MrSmith1's picture

    FDR's skull will be put on a spike ...

     ... and paraded through the streets of Republican districts, where jeering tea-partiers will pelt it with rotten tomatoes and curse it for "Destroying America" ... Led by former Senator (and lifetime Congressional pension recipient), Alan Simpson, the debt commission was happy to issue a report today which featured the possibility of a: "70 percent cut in benefits and 30 percent increase in revenues."  (The 40% difference in cuts vs. income increases must be to make sure there's a little something left over for the banker's handling fees and commissions on the soon-to-be privatized Soc Sec. funds.)

    The Debt Commission also gleefully threw your grandparents under the bus and ran over them twice, then took all their cash and forced them to live in a cardboard box down by the river.

    I know a lot of Progressives talk about how much money we'd save if we cut Defense spending and ended the wars, etc, but just think how much money the government could save if the pensions of all congress people were cut by 70%.  As of 2006, there were over 400 retired congressman and women receiving iifetime pensions. If we can't have their level of Health Care, at least we should be able to make them share the pain of the cuts they are forcing on the elderly.

    Next, I suppose, they will try to raise the retirement age to 85 and we'll be treated to the spectacle of the aged and infirm hovering at ATMs and outside tattoo parlors, begging for spare change.



    Who knew we would wind up with a Democratic Administration with as may flaming ass holes in it as a republican administration.

    It must be CGI technology ...

    You sure do have a way with words, lol!

    I often see bitchin' about how the left has no skillful pundits, and yet here you are posting anonymously on a group blog when you should be a big star on  the cable teevee. You've got it down--the whole thing where it would look silly for anyone to even argue with you!

    Ha! Thanks. From your fingers to God's eyes. 

    Do you mind if I steal that phrase?

    Not at all. Steal away.  ;-)

    So this is the extremist release.  It's meant to make the commission's final release, which will liekly include more modest cuts in Social Security benefits seem reasonable by comparison.  But the real test is Obama.  He needs to say he won't sign any bill that includes cuts to Social Security benefits.

    Yeah, I know it's the OMG version so they can cut less and look statesmanlike, but I figure if they're gonna make us go through the Kabuki play, we need to do our part and over-react dramatically, if for no other reason than to reassure them that we notice what they're doing. If we just ignore such releases and expect them to do less in the final version, they may see our silence as approval of the extremist release. So... let's all get out our Kabuki costumes and play our part.

    Loud Noises

    Wonderful, wws.  Short, sweet and to the point.


    Though it grieves me to say it -- as any instance of praise gratefully accepted -- as far as I know I have not yet commented on this admirable blog of Mr.Smith's. 

    So. You must be clairvoyant, and I must rise to the occasion you cited, before the fact of it.

    Oh, the pressure....

    My goodness.  I just looked at the avatar, and didn't you have one almost identical at one point? 

    Well I'm glad we agree at any rate.  And here's to Mr. Smith (with apologies for my inattention)!

    Steve Benen's take is that the commission has just wasted time--its own and everybody else's--because politicians will never have the stomach for these cuts. But I completely agree with you that cutting Congressional pensions and other benefits should be issue numero uno for these "small government" asshats. The worlds "small" and "government" sound great together, but conservatives these days never back up their language play with actual workable ideas.

    Well not ones that would impact them or their friends personally at any rate.

    Sorry,  but Benen's a moron. Or he has the memory of a guppy. Frankly, it's not like they're planning on just taking this plan and then putting it up for a vote for Christmas.

    Think back to early 2008 when all of a sudden there appeared these plans prepared by Very Serious People about how we needed some program to relieve the banks of toxic assets, one might even call it a Toxic Asset Relief Program, or TARP, for short. Of course, throwing that kind of free money at the banks was politically impossible. No sane politician would vote for it. Until, of course, the GOP administration manufactured a crisis out of thin air. Inexplicably, for absolutely no good reason, Paulson and Bernanke let Lehman fail, and that not being enough, they let the money markets just stop operating. Again, for no reason. The global stock markets start crashing, and ... something, something must be done!! And the ever so brave law-makers do the ever so brave thing, and - instead of just telling the fed "WTF, get off your ass and back-stop the money markets - it's your fucking job!", they instead threw 700 billion dollars at the banks. After which the Fed got off its ass and guaranteed the money markets as it should have done long before.

    Why do I have to tell this story? Because everyone seems to have forgotten it. So recap: (1) float a crazy crazy plan. (2) everyone scoffs at its political impossibility. (3) manufacture a crisis. (4) ooh, it becomes not only politically possible, but politically unavoidable.

    In the fiscal commission case - (1) float a crazy gutting of SocSec. (2) everyone laughs at its zany craziness. (3) the GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, refuses to pass the budget, or some other such move. this causes the bond market to seize up at the sight of fiscal disfunction. (4) SOMETHING SERIOUS must be done to demonstrate long-term fiscal soundness. ... oh, over here, here's a plan...

    How many times do they have to do this before people catch on? Or are we all too high on prescription meds...?!

    Please, sir; may I have some more of those prescription meds?  My 5-HTP is simply not adequate to the task.... Banging my head into the nearest wall has lost its efficacy, too.   Frown

    Okay Obey, I understand your point, but how would you suggest we respond when this sort of charade begins anew? How would you change the script? Just curious because I'd like to help with the re-write.

    Have a credible liberal alternative ready. Like Delong's 10-year paygo rule, like a financial transaction tax, upping marginal rates on the rich, on offshoring, etc etc.

    If there had been a clearcut alternative on the table ANNOUNCED AS AN ALTERNATIVE by the dem leadership in the House at the time of TARP passing, then the latter probably wouldn't have happened. But everyone was caught unprepared. That's why there was a crisis in the first place. If people had been prepared for it, they never would have tried it.

    Seems to me that's what happens when you're always on defense, you get so caught up in defending, you forget to shoot and score.  Do Dems ever prepare for offense or have we become so numbed by the never-ending assaults that we have forgotten how to be proactive?


    There are many of us who are very upset with what Corporate America has done to America's middle-class.  We do not attend town cry-ins, march on the Mall or write editorials.  If the wealthiest two% of America's greedy continue  to bleed our majority dry, there will be repercusussions.  Years ago, I watched the movie, I stongly advise the upper two% to watch the movie and respond accordingly!  I hold NO mercy for the greedy bastards!  Although I am disgusted with the results of what occurred during the period I refer to -- Do not assumme that an opposite, but equal reaction cannot occur in this country.  I am locked and loaded!


    "MrSmith ... There are many of us who are very upset with what Corporate America has done to America's middle-class." 

    Chuck, What makes you assume that I'm not one of that 'us'? ... 

    "Do not assume that an opposite, but equal reaction cannot occur in this country ..."

    And the beauty part is, we can blame it all on those East Village radicals in the 1980's and their slogan; Eat the Rich.  LOLOL


    Oops. Double-posting. Sorry.

    OK. But you're in charge of getting it together.

    Isn't focusing on the deficit right now the stupidest thing we could be doing if we want to get jobs going and the economy moving? Didn't Bernake's essentially dump another $900 Billion that's going to end up invested overseas (if understand what was said on that other thread)? NOW we go all austerity ... without a damn thing invested in jobs since 2009?

    One valid response here could be unified ridicule of the very idea ... and the guy who thought this commission was a smart move in the first place. I think we need to focus on Obama - he didn't HAVE to issue an executive order creating this commission. It's like he's turning a minor non-issue into THE national debate ... by design ... pre-planned and scheduled. Hang him with this. Make him own it 100%. The pussyfooting around trying to pressure congress while he screws us time and time again from the White House is getting old. Don't know how popular that idea will be with the troops, though.

    Maybe I'm not thinking about this rationally at the moment. I'm pretty damn pissed. We knew this exact thing was coming, but actually seeing it ... and it dropping while Obama's out of the nation to make it look like he has nothing to do with it and can't be asked any questions. Uuuugh.

    "It's like he's turning a minor non-issue into THE national debate ... by design ... pre-planned and scheduled."

    - What do you mean 'like'? Of course that is exactly the point of setting up this commission. That is it's one and only purpose - providing bipartisan cover for entitlement cuts. It's just not something you do unless ... you want entitlement cuts. Or, at least, are willing to negotiate with the corporates about entitlement cuts.

    "Isn't focusing on the deficit right now the stupidest thing we could be doing if we want to get jobs going and the economy moving?"

    - Focusing on anything but jobs is pretty stupid. Some deficit reduction doesn't need to to be harmful though. Closing loopholes in tax law that allows offshoring of corporate profits, for instance, won't hurt the economy. A carbon tax would create a lot of investment as industries have to restructure. Which would be great for the economy. A Public Option would cut the long-term deficit, and improve the competitiveness of US industries (outside the health care sector, obviously) and have an immediate effect on premiums, improving disposable income. A tax on casino-banking would VASTLY improve the efficiency of the banking sector - forcing them to underwriting standards and be more serious about exploring productive investment opportunities.

    But of course no one in the beltway is talking seriously about that stuff. They are all focused on destroying the one part of the government that is fully funded for the foreseeable future: Social Security. And cutting SocSec benefits - even if the cuts are implemented with a lag, would have pretty immediate effects on consumer demand. People will save more to make up the lost future income. And less consumption means more lost jobs, which means less ability to save, etc, as the vicious downward cycle kicks in.

    We live in strange times. 

    That the whole austerity mess was pre-planned is now clear to me.  Obey had warned earlier of a manufacuted bond crisis that we would be told signaled 'the end of capitalism and our economy' if Drastic Measures weren't enacted.

    I watched some television last night (network; CBS, I think), and an ad came on featuring a coiffed, well-dressed politician on a stage with enormous flags, telling the assembled fans that he would raise your taxes, and spend trillions on programs, rack up debt for future generations, etc., all with a jovial, energetic voice.  The crowd of course, went into confused mrmurs and 'Huhs?'.

    Then it cut to a screen about fixing the national debt: NOW.  Couldn't read the letters of the sponsors (the teevee is tiny), but that sucker and others will be running day and night, until Americans are begging them to cut programs for people, NOT have a jobs program, etc.  (The NO TAXES meme was subtle, but effective.) 

    If there's one thing we know as a populace, it's how to love to being served shit on a fork and love eating it.

    There will be a move to NOT raise the debt ceiling, and NOT fund unemployment benefits.  It will be interesting and likely frighteneing to see how that goes, too.

    Benen is pretty much the furtherest thing from a moron. I find his commentary at to be concise, witty, and generally spot on. His page is the first place I go after Dagblog. His point is that they can't decimate Social Security and Medicare. The voting public might not pay too much attention to the fine print when the government tells them that they have to give a ton of money to the banks or we're all going down. But try messing with their entitlement programs and see what happens. Bush, who sold a war on a pack of lies and still got reelected, tried exact that with Social Security. The cuts that this committee is suggesting are a bridge too far. I'd be very, very surprised if they get through.  

    That is clearly not their end game. The Social Security part of the plan is absurd. Doesn't have a thing to do with the deficit. It even says so, right in the document (pg. 43). They just tacked Social Security on "for its own sake, not for deficit reduction." It's like Sarah Palin at a damn vice-presidential debate ... answering whatever question they want regardless what was asked.

    If I were a conspiracy-minded type, I'd say they need the cash from the Social Security trust fund. All the rest is window dressing. Whatever they have in mind, it will move our $2.4 trillion into a place where it is exposed to their economic disaster. Some sort of administered privatization scheme is my guess. They'll say it needs to be "managed" more efficiently so it produces enough returns that they won't have to touch benefits or some such nonsense. This is the completely fabricated "fear" part so people say OK.

    The air is thick with the desperation of the the wealthy - they are stuffing every penny they can get their hands on into mattresses instead of investing in the economy. The foreclosure house of cards seems set to collapse. Economists are saying it looks like they've sold the same notes into securities several times over - and added swaps ... and they've resorted to flat-out forgery to keep it propped up. They need trillions. They need it liquid. And they need it fast. And they need to hide it. Someone's about to take one hell of a fall. Their plan seems to be consume 25 years worth of retirement surplus in one big gulp and hope that's enough to fill the belly of the beast ... and then work out how to pay for social services later when whatever toxic crap they buy with our money "recovers". If my guess is right, that's some risk-socializing shit there.

    I sure hope you and Krugman are correct about it not going anywhere. But the Clintonites are ALL ABOUT the proposal. Triangulating like a mutharfuker.

    This proposal has already come under withering assault from the ideological wings of both parties. To those on the right, we say that over the past twelve months you have campaigned relentlessly and ruthlessly on reducing federal deficits [...] Now there is an opportunity for conservatives to support real fiscal responsibility rather than mouthing symbolic platitudes.

    To those on the left, we say that we cannot ignore our burgeoning entitlement crisis any longer. By 2030, our country is projected to spend sixty-eight cents of every federal dollar on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the debt. That is a portrait of a federal budget on autopilot, unable to invest in our children, new energy technologies, infrastructure and innovation. It is the budget of an also-ran nation, not a thriving one. And we will not be able to afford the safety net that we spent 80 years creating and perfecting.

    How delightfully centrist. Money distributed from Social Security doesn't count as "Federal Dollars". It is specifically isolated from any federal budgetary spending by law. They are full-on lying about the nature and structure of Social Security and hiding it by mixing with stuff that is unrelated. This is directly from those aligned with the people RUNNING the Obama administration right now. If we start to hear this basic argument repeated anonymously by "administration insiders" ... we're fucked.


    Hope you and Benen are right, O. But my point is just that liberals are being much too sanguine in discounting the ability of the GOP to trigger a bond-market revolt and then not 'waste the crisis' that ensues, as Rahm would say. If the Dems present a united front, yes, everything will be fine. But I think that is highly unlikely given the current kabuki in the beltway.

    Guess who are the only people in America who think this hunk of steaming crap-policy is a good idea? Seriously. Guess first. Then look.

    These are the true enemies of the middle class ... those masquerading as an amporphus yet impossible abstract ... starts with a "C". IMO, they are more dangerous than the "right" at this point. If those sons of bitches are "progressive" ... color me liberal ... or conservative ... or whatever.

    Of course what we would rally like to see are big cuts in military spending but here is the catch. There are simply fat too many companies where the major part (it not all) of their business is military and other government contracts. So big cuts there would impact the economies of more than a few states. Which is the main reason for republicans (and more than a few democrats) hawkish stands. A real Catch 22.

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