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Government Shutdown Tragically Avoided

Well, the fight over whether or not to allow the government to avoid partial government shutdown ended up in a colossal game of chicken, and it's not quite sure who blinked. Well, not exactly; both blinked, it's just unclear who blinked first. Or harder. Sorry, it's a poor metaphor, but it's the best we got.

We know that a deal was struck, and enough Democrats and Republicans signed off on it to get it past both Houses and to Obama's desk. It cut spending by another $38 billion through the end of the year (but as Ed Morrissey notes, our current spending level adds about $50 billion per week, so it's not that great an improvement). The Republicans won a few points -- a ban on federally-funded abortions in DC and a guarantee of a vote on defunding Planned Parenthood (which will most likely fail, but makes certain Harry Reid can't just lock it in a closet and wait for it to die on its own). They didn't pass a final budget for the year, but it appears that that will be done (a bit over a year after President Obama submitted his budget plan to the House, where Nancy Pelosi did just lock it in a closet and let it die on its own.

Speaking of the former Speaker and current House Minority Leader, she played a key role in the final struggle -- by skipping out of town. While the final details were being hammered out and voted on, Nancy Pelosi was speaking at Tufts University (something to which I can say "I did that first!").

It looks like the major winner here were the Republicans, who demonstrated that while the Democrats hold the White House and the Senate, the Republicans' hold on the House really puts them in the catbird seat when it comes to budgetary matters. Last year, the Democrats held the House, and used that to simply not pass a budget; now that grownups are in charge in the lower house, they finally did what the Democrats refused to do.

And the biggest loser has to be President Obama, who almost-tearfully had to cancel his 583rd vacation of his administration and not take his family to colonial Williamsburg. My sources tell me that Sasha is inconsolable, Malia is weeping uncontrollably, Bo The Dog has forgotten his housebreaking, and Michelle... well, let's just say there's a good reason why President Obama is walking that way and sitting as little as possible.

And let's not let it be forgotten that the immediate crisis has eased, but we're still in a hell of a mess. The budget being finalized is the one that should have been passed six months ago, and covers the remaining current fiscal year -- which ends September 30. The House also has to settle the budget for next year as well (President Obama submitted his plan for that back on February 1 of this year).

But the crisis has passed, the drama is over, and now we can figure out which Muslim nation Obama's going to declare not-war on during his next vacation.

Author's note: lately, I've found myself adopting little pieces of other bloggers' general tones and styles when writing or commenting. I've caught myself channeling Ace Of Spades on one or two occasions, and this piece seems to have more than a little of Allahpundit in it. I dunno what triggered this phase, or even if it will last, but I gotta confess it's kind of fun.


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Comments (76)

There was no victory for co... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

There was no victory for conservatives in this deal, evidenced by the article authored by K. Soltis at NRO wherein she states, "We are currently debating how much to cut rather than debating whether or not to cut." That's pretty thin gruel. But I'm not disappointed in the Republican leadership at this time.

1) The deal means no shut-down over those thorny riders (my libertarian streak is showing).

2) The deal means our troops continue to receive their pay.

From a practical point of view the cuts shouldn't even be identified as cuts. Does anyone here even care to know what tiny portion of 1% they represent? You don't force a shut down over that. You make your best deal and move on to the main event. It looks like that's what they did, and that's ok with me.

Next year we enter another campaign cycle. We get to see which members of the current crop we've sent to DC have the resolve to use the ammunition Obama and the Democrats just hand them. That will determine who gets my support and who I will work to replace.

Exit question ...... (Below threshold)

Exit question ...

Fiddling while Rome burns .... (Below threshold)

Fiddling while Rome burns . . .

By promising 100 billion, g... (Below threshold)

By promising 100 billion, going for only 60 billion and getting much less while continuing to fund NPR and Planned Parenthood, John Boehner has proven once again why he is a weak leader and should never run for President!

Yeah, they managed to cut $... (Below threshold)

Yeah, they managed to cut $38 billion. It took them a couple of weeks, though (with a deficit of over $50 billion a week), so in the time it took them to cut that $38 billion, the deficit increased over $60 billion.

Not a win.

What a bunch of john Boners... (Below threshold)

What a bunch of john Boners. Well, back to the sand trap Barry.

Indeed, there were no winne... (Below threshold)
professor wagstaff:

Indeed, there were no winners in this fiasco. It's just the latest illustration of how broken the government is; a bunch of, for the most part, wealthy power-addicted cowards sitting around debating which group of poor people to stick it to in the name of fiscal restraint. Sorry, not many "grownups" to be seen.

It wasn't about the money. You could find 38 billion that no one would even miss lying around a drawer in the Pentagon in less time than one of Rep. Boner's crying jags. This whole dog and pony show was brought to us courtesy of the teabaggers' little tantrum. They are realizing they can't waltz into DC waving the flag and thumping on the Constitution and/or their Bible and ram their bald faced, regressive fundamentalist crap down everyone's throat. They knew they would ultimately be held responsible if the government shut down. The agenda is becoming more and more clear. They don't give a hoot about jobs, growing the economy or critical energy issues; they've shown their vision for taking America back is based on depriving citizens of access to health care, clean air and water, safe food and the privacy between a woman and her physician. I think their 15 minutes is about up.

Holding the US armed forces... (Below threshold)

Holding the US armed forces hostage will not reflect well on the dimmos and the commander in chief - throwing the troops under the bus SHOULD really bite the dimms in the ass come 2012. If the House passes legislation protecting the troops and exempting their paychecks from shutdowns, look for some fecal material to hit the fan next budget. Boner insisting the Senate vote on obumma care may be the key to a larger than expected Conservative take over. Boner better have a really good plan/explaination for the Conservatives or he will be in charge of the House restroom maintenance.

I see professor wagstaff ha... (Below threshold)

I see professor wagstaff has had his usual morning cup of Kool Aid.

volstaff-"The agen... (Below threshold)


"The agenda is becoming more and more clear. They don't give a hoot about jobs, growing the economy or critical energy issues; they've shown their vision for taking"

What? Then they would support the 'Won'?? Knock yourself out with that pitcher of unicorn piss.

Libya MIS adventure needs t... (Below threshold)

Libya MIS adventure needs to end now before the UN deploys our troops or we arm the Rebels.

Obama care must be de-funded we done nothing 78 Billion in cuts but Obama care just Spent 105 billion.

All Tarp money the banks paid back in with the interest should be used to create SS trust fund separate and distinct from the general fund. Then al SOX accounting rules need to apply including jail time for congress and president if they cook the books.

I want a 2011 Budget now done at 2008 levels.

Then I want a real 2012 Budget.
Based on Paul Ryans Budget

Never underestimate the wil... (Below threshold)

Never underestimate the willingness of Republicans to puss-out, cross the aisle and betray the nation and the voters.

If you are a Tea Party cons... (Below threshold)
recovered liberal democrat:

If you are a Tea Party conservative Republican you cannot be happy with what is happening in Washington. All of the Republicans that vote in favor of this sham should be primaried in 2012 and hopefully fired. Boehner should be sent back to tending bar. Where was M. McConnell? am writing my congressman and telling him that if he supports this sham I will not support him as I have in the past.
I was happy to hear one of the founders of the Tea Party say this morning that Rommney was the least favorite candidate. Huckelabee is embarrassing himself more and more for throwing up the white flag in a moments notice of resistance. We have work to do.

Serious question"c... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Serious question

"cancel his 583rd vacation of his administration "

Was 583 a made up number or the real number. It is really hard to keep track.

"Never underestimate the wi... (Below threshold)

"Never underestimate the willingness of Republicans to puss-out, cross the aisle and betray the nation and the voters."

AKA Pulling a McCain!

I think I've got to agree w... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

I think I've got to agree with Upset Old Guy - maybe that's because I'm one, too. While I believe a shut down would not have done any significant harm, save the refusal to pay the armed forces, I am worried about winning in 2012, and if not the Presidency, then at least keep the House and take the Senate. I do not trust the Independents to see a shut down as something forced on the country by Ds' refusal to act responsibly. I think the Rs would be blamed and, in the grand scheme of things, probably cost a point or two at the ballot box in 2012.
I guess I just don't have faith in the majority of American voters to understand the extent of the budgetary problem and be willing to act accordingly. That means that cuts come to programs that you like, not just to ones you don't like.
I tend to agree with this quote: "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
Alexis de Tocqueville
One of the many times I hope I'm wrong. But with only 47% of the public paying Federal Income Taxes, I am not optimistic. I guess we'll see if there is widespread support for the Ryan plan, while not perfect, one helluvalot better than anything the Ds put forward.

"But with only 47% of the p... (Below threshold)

"But with only 47% of the public paying Federal Income Taxes, I am not optimistic."

Exactly. The other 53% are idiots - because they have no dog in the fight, and could really care less - as long as 'the rich' continue to pay taxes.

The day the gravy train ends, they'll stand with their mouths agape and their thumbs up their asses saying "Wa happened?"

"The day the gravy train en... (Below threshold)

"The day the gravy train ends, they'll stand with their mouths agape and their thumbs up their asses saying "Wa happened?"

Just like Wooop does after each thread spanking.

What a joke! $38.5 billion... (Below threshold)

What a joke! $38.5 billion is only 2.5% of our $1.5 trillion deficit and about 1% of our overall budget.

in personal terms, let's assume you ran a $1,000 deficit for the month, and you were going to address that problem by cutting $25 in spending, so your debt next month would only be $975. How frugal.

Both political parties are to blame - but the voters are ultimately at fault for electing Representatives and Senators who have no real sense of fiscal responsibility (or maybe just no sense at all).

$6 Billion extra to continu... (Below threshold)
Don L:

$6 Billion extra to continue the funding of baby killers? Nice choice Boehner. Tribute money like that Judas fella.

"Cash for Babies" the new GOP bumper sticker -on par with Obama's "Cash for Clunkers."

A human life, unlike money, is a zero-sum game and cannot be retreive by a prudent Rand Paul 10 year plan.

Working for that big GOP wi... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Working for that big GOP win last November, I feel like that teen who borrowed his next sixth month's allowance for the biggest date of his life, only to find out:

a:The girl is going into the convent to become a nun.
b: The girl likes other girls.
C: The girls is a RuPaul clone.
d: All of the above.

Obama was determined to let... (Below threshold)

Obama was determined to let the Republicans go through with the shutdown - so no doubt it was Baby-Tears Boehner that blinked.

I'd hoped for a shutdown - major points would have been lost by the GOP - but I guess ol' Baby-Tears couldn't bring his widdle self to do it.

And hey, Eric Cantor could have always written a new bill that he then declared was law even if the Senate never voted on it! Amazing how the GOP liars like Eric Cantor cradled and hugged the Constitution before the election -- then threw it under the bus once they got into office.

"I'd hoped for a shutdown"<... (Below threshold)

"I'd hoped for a shutdown"

Where's all your 'compassion' for the 'poor'?

Or is this another 'fuck the country', I want to score political points?


Good Lord, Woop, who's dumb... (Below threshold)
Walter Cronanty:

Good Lord, Woop, who's dumber - you or the idiot at Slate who wrote the article you link to? As noted by a D, as quoted in the original WaPo article, in order for HB 1 to become effective, the Rs' "Government Shutdown Prevention Act" would have to be passed by the House, then the Senate, and then signed by the President. How, exactly, is that throwing the Consitution under the bus?

Too bad so many can't figur... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Too bad so many can't figure it out. Big win for the GOP here - those "miniscule" cuts are to a budget that doesn't exist except as a hodgepodge of authorizations and temporary appropriations left over after Pelosi and Reid failed to do their job and pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2011, which is already more than half over.

We were never going to have the public with us for TWO shutdowns - the independents and swing voters just are too squishy, which is why they swing back and forth. That's why Obama and Reid wanted a shutdown now: so that when the REAL battle comes over the FY 2012 and we are dealing with hundreds of billions and entitlements, we would have already used our political capital.

So why did the Democrats fold up like cheap suits? Two reasons - the election of Prosser in Wisconsin after the national unions had gone "all in" to defeat him in a union state was a wake-up call. Add to that the mounting backlash to their gambit on military pay, and it was apparent Obama is so incompetent he can't even shut down the government right.

It's a victory. Not a huge one, not the final one, but a win nonetheless. All you hand-wringers can cry in your beer while the rest of us gird for the next battle.

Exactly. The other... (Below threshold)
Exactly. The other 53% are idiots - because they have no dog in the fight, and could really care less - as long as 'the rich' continue to pay taxes.

Please note that among the "other 53%" are corporations like GE who were actually PAID money from the pockets of the rest of us.

If either side were really serious about deficit spending and taxpayers' money, then tax subsidies to corporations already making huge profits, Cayman Island dodges, etc. etc. would be closed up.

Instead, more middle-class taxpayers paying for everything, while gas companies get paid tax money and the poor's heating oil gets cut off. So it goes.

Does anyone know what this ... (Below threshold)

Does anyone know what this is a "cut" from?

Is it a cut from the budget submitted by Obama last year?

Is it a cut from last years budget?

What exactly is it a "cut" from?

I mean, I could say my family and I cut 1 billion from our budget this year, because my wife proposed we spend 1 billion 30,000 dollars and I said no, we could only afford 30,000 dollars.

Is that what sort of cut we just had?

Please note that among t... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Please note that among the "other 53%" are corporations like GE who were actually PAID money from the pockets of the rest of us.

Jim x is starting to get it. Now we need to advance his education a bit further. Who was a major recipient of TARP funds? Who is joined at the hip with the Democrats on cap and trade? Whose CEO was asked to head Obama's Economic Advisory Panel, and accompanied him to Rio? Who contributed almost three times as much to Dems as Repubs?


Answer: GE.

"Working for that big GOP w... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"Working for that big GOP win last November, I feel like..."

Well, there's your problem right there. You were working for the GOP win.

I was working for the Tea Party win, which mostly but not always correlates to a GOP win.

Don L, you fucking idiot, w... (Below threshold)

Don L, you fucking idiot, wake up: the GOP doesn't give a shit about knuckle-dragging social conservative imbeciles like you. They held all three branches of gov't under GWB and, guess what, Planned Parenthood continued to function.

They will tell you what you want to hear leading up to an election, but once you've voted for them, they will direct 100% of their efforts to increasing spending they like, cutting taxes for rich people, and buying votes from seniors.

Have you been in a fucking coma for the past fifty years?

By the way, there isn't a s... (Below threshold)

By the way, there isn't a single instance that any of you will ever be able to point to in modern history where a) unemployment was high, b) spending was cut, and c) the economy rebounded.

Reagan understood that. Clinton understood that. Obama doesn't, Boehner doesn't, and neither do any of you.

HyperbloviatorCurr... (Below threshold)
retired military:


Currently we have a situation were Unemployment was medium, govt spending went up through the roof and the economy hasnt recovered yet.

I would rather have high unemployment and low govt spending than high unemployment and high govt spending.

Why? Because we arent going into a hole using a steam shovel.

This is what Obama is using to dig the hole we are currently in.


retired grammar-user<... (Below threshold)
professor wagstaff:

retired grammar-user

"Currently we have a situation were Unemployment was medium, govt spending went up through the roof and the economy hasnt recovered yet."

Almost 9% unemployment hardly qualifies as medium. We're in big trouble unless we can put people to work in meaningful, sustainable jobs that will add to our revenue stream. The hole we're in was already pretty well dug prior to 2008: 2 wars that were not put on the books by The Bush admin., tax cuts and the Medicare Part D handout are the major reasons for the surplus to deficit swing from 2000 to 2008.

Cut military waste, fund public works projects and single payer healthcare for all, implement some kind of meaningful work for welfare system (on the state level), raise the tax rate on the top 1-2% and close the corporate welfare loopholes and we'll be just fine

Jim X has been getting it t... (Below threshold)

Jim X has been getting it the whole time, enjoys talking about himself in the third person, and would like to point out that by now 99%of the TARP funds have been paid back - and will end up with an expected PROFIT to the taxpayer.


Also, Jim X is still waiting for someone to explain why we can't just return to the tax policies we had under Clinton. Since that unneeded 3% tax cut for the wealthy is adding far to the deficit than anything that's been cut so far.

9% unemployment is sustaina... (Below threshold)

9% unemployment is sustainable in France and maybe Sweden but not in the United States (not even in Canada, with our comparably superior though presently eroding safety net).

This deal is a win for rich people but a gigantic FUCK YOU to everyone in the middle and lower classes under the age of 55. I suspect that that includes a good percentage of people who comment on this blog, but then given that all of their information comes from millionaire pundits, it's understandable that you wouldn't understand what's in their own best interests.

Even three hapless trolls c... (Below threshold)

Even three hapless trolls cannot breathe life into a dead thread.

Get over it

Good Lord, Woop, w... (Below threshold)
Good Lord, Woop, who's dumber - you or the idiot at Slate who wrote the article you link to? As noted by a D, as quoted in the original WaPo article, in order for HB 1 to become effective, the Rs' "Government Shutdown Prevention Act" would have to be passed by the House, then the Senate, and then signed by the President. How, exactly, is that throwing the Consitution under the bus?

Well, apparently you're dumber, because you listen to lies and believe them.

Like I said, Cantor the Idiot decided that if the Senate did not pass HR 1 it would become law anyway.

In a press conference today, Cantor promised to present the "Prevention of a Government Shutdown Act" on the House floor on Friday. He said, "that will say to the American people: the Senate's got to act, prior to the expiration of the CR. If it doesn't not act, HR 1 becomes the law of the land."

Nope, it doesn't work that way. No House Resolution can become law unless it's also passed by the Senate and then signed by the President.

Cantor the Moron decided that the Teabggers in the House can ignore the Constitution and just declare that their bills become law without being passed by the Senate.

Even Newsbusters admitted that Cantor said what I say he said.

Just to clarify, Cantor mistakenly declared in a press conference yesterday that if the Senate does not pass a budget before the continuing resolution expires, H.R. 1, the appropriations bill passed by the House on February 19, 2011, would become the law of the land.

Yep, he did. Don't listen to the right wing lie machine.


And Boehner clearly folded.... (Below threshold)

And Boehner clearly folded. He dropped the defunding for Planned Parenthood. After he was told he had no choice.

President Barack Obama had finally reached his breaking point.

For more than an hour in an Oval Office meeting on April 7, House Speaker John Boehner had insisted that any compromise on the government's budget include a prohibition on federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Obama already had reluctantly agreed to a provision banning the District of Columbia from spending funds on abortion services -- and that was as far as he would go.

"Nope, zero," he told Boehner, according to a senior Democratic aide. "John, this is it." The room went silent.

I wonder if he cried in front of the President and the leaders of the House and Senate present -- or if he went home first and then cried.

Maybe he cried in the car during the drive home?

Big strong Republican - tucked his tail between his legs and cried like a little puppy dog.

Professor logflogger<... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Professor logflogger

a. When I said medium unemployment I was referring to when Obama took office. (it was about 6% then. I should have made that point clearer.

As for yor suggestions

a. Cut military waste,

Cut all waste. To include subsidies like ethanol, planned parenthood, NPR, studies and grants.

b. fund public works projects
No NO NO. Let states fund public work projects. When you are broke you dont out and pay someone on credit to repave your driveway and add a rose garden to your back yard.
This is one reason why the great depression was called the great depression.

c. single payer healthcare for all,

NO NO NO. Monopolies are not the way to go and neither are beaurocracies which cost more money and are inefficient by nature. And if someone wants free health care and they are between 18 and 40 let them join the military.

d. implement some kind of meaningful work for welfare system (on the state level),

I would love to see this one VERY MUCH.

e. raise the tax rate on the top 1-2% and

How about a minimum tax of say 3 per cent minimum on EVERYONE. That means that everyone has to pay at least 3 percent of their gross no matter how much or little they made and no matter how many deductions they have. This would mean that the 40 plus percent who DOESNT PAY A DIME and most of whom get rebates back on top of it have some skin in the game.

F. close the corporate welfare loopholes

Agreed. WOuld love to see it. One way to do this is G.

THis eliminates them pandering folks to get reelected.


Professor log flogger... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Professor log flogger

" The hole we're in was already pretty well dug prior to 2008: 2 wars that were not put on the books by The Bush admin., tax cuts and the Medicare Part D handout are the major reasons for the surplus to deficit swing from 2000 to 2008.


No the hole we are in is due to Obama having more deficits in 3 years than Bush did in 8.

Also Fannie and Freddie bailouts thanks to the Dems.

The medicare part D didnt help at all and I ws totally against it.

Bush tax cuts caused the greatest influx of cash into the treasury in history.

Also take away all but lifesaving care to illegals and cut off all federal monies to sanctuary cities.

Right. Wars are free, pay f... (Below threshold)

Right. Wars are free, pay for themselves, are in the interests of national security, etc.. Whatever.

a. Military waste is a problem; NPR is not. You could trade one unnecessary JSF F-35 to fund NPR ad infinitum. And anyone who advocates for a reduction in spending in grants and studies is not a serious person. Your country needs innovation to stay competitive, and that's one thing that is fair to expect your children and grandchildren to pay for. The private sector isn't going to do it all on its own: consider the beating the pharma companies are taking, and how heavily they are slashing their R&D budgets. It falls on universities--many of them dependent on grant funding--to uncover new scientific truths.

b. Not funding new public works projects is a great way to ensure that more bridges collapse and more commuters die, like in Minnesota a few years ago; and, a great way to ensure that a simple and fruitful way to reduce unemployment and expand the tax base is not capitalized on. If states cannot afford to fund infrastructure upgrades then the federal government should pay for them.

c. Single payer healthcare would radically reduce the deficit in the United States. Medicare and Medicaid would be far more affordable. Outcomes would improve across the board. But rather than examine the empirical evidence, it's easier and more emotionally gratifying to shriek "DEATH PANELS!!!" and leave it at that.

d. Work-for-welfare would be compatible with item b.

e. Reagan, FDR, and Clinton all raised taxes on the upper tax bracket during unprecedented periods of growth. Growth under GWB was not sustainable because the deficit was out of control. When a nation is prosperous it must balance its budget; when it is in peril, it has to borrow. Bush Jr. was handed a well-functioning economy but then ran massive deficits. Stupid.

Nobody is forcing you to advocate for policies that are against your own interests and the interests of your country. So stop doing it.

Oh, and your country isn't ... (Below threshold)

Oh, and your country isn't "broke". It has the means to finance job-creating investments in public works. If that were not the case, treasury bonds would not be rated as highly as they are. The reason you don't know or understand this is because a bunch of extraordinarily wealthy Republicans, or Republicans masquerading as small-government tea partiers, have successfully convinced a sizable portion of the voting public that the country has no money and the only way to solve its problems is to force the working class and unemployed to suffer.

Odd, last I checked, the ri... (Below threshold)

Odd, last I checked, the richest elected folks in Washinton DC were
John Forbes Kerry, Senator from MA
Herb Kohl, Senator from WI
Jane Harman, Rep from CA
Mark Warner, Senator from VA
Darrell Issa, Rep from CA
Jay Rockefeller, Senator from WV

Of the top 10 multi-millionares in the legislature, 7 are Democrats.

Point being, Hyper once aga... (Below threshold)

Point being, Hyper once again is talking out of his ass. Maybe if the topic was marketing or advertising he could hold his own. Since he does it for a living, IIRC, I would hope he grasps the fundamentals of the business.

"Since he does it for a liv... (Below threshold)

"Since he does it for a living, IIRC, I would hope he grasps the fundamentals of the business."

He grasps it about as much as Barry does. That is to say, not at all.

hyper betrays his non-Ameri... (Below threshold)

hyper betrays his non-American origins. There is a Constitutional mandate for defense; there is none for NPR. There is a mandate for a postal service; there is none for education.


Of the top 10 mult... (Below threshold)
Of the top 10 multi-millionares in the legislature, 7 are Democrats.

Which should prove that Democrats AREN'T anti-capitalist socialists. Right?

HyperYou are so fu... (Below threshold)
retired military:


You are so full of shit your eyes are brown.

If you ran a business and went to the bank for a loan and your business model showed that you tried to cut costs by $38,000 for the last 6 months of the year but were spending $50,000 more per week than you were taking in in revenue the bank would laugh you on your ass.

We are $14 trillion in debt. That is what I call broke.

As to bonds. Lets see how they look in 2 more years if things dont change. Our financial situation is like a house of cards and all it takes is a strong wind to blow it down. The recession isnt over and neither is the housing crisis. Everyone is holding their breath and praying no wind blows.

Constitutional mandates asi... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Constitutional mandates aside, hyperbolist's points in regard to policy in comment # 41 make far more sense than anything Ryan or Pence have ever said in their lives, Jay Tea. He wasn't saying that there should be no defense spending but there should be spending on NPR - he was making an entirely different point. As you well know, but then again you subscribe to the Republican School of Argument.

And the fact that there are rich Democratic politicians as well as rich Republicans does not negate his point in comment # 42, Wuzzy.

The government is NOT a bus... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

The government is NOT a business, RM.

Constitutional mandates ... (Below threshold)

Constitutional mandates aside...

Sorry, Bruce, I can't put those aside. Especially when discussing the priorities of the federal government. That's the single most important factor.


First I should quote woop: ... (Below threshold)

First I should quote woop: The lying liars who lied about the lying they were lying about.

Hyper has no understanding of the "average" american because he consistantly looks down his long superior canadian nose to all us imbeciles.

The GOP wouldn't have gotten the blame this time around. IN 94 we didn't have internet, talk radio and Fox News. Now the bullshit cannot go undetected. That is why the MSM hates Fox because they won't toe the company line.

This budget battel was just to finish this year. NOw the heavy lifting starts with the 2012 budget. Go get'em boys. ww

Pish posh, Jay Tea. Hyperbo... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Pish posh, Jay Tea. Hyperbolist's comment had nothing to do with what was constitutional or not, simply what was more wasteful. Trying to drag the Constitution into it in a display of faux patriotism is beneath you, or should be.

It's my opinion that you didn't have a ready answer for Hyper's eminently sensible points about policy, so you threw in a red herring, like a typical Republican, wrapping yourself in flag and Constitution so as to give your "point" some credibility.

Point isn't that there are ... (Below threshold)

Point isn't that there are some rich democrats Henry, but that the democrats are on average richer than their counterparts, despite their eat the rich rhetoric

Bruce Henry"The go... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Bruce Henry

"The government is NOT a business, RM.'

Really. What do you call Government Motors? What do you call Fannie and Freddie? What do you call the taxpayers having interests in banks and all the other companies that got bail out money?

The govt does business all the time with thousands of companies. Dont tell me that basic business finance rules shouldnt apply.
The major financial difference between govts and businesses are govts can print their own money.

What does the govt look at when it talks about a budget?

revenues and outlays. Just like a business.

That statement you made was so assinine Bruce that I am suprised you even wrote it.

BruceRef Jay Tea's... (Below threshold)
retired military:


Ref Jay Tea's statement. Why the hell shouldnt the govt pay attention to what it was CONSTITUTIONALLY directed to do. You know sorta like a business has a BUSINESS CHArter.

Going by your logic the govt could do anything with the taxpayer's money (hell they are doing that now) and not have to worry about any accountability.

The constitution lays out what the GOVT is supposed to do with our money.

Glad to see your liberal mindset is shown in full force. That is the problem with liberals. The constitution?? WHy it is only a piece of paper written by a bunch of guys who lived a long time ago. It doesnt mean anything.

That sounds like the reasoning of a 5 year old.

rm, I had my takedown half-... (Below threshold)

rm, I had my takedown half-written out, but now... I don't think I should bother.

But I will elaborate on a few points.

First up, I'm an agnostic. The Constitution is about as close to a "holy book" as I have.

And the things hyper brought up... those are luxuries. In times of crisis, the government should focus on its Constitutional duties first and foremost.


Jay TeaI agree who... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Jay Tea

I agree wholeheartedly.

But we have liberals like Hyper who dont believe the debt is a problem. Or people like Bruce who apparantly thinks we should be able to do anything as long as it feels good whether it is constitutionally a responsibility of govt or not.

Anytime you owe 5+ times more than you take in in a year you are in financial trouble. Something liberals and unfortunately some conservatives havent learned yet.

SCSI, that's a bizarre red ... (Below threshold)

SCSI, that's a bizarre red herring. The fact that many Democrats are rich is somehow an argument against levying higher taxes against rich people? I really have no idea what the hell your point is. Do you have one?

retired_military, has someone ever pointed out to you that the federal government is NOT a business? Its purpose is not to remain profitable, but to deliver services. Its purpose is to allow business to flourish, and to furnish certain needs of the population. Businesses are in no way analogous. Your government has access to as much money as it wants to print, and given how low inflation is, and how highly rated T-Bills currently are, it makes NO SENSE not to continue borrowing money to create jobs in order to expand the middle class tax base. It's the only way out of low employment during a recession. Find me ONE EXAMPLE to the contrary. You won't, because there aren't any. (No, WW II doesn't count: it was essentially the largest work-for-welfare program in the history of the world.)

Jay Tea, where in the Constitution does it say that the government ought to subsidize the oil industry, or corn farmers? Seems irrelevant for the topic of creating jobs in the global economy, doesn't it? You're ignoring the point I made, which was salient and sound. And I would expect you to: you might fancy yourself some sort of quasi-libertarian independent but from what I can tell your economic positions are in lock-step with the corporatist wingnuts of the GOP establishment.

RM: I NEVER SAID THE DEBT WAS NOT A PROBLEM. FOR FUCK'S SAKE. Read it all again if you must. Reducing services and cutting spending in a recession IS INSANE, as is raising taxes on the middle class while giving breaks to rich people; to reduce the deficit, the suffering should be shared. Ryan's fairy tale budget entails NO SUFFERING on the part of rich Americans. It is a middle finger to the poor and to the middle class. That much is not up for debate.

And no, it doesn't make a fucking difference if lots of those rich Americans happen to be Democrats. Many or most of those rich Democrats actually want the Bush tax cuts to expire.

Do any of you know a fucking thing about economics, or is this some bizarre and elaborate joke that millions of weirdos are pulling on the rest of the world? Economic science matters, because whether or not flag- and Constitution-fetishists like Jay Tea want to admit it, heeding empirical economic science will produce better outcomes in terms of job creation and debt reduction than wrapping yourselves in your flag and bitching about the illegitimacy of the Department of Education.

"Constitution-fetishist?" N... (Below threshold)

"Constitution-fetishist?" Nicest thing you've ever called me. Not surprising you don't grasp the fundamental nature of America.

Economics, a science? As the old joke goes, get two economists together and you'll get three opinions. Or who was the politician who wanted a one-armed economist, because all the advice he was getting from his current batch always included the phrase "on the other hand?"

Economics is best considered a subset of applied mass psychology, and that itself is a very vague field.

You really are pathetic. You not only fail to grasp the fundamental nature of the American government system, but you're arrogant -- astonishingly arrogant -- about your ignorance and instead call for replacing it with... well, apparently a "government by whim" where its powers are governed by whatever you think it ought to do at that moment.

Sorry, hyper, but the US government doesn't work that way. We have a Constitution that spells out what it can and can not do.

As far as those other things... nice application of Alinsky Rule # 4. But here's your answer: they're luxuries, too. Which means that should there be enough support, they can go on the chopping block, too. And the corn farmers? There's a growing movement of people who are saying "at a time when food prices are going up around the world, maybe we shouldn't be paying people to burn food!"

The oil industry? A lot of us think that they'd do just fine without subsidies and an easing of restrictions -- both put them under the government's thumb and we don't think anyone should be that tightly controlled.

Now you have a choice, hyper: you can tone down the language towards others, or I can help you. In terms you might understand, I'm getting fucking tired of your shit.


Alright fine. I'll endeavou... (Below threshold)

Alright fine. I'll endeavour to cuss less, and only refer to economics as a "social science" and not a science full stop.

Beyond that, though, I don't think you really made an effort to refute anything I had to say.

I do grasp the fundamental nature of your country and understand that if your leaders care about increasing employment in order to expand the tax base so that the economic recovery is not a 'jobless' one, the founding document won't prove overly useful for navigating the perils of the 21st century global economy. Assuming to the contrary is to 'fetishize' the document. It's not a silver bullet for all the problems that the United States will ever encounter from its founding through to the end of its history.

Hyper, I think your ideas o... (Below threshold)

Hyper, I think your ideas on economics would be ruinous, but I don't oppose them on Constitutional grounds. I think that they are a-Constitutional; neither required or forbidden by the Constitution.

I also have major issues with thinking that the federal government is the solution to all problems -- or even most. You tend to end up with "one size fits all" solutions that end up causing more problems than they solve -- and costing about 7.5 metric assloads of money than promised up front.

So yeah, I'm distrustful of folks saying "we're from the government, and we're here to help you." But they got that distrust the old-fashioned way -- they earned it.


Hyper, you were the one who... (Below threshold)

Hyper, you were the one who said:

The reason you don't know or understand this is because a bunch of extraordinarily wealthy Republicans

You lay the blame at the feet of wealthy republicans but it's a red herring to point out that the democracts are more the party of the rich?
I honestly don't know why I bother...

Yes, government has a histo... (Below threshold)

Yes, government has a history of catastrophic error and wasteful spending; but does the private sector not have a sordid history unto itself? At least government is ostensibly about helping people live better lives.

Look, this is a fact: cutting spending during a recession, or early on in a recovery from a recession, will (best case scenario) result in a jobless recovery. Taxes should be kept as low as possible on the majority of the tax base, and spending should be generous, in order to expand the tax base. Otherwise the recovery is meaningless to the majority who are most desperately in need of improved economic circumstances.

I understand the purpose of a constitution and wholly endorse keeping needless government intervention in check, but acting to mitigate massive structural unemployment (and underemployment) following an economic disaster that was wholly wrought upon the world by the private sector is not the sort of extra-Constitutional government intervention that should trouble you. Sure, billions of dollars will be wasted, but it's piss in a pot when we're talking about the largest economy in the history of the known universe.

SCSI, a bunch of extraordin... (Below threshold)

SCSI, a bunch of extraordinarily wealthy Republicans/Republican sycophants do not want to pay their fair share of taxes, and so they have inculcated very specific misunderstandings of how the deficit and taxation relates to the quality of life and employment prospects for non-elites. I don't blame John Kerry for that, despite how much money he has.

Nor can you blame John Kerr... (Below threshold)

Nor can you blame John Kerry for dodging his own share of taxes at every turn, it would seem.

Yes, government has a hi... (Below threshold)

Yes, government has a history of catastrophic error and wasteful spending; but does the private sector not have a sordid history unto itself? At least government is ostensibly about helping people live better lives.

But in the private sector, I can choose to not participate in most cases. In the case of the government, not only do I have no choice about participating, I get to pay for it whether I like it or not.

It's that whole "individual rights and responsibilities and freedoms" thing you just don't get, hyper. It's OK, though. We understand your disabilities...


Okay, so you're going to ig... (Below threshold)

Okay, so you're going to ignore the salient economic argument: that during a recession, or immediately thereafter while the economy is rebounding, it's insane to cut spending if you want to avoid a jobless recovery. And it's stupid to accept that an increase in revenues may be necessary for long-term shared prosperity--that austerity is the only way forward, regardless of how many millions of people get steam-rolled by these shitty policies.

And, you're going to avoid the argument because FREEDOM. You're going to choose not to address whether cutting spending will create or destroy jobs, because it's a lot easier to wrap yourself in Constitution bed-sheets and stick your fingers in your ears than it is to critically reflect on what's more important to you: the well-being of millions of unemployed citizens, or respecting the rights of millionaires and billionaires to hoard all of their gold and keep the cretins off their lawns.

Writing well does not excuse you from failing to grasp the broader issues at hand. Not that it matters--you are not an influential pundit, and don't claim to be--but it's a shame that your rhetorical skills aren't being put to use explaining the economic issues at hand to the few thousand people who choose to read what you have to say every day.

Anyway, even the Beltway douchebagaspora aren't going to give Ryan and his non-informed defenders a free pass indefinitely. The haze is lifting, if only in increments.


hyper, I don't recognize th... (Below threshold)

hyper, I don't recognize the benefits of improving the economy by sucking more money out of the private sector and giving it to the federal government, to be awarded according to the political powers-that-be's biases and preferences -- after the bureaucracy takes its skim off the top.


HyperAll you are d... (Below threshold)
retired military:


All you are doing is replacing spending by the private individual with spending by the govt.

In terms of the economy the only differnce between the 2 is that dollars spent by the private individual have a greater multiplicity factor than dollars spent by the govt especially when you are borrowing the money to spend. Take macroeconomics and you find this out. Find out about cumulative interest over time. You can borrow $100 b but when you are taking 30 years to pay it back you are paying back far far more.

In short you are doing more harm than good. Except of course in your case the libs get to say where the extra tax dollars go.

I guess those dollars for planned parenthood keeps the abortionists in busines dont they.

"Yes, government has a history of catastrophic error and wasteful spending; but does the private sector not have a sordid history unto itself? At least government is ostensibly about helping people live better lives.

but with the private sector people get to say HOW THE MONEY THEY EARNED GETS TO BE SPENT. DUMBASS!!!

"Many or most of those rich Democrats actually want the Bush tax cuts to expire"

Gee Hyper. Show me how many of those actually volunteer to pay extra taxes. Anyone????? Come on here clueless. Give me some names.

"Economic science matters"

Apparantly the only economic science that matters to you is govt spending.


The school of thinking known as Keynesian economics holds that government must actively manage the economy, most importantly by stepping up spending when demand is low. Through this deficit spending, it is said that government action can increase employment. This government spending does this through a multiplier effect, as dollars are spent again and again.

The value of the spending multiplier — is it big or small? — is an important question. Also, the multiplier effect may be different for government spending versus private spending.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Stanford economist Michael J. Boskin summarizes research that tells us that the spending multiplier is small, and actually turns negative by the start of the second year. Furthermore, the government spending crowds out private sector spending. The effect of Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill is estimated at 0.2 percent of GDP, an amount described as “puny.”

But tax cuts are estimated to have a multiplier of 3.0, with “substantial tax cuts” having a multiplier of up to 5.0.

In context, Obama’s economic advisers, at the time he took office, estimated that the spending multiplier for government purchases was 1.57, while the multiplier for tax cuts was 0.99.

Of the new studies finding a small spending multiplier, Boskin writes: “These empirical studies leave many leading economists dubious about the ability of government spending to boost the economy in the short run. Worse, the large long-term costs of debt-financed spending are ignored in most studies of short-run fiscal stimulus and even more so in the political debate.”

Sorry that common sense doesnt fit in your world view Hyper

Hyper if Obama was worried ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hyper if Obama was worried about job creation he would open up drilling offshore and in Anwar. THat would have a great effect on the economy.

A. It would send a message to Opec that if they want to keep their prices high we will find our own.

b. It would help create thousands of American jobs.

c. It would lower the price of gas which gives companies some extra revenue to put into other areas (like maybe hiring more workers).

Now lets talk about where govt spending can actually help the economy.

Get 10 more nuclear power plants online. This would reduce our dependance on foreign oil, help our infrastructure and reduce price of electricity.

That means that we would be spending BILLIONS more at home than sending the dollars overseas.

Now lets look at the spending on ethanol and wind power. Ethanol drives up food prices which hurts the poor and actually has a bigger carbon footprint than oil.
Niether ethanol, wind power or solar is nearly as cost efficient as Nuclear power. Nuclear power plants have been running for 35+ years where as solar panels wear out in a few years and cost as much as the electricity they actually produce negating their cost effectiveness.

Perish the thought that Obama might actually do something that helps the economy by following some sound economic principals.

Hyper" I NEVER SAI... (Below threshold)
retired military:



No you said that we are not broke.

Any time someone owes money and almost 60% more money going out than coming in is by definition BROKE.


1. Bankrupt.
2. Lacking funds:

to ruin financially; make bankrupt

•be brokeinformal
to have no money
•go brokeinformal
to no longer have any money and be unable to pay what you owe. Go bankrupt is a less informal expression

The Fundamental question t... (Below threshold)

The Fundamental question that was happening at the Turn of the 20th Centenary. It was decided that intelligence could do better for Society.
We had the recession and the Government implemented man reform ideas the result was more people out of work than when it started, less food for hungry people and a bunch of do good slogans that did nothing. Rights of Americans were trampled. We got the minimum wage a program designed to make sure blacks and women did not get jobs. We then had Social Security a program that was in trouble almost form day one. Then we had the Great Society well those programs are failing faster than Social Security. Now we know Obacare is trouble before year one.

The end result is that we are broke. We have to cut spending. NPR and CPB can stand on its own. The false hood is that NPR does not run commercials but they do take cooperate sponsorship and they do have.
Fanny and Freddy both need to be severed as well as any number of Private things funded by government.

Is there waste in the Military sure. However it not waste that they cut it normally troops, needed weapon systems and the VA. So let leave military alone for now and go after all the other government agencies that have waste and then come back to the military. Since Defense is an enumerated power of our government.

They do not produce any energy.

ED Department CUT
They do not educate and after being around for 30 years Education standards are worse now than before.


Farm and Ethanol Subsides cut

They need to be reduced

New method for government contracts
All Federal employes are paid on same pay scale as military. Promotions are time based and people will have to take test to pass and be evaluated on yearly basis or be dismissed.

Hyper one last thing.... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Hyper one last thing.

Let's see
Total income tax revenue for 2010. $1.39 (call it $1.4 trillion )


Top 25% of tax payers (those making about $67k agi) paid 86.34% of those taxes.


that means that out of $1.4 trillion they paid about $1.21 trillion of that $1.4 trillion.

That means that if we double the income taxes of EVERYONE who made more than $67K AGI you still wouldnt MAKE UP FOR THE DEFICIT FOR THIS YEAR ALONE.

Once again, Common sense dictates we dont have a low tax problem. We have an OVERSPENDING PROBLEM.

The above should read ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

The above should read

That means that if we double the income tax recenue to the govt from EVERYONE who made more than $67K AGI you still wouldnt MAKE UP FOR THE DEFICIT FOR THIS YEAR ALONE.

RM, thanks for a cogent and... (Below threshold)

RM, thanks for a cogent and wonk-ish reply. That's all I wanted! Someone to attempt to assert an empirically-based economic argument.

Firstly, your country isn't broke. If it was broke, T-bills wouldn't be as highly sought by international investors and inflation would be through the roof. Inflation is incredibly low; interest rates are low; and unemployment is abysmal. This particular set of circumstances is the ideal time to borrow heavily so that the rising tide will indeed lift all ships.

I know that tax cuts will stimulate GDP, RM, but here is the critical problem with supply-side economics at a time such as this: an increase in GDP does not entail a reduction in unemployment. The United States is in the midst of a jobless recovery. The stock market has done very well of late, and yet there are still waaaay more people without jobs than your society is capable of accommodating. Tax cuts will not create jobs. You can generate many billions more dollars in private equity with them, but there is no mechanism inherent to the free market that compels the Captains of Industry to re-invest their tax savings in their workforce. And so Goldman Sachs flourishes while unemployment remains above 8%. The money, it isn't trickling down.

Jay: hyper, I don't recognize the benefits of improving the economy by sucking more money out of the private sector and giving it to the federal government, to be awarded according to the political powers-that-be's biases and preferences -- after the bureaucracy takes its skim off the top.

I'm not even sure what it means to not "recognize" how vastly superior the U.S. economy was in WW II vs. in 1936. If the U.S. government, today, were to put a million people to work building bombs, and then another hundred thousand people to work detonating these bombs in the middle of a desert somewhere, this would have a net positive effect on the economy in exactly the same way as the Second World War--except with less dead bodies strewn all over Europe and the South Pacific.






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