Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 27, 2011

CUTS AND CONSEQUENCES, CONT'D.... With the threat of a government shutdown still very much a possibility, there's been a fair amount of discussion about what both sides of the aisle want. There's been far too little talk about what would happen if one side succeeds.

It's reminiscent of horse-race journalism during a campaign -- the media tells us who's up and who's down, but not whose ideas have merit and what electoral victory would mean for the rest of us.

The budget fight is frustrating in identical ways. The discussion has generally focused on what House Republicans want (their $61 billion in brutal spending cuts), why they want it (they allegedly want to address the fiscal mess they created during the Bush years), and what they're prepared to do to get their way (shut down the government).

But the discourse rarely gets around to that other question: what would happen if Republicans actually got their way? It's heartening, then, to see the New York Times editorial board take a look at the consequences of the GOP plan.

In a recent report, economists at Goldman Sachs estimated that the House cuts would reduce economic growth by 1.5 percentage points to 2 percentage points in the second and third quarters of 2011. That would devastate employment. As a rule of thumb, each percentage point drop in growth means a loss of 1.2 million jobs. [...]

[M]ost of the cuts would be counterproductive. Annual spending on education through high school is cut by 12 percent, or nearly $6 billion (since the cuts would be squeezed into the rest of the current budget year, they are even deeper on an annualized basis).

Those cuts include reductions to Head Start that would remove 218,000 children from the program and cuts to elementary education that would hit 2,400 schools and nearly one million students. Pell Grants for college would also be cut by nearly $6 billion. Transportation investments would be cut by 9 percent, or $8.1 billion, including $2.7 billion from rail, $1 billion from highway spending and $675 million from public transit. Americorps and other community-service programs would be eliminated, although their benefit to society surely exceeds their $1.2 billion cost. Since national service programs are matched by $800 million from foundations and other sources, that would be lost, too.

The list goes on. Small businesses would be hit by a 9 percent cut, or $84 million, to the Small Business Administration. Homeowners facing foreclosure and other Americans with legal problems would be hurt by a $70 million cut to legal aid. Financial regulators would endure deep cuts that would cripple their ability to carry out the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. That's asking for another financial crisis.

Who's up and who's down in the midst of the budget fight certainly matters, but so does the fact that the Republican plan, by any objective measure, is an abject disaster and a recipe for a much weaker economy. For all the silly "job-killing" references during the health care debate, we're talking about a GOP spending plan that would make unemployment worse, on purpose.

What's more -- and here's the kicker -- Republicans really aren't disputing any of this. Told hundreds of thousands of workers would lose their jobs if the GOP succeeds, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, "So be it." Told Goldman Sachs projects the Republican plan pushing the U.S. economy back towards a recession, GOP officials blow if it off, and offer no competing projections of their own.

It's possible political reporters, in general, don't consider this especially important, since they know full well that the Democratic Senate and Democratic White House won't approve the Republican plan as-is. Their assumptions are right.

But the House did approve the GOP plan, and Republicans are still sticking to their proposal during ongoing negotiations.

It matters, in other words, that the House majority is pushing a ridiculous plan that would hurt the country. The public should be made aware of it.

Steve Benen 12:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (45)

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It's possible political reporters, in general, don't consider this especially important, since they know full well that the Democratic Senate and Democratic White House won't approve the Republican plan as-is.

Or that the bigger the fight, the greater their job security.

Posted by: martin on February 27, 2011 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, the average US voter is far too politically removed, unmotivated, and stupid to either understand this or do a damned thing about it. This is yet another payoff of the 40+ year GOP mission to defund public education: a stupid population is easier to fool and manipulate.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on February 27, 2011 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

It is a good thing that the NY Times editorial board is trying to predict the effects the Republicans proposed cuts would have. But they didn't succeed.

The Goldman Sachs team forecast a decline in the annual growth rate of 1.5% over the next two quarters (not 1.5 % to 2% by the way). That means they forecast that third quarter 2011 GDP would be 0.75% lower if the Republicans get their way.

The employment level is related to the GDP level (via the rule of thumb called Okun's law) so related to a decline in the annual growth rate times the duration of that decline (in this case they only forecast out two quarters).


It isn't and can't be true that "each percentage point drop in [the annualised] growth [rate] means a loss of 1.2 million jobs" Also it isn't true that a 1% reduction of GDP means a loss of 1.2 million jobs. The rule of thumb is employment declines roughly 0.5 % of the labor force for every 1% decline in GDP. That means a 1% decline in GDP (not the growth rate the level) corresponds to a loss of around 700 thousand jobs not 1.2 million.

The forecast decline in employment if the Republicans get their way is around 350,000 jobs not 2.4 million as suggested by the New York Times.

The correct number shows that the Republicans are irresponsible and insane and must be stopped, but there is no reason to print arithmetic mistakes.

The editorial board should get on the phone to their colleague Paul Krugman who needs to give them a good talking to.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on February 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

But that would be like asking why the Emperor is naked! Everyone who is part of the conspiracy to reduce 99% of Americans to peasant status might become embarrassed.

The sad fact is that Americans do not want to know the truth. They want to believe spoon fed illusions about the nature of reality. They refuse to believe everything is connected to everything; that their are no free lunches; that everything has to go somewhere; and that Nature is always right. They have to learn everything the hard way--through blood, sweat, and tears. Lots of tears. Because they are unwilling to do the hard work of learning their own history, and waking up to the fact that smart guys are taking them to the cleaners every single day. If your approach is to simply wait for the Cavalry, I got news for you--there ain't no Cavalry. You are on your own.

Posted by: c4Logic on February 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Does the public care? I mean the public predisposed to back the Republicans anyway. Look at big business. Big business interests *should* know better yet they often back policy not in their best interest or oppose policy that is. Why in the world would big business not want health care reform? They should be single payer's biggest advocate.

In other news, this would be fabulous!

http://www.businessinsider.com/fox-news-boss-roger-ailes-to-be-indicted-2011-2

Posted by: You Don't Say on February 27, 2011 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

We keep forgetting that the republicans really don't want the economy to improve until after 2012 - if then. It's no skin off their teeth if unemployment goes up and GDP goes down. The GOP is adept at fooling the voters who will blame the double dip on the democrats (who, they will say, didn't cut enough government spending). The rich will still have their tax cuts and they know which side their croissants are buttered on. And the democrats, who are not adept at much of anything, will continue to capitulate in the hope of picking up some of the croissant crumbs. End of story.

Posted by: CDW on February 27, 2011 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

"It matters, in other words, that the House majority is pushing a ridiculous plan that would hurt the country. The public should be made aware of it."

Who is going to make them aware of it when they only listen to Rush, Beck, Sarah and False, er Fox News?

Posted by: Schtick on February 27, 2011 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, lets all be proud that Obama is taking the fight to the Republicans on this one. When he noted in that speech the other day the number of jobs lost, by state, due to the Republican plan, I think that really caught people's eyes. Indeed, that the DNC is now running ads with those numbers really should shake people up. When the president says, "I won't let the Republicans destroy middle class jobs just to give breaks to their wealthy buddies," everyone knows he really means it. Thank god we have a tough, stand-tall president and a Democratic caucus united behind him.

Posted by: KC on February 27, 2011 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

From Zorro:

"This is yet another payoff of the 40+ year GOP mission to defund public education: a stupid population is easier to fool and manipulate."


Since the overwhelming majority of the populace HAS been educated by public education, your argument infers that the stupid, foolish voters you speak of are a direct result of the GOP's INability to defund it.

By your own argument we would NEED to defund this public education you speak of to get the more informed population you desire.

If you truly care about educating our kids then you should throw your support behind vouchers. This is the only way to allow the less advantaged among us the quality education afforded to the elite of this country.

Check out the tuition at Sidwell Friends where the political elite send their kids. 30k a year. How many regular folks can afford this? None. The teachers union does not want your kid to get the best education. They do not want to embrace a progressive educational program where all can get a quality education. They prefer the status quo. Helps to keep the help in their place.

Posted by: Ionu on February 27, 2011 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Well, the tea baggers and radical Republicans did say the election was all about jobs. They just forget to mention it was about them killing jobs.

Posted by: max on February 27, 2011 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP view their primary job to be electing a Republican president in 2012, the American people be damned. Given their recent success electing Republicans to the House the GOP thinks confrontation on every possible, contrived issue is the way to do it.

Boehner looks more like the captain of the Titanic than the wise political visionary he fancies himself to be. People are tired of the outlandish, confrontational tactics used by Beck, Palin, Walker. As support builds for public sector workers in Wisconsin Governor Walker is rapidly becoming a symbol and a liability to his party.

In the last three months the GOP has managed to really piss off Liberals and Democrats (35 percent of all voters) Labor (10 percent of all voters), gays and lesbians (10 percent of all voters), Muslims, Hispanics, Blacks, environmentalists. These numbers add up.

Budget deficits do need to be addressed but there's an expense side and a revenue side to this discussion and Republicans have chosen to clumsily emphasize just the cutting. When the firemen, police, teachers, nurses, transit workers and community service professionals start being laid off from schools, clinics, police and fire departments, community service organizations, etc. this will drive home how much the wars and tax cuts for the wealthy they championed under George Bush actually harm their own communities and families.

There's no more money in the piggy back BECAUSE THE GOP SQUANDERED TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS FUNDING A WAR DONALD RUMSFELD NOW SAYS SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN FOUGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Republicans are like the kid brought up on charges of killing his parents who, upon conviction, asks the judge for leniency because he's an orphan. They are nothing but a bunch of hypocritical opportunists who have their own, greedy power grab as their first priority. Their positions are clear.

So be it.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"The GOP is adept at fooling the voters who will blame the double dip on the democrats (who, they will say, didn't cut enough government spending)."

Sooooo CDW, who would you blame? After all the Dems have controlled the nations purse strings since Jan 07 and the whole enchilada since Jan 09. Now that the GOP has controlled the house, 1/3rd of the federal government equation, for 1 month you think they should take the blame? We will get nowhere as long as partisans schill for either side. The stark fact of the matter is the money problems America is facing is the result of 527 elected officials at the federal level (mostly lawyers btw) have mismanaged the peoples money since WWII when we had to dig out of the financial hole that resulted. The government union debacle started with JFK and accelerated the descent into the financial abyss we find ourselves in today. Look at deregulation. Both R's and D's have participated. Trade agreements sending jobs overseas? R's and D's again. Encouraging bad loans by banks? R's and D's. Promising benefits to government unions that are not payed for? R's and D's? Going to war on borrowed funds? R's and D's again. They only want you to THINK there is a difference. In other words...they don't want you to think at all.

Democrats and Republicans alike screwed us and we will need to quit playing pawn for either side and recognize that we, the people, have to unite against the political elite if are to fix it. We can start by confiscating the bank accounts of all the elected officials since 1945. May not fix the mess they caused but it would send a signal to those currently serving or planning on spending hundreds of millions on the most important thing of their lives, the next campaign.

The next thing that needs to happen is for journalist to quit playing cheerleader for either side and do some real investigative reporting. It is the (alleged) job of the press to keep the government accountable to the people by shining a light on the cock roaches. Unfortunately for us the press has a money interest in keeping the system just the way it is. Dysfunctional. Who would read any of them if things were being run as they should? No one. They need the chaos and division. Benen is just like Beck only on the other side. The funny thing is that they need each other to justify their jobs.

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

"After all the Dems have controlled the nations purse strings since Jan 07 and the whole enchilada since Jan 09."

Oh, please. If you believe this then you haven't been paying attention. Having a Democratic president and majorities in both the house and Senate is not enough when 41 Republicans can--and do--block everything. They would rather let Americans rot than let the POTUS get credit.

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 27, 2011 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

O.K. then PT, by your logic the failure of congress during the Bush years, when the GOP never held filibuster proof majorities in the Senate, can be blamed equally on the Dems. Right? Dems did NOT block the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan remember. Did not block no child left behind. Did not block the tax cuts. Then you can take us back to the Clinton years. We find two wars, Bosnia and Haiti.Two trade agreements NAFTA and GATT. Deregulation of the banksters with the repeal of Glass/Steagal. All with Dems and GOPers acting together.

I could keep going back but I am sure you know all this paying attention as closely as you have.

You are foolish if you believe there is a good party and a bad party. Or perhaps you have bought into the hype that the Dems are the party of the people and the Repubs are the party of business.

The are just two wings of the same bird. The party of the political elite.

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Manapp99

I would suggest that trillions of the debt run up since 07 is directly attributable to putting on the books two wars, including one of total choice, waged by the last President. Trillions more were run up keeping the country from sinking into a great depression. Among those trillions were revenue short falls that result directly from people losing their jobs and not receiving pay increases that would normally have happened if our Wall Street masters of the universe had cared more about making loans so businesses could build stuff here instead of playing casino in the housing bubble.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 27, 2011 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

The FY09 budget was written by the Bush admin and passed(with relatively few changes) during his term. There was a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit for FY09 and a trillion+ dollar deficit projected for a couple of subsequent years waiting on whoever won the '08 Presidential election. Not to mention the country being on the brink of economic collapse and hemorrhaging jobs at a historic pace when Obama was sworn in.

The notion that Dems caused the debt is absurd. Bush was arguably the most fiscally irresponsible President in history, and congressional republicans were cheerleading the whole time. As during Clinton's term, republicans suddenly feign concern about the deficit when a Democrat is in the White House. The lot of them are fiscal frauds.

Posted by: Holmes on February 27, 2011 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

manapp99, the Bush tax cuts were passed using reconciliation, meaning they needed just 51 votes.

Posted by: Holmes on February 27, 2011 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

"I would suggest that trillions of the debt run up since 07 is directly attributable to putting on the books two wars, including one of total choice, waged by the last President."

How many Dems voted for these wars? How many times did the Dems filibuster the continued funding of these wars? Which of the two wars were defunded when the Dems took over in Jan 07?
I am sure the Democrats in DC appreciate you fighting for them but what is in it for you? I am sure you have heard of the term "useful idiot". Both sides love the blog wars. Takes the focus off of them.

It is like sailing on a ship that is totally rotted and focusing only on the mast while ignoring the fact that there is a hole in the hull. You have a brand new mast and a full sail and yet your still sinking. Wonder why?

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

manapp99, what choice do we have? Return the Republicans to power? Right, those bastards are all in favor of running up debt whenever they can. Worse they think the defense budget and raising taxes shouldn't even be considered.

Maybe you think we should abandon the Democrats for the Tea Party. What a joke. The Tea Party is an astroturf organization run by Dick Army and funded by the Koch brothers. They couldn't even assemble 5000 people to counter prostest the union protests in Wisconsin.

Create a real third party manapp99 and we will consider it. Until then, play the hand that has been dealt all of us.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 27, 2011 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I realize this is an uphill battle Ron. The first thing I would suggest is everyone change their affilitation to independent. Do not give either side the assurance of your vote. Next I would ask that we blast any journalist that is clearly advocating for one side over the other. We have got to have a free press that reports instead of spins. Next we demand that we be governed more at the state and local level, where we have greater access, and less at the federal level. The only way I can see to get the lobbist out of the equation is a total revamp of how we send people to DC. One radical proposal is to have a lottery instead of elections. We judge our fellow citizens that way when we chose juries. Why not when we chose representatives. Imagine there being no elections for anyone, corporations or unions, to buy. A lottery of registered voters that would allow a mix of regular voters to go and represent the will of the constituents instead of campaign contributors. You would poll those in the area you represent and vote accordingly. Let the people have a real voice and they will have more interest.

Most importantly...we, the people, have got to quit looking at each other as enemies and understand what we truly are...cell mates. I can not stress enough how the political class WANT us to bicker and fight with each other. The same reason the royal family in Saudi Arabia (and others in the middle east)has fomented anti western sentiment for decades. If their people have us to hate they will not pay as much attention to those who are really screwing them. Their own leaders.

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

manapp99 is a troll and a shill. He knows damn well that the Bush tax cuts were passed using (51 vote) reconciliation. Under reconciliation, you can't affect the long-term deficit, so the tax cuts were term limited, giving the repigs cover for their deficit-busting redistribution of wealth scheme. Siphon off major portions of tax revenue thru tax breaks for the top 2%, them claim that we are broke. Then claim the deficit is the "top priority" and balance the budget by taking from the middle class, the poor, the weak, the sick, the elderly, and from programs for our children.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on February 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

O.K. Charlie. Then why didn't the Dems repeal the tax cuts after Obama took over and they had their own majorities. Better yet....why didn't they RAISE the taxes on the rich whey they controlled all three. They would not have had to worry about a filibuster because, as you said, they would only need 51 votes.

I am not sure if your a troll or a schill or just uninformed but if you think the Dems WANT to help you but can't because of those evil GOPers your delusional.

Both parties bailed out the banks. Both parties are beholden to large monied interests. Neither party gives a rat's ass about the little guy. Look at the evidence with out the bias filter and you will see it.

Though I have never met you and probably never will I can assure you that you and I have far more in common than you and any elected official in Washington.

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems should get their share of the blame for not passing a budget last year.

But manapp, while the Dems may not care about me, they don't actively want to hurt me.

Posted by: thanks, dems on February 27, 2011 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Manapp99, anyone who equates Steve Benen with Glenn Beck is on the Palinesque and Bachmanesque fringe of rational thought. Good luck confiscating lawmakers' bank accounts. Why don't you go work on a bill to do that and stop bothering serious voters building real coalitions with attainable goals.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on February 27, 2011 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

"But manapp, while the Dems may not care about me, they don't actively want to hurt me."

I guess you have no problem with them taking the money you would spend on your families and giving it to too big to fail banks. Or airports and jet engines for campaign donors. Or giving government positions to friends. I would call that actively wishing to hurt you. Also, you could say that big business does not want to "actively hurt you" as they do need customers after all. They clearly do not actively want to help you, that is for sure.

As far as throwing in Benen with the Beckster I feel that way because he purposefully prints misinformation(I assume purpose because he knows the truth yet spins it for his side) and because this website censures those with a different POV. He does not want you to hear the other side of the story.

I have been disallowed to post here but get away with it by stealth browsing. I tried to post here earlier but was disallowed so I switched to stealth and here I am.

Why would Benen want to shield you from any discourse? Benen, like Rush and Sean and Beck want you to post here only if you agree with him. You have to ask yourself, or hell, why don't we just ask Steve....

Steve, why do you censure the people that post on your website? What is wrong with a good spirited discussion?

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

It is ironic that Mitch Daniels, Bush's director of budget when they took Clinton's massive surplus and made it into a massive deficit, is now hoping to be our next president!

Posted by: j on February 27, 2011 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

If you truly care about educating our kids then you should throw your support behind vouchers. This is the only way to allow the less advantaged among us the quality education afforded to the elite of this country.
Posted by: Ionu on February 27, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Nonsense.

First, no voucher covers the entire tuition, much less other costs (nicer clothes to fit in, spending money to match your "mates" etc). So the truly "less advantaged" would still not be able to send their children to the elite schools -- they wouldn't be able to make up the difference. All vouchers do is make it easier for the advantaged -- who already send their kids to those elite schools -- to save a little towards a fancier vacation.

And second, no private school takes in everyone; they don't have to. They can pick and choose to skim the "cream" -- no learning problems, no behavioural problems -- and they do. The ultimate result is that the private schools "rejects" would be in a worse than ever situation; either there'd be no schools at all for them, or the few available schools would be truly terrible, because all the money had been siphoned off for the vouchers.

Posted by: exlibra on February 27, 2011 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of talking about it in terms of "loss in growth," how about we talk about it in terms of people unable to pay their god damn bills? Screw the masters of the universe and their economic fucking growth -- how about we discuss people being able to make a decent living and put food on the table?

I was really disappointed by the incredibly weak UNION TURNOUT this last weekend.

Where the hell are the organizers? Why were statehouse rallies not announced until late in the week?

Even so -- where was everyone on Saturday? I mean, it's a fucking hour of your time!

MoveOn is sucking all the air out of the room while not organizing anything except as a fundraising ploy.

WHERE ARE THE UNION ORGANIZERS?

Why are there not rallies planned for EVERY WEEKEND FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE?

I mean, srsly, people. We really have to do better than this.

Posted by: karen marie on February 27, 2011 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Zorro sez: "Unfortunately, the average US voter is far too politically removed, unmotivated, and stupid to either understand this or do a damned thing about it."

Were YOU at a rally on Saturday, Zorro? Because if you weren't, you can just STFU about "the average US voter."

And Manapp is a troll. He/she just wants you to lay down and take it in the ass because "both sides are bad." Yeah, that will show "them," won't it?

The apathy evident even among people who claim to get it just pisses me right the fuck off.

Posted by: karen marie on February 27, 2011 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

exlibra...If you institute vouchers at the same rate that public schools are remibursed per pupil you will find many who will continue to send their kids to public school for a variety of reasons but those with kids at failing schools, like most in the inner city, would have a choice of at least sending thier kids to ANOTHER public school. To see what the poor really think of the voucher system you only have to look at Washington DC. Black leaders have urged Obama to continue the voucher program there. Why? Because it helps underprivileged children the most. Why would it be discontinued since it is so successful? Because labor is against it.

Vouchers and charter schools are working better than the status quo. What amazes me is alleged "progressives" defending the status quo in spite of the dreadful track record of public schools.

The public education system, like our federal government is trying to make outdated methods work in today's world. We have got to embrace change if we wish to keep up in a changing world.

Posted by: Ionu on February 27, 2011 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Another thing about cuts: sudden cuts are worse than gradual shifts in funding, or if "we'd done it some other way all along." So if all of a sudden there's less money for government program X, then employees are thrown out of work, people have to scramble for alternatives etc. It's not at all like having developed alternatives, in place, years ago.

BTW, about the public employee unions: Jonah Goldberg's et al hit on them is rubbish. There is no excuse to single out the money that taxpayers have to pay them, versus all the other demands from lobbyists, contributors, etc.

Posted by: neil b on February 27, 2011 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

"And Manapp is a troll. He/she just wants you to lay down and take it in the ass because "both sides are bad." Yeah, that will show "them," won't it?"

Jeebus, reading comprehension must be a struggle for you.

Manapp wants you to STAND UP and quit TAKING IT IN THE ASS. Damn. Haven't you been reamed enough by those in Washington. Haven't you been paying attention as they party like there is no tomorrow on your money? Private jets for vacations? Have you been invited? "Fact finding missions" for congress to far reaching places. People are losing their homes and Pelosi pays 19k a month for an office? Bridges to nowhere in Alaska.

I voted GOP last time to kick the Dems out. I will vote Dem next time to kick the GOP out. I can go on forever until they get it. I do not want costly failed wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or on drugs. I do not want politicians deciding who can marry whom. Just fix the damn roads and maintain a military in case we are attacked. Cut the defense budget and get rid of PBS, Amtrack and the depts of Education and Labor. Pull our troops out of Japan, Europe and every where else we are not wanted or needed. Kick the UN out of New York as they are worthless and ineffective.

If I am a troll I am only trolling for common sense government. Ours is clearly out of control and we can no longer afford it.

Posted by: manapp99 on February 27, 2011 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

I am wary of giving the right, or any political faction, excessive credit for long-range planning, but it does seem as if things have gone too well to be accidental in the past decade for any people who may have wanted to crack down hard on the middle class.

2001:

Clinton surpluses: "It's the people's money. Give it back to them."

Deficits and debt: "Donworriboutit!"

Tax cuts: "Pay for themselves."

Tax increases: "People are already taxed too much to pay for waste, fraud and abuse, you commie."

2009:

Tax increases: discussion no longer permitted

Tax cuts: "Pay for themselves."

Jobs, homes, and health for working people: "Donworriboutit!"

Deficits and debt: "Holy shit! The sky is falling!"

Clinton surpluses: "Huh? Who's Clinton?"

It almost seems like a setup. Cause a catastrophe and then demand policies that no one would consider for a minute if you hadn't caused a catastrophe. Of course, it's way too devious, deep, and long-gameish for any known Republican office holder. But maybe not for the people who pull their strings.

The hard question is why. When countries all around the world are struggling to rise to our level of freedom and prosperity, why are we working so hard to sink to theirs. I know the oligarch argument, but what kind of madmen think that even they will be better off when 95% of the population is reduced to poverty and hopelessness, and the country is a cauldron of resentment?

Posted by: tamiasmin on February 27, 2011 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

manapp is a concern troll. So let's all please ignore the "I am so concerned about our out of control, over reaching government" hack. I am sure that when GWB and DICK were spending us into oblivion, spying on Americans, suspending habeas, torturing people, starting wars, exposing an undercover CIA agent, applying extraordinary rendition, ect. that he was up in arms about the lack of "common sense government", about a government "out of control" that "we can no longer afford". He is a first-class blowhard who thinks he's a first-class manipulator. (Phazor now set to 'Ingore').

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on February 27, 2011 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Next we demand that we be governed more at the state and local level, where we have greater access, and less at the federal level."

This is one of the sillier conservative/libertarian/anti-federalist ideas out there. They think state and local reps are easier for 'the public' to influence but less easy for corporations to influence. I don't get it. They seem to think that the media at the local and state level is more able to investigate corruption. I'm mystified.

As far as I can see, this idea of returning power to the local level is just a ploy to disarm the public in favor of the multinationals who are wealthier than a good many nation states. It's misguided, short-sighted, and foolish. But it is ideologically pure, so that should count for everything.

Posted by: Seould on February 27, 2011 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

karen marie: "Even so -- where was everyone on Saturday? I mean, it's a fucking hour of your time!"

I was at the move-on rally in front of the capitol in Saint Paul, standing on a pile of snow in 10º weather. The crowd appeared to be a mix of liberals and union people.

Most of the speakers, including Keith Ellison, were disappointments. One speaker, a woman, couldn't be heard--I thought that was metaphorically very fitting--and she was droning on and on through what appeared to be the expected litany of liberal complaints...some reference to the cost of health care and those d**n wars drifted through. Keith Ellison got a rousing cheer when he was introduced but then he started trying to pimp Obama as a leader of the progressive movement and the crowd started yelling "Not lately!" and "Where is Obama!" so that didn't go over so well.

But yes, it is time for everyone who cares to stand up and be counted. Solidarity with Wisconsin workers!

Did I mention that it was really, really cold yesterday, and my feet are still thawing?

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 27, 2011 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

"The public should be made aware of it."

Yes, they should, but don't hold your breath. If Democrats had their act together, every Democratic lawmaker would refer to the Republican budget as the GOP's "job-killing budget" or "the economy-killing budget," but that just won't happen.

Posted by: ameshall on February 27, 2011 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

do not engage Manappe99... he is really Dick Armey.

Posted by: T2 on February 27, 2011 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

All vouchers do is siphon public money (school taxes) OUT of the public school system. In no way does it provide any better education for students. What they do accomplish is destroy teachers' unions and reduce the amount of available funds for public schooling. It's just the basic Teabagger response to anything they don't like and can't control: "I'm going to take my ball and go home!"
re any of manapp88's screeds: I little doubt you have been banned/deleted, not because the brilliance of your queries and irrefutable logic, but most likely because you ARE a troll. In all your posts, I saw not one link to ANYTHING. Every post consists of nothing but false equivalency arguments and even dumber ideas about how to solve our country's current problems. Offer intelligent ideas and data to back up your claims and you might not need your "stealth" pseudonym.
Here's an idea manapp88: as your goals, supposedly, are the same as ours, why not move over to fields more in need of cultivating? Say, Redstate? Or any other right-wing fantasy blog. Heaven knows they're the ones who need to see the light.
The get back to us about how well you were received...

Posted by: Doug on February 27, 2011 at 8:20 PM | PERMALINK

Manapp isn't a troll. He's a common variety Randian, as is evident from this quote @6PM:
"Just fix the damn roads and maintain a military in case we are attacked. Cut the defense budget and get rid of PBS, Amtrack and the depts of Education and Labor. Pull our troops out of Japan, Europe and every where else we are not wanted or needed. Kick the UN out of New York as they are worthless and ineffective."
Standard talking points for the Pauls (Rand and Ron), as is the rest of that same screed.

Posted by: exlibra on February 27, 2011 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

And we'll finally achieve the conservative dream; the death of the American Middle Class.

Posted by: Jamie on February 27, 2011 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

I just talked to a friend whose job may be affected by the cuts. He works for a contractor on a federal project subject to budget cuts, and not only would their budget be cut, it would be cut retroactively to the start of their fiscal year.

Since they're more than halfway through their fiscal year, it would double the effect of the cut in order to come in for the year at the amount allocated.

They've been warned that the 1,500 person workforce at the project is very likely to be reduced to 500, with pink slips coming out next week.

Even funnier? This doesn't change their deliverables or schedule.

Posted by: anonymouss on February 27, 2011 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

I just talked to a friend whose job may be affected by the cuts. He works for a contractor on a federal project subject to budget cuts, and not only would their budget be cut, it would be cut retroactively to the start of their fiscal year.

Since they're more than halfway through their fiscal year, it would double the effect of the cut in order to come in for the year at the amount allocated.

They've been warned that the 1,500 person workforce at the project is very likely to be reduced to 500, with pink slips coming out next week. ******************************

Remember this at the polls!!! The G.reed O.ver P.eople party just love them some Tax Cuts for the Uber Rich. Everybody else, you get cuts too. Job cuts! - during already massive unemployment! Thanks GOP from the rest of us.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on February 27, 2011 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

To see what the poor really think of the voucher system you only have to look at Washington DC. Black leaders have urged Obama to continue the voucher program there.
Posted by: Ionu on February 27, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Not so fast. The blacks are split wrt the public/voucher school issue:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/26/AR2011022600170.html
The article talks, mostly, about the situation in VA but the split in DC is mentioned also. Nor is the situation as clear cut as you claim wrt the quality of education in public vs private/charter schools. It's too late in the evening to start combing "teh intertubes" for the relevant links, but the recent studies have been showing that there's little or no difference. And that, where the private/charter schools are better it's, mostly, because they're allowed to select their student body -- something the public schools cannot do.

Posted by: exlibra on February 28, 2011 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Very good post. I have already bookmarked your site. Luck is with me today as I have found many great web pages like this one and Como jugar a las maquinas tragaperras. Keep up good work!

Posted by: Tragaperras on February 28, 2011 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK
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