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The Right’s War on Moderation

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Posted on Apr 6, 2011
Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-SA)

Rep. Paul Ryan speaks at the 2011 CPAC conference.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Political moderates and on-the-fencers have had it easy up to now on budget issues. They could condemn “both sides,” and insist on the need for “courage” in tackling the deficit.

Thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and the Republicans’ maximalist stance in negotiations to avert a government shutdown, the days of straddling are over.

Ryan’s truly outrageous proposal, built on heaping sacrifice onto the poor, slashing scholarship aid to college students and bestowing benefits on the rich, ought to force middle-of-the-roaders to take sides. No one who is even remotely moderate can possibly support what Ryan has in mind.

And please, let’s dispense with the idea that Ryan is courageous in offering his design. There is nothing courageous about asking for givebacks from the least advantaged and least powerful in our society. It takes no guts to demand a lot from groups that have little to give, and tend to vote against your party anyway. 

And there is nothing daring about a conservative Republican delivering yet more benefits to the wealthiest people in our society, the sort who privately finance the big ad campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress.

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Ryan gives the game away by including the repeal of financial reform in his “budget” plan. What does this have to do with fiscal balance? Welcome to the Wall Street Protection Act of 2011.

Oh, yes, and this budget has nothing to do with deficit reduction. Ryan would hack away at expenditures for the poor. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates he gets about two-thirds of his $4.3 trillion in actual cuts from programs for low-income Americans. Note that this $4.3 trillion almost exactly matches the $4.2 trillion he proposes in tax cuts over a decade. Welcome to the Bah Humbug Act of 2011.

But you’d expect a progressive to feel this way. What’s striking is that Ryan is pushing moderates to stand up for a government that will have enough money to perform the functions now seen as basic in the 21st century. These notably include helping those who can’t afford health insurance to get decent medical care, a goal Ryan would have the government abandon, slowly but surely.

Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of the deficit commission and the heroes of the budget-cutting center, put out a statement saying some nice things about the idea of the Ryan budget. They called it “serious, honest, straightforward,” even though there is much about its accounting that is none of those.

But then they got to the real point, declaring themselves “concerned that it falls short of the balanced, comprehensive approach” needed for bipartisan accord because it “largely exempts defense spending from reductions and would not apply any of the savings from eliminating or reducing tax expenditures as part of tax reform to deficit reduction.”

Ryan, they argued, “relies on much larger reductions in domestic discretionary spending than does the commission proposal, while also calling for savings in some safety net programs—cuts which would place a disproportionately adverse effect on certain disadvantaged populations.”

This is much like what I said, with an added layer of diplomacy. When even deficit hawks begin choking, however politely, on a proposal whose main motivation is ideological, you know there is an opening for a coalition between moderates and progressives on behalf of sane, decent government.

The Republican approach to shutdown talks should reinforce this possibility. Democrats have nearly given away the store to avoid a crackup, yet Republican leaders, under pressure from their right wing, have continued to ask for more and more and more. My word, even President Obama has finally gotten impatient.

However the shutdown saga ends, the negotiating styles of the two sides ought to tell moderates that they can no longer pretend that the two ends of our politics are equally “extreme.” No, conservatives are the ones who’ve been radicalized. The Ryan budget is definitive evidence of this.

It is conservatives who would transform our government from a very modestly compassionate instrument into a machine dedicated to expanding existing privileges while doing as little as possible for the marginalized and the aspiring—those who, with a little help from government, might find it a bit easier to reach for better lives.

Moderation involves a balance between government and the private sector, between risk and security, between our respect for incentives and our desire for greater fairness. The war against moderation has begun. Will moderates join the battle?   

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, April 12, 2011 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

I’d say that people ought to band together and demand an end to the idiotic, wasteful wars, NewsCulture; States exist for war—it’s their bread and butter, their raison d’etre. “War is the health of the State”, as Randolph Bourne put it so memorably. States will never willingly give up war; they have to be forced to do it.

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By NewsCulture, April 12, 2011 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

But the point here is people can avoid war, we all know
that, the government of all country should join forces
to stop this world war. am i right?

NewsCulture

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driving bear's avatar

By driving bear, April 11, 2011 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

Reply to shanbaleelah, April 10 at 10:30 pm post

Are you willing to pay $60 million + per day just for the interest on Obama’s purposed FY 2011 budget deficit
that works out to $694.44 per second

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By No Name, April 11, 2011 at 1:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

George Washington re parties:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington’s_Farewell_Address#The_Dangers_of_Political_Parties

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By shanbaleelah, April 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Drivingbear
So you’re willing to spend $1000 per second to support the US Military Industrial Complex, but not anything for the needy, hey?

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By TAO Walker, April 10, 2011 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

“Nothing is more disastrous for a Person, or for a People,” the Ancients caution us in The Book of Changes, “than to lose The Tao of their Humanity.”  The toxic, corrosive, addictive, and corrupting make-believes of “money” and “power,” and everything tied to these delusions, is NOT The Tao of Humanity.

The Tao of Humanity is our given Organic Function within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  The captive members of the virtual subspecies homo domesticus have lost, en masse, The Tao of their Humanity.  They are all-but bereft today of the Living Virtue of Organic Functional Integrity vitally essential to Human Health and Wholeness.

The CONsequences for them (“individual”-ly and as variously-sized random collections of the “self”-sickened “individual”), of this massive immune system dysfunction, are already utterly catastrophic.  These CONsequences are becoming, relentlessly and rapidly, much more so for All-concerned.  So….ALL TOGETHER NOW!?!?

“We gotta get to a higher place!”

HokaHey!

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By Inherit The Wind, April 9, 2011 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

Lafayette:

They caved to blackmail.  The nation OVERWHELMINGLY is against ending abortion, is for women’s health, is for protecting the environment, etc.

There’s no way a bill advocating the positions Ryan’s budget took could EVER pass.  So, rather than accepting that this part of their agenda ain’t happening, they held the “gun” of government shutdown to our heads.  And they will do it again, just like every school yard bully.

The last time a President called their bluff, he won re-election.  But Obama doesn’t know HOW to say “this far and no more”....and the GOP knows it. Neither do the Dems in Congress.

How the F*** did 40 GOP senators paralyze every Democratic initiative for 2 years???? It just shouldn’t have been F’n possible, but they did.  Why? BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT!

And he and Reid have done it again.

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By TDoff, April 9, 2011 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment

Since everyone of our elected officials claims to be a ‘dedicated public servant’, who is ‘sacrificing a great deal to serve the country’, why don’t we base our government budgets on having elected politicians donate their services? Or, perhaps, pay them minimum wage, just to offset their travel cost to their charity work each day?
That should cut the budget down somewhat. And get rid of at least some of the hypocritically blathering idiots we have to put up with.
And if our legislatures became stocked with previously-homeless folks, we couldn’t end up any worse off, could we?

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm Link to this comment

Anar: That being the case, vouchers would be a waste of time; the providers would simply raise their prices to account for the vouchers, and we’d be back where we started.

The alternative is a Public Option that mandates HC-practitioner pricing - as done in Europe. This contains costs somewhat better than in the US, but it does not stop their ineluctable rise.

We cannot expect any Market Mechanism (that we are familiar with) to get a handle on the main problem of on hallucinatory HC inflation costs. Health Care is unlike most markets for goods and services - the Supply of HC-practitioners is constrained (due to the lapse of time necessary to educate/train them) whereas the Demand is increasing inordinately.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 9, 2011 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

DEEP ENOUGH DOODOO

ITW: Is there NO principle the Dems will stand up for?

And for what? To shut down Public Services across the nation?

Then we’d only blame BO for his intransigence rather than blaming the Replicants for theirs.

Politics in a system of governance with a Balance of Power is the art of compromise. Something had to give or there would not have been any budget passed. No budget passed and Uncle Sam stops paying his bills.

Uncle Sam stops paying his bills and all Public Services come to a grinding halt. You want to work for nothing?

The US economy rolls up to $14.12 Trillion, of which Uncle Sam generates $3.45 T. Do the numbers - that’s almost a quarter of total GDP.

Aren’t we in deep enough economic doodoo? Or shall we sink further out of some naive principle?

WHERE THE RUBBER HIT THE ROAD

Yes, there IS one principle for which the Dems will “stand up”, “sit-down” and “roll over” if you like.

Abortion clinched the deal. BO & Co fought to save Planned Parenthood funding that the Replicants wanted to kill. The latter, politically-shrewd dogmatists, realized that closing down government over abortion (as well as pre- and post-natal care) would not go down well with JQ Public on Main Street.

They caved. Let’s hope they adapt quickly to the gesture ...

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By M L, April 9, 2011 at 9:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republicans continue to use hot button or social issues (NPR, Planned Parenthood, EPA, etc) to distract and keep us from talking about real issues and problems (deficits and spending) . Threatening to defund planned parenthood is simply a republican ploy tugging at the hearstings of pro lifers.  Abortion is a symptom and not the problem. An unwanted pregnancy is the problem and planned parenthood is supported by a constitutional clause providing for the general welfare of people (women) by educating women about the alternatives for birth control preventing unwanted pregancies. The planned parenthood organization also saves lives through early screening for breast and uterine cancer. Prolife licence plates and bumper stickers should be replaced with probirthcontrol. Prolifers should support programs like Planned Parenthood that prevent unwanted pregancies. And Congress should take the time to identify the root cause of problems rather than addressing a symptom and stop the political pandering to certain groups of people.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 9, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

John M, April 8 at 5:13 am:
‘... “A voucher system would put downward pressure across the entire spectrum of care,” says Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. Without a fixed schedule of prices, who would providers lobby? Seniors?...’

If other markets are any guide, they would raise prices such that people with lower incomes couldn’t pay them, balancing the loss of their business with greater profits from other income levels.  This works in some areas of life—we don’t care if poorer old people can’t buy a car and have to take the bus, or live in dumps, as long as they’re out of sight—but we don’t like to have them dying unmedicated in the streets.  So something would have to be done about the lower end anyway.  That being the case, vouchers would be a waste of time; the providers would simply raise their prices to account for the vouchers, and we’d be back where we started.

The expense of medical care is additionally driven up by the authoritarianism of the field; it is not a normal market, and market forces have failed to constrain both rising prices and the deteriorating quality of services provided.

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Lafayette's avatar

By Lafayette, April 9, 2011 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

WE HAVE MET THE ENEMY AND HE IS US

mad: This is just more Republican versus Democrat crap.

Yes, but what did WE expect after the midterm elections. Roses and honey shared by our political crass, ... uh class, in Congress?

We got rid of Lead-head in disgust for his ineptness in 2008. Then we voted against Obama in 2010 with impatient disgust that the Magician hadn’t fixed “AbraCadbra” in 16 months the worst recession since the 1930s (that lasted 9 years).

It is amazing to see the hatefulness expressed in this forum. We all want to point the finger of blame at the politicos. Yup, they’re the ones! Guilty of political crassness! Off with their heads!

But who elected these twerps? How did we elect them? What journalistic reporting, before 2008, developed a clear-cut national debate regarding our priorities? Anybody see before November 2008 a clear-cut delineation of what had to be done in terms of national policy?

Nope, we just expected BO & Co to get on with it.

And now, from up above on our High Horse we disdain the political class below that we elected

C’mon ... cut the crap. An election is like a mirror image of electorate sentiment. We got what we deserved, given the Blue Funk we are in.

You wanna change it? Get involved! Instead of bitching-in-a-blog.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 9, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

driving bear—That kind of propaganda works only when either the audience is predisposed to believe the message (in which case it’s redundant) or you control all the media channels by force and can exclude different views (as in the pre-Internet hinterland of the US).  You’re wasting your time here.

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, April 9, 2011 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

Now, just watch the Repubs take credit for “saving the country” at the last possible second from a “fate worse than death” ...

Disgusting. Am I SO glad I’m not a Repub any more ...

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driving bear's avatar

By driving bear, April 9, 2011 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

Reply to BProgress, April 8 at 12:53 am post

The budget Obama put forward had a deficit of 1.65 trillion for FY 2011. Today on the cable news show the antiwar dems said we were sending 3 billion a week in Iraq and Afghanistan. So ( 3 billion a week times 52 weeks in a year = 156 billion) SO 1.65 trillion - 156 billion = 1.494 TRILLION.
So As you can see the problem id domestic spending.
If the Dems will cut the 1.494 trillion in domestic spending I am more the willing to cut the 156 for the two wars.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

Argh!!!!  Obama and the Dims rolled over for the Re-Thugs again…for another 6 billion.

Is there NO principle the Dems will stand up for?????????????????????????????

Report this

By PRGP, April 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Guess I gotta get me a pitchfork and fire up the old torch - perhaps the one lady liberty holds - and start kicking some right-wing, fascist ass.  Ryan looks like a good place to begin with his smug smirk and clueless demeanor, he won’t know what hit him.

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By felicity, April 8, 2011 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

I can’t help remembering that by returning the top 2%
to their former tax obligation, the $700 billion
applied to Social Security would have made it solvent
for the next 75 years.

This fact was recently pointed out to an unwrapped
Republican who replied that rich people always spend
their money wisely so letting them keep a lot of it was
good for the whole country.  (Was he referring to the
$49 million one of them recently paid for a Renoir?)

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By Inherit The Wind, April 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment

Ryan, in this picture, would look perfect in an SS officer’s uniform.  After all fascism is his goal.

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, April 8, 2011 at 7:29 am Link to this comment

@miller

This budget fight is not really about numbers and dollars and deficits. It is about ideology. It is about imposing a new social order. I, for one, do not like how that new social order looks.

Nor do I, Miller; well said!

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By miller, April 8, 2011 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

As I understand the current Republican budget proposal, social services,as group, will suffer. Taxes will be cut, and the wealthy will become more wealthy.  The Congressional budget office maintains that Ryan’s proposed budget will actually increase deficits.  This budget fight is not really about numbers and dollars and deficits. It is about ideology. It is about imposing a new social order. I, for one, do not like how that new social order looks.

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By BProgress, April 8, 2011 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

Or we can just do away with for-profit health insurance all together, which is what
DOCTORS want. I’m sure some Koch Bro funded think tanks no better than they do
tho…

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John M's avatar

By John M, April 8, 2011 at 1:13 am Link to this comment

Social Security’s looming deficit can be handled, for
the time being, by adjusting benefits a tad downward.
Medicaid’s runaway spending can be restrained by
giving state governors more flexibility in
administering the program. These are modest
solutions. Medicare is different. It needs a big
solution.

And there’s only one thing that would preserve the
best of the American medical system while keeping
Medicare’s skyrocketing costs from bankrupting the
country. It’s called “premium support” or “defined
contribution.” Those are clunky euphemisms for what’s
really involved: vouchers that would let seniors pick
their own health insurance, just as they already
choose their provider of prescription drugs.

This isn’t a new idea. President Clinton’s National
Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare
proposed a version of it in 1999. House Republicans
endorsed premium support in the little-noticed budget
they drafted in 2009. The so-called Debt Reduction
Task Force headed by former Republican senator Pete
Domenici and Democratic economist Alice Rivlin
supported defined contribution last year.

Medicare is growing at about 7 percent annually.
Medicaid’s cost is rising slightly faster, but its
growth is easier to control. Social Security’s cost
increases at roughly 5.8 percent yearly. Those
numbers, while alarming, scarcely suggest what’s just
beginning: an explosion in Medicare’s growth. Social
Security and Medicaid will have gently rising growth
paths over the next 60 years. Medicare’s will soar.
If unchecked, it will produce a debt crisis all by
itself.

What has worked is competition. The Medicare
prescription drug benefit program, enacted in 2003,
has cost 40 percent less than projected. This is due
to competition among providers for the business of
millions of seniors. The fear that few providers
would join the program was unfounded. Dozens have.

Medicare’s current fee-for-service approach is a
magnet for lobbyists. It sets the price for
everything from medical devices to health care
facilities. When providers face a reduced payment,
they lobby furiously to undo it and often succeed. “A
voucher system would put downward pressure across the
entire spectrum of care,” says Michael Cannon of the
Cato Institute. Without a fixed schedule of prices,
who would providers lobby? Seniors? Not likely

Medicare recipients don’t have a strong moral claim
to benefits as established in fee-for-service. Andrew
Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute has
calculated that the average 65-year-old retiree in
2009 had paid $64,971 in Medicare payroll taxes.
Minus premiums, the retiree will get $173,886 in
lifetime benefits. You can figure out the size of the
windfall.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/it-s-voucher-
time_555524.html

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, April 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

As I see it, this country has more than enough money for Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs, as long as it ends the stupid, silly wars and preparation for more of the same; as long as it ends the warmongers’ pursuit of empire.

If the choice is guns for the State or butter for the people, I say to hell with the guns; pass the butter!

Report this

By BProgress, April 7, 2011 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

driving bear, Eric M., George F. Haley,

First of all, what are you right-wing hacks even doing on this site? I believe I
can hear the Blaze calling you home for dinner…

Secondly, do none of you collect a paycheck? You do realize that giant chunk of
your check that says S.S./Fica is what funds the “entitlement” programs that
you are so deluded into believing are ruining this country?

Furthermore, medicare is the best healthcare system we have in this country, its
the excessive rates charged by drug and insurance companies coupled with
uninsured people who don’t have the means to pay for their medical bills that
are contributing to the escalating healthcare costs in this country, but of course
Faux News ignores that FACT, so I’m sure you were unaware…

This country is broke? We need to lower taxes to create jobs? Bah bah black
sheep, you’ve been brainwashed with the lies of our elite masters. Taxes are
currently lower than they have been in over 50 years. The problem is revenue,
not spending. The corporations and upper 1% of this country pay somewhere
between 6 and 15% of their income on taxes, if they pay any at all, aka not their
fair share, and yet
they use our infrastructure to create their wealth. How do you not know this?
Clearly you’re not well informed.

Please see the consequences of the austerity measures that you are currently
advocating as the UK enacted them about a year ago and their economy, which
used to be healthy, despite the recession, is currently tanking….

Obama increased the deficit by $4 trillion? Umm, FALSE. He put Bush’s wars on
the books, and bailed out the banks that Clinton and Bush 2 deregulated to the
point that they could be soooo reckless they could collapse the ENTIRE
WORLD’s ECONOMY. You all must be joking. You’re so misinformed its
appalling.

As for your whole “welfare nanny state” bullshit argument, apparently you
haven’t seen the bill for 2 going on 3 wars, plus the well over $600 billion
annual defense budget, not to mention the subsidies for Big Oil, Big Pharma,
and Big Agri…

Please educate yourselves to where the US governments money goes, learn to
do some math, figure out who pays their fair share of taxes (the poor and
middle classes) and who doesn’t (the rich and corporations), and then start
fighting for the team you’re actually on.

Good Day.

Report this

By BProgress, April 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

driving bear, Eric M., George F. Haley,

First of all, what are you right-wing hacks even doing on this site? I believe I
can hear the Blaze calling you home for dinner…

Secondly, do none of you collect a paycheck? You do realize that giant chunk of
your check that says S.S./Fica is what funds the “entitlement” programs that
you are so deluded into believing are ruining this country?

Furthermore, medicare is the best healthcare system we have in this country, its
the excessive rates charged by drug and insurance companies coupled with
uninsured people who don’t have the means to pay for their medical bills that
are contributing to the escalating healthcare costs in this country, but of course
Faux News ignores that FACT, so I’m sure you were unaware…

This country is broke? We need to lower taxes to create jobs? Bah bah black
sheep, you’ve been brainwashed with the lies of our elite masters. Taxes are
currently lower than they have been in over 50 years. The problem is revenue,
not spending. The corporations and upper 1% of this country pay somewhere
between 6 and 15% of their income on taxes, if they pay any at all, aka not their fair share, and yet
they use our infrastructure to create their wealth. How do you not know this?
Clearly you’re not well informed.

Please see the consequences of the austerity measures that you are currently advocating as the UK enacted them about a year ago and their economy, which used to be healthy, despite the recession, is currently tanking….

Obama increased the deficit by $4 trillion? Umm, FALSE. He put Bush’s wars on
the books, and bailed out the banks that Clinton and Bush 2 deregulated to the
point that they could be soooo reckless they could collapse the ENTIRE
WORLD’s ECONOMY. You all must be joking. You’re so misinformed its appalling.

As for your whole “welfare nanny state” bullshit argument, apparently you
haven’t seen the bill for 2 going on 3 wars, plus the well over $600 billion
annual defense budget, not to mention the subsidies for Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Agri…

Please educate yourselves to where the US governments money goes, learn to
do some math, figure out who pays their fair share of taxes (the poor and
middle classes) and who doesn’t (the rich and corporations), and then start
fighting for the team you’re actually on.

Good Day.

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

Eric M, April 7 at 4:09 pm:
’... Than we have the crazies claiming that cutting spending will cause a civil war…’

That’s sort of what happened last time around.  The whole Welfare State or Social Democracy thing came out of the bourgeois experience from when industrialism really got going, in the early 19th century, until World War 1 and immediately thereafter.  The losers at the capitalist game don’t like to lose, so they get together and create unpleasant forms of politics like fascism and socialism and militant unionism.  (Unpleasant from the point of view of capitalists, that is; some people like them.)  These days, you can add fanatical Islamism to the mix.

(The Welfare payoffs are what capitalists usually refer to as ‘government spending’, whereas imperialism, foreign wars, a domestic police state, prisons, bailouts for the rich, and so on, are not ‘government spending’ for some reason, and can’t be cut.)

The outcome of not paying off the losers and sort of keeping them in the game turned out to be really, really bad.  Wars, revolutions, brutal labor conflicts, concentration camps, exterminations, bad stuff all around.  So the Welfare State was invented.  You can abandon it if you like, but I’d suggest reading a little history first.  You might get a different result this time—but you might not, too.

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By Jeffrey C. Goldfarb, April 7, 2011 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

The battle field is now aligned. Ryan has made this straightforward. A much tougher Democratic position will now become apparent. Wisconsin is the preview and I believe the balance of mobilized power is shifting from the Tea Party to a revival of the old democratic coalition, with the added dimension of principled diversity, championed by President Obama, empowered by new demographic realities.

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George F. Haley's avatar

By George F. Haley, April 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

“Eric M, you’re either very young and foolish or very cruel and well off,”

Or reasonably engaged with reality, whichever.

“...what exactly do you think the government would do with the money it saved by cutting “entitlements?””

Pay down the debt and then cut taxes? Restore faith in the currency and get out of the way of the productive elements of the economy? I know,I know, I’m like Billy Pilgrim watching his war movie backwards…“you may say I’m a dreamer.”

“Do you think they’re going to give it back to you?”

I bet relatively few of us pay the government much money anyway, either through design or youth or life’s vicissitudes.

” Seriously, what do you think is going to happen if they stop disability benefits, Social Security, Medicare, de-fund education, and unemployment?”

More people will work, get a better return on their investments, education will generally improve; at least among those who would greatly benefit from it, and, uh…more people would work? The ranks of the professionally down-on-their-luck would shrink?

” Do you think they’ve got a giant piggy bank in which they’ll drop coin after coin and save it for a rainy day? Or do you think perhaps—just perhaps—they’ll give additional tax breaks to the wealthiest?”

It’s not like anyone but the wealthiest really pay any tax anymore, anyway, at least not income tax.

” And do you think our current crop of so-called leaders are intelligent and responsible enough to to be trusted with all that money we’ll save by letting our children go hungry and our seniors go without heat? “

Maybe if we stopped giving our money to people like that, we’d have more to spend on, you know, food for our children and to save for our retirement. Maybe if we stopped letting people like that stick their nose into otherwise private transactions, things wouldn’t be such a mess.

You know, think about it.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, April 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

What about all the wars?

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driving bear's avatar

By driving bear, April 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm Link to this comment

Big B

get this through your thick skull. The problem with the federal budget is entitlement programs like medicare and medicaid even the dems admit that.

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, April 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Y’know, I hope something Eisenhower once said back in the ‘50s is still true—but you never can be sure of it in these days of imperial decline:

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history.”

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By SarcastiCanuck, April 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GOP = Government Of the Priviledged

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By madisolation, April 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Eric M, you’re either very young and foolish or very cruel and well off, but when you write:
“We need to stop the outrageous spending of the Federal Government which has taken on roles that the Constitution did not give them, which has created an entitlement system that will bankrupt our nation.”
...what exactly do you think the government would do with the money it saved by cutting “entitlements?” Do you think they’re going to give it back to you? Seriously, what do you think is going to happen if they stop disability benefits, Social Security, Medicare, de-fund education, and unemployment? Do you think they’ve got a giant piggy bank in which they’ll drop coin after coin and save it for a rainy day? Or do you think perhaps—just perhaps—they’ll give additional tax breaks to the wealthiest? And do you think our current crop of so-called leaders are intelligent and responsible enough to to be trusted with all that money we’ll save by letting our children go hungry and our seniors go without heat?

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By TDoff, April 7, 2011 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

One thing is becoming certain, a totally ‘green’ energy policy is not possible at this time. As the extreme right-wing political-hack ‘conservatives’ continue their arrogant economic assault upon the 99% of the population that makes up the ‘un-elite un-rich’, they are going to insist that we remain somewhat dependent upon oil, as opposed to becoming totally green, in order to protect their masters.
For those masters fear that their day of reckoning will come, as it should and must, and they must keep vats of boiling oil bubbling atop the towering walls that surround their castle keeps, to pour down upon the mobs of starving wretches who will one day attack, having have had enough.

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By felicity, April 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

I’ll argue, perhaps to my dying day, that what’s
going on in DC, a three-ring-circus if there ever was
one, is little more than an exercise in grabbing
power.  It’s not about ideology or fiscal
responsibility or the size of the budget cut, it’s
about who ends up, at least looking, powerful.

And then there’s the side-show (every circus has one)
of media hounds (Trump, Bachman, Palin) the ego-
centric, self-absorbed, notoriety seeking freaks who
never fail to buy a spot (thanks to the media) on the
Midway of circus politics

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By hogorina, April 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FOSSILS-EURO COMMUNISM–GLOBAL UNREST-OIL AS GOLD
question. Will Israel survive after a nuclear confrontation. This is a mute consideration, as to Zionism’s future in that this nation established in 1948 is shadowing its past historicity. Why? Only if the late political gangster, Harry S.Truman, presidential bungler, could arise from his tomb, will the doubting Thomas’s consideration be established one way or another.
Truman was surrounded by organized political gangsterism regarding religions and Rockefeller’s vast empire of global wealth.
Several Atomic Bombs on Japan increased Rockefeller interests in occidental affairs with religious and mineral assessments. More than likely, expansion a few nuclear dropped war heads will pave the way. Harry, the runt of his age, the most popular sycophant that ever lounged within the oval office!

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By Eric M, April 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We need to stop the outrageous spending of the Federal Government which has taken on roles that the Constitution did not give them, which has created an entitlement system that will bankrupt our nation.  That is Bankrupt as in flat broke, not we’re removing programs and spending because we are mean-spirited.

This was the land of the free, but too many have used the government to live off other people’s money and the politicians’ have used that to buy vote.  The old guard republicans and most of the democrats have become the plutocratic that wish to maintain power.

Than we have the crazies claiming that cutting spending will cause a civil war, wanting socialism such as foolish single payer health systems and that the entitlement programs don’t add to the debit (when we can’t maintain them beyond 10-20 years without going bankrupt), and other claims without any FACTS.  Don’t even bring it up if you can’t back it up with FACTS!  After decades of spending off a cliff, can you blame those that wish to bring our government back to Constitutionality and reasonable budgets with hostile reaction to horrible ideas that we should continue to spending like drunken sailors on speed(sorry drunken sailors) after years of being ignored.  No we are not sorry for bad ideas.

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By Anarcissie, April 7, 2011 at 11:38 am Link to this comment

It might help to improve the language use here.  The rightist Republicans who are presently holding the whip are not ‘conservatives’.  Conservatives are people who want to keep things the way they were; thus, the Democrats are the conservatives, and the Republicans are radicals—rightist radicals.

In the current situation, ‘moderate’ means ‘pusillanimous’.  The ‘war on moderation’ is the herding of the pusillanimous conservative majority by the rightist radical minority.  Since the pusillanimous conservative majority do not believe in anything much beyond getting reelected, they are easily herded; they have no ideological weapons with which to resist.  It is on their behalf that Dionne is whining.

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By madisolation, April 7, 2011 at 10:33 am Link to this comment

Paul_GA: Like Rockwell wrote, the bombing and other nasty stuff will continue and Obama will still spy on us. The big thing is federal employees will be sent home, and they’ll collect unemployment for the time it’s shut down.
People are saying the military won’t get paid. Perhaps the soldiers will get fed up enough that they’ll refuse to fight for the corporations.
A government shut down would be much better than permanently losing our social safety nets.
Dear Corrupt Politicians: Quit yapping about it and shut it down, already.

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By Paul_GA, April 7, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Lew Rockwell asks here, Exactly What Is a ‘Government Shutdown’?:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/84860.html

His definition: it’s just more Repub-Demo political theater—and I agree heartily.

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By madisolation, April 7, 2011 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

This is just more Republican versus Democrat crap. The Democrats had a chance to pass an FY 2011 budget and didn’t. Why? Because they want the same cuts the Republicans do, but they didn’t have the guts to legislate it. Look, both parties serve the same corporate masters, and the corporate masters want every last dime, every acre of land, every lake, every public institution, and the oceans surrounding us. They won’t be content until we’re stripped of everything. Why would anyone think the Democrats are not complicit? Look at the shape we’re in: we didn’t get here by Republican greed alone. And why would anyone go to bat for the phony, greedy, immoral, lying bastards we call Democrats?
Here’s what Glenn Greenwald has to say about the Democrats as the “good guys” in his column entitled “The Impotence of the Loyal Partisan Voter”:

“...they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders (at least in presidential elections; there is a good case that the Democrats got crushed in 2010 in large part because their base was so unenthusiastic).”
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

Do NOT vote for Obama in the primaries and caucuses. Let’s scrape that lying, warmongering, torturing piece of human debris off the bottom of our shoes before the general election.

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By Big B, April 7, 2011 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

driving bear

So you are against the wars then? I am also to assume that you are for the re-regulation of the american financial system and wall street? I say that because nearly every dollar added to the deficit in the last 30 years has been the direct result of financing ill advised wars and de-regulating america’s markets. And of course, lowering and eliminating corporate taxes.

Wake the fuck up! Social Security, Medicare, and all other infrastructure projects and upkeep have never and will never add to the deficit. THESE THINGS ACTUALLY ADD VALUE TO THE NATION! You know what costs the nation? maintaining a 3 million man military in over 170 countries. Not taxing corporations that use the infrastructure of the US to make money. And not having a single payer national healthcare system.

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By ardee, April 7, 2011 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Where is the public outcry from the so-called “big tent party”? It seems reasonable enough to assume that, should the Democratic Party seek to reach out to the people and explain exactly what the GOP is doing and where they seek to take us, the response would be overwhelmingly negative to the goals of those reactionaries who have usurped the Republican Party.

It is the deafening silence from democrats that makes the GOP seem at all reasonable and right. Thus, in the absence of opposition I must ,perforce, conclude that the very same goals, appeasing the corporate money givers, rules the actions of them all.

Oh, and kudos to Lafayette for a fine summation.

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By Mike789, April 7, 2011 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

Something must be done, i.e., brought to fruition, completed and delivered that represents sanity; apart from partisanship, apart from venality, apart from entrenched self interest. I’m quite sure that would be considered strange and phantasmagoric in the hallowed halls of our Capitol, now occupied by a group appointed by a tiny and influential sector of our populace whose anti-leadership agenda feeds upon itself.

I can think of no other image than the Ouroboros. They are snake shit. Everyone of us should send every elected office in D.C. a GOYA post-it-note. IOW, Get Off Your Ass! They should be whipped into something that resembles a functioning republic.

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By Lafayette, April 7, 2011 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

FUNDAMENTAL CHOICES

EJD: They could condemn “both sides,” and insist on the need for “courage” in tackling the deficit.

This “call for courage” is malarkey. Why?

Because by international standards the National Debt is affordable. The challenge is far more fundamental.

It is the design of Federal & State expenditures, that is, do we continue to subsidize the Military-Industrial-Complex and BigOil and BigInsurance (for Health Care)?

Or do we get back to basics and start subsidizing Social Programs that can reform not only Americans but their economy? These are also known as Social Expenditures, since they go to the People Bottom-line and not the Corporate Bottom-line.

By investing in people, we invest not only in their well-being but the means to achieve that common desire. For instance:
*Education will develop competencies that labor markets need and want at decent salaries.
*Health Care is going to save people from, literally, death - for which there is no well-being whatsoever.
*Modestly priced housing is going to give people a start on the road to building personal equity. Once an individual is hooked on personal equity they tend to be more diligent in their work and even more entrepreneurial - either attribute being goodness for the economy.

HOWEVER

But there are certain behavioural characteristics that no government can do much about. Our willingness to dive willy-nilly into Binge Buying enticed by cheap-money is simply human. All the government can do is increase interest rates to try to make the binging more difficult.

The SubPrime Mess was a perfect storm consisting of consumer Binge-Buying, rotten credit procedures (that were contrary to an existing law called TILA), greedy banksters who were riding a putrid wave of Toxic Financial Waste whilst lax government oversite looked on helplessly at all of all these factors.

Can it happen again? Probably not in the same way. This time was different from last time (the Stock Market Crash of 1929).

Even so, both happened on Wall Street and were therefore financial in nature. Two characteristics of the times before the ‘29 crash were attributes of the SubPrime Mess. They were exaggerated consumer spending during the Roaring Twenties and, once again, cheap-money for stock-market option purchases (that fueled buying frenzies). Not to mention that Harding had reduced taxes that had been high during the First World War, thus putting more cash into pockets - but not taxing sufficiently that inward cash-flow.

In fact, it is just such Exaggerated Exuberance - thank you, Alan Greenspan, for the most noteworthy quote of your entire time in office - that carries us away like children during the recreation period.

People who don’t learn from history (that is, their mistakes) are condemned to repeat them.

ANECDOTAL REFERENCE

The French government has just told France’s sole gas-provider (meaning real gas, not gasoline) that it will not authorize a planned 6% increase in price per cubic meter.

Can you imagine that happening in America? The US government telling any company that they cannot raise prices? No, we can’t do that because “competition always assures us the most competitive price”. (Yeah, right, you looking to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?)

Will wonders never cease ...

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By driving bear, April 7, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

No Mr. Dionne Obama is the one who is extreme. in his two years in office he and the dems in congress just added a mere $4 trillion to the national debt. Now that is what is truly extreme.

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By Ivan10, April 7, 2011 at 3:46 am Link to this comment

What is frightening to me are his proposals and the fact that he has followers in the HoR as well as TeaParty advocates.  I have never read so many posts on FB that agree with his philosophy and when questioned, these responses are angry and more than mean-spirited..

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By SteveL, April 7, 2011 at 12:48 am Link to this comment

Rep. Paul Ryan going to pass on his government health care and pension or he just another hypocritical a-hole.

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By prisnersdilema, April 6, 2011 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

I wonder what the Democrats, would do if they were facing, Republicans, on a battle field, fighting trench to trench?

Would they constantly try to negotiate a cease fire to negotiate, some concession, or an outright surrender?

Yet the far right stategy of the Republican party, is pushing this country quite literaly toward civil war, one I frankly think they want.

They don’t care what happens to the people, they only want more and more power for the plutocracy that runs them, and they are willing to have the people pay any price for it.

Where will this stategy, lead us 5, 10 years down the road? Where will it go?

There is only one place…. civil war, an ugly brutal civil war, with many millions dead…

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By Ralph Kramden, April 6, 2011 at 10:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Republicans such as Ryan are provoking, asking for a revolution. When this explosion suddenly comes about, they will be a surprised as Louis XVI. Then they will wonder as Georgie the third did (oops, Georgie II) “why do they hate us so much?” There is anger in the hinterland. The Democrats are complicit in this, they have given ship-loads of money to the criminals on Wall Street, they have given tax breaks to the corporations and the rich. Fourteen billion in profits and a 3.2 billion refund? Does that ring loud and clear? Instead of trying to play defense the Democrats should go on the attack and demand more money for social programs and less for the rich, Wall St., the Pentagon and the corporations. But no, it is now government for, by and from the corporations. That is Mussolini’s definition of facism. Now Obama is in Libya, I guess he wants to follow in the steps of Benito.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment

Ryan looks like an ugly version of the shape-shifting Terminator 2, the one who will morph into anyone and kill anyone in order to kill off John Conner so that the monster machines can rule the world.

Only T-2 wasn’t as evil as Ryan.

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