel free to disagree and God bless you for caring.

Peace.

Posted by: Shakes on November 22, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

"The next liberal commentator to observe that Republicans don't have immoral or unethical motives will be the first."

That's not an "observation," Dave. That's a lie. (Except for the dying moderate wing a la Lugar.)

Posted by: Mouse Brain on November 22, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"the party of " elections have consequences" and "we won - deal with it"

Um, tom?

I believe both of those were said by ReThuglicans after the Supreme Court gave the 2000 election to Bush the Lesser.

Posted by: mao's brain on November 22, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"But I respect the rights of Republicans to advocate bad policy without suggesting that they are 'traitors'." - square1

Even when the policies they suggest would be destructive to the United States? Shutting down the government would cause (yet another) worldwide financial crisis at best. And not passing the START treaty? It should have been passed last year before the inspections lapsed.

How do you accept this kind of partisan politics before national security as not being traitorous? They are doing it on purpose with the express intent of weakening the POTUS?

Posted by: Marko on November 22, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Shakes @ 2:25 - you only address one side of the coin - spending. Tax reform is the other side of the same coin, and if you have no plans to increase revenues, your coin will not exist for your grandchildren!

Now as your spending cuts can be debated, so too can my revenue raising tax rates, but both would be on the table if there were any adults in the room:

Net income over $1,000,000 - a flat 40% tax rate

Net income over $500,000 - a flat 35% tax rate

Net income over $250,000 - a flat 30% tax rate

Net income between
$80,000 and $249,999 - a flat 24% tax rate

Net income between
$25,000 and 79,999 - a flat 16% tax rate

Net income between
$1 and $24,999 - a flat 5% tax rate

A 1/4 cent tax on stock exchange transactions would also help unearned income be part of the revenue mix.

Everyone would have a contribution to make to our national treasury, and spending will meet the level necessary for the generations to come!

Now, Shakes, that is a fuller debate! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 22, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Spending money we don't have is the end of America in my book."

The government debt of the United States isn't notably large compared to the size of our economy. In fact, it's smaller than many other major economies (on a comparable basis). You probably bought a house with a mortgage - you engaged in debt-financed deficit spending of your own (that year you bought the house you spent the purchase price of the house). The US is likely much less indebted than you are.

One of the most important purposes of the Constitution was to set up a government that could repay the astounding amount of debt the Continental Congress issued to pay for the Revolutionary War. The US in the late eighteenth century was vastly more indebted than now, and that wasn't been the end of America.

So, why the deficit concern as more important than so many other issues?

"We need to pay as we go."

You most likely didn't. Your kids won't, either (unless you intend to pay for their college educations in cash). Most corporations do not, either.

"We need to shut down or seriously the Depts of Education, Agriculture, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the National Institute of Health (I would keep some of the CDC)."

All those departments spend less than 200 billion a year. Where's the remaining 800+ billion in cuts coming from?

Let's review: you told us you had a plan to save 1 trillion dollars. You told us about less than 200 billion in savings. If your kid says that he's going to buy a $100 toy with the $20 he has in his pocket, do you consider your child's plan a serious one? Should we consider your plan to be serious?

Posted by: burritoboy on November 22, 2010 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
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