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Republicans Will Win the Battle, But Will It Cost Them The War?

5:36 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

American Labour Representatives looking over battle-fields in France

American Labour Representatives looking over battle-fields in France

Will the Republican manufactured debt ceiling fight be resolved? Almost certainly, the signs are all there that there is a deal to be had. As long as various dumbasses (I’m looking at you Gang of Six and all 85 of the House Republican freshmen) stop sticking their fingers in the gears, that is.

But what happens afterwards? This is not a pick up game of stick ball, where when the final out is called all the teams break up and are reformed in a different configuration for the next one. The policy fight is not the only thing going on here.

On the policy fight side we can say without fear of contradiction that the Republicans won. Unless the Reason and Sanity Fairy gets of his ass and sprinkles a ton of fairy dust over the capital the final deal will include at least a trillion in real dollar spending reductions, and no reinvestment of our “peace dividend” for getting out of Iraq at the end of this year and whenever the hell we get out of Afghanistan (Remember Afghanistan?).

No matter what the final contours of the deal are, it will be in the Republican frame of all cuts and no revenue. Even if you are always and totally a partisan Democrat (not that there is anything wrong with that, stronger partisan Dems would have made this a very different fight) you will not be able to spin this as a win. At best it will be like a John LeCarre novel where there are no winners just survivors.

But not everyone is going to be a survivor and that might be the silver lining in this very gray cloud of staggeringly stupid and boneheaded policy. Certainly John Boehner is in his one and only term as Speaker of the House. Only the Weeper from Reading could make the third most powerful position in the nation (maybe second if you figure that the VP is mostly waiting around to be powerful) look so weak.

Appearances matter in politics and for the last 200 days all appearances have looked as though the Speaker was holding on the ears of a tiger, in the form of the Tea Party Freshmen in Congress. While it might look vaguely possible to steer a tiger by tugging on her ears, the reality is all you do is piss off the tiger more.
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Sen. Kent Conrad Joins The Republican Hostage Takers

5:35 am in jerks by Bill Egnor

Kent Conrad - Caricature

Kent Conrad - Caricature by DonkeyHotey


What the Hell is Sen. Kent Conrad smoking? And why it is that he won’t share (c’mon, Senator, don’t bogart that doobie!)? In today’s Washington Post Sen. Conrad enables the hostage taking of the Republican Party by saying that he does not think that the two trillion in budget cuts that the Administration is talking about is enough.

Worse, the Senior Dufus from North Dakota is actually tying these cuts to the Republican threat of not raising our debt ceiling. But don’t take my word for, here is a quote:

Conrad said he would agree to raise the debt limit for no longer than six months without a more serious effort to reduce future borrowing. And he told reporters that he is recruiting like-minded senators to “send a very clear message that some of us are not going to vote for a long-term extension of the debt limit unless there is a credible plan” to reduce borrowing.

This is not the first time that that Conserva-Dem has tried to hijack the raising of the debt limit ceiling. He was instrumental when we had a 59 seat majority in the Senate for holding up the last round of debt ceiling increase. At the time he rounded up 12 Senators and insisted on the creation of the Simpson Bowels Cat Food Commission as the price for their votes.

What makes me nuts about this whole thing is that it has no basis in economic reality. Yes our debt is high, we have been in the worst economic downturn (major recession plus an anemic recovery) that the nation has seen in 80 years, pretty much the life time of the majority of the nation, this tends to lead to higher debt.
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Goverment Shut Down Looms, Time To End The GOP Hostage Habit

5:14 am in banality of evil, jerks by Bill Egnor

GOP Ostrich

GOP Ostrich by stormbear, on Flickr

There are many ways to fall into bad habits, but the easiest is when one tries a vice and then is rewarded for having done so. This is where the nation is with the Congressional Republicans. Their vice has been economic hostage taking, and like all successful hostage takers, when they want something they look around of the nearest economic crisis to grab a hold of and insist that they get their way.

Which is exactly where we are with the impending, and probably inevitable, government shut down; their least reasonable members, newly elected (thanks midterm voters) have been signaling for months that if they did not get every little mean spirited and economically moronic thing they wanted, they would shutter the Federal Government.

Now with Speaker Boehner (Putz-OH) reneging on his privately agreed to cuts, there is little chance that there will be an agreement and a vote. In fact there would have to be a bill published today in order to be able to follow the new House rule of 72 hours before a vote, for there to be anything to vote on by the deadline on Friday.

It is not like the Republicans think that the public is going to be kind to them on this issue. Their leadership remembers how it played out in 1995 and they don’t want to go into another presidential election with weak candidates and a sour taste for their party in the mouths of the electorate.

Which is why they are trying to do everything they can to pin this on the Democrats. Too bad the facts are all against them. Today they are going to introduce another Continuing Resolution that would extend spending for another week. Sounds good until you hear what the price tag is.

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Sen. Jeff Sessions – Hostage Taking In Economic La La Land

6:12 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, jerks, Politics by Bill Egnor

IMG_0761

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is a real piece of work. He writes today in the Washington Post Editorial page today and boy oh boy it is great example of the epistemic closer that has infested the Republican Party and the Conservative Right. He starts out with the warning of dire consequences of our high debt and deficit spending and he lays the fault completely at the feet of President Obama.

He tells a little story about the 2008 financial collapse when the Republican Secretary of the Treasury said that he had the housing bubble under control, then a few months later came to Congress and said “we have not in our lifetimes dealt with a financial crisis of this severity”. All that is probably true, but given that it ignores the fact that it was the Republicans deregulation of banking (tragically with the signature of President Clinton) and the Bush administrations insistence that the market would take care of itself that lead to the collapse. Given that, this warning seems a little hollow to me.

Then Sen. Sessions engages in a little through the rabbit hole thinking about the tax deal last month. He says:

Last month, President Obama would agree to maintain current tax rates only if Congress would agree to increase federal deficit spending. We are headed toward a cliff, yet the president hits the accelerator.

Talk about mendacious! Did you see what he is saying there? Republicans really, really, really care about the debt but that mean old President Obama would only let them spend 700 billion over ten years in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires if we didn’t cut spending for things like education and unemployment benefits!

Is you brain aching from the cognitive dissonance yet? If not, wait, it is early. It would be one thing if Sen. Sessions (R –La La Land) were just some new Tea Party candidate who found themselves elevated to the Senate, but the sad truth is that he is the Ranking Republican (and that is pretty rank) on the Senate Budget Committee. He is expected to know how things actually work and be, you know, adult about the problems facing the nation in terms of revenue and spending, debt and economic development.
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