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Bishops Still Want To Take Away Eve’s Apple

10:28 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

(photo: @Doug88888/flickr)

I see that the Conference of Catholic Bishops has figured out how the Obama Administration has either cleverly or by fumbling finessed the contraception insurance coverage issue while exposing the Bishops to the charge their demands are more about using government to restrict women’s rights than violating the moral conscience of a bunch of old men.

The Bishops are upset because they wanted contraception to be banned, and if not banned, then at least not covered by insurance, and if covered for some, then not covered for others, with the exceptions eventually swallowing the rule. They now realize they lost. Virtually everyone in the relevant group must be covered under the “compromise” rule.

Now they are forced to put aside their phony religious liberty argument — this was always about imposing their views on everyone else — and foment against the rule on the basis that no one should get contraceptives and government should enforce that restriction.

I’m sorry, but contraceptives became inevitable from the first bite at the apple, and there’s nothing the Bishops can justify now to take away Eve’s entirely reasonable response: “You can have a bite, Adam, but use a condom.”

They say “God works in mysterious ways . . . ” but this one has most of the media completely bamboozled into thinking Obama compromised or blinked or something. And perhaps even he may believe that. My front page New York Times tells me he was forced to “soften” the contraception policy to accommodate supportive liberal Catholics like Sister Carol, the head of a Catholic hospitals group. Fine. I’m glad they are happy, but I think what Obama did actually strengthened the underlying public policy.

Even stranger, the WaPost’s Sarah Kliff quotes Administration spokespeople doing their best to obscure how simple and clarifying the new rule is. To see this, recall that the medical cost studies show it costs less to provide contraception than to not cover it. One way this scheme might work, then, is that the insurers explain the policies one way to the employer, then interpret and implement them differently to the employee via a separate letter or rider. The care providers know this and bill accordingly. Then you realize that the insurers won’t be eating extra costs from covering contraception; they’ll be pocketing the savings because the premiums collected via the religious employers can assume that the employees aren’t covered, even though they are. The collective winking this requires is astonishing. The gods are smiling.

This was always about a health services issue and how it gets paid for, without letting ideological zealots dictate what services get covered. The fact that America still funnels health payments through private insurers and collects the premiums via employers redirecting what would otherwise be employee wages and salaries complicates matters, making US health care more costly, creating terrible incentives, and confusing everyone. So let’s sort out the basics.

When government does this, as it does for Medicare, everyone old enough is covered. We then collect the revenues through taxes on tax payers and workers, taken out of their paychecks. The government decides what medical services are covered. Employers don’t provide health care; they are agents for collecting payroll and withholding taxes, and it’s not their role to tell the government what medical services to cover. That’s an issue to be decided by government through their representatives and administrators. No responsible government would allow the Bishops to dictate their religious beliefs about which services Medicare can or cannot cover.

Employer-provided health insurance is inferior — more costly, subject to perverse incentives that must be regulated — but it’s subject to the same concepts. The government can still decide, if it chooses, which medical services to cover as a national health policy. So if the rule is cover contraception, then insurers must do that. The employers are still nothing more than tax collectors, or in this case, premium collectors, and once the government decides what must be covered, it’s not up to employers, religious or otherwise, to compel government not to cover something.

As I’ve argued before, the Bishops want to compel the government to choose covered medical services based on the Bishop’s religious preferences. That would obviously violate the establishment clause of the Constitution’s First Amendment. The Bishops also argue that many of their institutions self insure. So? If an institution wants to function as an insurance company, it can, but that doesn’t create any special privilege to ignore the coverage rules that apply to all other insurance companies.

What the revised Administration rule does is to separate the government’s role in deciding the essential medical services that insurers must cover from the revenue collection function of the employers who elect to offer employer-provided insurance. Employers don’t have to offer insurance, but if they do, the insurance must meet the minimum national insurance requirements.

The new rule properly puts religious institutions in the right context. The Bishops will squawk, because they want to control the government role. But they are fighting the First Amendment when they make that demand.

Digby shares some other views.

Obama Campaign Chair Finally Hears Former Supporters Yell Over Tar Sands

2:14 pm in Energy, Environment by Scarecrow

Harvard Protestors Greet Jim Messina

President Obama’s reelection campaign chairman, Jim Messina recently told reporters that Obama supporters would be fine once the campaign explained all the Administration had accomplished. “No one is calling me up yelling,” he insisted.

That changed today, when between 40-50 Tar Sands protesters, mostly Harvard students and folks from local environmental groups and several of whom had recently been arrested in front of the White House, showed up to greet Messina as he entered a Harvard dorm complex to speak to the few who bothered to show up to listen to him.

Chanting “Obama can stop tar sands! Yes he can!,” the demonstrators managed to serenade Messina as he detoured through a side entrance after his advance team spotted the demonstrators and tried to sneak him past them.

As we reported last night, Messina was scheduled to speak at the Kirkland House, one of several undergraduate housing/dorms on the Harvard campus. The normal entrance to Kirkland is on a side street near the Kennedy School, so that’s where the demonstrators had set up, expecting Messina to walk between their flanks as he entered the main courtyard on the way to the meeting room.

A few demonstrators held a banner and signs; most were students and members of the student Environmental Action Committee, which had organized the event, along with folks from local environmental groups. They were not blocking the entrance and had no plans to go beyond the main entry, since the planned talk was closed to the public and off the record for those selected by raffle to attend. We weren’t permitted inside, but I could see through the windows to the courtyard there were only a handful waiting to hear Messina.

When Messina’s car arrived and his advance team saw the protestors waiting at the main entrance, they drove Messina around the block and entered through the usually locked gates on the other side of the courtyard. Suspecting this might happen, the protestors quickly moved inside the courtyard just as Messina was slipping in the back gate and entering the courtyard.

When they saw him, the reorganized group yelled and yelled — there’s no doubt Messina heard them this time, barely 40 feet away — as Messina and escorts quickly ducked in yet another side door instead of the obvious main entry to the scheduled speaking room. After Messina went in, the group yelled some more, just outside the room, whose windows were open.

So the next time Mr. Messina talks to reporters about what his previous supporters are telling him, he should reply, “Obama can stop the tar sands! Yes he can!”

Talking to the demonstrators later, I learned that of the more than 40, many of them students, who gathered on short notice to greet Mr. Messina, 25 of them said they had worked on the Obama campaign in 2008. When asked how many would do so in 2012 if Obama approved the related Keystone XL pipeline, only 5 raised their hands. And of the 40+, 13 (not counting me) of them said they had been arrested in front of the White House during the Tar Sands Action last month.

That’s your base, Jim. They’re getting arrested to protest your guy. You’re losing them. Time to listen up and pay attention.

[New picture added showing the group inside the coutryard as Messina arrived. Also see this photo from ThinkProgress shows the group gathering at the main entrance about a half hour before. Great job done by student organizers, Serena Zhao and Sam Novey]

Pelosi’s Picks for Super Committee Embrace Tea-GOP Economics and Budget Gibberish

3:05 pm in Economy, Government by Scarecrow

If you’re hoping that Nancy Pelosi’s picks for the Congressional Super Committee have either the wisdom or courage to stand against the job-killing spending cuts Obama and Congress imposed on the nation, you’ll be disappointed.

Two of Nancy Pelosi’s picks, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), revealed that their understanding of depression economics is no better than Herbert Hoover’s or Michele Bachmann’s. From Brian Buetler at TPM:

Democrats on the new joint deficit Super Committee will seek more than the $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction they’ve been tasked with finding, in order to help offset some of those costs [of funding jobs programs].

“All of us would like to set as a target for ourselves even more than $1.5 trillion,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who’s also the top House Democrat on the Budget Committee, told reporters at a Tuesday Capitol press conference. . . .

Committee member Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) agrees with Van Hollen, and says he’d be willing to put key progressive programs on the table if it gives Congress more running room to shore up the economy now.

“It’s incumbent upon the Congress and the government not to make things worse,” Becerra said. “I’m looking at the last six months and I’m not seeing how job growth has come from some of this cutting of services, but again I’ll be open to it so long as…there’s proof that the proposal will lead to job growth and deficit reduction.”

Where do they come up with these absurd notions? Read the rest of this entry →

What Jonathan Chait Doesn’t Understand About Obama

6:55 pm in Economy, President Obama by Scarecrow

Jonathan Chait

Jonathan Chait

I suppose we should be grateful that TNR’s Jonathan Chait voluteered to write an apologia for President Obama as a way to explain to those he identifies with “the left” why Obama’s not such a bad President and to remind the “left” there were extenuating circumstances that explain the President’s failure, or refusal, to achieve what the left wanted and the country needed.

But one has to wonder: is Chait’s defense all the President’s supporters have left?  Because when Chait leaves out what really matters to Obama’s liberal critics, the piece comes off as an argument for Obama announcing “I shall not seek, and I will not accept . . .”

To assess the President’s performance, one must start with a more coherent story of what Obama and the country faced in January 2009 and what those conditions called for after eight disastrous years of the Bush presidency.  Some of us said both before and after the election that the devastation wrought by Bush on the Constitution, on the idea of government, on the rule of law and on the economy was so crippling and massive, it would likely take years to reverse it. But some things were clearly priorities and needed to be addressed immediately. Read the rest of this entry →

Bill McKibben: The Tar Sands Action Continues in Front of White House

8:40 pm in Environment by Scarecrow

White House Tar sands Aug 27

Tar Sands White House Protest August 27 (photo: Josh Lopez)

After a day off Sunday because of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene, the Tar Sands Action in front of the White House will resume with more arrests expected Monday. So far, 381 people have been arrested for trying to wake up the US President and the country on what could be “game over” in efforts to slow down global climate change.

[Update: Over 140 tar sands protesters were arrested today (Monday) in front of the White House. The group's counsel, here at the Courthouse, tells us Climate Scientist James Hansen was part of the group arrested.]

On Saturday, tars sands and Keystone XL Pipeline protest supporters assembled in front of the White House — the picture at right — but as planned, did not force arrests.  However, the sit-ins and arrests should resume Monday.

Bill McKibben let us know he’s expecting up to 100 people to participate and be subject to arrest on Monday.  [We know now there were over 140 arrested today.] So neither the earlier arrests nor Irene kept people from arriving from all over North America, and they’re willing to risk and endure arrest to keep calling attention to the tragedy of becoming more dependent on the world’s second largest carbon deposit.

And this time, President Obama, who has the authority to make the call to stop this dangerous dependency and its climate effects, will be back to hear the message directly.  If you’re in the area, come on down to your White House and exercise your rights for your planet and make sure the President hears you.  They assemble about 10:00 a.m.

Bill also said that as soon as he’s covered the White House sit in on Monday, he’ll head over to the federal courthouse to join Jane Hamsher (and me) to watch the first day of Dan Choi’s trial for being arrested earlier this year protesting DADT and related issues.   For Bill, it’s an important act of solidarity with Dan, who joined Bill McKibben and the Tar Sands Action protest on Saturday, August 20 and spent 2 days in jail as one of the Tar Sands 65.

Jane will be providing periodic coverage for Dan’s trial tomorrow, though live coverage inside the court room is not, I believe, permitted. So watch for her posts and/or tweets.

For a fine summary of the tar sands and Keystone XL Pipeline issues, here’s Bill McKibben being interviewed by Chris Hayes this past Friday on Last Word.

Virginia Kennedy (#4): An Open Letter to President Obama About the Tar Sands Arrests

2:13 pm in Energy, Environment by Scarecrow

Tarsands protest August 20, 2011

Tarsandsaction protest, Aug 20, 2011

I received this open letter from Virginia Kennedy, who was arrested in last Saturday’s White House protest against the Tarsands/Keystone XL Pipeline Project.  Virginia was arrestee #4. Scarecrow

An Open Letter to President Obama about the Tar Sands Arrests

Dear President Obama,

My name is Virginia Kennedy.  I am a fifty-year old mother of three.  I was one of 65 citizens arrested in front of your house – my house really, the country’s house – the Whitehouse, on the first day of theTar Sands action, Saturday August 20th, and kept in jail for the weekend.  We spent the weekend in jail because we asked you to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline.  To reject tar sands oil, the extraction of which is destroying Indigenous people’s lands and lives and decimating boreal forest lands.  The oil which if extracted and burned will mean, in the words of your NASA climate scientist James Hansen, “game over for the climate.”  That’s game over for my children, for your children, for everyone’s children.

Just so you have the full picture, I was in a holding cell with twelve other women who participated in the action.  Most of these women were not perennial activists.  Many had never participated in such an action before.  These women from ages 20 to 70 were retired schoolteachers, grandmothers, college students, a pilates instructor supporting her husband in graduate school, working women supporting themselves or supporting families.  Every one of whom decided that this is the issue of issues because we are talking about the earth itself, the viability of human life on our planet, a planet we are irreversibly harming.  They decided they had to join with all the other voices who are trying to make you listen and trying to give you courage to take this step; to take this stand against the fossil fuel industry – the moneyed interests that regularly demand you yield to them.

And more of the picture, Mr. Obama, we were in a holding cell for the majority of the time.  A freezing cement cellblock with no windows and one solid metal door, no way to see out.  No blankets.  Nowhere to lie down.  An open toilet in the corner.  Glaring fluorescent lights that never dimmed.  We were kept without food or water for 18 hours.  And then given bread, cheese and water every twelve hours after that.

I want you to know I thought about you a lot during those long hours.  I wondered about the power you have or maybe don’t have.  Maybe it has just gotten impossible for any politician to stand up to the brutal, greedy bullying of the fossil fuel companies.  Or maybe you don’t want to.

I wondered how I could be in a jail cell with a group of women who were guilty of nothing but trying to get their president to listen to them, to listen to reason.  Women who stood peacefully with a whole group of citizens who said we want clean energy.  We want an end to oppression by a fossil fuel industry that wants the world to believe we have no choices but the choices they want to give us.

I wondered if you knew about Tim deChristopher, the young man in jail for two years for posing as a bidder in an auction, in order to save thousands of acres of public lands from being auctioned to mining companies.  The auction itself was found to be illegal.  No consequences for that, though.  I wondered if you ever think about the 11 dead men killed in the BP Horizon disaster, the 29 dead coal miners dead at the Massey coal mine, the reports of negligence, the environmental decimation, all the lives and livelihoods destroyed.  Not one indictment.  No repercussions really at all.  A few dollars lost, then back to business as usual.  And then there is us, tax-paying, law-abiding folks freezing in a filthy jail cell for standing politely in front of the Whitehouse and asking for clean energy.  For asking you to do the right thing.  For trying to give you the courage to do the right thing for your daughters, and for ours.

I thought about you together with your family in Martha’s Vineyard while we were body searched, shackled, and paraded ankles chained into a federal prison cell to await our time in front of a judge while our families worried about where we were; what was happening to us.  I wondered how you’d feel if Malea or Sasha ended up in such a situation for such an “offense”, what that would inspire you to do.

I wondered if you ever spent any time in the DC prison right in your front yard, filled with mainly African Americans of every age, some of whom are legitimately bad news, but many, many of whom are guilty of nothing much more than being caught in the terrible cycle of poverty and defenselessness generated by a system that would jail them instead of supporting their rights, their education, or their humanity.  A system that would incarcerate a poor woman for being drunk on the street and reward a CEO ultimately responsible for the deaths of his own workers with more and more profits.

I wondered who you are, Mr. Obama, what your values are.   Because I can’t really tell.  I hold out hope you’ll send a signal and reject this pipeline because I have to hold out hope.  But, contrary to that famous slogan of yours, since you came on the scene, there hasn’t been too much change, and you do not make hoping easy.

Virginia Kennedy


[Other posts from the Tarsands 65 include:

Kristy Powell #3, Finding Freedom in Prison

Ian Hoffman #63, Gets Arrested

John L. Clark #59]

Jane Hamsher #14 Tarsands Action: Are You Discouraged or a Flaming Firebagger?

Bill McKibben on Tarsands and the D.C. Sit ins, by Scarecrow #33]

Breaking: CNN Ignores Story of Nation Falling Off Cliff

7:48 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Once again, it is time for our weekly headlines that didn’t make it to CNN’s John King, because those nice folks at FDL are just too darn polite.

Breaking: Obama to switch parties, says he feels more comfortable in Reagan’s Party. Lennon/Ono photo to follow. Liberals cheer, throw rotten tomatoes.

Breaking: Dems to rename selves; be called “the Party that abandoned the New Deal” Liberals boo, throw rotten tomatoes.

Farmers report surging demand, prices for last week’s tomatoes. Economists who missed housing bubble baffled.

Man almost hits Murdoch with shaving cream pie; his phone line now being hacked.

Fox News plans Murdoch hacking special hosted by Steve Doocy: “The Rupert We Never Knew. Oh, wait . . .”

Nation’s people, Cities, crops, forests burning up while DC pretends it’s not happening, House strips climate research/regulation funding.

Radical group arrested for allegedly plotting to pull plug on Capitol Building air conditioners.

Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, Wall Street start to panic; learn meaning of caveat emptor for buying Tea-GOP.

Economy stalled, jobless forgotten; so Congress and President develop $3-4 trillion dollar plans to restart recession, mimic 1937.

NYT editorial praises Gang of Six for recession-inducing plan it describes as reprehensible but not as godawful as those others.

“Audit the Fed” report shows Federal Reserve gave $16 trillion in loans to everyone in top 1 percent, including foreign banksters, who crashed the economy. Funny how they don’t call that a “debt crisis.”

Obama promises not to complain when GOP Senators reject his Not-Warren appointee to consumer agency.

European Ministers solve Greece problem: Agree they’ll all hold breath together until they pass out.

Wars? What wars? We don’t even do hostilities.

Nation happy to end Shuttle space program, because government never created any jobs or did anything that made us feel proud.

Emperor Grover Norquist uses tax cuts to buy new clothes; does naked flip-flop.

At least 80 Tea-GOP House members pledge to force default and damage US credit, in open defiance of US Constitution. If one al Qaeda member did this, Joe Lieberman would want him in Guantanamo.

This week’s advice. Buy mushy tomotaoes.

Why Is Larry O’Donnell Implying Obama Lied to the Country and the Tea-GOP?

6:04 pm in Economy, Politics by Scarecrow

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell can barely contain his self-adulatory glee in coming up with the theory that President Obama has outfoxed the Tea-GOP in the debt limit negotiations. But the question is, why should the country be happy about what his argument implies for the President’s principles and veracity?

It’s clear that the Tea-GOP are now seriously split — between the crazies and the predators — over what to do about Mr. Obama’s insistence on more tax revenues as a condition for significant spending cuts. Since the holy Tea-GOP mantra is that any (net) tax increase is comparable to original sin and will get you expelled from Grover Norquist’s grace, the faithful don’t know whether to follow Mitch McConnell’s exit strategy, which at least keeps them in grace for now, or Eric Cantor’s no-exit strategy which . . . well, it’s not clear what would happen, but it’s got the Business Roundtable, the Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Reserve, IMF and Wall Street freaking out.

O’Donnell’s theory, however, holds that President Obama essentially lied to John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. He lied by falsely telling them — and telling the public in his press conferences — that he’d accept dramatically reduced domestic spending, including significant reductions in Social Security and Medicare benefits, if only the Tea-GOP would accept net tax/revenue increases on a 3:1 ratio. And that’s okay, because he never really agreed to such cuts but knew the Tea-GOP would reject the offer, so he wouldn’t have to agree.

O’Donnell insists this was a clever lie, and those stupid Republicans and (O’Donnell loves this part) those mean progressive bloggers (I guess that includes me!) naively took Obama at his word. What fools! Since all the fools were duped, time has now run out on the debt limit, the financial elites will rein in the crazies, Obama will get a “clean” bill, and the Republican leaders will be seen by their base as unprincipled fools. So was Jay Carney lying today when he downplayed Mitch McConnell’s exit plan?

“This is not a preferred option,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said of McConnell’s proposal in his daily briefing. . . .

“The president is firmly committed to significant cuts in spending and to dealing with our deficit and debt problems in a balanced way,” he said. “Bigger is better. … It’s an opportunity for a game-changer, to put the United States on much firmer ground as we really get into the 21st century and the economic competition that confronts us.”

A plausible theory needs to accommodate and explain virtually all of the facts and observations relevant to it; otherwise it’s not credible. And Mr. O’Donnell has conveniently left out some important facts.

The President and his advisers have repeatedly told the American people that the nation needs to “tighten its belt” and get its “fiscal house in order.” He’s said repeatedly that the deficits and debt are contributing to business uncertainty, and this uncertainty is preventing the economy from recovering broadly enough to solve the very serious unemployment problem. He’s said we can’t even have a useful conversation about jobs until this debt problem is solved. He’s promoted the priority of debt reduction through White House appointments and Alan Simpson’s Catfood Commission, choosing individuals who claim deficits and the debt constitute a “crisis.”

Mr. Obama has also argued in public that the debt limit talks are an opportune moment to resolve these issues, and because they are so important, the talks should include massive spending reductions, a Grand Bargain. We need to think big, he’s said, and “if not now, then when?”

Now I agree with economists who think Obama’s economic assessments are not merely a misunderstanding of our economic situation, but unsupported, dangerous gibberish. But put that aside. O’Donnell’s theory implies that the President was either lying when he said those things, or he’s just lied to the Tea-GOP in a way that may tank the opportunity Mr. Obama claims we need to accomplish what he told us was a prerequisite to economic recovery.

So where’s the truth? Does the President actually believe the things he said in public? If so, hasn’t he just made it less likely he’ll achieve his goals, because he’s misled the Republicans (and the country) and humiliated their leaders whose agreement he needs? Or was he lying when he made all those arguments about the connection between deficit/debt reductions and fixing the economy? If so, then where’s his jobs program and why has he been embracing talking points that make such a program harder to achieve?

What should voters, particularly those who care about Social Security and Medicare, think? Should they assume that Mr. Obama really would accept significantly lower benefits for those on Social Security and Medicare in exchange for higher taxes on carried interest and changing deductions for corporate jets? Where does that leave the Democratic Party? Or should voters assume Mr. Obama was lying about all that and would never accept the deal he said he’d make?

It would be tragic if Mr. Obama achieved what he claimed to be pursuing, whether or not it embarrassed Tea-GOP leaders. But even if all that has happened is that Obama has split and humiliated those leaders, we’re still stuck with a President who claims to believe economic notions that would harm millions of people. Unless he was lying. Next theory?

James K. Galbraith: Hawk Nation, A Guide to the Catastrophic Debt Ceiling Debate

3:35 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

The follow article by Professor Galbraith was published at the blog, new deal 2.0 and is cross posted here with permission from the author. Updated to include original links.

Hawk Nation: A Guide to the Catastrophic Debt Ceiling Debate

President Obama’s proposed debt ceiling deal is a disastrous solution to an imaginary fiscal crisis, but the pain it causes will be all too real.

News reports hold that President Obama scored a political victory by agreeing to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block to achieve a “go-big” $4 trillion deficit reduction. Speaker Boehner had to concede that Republicans won’t vote for any package that includes tax increases – and the deal died. So the gambit worked and the President emerged with a solid image as the alpha deficit hawk.

To which one can only say: how nice for him.

We’re in a summer that only Salvador Dali could paint, a reality so twisted that one almost yearns for the simple verities of the War on Terror or even the invasion of Iraq. Then as now, to be serious one must be a “hawk.” (The dove is a weakling, a loser, and the owl for practical purposes does not exist.) So let’s review some of the strange and mysterious faces of this ugly, vicious bird.

The debt ceiling was first enacted in 1917. Why? The date tells all: we were about to enter the Great War. To fund that effort, the Wilson government needed to issue Liberty Bonds. This was controversial, and the debt ceiling was cover, passed to reassure the rubes that Congress would be “responsible” even while the country went to war. It was, from the beginning, an exercise in bad faith and has remained so every single second to the present day.

Today this bad-faith law is pressed to its absurd extreme, to force massive cuts in public programs as the price of not-reneging on the public debts of the United States. Never mind that to force default on the public obligations of the United States is plainly unconstitutional. Section 4 of the 14th amendment says in simple language that public debts, once duly authorized by law and including pensions, by the way, “shall not be questioned.” The purpose of this language was to foreclose, to put beyond politics, any possibility that the Union would renege on debts and pensions and bounties incurred to win the Civil War. But the application is very general and the courts have ruled that the principle extends to the present day.
Read the rest of this entry →

Earth to Obama: Tea-GOPs Are Okay If Govt Stops and Economy Fails on Your Watch

11:49 am in Media by Scarecrow

As the nation careens towards the cliffs of insanity, I’ve yet to see a convincing explanation for why President Obama is helping the destructive elements of the Tea-GOP blackmail the government and force reductions in dozens of programs that represent the fundamental purposes of government.

I don’t have the slightest doubt Mr. Obama wants to preserve government functions, even if he’s willing to accept reduced levels of efficacy and benefits to Americans and unwilling to demand the most well off pay for them. And I’m certain he wants the debt level raised enough to avoid confronting that issue again before the 2012 elections. I assume he wants the solution to impose minimum damage to the economy, even if I fundamentally disagree with his economic analysis. Surely he believes his reelection strongly depends on whether voters believe the economy and jobs are on a credible path to recovery.

So we’re left to speculate how the White House thinks it can overcome the fact that the dominant party in Congress has chosen to hold the US economy hostage and risk a worse recession and/or a costly rise in interest rates and potentially catastrophic hit to US credit. What’s their logic? How does this end?

We got a hint of Mr. Obama’s thinking today when he again clearly endorsed two prevalent myths: the confidence fairy belief that up to $2 trillion in business investment and hiring are just waiting for a deficit deal even though there are not enough customers with enough money to buy their products, and the preposterous notion of Tea-GOP rationality and good faith.

What we can do is to solve this underlying debt and deficit problem for a long period of time, so that then we can get back to having a conversation about [jobs]. Read the rest of this entry →