A discussion of race, politics, media and the like… What I see is what you get.

Posts tagged “John Boehner

Maddow: Shameless, Craven, Unprincipled, Partisan Hackery…

These guys are the height of unprincipled…except when it comes to undercutting the President…
They have blocked policies that they themselves have initiated or co-sponsored or supported, as far back as ’08, as soon as the President says he agrees with it. Too often this sort of context is missed by the mainstream media and the Repugs continue this unpatriotic behaviour and get off scot-free. This portion of the political debate needs more light given to it and the American people need to make these hacks pay…

: Shameless, craven, unprincipled, partisan hackery.


Actually, “the Rich” Don’t “Create Jobs,” We Do

Demand creates jobs.

Not corporate tax cuts or decreased taxes on the wealthy. A 3-4% tax increase will not hurt job production, but a decrease in overall demand for products will. If the middle class, working class and the poor are unemployed and have markedly reduced paychecks and disposable income…demand for products is reduced. Ask any businessman worth his salt, that is not a partisan, and they will tell you that they hire more people if, and only if, the demand “demands” it. But the fact that some of you buy the Republican argument that tax cuts spur job creation, shows just how effective the right-wing is in propagating a meme that is not only false philosophically and economically but is also counter to common sense and counter to the formation of a strong middle class. Just because someone makes an “argument” doesn’t mean the argument is a legitimate one that needs to be weighed in a balanced discussion. Tax cuts do not create more jobs. Only increased demand will spur job creation.
And to a great extent, the Republicans have made a cottage industry of having the very people that are most hurt by “supply-side” or “trickle down” economics advocate for this position, politically.

Here is a recent typical example, Obama Touts Job-Killing Tax Plan, written by a “senior fellow at the Cato Institute and chair­man of the Institute for Global Economic Growth,”

Some people, in their pursuit of profit, benefit their fellow humans by creating new or better goods and services, and then by employing others. We call such people entrepreneurs and productive workers.

Others are parasites who suck the blood and energy away from the productive. Such people are most often found in government.

Perhaps the most vivid description of what happens to a society where the parasites become so numerous and powerful that they destroy their productive hosts is Ayn Rand’s classic novel “Atlas Shrugged.” …

Producers and Parasites

The idea that there are producers and parasites as expressed in the example above has become a core philosophy of conser­vatives. They claim that wealthy people “produce” and are rich because they “produce.” The rest of us are “parasites” who suck blood and energy from the productive rich, by taxing them. In this belief system, We, the People are basically just “the help” who are otherwise in the way, and taxing the producers to pay for our “entitlements.” We “take money” from the producers through taxes, which are “redistributed” to the parasites. They repeat the slogan, “Taxes are theft,” and take the “money we earned” by “force” (i.e. government.)

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner echoes this core philosophy of “producers” and “parasites,” saying yes­terday,

“I believe raising taxes on the very peo­ple that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to hire people is the wrong idea,” he said. “For those peo­ple to give that money to the government…means it won’t get rein­vested in our economy at a time when we’re trying to create jobs.”

“The very people” who “hire people” shouldn’t have to pay taxes because that money is then taken out of the productive economy and just given to the parasites — “the help” — meaning you and me… – Dave Johnson

via Actually, “the Rich” Don’t “Create Jobs,” We Do | Truthout.

We Can’t Win the Fight if We Can’t Tell the Story

This article speaks for itself. And makes the points I’ve been making for a while now. The Progressive counter-narrative is lacking from this administration…and SORELY needed.

Once again the extremist elements of the GOP have managed to tell the most legible and convincing stories. Republicans hammered home the idea that the national budget ought to mirror household budgets. “When the going gets rough,” the GOP says, “people have to tighten their budgets, the American government ought to do the same.” This is a compelling story. People hear this and think to themselves, “Yes, yes, I have cut my cable bill, cancelled my vacation, and started cutting coupons; the government should do the same.” This is a false equivalency.

Household budgets are not the same as national ones. In fact, this narrative obscures the reason that Americans are tightening their belts—because the failed, short-sighted fiscal policies of GOP-led governments brought our economy to the brink of disaster. By telling the story this way Republicans effectively dodge the main point that massive tax cuts redistributed wealth to the top 1 percent but failed to stoke job growth. They ignore that disinvestment in educational grants made college more expensive for Americans. They ignore that their deregulation of lending practices foreclosed on the American dream for millions. The government (under Republican direction) created a mess for American households and has an ethical obligation to address the mess it made. To ask poor, disabled and elderly citizens to sacrifice basic needs to underwrite the extravagant choices of their wealthier neighbors is profoundly un-American. In my house, when somebody makes a mess we clean it up. When somebody is sick, we care for them. When somebody needs a hand, we lend it. All of these basic realities are obscured by the good story about household budgets and fiscal responsibility. – Melissa Harris-Perry

via We Can’t Win the Fight if We Can’t Tell the Story | The Nation.

O’Donnell & Harris-Perry: Debt Ceiling Vote Held Hostage

I know we avoided a government shutdown last week and that is an old news issue… But, I ran across this clip that I was meaning to share last week and I felt it was still relevant. Listen to Harris-Perry and her critique of the Republican treatment of Macro and Micro economics. This is the type of counter narrative that I have been arguing NEEDS to be made, by Democrats, in the face of the continuous and dishonest budget and deficit framing done by the Republicans.
The bottom-line: You cannot treat the government’s wallet like your household wallet. The two are not the same and macroeconomics doesn’t work that way…

msnbc video: Debt ceiling vote held hostage?.

The President Says We Won. Harry Reid Says We Won. So Why Does My Butt Hurt?

You know, I really want to feel good about this. I watch President Obama looking his usual calm and confident self during his late night press announcement telling us that it’s all good. Really. The evil Republicans almost shut down the government! They were holding Planned Parenthood hostage! At gunpoint!

At this point you can hear the dramatically ominous-sounding chords being hammered out on the piano, the same ones that always get hammered out whenever there is a damsel in distress on the train tracks screaming her little lungs out. But then, just as the train is bearing down and Snidely Whiplash (I’m giving away my age here, I know) is laughing uproariously at the prospect of poor Nell getting cut in half, here comes Dudley Do Right to save the day!

So that’s where the applause comes in, and that’s where we all feel better because, once again, Nell has been rescued – so that she can be sacrificed again for even better ratings on the next episode.

And I’m left wondering exactly what will be the next episode in this budget battle that we supposedly won? How much ‘better’ will it get for the Democrats next time? Because somehow, when I hear both Reid and the President talking about how this is the “biggest spending cut in history” like this is something to be proud of? Seriously? Are you effin kiddin me? The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, who I think usually has a pretty good feel for these things, has some serious questions:

“The substance of this deal is bad. But the way Democrats are selling it makes it much, much worse.

The final compromise was $38.5 billion below 2010’s funding levels. That’s $78.5 billion below President Obama’s original budget proposal, which would’ve added $40 billion to 2010’s funding levels, and $6.5 billion below John Boehner’s original counteroffer, which would’ve subtracted $32 billion from 2010’s budget totals. In the end, the real negotiation was not between the Republicans and the Democrats, or even the Republicans and the White House. It was between John Boehner and the conservative wing of his party. And once that became clear, it turned out that Boehner’s original offer wasn’t even in the middle. It was slightly center-left.”

“So why were Reid and Obama so eager to celebrate Boehner’s compromise with his conservative members? The Democrats believe it’s good to look like a winner, even if you’ve lost. But they’re sacrificing more than they let on. By celebrating spending cuts, they’ve opened the door to further austerity measures at a moment when the recovery remains fragile. Claiming political victory now opens the door to further policy defeats later.”

I back the prez as often as I can because I still believe in the man, and I know his job has got to be harder than anything I can imagine, especially now. But sometimes a brotha gotta scream, and this deal makes me wanna holla “Hey! Tell the people the truth! We just got screwed!” Because then, at least the president could try using the line that he held the fort for as long as he could. But once the enemy overruns the fort and begins setting fire to our homes, it defies logic to insist how happy we all are that we all had different beliefs but look how wonderfully we have come together. Like it says on Daily Koz this morning:

“There is, however, no need to put lipstick on a pig. And that’s what touting the “biggest annual spending cut in history” as a good thing does. More lipstick from Harry Reid in giving kudos to the other side. Instead of praising the Republicans, why not come out and say the GOP screwed rank-and-file Americans? Why not say the Democrats did what they could to slow them down, but that now millions will suffer because of the cuts the party had crammed down its throat to avoid the entire government being shut down? Hell’s bells, the Democratic leadership could have even said they did it for the troops.

But no, it’s kumbaya for Republicans bent on cramming yet more of its radical agenda down the nation’s throat.”

And that, as Stephen Colbert likes to say, is the word. -Keith Owens

The President says we won. Harry Reid says we won. So why does my butt hurt? – Jack & Jill Politics.

Why Washington Doesn’t Care About Jobs

As an independent progressive, my take on Republicans is well chronicled. But hidden in my extreme distaste for Republicans is my utter lack of patience for some Democrats. Namely, Blue Dogs, DINO’s, conservative Dems or anyone else who has taken on the talking points and perspective of a Republican but somehow still wants to call themselves a Democrat.

The analogy that Chris Hayes refers to about the lack of heat in certain office buildings, I think, makes the point. Washington does not have the sense of urgency that is needed when it is the people’s interest they are supposed to be serving. The notion of servanthood is lost, in most part, it seems to me, in the milieu of money and lobbyists and self-grandizement that appears to rule the day in Washington…meanwhile, regular people need heat or the opportunity to get the heat turned back on. Washington seems insulated, figuratively and literally.

Social distance of this sort isn’t new, of course. The “out of touchness” of the Beltway is such a cliché that Beltway denizens themselves love to invoke it to demonstrate their self-awareness. But I’d wager the social distance that characterizes this moment is probably as bad as it’s been in at least a generation. We’ve had more than three decades of accelerating inequality that has placed the top 10 percent further and further away from the bottom 90 percent, followed by a financial crisis and “recovery” that has only exacerbated these distributional trends. There were already Two Americas before the Great Recession, but in the wake of that seismic disruption, those two continents have only moved further apart.

This manifests itself in our politics in two ways. For one, it just so happens that policy-makers, pundits and politicians are drawn from the classes that are in recovery, and they live in an area where new sushi restaurants are opening all the time. For even the best-intentioned and most conscientious staffers and aides this has, I think, a subconscious effect. Think of it this way: two office buildings are operating side by side in Chicago’s Loop in the middle of a brutally cold January day, when the heat in both buildings gives out. The manager of one building has an on-site office, so he finds himself plunged into cold; the other building is managed remotely, from a warm office whose heat is functioning. If you had to bet, you’d guess that the manager experiencing the cold himself would have a bit more urgency in restoring the heat. The same holds for the economy. The people running the country are not viscerally experiencing the depredations of this ghastly economic winter, and they lack what might be called the “fierce urgency of now” in getting the heat turned back on.

The other problem is that our system is responsive only to voices at the top of the social pyramid—the bankers and businessmen who are raking in record bonuses and the professional upper middle class, which is recovering much faster than the nation as a whole. In a 2007 paper titled “Inequality and Democratic Responsiveness in the United States,” Princeton political scientist Martin Gilens analyzed 2,000 survey questions from 1981 to 2002, looking for the relationship between public opinion and policy outcomes. He found that “when Americans with different income levels differ in their policy preferences, actual policy outcomes strongly reflect the preferences of the most affluent but bear little relationship to the preferences of poor or middle income Americans.”

There is only so much social distance a society can take. The social science literature shows that as social distance increases, trust declines and aberrant and predatory behavior increases. The basic mechanisms of representation erode, and the social fabric tears. “An imbalance between rich and poor,” Plutarch warned, “is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” – Chris Hayes

via Why Washington Doesn’t Care About Jobs | The Nation.

Tea Party Tailspin…

I’m not sure why more pundits don’t say this…but the electorate that voted in the 2010 midterms was completely different than the electorate that voted in the 2008 presidential elections. Its like you had two completely different sets of people voting. If everyone who voted in 2008 voted in 2010 the Republicans would have made little, if any, gains in national offices or state houses. They, the Republicans, received no mandate from the country. The President, clearly received one in 2008. The latest NBC-WSJ poll

released last week proves this…

During the right’s season of anger, passion and convictions galvanized Tea Party supporters into an army of activism. But the vehicle is outliving its fuel. The movement is losing momentum. In fact, Tea Party-backed governors like Scott Walker in Wisconsin could be providing the rallying cry on the left to pick up the mantle of anger and send the momentum back the other way.

If Tea Party leaders continue to operate as if anger is still a major part of their arsenal and Republican politicians continue to feel pressured into untenable positions, Democrats could enjoy their very own Charlie Sheen-ism come 2012: “Winning!” – Charles Blow

via Tea Party Tailspin – NYTimes.com.