Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 18, 2011

GANG OF SIX 'VERY CLOSE' TO AN AGREEMENT, INTENDS TO 'MAKE EVERYBODY MAD'.... Two months ago, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a member of the bipartisan "Gang of Six" deficit-reduction talks, said the group was "getting close" to striking a deal. Two weeks ago, however, the negotiations "nearly collapsed," and the whole initiative was on the verge of being scrapped.

As of yesterday, members of the gang signaled that the talks are not only back on track, but are also "very close" to a compromise. And given what participants are saying about the plan's substance, Democrats will soon wish the talks had collapsed.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Gang of Six budget negotiators, said Sunday on "Face the Nation" that tackling Social Security's solvency remains on the table for the group.

The Gang of Six is attempting to put the December recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission into law. Social Security does not contribute to deficit spending since it draws benefits from a separate trust fund, but the fiscal commission sought to ward off a solvency crisis for Social Security after 2037 by raising the retirement age while reducing benefits. [...]

Including Social Security in the Gang of Six package appears to be a concession by Democrats made in exchange for agreement to raise some revenue by Republicans.

In addition to needlessly going after Social Security, the gang also reportedly intends to eliminate the home mortgage tax deduction. As Warner put it, "We are going to make everybody mad with our approach."

That's almost certainly an understatement. It's difficult to scrutinize a blueprint that hasn't been released, but in addition to Warner's comments, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), another gang member, told Fox News yesterday that the agreement will also include spending caps on mandatory and discretionary spending, which is hopelessly insane.

By all appearances, Democrats in this group are prepared to effectively give up any hopes of progressive governance for a generation and give in to entitlement cuts, in exchange for tax increases that sane Republicans should consider a no-brainer anyway.

If the gang reaches an agreement, and it looks like the one being talked about by its members, I'm hard pressed to imagine how it could pass.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (50)

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Once again, and Durbin is my prime example, the only thing you can depend on a Democrat to do is surrender. I think one part of MY budget plan would be to seize all assets of anyone elected to the U.S. Senate, then pay them the salary of a mid-level officer in the U.S. armed forces.

Posted by: JMG on April 18, 2011 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

There's a reason people don't like gangs.

Little good comes from gangs, be they a motorcycle, the James, or the Dalton; as large as Attila's, or as small as this group of 6.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 18, 2011 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Warner didn't say "We are going to make everybody mad." He boasted it. The look on his face when he said that showed pure prideful joy of parentage in what he thought was clever phrasing.

Why-oh-why are rich people allowed to make all the decisions of all us have-nots?

Posted by: K in VA on April 18, 2011 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

the gang also reportedly intends to eliminate the home mortgage tax deduction.

I would seriously question the source of this part. I can't imagine any serious economist suggesting this, and it certainly isn't politically wise. I'm guessing the source is someone like Karl Rove.

Posted by: Danp on April 18, 2011 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Goddamnit!, this debate shouldn't be about Republicans vs. Democrats or conservatives vs. moderates (since liberals aren't invited to the table). It should be about what will work, and what has worked in the past vs. what won't work and what hasn't worked in the past.

Tax cuts for the wealthy haven't worked to create jobs. All they've done is increase the deficit. So what would work would be to return to the tax rates of the 1990s when 22 million jobs were created.

Deregulating Wall Street hasn't worked. It resulted in the mortgage meltdown and the Republican Recession. Before that it resulted in the Enron/Worldcom scandals and before that it resulted in the Dot-com Bubble and Bust and before that it resulted in the Savings and Loan scandal. It's time to return to the rules that made Wall Street a tool for running capitalism instead of rules that make it capitalism run by tools.

Social Security has been one of the most successful federal programs ever, giving millions of seniors (and disabled) a secure and comfortable life in retirement. We shouldn't f*ck with it unless we have clear, irrefutable evidence that f*cking with it won't damage it.

Progressives need to keep repeating: If you find a "middle ground" between 'D' and 'R' then you end up in 'N', with the national engine revving but the car not moving.

Posted by: SteveT on April 18, 2011 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

DanP

I would have thought the same, but right there in the Sunday NYT...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17TopDown-t.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=mortgage%20interest%20deduction&st=cse

I think their reasoning is flawed,certainly.

Posted by: bignose on April 18, 2011 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

"...in exchange for tax increases that sane Republicans should consider a no-brainer anyway"


Oh boy, more welfare for corporations and the MIC, just what we needed!

Posted by: H.Finn on April 18, 2011 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe we should see the agreement before we speculate about the end of civilization as we know it.

As to the future of progressivism, I think we have wasted a generation. While the conservatives were creating all sorts of infrastructure and developing lots of people to run for all sorts of positions down to and including dog catcher, we have been dithering. We have been singularly bad at encouraging young progressives to enter a life of public service. In most cities and states our farm system sucks.

All of the problems can be cured, but no one among the Democrats in Washington even begins to understand the problem. Expect progressivism to continue its downward spiral.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 18, 2011 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

"We are going to make everybody mad."

Is this is some dumbed-down version of the already-dumb "Shock Doctrine?" Fix things by breaking them, create harmony through chaos and comity through intransigence. What a pack of morons.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 18, 2011 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Any senators we can count on to put an anonymous hold on this proposal when it is introduced?

Posted by: martin on April 18, 2011 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

Picking up where Ron Byers signs off, once again, those who frame the argument, win the argument. ("We're Broke!")

What Congress SHOULD be addressing is spelled out by AlterNet editor Joshua Holland in "The Fifteen Biggest Lies about the Economy".

He was on C-SPAN Booknotes over the weekend. Check it out.

Posted by: DAY on April 18, 2011 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

I think Social Security is in trouble, payouts have already exceeded receipts.It can be fixed by increasing the cap on the pay in. If that can be done, Social Security can be taken off the table.

Posted by: Marc on April 18, 2011 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

hells littlest angel said:
Fix things by breaking them, create harmony through chaos and comity through intransigence. What a pack of morons.

Creating chaos seems to be the Republicans' plan. They've already cut taxes until ordinary government spending creates huge deficits, and then cited the deficits as proof that government spending is too high.

Now they plan to cut social security and medicare and then they will cite the rise in poverty and desperation among the elderly as proof the social security and medicare don't work the programs should be eliminated altogether.

Pretty soon now, they will cite the chaos and "lack of civility" caused by the democratic process as proof that letting the "unproductive" members of society vote is no way to run a government.

Posted by: SteveT on April 18, 2011 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

the gang also reportedly intends to eliminate the home mortgage tax deduction.

danp: I can't imagine any serious economist suggesting this, and it certainly isn't politically wise.

Actually, it's about time they ended this portion of the federally-funded institutional discrimination against renters.

Posted by: chi res on April 18, 2011 at 9:04 AM | PERMALINK

The Simpson-Bowles Commission's recommendations didn't pass Congress either -- they didn't even pass their own commission -- yet they're now being held up as the ideal compromise. In DC, it's hard to keep a bad idea down.

Posted by: Tom Allen on April 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Eliminating deductions for mortgages would be a huge burden on middle class homeowners. It's one of the few things that is exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax. And it would do nothing to help renters.

Posted by: Danp on April 18, 2011 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Danp: "Eliminating deductions for mortgages would be a huge burden on middle class homeowners."

That's not what I've read. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/05/magazine/305deduction.1.html Most middle class homeowners get very little from the home mortgage interest deduction. They benefit if they itemize, and most middle class households are better off taking the standard deduction instead. Meanwhile, those with the biggest mortgages and in the highest tax brackets get the most out of the deduction, and they're the ones who didn't need it to get them to buy a home in the first place (plus it also applies to second homes--truly ridiculous).

It's a horribly targeted subsidy. And it costs the treasury about $100 billion a year. It desperately needs to be narrowed, if it's kept at all. I doubt anyone would end it cold turkey, but I read that Britain phased its subsidy out over a 12 year period without damaging its housing market.

If we're serious about the debt, this badly focused subsidy should be on the chopping block. If we want to give a break to middle class households, then let's just give them a break and not make it dependent on home ownership.

Posted by: dsimon on April 18, 2011 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Go Ahead fix Social security by raising the wages earned cap from 106,000+ 6 to $250,000 or $500,000. There is no need to raise the age for retirement, keep it at 65. There is a need to stop the politicians bluster and lies that destroys Americas's economy.

Posted by: ML Johnston on April 18, 2011 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

most middle class households are better off taking the standard deduction instead.

No one is forced to ittemize. You can opt for the standard deduction.

Posted by: Danp on April 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Great. The average amount of money that those who are on Social Security is about $15,000 per year. That's already below the poverty line. So now these rich politicians propose a decrease in this amount, want to reduce food stamps, want to require that the senior citizen spend another $6,000 out of pocket for their 'saved' medicare, and all this occurring while the cost of everything keeps going up. Exactly how is a senior citizen then expected to even live ?

Posted by: stormskies on April 18, 2011 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Beyers: "Maybe we should see the agreement before we speculate about the end of civilization as we know it."

I agree. I don't see the point of getting into a fury about rumors when we should be seeing the real thing very shortly. People can then vent their rage if it turns out to be as bad as they think.

I do think that any serious plan is going to make a lot of people mad. I don't think it's possible to sustain the social safety net we say we want without a net effective tax increase on most groups, including on the middle class. Something will have to be done to hold down health care costs. But Republicans have offered no plan that asks anything of the wealthy, because they focus only on spending cuts and spending cuts don't really affect the affluent. The only real way for those of means to help is to ask them to pay more in taxes. That's the biggest difference here.

Posted by: dsimon on April 18, 2011 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

"Gangs of dicks",

enough said..

Posted by: Trollop on April 18, 2011 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

bignose: I would have thought the same, but right there in the Sunday NYT...

In this article, the author, David Leonhardt neither advocates elimination of the mortgage deduction per se, nor quotes anyone who does.

Posted by: Danp on April 18, 2011 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

"Eliminating deductions for mortgages would be a huge burden on middle class homeowners. It's one of the few things that is exempt from the Alternative Minimum Tax. And it would do nothing to help renter"

Don't agree. The original goal of the mortgage deduction was to encourage home ownership. But ( the rats always find a way through the maze) two things have happened. First, the market factors in the mortgage interest deduction when setting prices. So instead of paying, say, $200,000 for a house, a house buyer pays, say, $250,000. The bank who underwrites the mortgage gets a stream of interest revenue that is inflated by $50K. And tax rates are higher because the government needs to offset that lost revenue. So every renter pays higher taxes to subsidize the homeowners. Secondly, people are told to think of their houses as "investments" and encouraged to take out bigger mortgages and buy bigger houses than they need, and that is just wasteful.b

Just ending it, however, would be a burden. The immediate consequence, I suspect, would be a fall in housing values, and we've all seen what that dynamic does to the economy. So it would have to be phased in over 15 or 20 years. The reason to do it is to achieve lower tax rates and a simpler, more transparent tax code.

If we want to fix the Alternate Minimum Tax--something well worth doing--we should just fix it.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 18, 2011 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

If we're serious about the debt
Right, that's the only thing that makes us serious about the debt. I'm a middle class homeowner of the variety you claim doesn't get much benefit from the home mortage interest deduction. Wrong. I'd be paying a lot more in taxes if I couldn't use it. This is from a household with less than $100K annually.
There's a simple way to be "serious" about the debt, if you think it's this huge problem that wasn't such a huge problem a decade ago when it was being created: Let the Bushite tax cuts expire.

Posted by: Howlin Wolfe on April 18, 2011 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Danp: "No one is forced to ittemize. You can opt for the standard deduction."

The point is that some families are better off with the standard deduction than if they itemized, even with the home mortgage interest deduction. So the home mortgage interest deduction doesn't help them.

In any case, it's perverse that the more one makes, the bigger the benefit; the subsidy should at the very least be a tax credit, not a deduction. And if you can qualify for a $1 million mortgage (the upper limit for the deduction right now), you don't need the government's help to buy a home.

Again, if the purpose is to give middle class households a break, then just give them a break. Don't make it dependent on owning a home which directs a huge subsidy to those who don't need it.

Posted by: dsimon on April 18, 2011 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

WTF is up with Durbin? I used to think of him as a solid progressive but in recent years he's been a total asshole.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Howlin Wolfe: "I'm a middle class homeowner of the variety you claim doesn't get much benefit from the home mortage interest deduction. Wrong."

Perhaps you benefit, but that doesn't mean that everyone in your economic group benefits by itemizing (I'm open to data on the subject). And as I wrote, even if some middle class households do benefit, that doesn't mean wealthy households should benefit. I wrote that at least the subsidy need to be far narrowly targeted.

According to the article I cited above, those who do claim the deduction get an average tax savings of about $2000. Not chump change, but not a massive windfall. And half of the subsidy is taken by just 12% of taxpayers--those with incomes of over $100,000. Not only is the subsidy of questionable social utility, it's a highly regressive one at that. And that aspect makes no sense.

So whether its phased out or only more narrowly targeted, there are substantial savings to be had here--especially when there's not much data showing that it increases home ownership rates instead of allowing people to buy bigger homes than they would have otherwise purchased. This is one of the biggest subsidies in the budget, and we should ask whether the social utility is worth the public expense.

Posted by: dsimon on April 18, 2011 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

DanP

He may not explicitly say one way or the other, but he does call it "the most unfair and least effective" He claims that it benefits the affluent, sometimes allowing them to claim it on two homes (Which I did not think was allowed), and that the less-affluent don't use it anyway. I am solidly middle class, but I certainly benefitted more than the $215 that he claims.

Posted by: bignose on April 18, 2011 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

PTate wrote, "First, the market factors in the mortgage interest deduction when setting prices. So instead of paying, say, $200,000 for a house, a house buyer pays, say, $250,000. The bank who underwrites the mortgage gets a stream of interest revenue that is inflated by $50K."

Yes, though you get only a 1:1 relationship in dollars for the land underneath the house. (For the house itself, elasticity of supply isn't zero, so things are a bit more complicated.) Though at least where I live, the land often worth a lot more than the structure anyway, so your point is by and large correct.

"Just ending it, however, would be a burden. The immediate consequence, I suspect, would be a fall in housing values, ..."

True, and the logical consequence of what you'd previously laid out.

Posted by: liberal on April 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

JMG wrote, "Once again, and Durbin is my prime example, the only thing you can depend on a Democrat to do is surrender."

I don't think every single Dem will. E.g. I doubt Harkin and Lautenberg will.

That said, I really don't understand WTF is wrong with Durbin. I have the impression that he's actually pretty liberal. Either that's wrong, or maybe he's actually pretty stupid.

Posted by: liberal on April 18, 2011 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Marc wrote, "I think Social Security is in trouble, payouts have already exceeded receipts."

So? It's drawing on the Trust Fund, or the interest paid by it.

"It can be fixed by increasing the cap on the pay in."

Not really a good idea. People who make more than the cap, like me, are certainly well-off, but most of us aren't rich in a reasonable sense of the word, and most of us actually work for a living. If you're going to raise the cap, and break the rough relationship between what you pay and what you receive, then why not apply the tax to non-wage income?

Posted by: liberal on April 18, 2011 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Well, ending Mark Warner's political career "remains on the table" as far as I'm concerned. And, no, I'm not fulfilling his prediction that his gang's doings are going to make some people mad. They're going to make some people get even.

Posted by: Glen Tomkins on April 18, 2011 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Eliminating the mortgage interest deduction has to be phased in over a very long time, otherwise you'll immediately hit the housing market again, with all the collateral damage that has done and will cause.

Also, raising the SS age makes perfect sense. It should have been done earlier. That, and raising the tax over time from 6.2 employee and employer to something higherwould make it solvent without ruining the stand-alone nature of the program which would happen if you just raised the cap without raising benefits for those above the cap.

And of course, let the Bush tax cuts expire.

Posted by: Joe Bloggs on April 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting comments from so-called progressives.

Several examples of "Yeah, let's raise taxes on the rich... unless they're the ones that I would have to pay."

Posted by: chi res on April 18, 2011 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Gang Bang of 6, with the poor getting it in every hole....Next?

Posted by: Henry Essay on April 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Dsimon: "I don't see the point of getting into a fury about rumors when we should be seeing the real thing very shortly. People can then vent their rage if it turns out to be as bad as they think."

I agree. The best strategy is always to vent impotently after the fact. That's how we've kept Obama and Congressional Democrats squarely on the progressive path these past years.

Posted by: Weldon Berger on April 18, 2011 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

It's a little soon to pass judgment, though pessimism is almost always good policy for one's own sanity.

If Medicare is capped at 100% GDP, is that so unreasonable?
If it's 1%, sure we complain.

Really, can we say it's awful before we get details?

If the only adjustments to SS included an increase in the age, I'm not that mad. Centenarians are getting to be commonplace and it won't surprise me if almost everyone lives that long by 2037. To raise it to 70 just doesn't get me that mad.

Lower benefits? By how much? Again, details could make this of little consequence or catastrophic.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on April 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Putting benefit cuts on the table at all is catastrophic. I can't imagine how anyone could think that the current benefits are excessive, and as has been noted ad infinitum, they're not even unaffordable. The projected Social Security shortfall 25 years out can be fixed by very modest tax hikes. Government health care expenditures could be dramatically mitigated by allowing Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate bulk prescription drug discounts, and even more so by eliminating private insurers from the mix. Food stamps are not only absolutely vital to keep many families and disabled or elderly individuals from crisis, but are among the most powerful stimulative vehicles around.

When Democrats are openly working to erode the benefits they once championed and to forestall reforms that will allow the government to deliver more and better services more efficiently, then the outcome is going to be bad. There's absolutely no question that that's what's going on here. The leaks are at least in part trial balloons by which to judge public reaction. If we act on the notion that there's no point in responding to the trial ballooons, then we are de facto endorsing those proposals.

Ali got away with a few rounds of rope-a-dope. Alleged Democrats/progressives have been doing it for years and as one can plainly see, it ain't fricken working.

Posted by: Weldon Berger on April 18, 2011 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Why is Dick Durbin wasting his time on these morons?

He's not the usual kind of ConservoDem to be working to make Public Republican Ignorance the law of the land.

Posted by: TCinLA on April 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

You think the Gang of Six might've been on Krugman's mind when he wrote in today's column:

Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.
This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues.


Posted by: low-tech cyclist on April 18, 2011 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

@JMG

RE: Durbin - you can count on Durbin to not only surrender, but to blubber while he's doing it.

Cryin' Dick Durbin. Was there ever anything more pathetic and disgraceful than his tear-stained apology the one time when he stumbled onto the truth and criticized brutal interrogation techniques at Gitmo?

Posted by: mocasdad on April 18, 2011 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I have a hard time understanding why politicians think it's a good thing to kick sand in the face of voters. No one's going to like what they're recommending, and that's somehow to be admired?

Of course, the media is always expecting democrats to go against their constituents, so that's clearly what's going on here. In this instance, media will laud democrats for destroying whatever vestiges remain from the New Deal and War on Poverty. I guess that's more important than serving the electorate or, you know, doing the right thing.

Posted by: mocasdad on April 18, 2011 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Weldon Berger: "The best strategy is always to vent impotently after the fact. That's how we've kept Obama and Congressional Democrats squarely on the progressive path these past years."

I don't have a problem with trying to influence policy while policy formation is going on. But if the Gang of Six is "very close" to their final product, nothing we say here is going to have any impact. And what we say now is based on rumor and may or may not have anything to do with the final product.

I'd rather vent critically about what they actually put forward than vent impotently (and perhaps inaccurately) when they've already made up their minds.

Posted by: dsimon on April 18, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

The political center of gravity in this country being where it is, with Durbin -- a legitimate liberal -- on one end of the see-saw, and five Republicans, two of whom are Democrats (Baucus, Warner) on the other -- why is anyone surprised?

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 18, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

@dsimon: I haven't been involved in hands-on politics for many many years now, but "very close" didn't mean "done" then and I doubt it does so now. Politicians and their staffs leak or announce their intentions in order to get a sense of what the reaction will be. If negative reactions are not forthcoming in great strength, then the "very close to a deal" position becomes the default position from which actual negotiations will proceed in the larger arena. No one has any reason to believe that the final destination will be more attractive than the initial starting point; what will happen, as we know from uniform experience, is that Democrats will try and fail to keep the proposals from getting worse.

That said, venting here won't have any impact before or after the event. My point is only that when politicians say they're thinking about doing terrible things, it's best to believe them and try to stop them before they do those things rather than trying to fix it in the edit.

That was the beauty of the Third Rail: Non-negotiable outrage before the fact about the prospect of touching Social Security made it impossible to touch. Republicans and some Democrats are trying to normalize the prospect of reducing the New Deal to rubble, and failing to react en masse with great outrage to the proposals as they are floated pretty much guarantees that we continue down that path. If the prospect doesn't distress you, then there's no need to act preemptively against it. If it does, there's no excuse not to.

Posted by: Weldon Berger on April 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Once again, and Durbin is my prime example, the only thing you can depend on a Democrat to do is surrender.

I've never forgiven him for his brave speech calling our policies at Abu Graib akin to something the Nazis, or Khmer Rouge would do (given that they were indeed things the Nazis and Khmer Rouge *did* do)....followed a day later by a weeping plea for forgiveness at his calling a spade a spade.

Durbin is pretty much the poster boy for Democratic spinelessness.

Posted by: oboe on April 18, 2011 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I wish we could get rid of the mortgage interest deduction without the rest of the Gang of 6 crap. But that, or any package containing it, will pass Congress shortly after hell freezes over.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 18, 2011 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry joebloggs and tooweary, but raising the SS retirement age is a bad, bad, bad idea.

The average life expectancy at 65 (per 2006 SS tables) is 17 years. However, that is heavily weighted by overall health history and strongly favors the affluent. Those who need SS the most are the least likely to have a long life expectancy and the most likely to already have health problems that make continuing to work impractical.

In addition, the workplace continues to have significant age discrimination that makes it difficult for those in their 60s to get work that is financially rewarding and intellectually stimulating. Again, this is most true for those who can't afford to retire without SS.

Posted by: tanstaafl on April 18, 2011 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell's Warner doing, auditioning for the self-hating Democrat* chair Joe Lieberman is going to give up in 2012?

(Not that Lieberman's a "Democrat" but he sure likes to imply he is, and Senate Democrats, being the branding geniuses they are, are happy to have him instead of an actual Democrat. And it's not like Lieberman's going to cease being a self-hating Democrat in 2012; it's just that he's retiring, so he shouldn't be on teevee all the time bitching about how the party left him. Not that that'll stop him or cable bookers.)

Posted by: Chris on April 19, 2011 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK
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