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Now What? We Start Fighting Anew, Of Course

5:47 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Battle of Thermopylae

Battle of Thermopylae by Σταύρος

Now what? The worst compromise since the one Xerxes offered the Spartans is on its way to becoming law. There were no 300 at an American Thermopylae turning back the tides of an oppressor. So there is no heroic last stand and not a lot for those of us on the Left to be in any way happy with.

We did avoid a default, though we have validated using the debt ceiling as a Sword of Damocles (which is completely the fault of the Democrats, since it was Sen. Kent Conrad that first used it as leverage to get the Cat Food Commission appointed by the president) hanging over the economy for as long as we are dumb enough to have a debt ceiling.

All this might leave one a little dispirited. This is understandable, but not acceptable. It is not acceptable for anyone that wants to call themselves an activist. It is the hard fact of this political life that as an activist one is going to get a lot of kicks in the teeth, especially when you are on the Left.

There is just so much money and institutional inertia in the system that the deck is stacked against us. Even those who we should be able to reliably count as Liberal or Progressive are caught by the need to raise money and to have the support of their political party to run and win. It distorts their ability to make votes on principal.

Still this is the time to review why it is we do what we do. I can’t speak for anyone else but I do this out of wholly selfish reasons. It’s true. The return on time, sweat and tears invested is huge, well, huge in the sense of personal satisfaction. I like the idea of an United States where people are treated equally regardless of their color or gender or sexuality or economic class. I’ve never see the full thing, but the vision of it keeps me going.
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Conrad, Coburn and Cat Food II, Oh My!

5:49 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

(image: twolf1)

Poor Kent Conrad, he thought that announcing that he was retiring next year would make him seem like a fair broker for massively unpopular budget reduction plans. He pushed the president really hard over creating the Cat Food Commission (threatening to hold up the last debt ceiling raise if it was not created).

That went pretty spectacularly sideways, ending with no Commission report, but instead a report from the two chairs that the not enough of the rest of the Commission would sign on for. It still gets talked about like Simpson-Bowels is the actual report instead of something cooked up by a couple of old coots that it is.

Then Sen. Conrad decided that he could do better and formed the so-called “Gang of Six”. It should have been called “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” for all the success it had. They are supposed to unveil their plan for trying to implement the “old coots” plan which will invariably be misreported as the Simpson-Bowels commission recommendations. That is probably not going to go very well, which is why it is going to be presented to 60 or so Senators in private today.

Meanwhile Sen. Coburn (Douche-OK) the rogue member of the Gang, is also pushing a plan that has something for everyone to hate his own 9 trillion dollar deficit reduction plan. This plan would increase taxes by closing loopholes and would significantly change Medicare and Medicaid.

It would also hit Social Security. If you are inclined to want to change Social Security this plan might attract you. It would not use any of the savings in to reduce the deficit but rather extend the solvency horizon for it. It would increase the eligibility age by 1 month for every two years, starting in 2022. This is just a camels nose under the tent to change the program, at least to my eyes.

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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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