Republican Coup, Already in Progress

Just got home from a grueling day of window shopping at the Palisades Mall near Nyack. I hate to shop but the kid took my best pair of gladiators with her on vacation and I needed a replacement pair.

What I really wanted was to get away from this interminable debt ceiling screwup for awhile. But when I got home, I found that there are a bunch of idiots still talking about it on the House floor. And I’m reading that we can’tt pivot to addressing unemployment until we bring down the deficit in a harsh, draconian way. Like, I’m supposed to believe that. What do they take us for? Idiots? We know there’s no way in hell the passage of this bill is going to help the economy or the unemployed. It’s going to make matters worse. There will be more federal and state workers laid off and probably higher state and property taxes to offset what is lost.

More people window shopping and fewer people spending means another slam at the economy and more lost jobs. And I am firmly of the opinion that the Republicans actually *want* this outcome. They want the economy to be so bad next year that Obama is a one-termer. Hey, fine with me. I have no problem with Obama leaving the White House to spend more time with his family, write a book and go on a lucrative speaking tour. He is over his head. We knew this would happen with Obama in the White House. No, seriously, go back to the beginning of this blog and read all about why we objected to obama’s nomination.

So, the likely scenario is that this stupid bill gets passed by Republicans and signed into law by Obama and the Democrats wash their hands of it. Yep, get as far away from this radioactive fart as you possibly can get, Dems. Let Obama take the fall for this and when you see once and for all that he’s killing your party, think long and hard about whether you want him as your fearful leader for four more years.

Blog the vote in the comment thread and make your predictions.

Update: Radioactive fart bill has passed the House.

Found on twitter: “Left calls for original birth certificate; believes Obama was really born a Republican”

Also, Jeff Jarvis has started a new hashtag- #Hillaryforpresident. It’s time.

WTF?? Another example of how sexism costs all of us

So, I was reading Elizabeth Drew’s article in the New York Review of Books titled “What Were They Thinking?” that recounts how we got to this messy stage of impasse, political grandstanding and Obama’s inflated self-image when I came to what I think might be a hidden gem on two points:

Finding a solution to reducing the deficit that was agreeable to Boehner, to Cantor, to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and to the President was no small task. The men, who had rudely and unwisely excluded Pelosi, now the minority leader, from their deliberations, could no longer avoid dealing with her. They’d considered Pelosi a bit of a pain, insistent as she was on standing up for liberal principles.

Are you f^&*ing kidding me?  These GUYS excluded the former speaker of the house and now minority leader from the negotiations because she sticks up for liberal principles?  I’ll be the first one to say that Nancy shouldn’t be surprised and is paying royally for the mess she made in Denver in 2008.  But Jeez, it is completely unacceptable that there wasn’t even one woman in the room when these assholes met, not even the House Democrats’ minority leader.  It happens in the business world all of the time.  Women don’t get the email, are conveeeeeniently left off the meeting list, their phone calls are ignored.  And THIS is womens’ issues are never considered in the final bills.  If you’re a liberal woman, you’re doubly screwed.

And Barack Obama was OK with this?

You betcha.

#fuckyouwashingtonguys

Update: Craig Crawford says that Congressional leaders have decided to cut Obama out of future negotiations.  Here’s what he’s been hearing:

It’s no surprise that Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, went out of their way to insult the president but remarkably Democrats also went forward over the weekend with Capitol Hill debt talks that did not even include a symbolic emissary from the White House.

[...]

While the GOP obviously would savor a solution to the debt-ceiling crisis that gives Obama no credit, why are Democratic leaders so willing to cut him out?

The answer might be found in growing concerns among veteran Capitol Hill Democrats that their president is a lousy negotiator.

Although they see him as a talented public communicator, his short time as a senator and painfully slow learning curve as president leads congressional Democrats to think it best to take over and provide cover for him once the deal is done.

Wow, just wow.  Um, would giving him cover really be the best idea?  Maybe they’ve been too permissive.  They provided him with a lot of cover in 2008 and carried him gently over the threshhold of the nomination.  In retrospect, that was a bad idea.  It could explain why he’s painfully slow to learn his job and why he’s so fricking clueless about legislating with Congress. He’s never had to do it before.

After this is all over, the Democrats need to have a heart to heart with President Mashieniblick.  The idea that they can foist him on the rest of us and give us no Democratic alternative is unacceptable when they don’t think he is capable of doing his job.

It’s Not about Taxes

I live in California, and you may have heard that we’re having a bit of an argle-bargle about a budget in this state.

The history, for those who’d like it: Back in the 1970s, enough Californians felt their taxes were too high to limit property taxes by law. The limit is low, (1.5%, I thought, but wikipedia says 1%) and — this is the biggest deal — the assessed value of the property can’t increase more than 2% a year until it’s sold. The new assessed value is then based on that sale price. You’ve probably heard about property values in California. A house worth $60,000 in 1978 is worth $600,000 now, but it’s taxed at around $100,000. There’s something to be said for this in the case of retirees on fixed incomes, for instance. However, they forgot to limit it to people of limited means. It applies equally to movie stars. And to commercial real estate which can stay in the same hands forever, even when it’s sold, through the magic of shell corporations. That turns out to be a loophole big enough for the whole state to fall through. . . . Proposition 13, as it’s known, also said that any tax increase had to pass with a two-thirds supermajority. We have two, count ‘em, two, Republicans more than a one third minority. So that voting bloc, in its infinite intransigence, can stop any budget from passing. The situation is not helped by a Gropinator who vetoes legislation just to show off, as far as I can tell.

(Update: I should mention that the up-to-the-minute blog for all things to do with politics in California is calitics.com.)

On to the gnarly present. As Krugman wrote, California may once again be ahead of the curve in showing what happens when a bunch of Republicans decide to play politics with the future. This is not, at this point a faults-on-both-sides situation. This is a bunch of Republicans playing politics with the future. They have made the (apparently accurate) judgment that repeating NO NEW TAXES on an infinite loop will keep getting them re-elected till hell takes over.
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Friday: Budget under control? Great. What about mass transit?

The CRRNJ terminal and ferry docks in Jersey City, sitting idle.

The CRRNJ terminal and ferry docks in Jersey City, sitting idle.

Paul Krugman reviews Obama’s budget plans and gives a thumbs up.  Obama’s got his priorities straight, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some problems coming up:

So we have good priorities and plausible projections. What’s not to like about this budget? Basically, the long run outlook remains worrying.

According to the Obama administration’s budget projections, the ratio of federal debt to G.D.P., a widely used measure of the government’s financial position, will soar over the next few years, then more or less stabilize. But this stability will be achieved at a debt-to-G.D.P. ratio of around 60 percent. That wouldn’t be an extremely high debt level by international standards, but it would be the deepest in debt America has been since the years immediately following World War II. And it would leave us with considerably reduced room for maneuver if another crisis comes along.

Furthermore, the Obama budget only tells us about the next 10 years. That’s an improvement on Bush-era budgets, which looked only 5 years ahead. But America’s really big fiscal problems lurk over that budget horizon: sooner or later we’re going to have to come to grips with the forces driving up long-run spending — above all, the ever-rising cost of health care.

And even if fundamental health care reform brings costs under control, I at least find it hard to see how the federal government can meet its long-term obligations without some tax increases on the middle class. Whatever politicians may say now, there’s probably a value-added tax in our future.

The health care funding is the key.  It stops well short of universal however.  Let’s not forget that there’s a hidden tax applied to every working taxpayer to pay for the uninsured. In NJ, that hidden tax is estimated to total  $700,000,000 per year and with more people out of work these days, it’s bound to go up.  That’s why universal healthcare is so important.  Ideally, we want to keep people healthy before they become so sick they end up in the emergency room and the hospital.  It saves us all money in the end.

Krugman expects tax increases on the middle class.  I suppose that is inevitable but I hope that someone is thinking about the millions of us single parents out here who pay taxes at a single rate and even with Head of Household and dependent deductions end up paying more every year in taxes than married people.  I’m sorry, married people, but I think this is unfair.  No one is reducing the cost of living for single people and single parents aren’t spending like there’s no tomorrow, except on the locusts who reside with us and regularly clean out our refrigerators.  Reports of our disposable incomes are greatly exaggerated.

One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is mass transit.

The abandoned CRRNJ station at Belle Mead, NJ

The abandoned CRRNJ station at Belle Mead, NJ

My impression is that it was underfunded but if anyone has a handle on the exact numbers, raise your hand.  Here on the east coast, especially dense NJ, there were a number of commuter rail lines that were abandoned in the 60′s as workers took to their cars.  Now, 40 years later, suburban sprawl has made getting from point A to point B a nightmare.  But the old rail lines are still there.  You can see them on google satlellite maps.In at least one case, the CRRNJ, the terminal station in Jersey city is still there.  It looks like it’s waiting for someone to just flip a switch.  I’m sure there’s a lot more to it than that but with most of the infrastructure already in place, what are the barriers to getting it up and running again?  We could really use it.

What’s your budget priorty?  Let us know in the comments.

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