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Posts Tagged ‘Deficit’

AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 7/27/11 09:52 PM ET Updated: 7/29/11 10:19 AM ET

Neither the House nor the Senate has a clear path forward for must-pass legislation to allow the government to continue to borrow to pay its bills, putting lawmakers and financial markets alike on edge less than a week before the deadline for heading off the nation’s first-ever default.

Without a deal by Tuesday, the Obama administration has said the government will be unable to pay all its bills, and could miss checks to Social Security recipients, veterans and others who depend on public help. In addition, credit rating agencies could downgrade their assessment of the government’s finances, further unnerving financial markets and perhaps causing interest rates to rise for everyone.

Despite his image as a button-down Republican, House Speaker John Boehner walked to the brink of a dramatic and historic agreement to change the government’s spending habits.

But as he twice approached a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal with President Barack Obama that would have rocked both parties’ bases, Boehner was reeled back in by his caucus’ conservative wing. The muscular, Tea Party-fueled group not only forced him to abandon a “grand bargain” with Obama, it made him scramble Wednesday to secure the votes for a far more modest deficit-ceiling plan, which in turn is all but doomed in the Senate.

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One of the most often-overheard refrains from the Republican Party and its far-right base is that President Obama is the worst president in American history. Others say he “pals around with terrorists.” They say he’s destroying America. They say that he’s weak, that he dithers and that he’s effete — implying either that he’s gay or effeminate or both. Around half of all Republicans have told pollsters that he’s not even constitutionally eligible to be president, which ought to mandate an immediate removal from office.

But what does all of this say about the men and women who are noticeably hesitant to officially announce their candidacies for the Republican nomination? Not a single one of the well-known frontrunners has declared anything more than “exploratory committees” — quite literally the presidential campaign equivalent of dithering.

At this juncture in the 2008 cycle, most of the major Democratic and Republican candidates were underway with their official campaigns. And yet…

Michele Bachmann, a would-be frontrunner, called the president “even worse” than President Carter. She accused him of being “infantile” and suggested he wouldn’t even run for a second term because the “floor has dropped out” from his support. However, tough-talking Michele Bachmann hasn’t officially declared her candidacy to run against this allegedly unpopular weakling.

Mitt Romney said that his “worst fears” about the president have come true and that the chief executive is pushing an “extreme liberal agenda.” Romney also accused the president of being “tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced” on Libya. However, tough-talking Mitt Romney hasn’t officially declared his candidacy to run against such a timid and indecisive extremist. How would Mitt react when confronted by actual extremists? Hopefully not with the same timidity he’s exercising in his run for president.

Sarah Palin has screeched nearly every imaginable insult at the president (often while she’s utterly botching commonly-known facts about the Constitution). She accused him of “dithering” on Libya. He’s a “spectator-in-chief,” she said. She’s accused him of being a socialist. She told Sean Hannity that she “fears for our democracy” due to the president’s agenda. She’s famously accused him of being a terrorist sympathizer — this alone ought to compel her to run for president if only to rid the executive branch of an obvious terrorist. However, pit bull Sarah Palin appears to be “dithering” when it comes to her campaign to run against this alleged terrorist, socialist ditherer.

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Why you can’t trust conservative deficit warriors: Remembering the George Bush budget of 2001

Crooks and Liars- By John Amato
April 18, 2011 09:00 AM

As we are witnessing, the Beltway media are pushing the theme of that we need to cut, cut, cut, so that our national debt can be lowered. They call this “shared sacrifice” — though it’s clear that they won’t be sharing in the sacrifice. The rest of us will.

This is a common assumption that news pundits are weaving into their narratives every day. The Democrats and President Obama have also embraced this idea and shifted the goal posts to the right of center. Austerity rules, even though it’s proved to be anything but effective. If we look at what’s happening in the UK now, and remember what happened under FDR when the deficit hawks stepped in to curtail the federal government, it’s clear that this nonsensical approach to budget writing just makes economic recovery regress.

To many of us watching the wealthy thrive in this economy while the working class struggles is very frustrating. I’m starting to finally hear some pundits question the wisdom of why Republicans refuse tax increases and instead push for more tax breaks for the rich at this time when they are already wealthy. Bob Schieffer asked Paul Ryan that yesterday on FTN.

There is one thing certain, though: The Bush budgets, and especially the tax cuts that accompanied them, caused catastrophic harm to our country and to the world. Paul Ryan wants to continue the work that Bush, Cheney and Rove started. Well, here’s a flashback to what George Bush  told America in 2001.

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If you happen to be a swing voter who’s considering the Republican slate next month, you’re being tricked. That’s not to say you’re an idiot, but the Republicans are doing an excellent job masking over what they really stand for, and millions of Americans seem to be falling for it.

The Republican strategy for this midterm election is simple: Treat voters like easily manipulated hoopleheads. The GOP and its various apparatchiks are spending untold millions of dollars, much of it from anonymous donors and, perhaps, even some illegal foreign donors, in order to play out this nationwide swindle. They’re investing heavily on the wager that Americans are so kerfuffled by the slow-growth (but growth nevertheless) economy that they’re willing to buy any line of nonsense as an alternative solution.

Regarding that nonsense, just about every GOP solution and every GOP idea reveals either a hilariously obvious contradiction or an utterly transparent hypocrisy. Say nothing of unchecked awfulness like Southern Strategy race-baiting or bald-faced lies. But it doesn’t seem to matter much because they’ve buried most of it under heaping piles of inchoate outrage and fear. Just like always. It’s not unlike the 2000s all over again. They’re engaging in the same bumper sticker sloganeering and myopic agitprop, but with updated content for 2010.

If you’ve seen any of the Republican TV spots this cycle, you’re probably familiar with the focus-group-tested duet of fear: “Obamacare and Stimulus.” For example, that infamous John Raese commercial featuring two not-West-Virginian West Virginians in full “hicky” regalia discussing why they’re voting Republican. Among the reasons: “Obamacare and Stimulus.” No specific reasons why those items are evil, they’re just two scary things the hicky guys are pissed about.

And why aren’t there any specific gripes cited along with those two items? Because the actual gripes are ridiculous.

Let’s start with “Obamacare,” then hit “Stimulus” presently.

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Tuesday morning on CNBC, the spazzy white guys in lower Manhattan were debating how the administration and Congress can best repair the economy, and mainly the jobless numbers. At one point, Rick Santelli, the hyperkinetic shoutcaster and instigator of the tea party movement, began to flail around, waving his arms above his head while yelling, “Stop spending! Stop spending! Stop spending!”

And contrary to accusations from one of the other spazzy white panelists, Santelli insisted he wasn’t calling for more tax cuts. Just a freeze in government spending. Somehow.

Fine. Show us another time in American history when a spending freeze — and a spending freeze alone — jump-started an economic recovery following a deep recession and high unemployment. Show us. Where in the world is Santelli getting this?

It doesn’t really matter from which hole Santelli’s latest television meltdown was extricated. Suffice to say, there is no historical precedent for any such thing. In fact, the often-referenced spending cuts of 1937 caused the opposite effect: a backslide in the economic recovery during the Great Depression. Oh, sorry. There we go again — referencing actual “history” instead of just screeching incongruous, contradictory and unsubstantiated nonsense, which seems to be the accepted style of discourse these days.

Santelli’s rant is just another performance in a broader strategy by the Republicans and tea party movement to deliberately sabotage the economic recovery. Not unlike Santelli’s “stop spending” idea, this is a strategy which also, to the best of my knowledge, has no historical precedent. For the first time ever — and this is worth repeating — one of the two major political parties in America is sabotaging a delicate economic recovery for the sake of humiliating the president and his party, and subsequently recapturing a political majority.

More than a year ago, Rush Limbaugh both predicted this and set the table for it to occur. They want the president to fail, and now it’s clear that they’re willing to take the economic recovery down in order to make it so. Is there any doubt who leads the Republican Party?

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