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The Nuts And Bolts Of The Debt Deal

Jacki Lyden in for Tom Ashbrook

Sifting through the details . What does it mean for the American way of life?

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, right, appear at a news conference about the debt crisis. (AP)

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, right, appear at a news conference about the debt crisis. (AP)

A debt deal is delivered, default averted, and the rhetoric may get dialed back. A bit.

Unpacking the deal after the political mash up in Washington is akin to being on a treasure hunt for pennies. The tight restrictions and eliminations placed on an anemic economy are, by many predictors, going to make life harder— but for whom?

$2.4 trillion in cuts — a down payment on the debt– could mean recession for the Average Joe and Jane. The Super Committee of 12 legislators being set up has an unclear amount of authority.

This hour On Point: the way forward.

-Jacki Lyden

Guests:

Major Garrett, congressional correspondent for National Journal.

Steve Bell, senior director of the Economic Policy Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC.

From The Reading List:

  • ABC News: “While the United States may avert a default on its sovereign debt, the actual deal has yet to be approved and the spending cuts in the deficit reduction proposal are yet to be determined. The Congressional Budget Office said the tentative agreement, which the House approved Monday night, could cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years from the federal budget. “
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    • uri khazan (yoori)

      in the great depression, unemployment peaked at 24%. at this time we effectively have 20% unemployment including people who no longer look for work and the underemployed. we don’t need spending cuts, WE NEED A NEW T.V.A!

      • Moe D’Vayshunz

        More stimulus?  The first stimulus was a harbinger of the failed Obama presidency!

        • TFRX

          Umm, talk to an economist. And to every Republican pol who stampeded to a stimulus-funded ribbon cutting or groundbreaking.

        • Anonymous

             

          The ONLY reason you have a point here is that the stimulus was TOO SMALL for its task, like trying to use a car jack to lift a house.

          AND then and since Obama has CLAIMED that it was the RIGHT SIZE. He is trying to spit out his cake and say it never existed.

          It shows that he was always economically conservative dating from what he “learned” from his friends at the Chicago School of Economics when he was at the School of Law there. That and his inherent caution has ruled his performance.

          Just listen to Dean Baker and Steve Bell!

      • Winston Smith

        Unfortunately, we are broke (actually bankrupt as we are $14 Trillion in debt), so we can no longer afford massive government spending projects.  And unfortunately, rather than building things worth building, these kind of projects will simply be used to pad the unions’ positions of continuing to be underworked (5 guys leaning on their shovels watching 1 person work) and overpaid, especially with regard to retirement age and pension amounts.  Witness the postal union’s defense of bloated postal workers numbers and pensions and other benefits despite the fact that the postal service is losing billions of dollars.  This is just one of thousands of examples that could be cited that provide evidence of the inefficiency and waste of big government programs supported by liberals and progressives.

        • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

          Winston: While it is true that there is waste in government and no doubt there are plenty of workers leaning on their shovels, don’t you think it’s the two unfunded wars, the tax cuts on the top 2% that have not produced an increase in jobs, and the prescription drug benefits added to medicare without a tax increase that have created the huge debt?

          How many workers leaning on shovels = 1 day of the Iraq war, a war that was started under false pretense and has led to the bankrupting of this country.

          Show me the WMD.

          I will never forget: Bush and Cheney broke the country and while I’m disappointed in Obama’s performance part of what has made his job almost impossible is digging out of the pile of debt that they left him.

          Where were the tea party folks and even mainstream republicans when all of this debt was being racked up? They all voted to raise the debt ceiling numerous times during the Bush Cheney years, continuing to grow the debt to astronomical proportions before Obama took office.

          Yes, there is waste in government but George Bush and Dick Cheney created more debt in 1 day than a million government workers leaning on shovels.

          Never forget: Buch and Cheney broke the country and we will be digging out of their mess for many generations. We may never do it.

          • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

            Buch = Bush. Bush is not very “butch.”

          • LinP

            Bravo, Richard, a million times over.

          • Winston Smith

            Richard,

            I happen to agree with you that Bush was a disaster for our country in terms of an unfunded and unjustified war, giving tax breaks that were not paid for to the rich, ignoring the increase in the debt due to his policies/programs/decisions etc.  I agree that the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats in terms of creating the deficit.  I am against wasteful spending regardless of the source.  I have to live within my means and do without in order to make ends meet without going into debt and believe that other entities (federal/state/local governments, etc.) should have to do the same.  The difference between my viewpoint and that of liberals and democrats is that they justify the unreasonable and unaffordable salaries/benefits for certain groups (unionized government workers) using the logic that you have applied (republican-favored programs and policies that add to the debt). I am against wasteful, unreasonable spending no matter who is doing it or what it is for.

            • Anonymous

              @92335a75f7072bb4d4f8aadb348ff179:disqus Then you agree that the Bush tax cuts should expire? If that happens and the federal government gets the unemployed back to work, then the budget deficit will almost go away. The remaining part forcing a growing deficit is the health care delivery SYSTEM.
              Because ALL healthcare costs are growing faster than GDP, changes are required for ALL U.S. citizens to continue to get adequate care. That cannot be done instantly because the workable approaches are not known in enough detail. But that is one of the best features of the PPACA: the requirement to gather DATA from which to determine which ways costs CAN be reduced WITHOUT just cutting services to some Americans. But, and probably for that reason, the Republicans are trying to kill that important feature.

            • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

              Winston: Let’s say we agree that waste and abuse is bad at every level from an individual abusing the Welfare system to a millionaire Wall Street / hedge fund manager not paying his or her taxes.

              We need to clean it all up, no doubt.

              But, let’s start with the people who can most afford it: the wealthy people who can afford to pay more taxes (hedge fund managers) and then, later, clean up the abuse among people who are struggling.

              That’s the piece that irks many of us: the folks who have the means can get out of almost anything; the folks who don’t have the means can barely stay afloat. We don’t want to enable the folks at the bottom end to continue abuse but why go after them first? It’s obvious: Because they’re the easiest target and because they can’t bribe government officials with donations and PAC money.

              To put it simply: our current crop of politicians on both sides of the aisle, and it seems our President too are all chicken ####s worried about their own political backsides. It sickens me.

              This is what irks many of us. Rich people are well represented in Washington through lots of aggressive lobbying, but who represents people who are struggling?

              I think for a while they and we thought Obama and the more progressive wing of the Democratic party represented the people who are struggling but this deal shows in stark terms that Obama and Democrats in general are chicken ####s.

              After 9/11 the Democrats caved on many things because they were chicken ####s and they’re continuing to this day. I’m sick of it.

              I’m hoping and praying that smart progressive people are looking at this disaster as an opportunity: the Republican party is splintered with old skoolers and Tea Partiers and Obama has let down the progressive wing of the Democratic party. Maybe now’s the time for a more progressive third party to emerge, call it (for lack of a better name) The Green Tea Party. Voting for their candidate might be a disaster and get us a Bachmann as the next President and no doubt an Obama second term would be much better than that, but frankly, I’m tired of voting strategically for the lesser of evils, I’d like to vote for someone who truly represents my views for once in my life. If that person emerged in all of this I’d decouple from the Democratic party in a minute to support them.

              I may dump the Democratic party anyway and vote as an independent. This year I don’t see any reason to vote in the Democratic primary in Connecticut.

              Man, all of this is depressing. Time for a beer or two.

        • Margbi

          The postal service is NOT funded by tax dollars. It is a private entity getting its funds from service – sales of stamps and delivering packages, etc. Do you think you’ll like it when private delivery services, Fed-Ex, UPS, and so on, charge at least partly by distance traveled? The U.S. postal service was (and is) a good institution, providing a cohesive force in the U.S.

          • Winston Smith

            The postal system is expected to lose billions by the close of their fiscal year in September.  They will no doubt come to the federal government hat in hand playing the “the economy will shut down because we can’t deliver your mail” card in order to get a large government bailout a la Amtrak and many others who have their hand in my pocket.  See the attached link on expected postal system losses.  Or they will request an obscene postal rate increase, which amounts to the same thing.  When you have postal workers that have a ridiculous matching program on their 401K, get paid for their unused sick days when they retire, which is also at a ridiculously early age, it is no wonder that we are broke.  And in response to Richard, I believe that there are plenty of other pigs feeding at the trough and raping the American taxpayer (Big Pharma, Big Oil, defense contractors, industrial farming companies).

            http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-10/postal-service-loss-widens-as-volumes-fall.html

            • Terry Tree Tree

              And you RICH executives don’t have a much better deal?  CEOs are hired to make a company prosper, aren’t they?  Why do they get $Millions for bankrupting the company?

            • JayB

              Certainly there are some functions of civilized society that cannot be fulfilled by private industry.  I don’t see FedEx or UPS offering rural postal delivery for a 44 cent stamp, or flat rate priority mail service to any point in the country for $4.95.  They can’t even come close, even after your supposed “obscene rate increase.”

            • JayB

              Certainly there are some functions of civilized society that cannot be fulfilled by private industry.  I don’t see FedEx or UPS offering rural postal delivery for a 44 cent stamp, or flat rate priority mail service to any point in the country for $4.95.  They can’t even come close, even after your supposed “obscene rate increase.”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            USPS gets tax-payer help when their execs cannot do their job, and figure out how to deliver the mail!  Execs are paid well, for incompetence!

            • Anonymous

              Just like the private sector.

        • TFRX

           http://moneyland.time.com/2011/07/15/the-u-s-is-not-drowning-in-debt/?hpt=hp_t2

          For the business cycle and great recession, this “we are broke” thing is the wrong solution for the wrong time.

          It’s like we’re starving to death and you’re obsessed over which weight-loss system to join for when we get fat.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          CEOs of companies they bankrupt got, and get $Millions for bankrupting those companies!  How many guys could you pay union scale to lean on shovels, for $20 Million?

        • Anonymous

          @92335a75f7072bb4d4f8aadb348ff179:disqus When the financial services sector (investment banks) grows its “profits” from around 10% of total U.S. profits to 33% and hands out multi-billions of $ as “bonuses,” which are not used productively but to grow speculation in mortgages and energy (Enron, oil, etc.) it is an easy deduction that upper incomes could be taxed and the money spent where it will do the WHOLE COUNTRY good, rather than a few overpaid executives.

          Show me ANY big (or little) company where there is not waste. When EVERY company has waste, what difference does it make if the government has some as long as it is not exorbitant — more than the average — (and for you a tiny drop is exorbitant, unless it benefits you)?

      • william

        TVA really is not such a great example of efficient use of taxpayer funds.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Was World War II the secret weapon that returned us to prosperity?  How efficient was that?

        • TFRX

          Would it have been better to wait for some private enterprise to propose to do the TVA? Hoover Dam? The interstate highways?

          And, for the umpteenth time: In the midst of a Depression or great recession, “efficiency” isn’t a big deal. Putting money out there, getting some public goods out of it, and keeping the people from getting violent ideas are the general goals.

          The phrase “helicopter drop” has been used for a reason, and that reason is a a pie-in-the-sky comparison of what would do the economy better than having to run anything through a right-wing “superminority” which is determined to slow down every drop of government spending since Obama was inaugurated, to make the economy worse. In the name of “efficiency”.

          • william

            Good intentions don’t always mean good results. Look at the “big dig” with the millions of dollars in repairs and it is only a few years old. What was the total cost? 20 billion? The Republicans “slowed down” spending to the tune of what? 38 billion dollars? Did they slow down the growth in spending? nope….

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Was then, NOT now, with $Millionaire directors making decisions to flood the Valley with fly-ash!

    • Eric Penman

      Obama is a complete sellout and a moderate Republican and never
      was a democrat, like Clinton and Carter he has failed the Democratic
      middle and working class. It’s sad because this mean the system has failed and as Krugman noted in the NYT we are headed to banana republic status.
         The post war era is finally over and the safety net will be completely
      gone soon, and people will start to fall into hell without any mercy.
      They will then support extreme solutions that will make matters worse
      and it may bring about the demise of the oldest republic on earth,
      it goes to prove nothing last forever. The rich now have absolute
      power, they control the media, the courts, the government, and
      the corporations so their abuse of power is absolute as well, it
      may last a very long time, but this too will fall and be replaced
      not with a new democratic renewal of values but something very dark
      and sinister a medievalism married to technological capitalistic banalistic
      torture machine culture that will probably destroy itself.
      As Heidegger noted late in his life only a god can save us now
      but wait there is not god after Nietzsche so we slide into the abyss
      with no saving grace, but what dreams may come in death’s sleep?

      • Moe D’Veyshunz

        Although I agree with you that Obama’s presidency has been a failure, you should see the unburdening of the wealthy in this country as a boon.  These are the straws that stir the drink, don’t you know!  Now that they have evaded the spectre of increased taxation, they are free to resume their natural position as the vangaurd of the free market.  They can now begin to create lots of jobs, which is their nature.

        • nj

          Ha, ha! Great satire! 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          They had ten years that they were supposed to create jobs!  The most jobs they created, were in foreign countries with slave labor!  They will continue to sit on their money!  Hoarding it, and investing it in T-Bills, etc…,
               Please list EVERY job that YOU created in the last ten years, and how much of your tax cuts, they equal!  HYPOCRITE!

        • Anonymous

          Thank God they finally repealed that law that made it illegal for the private sector to create jobs.

    • Michael

      The Nut’s and Bolts?

      The Two Santa Claus theory

      Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years

      http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/01/26-0

      Hoover enthusiastically followed the advice of his
      Treasury Secretary, multimillionaire Andrew Mellon, who said in 1931:
      “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate
      real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of
      living and high living will come down… enterprising people will pick
      up the wrecks from less competent people.”
      Thus, the Republican mantra was: “Lower taxes, reduce the size of government, and balance the budget.”

      The only problem with this ideology from the Hooverite
      perspective was that the Democrats always seemed like the bestowers of
      gifts, while the Republicans were seen by the American people as the
      stingy Scrooges, bent on making the lives of working people harder all
      the while making richer the very richest. This, Republican strategists
      since 1930 knew, was no way to win elections.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I think “the size of government” has gotten itself confused or conflated with the size of entitlements, which is paid through the Treasury.  I understand I might not have been taxed enough to cover what I need, but more likely it will be the reverse.  Such is the nature of insurance-type programs.  But the insurance wizards should re-figure and sort it out and tell us what to pay.
          I get a statement every year that tells me that I have paid into Medicare enough that I will be eligible, and likewise with Social Security, spelling out how much I’ve contributed for my entire life and what exactly this works out to be that I can recover from that depending on how I withdraw it.  This is part of the federal tax and IRS revenue scheme, which probably saves on postage, but it’s just one line of it, the FICA line.  
             It seems to me if I have NOT paid my fair share in, then I shouldn’t be getting my fair share out of it.  If my planning or luck is such that I can’t participate and survive with Social Security and Medicare, then that is another situation, which may be a federal responsibility or it may be a state responsibility or it may be a local responsibility, but I concede that the helpless of necessity are part of Size of Government, at one level or another.
            But somehow we have to split off the things government does best because of its size (like Social Security and Medicare), and because government is by definition non-profit; we talk about “size of government” as applies to the things our taxes pay for that are NOT pay-for-yourself type things.  Taxes paid for security, justice, enforcement, regulation, research, infrastructure, that sort of thing.  That is a very different discussion than the self-funded programs (ought to be self-funded) that people invest in — have to invest in — as a survival tactic.  Possibly education should be in that category, part of FICA, where we contribute to a fund that educates the next generation, and it is separate from “size of government.”

        • Michael

          You think you haven’t paided enough? As for government being non-profit, if you been following the News on health Care in Ma you see that many supposed non-profits are making hand over first in revenues. One was even threaten by the AG about losing there non-profit status. I recall the CEO making Millions and massive bonuses being paid while under the non-profit label. If you also follow the news in ma. many of these insurance companies are not doing what you suggest and it makes them more money not too. The newest scheme was piece meal insurance which covers even less than now where you choose what you want covered and kind of defeats the purpose of getting it cause say now if your hit by a car it might not be covered, got sick and it’s not the right disease not covered. Broke the wrong bone, not covered. Since Ma is a forced market in regards to health care this would of course be targeting the poor and lower class whoses prob can’t afford it in the first place and will suffer the most. 

          Also reducing the payroll tax will further damage those programs you state you did not pay enough into.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Elmendorf, quoted in an AP article last week by Paul Wiseman, “We as a society will either have to pay more for our government, accept less in government services, and benefits, or both.”   The article continues, “When it comes to health care, the U.S. spends the eqiuvalent of 17.4 percent of its GDP…  The next highest is the Netherlands .. 12 percent of GDP.  Among the 34 wealthy countries that belong to the OECD, health care spending averages less than 9.5 percent of GDP.
                So. during the health care debate Obama put on the table first off that the obvious low-hanging fruit was the 20% of that cost  that goes to paper-pushing, managing the insurance industry.  So that would be a fifth of 17.5 percent or a little over 3 percent of GDP.
                There are other costs in health care that keep the economy running but are not the most efficient way of delivering optimal health.  Consider the other 34 countries.
               So why did Obama cave on that?  He was looking at an economy that had been hemorrhaging jobs.  If he with the stroke of a pen eliminated a large portion of that 17.5 percent of GDP, CRASH come the jobs, CRASH comes the economy.  We have to wind DOWN the waste.  Whether it’s private or public, whether it’s a social security check that comes to me and I decide how to spend it  or whether it’s a check from Medicare that my doctor decides how to spend it, there is a lot of lobbyist clout directing our monies to where the stock market will go up and create greater yield for Americans and others with 401(k)s and so forth.
                It is Investors v. Taxpayers, something like that.

            • Freeman

              Ellen; Always appreciate your insightful observations. From my perspective “one does not need to be a ‘rocket scienctist (?) ‘ to see the COMPLETE lopsidedness in a Capitalist society”. Those workers that deserve the most and work the hardest-get the least; and those who do the least and get the most DON’t deserve it. Your living in “la-la land if you think that is going to change.. Inspite of ” YES WE CAN “.  Ha ha lol ha ha lol ha ha  

      • william

        I think Mellon and the “leave it alone liquidationists” policies would have worked well for us now with our real estate problems. Hoover did raise income taxes, cooperate taxes and estate taxes to pay for his increased spending plans to simulate the economy.

    • Michiganjf

      America’s Republican CEOs are “embarrassed” about Tea Partiers and Republicans in Congress:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-01/-embarrassed-ceos-silent-on-debt-debate-driven-by-republicans.html?cmpid=msnmoney

    • Dee

      There is going to be blood in the streets over this Republican deal.

      The President and Harry Reid should not have accepted this Re-
      publican plan as it did not iinclude raising taxes on the Rich as
      most polls indicated the majority of the Americans supported…

      Indeed, I feel the Rich ought to be made to give back the money since they havefailed to create jobs in the last 10 yrs of the Bush
      tax cuts and instead dumped many of their workers like commodities on the New York Stock Exchange–during the financial downturn –even when their profits were soaring…

      Indeed, many had their GOP lap dogs in Republican controlled states
      refuse to accept continued unemployment benefits to workers and
      people like Gov Christi in New Jersey and Florida’s governor cancelled road projects and fast Rail projects that could have helped struggling construction workers and helped cut everyday Americans get off their dependency on cars and Big Oil. (But of course, that was the thinking
      there–no doubt… Independence, doesn’t ensure the profit margins)

      Yet as Karl Marx so rightly pointed out a capitalist system without
      a moral conscience is a recipe for a revolt. Just wait–I imagine , there is one on its way around the corner…. 

      This class inequality is un-American and it shouldn’t be tolerated
      but fought…Obama and Harry Reid should have led that fight on
      their turf–with the extremists in the GOP…Dee

      • Moe D’Vayshunz

        Why is it that every time the Libs in this country have it handed to them, they start threatening violence and talking about Karl Marx?  Don’t you worry, when the angry peasants show up at MY castle I’ll be ready for them!

        • Michael
        • Anonymous

          What about Sarah Palin and her “Second Amendment solutions”?  Why did sales of ammunition rise after Obama was elected? 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Do you have a PRETTY prison?  Prepared to fight your fires by yourself?  Got EVERYTHING you’ll need for the rest of your life, in your pretty prison?  Got ALL the rescue equipment that you could possibly need?  Earthquake proof? 
              Remember, when you’re trapped in your burning pretty prison, that you don’t need the peasants, that help each other to try to survive!

        • TFRX

          Threaten violence?

          I don’t remember the words “Second Amendment Solution” from the left this summer.

    • Fredlinskip

          It seems to me that perhaps the biggest issues that makes our current Congress and overall Democracy so dysfunctional at present are:
         1) Senate majority means absolutely nothing. Because of the profound overuse of the fillibuster in recent years nothing gets accomplished without 61 out of 100 votes. This means in effect even though “in minority” GOP has a majority in the senate. It means currently you need 10 Reps to vote with the Dems to pass anything or to even allow debate of an issue.
         2) While in the House, so much gerry mandering has occurred over the years, we’re no longer talking about “representative government”. Because of the demographics of many of these districts, the outcome of high percent of these elections is foregone conclusion.
          That’s how we can have a situation where 70% of Americans (and majority of people of both parties) believe the wealthiest among us should be asked to bear a greater percentage of the tax burden and yet their voice is not adequately represented.      And given this situation, it‘s also not hard to understand why Obama is not able to “lead” and hold sway over congress as well as many Americans would seem to like.

    • Moe D’Vayshunz

      This compromise represents the will of the majority of the American people, as expressed through their representatives in Washington.  The best and brightest and hardest working will remain free to purue their dreams of wealth, while the stupid, lazy, and entitled will be free to bitch about it.  If you don’t like it, move to another country.  Obama’s campaign slogan should have read, “Yes We Can (Fail)”!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘W’ promised to make us safer, in 2000!  Several things he did after taking office, ALLOWED 9/11 to happen!   Did you feel safer 12 Sept.2001?  Did the rest of the country?
             ‘W’ promised to make the Clinton admin. Budget SURPLUS bigger!

        Rewrite ‘W’s campaign slogans, to acknowledge reality!

    • bmaher

      How do the lefty NPR marxists claim they’ve been had by this latest debt ceiling deal?  We’re going into debt another 7 trillion as opposed to the hoped-for 10 trillion. Be happy! And many thanks to the republicans for their very keen judgement here on this “sound” and principled compromise.
      The newest generations of Americans being born as we speak will be forever grateful! Look at the wonderful job market that the trillions and trillions of socialist engineering dollars(over 60 years worth) have brought us to this point. How could Apple computer have ever been born?
      As Tom Brokaw implied last Sunday, the FDR ponzi scheme is approaching its prophetic implosion after a nice 60 years or so. Bernie Madoff recently complained: Who is the U.S. government to smear me or anyone else with Ponzi scheme accusations? I’m a piker compared to these shysters. But Bernie, you forgot, the government’s Ponzi scheme purpose is to protect the children! Of course, these are the same children we send into these labotomy clinics otherwise known as the public schools. Ah, the road to Greece is paved with gold, but socialist gold at that. As a Capitalist with a capital “C,” it sure has been fun watching the socialist ideology explode once again but the lemmings will continue to spawn ad infinitum. Well, reality is a bitch, isn’t it!

      • Moe D’Vayshunz

        I agree.  Imagine how high the righteous could soar if we weren’t burdened by the wet blanket known as the social safety net! 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          If you SOAR too close to the sun, you’ll DEPEND on that social safety net, or wish it was there!!

          • TFRX

            I’m having a hard time reading this Moe. Is he satirizing too much without invoking Poe’s Law?

      • Michael

        lol, FDR ponzi scheme.

        I think you hit enough notes to qualify for the below video.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCqQRflUWd4

      • Robertdel

        For the record. I’m an entrepreneur, not a “socialist”, am doing quite well and I guess by default a “capitalist”. I am disturbed by so called “Capitalists” of your type – because what you actually represent is socialism for the rich.  As a true capitalist I believe that we should be free to pursue great ideas (like Apple which you illustrated) in a free economy.  However, a society has bills to pay and those who are successful should be no means be exempt.  The Republicans (remember) ran the White House from 2000-2008 and brought us such wonderful “Capitalist” things as 2 questionable wars (the ULTIMATE in feeding at the public trough), TARP – read>welfare for those poor bankers who screwed over the entire country, the brink of financial collapse and a long string of ever increasing BUDGET DEFICITS from the surpluses they had inherited. As a true capitalist While I fully agree that government is seriously bloated and needs to be reduced, the TRILLIONS of dollars of loopholes in the tax code for large corporations are at least as disgusting.  I am offended that you would even use the term “Capitalist” in association with the current batch of right wing nuts in Washington.  And by the way Social Security would be completely solvent if the funds weren’t routinely siphoned away for “other” spending. 

        • Michael

          Interesting note,

          Apple the Capitalistic company Bmaher cites, see no problem working under a communist stated control country (China) Even funnier is that most of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce do as well.  Bmaher decries Greece yet Ireland with it’s lowest Corp Tax failed as well and need to be bailed out.

          A True Capitalistic state is Haiti and a example what the U.S. would look like if one rely solely on capitalism .

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Thank you!  MOST of them, try to say people like you don’t exist!  That’s why I refer to them as the GREEDY RICH!  They only care about amassing more wealth, no matter who it hurts!

      • Vtcheflw

        Hey buddy, if you have’nt noticed the  indoctination we suffer in public school and those the general discourse is into capitalism, not socialism.  “He how dies with the most toys wins.” that was the montra of the masses when I was growing up.  Advertising often geared to leverage off the competive bent we have instilled into us through our cultural up bringing.  Schools teach the tunnel vision economics we live by as unconditional truth.  All the while if you mention the word socialist in a discusion looked at like a looney and non of your ideas are then seen as valied (at least in a public arena).  So tell me again about a sociacalist America, cause I don’t see it.
        Truth is Capitalism is killing progess and has been for a least 40 years.  The establisted industry–oil, big ag…– have kept new technologies from being implimented through their grip on the government and the disimenaton of information.  If we lived in a socialist world things would be very differant today.  Safe energy, environment laws would be unnessary because people would see invironmental degradation as unacceptible, and so on. 

      • Sam Walworth

        You know what as you speak almost all the US multinational companies are reaping extra ordinary profits, despite the fact that they continue to shed jobs in the USA.

        The same compnaies pay little to no taxes to our Local, State and Federal govt. yet is racking up record profits, thanks to our insane tax policies.

        Tell me when was last time it was that Apple, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil or any of the companies built a public school or a state highway or helpded to maintain a fire department or a police department?

        As far as FDR ponzi scheme is concerned, just ask those seniors or disabled who for geniuine reasons cannot work or are retired, what would be their conditions if FRD hadn’t invoved the “Ponzi Scheme”.

        I bet you are not that old, neither you are disabled, but I sincerely wish that you become one, so that you can realize yourself how it is to feel to fall into rough waters and everyone who is able just enjoys and doesnt care a dime about.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          VERY FEW, of the 500 $Millionaires in Morgan County, Tenn., have done anything for the 10 Volunteer Fire Departments, and the Volunteer Rescue Squad!   They WHINE , if we ask for donations, as they give LESS than the Volunteers that risk our lives, with third hand-me down equipment, endure thefts and destruction of our equipment!  GREEDY RICH ARE BAD CITIZENS!!

          • TFRX

            Terry: What goes

            9 1 click!
            9 1 click!
            9 1 click!

            ?

            A Libertarian whose house is on fire.

      • Anonymous

        Well I guess the millions of Americans who had jobs under FDR’s “ponzi scheme” would beg to differ. But most of them are no longer with us. One of them was my grandfather.
        You call people who listen to NPR Marxist which tells me you don’t know the meaning of the word. For you it’s just an insult to hurl out there and hope it sticks.  You use all the talking points of those Fox entertainment shows that masquerade as news. It’s amazing really.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        CHINA doesn’t have a lot of the restraints you whine about,  Packing?

    • Pduff

      How many of the spending cuts in this bill will materialize in the next 2 years? Is it likely that this bill will stave off a down grading of US bonds? If not, what effect will the downgrade have on prices and interest rates for T bills? Does this compromise create a framework for addressing our long term debt picture in terms of entitlements? Is that framework likely to produce compromise that will address healthcare inflation without significantly degrading our social safety net? To what extent is the current deal a political victory for one party or another, short term and long?

    • SteveV

      As the gangster said to his victim, “So watta ya gonna do, sue me?” What is the
      American public going to do? Punish “those responsible” at the polls? And who
      might they be? I suggest our system, in these times, simply isn’t working. The
      problem, obviously, is the lack of a viable alternative. Protest all you want,
      write letters, send E-mails, get mad. It really doesn’t make any difference to
      those in power. And if you’re thinking of a third party, forget it. The powers
      behind the politicians won’t allow it. They have already taken care of that
      issue through the Supreme Court.

    • AC

      How does one get a hold of this bill to read it for themselves? I tried the following link:
      http://rules.house.gov/Media/file/XML_112_1/WD/DEBT_016.XML#toc-HE6A3B6D2261C4C5383D030C660C55AAE
      but it’s only 41 pages and I thought it is really 74 pages?
      Anyway, I’m going to try and read it for myself alone first since I can see people are already busy in their trenches, slinging mud….

    • Michael

      Thank Jebus for our current batch of Rep’s

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN-drEG7wms

    • Michael

      Team Monster Money Bags,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_Uhj6-gjMo&feature=channel_video_title

      Born to lose,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixI-JlbkuhU&feature=related

      Dude kind of looks like Scott Brown,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si0WTCMrksw

      Right wing Ralphie talks about the socialist stimulus plan in this political cartoon. Will big government ruin our economy?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aC9Wbo83RU&feature=relmfu

    • Yar

      I would call this legislation “Squeezing the debt balloon.”  Never before have Americans had so much debt.  National, state, local, and private debt are at a all time high.  That said, monetary debt isn’t our biggest challenge.  We have a widening gap in education and employment.  Banks can can fail, if people have skills the country can cope. Without usable skills even money in the bank won’t prevent revolution.  We are a nation that lacks both skills and money.  Which should be our immediate priority, lowering debt or increasing our skills?For every dollar cut out of federal programs, states and local governments see a larger hole in their budget.  Central Falls, a town in Rhode Island just filed for bankruptcy. Is this the trend we expect to see over the next decade? How many communities have to fail before a state fails?  How many states before the nation fails?  Can we cut our way to prosperity?  We have been building walls around the poor with prisons, now we are building walls around the rich, when will they realize they have built their own prison. Freedom is inversely proportional to the wall you  build to protect it.  What percent of the GDP do we spend on defense? What percent of GDP is spent on education? Across the board cuts to both won’t get us closer to a balanced budget, they will get us further in debt.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        BIN LADEN lived behind a wall, with jail-like doors!

      • Ellen Dibble

        On Charlie Rose last night, David Sanger, I believe it was – http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11822 – reported from his research, that countries that have collapses due to financial screw-ups — not due to inventory/business-cycle type crashes — such national crises take 3 to 10 years for employment to return to normal, no matter how the government manages.
           There is a panel discussion earlier in the show, and if Sanger didn’t come up with that, sorry, it was one of the earlier guests.  I was wondering what those other countries he had been studying were.
            But I concur.  House values had ballooned, so people are underwater.  Health care/insurance costs forced other people underwater.  Easy money being pushed on us by the banks to keep the demand high forced other people underwater.
            If the economy is going to surface again, we have a lot of swimming to the surface to do first.

    • Michael

      Newly-Frugal Guy is back! This time he’s tackling the deficit and
      making everything right again. See what he can do with his
      “Spendy-Sense” and spending cuts

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-nEFO4A3bo&feature=related

    • Anonymous

      When is a deal not a deal?

      When one party says he won’t honor it:

      Pelley: If this super committee that you talk about recommends raising revenue, can you support that?

      Boehner: We’ll see what it does. But I’m confident their focus will be on reducing expenditures coming out of Washington.

      Pelley: Can you image Republicans backing increased taxes?

      Boehner: I think that would be a stretch. It doesn’t seem likely to me that that would be recommended, much less supported

      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/08/01/eveningnews/main20086598.shtml

    • Ggerg

      The English language has been tortured to the point the word “cut” is meaningless. Tax credits are called tax cuts. Tax cuts are called spending. Decreases in the rate of growth are called cuts.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Tax credits ARE a cut in the amount that an individual, or company pays into the taxes!  Tax cuts ARE effectively spending money from tax revenues, back to the individual, or company, because it is money that was coming into tax revenues.
            How many times will it take to explain it to you?
        HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?  RICH PEOPLE KEEP SAYING THEY ARE NOT RICH!  If $Billions is only ‘Comfortable’, how do you rationalize making almost everyone else miserable, or destitute? 

        • Ggerg

          Thank you for proving my point.

        • Ggerg

          If “Tax credits ARE a cut in the amount that an individual, or company pays into the taxes” then how is it possible for people who pay no taxes at all to get a check in the mail? It’s not a cut it’s a credit.

          If “Tax cuts ARE effectively spending money from tax revenues” then why did revenue go up after tax cuts by Harding, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush? BTW even you had to qualify with the word “effectively” but it’s still is a bizarre interpretation.

          How many times will it take to explain it to you?

          Unless you can answer those questions (you can’t) you don’t have a leg to stand on.

    • Michiganjf

      Boy do America’s conservatives have a wake up call coming!!

      Poll after poll shows that TPers and conservatives have no clue they are receiving help from federal programs, but they sure are!

      Even Conservative politicians, like Bachmann, are on the dole bigtime, while either pleading ignorance or, as in Bachmann’s case, actually BEING totally ignorant of the facts.

      The vast majority of conservatives are lower middle class, and without a doubt most of them are on the dole in countless ways about which they are ignorant… they won’t be so ignorant for much longer about how much they really depend on the Federal government.

      Like most Dems, I’ll be alternating between laughing hysterically and sobbing at the tragic loss of the once sucessful country I love.

      • Lee

        Gee, Michiganjf, do think talking like you are to lower middle class people is going to persuade them to your point of view?

        • Michiganjf

          They have proven to not be the least bit persuadable, so what’s the dif?

          I work in a grocery store and have for 30 years, so it’s hardly as though I’m an elitist>

    • Lee

      I’m glad someone is actually going through the nuts and bolts. I am being asked to contact my congressman to tell him to vote for something I have no idea what the heck I am asking him to do.

      What is being cut? I have heard absolutely nothing- in this unbelievable media circus over this vote,  replete with the miraculous  return of Gabriel Giffords-  I repeat, nothing, about what is actually being cut. 

      Compromise does require people actually knowing what their compromising about. 

      President Obama doesn’t want compromise. He wants faith.

      • Ellen Dibble

        My two congressmen (I say two because two districts are going to be combined into one due to the census, so effectively the two may run against each other next time) BOTH voted AGAINST the bill.  I am thinking that if Gabby Giffords had not showed up to put it over the top, my reps might have had to vote for it.  One of those cases where we as a nation had no choice, but hate to admit the Congress could only come up with this.

    • Lee

      I also wish that the media would take a close look that the Tea Party. There is a great diversity in opinion it the Tea Party. I think the problem is that the media greet Tea Partiers at rallies and at meeting and such. That is the equivalent of going to a gay pride parade and thinking that all gay men dress in drag every day of their lives.

      When I listen to right wing radio, it is striking to me how important it is for the host to create consensus. In other words, the host is like a general to discpline listeners. They are very good at.

      Where the left goes wrong, in my opinion, is that they don’t listen close enough to the variety on the so-called right, there are so many missed comebacks to the orders of the generals. Share the same space with Tea Partiers in an atmosphere that is depolitized, learn about them as people. Some very clear patters emerge, and it has a lot to do with gender.

      • Anonymous

        Give me a break. What I witnessed coming from the tea party congressional member’s was nothing short of right wing extremism.
          

    • Dave

      Tea Party Republicans:  1     Obama and Dems:   0

      • Freeman

        remember this in November 2012

    • MJ

      The triggers for the super committee to compromise on the
      next bill WON’T work.  They will NOT agree
      and the triggers will go into effect.  Triggers that definitely
      would have ensured resolution by the selected committee would have been  – “if there is no action or resolution
      of further debt reduction congressional salaries would be reduced by 25% and
      the pension our legislators (past and present) receive just after a few years
      of serving, would be cut in half.” When it is personalized, they will act!

       

       
       

    • Anonymous

      On Point misspelled “dolts.”

    • Dave in CT

      If Obama and the Dems weren’t simply tools of the plutocracy (as Repubs always have been, pre-Tea), then they could and would have used the narrative of Inside Job, to argue that what the financial sector/elite has done to this country, requires them to carry a massive punitive burden in righting our sinking ship.

      Huge punative tax punishment, where legal action couldn’t be easily achieved.

      Vast majorities of Americans would understand and support that with their gut.

      Obviously Obama et al.’s ascendance was in the works before the sh-t hit the fan, with an inner circle of Geithner, Summers etc that is equivalent to Paulson, who is surprised he would never be a champion of honest capitalism and the regular persons organic economy.

    • Ggerg
    • RD

      Debt deal is delivered… Everybody is a looser as a result.
      Big loosers: President Obama and Democrats.
      Bigger Loosers: Republican Party.
      But the biggest of all – American People.

    • Lee

      I didn’t call you an elitist. I am sorry if i gave that impression.
       
      A lot of the times it isn’t really persuading them to take your point of view. Rather, it is them persuading you that they are not as right wing as you might think. At least that is what I have found, but it seems to me a matter of apporach. I think a lot of people interact or learn about  Tea Partiers in a politicized atmosphere, and so our impressions are skewed. That’s just my opinion. it probably differs depending on which area of the country you live in.
       
       
       
       
       

    • TFRX

      Whoohoo! Dean Baker! It has been tooooooo long. He should have been here on a weekly basis during this whole mess.

    • Ccdavid1

      The deficit IS from two wars that were started—and no taxes were raised—in fact, taxes were CUT, and MULTIPLE BANK BAILOUTS.

      That is where the deficit came from—the economic collapse was caused by WALL ST.

    • Dave in CT

      If you strip the social conservatism, and the corporate, crony, faux members of the Tea Party, is it really that hard to understand the core feeling and goals they represent?

      Do you really think we have no fiscal problem?

      Do you really think a simple tax-the-rich would make everything all better?

      Do you really think the bipartisan bail outs and tacit support of too big to fail institutions is in the public interest?

      Do you really want to give more power to a corporate-crony government the likes of Rubin, Summers, Geithner, etc.?

      Do you think there is any way of preventing such power from accumulating other than reserving more power to individuals and less to the Washington corporate machine?

      For all the ugly edges of the Tea Party, they are the only active group of people that have inserted themselves into the status quo, and forced the crony-boobs in D.C. to talk about things they would rather continue ad infinitum behind closed doors.

      Be a better Tea Party, be a progressive Tea Partier. But when you see the squirming of establishment Dems and Repubs, and the hypocrisy and kicking of the can, let alone the financial elite puppet mastery, you must see that the Tea Party spirit is important and timely.

      • Dpweber83

        “If you strip the social conservatism, and the corporate, crony, faux members of the Tea Party, is it really that hard to understand the core feeling and goals they represent?”
        So, if we can only strip out the Tea Partiers who you view as less-than-authentic Tea Partiers, then we’ll see that the Tea Party was right all along?

        ‘Scuse me?

        “Do you really think we have no fiscal problem?”

        No, I don’t think that.  I don’t think anyone thinks that.  I would guess, however, that you and I would define that “problem” differently.

        “Do you really think a simple tax-the-rich would make everything all better?”

        No, not all better, but the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy are a significant source of our current fiscal deficit.  That’s a basic fact, and it’s not up for discussion.  I’m happy to provide a citation if Google proves too difficult.

        “Do you really think the bipartisan bail outs and tacit support of too big to fail institutions is in the public interest?”

        Considering that allowing a too-big-to-fail company to go into catastrophic failure, yes, I do think that’s in the public interest.  Why do you insist on framing these questions as matters of theory rather than fact?

        “Do you really want to give more power to a corporate-crony government the likes of Rubin, Summers, Geithner, etc.?”

        Who’s even talking about giving more power to any of these people?  

        “Do you think there is any way of preventing such power from accumulating other than reserving more power to individuals and less to the Washington corporate machine?”

        Yes—it’s called the estate tax, and most of the Founding Fathers agree with my assessment.

        “For all the ugly edges of the Tea Party, they are the only active group of people that have inserted themselves into the status quo, and forced the crony-boobs in D.C. to talk about things they would rather continue ad infinitum behind closed doors.”

        Which “behind closed doors” programs are you referring to?  Get specific.

        “the Tea Party spirit is important and timely.”

        This may have been true in 1773, but in 2011, I see absolutely nothing good about a political movement that insists a sovereign default might actually be a good thing.  That’s economic illiteracy—there is nothing important or timely about it.

        -dan
        Boston, MA

    • John

      Lincoln had the ‘Team of Rivals’ while Dem’s have the ‘Team of Losers.’  The GOP (Group of Prevaricators) practiced ‘just say no’ while they were out of power.  The Dem’s, unable to have the guts to do the same, now join in on lauding the bi-partisan nature of this piece of junk bill.

      Real adults would have finally arrived at a bill that balanced revenue increases (through fees and taxes) and cuts along with a real agreement to have no future debt ceiling increases.  If you have a rep, Dem or GOP, who voted for this – they should be voted out.  They are not worthy of your consideration.  This is a litmus test vote.

      John, Williamstown, VT

    • Anonymous

      How is the far left dominating the debate?  Both sides aren’t to blame equally.  The far right held the country hostage with their extremist anti tax jihad.

    • Freeman

      Read the Editorial or WHATEVER from that Paul economist ( kraugman). Get read for a BIG DOUBLE DIP. And with NO S/S cola for the past two years; so much for the CONSUMER driving 70 % of the econony. Oh excuse me–WHAT ECONOMY? ? Bullets ,GUN, CRIME, MURDER, WAR and KILLING our future generations.
       Hmmm

    • Lee

      Steve Bell : The right wingers don’t see the government as inherently limiting and constraining as a matter of faith. They see the nanny state as inherently limiting and constraining as a matter of faith , there is a difference. The latter is not ideology.

      • Anonymous

        Well if you think we live in a “nanny” state then you are very much mistaken. However the other issue is when I hear comments like this I’m inclined to come to the conclusion that this is all about ideology and nothing else. Because if one is serious about how government is run, and how it’s run well, then one can have a debate or discussion on the subject.

        • Lee

          I don’t think we live in a Nanny State. I think that phrase resonates with men on the “right” 

          they think they are being mothered and that bothers them. This is not ideology, this is emotion.

          If their wages were higher, I don’t think the phrase would resonate. 

          How do wages get higher?
           
           

          • TFRX

            “If their wages were higher?”

            If so, they’d just reminisce about how bad the nanny state was, while being in oblivious denial about how that nanny state saved their bacon or is a part of their regular life now.

            As shown by Joe the Plumber’s Unlicensed Helper, the intersection of anti-nanny-staters and Galtians is not insignificant, and the press fetishizes the idea.

    • http://profiles.google.com/barry.kort Barry Kort

      I have as a theoretical model (not an article of faith, but a well-researched scientific analysis) that the government is inherently dysfunctional.  But rather than saying the government needs to be dismantled, I say it needs to evolve to become a functional system.  That won’t be easy, because it requires a paradigm shift of seismic proportions.  Nonetheless, it’s theoretically possible, perhaps even in this century.

      “The HOLE Story”

      http://moultonlava.blogspot.com/2011/04/hole-story.html

    • Freeman

      Jackie;
               To your caller in Cookville; Dang;call it what IT IS ! Period..
      Truth hurts; nothing changes.

    • Dave in CT

      Even though it is a tempting easy answer, an ever larger, more manipulative central government, micromanaging our economic and personal lives, will never be an efficient and productive enough system, in terms of economics and the broader peace of personal freedom.

      Unless one disagrees with that, what is the point of always knee-jerk defending the Dems and knee-jerk attacking anyone skeptical of government?

      Keep in mind our current crisis was a culmination of corporate and government collusion and manipulation, that blew up in our face. Fed policy, Fannie/Freddie, and unused regulatory/rule of law power cannot be ignored.

      Financial/government engineering, for whatever intentions, failed.  I trust more local, organic economies more than centrally planned fantasies.

      • Anonymous

        China appears to be doing well. 

        If there is no demand companies are not going to increase hiring and production. 

        • Dave in CT

          Yes, we could accept a more efficient, state-run capitalist system, where the state determines what freedoms are acceptable to individuals.

          I’d be shocked if American’s are scared and desperate or naive enough to turn in the American experiment in Liberty over for the China model, simply because real liberty has been hijacked by financial cronies and their government enablers.

          But make the argument!

    • Michiganjf

      If you think Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are difficult to fund now, wait until several years have gone by with the Federal government no longer playing a crucial role in stimulating the economy!!!!!!
      @5d22af21c13b58d0d09ae606c636b2ca:disqus 

      • Michiganjf

        I don’t know how that Ggerg ended up there!

    • Johnnygolightly

      How did Obama lose this argument!!! Was it his unwillingness to evoke class warfare…because this what this is!

      • Dave in CT

        Guess what, Obama is in the elite class along with the Republicrat corporate plutocrats!

        What’s with the surprise?!

    • laid off but in top 2%

      Blaming Social Security for the a big part of deficit is simply a lie that the Republicans and their plutocratic rulers have convinced some people, NPR included, to consider as true.  Get real, reporters, and speak truth to power (and lies).

    • Freeman

      Jackie;
                Excuse me; these promised were NOT made by me. Those supposed LEADERS that we paid enormous wages ,benefits and perks to; SOLD us “down the river”. And you want ME to suffer for their incompetance ?

    • Samuel Johnson

      It strikes me that the so-called negotiations between Republicans and Democrats on the debt limit/deficit reduction are like negotiating with suicide bombers who have their suicide belts on.  Like the bombers, the far right on the Republican side were willing to destroy themselves and everyone around them by pulling the trigger/defaulting on US debts and causing economic disaster on a national and international scale, all for the sake of irrational dogma.  Obviously those who are not willing to die or to permit the innocent to be killed are at a disadvantage in the negotiations, and terms will be dictated by those who are willing to pull the trigger on the suicide vest!  I grieve the death of political compromise and collaboration.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      Boehner’s already said that he won’t let anyone on that commission that will vote for raising taxes or letting the Bush tax cuts expire.  So it’s already a stacked deck, where’s that fair? 

      The tax rates and code do need to be redone.  People that invest in Wall St products increasingly rely on those dividends as income, reinvesting more and more money in Wall St, not creating jobs; but somehow capital gains aren’t considered income. WTF?  They’re living on it aren’t they?  When Warren Buffet wonders why he’s taxed at a lesser rate than his secretary’s assistant, and Big Oil companies make record profits yet get tax refunds in the billions of dollars,  it’s time for change. 

      Again, I propose a real referendum on:

      Ending the Bush tax cuts, and raising the tax rate on the wealthiest 2% of earners to 1990′s levels.

      Ending oil subsdies.

      Letting the government negotiate prices paid on medication.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Someone’s pie in the sky:  now that bin Laden is dead, the costs of 9/11 will come down.  
          Look at Oslo.  You’ve got somebody who dreams up the idea of simultaneous attacks, with a more or less fictitious network of like-minded individuals — a real network, but not in on the planning — and what was his objective?  Start a war — between the West and muslims.  
         Wasn’t it enough for him that a similar escapade launched the cracking of the US economy?  The concept of paying your way as a nation?  The crusades revisited?  Wasn’t that enough?  
         Apparently for Norway, the idea of healing wounds rather than rubbing salt in them has come to the fore.  
          Still, my view of Afghanistan under the Taliban was to be appalled; ditto my view of Iraq under Saddam Hussein.  Where was the USSR to help with this?  Oh, it was the view of the USA in the 1980s that the USSR should be bled by drawing it into Afghanistan.  
         So we fall for being drawn into it ourselves.  And Iraq too.
          Are we  bled to extinction yet?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      America is totally broke and there we can do period

      • TFRX

        If there’s nothing we can do, why worry about the slight, meaningless ministrations of the Pain Caucus, the Catfood Commission?

        Are you that worried about the steerage passengers sneaking up to the second-class deck on the sinking ship?

      • Dpweber83

        America is not totally broke.  Bankruptcy is not a matter of indebtedness alone: fundamentally, it’s a question of confidence.

        Check your local community college’s listings, I’m sure there’s a macro 101 course waiting for you.

        -dan
        Boston, MA

      • Anonymous

        America’s inhabitants have a total NET worth of 55 trillion.  “We” are far from broke, even though “you” may be.

    • Bernice

      One of your commentators is disingenuous.  Clearly, the George W. Bush tax cuts to the wealthiest added $6 trillion to the deficit.  That’s why and where it began. Period. If American non-voting citizens are too lazy and stupid to discern the unbridled and uncamouflaged greed of the Republicans, and if benighted Republican voters think that the Republicans will protect middle-class or poor people just because they’re “so-called” Christians, then they deserve what they’ve voted for or been too lazy to not vote for.

      • Dave in CT

        Perhaps, unlike you, some people actually think the government is too big, and regardless of taxes, needs to be reigned in, in terms of spending, if not actual reach.

        Why does the government NEED to grow at 7-8% a year?  How can anyone think that is ok and sustainable?

        Where is this bottomless well?

        • TFRX

          Business cycle. Look up 1937. Wrong time to do it.

        • Johnnygolightly

          No doubt! Reign it in! Kids receiving lunch subsidies are just lazy. It’s billionaires who ship jobs over seas after purchasing the tax loopholes that actively incentivize their doing so, with secret accounts in Switzerland, who need help!

          • Dave in CT

            School lunch costs 7-8% more federal spending a year?

            • Dave in CT

              You can support school lunch and cut the overall government at the same time. Takes a bit of effort, like walking and chewing gum.

            • Johnnygolightly

              Ahhh…right….nice idea…..BUT…that ain’t what’s happening…and that’s what this discussion is about…REALITY….right wingers who represent less 1% of the overall pop. getting there way…which is, for example, cutting programs that support the least fortunate…

            • Dave in CT

              Apologies for the sarcasm, but I think you get my point….

              Seriously, if 1% of the pop is overcoming Obama and the Dems, even when they had a full majority, I suggest something stinks in that circle.  Establishment Repubs have long stunk.

              I’m just not going to support the stink, easy as it is to play partisan ping-pong.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Dave, I think the growth that is Social Security is not growth in government but growth in people over the age of 62 to 70; if the actuaries/statisticians are right, we have paid for that growth already.  If they are wrong, then they need to re-figure.  But what is concerning is the growth of government other than the growth of population, particularly the population that thinks it has entrusted its sunset years’ backstop funding to the government.  I would define Medicare along with Social Security, since it is also part of FICA payments, but I think there has been less care given to making sure our payments equate to what we are likely to need.  And that makes sense, because the costs of medical care seem unpredictable, harder to plan for.
              But objection to “growth of government” shouldn’t equate to objection to growth of population.

      • Anonymous

        Unfortunately, the rest of us who are politically active and aware, and vote Democratic–not for Republicans–DON”T deserve it.

    • http://twitter.com/CBWebWorks CindyC Barnard

      “…the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus the cumulative interest on the increased borrowing used to fund them, will have added about $1 trillion to the national debt.”  (THE RECKONING
      The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More (Linda J. Bilmes and Joseph E. Stiglitz Sunday, March 9, 2008 )

      Hello – and how much more debt for Afghanistan. The war in Iraq whatever your opinion, seriously weaken this economy…

      Add that with an economic crash caused, ditto CcDavid1, by, hello, Wall Street mortgage bubble, fraudulent, unscrupulous, deceptive housing deals that almost lead to another depression.

      And now we’re still worried about Rating Agencies and their opinion after their stellar performance during the housing scandal.

      Geez… what to say now.
      _Cindy Barnard

    • Johnnygolightly

      The worst bit about this is…The Tea baggers aren’t going away…the Republicans have gerrymandered themselves into primaries where their only concern is a challenge from further to the right…that’s right…further to the right…where does that leave us…Belarussia

    • Dave in CT

      Who is this straight-talking gentleman, who is demonstrating that in fact anti-reform Democrats and Republicans are far more idealogical than arithmatic-abiding, pragmatic “tea-partiers” for lack of a better term?

    • Lori of upstate New York

      The discussion of our deficit over the past months rarely seems to acknowledge the documented, deliberate Bush-era budget policy of “starving the beast.” We are watching the calculated “next phase” of that policy: cut taxes, let spending go wild, and drive us to a place where government programs must be destroyed to “save” the country. The whole discussion seems like a naive exercise when we are not willing or able to look at that scenario–how perfectly it has all played itself out. Obama may be president but it’s a Bush doctrine that is at play in all this.

      • Anonymous

        Hell, every Republican has signed a personal pledge to honor the wishes of Grover Norquist, whose publicly stated plan is to starve government until it can be destroyed.  His plan is being implemented by our elected officials.

    • TFRX

      Is Steve Bell trying to conflate Medicare funding issues and Social Security funding issues?

      Does he really mean it? I thought that all bipartisan economists pretty much agreed that Social Security was fine for the time being.

      PS I don’t think he’s doing the name “bipartisan” any good. Before a black Democrat was elected to the White House and the right wing went crazeeeeee, people wanted good policies.

      And he’s talking about the Groupon Medicare? Hilarious! He is NOT doing any credit to the term Bipartisan.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

        Due to changes in demographics, SS is a quasi-Ponzi scheme.

        “In 2009 the Office of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security
        Administration calculated an unfunded obligation of $15.1 trillion for
        the Social Security program.”

        The sooner we adjust the system to reflect the changes in demographics the sooner we will stop stealing from our children and grand-children.

        • TFRX

          Please stop lying about Social Security. You really have a bugaboo about it; you need to say it often.

          Social Security will be fine with a tweak here or there as long as some Teabagger or “responsible Republican” (the last one died in captivity in the summer of 2008) doesn’t get all aroused about “reforming” it.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Gee TFRX, where is the lie?  Facts are stubborn things.

            I also glad to here we can make up the $15.1 trillion with a “tweak here or there”.  Once you figure that out maybe you can let us know how to turn lead to gold.

            • TFRX

              Anybody throwing around flat out numbers like that would be foolish to not put them in context of regular income to the program, years involved, etc.

              Otherwise one runs the risk of looking like they just want to use scare numbers.

    • Anonymous

      @Ccdavid1       [Again, this feature does not work]Dean Baker does have a point, in that the financial crisis “popped the balloon,” but clearly there were a lot of problems there to be exposed; see:

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-chart-that-should-accompany-every-discussion-of-deficits/238786/

      The two biggest contributors are 1) the Economic Meltdown (Baker’s point) and 32) the Bush tax cuts. But the Bush tax cuts were scheduled to expire last December and the Republicans would have had a MUCH harder time extending them without the economic crisis; therefore much of the blame falls on the economic crisis.Now the Bush era decisions that created the Economic Crisis are things like Greenspan refusing to act on his responsibility (in law) to regulate the mortgage market and the appointment of people like the hack Representative (R, CA) Christopher Cox to head the SEC.

      [Note the reply mechanism is really screwed up today! This was intended to be a REPLY to Ccdavid1 !]

    • Ellen Dibble

      The caller Benjamin from Swampscot says “we have left wing, right wing, still can’t fly.”  LOL 

      • nj

        Cute but inaccurate, or, if i’m being less charitable, dishonest.

        There is no significant “left-wing” poliitical presence that has any imeaningful inluence in the current U.S. political spectrum. Among Congresscritters, Bernie, Kucinich, Grayson, Feingold, Grijalva, etc. are about as “left wing” as it gets, and 1) People like that are in the distinct minority; 2) Compared to, say, the early 1900s when the Communist part had a presence in the national scene, these center-left folks are hardly radical, and 3) Their voices and views, moderately “leftish” as they be, are marginalized or ignored.

        The only honest, effective plan for the phony debt-ceiling “crisis” was offered by the Progressive Caucus, and i don’t recall it was ever even discussed in places like On Point, let alone in the Lamestream Corporate Newsfotainment media.

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/americas-only-honest-budget-proposal-20110428

    • Robert Dickinson

      Items that seem to be missing from your discussion:

      The national total debt would about 7 trillion less if the 2000 tax cuts had not been passed.

      The United States has the lowest total taxes of any industrialized nation except for Turkey and Mexico.

    • Anonymous

      These two will go down in history as having ushered in another dark age in the history of the world.

    • W Almy

      Why can we not ask if this is the best way to organize our economy – that is – only to serve the most wealthy.  Why after all of its failure is our economic system above scrutiny.  Working class and poor people in the USA live in the worst conditions of any advanced industrial society in the world. 
      The gentleman who says we can’t pay for Social Security or Medicare is wrong.  Besides does he really propose us living in a society without these programs – how horrible would that be.
      He also said that there is and extreme left and right in the country – he is wrong again – there is only and extreme right – give me an example of an extreme leftist in american politics.  There is none.
      The right wing only wants to pay for the failures of capitalism on the backs of poor and working people. This is not the answer – the answere is for working people to organize and take back the bailout money given to the corporations, the tax breaks given the rich and money made by the wealthy over one million dollars annually – who can’t live off a million dollars a year. If the right wing can determine minimum wage why can’t working people determine maximum wage.

      • Dave in CT

        “The right wing only wants to pay for the failures of capitalism on the backs of poor and working people.”

        The crony capiatlists do. In true free markets (not unregulated, but within a rule of law level playing field), too big to fail, and using the public purse to bail out old frat-buddies, is not acceptable.

        Fight crony capitalism.

        Be a better Tea Party.

        • TFRX

          If they were a better Tea Party, would they get all that Karl Rove, Koch Brothers and Astroturf money to look so genuine? Would Fox News fluff them so mercilessly that their events are given media prominence out of all proportion to their attendance? Would there be so many instances of those gatherings covered at the rate of, say, one reporter for every four or five Teabaggers?

          This is as good as they get. This is as coherent, informed, wonkish, anti-racist, and accepting-of-their-own-particular government-funded largesse as they get.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Very nicely put. :>)
            But I think congresspeople who have had what might be considered “Tea Party” backing and sought their votes are now back-pedaling.  They are saying they are not affiliated with the Tea Party.  They just happen to be for freezing the debt ceiling and so forth.  I’m listening to them in the Senate now, one after another, leading up to the vote — Washington Post dot com Senate live.

            • TFRX

              Let me guess: They also abhor the faction on the right which called President Obama a (all together, now) “Muslim Communist Kenyan Socialist”, too, right?

              Whatever remains of the real Tea Party, whatever that was, should know that they’re getting treated like the girl that the GOP won’t take to the prom, but the GOP wants to visit later, with a blanket and a bottle of cheap wine, after the Republicans have driven their official date home and shook hands with the date on the front porch in front of her parents.

              I sense a lot of Teabagger primaries coming up. And none of them will be any more coherent and deserving as the one attacking Sen. Snowe in Maine.

            • Ellen Dibble

              She and Senator Collins voted AGAINST Reid’s plan on Saturday, where Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts voted FOR it.  Who’s challenging Snowe in the primary coming up?

            • TFRX

              http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/07/olympia-snowe-primary-challenger-says-obama-not-a-christian.php

              I don’t know anything about him except he’s an unreconstructed Teabagger who says President Obama is not a Christian.

              In other words, three years since a black man won the Democratic primary, and they’re still obsessed over that crap. But their genuine energy can be harnessed for good, I swear!

            • Ellen Dibble

              It seems that campaign season has been a season to Dis-Educate in the past, to see how on how flimsy and ridiculous a basis people will cast their vote, and I do sympathize.  I have spent decades of being pushed to vote this way or that, knowing the proponents weren’t going to explain, just hoping I would follow along in their wake, so to speak.  Then, a decade or so later, there I am trying to figure out what is really going on, and to look at the campaign-speak, the ads, you would have no clue.  If you have a lot of money, you can try to throw your weight around, with a group, or solo, not so much in voting but in trying to herd the sheep.  Then I get another decade or so along, and I’m ready to go vote in primaries for the very worst one around, figuring he is the most obvious way to assure to give an opponent some edge by comparison.  In a primary, when that’s where the real battle lies — oh, I wish the folks in Maine might figure out a few things in spite of Fox and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck et al.  How rugged individualism became the handmaiden of corporate America is a tale of Karl Rove’s, um, genius.  Plus religion’s conversion from an act of faith, to faith-based activism.  My take.

          • Dave in CT

            Again, while you rightly decry the faux-Tea Party and sheep followers, it does not mean there is not a more honest grass-roots group of people fed up with the current power structure.

        • nj

          Certain terms are merely open vessels or blank screens into/onto which anyone can pour/project whatever meaning(s) one likes, and, as such, are virtually without meaning unless the user defines or qualifies it.

          “Free market” would be near the top of my list of such terms.

          Arguably, there is no such thing, since nearly every aspect of monetized exchanged systems is subject to innumerable regulations, laws, conventions, limitations, etc. that define/control/regulate/influence any actions that occur in the system.

          We really need to be talking about how the system needs to be structured to provide access to those of modest means and how to limit the influence of entrenched, wealthy interests, and how the system can be made to provide the widest benefit to the commons while limiting the ability of a few to control it for the benefit of the already wealthy and powerful.

    • Jeff

      The argument in favor of healthcare vouchers is either disingenuous or woefully uninformed.  What happens to the hypothetical elderly triathlete who chooses cheaper minimal coverage because he’s in good shape, and then gets diagnosed with a rare and expensive-to-treat illness?  This is what happens in real life.   

      Vouchers are just another way to take bets on your own health/life. There’s a reason the rest of the developed world has public healthcare, in the way they have public fire departments and roadways.  It’s the rational, civilized option.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I wonder if Alice Rifkin’s (sp?) plan would let you decide on the Medicare $10,000 (for example) voucher or finding private care only once, at age, say 65.  Or whether you can wait till you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s say at age 83, and THEN buy into Medicare.
            Anyway, I think the same person said that for all its flaws, the American medical system is far more cost-effective managed by the government than as delivered by the privately insured portion.  So BOTH need reform.

      • Anonymous

        This just happened to my ex. She was and still is very healthy.
        Was just told she has breast cancer. She told me she feels fine and that’s what is so strange about it all. The way this nation deals with health care is disgusting quite frankly. It’s also not even being dealt with at all. It is one of the largest cost factors of our nations financial woes. Until we really bring this under control and have a decent NH system nothing will change. The very idea of health-care vouchers is absurd. The people who advocate this nonsense know this, it is based on a free market ideology and not anything else. Certainly not about health care.

        • Ellen Dibble

          Jeffe, when I had breast cancer in 1992, which had spread to the lymph nodes, so I needed the whole nine yards, surgery, chemo, radiation — I was self-employed and had insurance, and there was a cap on out-of-pocket per year costs, so after about $2,000 — well, actually at that point I was through with treatment.  The cost was not such a big deal. HOWEVER, I figure the cost of health insurance for me thereafter probably cost me something like $100,000 more than it would have if I had not been diagnosed.  That has been far more of a problem than dealing with cancer, where doctors could tell me, now do this, now do this, boom, you’re through (hopefully).   The person at Blue Cross saying that this is your profile, and therefore your insurance costs will go up 10 percent a year till you are 65 — she thought she was considering my gender and my history.  But now that we have The Connector where insurance plans I think are not allowed to discriminate like that, the costs are still climbing the same way.  So I’m not sure it was such a financial blow, insurance-wise.
               But there is my take.  The toughest can be the way your family “takes it.”  You are still the same person, still needing to plan a long future, as well as somewhat more than the week before, the possibility of a shorter future.  Supposedly more than two glasses of wine a week is very bad in terms of breast cancer. I lived on organic carrot juice, bought a juicer, had local beets.  Considered the treatments a kind of cleansing, a help.  It was.

    • TFRX

      And once again, it falls to the actual left-of-center slotted guest on an NPR program, Dean Baker, to make common-sense observations that non-aligned economists know, to countermand a right-wing guest. Is that a bug or a feature?

      Why can’t we get a moderate who knows these facts and says them, freeing up a left-winger to say more left-wing things?

    • Busara1

      One of the guests suggested a change to “improve” the sustainability of medicare, an option to take one’s allotted money and buy private health insurance instead of Medicare.  This is a fatuous suggestion: then you’d have all the really sick people in Medicare and all the healthy people in private insurance!  Duh–what was he thinking???

    • Ellen Dibble

      It seems to me the country, Tea Party especially, had bought into the Bush II idea that eventually somebody will pay our bills.  “Growth” down the road will do it.  This is the attitude of a trust-fund baby, and if it can be put-over on an entire nation, we can all behave as if we have a rich uncle, Uncle Sam, and “things will work out.”  The corporate types who persuaded the powers that be that this is the way to go did see profits for themselves in this approach.  Less regulation, especially for financial institutions, but also for environmental things.  Just look the other way, and all will be well.  Grandfather will take care of it.  
           Guess what:  We are “grandfather.”  The bills have come due.  And the idea of “growth” depends vitally on very careful regulation and on carefully tending the environment.  Time to get real.

      • Dave in CT

        Certainly GW and that congress believed that, but I think its disingenuos to say the current TPers are doing that as they are ready to cut those bills radically, not just not pay them.

        At some point we will have to decide on substantive cuts, and if they create pain or discomfort or change, try to deal with it compassionately.

        But compassion is not the same as believing in unlimited resources as some (not you) seem to confuse.

        And of course still waiting for the financial elite to get soaked, taxed, jailed and tar and feathered.

        • TFRX

          “Soaked, taxed, jailed, tarred and feathered”?

          I’m glad you’re not one of those people going around upping the ante on impolite discourse imagined coming from the other side.

          The current TP is simply what used to be the Republican party. If you remember enough of GWB, you won’t be surprised that they ruined the brand for at least a generation. Old wine in new bottles, with all the reasonable rhetoric squeezed out.

           

          • Ellen Dibble

            I think Dave was being facetious.  If he says tar-and-feather the rich, then some extremist won’t be coming along to try to say it.  He’s stealing their thunder, making it a mere echo.
            My take.

            • Dave in CT

              If I’m going to be branded a 1770′s-er, then it is without facetiousness that I long to see Greenspan, Bernanke, Paulson, Rubin, Summers and the Wall St. CEOs marched out, and tarred and feathered.

              Now that’s common sense.

            • Ellen Dibble

              Hmm, you’re serious.  I’m thinking “male and female created He them,” meaning Adam and Eve.  You would never ever catch me doing that, or approving it.  
              But when I was growing up, and my brother and I would be weeding the lawn and the field on Saturday, as if the fate of the world depended on it, the weeds were to be wheelbarrowed off “to Philadelphia,” which was the compost heap at some distance.  And it didn’t seem a violent fate, but even in some ways productive, but that was how you deal with the ones who wreck your environment.  Of course we pulled them up by the roots first.

          • Dave in CT

            I wish it was that simple. I am fully aware of how the establishment Repub party has been trying to co-opt the Tea Party energy.

            But in the wake of the financial crash and bailouts there was plenty of grassroots rage against the financial elite and government cronies in both parties.

            Just because it’s easier for the Repubs, who have often given lip service to financial responsibility, along with their authoritarian, paternalistic, militaristic crap, to try and co-opt the Tea Party outrage, does not mean that there is truly a growing group of the population who distrusts the corporate/government status quo that by design or by apathy, has risen in recent decades, and destroyed our economy.

            • Ellen Dibble

              I am waiting for someone to coopt my outrage, by the way, if someone wants to come along with a blanket and some cheap wine…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The GREEDY RICH keep coming up with new ways to ‘explain’ how their failure to do what they say, is doing what they say.  ALL of you, post TODAY, on truth.org, the Percentage of your income, whether from salary, investment earnings, royalties, or ANY source of income, that you  have CREATED U.S. jobs with, for the whole last ten years!  HYPOCRITES!!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks to caller Janet! The current mania for (FALSE) balance by the mainstream press with the radical right FALSE news from FOX News has so distorted the understanding of so many Americans of economics (particularly macro) has helped to create this problem. It certainly helped the Tea Party leaders take their flock astray with their focus-group tested sound bites. Even NPR has stooped to this too often.

      NPR should commission a group (Columbia School of Journalism?) to do a study like the BBC did of its science coverage. Then it (and ALL the other MSM — Fox News is useless) need to find a REAL solution.

      • TFRX

        Now, Don, Fox News does serve a function: To see what seeps into well-meaning but powerless-to-resist mainstream news, in the name of balance, in two days, you watch Fox News today.

        That way you know the bullflop before a clueless Diane Sawyer or such reads it and intones the ghost of Walter (Rolling over in his grave) Crokite.

    • Anonymous

      No clue and no word at all on how this will affect the fortunes of the NPR/CPB/APM universe, but one thing comes instantly to mind: for years and years, and years, flagship program “Morning Edition” was hosted by a single host, who had single solitary replacements whenever he was out for illness or vacation; but no matter the relative merits of Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne, sounds to me as if one should begin looking for another posting, and sooner rather than later. Similarly, for years and years, and years, “All Things Considered” put together its 90-120 minute weekday shows not with a rotating trio of hosts (as with the Robert Siegel/Melissa Block/Michele Norris trio of the present line-up) but with a simple pair. Downsizing means cutting costs; but as we see, NPR has managed to buck this trend while pleading the same poormouthing lines that so many others resort to. Lots of cuts are coming, and more cuts will be coming after that. When will we begin to hear the differences in the manner of NPR presentations? –and, by the way, how will funding be channelled to state affiliates going forward? Will all the braintrust stations and producers of the Northeast Corridor continue to hog public broadcasting budgets so they can continue to produce the high quality programming that rides roughshod over most other regional perspectives across the country? 

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure what your point is here. That NPR should get rid if the correspondents you mentioned as some kind of sign to appease your ideas on austerity? Other than that your comment does not make a lot of sense.

        From Wikipedia: In 2009, member stations derived 6% of their revenue from federal, state and local government funding, 10% of their revenue from CPB grants, and 14% of their revenue from universities.
        While NPR does not receive any direct federal funding, it does receive a
        small number of competitive grants from CPB and federal agencies like
        the Department of Education and the Department of Commerce. This funding
        amounts to approximately
        2% of NPR’s overall revenues.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      Bell’s voucher scenario doesn’t work.

       First, keep in mind that it also replies on repealing the Obama’s Health Care Act, so all bets are off that you will find insurance as you grow older.  If you have had any kind of pre-existing condition, and you can get through all those lines of defense by the insurance company to keep you from their profits, you better hope that the insurance you bought covers whatever it is you have, and doesn’t have a spending cap, and that your treatment facility will even take your insurance.

      Second, even if you are a triathlete (and really, with +60% of Americans being overweight, who is?) things happens. A missed heart defect shows up, cancer happens, a strokes happens, you get a MRSA infection from a cur  and lose an arm or leg, you need long term care, support,  and rehab, or you get hit by a bus.  
      I can speak of this because I work out 3 or 4 times a week, don’t eat meat, take my vitamins and fish oil supplements,and have great blood pressure, and I still got cancer and I was only 43.  And yesterday I almost got taken out on my bike by an idiot in a minivan on her cellphone that decided to change lanes while I was next to her. 
      I thank the powers that be that even though my family is in a tight spot we have Medicaid or I’d be dead, because without it the cancer would have won.  I had a hard time finding private insurance because I have a condition that gives me “trick knees” (the kneecap dislocates), but that’s a “pre-existing condition”.  So, with the trick knees, and the cancer I had, who would I take my Ryan Plan voucher to when I was old enough to receive such a thing? Who are these people that already have pre-existing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, trick knees, acne, pregnancy going to go to?

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

      What will happen the next time there’s a Republican POTUS is what always happens – They get political Alzheimer’s and forget about balanced budgets, and will be all indignant when the Dems try to attach their agenda to raising the debt ceiling or some other issue, and basically be big hypocrites. Watch, they’ll want to invoke, or rewrite, the 14th Amendment so that raising it become depoliticized and under the POTUS’s whim.  That would actually be a good idea because we’re going to have this happen every time if we don’t do it.

      • Dave in CT

        2 wrongs make a right?

        • Dave in CT

          You want to amend the constitution to automatically raise our debt ceiling every year?

          And people wonder why simplistic tea party notions of common sense, such as the idea that we cannot indefinitely take on more and more debt, take hold.

          If somebody want to make the case that money is not necessary anymore, and we can just do and have whatever we want in this modern world, and that there is a peaceful, non-coercive way to make it happen, they should make it.

          • TFRX

            Simplistic tea party notions take hold because they are dressed up as common sense. Like how the government has to shrink its spending as if it were around a kitchen table.

            At this exact point in the business cycle, which is threatening to be 1937 all over again, you chose “simplistic” and, frankly, ignorantly propagated, Astroturfed notions latched onto by the right wing, who were all fine with excessive spending and all that stuff, during a 5-year expansion, as long as Bush II was in the White House.

            A black Democrat gets elected, and it’s black helicopter time again with them, a la the Clinton years, with an inexcusable amount of racism thrown in. Why are you throwing your lot in with them and expecting to escape with your good name intact?

            The amount of needle-threading you display in order to accept the “common sense tea party notions” not reflected in reality, which are now all of a sudden a crisis, is staggering.

            • Dave in CT

              At times it feels staggering, but as an atheistic, personally progressive, corporate and increasingly government skeptic, at least I’m trying.

              The day Obama gets up, uses his bully pulpit and oratory skill, to plainly explain what you all trustingly think is so obvious, I might get back on board.

              But he doesn’t, and so I don’t trust him and his party.

              If the “opposition” was so dumb, evil and corrupt, the case would be very easy to make.

              While common sense can certainly be simplistic, I still will choose the collective “wisdom” of individuals, over that of corrupt Washington-Wall street technocrats, as long as the latter have shown themselves to have no honest interest in the People. 

            • TFRX

              There’s another word for the common sense you claim to find common cause with among the Teabaggers: Grounded in unreality.

        • Scott B, Jamestown NY

          Not saying two wrongs… For the countries sake we need to get it away from being politicized. There are times we’re going to have to raise it, and times we need to run a deficit. This petty bickering can’t keep wrecking our status and economy.

          • Dave in CT

            I understand your point, but sadly, grabbing Washington/Wall St by the neck like just happened, seems the only way of forcing a difficult but necessary discussion and action.

            Unless we have no financial problem.  If TP ideas are not the solutions fine, but the problems need to be talked about and acted upon, which I think clearly our dysfunctional government-corporate complex would rather not. They would prefer to keep milking the general public with non-free market crony capitalistic schemes and “globalization” notions, rather than preserving a level playing field and opportunity for the majority of Americans.

            • Scott B, Jamestown NY

              Exactly what was the other wrong? Giving the Pres, regardless of party,  power to raise the debt ceiling on his own, pretty much like every other Pres managed to do?

              The vote by Congress on every other ceiling raise was pretty much just a show, nothing with any seriousness. But for some reason, now that the Republicans are out of the oval office, suddenly this is all important and tied to pretty much every program, social agenda, and regulation they oppose. 

              No, it’s time to end it so this crap NEVER happens again. It’s lost the US more international credibility (politically and financially), and I thought would be hard to do after Dubya set the Middle East on fire and told everyone to go shopping.

    • mary elizabeth

      We are in a new ascendency in the US.  There is no longer a place for statesmanship where persons come to Washington to to work in good faith toward a common goal for the common good.  The Ayn Rand mindset has taken hold in a part of our government backed by the rich and powerful who have gathered their syncopants and got them into high places to enlarge their already bulging wallets.  The vast fortunes accumulated by

    • Anonymous

      The so-called “tea party”, which took a kernel of dissatisfaction with (other people’s) government program spending, then turned it into a tool of extraordinarily well-funded right wing wealthy interests, has played this masterfully.  Now rich-folk-worshiping corporatists from both parties can do what they’re told by their masters (which ain’t their constituents) and tilt the playing field even more against what’s left of the middle class, then blame some made-up entity when their plan fails, which it certainly will. 

      When the position of the overwhelming majority of Americans is not only not enacted, but not even advocated for by any of the major players in the process, we have come to the end of what our founding documents envisioned for our country.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Right, I think we wanted to get OUT FROM UNDER being “played” by a powerful “protector” which had lofty, profit-oriented designs of a global scale.  The private and national “interests” of Great Britain split or joined in some way over the fate of India, the British East India Company?  Was it?  My history is not up to this.  But my sense is that we did not want to be the pawns of the superlatively successful.  
            So what have we come to…

    • Cime

      Tax Wallstreet at 1%! You would eliminate the debt! Oh, wait! We can’t do that!!

      • Ellen Dibble

        If you can tax and regulate commercial transactions, it seems to me that stock purchases and sales could be taxed, and those go on like a swarm of bees when the markets are open.  The objective is profit, but there are also losses.  Per transaction, it would be tough to calculate the infinitesimal gains and losses, second by second, dividing it up by which trading house is involved, or which individual.  However, there is an idea.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        We really need to clamp down on high frequency trading done by computers. Some of these stocks are held for only a few seconds. A small tax would so cut into the few cents of profit these HFT traders make during these trades, it would bring human decision making back into the market. 

    • Anonymous

      So upwards of 20 to 25% of NPR/CPB/APM/PRI (sorry, left PRI out the first time . . . and consider all the administrative duplications that arise with THIS arrangement . . . .) funding is derived from–TAXATION (federal, state, and local, the CPB itself, and last I heard, state universities at least get generous funding from state governments). NPR continues to only vaunt its “contributors”: but I pay for corporate sponsorship, too, where do you think the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation got the millions for its philanthropies? In part, from the PC operating systems in the computers I’ve bought over the past 15 years or so (sorry, Apple, sorry, Linux). I’m already contributing to public broadcast funding whether I want to or not, and NPR for one does not boast this fact; and what I get for it is a lot of high quality programming emanating from DC, Philadelphia, NYC, and Boston, chiefly (with asides from Chicago, Madison, and Lake Wobegon). I’ve never heard, or heard of, a single NATIONAL NPR program emanating from, say, Charlotte, or Atlanta, or Memphis, or St. Louis, or Wichita, or Omaha, or Colorado Springs, or even Dallas; which is to say, NPR (as most other national media outfits, not to pick only on NPR except that its operations benefit directly from taxation and corporate sponsorship) does not do a swell job presenting local perspectives on a continuous basis, the way it continually represents the views, opinions, outlooks, perspectives of the well-heeled member stations in the Northeast Corridor. Apparently, this was built into its funding structure years ago, and it’s far too late to compensate for the intervening loss of perspective now. NPR has FAILED signally to represent the public by virtue of the way it focused its production resources from, say, 1970 to 2010. The only “diversity of viewpoint” it can boast of is not “multicultural”–it’s fomented a monocultural perspective that takes no real account of actual cultural (and not simply marginal/fringe) difference. 

      • Anonymous

        Isn’t complaining about how a corporation/owner chooses to donate his or her (or “its” if corporate personhood doesn’t extend to grammar) money against free market principles?  Aren’t you free to choose another company to buy things from if you don’t want your money to support their donations? 

        • Anonymous

          Respectively, no and yes: 1) if I owned stock in a corporation, I’d have a proxy vote to cast which would not necessarily conform to whatever advice a corporate board offered shareholders, and BMGF/Microsoft would not have been contributing to NPR/CPB/APM/PRI along and along if the latter had not been holding its/their hat out for “contributions”; 2) indeed, I sometimes make decisions on product purchase based on my understanding of corporate giftgiving, but I’m hardly obliged to do so in each and every case. –I am obliged to pay taxes, however, and I much more strenuously object to tax subsidization for public broadcasting as a consequence. If tax subsidization of public broadcasting is actually as low as PB apologists routinely claim, they should be among the first to disown all further tax subsidization, but I never see or hear this being done, which tells me the amounts are significant indeed.   

          • Anonymous

            If you don’t own stock, you have no shareholder interest and thus no right to complain on that basis.  Blaming NPR et al for causing the corporations to donate in response to a request for voluntary contributions makes no sense.  NPR shouldn’t get tax money or donations? 

            Perhaps you would have more choices to buy from more suppliers if there was more government regulation to prevent monopolies.  

            • Anonymous

              Not at all: I have every right to complain because I pay local, state, and federal taxes, and NPR is supported in part by my taxes, according to jeffe (see above) somewhere in the range of 20 to 30%, as he quoted wikipedia, which I also find a helpful resource. NPR never thanks me for my tax contributions, I return the favor by never supporting them at pledge drive time. I can probably blame/thank NPR for soliciting BMGF/Microsoft contributions, however, and I do so in good conscience. And again: if NPR is the institution it claims to be by virtue of its continual failure to thank taxpayers, it should cede all claim to tax support and subsidization at the earliest possible opportunity–but yet again, this is something we never ever hear.
              And pray tell, what “monopoly” are you alluding to? Not even vaunted Microsoft enjoys a monopoly, and I know of no industry or sector in the domestic economy where a monopoly exists–do you?

      • LG

        Dude, count your blessings. You resent paying for NPR, I resent paying for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

        • Anonymous

          I’ll meet you partway, then: I resent paying for the war in Libya, too.

          • LG

            I’m with you on that. And I resent contributing to a defense budget that is an order of magnitudes larger than necessary for U.S. security. Meanwhile, libraries and parks are closing and college tuition rates are pricing students out of the education market, all the result of profound mismanagement by politicians of both parties at every level. 

            • Montmartre

              I hope that some people go back and read, Paul Kennedy’s best seller, “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.”   There are a lot of similarities between some of his historical examples and the situation we are in today.  The leaders in both the George W administration and Obama’s should have at least thought about Kennedy’s examples.  If the leaders won’t think about it then maybe the electorate should read and begin to ask questions.  

      • Anonymous

        So don’t by PC’s. Build your own. I’m not sure what all the hubbub is about bub. Taxes are the price we pay for a civil society. At least that’s what I thought. If you don’t like NPR don’t listen.

        • Anonymous

          I don’t listen to NPR: I monitor it, which is to say, I listen critically. I see too that you don’t take issue with my critique of NPR’s editorial policies, so perhaps you get my point that NPR management “tells” its listeners what to hear far more assiduously than it listens to what its listeners (and critics) say. They and their national media confreres can no longer credibly tell a local story and tend to succeed only in parroting each other when they attempt to tell a local story.

          • Anonymous

            Has anyone ever told you that you talk a load toad poo.

            • Anonymous

              No, not one, not ever. In support of my assertion of NPR’s shortcomings, however, it remains the case that Dillon County, SC, still has not one single solitary ELECTED school board for what are ostensibly “public” schools, although Melissa Block herself interviewed the district superintendent two years ago without alluding to this fact. Alicia Shepard, NPR ombudsperson, elected not to offer any clarification or follow-up at my invitation. Producers and staff at “On the Media” thought the widespread media failure (Chicago Tribune, McClatchy newspapers, Salon.com, Poynter Institute, et al.) to bring up this point in their breathless reporting of local conditions did not merit their attention, either. Even though a non-binding referendum passed by an overwhelming majority last November, the citizens (and taxpayers) of Dillon County, SC, still have no elected school board members for their putative “public” schools, unless some remedy took effect in the past hour or two. 

          • Anonymous

            Well NPR removed my comment. So I’m no inclined to say WTF.

            • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

              ALWAYS make copies of what you post and repost if you believe the deletion was unwarrented. And PROTEST like I did about a deletion in yesterdays board. Last I looked the protest was still there along with the deleted post.

    • Toronto

      The total US
      tax burden is 21% of GDP.  In contrast Canadians
      pay 34.4%.  But guess what?  We are happier.  No worries if you get cancer or hit by a bus.  No worries if you need diagnostic tests.  It is all paid for.  Of course we don’t lock up as many people as Americans
      – at a great cost both in terms of direct expenditures and lost productivity.

       

      How do we finance social supports?  Through a reasonably progressive tax regime. The
      US
      is third to the bottom in terms of tax rates of all the developed
      countries.  In fact only Chile and Mexico pay a lower percentage of
      GDP.  Even Turkey has a higher rate of taxation
      as a percentage of GDP. That the US deficit must be brought down by
      higher taxation of the wealthy it is patently obvious, the alternative is to
      become a banana republic where the rich oligarchs rule.

       

      I do hope that compassion, reason and fairness begin to take
      stronger hold in the US.

       

       

      • William

         It matters what is more important to a nation. In the USA it still is liberty and not economic equality. In Canada is it economic equality and not liberty.

        • Dave in CT

          Not for long William, some here have skipped Canada, and suggest we go right for the China model.

          • Toronto

            Come on Dave – now you are just being silly.

        • Anonymous

          Please, oh please, explain how we have so much more “liberty” than Canadians, Germans, Swedes, etc.  Is there a liberty index one can consult?

          • Dave in CT

            Yes and Canada is ranked 3!

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_World_Liberty_Index

            Goes to show we don’t need to be so knee-jerk against the liberty concept. Especially when we include social liberties that Neoconservative Tea-O-Cons are so patrernalistically reluctant to hand over.

            • Dave in CT

              and http://lightandliberty.rationalmind.net/2009/08/2009-liberty-index.html

            • Dave in CT

              Maybe those who decry anyone who speaks of liberty as right-wing nuts, should investigate why Canada, Switzerland etc rank so high on the list.

              I still posit it is largely cronyism between government and business, and not liberty, that is the biggest problem here, leading both to bloated government spending and an unstable economic system.

            • Anonymous

              My point, which is that it’s jingoistic BS to claim that we in the USA have more liberty and therefore need to accept greater economic inequality as a necessary price for our liberty-filled existence.  Thanks for helping me prove my point.

        • Anonymous

          Oh please, what a load of complete rubbish. Canada has as many liberties as we do and more. Such as decent health care.
          They also supply us with most of our hockey players.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          The Right has odd ideas about “freedom”. But there are other views. It was FDR who said a necessitous man is not a free man.  I think universal health care FREES people. How many people are tied to jobs they loathe because they know with their preexisting conditions no other employer’s health insurance company would cover them? How many people might follow their ideas and start new businesses if only they were afraid not to lose their health care. And just think of the absurdity of going on vacation, getting hurt, and finding the nearest doctor or hospital doesn’t take your insurance. The situation in the US is beyond absurd. The Right doesn’t care about our freedoms. It cares about the freedoms of health insurance companies to impose limits on us that suit them.  

      • Anonymous

        We already are a banana-republic.

    • Anonymous

      “Voters may have chosen divided government,” Obama said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”  — Of course the Tea Baggers did.  Anyone who votes for candidates beholden to Grover Norquist did.  Maybe this latest example will finally wake Obama up to realizing that bipartizanship is not a goal in its own end. 

      • Anonymous

        Party before the People!

      • Miller in Somerville

        I hold all officeholders in Washington responsible for this dysfunctional government.  Therefore, I am seriously considering not voting for any incumbents.  I wish there were a “Compromise Party” whose aim was to work toward efficiency and functionality, not ideology, through compromise at all times.  As an example, look at the FAA situation, save $16 million at a cost of $1 billion plus.

        • Anonymous

          Voting out incumbents worked really well in 2010.  The new Tea Baggers made things worse.  Vote them out.  Not all incumbents should be ousted. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Canada no recession and USA has a great recession. Canadians are happier because they don’t need to think about healtcare expenses especially the high cost of prescription drugs. Even in the Philippines they are now having experimental Universal Healtcare. A socialist idea in a Democratic country.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Why is Single Payer universal health care “socialist”? It’s really just acknowledging simple economics that capitalist competition is grossly inefficient. We think otherwise because of the blinders we wear… focusing just on declining prices and ruthless efficiencies WITHIN companies. We just never think to look at how efficient an entire economic SECTOR is. But when we do compare US health care costs to other developed nations we’re in for a shock. I highly recommend this 2007 Congressional Research Service http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL34175_20070917.pdf

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Liberty doesn’t necessarily the people can do whatever you want.

      “Try hanging out in the street and wait for the cops see you and complain that your hanging out on the street corner” that is not liberty

    • TomK in Boston

      “NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — U.S. stocks declined sharply Tuesday, as another disappointing economic report did little to calm investors’ fears over the pace of the recovery.The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) sank 151 points, or 1.3%; the S&P 500 (SPX) was down 19 points, or 1.5%; and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was down 38 points, or 0.8%.The Dow is on pace for a eighth straight day of declines, the first since October 2008 — when the financial system was in the depths of the 2008 crisis. The S&P 500 has broken through several key technical resistance points as well, including the index’s closely-watched 200-day moving average.Stocks were weighed down by a consumer spending report showing Americans continued to pull back in June. The Commerce Department saidpersonal incomes edged up 0.1%, while spending slipped 0.2%. Economists were expecting income and spending to rise 0.1%.It was the first time Americans had cut spending in 20 months.”There are still a lot of fears about how slow the economy is growing,” said Hamed Khorsand, analyst at BWF Financial.”Cutting gvt spending with an economy on the brink of deeper recession or Great Depression II – talk about INSANITY! Ideology has replaced economics. Surprise, unemployed or macjobbed Americans are not spending, but not to worry, they’re no doubt going to celebrate the news of new Herbert Hooverism. Or, maybe not. Then we’ll have another round of public sector layoffs as the feds cut back on aid to the states and then the states cut back on aid to cities and towns. That should really get the economy going, huh?I want my country back!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

        Pretty good economics with 8 straight days of decline it means Depression. Economic cycle is predictable for one good reason.

        The Politics of Dancing.

        • TomK in Boston

          Fax, the mkt has its own dynamics and is not easily explained by news. Nevertheless, I was surprised that there was no “relief rally”  of even a day. After the surrender S&P futures were up over 1.5%, but dropped like a stone on mon morning, and then there was today. I think it means that the focus is on the real economy and not on the fake deficit bogeyman.

          If anyone was really paying attention, it would be like the day after a drinking binge. We partied with cut, cut, and more cut all night long, and in the morning light saw all the weak econ data, and said “holy sh**, what did I do!?”

          If the pols were honest, they would have stepped up to the podium and said “We are pleased to have found a bipartisan compromise which will increase unemployment.”

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Just what good does it do to look at the Stock Market for the mood of the nation when 1: the DJIA only covers 30 companies of thousands and is only “representative” because DJIA plays with the weighting it gives new companies so there’s an appearance of continuity, and 2: just how do we gage the “mood” of the high frequency trading computers that are doing about 75% of the equity trades these days? It’s an absurd situation. Real “investors” are almost gone replaced by computers that make money from the churn of money in other computers. No, this isn’t just absurd. This is madness.
             

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Are you ready for a Double Dip Recession?

      • TomK in Boston

        Sure, but the real question is, are you ready for Great Depression II?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

          Of course No (You”re scaring me, really).

      • Ggerg

        Already here.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

      Let us wait for the unemployment rate. if it goes down again. It is double dip. keep your jobs for now and Goodluck my fellow Americans.

      take care

    • Dave in CT

      One way to separate the real, more libertarian tea-partiers from the Tea-O-Cons, will be in watching the reaction to the prospect of cutting the military that is in the new bill. Good old military industrial Republicans and Tea Partiers in name only will be and are of course screaming disaster, while more Ron Paul-type folks will see it as part of an overall possible step in the right direction.

      Although I’m sure this bill is not a libertarian design, and that the defense cut threat is just more theater b/w the status quo parties.

      But we can hope…

      http://reason.com/blog/2011/08/01/the-debt-deals-defense-cuts-a

      • Dave in CT

        Excerpt:
        “… another way of looking at this is that the deal potentially pits Republicans against themselves by forcing party legislators to choose between raising taxes and paring back planned defense spending. I’m on record as being skeptical that the Republican party, as a whole, is ever likely to favor even moderate reductions in defense spending, and it’s already clear that the party’s top hawks are deeply opposed to the way the deal would handle the military budget. Still, given the influence of new House members who may (and only may) not be quite as determined to protect defense pork, I think it’s at least somewhat unclear at this point whether defending the defense budget or attacking new taxes is the more important current priority for the GOP. ”

        We shall see…..

        • TomK in Boston

          I think cutting taxes outranks maintaining the empire for the TOP.

          Most likely is that they’ll cut the “military” but focus on vets benefits or some such angle that helps average citizens.

          Actually in the voodoo economy, the military provides the only decent jobs in some areas. While we absolutely need to cut mil/empire expenses – along with historically low taxes and the recession itself they are one of the big 3 cases of the deficit – there will be some bad side effects of even more unemployment if it’s not done right (and what have we done right lately?)

    • nj
      • Anonymous

        Pretty intense commentary from Mr. Olbermann. He’s pretty spot on in a lot of what he’s saying. I’m not sure Americans will take to the streets. Me, I’m going to spend the next few years saving to move out of the country if I can swing it.

    • david

      My take on this:
      Our obese Govt. yelled, Iam starving and we fed it.
      Our addicted Govt. threatened suicide and we gave it a fix.
      Our alcoholic Govt. screamed and we gave it another drink.
      Our adolescent Govt. complained and we gave it the keys to the car.
      Our spend thrift Govt. threatened divorce and we gave her more credit.
      Our disobedient Govt. threw a tantrum and we did not spank it. 

      In any intervention program, a formula for disaster, or death.
      Stock market down BIG time.
      Economic growth weakening.
      Unemployment going back up.
      Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin calls USA a “parasite”
      Do you know how to say “double dip”

      But a silver lining in all this trouble, all the little goverbots are running around salavating on themselves saying, “They are back filling up the Govt. teats again, lets belly up to the teats for more!!!  
      Wake up America!!!!!!

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        When working well the public and private sectors bootstrap each other with the public sector providing infrastructure from an educated workforce to public health to law enforcement to highways and ports… and the thriving private sector pays taxes to keep the cycle going. We mess with this balance at the economy’s risk yet that’s exactly what the Right wing has been doing the past 30 years by pretending the private sector is the source of all that’s good and the public sector is counterproductive or parasitic.

        Government works best when run by those who understand the above and are not there to sabotage or weaken it. How? By sabotaging its fiscal health with irresponsible tax cuts and creating more debt; by abusing government power to benefit cronies; by sabotaging our industrial base with free trade; by diverting scarce resources with needless military spending; by deregulating the banking sector so predators and sociopaths can pillage our economy; by deregulating the commodity markets and crippling our economy with $147 a barrel oil, or by draining our strength with illegal wars of aggression.

    • Jane, from Boston

      Likening overpaying doctors to car mechanics is offensive and insulting.  As a resident doctor, I have spent my entire adult life, $250,000 in student loans in my own name (my interest alone is more than what some people earn), 8 years of higher education (college & medical school), 9 years of postgraduate training (and 2 more to go) in order to practice medicine.  I have worked up to 80 hours per week for the last 9 years, given up weddings, holidays, birthdays and possibly my fertility so that lawyers can sue me for my perceived “riches” and politicians can attack me under the guise of “healthcare reform.”  I have no idea if I will even have a job when I finish training, and if I am lucky enough to find one, I may finally have a chance to pay down my student loan burden before I’m 50 and have my chance at the American dream– family, car, house. 

      Doctors are not rich, they work like dogs and are not in it for the money, because there is no money in it anymore.  Anyone who stays in medicine is just trying to make it like the rest of America, and giving up a piece of themselves to save and improve human life.  If you demand the best healthcare system in the world, you must allow doctors an opportunity to survive too.  

      And, to your speaker, I would emphasize that the complexities and pathology of the human body is nothing like fixing a car. 

      • Ellen Dibble

        I’m wondering if the AMA, for example, are dominated by physicians who have found ways of doing very well in a rather toxic environment, in other words are working around the system, with the system, rather than bucking the system.  How’s that?  Bucking the system?  It does seem to me that sometimes the best doctors really don’t have the time, the energy, the heart to try to rectify “things.”  Instead, they make a conscious choice to focus, focus, and stay away from heavy seas.  They put up and shut up, in short.   They are trained as physicians, not activists.
             Hang in there.   Let me count the M.D.’s who have saved me from this or that over my lengthy life.  They are not always right, but so it goes.  I think they’ve got me through about four of my seven lives so far.

      • Anonymous

        So what are you asking here? Presonally I think anyone who gets into med school should have free tuition if they agree to work for 5 years in a undeserved neighborhood or town. But hey that’s kind of a socialistic ideal. 

    • Ewmhampton

      No one can really fill Tom’s shoes, but Jacki is excellent, in her different way. This is a very good show.

      • Dave from Chicago

        Are you SERIOUS?  I’ve been wholly unimpressed with Jacki for all the news analysis shows she has hosted over the last few weeks.  In this program alone, she cut off a caller who had called in to comment on educating the public, turning the discussion in a direction SHE wanted to take it.

        The reason I enjoy this show is that Tom and most of the hosts bring in the callers and the guests.  Even if Tom gives those comments only a moment of discussion, they are connected back to the show.

        Jacki pushes HER agenda through the show without allowing a wider conversation.

        What happened to shining a critical eye on Democrats, or placing blame on a healthcare system obsessed with high-cost experimental drugs rather than low-cost lifestyle changes?  Medicare and Medicaid are broken cause every Tom, Dick and Harry feels entitled to thousands of dollars in Dialysis, Heart Surgery, and cutting-edge cancer drugs.

    • HMT

      When the Democrats held a majority in both houses and the pesidency last year, they didn’t even try to raise the debt ceiling or write a budget. They have none to blame but themselves.

      • TFRX

        Yes, there’s nothing to blame on the WATBs on the right who, now, after 30x for 3 Republican presidents, decided that this was the point in the business cycle to tie the debt ceiling to the budget deficit.

        The right wants to make everything into a crisis because a black Democrat was elected to the White House. The idea of ordinary governance is beyond their comprehension.

    • Dee

      The Russian president is right when he calls the US ” a parasite”.

      That is exactly what the corporate & capitalist system has become. It feeds off the backs of working people and middle Americans and shows no moral conscience in linning their pockets while throwing them crumbs…

      There is no more need for competition in the market anymore place
      or indeed research & development -profits are based on obtaining government contracts, tax loopholes and tax cuts and of course
      the lack of government controls and oversight….

      We all have a responsibility to put a stop to this terribly abusive
      system and put it out of business…One can see why they object
      to a consumer protection agency and are fighting its existence …
      existence….

      As the former American historian Howard Zinn wrote in his column (url)
      Americans have to make a better life for themselves and this should
      start by taking off their blinders and realized how they are being used and abused by the American oligarchy who drive their system of gov-
      orment and have sold them out to the lowest bidders and use them
      as pawns in their wars to promote & maintain their establishment wealth. http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0321-20.htm

      Here is Major General Smedley Butlers on American Corporations

      “I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
       
      During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” Major General Smedley Butler

       http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles5/Moore_Butler.htm

      • Anonymous

        Oh please, were going to quote Putin. As if the Russian’s are a shinning example of how to have sensible government and economy.

        • Ellen Dibble

          They’ve been calling non-Communists, non-USSR fellow-travelers, “parasites,” most notably their own decorated poets, as long as I remember.   Communism is founded on pulling your own weight, doing so in exactly the way the Central Committee tells you, Five-Year Plan A, Five-Year Plan B.  
              So if Putin calls all of America parasites, and we are not part of the global Five-Year Plan according to his lights, maybe we should expect a Pulitzer Prize for creative thinking.
              All that aside, the quote suggests Putin is revising the Russian definition of “parasite” in a way that makes more sense.  Define your former enemy as a parasite rather than your own citizens, and you’ll last longer.  But plenty of parasites (users of resources, codependents on the environments) also contribute, and so we ever.

    • Dee

      Here is advise from economist Robert Reich “Don’t Fall for the GOP Lie”
      http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/6813-dont-fall-for-the-gop-lie

      (please note commentaries by Elizabeth Warren & others on the right site of this URL web page…)

      • Anonymous

        Well the adults are correct. However, I have to say that we are dealing with nihilist. They don’t care what Dr. Warren or Dr. Reich has to say. The tea party extremist are not interested in any kind of discourse, period. I’m thinking it’s time to move to Canada.

    • Anonymous

    • TomK in Boston

      More confirmation on the tanking economy:

      “WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. service firms, which employ nearly 90 percent of the country’s work force, experienced their weakest growth in 17 months in July. The report confirms other data that show the economy is struggling two years after the recession ended.

      The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday its index for services companies fell to 52.7, from 53.3 in June. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.”There is NO ECONOMICS-BASED REASON to cut gvt spending under these conditions. We are committing economic suicide based on ideology and ignorance.I remember how with Bush there was concern that the office of the President was becoming too powerful. Hey, no worries with Obama.

    • Fredlinskip

           While I empathize with the level of frustration towards Obama administration many of these comments reflect, I think it’s too easy to overlook the level of obstruction thwarting every bit of progress Dems have attempted to achieve.      Obama administration was handed a state of affairs unseen by this country since what– 50 years?, 70 years+? I think our systemic problems were far more serious than most realized.    Right now Reps control the House AND what I don’t quite think people quite appreciate is that GOP virtually controls the Senate. Because of the recent abuse of filibuster rule, GOP has a virtual 10 seat majority in the Senate since EVERY thing that occurs there, including even discussion of an issue requires 10 GOP members to sign on to.   And this is the environment that Obama & Dems are forced to attempt to make systemic changes to aid the country?    That’s why everything that is done is only a “half-measure” full of “compromise” to other side, which deeply sabotage these efforts.     And while I can’t prove the following, I think the underlying reason for the incredible level of lack of cooperation for the sake of their country from GOP, is this:Had Obama administration been able to turn all the terribly bad trends around that were initiated by W and GOP, it would have made GOP look so bad, no one would have voted for a Rep for 20 years.    GOP would rather let country go down in flames than to have their irresponsible policies proven so obviously wrong

      • Fredlinskip

        (Slight correction- with the 2 independent Senators that usually vote Dem, GOP only has an 8 seat virtual majority in Senate)

      • TomK in Boston

        There’s a lot to what you say, but the Presidency is such a powerful office that I’m not inclined to accept excuses. IMO a strong president can find a way. When W was President the Dems were howling about all the powers he was accumulating to his office. There was concern that the office was becoming too strong, W just did whatever he wanted. He would say that he had to preserve the power of the Presidency.

        Heard anyone moaning about how Obama is abusing his powers, bullying, etc? …. Didn’t think so.

        • Drewjkelly

            “W just did whatever he wanted”, I think is unfortunately largely true.  
             Large reason for this was the tremendous political capital gained from 9/11, which W not only abused to push through enormous amount of GOP policies to extreme, but used event to push his constitutional authority to the limit (and in many ways exceed it).
           
              His administration went as far as to threaten end of filibuster rule through “nuclear option”.
           
              Another thing W had going was a robust booming economy, which afforded him many more options.
           
              I only wish to point out that the situation is profoundly different for Obama.
           
                All that said, I wish Obama had used “bully pulpit” more effectively, etc., but… please don’t discount the incredible odds & myriad of challenges on inauguration day he faced that W did not.
           
             I  mostly wish his administration could get a handle somehow on on overcoming ABUSE of filibuster rule, because at present Democratic majority Senate means almost nothing.

          • TomK in Boston

            OK, maybe we don’t want Obama to abuse the office, but IMO the fact that the extremists have no respect for him whatsoever – to the contrary, they are gloating that they won – indicates that he is weak and NOT using the Presidency effectively. Ryan said he “couldn’t believe” that they got more cuts than the hike in the ceiling. Cantor today said that BHO is “in over his head” on the economy and told him “don’t call my bluff, but he was the one who was bluffing”. They smell blood. Obama is diminishing the Presidency. He made demand after demand in the negotiations and backed off each one. The voters will not support a loser. He is going down in flames. 

            We have a situation where the ToP is proposing to screw the middle class and the President is unable to hurt them with it. Unbelievable.  LBJ would have them begging for mercy by now.

            • Fredlinskip

                 The extremists had no respect for him from 1st day in office.    He’s not a superhero- Obama had enough on his plate without taking on the corporate elite and the wealthy.     The media in general are in no small part implicated in country’s general demise. Why? Without an informed electorate there is no democracy. Media in general is not likely to take on our current plutocracy, because that’s “biting hand that feeds”. The media kept W propped up for most of his 2 terms. Keep on hearing about “liberal media”, while as far as I can tell we have the most right wing media I’ve seen in my lifetime. Your using Cantor as a credible source(?) to support your arguments is an example of this shift.     Perhaps the internet is some to blame because now people can source only the information that reinforces their current opinion instead of making any attempt at seeing “big picture”. I think the whole “information Age” thing is somewhat of a copout- as if all we have to do is pass info around and not produce anything?But I digress.   I hope you’re wrong about him going down next election. I think he’s still America’s best “hope” at present of making a comeback. But it’s not going to be an easy climb out of the hole we are in no matter who’s “leader of free world”. A GOP candidate would more than likely put us deeper in that hole- IMO     But your point is well taken- it should be obvious to any one who cares about the truth- that government “for and by” the “greed is good crowd” is the exact same approach that brought on the Depression.      Somehow that message is not getting out.

            • TomK in Boston

              I’m not using Cantor for anything except to show that, by his own words, he knows that he came out on top and doesn’t think going up against the POTUS is a big deal.

              You’re right that they didn’t respect him personally from day 1, but respect for the power of the office is something else. Now they disrespect him personally AND they know they can attack him safely.

              I kinda feel sorry for him. At one point in the negotiations he said “I’m the POTUS, my words carry weight”. If you have to SAY it, you have a problem. BHO is like a green LT whose troops won’t do anything he says, and he goes around screaming “I’m the LT, you have to obey!” The levers of power are in his hands but he doesn’t know how to use them.

              Sure, the media are a problem. “Liberal media” is a joke – I call them the “corporate media”. They’re owned by big corps who increasingly meddle in the news, so what do you expect? “60 minutes” once did great investigations, now they’re big on celebrity interviews. Nevertheless, I don’t accept the media as an excuse. It’s the most powerful office in the world, most presidents find a way to assert themselves.

            • Fredlinskip

              Perhaps most of what you say is true. It seemed Obama wanted to fashion his Presidency after Lincoln- to act as a great “mediator” between sides to get things done. I don’t think this was best approach as GOP recognized this, saw this as  weakness and used it against him. Obama’s mistake, perhaps, was to imagine that GOP, behind all their bluster, truly had America’s best interests at heart. If they did, meaningful compromise would have been possible.    “McConnell said other night, “he has great respect and admiration for Obama”, but then again McConnell never says or does anything without ulterior motive.    I think Obama has asserted himself on many occasions, but it often seems to fall on “deaf ears”. If that has more to do with his “style”, or on what media chooses to emphasize after he speaks, or reactions of the right to his speeches is hard to say.    Perhaps I don’t want to face up to the truth of what you say,  but as explained earlier, because I think he faced such an uphill struggle from day one, I choose to continue to give him benefit of the doubt. And believe had McCain been elected, state of affairs would be much worse.

            • Anonymous

              Ironic that you mention Lincoln. Lincoln played hard ball as president.
              After all we had a civil war. The division we now have in this nation is on the lines of how it was in the 1830′s and 40′s which lead to the civil war. It’s also on par with the 20′s which was followed by the Great Depression.  President Obama has failed, he’s a lame duck unless the economy turns around. The chances of that are pretty low and given what just happened in Washington the republicans have pretty much sealed his fate for 2012. I’m thinking they will take all three branches of our government in 2012. People who are progressive and can afford to will hunker down or just leave the country. I know I would if I could afford it.  I just can’t take it anymore. I’m to tired and I’m just sick of having to deal with people who do not know history, or anything about the basics of civics. I seems to me that do not they care.

              It’s all about ideology and nothing else.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            F wrote: “Another thing W had going was a robust booming economy, which afforded him many more options.” It wasn’t THAT robust. I posted the unemployment rate numbers in a older forum. And don’t forget, Bush used massive debt to stimulate the economy with deficit spending. Give me a $5.5 trillion credit card and I can pump up an economy too. Compare that to the Clinton economy. On a humorous side note the Right likes to credit the Newt Congress for Clinton’s success. Yet we saw what an absolute mess the GOP made when they had COMPLETE control under Bush.  

            • Fredlinskip

                 Housing/financial/credit bubble had much to do with any period of “success” of W economy and yes the great advantage of “deficits don’t matter” economic policy.     You don’t have to convince me about W.      I think his greatest crime against humanity is that he could have leveraged 9/11 and united the world in a way that the event, although a short-term a tragedy, could have been an inflection point in World history that changed trajectory for the good of all. Instead he chose exact opposite path- it was as if as Richard Clarke once mentioned, “Bin Laden had been whispering in his ear”.

      • Anonymous

        I agree with you however FDR faced the same kind of obstruction and he prevailed. Different times that is for sure, but he was a better communicator and spoke directly to the people and won them over.
        Which is not something Obama has been very good at. Case in point: the health care bill now called Obamacare. Where was he during all of that? He AWOL as far as I can tell.

        With this latest deal President Obama has basically made himself a lame duck.

        Robert Reich has written on this very subject and I urge people to read his article.

        http://robertreich.org/post/8396689309   

        • Fredlinskip

             Appreciate Reich article. Very much wish we could get him on ON POINT for a whole show and other shows more often. He seems to be one of the few out there that are capable of making a clear case for sane policies and back his positions with clear historical example.    Concerning health care debacle, I believe Obama had other things preoccupying him such as strategy for the wars, regulation to prevent further financial collapse, what to do with Guantanamo, whether to “bail” out auto industry, and on and on. BUT I agree he should have been more involved with health care debate, because that’s where he lost most of the “political capital” gained from ‘08 election.     Whether he is a lame duck and what happens in the economy has a lot to do with how in the “information age”, whether we have an informed public or not. If Robert Reichs of world are drowned out by Cantor and Bachman and Rush and Fox, then you’re right future is dismal.    If it’s true as you say Obama is essentially “done” until election, perhaps he’ll have time to use “bully pulpit” more successfully. In the midst of a declining economy that will be a REAL uphill battle, but I’m not counting him out yet. 

      • Ggerg

        The filibuster has been around for a while and there is no basis to claim Republicans are abusing it. The abuse came from Democrats during Republican majorities. Look up William Pryor Jr, Charles W Pickering, Priscilla R Owen and Miguel Estrada. Filibustering Federal judges is unconstitutional. That’s abuse.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ Ultrax2

          Another baseless claim G?

          http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/02/12/84487/senate-republicans-filibuster.html

          and the 2010 number was only to February.

          • Ggerg

            How many judges? I think “abuse” was the charge. The rest are doing the Lord’s work.

            • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

              Pathetic deflection G. But, I BET you think the GOP was doing the “Lord’s work” in abusing the filibuster even if you also don’t believe it really happened.

              There’s a prevalent faith-based core to your thinking… that even if right wing ideas have proved to be a disaster, that the ideas aren’t at fault… the world is to blame. Therefore the proper course is not to reflect or do any soul searching, but to find scapegoats, and redouble the madness until the world conforms.  

            • Ggerg

              Define “abuse”. My definition is Constitution based. Yours seems to be exactly what you falsely accuse me of.  Ditto Fredlinskip who first levied the charge. I can only conclude it’s about the number. At what number do filibusters, legally within the Senate rules, become “abuse”?

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          G wrote: ” Filibustering Federal judges is unconstitutional. That’s abuse.”

          Another claim we’re all supposed to accept on your word?

          From: http://mediamatters.org/research/200505180004 Falsehood #7: Filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutionalAnother argument made by those supporting the “nuclear option” is that filibustering judicial nominees is unconstitutional. In fact, the Constitution makes no mention of filibusters, but it explicitly empowers the Senate to determine its own rules. Senate rules allow for unlimited debate on any subject, including judicial nominees. Rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, which governs debate and filibusters, explicitly states that the rules apply to “any measure, motion, [or] other matter pending before the Senate,” including judicial nominations. In response to a May 12 question from Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) on the Senate floor, Frist acknowledged that the Constitution does not require an up-or-down vote for all judicial nominees: “To the question, does the Constitution say that every nominee of the President deserves an up-or-down vote, the answer is, no, the language is not there.”

          • Ggerg

            I disagree and I’m not alone. The Constitution is very specific about which duties require more than a majority. It is also very specific that anything else DOES NOT require more than a simple majority. A filibuster (yes, not mentioned) of a federal judge means a simple majority cannot fulfill it’s Constitutional duty. The Senate cannot make a rule to override the Constitution.

            • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

              Fine… cite the section in the Constitution instead of just CLAIMING it’s there.

              As for where you get your info… and we know all you cite are Right wing sources, they’ll change their tune when THEY want to block judicial nominees. I’ll find the number of Obama nominees blocked if you like.

              Seems where ever you get your information has a bad case of convenient amnesia. In fact we just have to look back to the Clinton years to see how the GOP in action: 

              During President Bill Clinton’s first and second terms of office, he nominated 24 people for 20 different federal appellate judgeships but the nominees were not processed by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee….

              During his presidency, Clinton also nominated 45 people for 42 different federal district judgeships who were never confirmed by the United States Senate. The GOP held the Senate for 6 of Clinton’s 8 years.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_judicial_appointment_controversies

              So let me guess… if the GOP does what you claim is unconstitutional, then it’s not “unconstitutional”? Sure, why not. It’s right up there with your other claims like irresponsible tax cuts don’t cost anything.

            • Ggerg

              Dude, you’ve got to stop making things up. Argue my points instead of inventing new one I never said to disagree with. Filibustering judges was unprecedented because of the unconstitutionality. Anything else with committees and such is common. I thought Jesse Helms made that clear with the William Weld hearings. You are talking about the actions of the majority as opposed to the unprecedented actions of the minority.

            • Gregg

              “As for where you get your info… and we know all you cite are Right wing sources…”

              He says after posting a “Media Matters” link.

    • Pingback: Remember Health Care? | Jared Bernstein | On the Economy

    • Ggerg

      There are reasons Keynesian policies always fail. Many view the “answer” as putting money in peoples hands without contemplating the fact that money first has to be taken from someone else. It’s dipping water out of the deep end of the pool and pouring it in to the shallow end. They’ve got the cart before the horse. Supply comes first.

      • Anonymous

        The problem is that there is no demand.  The stimulus was too small. 

        • Michael

          No more tax cuts, by cutting taxes on Corp and the top 2% to 10% the ecomony will boom to 20% growth? proof you ask? it’s voodoo creationism economics so no proof need you just have to believe it will. If it doesn’t were just blame minorities, the poor and Socialism and ask for more taxes cuts. Sooner or later it work.

          • Fredlinskip

            Reagan often said that that economics was at least 50% psychology.     Keep believin’ man. We can all go down a-prayin’    (Dang them minorities and socialists anyhow)

        • Ggerg

          How much demand for hula hoops was there in 1950? How much demand for smart phones was there 10 years ago?

          Supply comes first. 

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ Ultrax2

            Can’t resist that simplistic one-variable logic, can you G? Yes you can certainly find examples of where a good product ideas were in demand as soon as they hit the market. Some of those examples are pure accidents, but most are because the inventor STUDIED the market first. And there are examples like the Iridium satellite phone system which cost some $5 BILLION to deploy… and it soon went bankrupt and was liquidated for about $25 million. Supply didn’t matter when there was no demand… except for the system’s liquidation.  Supply alone doesn’t guarantee anything. You can have a vast supply of bad products and there will be no demand. You can have a vast supply of a great product and it doesn’t matter if consumers have no money. In both cases the product will fail. Like with budgets being a balance of revenue and spending, successful products in the market depend on supply AND demand.   

            • Ggerg

              Of coarse it’s supply AND demand. Who would say otherwise? Supply comes first, that’s all. It’s not a chicken or egg thing, it’s a horse and cart thing… as I said.

            • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

              G wrote, unaware he’s again been caught in a contradiction, “Of coarse it’s supply AND demand. Who would say otherwise?” Gee, let me think, hmmmm… could it be YOU? 

              G wrote at 9:15: “Supply comes first.”

              G wrote at 10:46: “Supply comes first.”   G wrote 1:02: “Supply comes first, that’s all.” Yet you also finally admitted in your FOURTH post what I wrote in my first… that inventors tend to study the market for EXISTING DEMAND. The only time YOU can prove your REPEATED above “supply comes first” claim is where NO ONE thought there was demand, and a product come out of nowhere and creates NEW demand. And of course you’re IGNORING all those times when there IS supply, and no demand. All you’re doing now is a tap dance as you back away from your original claim without admitting it was pure nonsense.

            • Ggerg

              So if I say “Supply comes first” then that means I think Demand is insignificant? Is that like if I say “don’t raise taxes” then it means I want big time tax cuts? You just don’t get it or are purposely twisting my words. You always have.

              Here’s my point: The Keynesian model of putting money in peoples pockets and inventing busy work jobs funded by confiscating money from taxpayers is destructive. It’s failed over and over.

              I assume you believe demand comes first but it doesn’t and the government only messes things up by trying to interfere.

            • Ggerg

              Or like if say “cut spending” then that means do not address revenue?

          • Ggerg

            Further, when government tries to supply a demand that doesn’t exist, with money that isn’t theirs, it doesn’t work.

            Case in point.

            Someone in the private sector, motivated by fabulous riches is more likely to study the market, be more efficient and make wiser decisions. One must study the market very thoroughly to become a millionaire by inventing the hula hoop, bottled water or the pet rock.

            • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

              G wrote: “Further, when government tries to supply a demand that doesn’t exist, with money that isn’t theirs, it doesn’t work.”
               
              What the heck are you even talking about. If you’re going to repeatedly claim here “supply comes first” then it doesn’t matter what the source of that supply is… and I’m assuming there was some federal investment in the Volt. By YOUR logic the demand will follow.

              And what are we talking about? Here we have two new products, the Leaf and Volt… “Nissan sold 931 all-electric battery-powered Leafs in July, bringing the total number of electric cars the company has sold to 4,806. General Motors only sold 125 Volts after shutting down its Detroit-based plant to retool it, bringing its total vehicles shipped to 2,870.”

              From THAT you’re drawing some generalized conclusion that government subsidies to introduce new technologies are all failures? ROTF

            • Gregg

              How did the unbailed out Ford do in July? Is 931 the measuring stick?

              http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ford-motor-cos-july-sales-up-9-percent-ford-brand-utilities-stronger-lincoln-lead-the-way-126586458.html

              What’s your point? Who is ROTF?

            • TomK in Boston

              You’ve got the 1980 scripts down pat, but unfortunately the results are in from 30 years of voodoo, and it doesn’t work for most people. It works great at transferring wealth from the middle to the top. If you’re rich, it makes sense for you to defend it. If not, you’ve been conned.

              The current stock mkt drop is because, unlike the DC fantasy pols, investors know that cutting gvt spending with the economy at “stall speed” (Bill Gross, PIMCO) is suicide.

              Conservative David Frum can see the obvious, why can’t you? Actually, the Bush’ites look very reasonable compared to the current TOP.

              http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-01/opinion/frum.debt.republicans_1_government-spending-unemployment-insurance-tax-increases?_s=PM:OPINION

              “Give me a hammer and a church-house door, and I’d post these theses for modern Republicans:1) Unemployment is a more urgent problem than debt.The U.S. can borrow money for 10 years at less than 3%. It can borrow money for two years at less than one-half a percent. Yes, the burden of debt is worrying. Yet lenders seem undaunted by those worries.Meanwhile, more than 14 million Americans are out of work, more than 6 million for longer than six months. The United States has not seen so many people out of work for so long since the 1930s.2) The deficit is a symptom of America’s economic problems, not a cause.When the economy slumps, government revenues decline and government spending surges.Federal revenues have collapsed since 2007, down from more than 18% of national income to a little more than 14%. To put that in perspective: That’s the equivalent of losing enough revenue to support the entire defense budget.Federal spending has jumped to pay for unemployment insurance, food stamps and Medicaid benefits.Fix the economy first, and the deficit will improve on its own.Cut the deficit first, and the economy will get even sicker.3) The time to cut is after the economy recovers.”

        • TomK in Boston

          That’s right, and more fundamentally, there is no demand because all the $ are flowing to the top 1% as a result of voodoo econ. Even extreme righty Henry Ford knew that he had to pay his workers enough to buy his cars – that is the essential element that is missing today.

          There is no support for voodoo econ but talking points and ideology. We adopted it in 1980 and have been plunging deeper into the woods ever since, and all that has happened is that the middle class has slipped. Every indicator of the health of the middle class heads south around 1980. Wages flatline and then start to slip. Household debt starts to climb…

          By TOP standards Reagan was a liberal and he had the common sense to raise taxes when faced by a big deficit, but the voodoo process he put in motion has done more harm to the USA than Bin Laden.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        More of your Orwellian logic? The Supply Side economics you support in practice is STILL redistribution only it STEALING MONEY FROM FUTURE TAXPAYERS TO GIVE TAX BREAKS TODAY! And how is for “supply side” tax cut deficit spending different from traditional Keynesian deficit spending? The Right has this perverse idea that deficits from borrowing don’t matter, but they can frame it any way you want, IT’S STILL BORROWING. You so love the Bush economy of 06 and 07 yet Bush was running a $500 billion a year deficit STIMULUS program during those years. It’s almost a distinction without a difference. Last if supply… by which you mean tax cuts based on borrowing, is some single critical variable necessary for economic growth it MUST come first, where’s the CONSISTENT evidence it’s so crucial? There was a massive recession after Reagan passed the ERTA tax cuts in 81 and the recovery started the month after a massive tax hike in 82… and wasn’t stopped by another massive tax hike in 83. The Clinton era didn’t suffer from a large tax hike in 93 in fact did quite well. And the massive Bush tax cuts years didn’t inoculate the economy against a disaster but gave us $5.5 trillion in new debt. Give it up G. There are other variables at play than just tax cuts and when you ignore them you embarrass yourself with more foolish claims.
         
         

      • TomK in Boston

        Funny you say that when the American middle class has been sinking since voodoo economics took over in 1980 and was the wonder of the world in the high tax, high regulation 50s and 60s. 

      • Shillhunter

        Greg, do you have ANY original thoughts? All I see you post is an endless regurgitation of right wing talking points. If we wanted such mindless recessitations we’d be listen to Limbaugh. But instead we’re here listening to NPR. So the real question is what are YOU doing here day after day… pretending to post “the truth”! Are you getting paid for each post? I hear the Orwellian Right does pay its shills wells. Inquiring minds want to know!! 

    • Arinia

      i agree with post below..”GOP would rather let country go down in flames than to have their irresponsible policies proven so obviously wrong”…
      the rich don’t need to worry about paying their taxes…stupid freaks! 

    • Fredlinskip

           Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what world would be like had Clinton not “have sex with that woman” Monica or if Nader hadn’t run (or election not stolen). W would never have been elected- No war with Iraq (probably would have focused on Afghanistan and gotten Bin Laden early)- No tax breaks for gazillionaires- Global climate change would be a major world-wide initiative, 9/11 may have prompted America to make priority 1 breaking our oil addiction, etc., etc. Gorr probably would have likely been champion against corporate abuse and prevented a lot of it.It seems like a real bad sci-fi movie we’re all living in.Ah well….. Back to reality.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        There are thousands of variables that go into a successful campaign. Looking at just one blinds us to that. We can just as well wonder how much better Gore would have done if he let Clinton campaign for him… or if he asked for a state wide recount in Florida instead of just a few counties… or if the GOP hadn’t packed the Supreme Court with so many hacks…. or whether we had that anti-democratic abomination called the Electoral College. What’s the point of an election if a candidate REJECTED by the People can be imposed on a nation and is then free to change US and world history for the worst without the CONSENT of the governed? How can the People learn from their mistakes when they are overridden by such anti-democratic bodies in our Constitution? Same goes for the Senate and ALL aspects of our Constitution that employ state suffrage into the calculation. Just look at the amendment ratification process. The smallest 38 states that can ratify an amendment have less than 40% of the population and the smallest 12 states that can block any amendment have about 5%. This is beyond nuts… and yet no one talks about it.    
         

    • Suetomfitz

      I have just listened to the majority of the podcast of this show to see if my ears were deceiving me.  I also just reviewed the transcript of the Obama press conference on the debt ceiling settlement.  I saw no mention of President Obama blaming this crisis on the Bush tax cuts or the unfunded wars.  I am amazed that Ms Lydon did not challenge Dean Baker on his contention that this was so.  He suggest that this is all a product of the collapse of the general economy.  There seems to be a conflation of debt and deficit.  The debt is what we owe others for budget decisions already made.  The deficit is the imbalance of revenue and outlays that are projected from year to year.  Revenues are always going to be subject to the state of the economy.  However, revenues are also subject to the whims of elected officials.  The Bush tax cuts, which were passed with accounting gimickry(sunset them just prior to 10 years so you do not have to account for them in the budget) set the stage for the reversal of a budget surplus that was achieved during the Clinton years to a massive budget deficit.  Add onto that 2 wars that were not properly funded nor properly assented to by congress, and we find ourselves an economic vortex.  Willingness to take on personal debt with the unreal assumption that one’s home will only continue to accrue in value played a part as well.  Conservative and Republican dogma rules the day that tax cuts and cuts in government services are the only solution.  How many times are we going to try this “experiment” only to see it fail before we dismiss this approach as a failure.  I am dissappointed in Ms Lydon and her supporting staff for not challenging Mr Bakers contentions, and making him put his facts on the table.  If we have any chance of pulling ourselves out of this economic morass soon, we need to hold people accountable for their obfuscation of concepts and facts that are difficult to comprehend so that regular American people, and the voting public can make choices at the ballot that will lead to policies that will set the American economy back on a positive course.
      tom fitzgerald, exeter, nh

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