It’s catfood for you!

Giving us the first clear idea of their plans for managing the federal budget, the deficit fiscal commission’s Catfood Commission co-chairs, Erskine Bowles and former-Sen. Alan Simpson released a teaser report today with hints of the proposals they want accepted:

Panel Weighs Deep Cuts in Tax Breaks and Spending

The proposed simplification of the tax code would repeal or modify a number of popular tax breaks — including the deductibility of mortgage interest payments — so that income tax rates could be reduced across the board. Under the plan, individual income tax rates would decline to as low as 8 percent on the lowest income bracket (now 10 percent) and to 23 percent on the highest bracket (now 35 percent). The corporate tax rate, now 35 percent, would also be reduced, to as low as 26 percent.

As Susie Madrak says, “In other words, tax cuts for 2%, austerity for everyone else!

Megan Carpentier at Talking Point Memo says, “Their recommendations are more or less a list of the third-rail issues of American politics, including cuts in the number of federal workers; increasing the costs of participating in veterans and military health care systems; increasing the age of Social Security eligibility; and major cuts in defense and foreign policy spending. “

She includes this list:

  • Raise the qualification age for Social Security benefits to 69 by 2075
  • Index Social Security benefits to inflation rather than wages
  • Begin means testing benefits by 2050
  • Raise the contribution ceiling, currently at $109,000 to include 90% of wages

The list includes changes in the tax code — eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, raising the personal deduction, lowering the tax rate (2% for us 10% for them?) raising medicare & medicaid co-pays and premiums and on and on and on.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who called the plan “a good beginning,” said commission members will meet this afternoon and again next week to continue discussions and “offer alternatives.”

Paul Krugman says (Thanks, Susie!),

Oh, and they’re talking about raising the retirement age, because people live longer — except that the people who really depend on Social Security, those in the bottom half of the distribution, aren’t living much longer. So you’re going to tell janitors to work until they’re 70 because lawyers are living longer than ever.

Lambert’s shocked. And my blood froze.

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66 Responses

  1. It was the weirdest thing, I was listening to right-wing talk radio and the host was saying they should put SS into a lockbox. And that raising the qualification age for SS means that basically you work hard and pay into it, then a couple of years before you die, they give you a few checks. Maybe, because they also want to means test it..

    Thank you, Catfood Commission, for making me agree with right wing talk radio. :(

    • yeah and they made fun of Al Gore for saying that. What a bunch of idiots.

    • That was Rush Limbaugh.

      • Holy macaroni, I was agreeing with Rushbo?!!!!!!!!!!! 8-O

        • It does rather feel as if the world of U. S. politics has turned upside down since the, ahem, questionable Democratic nomination process of 2008.

      • No, I think it was Sean Hannity. I wanted to hear his spin on this, and those were his words, lock box, etc, almost verbatim. I think he added, they’ll give you your money right before you die, just to make you feel better.

        I had the same weird thought about agreeing with him, and then imagined that MSNBC 0-addicts will be mouthing off about how this is necessary right now and we all have to tighten our belts and forget entitlements.

        • might be the same talking points.

        • The rightwing radio talking heads can go after the Cat Food Commission recommendations (as seen in the Minority of Two Report) because this is Obama’s commission, stacked with his appointments of deficit hawks with strong prejudices against SocSec (some against Medicare).

          And the voters can see through Obama’s cries against privatizing SocSec. Won’t need to be privatized; it will just be gutted and ruined…by him.

          Since it’s Obama’s commission, it provides great new ways to attack against all Democrats. Now the Dems are the party of killing SocSec! Wow. I never thought this would actually happen. I feared it with Obama and his penchant for dissing SocSec, but, damn, I somehow thought the party regulars could fight him off.

          (Why was it, Speaker Pelosi, you set up that automatic vote on the Cat Food Commission’s recommendations if they pass in the Senate? Just why did you sneak that in to a bill which was going to pass? Why, Nancy, WHY?)

          And thus the Obama Trojan horse gets to destroy the real Democratic Party from the inside. Oh, dear Paul Wellstone, there’s not much of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party left under Obama et al. You are sorely missed.

  2. I’m gonna take my grandma’s old recipes and put together a catfood cookbook.

    If I make enough money I won’t have to eat any.

  3. At Talk Left & Salon they’re saying this report is DOA. I wish I felt as secure about that.

    • Talk Left and Salon forgot that Oprecious set up the commission and he’s fired up and ready to sign. :)

    • Yeah well, Talk Left & Salon also said that Obama was going to sign the FOCA, end DADT & close Gitmo FIRST THING after being sworn in.

      • Strangely, that makes me feel better! … How weird is that?

      • I used to like TalkLeft.

        Then Jeralyn went to the DNC convention and lost her mind.

        • Ha :lol: after your ‘Dr. Locos’ vid comment that is too FUNNY! :lol:

        • I used to like it too, but then I realized that they are more full of sh!t than anyone else, because while they pretend to stand on principles, they sell out for a few cocktails & a spa day with Arrianna. At least we all KNOW Markos is a sell out Republican operative ratf*cker — he doesn’t try to hide it, his followers are just to stupid to see it (just like they were too stupid to see that when Obama voted FOR FISA it wasn’t some 11th dimensional chess move & Hillary didn’t vote against it just to make Obama “look bad.” — ARRGG! Just thinking about the stupid Obot logic makes my head hurt – I’ll stop now).
          Speaking of Jeralyn — how is she doing now that Bristol made it to the final 4 on DWTS? LOL — I came thisclose to voting for her myself, just to piss Jeralyn off.

        • Speaking of Jeralyn — how is she doing now that Bristol made it to final 4 on DWTS? LOL I came thisclose to voting for her myself just to piss Jeralyn off.

    • Me too. I don’t trust Obama as far as I could throw him and that amounts to about a few inches.

  4. Sadly with Obama and the current congressional mishmash, I don’t think it will be DOA.

    • I don’t believe it either. Obama is already in trouble for 2012, if he signs the death of SS, his campaign will be DOA.

      • Unfortunately, so will a lot of other people.

        For most Americans with job-based health coverage, the biggest change would be to limit or eliminate altogether the tax-free status of employer-provided health benefits, which would provide a stiff nudge to force people into cost-conscious insurance plans.

        “cost-conscious” = really expensive + few benefits

      • The plan is to blame the rethugs! They made him do it.

  5. Totally off topic, I just had to call all my siblings (7 of them) to give them a message from my parents. That’s 7 messages on voice mail and 7 games of phone tag.

    I’m still not done.

  6. Nothing is DOA. Nancy already passed something requiring congress to vote on the whole thing – yes or no – no discussion. You may recall Ds on teevee talking about it and refusing to pledge to vote “NO”

  7. Someone should publish pictures of the houses of these Catfood Commissioners. Something tells me they ain’t living in no single bedroom apartments.

    • wonderful suggestion, and I agree wholeheartedly. Publish pictures of these people’s lives – the same people who are telling the hoi polloi their empty promises about the future in order to get elected again so they can continue feeding at the trough..

    • But but but….they’re giving up their pension plans and health care plans to join the rest of us…..right?

      Whoops – sorry.

  8. Parts of it are DOA…particularly the defense stuff…(which is the only part I would go for)

    The rest will get the approval of BamBam. With the possible exception of the EITC.

    • Well, duh! How many of those defense contractors are in Pelosi’s back yard?
      Never mind that we have enough nukes to end life on Earth as we know it, we can’t let anybody know we are soft by getting rid of some.

  9. If this has been posted already, please accept my humblest apology. But this story was such a great read, it had to be shared. :P

    Hillary 2012

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/07

    • I haven’t seen it…. reading now.

    • I would argue with Obama being used, it’s a symbiotic relationship.
      Remember this is the guy who used and threw half the population of Chicago under the bus to get where he is now.

      You know that he will be the 2012 candidate, there is no way that Kerry, Reid, Dean, Pelosi and the rest will admit they fucked up backing Obunko by allowing a primary challenger.

      No way will I vote for any of the republicans considering running or Obama. I’m thinking of writing in Hillary as a rebuke of what the party has devolved into.

  10. The dirty little secret is that Social Security is solvent for decades, but it will have to tap into trillions of dollars in treasuries to pay recipients. When that happens, the federal budget will jump because it can no longer hide part of the deficit in Social Security. The solution is to cut benefits to keep it a revenue generator, that way it can keep being used to pay off federal debt.

  11. If they give the biggest break to the wealthy and take away the mortgage interest deduction that so many people rely on, I hope people will take to the streets.

    Any takers on finding and publishing the homes of the commissioners–great idea!

  12. In other good news, behind the subscriber firewall in the WSJ, Commodity Prices Surge..

    Strong demand for raw materials from emerging markets and a flood of money promised by the U.S. Federal Reserve are pushing commodities prices to new highs.

    The broad rally has gained steam since the Fed indicated in late August it would inject money into the U.S. economy. But the gains also reflect a powerful rebound from the financial crisis in China and other fast-growing markets. These forces may send prices higher still, potentially putting pressure on poor importing nations.

    The International Energy Agency’s chief economist said Tuesday that China’s needs could drive oil to $110 per barrel by 2015—a 27% …

    • The demand is b.s. The main reason for the price surge on commodities is the QE2. Those who hold dollars want to get rid of the liquid asset and put them into real assets, such as oil, copper, gold, etc. The QE2 has fanned fears of hyperinflation, and in that scenario, the dollar won’t buy as much as it does today. For example, if I have $100K, and I convert that money into oil at $87/barrel, and the dollar devalues 25%, that means the price of oil will be $116/barrel (87 divided by 0.75). When I sell the oil, my original investment of $100K is protected against the devaluation of the dollar.

      Ben Bernanke says that he is not trying to monetize (print money) the deficit with hyperinflation, but to spur growth in the U.S. economy. But there’s no question that his QE2 is an attempt to devalue the dollar against other currencies. The devaluation will make imports more expensive and supposedly it would spur manufacturing at home. There’s a problem with that reasoning though. Anytime the dollar goes down in value, oil gets more expensive, and everything gets more expensive because transportation is an integral cost of everything. Also commuting, heating oil, electricity, all of that will go up. Besides oil, any other raw material that’s needed for manufacturing, such as copper will increase in cost. Given that people are hurting already, higher prices is bad medicine and counterproductive to economic growth at this time. That’s what I see.

      Only time will tell if devaluing the dollar is a good step, or bad. It can go either way.

      • Well said, Dario. High probability that it will result in inflation/hyperinflation for regular folks, raising prices for food, gas, electricity, etc.

        Not to mention that it pissed off Russia, Germany, and China , and could cause a currency war.

  13. Better use for a bank as sex toy shop with a drive-thru

    The customers will get served now instead of turned down for a loan.

  14. Prophetic

    Good editorial by SC Dem State Sen Robert Ford on Obama dragging down the whole party.

    COLUMBIA — State Sen. Robert Ford was blasted for his 2007 prediction that then-candidate Barack Obama would drag down the whole Democratic ticket, but he said Monday that history proved him right, and he has another forecast to make.

    Ford, a Charleston Democrat, said U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, should step out of a leadership role next year, or the whole party will go down in defeat. Ford said the same goes for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat.

    Clyburn and Pelosi have offered themselves for leadership positions in next year’s Congress, when the Democrats fall back to the minority party. Clyburn will run for House minority whip and Pelosi will run for the role as minority leader.

    “If they elect Nancy Pelosi or Jim Clyburn to leadership, the Democratic Party will be taken off life support,” Ford said. “That will be the end of the Democratic Party. They’re bad news right now.”

  15. I’m not surprised by the teaser report. And I figure the real report will be that or even worse. There’s only one thing to say to them and the asshole that created the cat food commission, f**ck you and horse you rode in on. After they proceed to slash social security, medicare, and the rest, what do they expect us to do?

    Do you supposed this is kabuki to completely and permanently destroy the Dem brand (even more than it already is)? Do they think they can say the Republicans made them do it? I mean, this is happening before the Republicans take over the house even. WTF?

  16. This really is the complete and permanent destruction of the Democratic party. All done by Republicans who infiltrated like Markos, Arianma, Ronnie Obama himself, etc., and facilitated by either stupid or greedy Democrats.

    And here we see the fallacy of trying to be a good and loyal Democrat when something like this is going on. To be a really good and loyal Democrat, you should be fighting this. I sure would love to see Hillary notice all of this and leave the party and run as an independent. Starting with a speech about principles and how the party has abandoned them. Well, I can dream.

    • Another way is that we all vote GOP and crash that party. It’s not my fault that we have one party. UNITY has become a reality.

      • I have a wonderful idea. We should ask all the current Democratic senators and house representatives to change party. They should all become GOP. We’d be back to the way it was before Jefferson broke out from the Whig Party.

  17. Yes, those proposed long term tax cuts look ridiculous to me…top rates being reduced over 10 percent. How is that supposed to help the deficit or shore up social security and medicare. And getting rid of the mortgage interest deduction is going to hurt people who don’t pay all out cash for their homes, not the rich and super rich.

    • As I was reading yesterday, to reduce the tax brackets, it removes ALL deductions.

      I’m assuming that includes child credits and college tuition credits, too.

      That’s gonna hurt the middle class badly.

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