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That’s No Grand Bargain, That’s a Surrender

10:34 am in Wankers by masaccio

Faustian Bargain

Last time we heard talk of a Grand Bargain, it was President Obama’s idea of a solution to an actual problem. The crazy party, rebelling against Speaker John Boehner, held the entire nation hostage over raising the debt limit.

Let’s give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he thought a Grand Bargain would solve that problem for that time and the future, and that cutting spending in the face of massive unemployment and a shaky economy was a good idea. After all, he was advised by the great geniuses of the day, Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Jack Lew and other disciples of the leprous Robert Rubin.

It turned out that Speaker Boehner couldn’t deliver the votes from the crazy party, and Obama had to settle for Grand Bargain I, The Sequestration. It means cutting defense spending and domestic spending, but not Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. And it means raising taxes. Good. Obama gets the tax hikes he wants. And he seems to think these spending cuts are a good idea. And if they aren’t, just change the law. So what’s the basis for bargaining?

Well, the Sequestration has morphed into the Ewok of Terror, the Fiscal Cliff, thanks to the fools in the Village, whose last contact with reality dissolved during the Clinton Administration. I’m not that fond of the Sequestration, but after the election, it looks pretty good. And with this crowd of generals in rut, it really looks even better.

So why is there a need to bargain? Why should Obama agree to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid? Why do we need Grand Bargain II, Revenge on the Old? What’s in it for the people who just elected Obama and the Democrats? Nothing.

Let’s be clear here. Obama claims that his goal is to increase taxes on the richest Americans. He swears up and down that he will not waver in this crucial cause. So why is he trying to make a deal? Everyone, including Speaker John Boehner and his crazy party, knows that taxes will go up if nothing happens. Then the crazy party has to explain why it’s better for taxes to go up on everybody than just the hyper-rich. That won’t happen, and if it does, the crazy party will seal its doom, which should suit Democrats just fine.

So why does Obama think he has to offer anything to get the outcome that he says he wants? There is no need for what Obama calls “Shared Sacrifice”. Does Obama think it’s a sacrifice by the hyper-rich to pay more taxes? It isn’t. And if this were a morality play I’d point out that increasing taxes on the villains who caused the Lesser Depression would settle out a lot of bad Karma. But it isn’t that either. As an economic matter, those who can afford to pay are the best source of funds to pay down the deficit. Taxing the rich does the least damage.

But it’s worse than that. If he agrees to any reduction in Social Insurance programs, he will force younger people to save more than they already are. That’s bad for the overall economy right now. If he follows the Simpson-Bowles model, the average person will have to save $122.65 per month, according to my calculations. My calculation assumes that your savings earn 3% interest per year. That won’t happen for the next several years, so the number is low.

But wait, that isn’t all. The latest brilliant idea is to raise Medicare eligibility to 67. That means you have to pay for two additional years of private insurance at exorbitant prices (and massive increases in income for the private health insurance companies Obama loves so much). So you need either to keep working for an additional two years, or save enough to cover five digit premiums, not to mention the FICA and Medicare taxes you pay on any income you earn. Or you could just die in the street.

That’s what Obama means by shared sacrifice. You sacrifice. The rich continue share in the proceeds.

This isn’t a bargain. A bargain is when both sides benefit. Here, one group of Americans, the group that just handed Obama and the Democrats a huge victory, is screwed into the ground. The other, consisting of worthless politicians and plutocrats, gets a huge victory.

I don’t even understand why it counts as a victory for rich people. Are they really such jerks they think we should cut retirement benefits for old people because the hyper-rich have to pay more taxes? Well, they probably are. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It wouldn’t be that way if Obama and the Democrats didn’t agree that it should happen.

The reality is this. Obama can’t just make himself beat these bastards into the ground. He can’t force himself to be a real Democrat like Lyndon Johnson or FDR, and stomp on their faces when they are down. He wants to give them something in exchange for higher taxes. But he doesn’t have anything to give the rich or to the crazy party. So he’s going to give them your Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid.

Elite Democrats Act Like Losers

5:23 am in Wankers by masaccio

Asian Forest Scorpion, see 1 Kings 12:11 Photo via Wikipedia

Voters handed democrats yet another overwhelming victory, so naturally the Democrats are going to screw their voters and enact stupid Republican policies. Despite the hundreds of millions spent to elect the plutocrat Romney and his clown posse of tax-hating, women-bashing, austerity loving, war everywhere candidates, voters rejected the Republican party. Democrats even won the culture wars, with gay marriage and cannabis. They won the rising demographics, and lost only in the losing demographics, old white guys and people with incomes above the median. Of course, under the whip of the plutocrats, that median is dropping rapidly, so rapidly that even those voters might figure it out by the next election.

So what, say the Democratic Elites. The Republicans were right: we have to cut Social Security and Medicare, and we can’t really raise taxes on the rich. We got another piece of evidence today. The New York Times resurrected the execrable Robert Rubin, author of deregulation, to tell the elites to support the plutocrat position: deficits must be cut, so they must cut benefits to tens of millions of Obama supporters. Next he’ll tell the Democrats to repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, and to destroy Planned Parenthood. Those policies were directly and powerfully rejected by their voters, but that doesn’t matter to the Elites. Elections don’t matter, they say loud and clear by their actions.

Of course there should be noises about bipartisanship in the aftermath of a crushing win. But no one actually believes that crap or worse, acts as if they believe that crap. Certainly the Republicans don’t. They talk about neutering/spaying the opposition. They treat their opponents as traitors to the True Conservative America, like garbage that should be dumped in the nearest stream. They act like winning is a license to pour lye on the imagined bodies of their opponents, and salt the ground they sprang from.

When Republicans win, they follow the instructions given to the King Saul about the Amaleks in 1 Sam. 2-3:

2. This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

The donkey killers hate majority rule, because they are the minority party. For the last four years, they jammed minority rule in the Senate down our throats. They hate government, and they made sure it couldn’t function. They used political force to make room for their stupid loser policies in the face of overwhelming defeat.

The Democrats don’t get it. They have completely forgotten what it means to be a winner, and have no idea how to act like one. They fail to understand that the greatest pleasure of winning is trash talking the losers. They don’t remember what fun it is to point out over and over what losers the other side is. They don’t grasp the intense delight that their supporters get when they grind their enemies into the dust. They refuse to give their own side the intense pleasure of making the other side whimper like the babies they are. They refuse to kick the other side while it’s down, cringing in fear and begging for mercy.

They fail to understand the anger we all feel when we are deprived of the fruits of victory by our own side. Ask yourselves how you would feel if after winning your state high school championship, your team said it was going to share the win with the other side, and that they would be co-champions. That is our national Democrats.

Now remember how they did that very thing in 2008? How they let the losers run the Senate under minority rule? How they refused to force them to eat the dirt they so richly deserved? And remember what happened in 2010? How they lost the house? How they lost their majority? That is going to happen again, if they don’t take this opportunity to stomp the Republicans into the mud created by their own tears of defeat. Even in this year’s victory, against an aroused foe and with an excellent GOTV effort, Obama won 7 million fewer votes than in 2008, and you can bet a good number of those were disaffected and angry about the radical failure of the Democrats to act like Democrats and winners.

This isn’t rugby. You don’t go drinking with the other side after a win like this. They aren’t your equals, they aren’t your friends, they aren’t fair competitors. They hate you and they hate themselves for losing.

Beat them with the scorpion tails of loss. You’d be surprised how good it feels.

Schneiderman Puts Netroots Nation in Coma

7:23 am in Wankers by masaccio

Eric Schneiderman

Eric Schneiderman, the all-talk no-walk investigator of banksters, explained the universe in his big speech at Netroots Nation. I stupidly went, thinking he would talk about mortgage fraud, foreclosure fraud, or securities fraud or just about any frauds committed by his Wall Street constituents. For this, I passed up dinner and drinking, the real point of all conventions.

I like political speeches. Tammy Baldwin and Sheldon Whitehouse gave excellent examples of the basic political speech: little litanies, beginning with a recitation of the greatness of the American People, the wonders of the greatest nation the earth has ever known, a short digression on the evil things done by the opposition, assurances of their resistance to those evil people, and a short restatement of three to ten policies the speaker thinks the audience likes.

Schneiderman chose the pander speech. He started by explaining that real change comes from the grassroots, leaders emerge from struggles over real problems. That’s us, the Netroots! We are the leaders of the future!

He continues: We are in a transitional era now, just like the early 30s. We democrats stand for the rule of law applicable to everyone equally just like President Obama. Someone from the audience suggests loudly that locking up banksters would be a good start, and Schneiderman says he’ll get to that. Which he does a few minutes later saying that he can’t comment on the investigation he is doing. Everyone is really nice about this bit of foolery, and it was at this point I realized I would prefer to be drinking. I mutter at my tablemates that banksters and pot smokers do not face the same application of the rule of law, but no one hears me because they are stunned into dopiness.

The somnolence continues. Schneiderman tells us that for 30 years or more, we as a nation have held the view that massive inequality was just fine, and now we don’t think that any more. It’s all us netroots people, occupiers, bloggers and progressives, who raised the consciousness of America! Yes, Schneiderman believes that the transformative issue is that inequality is bad! He emphasizes that with a brilliant politician smile, just like that photo above! How could you resist that smile?

In the short term, as to this investigation, there are two points. We need to “make him do it”! This crucial law enforcement officer won’t act until the people demand it. I don’t know which people need to demand action, but it obviously isn’t anyone at FDL. Second, although he can’t talk about ongoing investigations, he wants us to know his goals in the investigation: 1) accountability, 2) help for the injured, and 3) establishing the facts so that the right can’t rewrite history.

On that accountability thing, we need to realize that equal application of the law is a long-term goal. He doesn’t acknowledge how truly transformative it would be if we had several thousand perp walks today.

I’m just sorry Schneiderman didn’t take questions. I have one. You enforce the Martin Act, the broadest state securities law, much easier to enforce than federal securities law. Why no prosecutions by your office five years after the Great Crash?

Here is the reality, General Schneiderman: No one cares about your views on inequality. We want you to lock up several thousand banksters. If you don’t, when your term is over, join some Wall Street law firm, because you have no credentials as a democrat, let alone as a progressive.

Poverty Wanking at the Heritage Foundation

3:28 pm in Wankers by masaccio

Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow, DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society Domestic Policy Studies

One of the functions of the Heritage Foundation is to provide talking points to wing-nut bloggers. Robert Rector, a long-term poverty buff at the Heritage Foundation is a good example. In a September, 2011 report, he and Rachel Sheffield explain that the poor have it really great in the US. Some of them have flat screen TVs, washing machines, computers and cars, and sometimes all four! They get lots of money from charity, and from their boyfriends and so they are fine. And, of course, it’s their fault they’re poor:

Among families with children, the collapse of marriage and erosion of the work ethic are the principal long-term causes of poverty. When the recession ends, welfare policy must require able-bodied recipients to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid. It should also strengthen marriage in low-income communities rather than ignore and penalize it.

Of course, that last is reference to Rector’s claim to fame, his role in creating Bill Clinton’s end to welfare as we know it. He’s sticking by that go to work thing. The average poor person, he says, works only 16 hours a week. They need to get married and work more, and Rector is just the man to make them.

Rector and Sheffield claim that liberals say that the poor suffer in other ways.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of poor households have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food, are not hungry, and are well housed.

We’ll just ignore that minority. Even better, most Americans think that you aren’t poor if you live that well. Rector hides the fact that one reason so many poor aren’t dying in the streets is Government programs, like food stamps, Medicare and SCHIP, which isn’t even mentioned in the report. Rector and Sheffield see this as proof that the poor are dependent on government aid, and that we should “reorient the massive welfare state to create self-sufficient prosperity rather than expanded dependence.” I wonder if they feel the same way about subsidies to the rich, like tax-deductible contributions to the Heritage Foundations. Read the rest of this entry →