A Few Thoughts on the Debt Ceiling Deal

By James Kwak

1. Obama still has his hostage—if he wants it. As far as I can tell, the Bush tax cuts are nowhere in the debt ceiling agreement, which means that at current course and speed they expire at the end of 2012. Extending the tax cuts would reduce revenue by about $3.5 trillion over the next decade. According to news reports, Obama was willing to extend the Bush tax cuts in exchange for $800-1,200 billion of additional tax revenue—in other words, he was willing to cut taxes by about $2.5 trillion relative to current law. Boehner and Cantor walked out because of some combination of (a) they couldn’t get their members to vote for that tax “increase” or (b) they think they will be able to extend all the tax cuts if they negotiate that deal separately. I wouldn’t be so sure about (b). Remember, gridlock means the tax cuts expire.

2. The next step of the deal is that a joint Congressional committee is supposed to come up with a plan to reduce deficits by $1.2-1.5 trillion over ten years. If they fail to come up with a plan, or their plan is rejected by Congress, then there will be major automatic cuts in discretionary spending, including defense. (There will also be cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates, but not in Social Security or Medicaid.) The idea on Obama’s side is that the prospect of major defense cuts will force Republicans to negotiate. But if they were willing to let the government default rather than increase taxes—even by closing tax loopholes—why do we think they will be afraid of some defense budget cuts? Traditional Republicans may have liked high defense spending, but not the new breed. Ron Paul is basically an isolationist; Grover Norquist thinks the defense budget should be reduced.

3. Obama needs the joint committee to succeed more than the Republicans do. Without it, he only gets a total of $2.1 trillion in debt ceiling increases, which may not get us through the next election—especially with the economy seeming to only get weaker. Since he is starting out with the weaker hand, I don’t see how he gets anything unless he is willing to hold the Bush tax cuts hostage. The tax cuts can’t be part of the joint committee plan because the committee has to find deficit reduction relative to the CBO baseline, and the baseline assumes that all the tax cuts expire. But presumably it could be negotiated in parallel as a separate issue. More likely, though, I expect we’ll get a joint committee deal that is all or virtually all spending cuts, and Obama will pressure enough Democrats to go along in order to remove the risk of another crisis just before the election. Then, frustrated at giving in to Republicans on every issue, the Democrats prevent the Bush tax cuts from being extended, and we have mutual assured destruction (both sides lose what they want most).

4. In any negotiation, you want to convince the other side that you are unable to compromise. Then the other side has to compromise. The Republicans have done this brilliantly with the anti-tax pledge: Boehner and Cantor can say, with complete honesty, that no bill that increases taxes in any way can get through the House, since a majority of the House has pledged to vote against it. And they will stick to that pledge, or else they will get attacked from the right in the primaries next year. The Democrats have no response. I don’t see how this is going to change.

 

64 responses to “A Few Thoughts on the Debt Ceiling Deal

  1. “Ron Paul is basically an isolationist;”. Really? So wanting peaceful relationships with everyone instead of bombing them is labeled as isolationist? Wow!

  2. This whole situation is a comedy of errors (a tragic one at that).. From the outside looking in (Canadian looking over the border to the USA) there’s nothing to the Tea Party except ‘keep what is mine mine’ and ‘you better not take what I was given (Bush tax cuts) or else’. You (Tea Party) believe you’re benefiting yourself and the country? That’s just so tragic and sad to watch. Then add in the ‘knowing’ that it will eventually have a truly material impact on my immediate world as well (the USA is our major trading partner and we aren’t as healthy up here as many would have you believe). We’re all in this together and we need to take care of each other, not just our own.

  3. “…wanting peaceful relationships with everyone instead of bombing them is labeled as isolationist.” Well, that’s one interpretation of what he’s about. Here’s a more accurate one, from the horse’s mouth:

    “[The United Nations is] a threat to us. They would confiscate our guns. They would literally repeal the Second Amendment…We’re moving in that direction, where eventually we will not have a United States of America. We will be nothing more than a pawn of the United Nations.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ArUoyuDd74

  4. Steve from Cranbury

    I doubt Obama wants to eliminate the Bush tax cuts. His myriad contributors in the financial community won’t stand for it. IMO, he’s deliberately letting the GOP beat him down so he can deliver the goodies to his deep pockets crowed, while speechifying mild indignation to pacify the rest of us.

    Of course, the real problem is jobs. We forgot job creation fell behind the growth of the work force in year 2000 or so. Offshoring is a major reason. The Fortune 500 company I retired from made a strategic decision to divest in America in the 1980s. As I’m sure most of the 500 did. There is no reason to believe Corporate America will invest enough to re-create our job base unless there is a massive grass roots upheaval to force it.

    Andrew Livernis’s (Dow Chemical CEO) book makes it abundantly clear how and why the “Divest In America” strategy works.

    Because America is a low growth, mature consumer economy, Corporate America must seek its growth and its profits in emerging markets. Unless we force a “Make It In America” policy for our consumer goods.

    The miracle of the invisible hand has set sail on Jack Welch’s “factories on barges”. For America, “The Invisible Hand” has turned into the Fickle Finger of Fate.

    I’m going to attend my Congressperson’s Town Hall later this month and tell me “no jobs, no vote”. Suggest we all consider doing the same.

  5. “Confronting, the sublime obstinacy of Tea Partiers and the Republicans who fear them, he [Obama] helped manufacture a “debt crisis” (if not quite out of thin air, then very nearly so). Then he executed his usual negotiating strategy: conceding 90% at the outset and negotiating away most of rest. It was the health care reform story all over again. The winners then were the insurance companies and health care profiteers; the winners this time were Obama’s ostensible arch-foes, the leadership of the GOP.”

    “…this is the legacy Obama is forging for himself: making the instruments of our discontent, the pillars of Wall Street’s empire of finance, even more secure.
    That is what Obama is about. And so, in the preposterous episode of political theater our political class staged in the past few weeks, he gave his all. He did negotiate badly enough that Business Schools could make a case study of his machinations, but he was more disingenuous than inept. Obama surrendered for one overwhelming reason –because he wanted to; because he is not just in the game to win, but to win for Wall Street. The time is long past due for liberals to face that reality, and to deal with it not, not as Obama and his advisors expect, by acquiescing out of fear that the alternative is even worse, but in a constructive way. If a Dump Obama cannot get going now, then when?”

    http://www.counterpunch.com/levine08022011.html

  6. It sounds like the Dems need a “no SS or Medicare cuts” pledge. Then they can use the same lame excuse that the Repubs use.

  7. If the “super cmte” doesn’t succeed, then Obama can get a second debt ceiling hike by way of the McConnell mechanism where there’s a disapproval vote in Congress.

  8. Republicans will welcome Obama and Dems holding the bush tax rates “hostage”. Just imagine how many seats Republicans will pick up in the house and senate with that strategy. This is 1980 all over again. The longer a liberal is in the white house the better conservatives look.

    James – you make sound like it continues to be ok that the government continue borrowing at the unsustainable pace.

  9. Glenn Cassidy

    The Republicans have demonstrated they’re willing to shut down the economy to get what they want. What makes you think they won’t attach a rider to the 2013 budget to make the tax cuts permanent, and then shut down the government if Obama vetoes it?

  10. Joel Parshall

    Obama needs to look forward from here and make the centerpiece of his 2012 re-election campaign a large rebuild America, infrastructure program that will generate jobs. The budget cuts to which Congress has just pledged, work against that, but fortunately most of the cuts are back loaded. Where does he get the money for this, you ask? By letting the Bush tax cuts expire and pledging that he will use those resources for that purpose. But the Bush tax cuts don’t apply just to the top 2%, they apply to everybody, you say. True. He should say, “Vote me the Congress I want, and we can adjust this to protect most Americans from a tax increase.” If he is not to carry both houses with him, he should let the tax cuts expire anyway. It is asking many Americans to sacrifice, but at least it is for something that is positive that generates jobs and holds hope for the long-term future. Instead of a Republican approach that asks no one — save military enlistees — to sacrifice, yet forces those at the bottom and in the middle to do so, this would ask sacrifices for all but would provide something valuable for it. There is significant support for a true infrastructure (stimulus) plan in the business sector, including the US Chamber of Commerce, and at least some support from Wall Street would come. If Obama makes the election about this, he can win public sanction to do it. The Republicans have nothing with which to counter except abstractions about spending and the budget, the fears and resentment of elites and immigrants that they so poisonously peddle, and the fairy tale that the private sector — and especially small business — is just waiting to unleash a flood of hiring and investment as soon as Obama is voted out. This is just one more case in the exhibit of voodoo economics. Demand has taken a long hiatus, and supply will not create that demand for years — with the human loss in the interim becoming every more tragic. It is time to slay the dragon of supply-side economics!

  11. Glenn Cassidy

    And with just 41 members the Republicans shut down the Senate at the end of 2010 until the tax cuts for the wealthy were extended. They are serial hostage takers.

  12. We’ve just seen the creative use of an “emergency”…consider…a revenue source that isn’t a tax increase….asset sales. As I remember, it was suggested in the previous Reagan administration. What oligarch wouldn’t want an (ex)national park?

  13. Ron Paul is a NON-INTERVENTIONIST. That’s totally different from isolationism.

  14. Obama’s failure to lock in a debt-limit increase when he signed on to a full Bush-era tax cut is a demonstration that timing is an overwhelming factor in negotiating budget issues. The debt-deal triggers go to work over a year before the Bush-era extensions expire. The extensions expire after the presidential election. In other words, they don’t matter diddly for current political purposes. What matters is the military spending cuts. It’s not clear that the GOP will lose politically from fighting for a bad set of budget solutions, at the risk of cuts to military spending. They can howl about how Democrats need to give in to Republican priorities (social spending cuts), because to do otherwise threatens Republican priorities (military spending). It would be more or less par for the course.

    We need always to differentiate between the issue and the politics when discussing political issues. Most members of Congress who stand up for the right to carry deadly weapons to Starbucks not only don’t tote a gun themselves, but only ever pick one up when there’s a camera around. The notion that these guys have a religious connection to running government with no revenues is silly. They have a religious connection to their own re-election and failing that, to being absorbed into the right-wing Borg. Arguments based on the notion that they are all worried about the actual status of the Bush-era tax cuts in 2012, rather than about having the opportunity to howl about those tax cuts, aren’t based on reality.

  15. Joel – you just laid out the plan of every liberal, democrat, and keynesian economic hack since FDR. All that got us is $14 Trillion in debt going to $16 trillion…..$20 Trillion……$100 Trillion……

    Why would we want to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

    Keep it up. There will be a Republican landslide like you have never seen in Nov 2012!

  16. Obama is getting what he wants. He pays lip-service to liberal Democratic positions, but can anyone name a single issue on which he hasn’t ended up at the conservative line? Reproductive rights? Maybe.

    On health care, Wall Street, military spending, holding Bush war criminals accountable, the debt ceiling, numerous budgetary issues, and on and on, Obama has come to a conservative conclusion. On the public option, we have Tom Daschle’s statements that Obama _always_ opposed the Democratic position, even when he was campaigning. On the debt ceiling, we have John Conyers’s report that Obama and the Republicans were largely on the same page.

    In various forums, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Paul Krugman, Conyers, and many others have reported, in effect, that Obama is a conservative masquerading as a Democrat. Or, more accurately, that Obama is a 21st Century Democrat (in the style of Bill Clinton) masquerading as a 20th Century one.

    Obama is either substantively conservative _or_ he is so spineless or cowardly that he will bend whichever way the wind blows.

    He is certainly neither a liberal nor a person of principle.

  17. Wake up my airplane, wake up my airplane, my votes are gone, I say my votes are gone. I iii won’t sign that that debt billlll……….

  18. Hugh, I would go with “spineless and cowardly”…. “nor a person of principle” which is a the definition of a liberal. What are you thinking?

  19. The country needs a manager and a guy who works well with both or all parties, period! Aslong as the senate remains Democrat and the House held ~60% GOP & ~ 40% Dem’s ,…Mitt Romney’s getting my vote!
    Thankyou James and Simon

  20. Hey, Bill Munny, notice how no one’s responding to you? Do you know what a troll looks like? Got a mirror handy?

  21. So, our illlustrious Congress is now on one of its many long, luxurious paid vacations until after Labor Day. I suggest that their employers (that would be us) show up at their “workplace” in force on September 6 to say “Don’t bother coming back to ‘work’. Go back home. Oh, and BTW, no unemployment benefits for YOU. No healthcare, no pension. Count yourselves lucky to get out of here, and get out while the getting is good.”

    Then we can go over to the White House and fire our employees over there.

  22. @ James, the Bush tax cuts, a major part of USA fiscal crisis. Why do republicans insist on LYING about the relationship of cutting taxes to the creation of jobs? These don’t grow jobs, never have. Cutting income taxes simply grow the net worth of high net worth individuals and families, while engendering crisis everywhere else.

    The plan always was to wreck the fiscal health of USA, so FDR’s progressive legislative achievements could be trashed, revoked, disbanded, and discarded on the ash heap of American history. It’s a cunning, and sinister approach, and its’ agents and provocateurs, people like Norquist, haven’t any clue about BLOWBACK this will cause.

    @ Billy Mummy, you’re one of these right wingers, smug in your prose, narrow in your breadth, depth, and scope and quick to lay blame on the “liberals”. But I bet a dollar you can’t cite a single achievement of right wing ideology that has benefitted working Americans, moms, or the elderly, now, can you?

  23. Hi James,
    I just discovered you blog through the Calculated Risk blog roll. The writing is good. I’ll be reading regularly.

  24. jeff simpson

    Why the top earners should pay a lower marginal tax rate than the top wage earners (35 versus 15 percent, no?) may poison the public’s tolerance of the best breaks going to the ‘job-creators.’ It seems to me that incentivizing the financial industry diverts talent away from science and technology, where innovations non-financial can actually improve quality of life, as opposed to the soul-crushing misery of paying interest, insurance, subscriptions, and fees. If we preferentially tax the ‘extractive’ portions of our economy, we can shrink them, as opposed to making them more lucrative with the erroneous notion that mergers, buyouts, asset-stripping, and speculation are just are valuable to our globalized economy as manufacturing. Raise up a nation of skilled craftsmen and everybody can enjoy of their labor. Raise up an oligarchic tribe of predators and you return to feudalism, unless the people rise up. Propaganda and private armies is often preferred to justice. The people may rise up. Are the super-rich really that much better, as F. Scott Fitzgerald opines?

  25. Re: F. Scott Fitzegerald: Unfortunate, but true: Talented drunks are often impressed by rich people, with whom they confuse themselves. Just remember, they may be talented, but they’re still drunks.

  26. Kwak’s item (1) connotes (a) one important falsehood and (b) one implication that falsifies the last sentence of his item (3). As to (a): The only “hostage” situation was the bipartisan lie that the debt-ceiling and deficit were inseparable issues; yielding an entirely contrived “crisis,” designed to stampede all concerned to the slaughterhouse of the welfare state. The bipartisan “compromise” achieved shoots the real hostage, or, rather, victim (the well-being of the Many, already targeted by Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission). As to (b): Obama already approved extending the Bush tax cuts on one occasion–some business pundits now call them the “Bush-Obama tax cuts”–and Kwak lets slip that Obama was quite willing to extend these cuts yet again in exchange for revenue of a lesser volume. Ergo–apropos Kwak’s item (3)– the bipartisan predators get the joint Congressional committee’s spending cuts (as Kwak predicts) and Obama, after a fuss, again accedes to extending the Bush-Obama tax cuts. Does Kwak think that Obama wants to come across as a “tax hiker” at the peak of the 2012 electoral farce? (Kwak admits that Obama doesn’t want another “crisis”–of the wrong kind, he should add–”just before the election.”)

  27. So far as I can tell, the deal wasn’t a deal at all. Oh, I know, it was, but in reality, it just kicked the can down the road. It was mostly essential obfiscatory kibuki theatre hosted by the Tea Party, a group of morons who don’t seem to have any interest in actual governance. So, now the economy is essentially on life support with the government cutting and slashing and no light at the end of the fiscal tunnel.

  28. globalfatcats

    In the end the debt ceiling bill was passed in a bipartisan manner without support from either the tea party or left-er wing of the Democrat party. In other words support from these elements was not essential Therefore one might ask – perhaps naively why they were allowed to dictate the terms and process. Had moderates on both side stuck together and introduced the “grand compromise” being considered by Obama/Boehner (rather than just coming together in the end — wouldn’t the vote have been similar — with a far better bill and more meaningful impact – both from a policy and market perspective?

    Point being the end result here — no matter what one thinks of the actual bill — was not just a case of either the Democrats or Republicans voting in a block peeling off a few independents or members of the other party but rather a consensus in the middle. Is this something that can be built upon or is agreement only possible in the moments before disaster?

  29. The re-orientation of those pesky “Libertarian Jihad`Terrorist” – these immature GOP wanna-be underlings,… are growing up so fast right under their surrogates nose. Who teaches,… or better said feeds this ferocious learning curve to do what’s right for the right?

    Ref: Pork? That? What do you mean? NYT (8-1-11) ___*if link fails google*
    http://www. nytimes.com/2011/08/02/opinion/pork-earmarks-what-do-you-mean.html?=1&ref=opinion

    Thankyou James, and Simon

  30. Philip Pilkington

    Come on. It’s over. Obama showed his true colours. We can speculate about the why and the wherefore, but it gets us nowhere. As we say in economics: what matters is the operational reality. And the operational reality is pretty clear.

    Personally I think this was an obvious move. Obama is what he is — a marketing campaign for his donors.

    But, for the sake of argument, paint me an optimistic Democrat for a moment. Surely I still have to accept empirical reality, right?

    Well, the cards are on the table. Obama does as Obama does. Wake up.

  31. The Tea Party wing is fundamentally anti-social. Its laissez-faire small government free trade stance favors huge global corporate monopolies. Basically, it’s an anti-democracy movement to the extent that advanced global capitalism is fundamentally anti-democracy.

  32. Philip Pilkington

    All: Imagine for a moment that the Republicans had worked out a perfect set of tactics. Imagine they’d realised that Democrats were willing to compromise regardless of the terms of the debate. This would be a political revelation!

    If I were a Republican I would realise that I could essentially do what I wanted. The so-called ‘opposition’ have become nothing but a target on which I practice. They no longer ACT — they REACT. And I can make them REACT in any way I want by pushing the terms of debate by taking extreme positions.

    Now, imagine intelligent people actually fall for this theater… oh no… I won’t go there… that’s the equivalent of people believing in Stalin’s show trials… its not right to go there… there’s too much invested… carry on.

  33. @Bayard: the economy is a figment of our imagination. It’s a confidence game. There is no such thing as money. It’s just an idea enshrined in law.

    Here’s the point: these are not forces beyond our control, and we have to stop acting as if they are. Human beings are complicated and difficult to understand. But money? A piece of Marie Antoinette’s cake.

  34. @funkright: I wasn’t saying that being an isolationist is bad. I was just saying that people like Ron Paul don’t care if defense spending gets cut.

  35. @Foppe: No, I don’t assume that Obama doesn’t like this outcome. I think the fact that he hasn’t used the Bush tax cuts as a hostage means that he wants to end up somewhere on the center-right. I think the big question is what will happen if the joint committee comes back with all or virtually all spending cuts — whether Obama will retaliate in 2012 by killing the Bush tax cuts or not. My guess is he will try to negotiate again.

  36. Moses Herzog

    Only James Kwak would burn the midnight oil answering commenters when he had the insomnia. James is kind to his readers and never the snoberini. That’s why this blog rules supreme.

    Hey look, I think I found the restaurant where Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor eat their power lunch when they’re figuring out how to screw the middle class so they can give some “job creator” another tax break or tax loophole. Let the video play out if you have the time. I’m obviously not talking about the park bench.

    Spencer Tracy and Loretta Young in “Man’s Castle”, an old Columbia Pictures film

  37. Moses Herzog

    Here is the truth, the reality about the “job creators”. You can skip ahead to the 8:40 mark of the video from The Rachel Maddow Show and get the idea here on what Republicans Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and John Boehner call the “job creators”.

  38. The Republicans got 98 percent of what they wanted, according to Boehner. To most democrats it looks that way too.

    “When Pelley asked Boehner if, after the bruising budget battle, he intended to remain speaker of the House — despite his struggle in recent weeks to tame the unruly Tea Party elements of his caucus — a rather smug Boehner responded, “When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted.”

    http://theweek.com/article/index/217869/debt-deal-did-boehner-really-get-98-percent-of-what-he-wanted

  39. This debt ceiling deal debacle shows once more that Obama’s actions contradicts his words and that he’s only too willing to betray the middle and poor classes in favor of the top 1%.

    I appeal to Baseline Scenario to support Yves Smith’s idea of Elizabeth Warren defying Obama in the Democratic primary.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/should-elizabeth-warren-run-for-president.html

  40. Henry Cusano

    Democrats must understand these new “Americans” and the best clues are eric cators yearbook ” I want what i want and i want it now” which sounds more like a two year old then an 18 year old which means he suffers from arrested developement and mitch mcconnels statement that he is stacking the commission with those who won’t give in on taxes so goodbye 2012 hello 1933.

  41. @ EmilianoZ

    Ives Smith is a pretty smart guy,… but way off target? Ms. Elizabeth Warren would better serve the Massachusetts voters as US Senator. Her hat has yet been thrown into the race but the grassroots movement in the Bay State is lobbying hard for her, if she so chooses to run against the GOP leaning (big-time) Brown. Remember that Brown ran basically uncontested because of a lame, and terribly inadequate candidate offered up by the “Hard Core Dem’s” as a sacrificial lamb! Basically, Kerry wanted her to lose! Why? He offered no critical discourse, or prudent advice as guidance from the Obama Administration {(note: Mass. Governor Patrick is a big buddy – not like the Rod from Chicagoland?)(the second issue is Obama’s vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard for the next three weeks where Ms. Warren’s destiny will be trashed if Obama has anything to say about it [JMHO])}, was truant or non-existent to say the least!

    Question – Regarding the Debt Ceiling that’s inflating into the stratosphere, where sooner rather than later, will be compressed by the Newtonian Law’s of “Gravity”! It’s time for the world to take away the Prozac, and let the patient heal naturally as the body has an uncanny quality (gift) of doing its own self adjustments and curing itself on it’s own? It’s called – “Let it run it’s course”! This simplistic remedy,… a time-tested cure that’s run the course of millenniums and has never failed!

    Finally, I’d like to mention that China will sooner rather than later become the world’s hegemony, like it or not? (this should get the blood boiling,…?)

    Thankyou James {absolutely fantastic post, Mr. James Kwak :-)) } and Simon

    God Bless you, Julian Assange

  42. wallyfurthermore

    James,
    You apparently still haven’t understood that Obama is a Republican. Everybody else gets it… especially the Democrats in Congress.

  43. I think Obama really made a huge blunder with this negotiation. Hopefully they have some sort of plan for winning re-election, but it does not seem very likely to me that he can pull it off. No matter if he killed Osama or not! Barry

  44. Obama is as Obama does. And what he does is not good for the middle class, workers, jobs, the economy or Democrats. Although back-loaded, these spending cuts will result in near-term unemployment in federal, state and local governments as well as government contractors. These job losses will not be offset by private sector growth. The fact is, government spending has been a significant contributor to our economy. Consumers are tapped out still by the Republican financial debacle of 2008. The unsettled nature of European economies and their potentially negative international impact undermine hopes for growth in exports. So where is U.S. economic growth going to come from? This is the heart of the Koch/Republican plan: bust the economy so they can bust unions, the power of the middle class, virtually all regulation, etc. so they are the only ones left with the funds to support candidates for elective office. Then it is back to the Gilded Age, before the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, anti-trust, environmental and economic regulation. Call me paranoid if you like, but think things through before you do. It appears that Obama hasn’t.

  45. @ Jim Coffman: Here’s the LAUGH OF THE CENTURY:

    “The White House defended the deal, saying it was “not the case that Democrats “got nothing”.

    “We think the president’s leadership has been essential to this process,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/8675899/US-debt-crisis-US-House-passes-debt-bill.html

  46. earle, I believe the only solution to the debt ceiling deal is a constitutional convention of 38 States and Governors, which is a minimum 2 year project. Can your man Romney add that to his list of aspirations as he runs around for president? Should he lose, he would still have that to fall back on and pressure the soon to be gang of 12 to address the debt scene sooner rather than never. This passsing it now so we can find out later thing is gettin old.

  47. dhuv is right. As Glenn Greenwald put it recently, “isolationism” is basically neocon-ese for “opposing endless war”. It’s a meme that needs putting to bed.

  48. @earle Yves is a woman. FYI.

  49. James, you didn’t get the memo – the word *tax* can’t be used anymore….the discussion is about *revenue* – which in itself is an admission to how Orks operate through brainwashing…

    It was all about how much rent from everything that moves and breathes in the USA is going to Patriot Act mercenaries.

    Yup, election time. This needs watching this time around – what *state* they’re coming from and do we have an update based on the super-size-me deal? – these are not 2011 numbers…

    “If your state is receiving more than a $1.00 in federal funding for every dollar you spend in taxes, feel free to give it back to those of us funding your arrogance.

    New Mexico $2.03
    Mississippi $2.02
    Alaska $1.84
    Louisiana $1.78
    West Virginia $1.76
    North Dakota $1.68
    Alabama $1.66
    South Dakota $1.53
    Kentucky $1.51
    Virginia $1.51
    Montana $1.47
    Hawaii $1.44
    Maine $1.41
    Arkansas $1.41
    Oklahoma $1.36
    South Carolina $1.35
    Missouri $1.32
    Maryland $1.30
    Tennessee $1.27
    Idaho $1.21
    Arizona $1.19
    Kansas $1.12
    Wyoming $1.11
    Iowa $1.10
    Nebraska $1.10
    Vermont $1.08
    North Carolina $1.08
    Pennsylvania $1.07
    Utah $1.07
    Indiana $1.05
    Ohio $1.05
    Georgia $1.01
    Rhode Island $1.00
    Florida $0.97
    Texas $0.94
    Oregon $0.93
    Michigan $0.92
    Washington $0.88
    Wisconsin $0.86
    Massachusetts $0.82
    Colorado $0.81
    New York $0.79
    California $0.78
    Delaware $0.77
    Illinois $0.75
    Minnesota $0.72
    New Hampshire $0.71
    Connecticut $0.69
    Nevada $0.65
    New Jersey $0.61″

    Just investigating New Mexico should be interesting – stats on education and hunger and permanent under class are proof the money is flowing OUT of New Mexico – the state itself is a big money laundering scam….

  50. @ Jonathan

    “C’mon you guys” – it was meant as a “meme”? I’m sure Ives wouldn’t object,… to urban slang.

    Ref: Nation: The Senate: An individual Who Happens To Be a Negro (Time 2-17-67)

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,839437,00.html

  51. apparently there are those who think Obama is weak and stupid. and still believe in Obama. and that is why America is gone down the tubes.

    like the debt ceiling is the most important thing to focus on in our economy. i have wetlands in West Texas for those that do.

    Obama and the Republicans are not stupid and are winning the game of stealing from you.

    and just why is over 1 trillion dollars a year for defense wise. are we that “weak” and “threatened”? by whom. i marvel at the “priorities” i see some push.

    Poverty in America and the destruction of our world/American Society is more a threat than any Muslim terrorist infidel anyone could dream of.

    as for me George Carlin’s American Dream is the real statement worth repeating. go to Youtube and listen.
    it is already too late anyway. now i do believe that willful ignorance is the American Way.

  52. @Carla

    October2011.org

    That NEEDS to be a Constitutional Convention – BY OUR OWN LAWS. Scheesh.

    We stand outside in D.C., set the course on energy and infrastructure and *national safety* – that’s OUR new Declaration of Independence…

    Then we hand bye-bye pink slips to Congress, Senate, WH, SCOTUS, and MSM.

    Any snipers will be Moussad….so we’ll need the military who is still LOYAL to USA, not Wall Street, to help out.

  53. Ever get tired of being a damn liar, Munny?

    Bill Munny

    August 2, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    “Joel – you just laid out the plan of every liberal, democrat, and keynesian economic hack since FDR. All that got us is $14 Trillion in debt going to $16 trillion…..$20 Trillion……$100 Trillion……

    Why would we want to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

    Keep it up. There will be a Republican landslide like you have never seen in Nov 2012!”

    “DEBT IS GOOD!!” Dick Cheney

    Great, like you said in another stupid comment: “back to 1980!”…

    …and another brain-addled Hollywood B-actor running up MORE DEBT THAN ALL THE PREVIOUS PRESIDENTS COMBINED, right MUNNY? Wonderful…except there is no one lending us money now….( I see you favor Hollywood monikers, you nitwits love them actors, don’t ya? Worked out great for California when Reagan (R)TRIPLED our state taxes and Ahnold(R) ran it into the financial ground again and again and again…but not to worry: Brown(D) is back, he knows how to act like an adult and balance the budget: he sent me real tax rebates, of unspent revenue…. when did any Republican balance a budget and send rebates??? NEVER knothead, that’s when)..but wait! His VP, G.H.W. Bush(R) ran up more debt than he did..in only 4 years!!!!!….and it was the jobless, broke government and country that voted Poppy’s worthless ass out of office…and got us Slick Willie(D), who played games with accounting and even paid DOWN the NATIONAL DEBT his last two years and ran an $87 billion/year BUDGET SURPLUS and $150 BILLION SAVINGS ….only to get Bush II(R) run up MORE DEBT THAN ALL THE PRESIDENTS BEFORE HIM!

    “DEBT IS GOOD”: Dick Cheney.

    Now Bill Munny, damn liar and piss-poor propagandist: what do you have to say to that? Can you add? Add up all the Republicans that ran up debt…and all the Democrats that did…and all the Republicans that balanced a budget and had a surplus vs Democrats doing same….

    See how easy you knuckleheads are to destroy? Like shooting widdle fishies in a bawwel.

    “DEBT IS GOOD!!” Dick Cheney

    have a nice day, munny….i just decorated my bar with your republican buddies…..

  54. Singing Around the Campfire

    That someone like Cheney is still walking around a free man, is total proof the USA justice system is irreparably broken, and a total joke. Without effective prosecution, all we have is bankrupt banana republic, without the bananas.

  55. Tea party members are more than selfish, antisocial morons. They are traitors who are willing to scuttle the ship of state because they are too stupid to read history; too callous to understand the adversity of the poor, sick, old and unemployed; and too dense to understand economics at even the simplest level. Or maybe they really ARE smart and the country is going just they way they intended. Either way, they’re traitors.

  56. “The Obama Presidency is Global Capital’s creation and he is their man. The Obama White House has now delivered part of what Global Capital demanded: the debt/budget deal will shift more of the economic burden of empire from corporations and their owners (aka the rich or monied interests) to working people and the poor. Obama has not yet been able to raid Social Security and Medicare. But the Debt/Budget Deal holds within it the means to that end as well. Through it Social Security and Medicare can be cut and most in Congress can claim they did not vote for those cuts.”

    http://www.counterpunch.com/pace08042011.html

  57. Bruce E. Woych

    Now Domestic America knows how it feels to be treated the way the Indigenous Americans were traded: lied to; cheated, and asked to lose their land by default! This Obama has one big fork tongue!

    Elizabeth Warren for President !

  58. @Woych – the Natives did manage to get a piece of Abramov’s scalp :-)

    “Black Markets” were always a % of the GDP and in a world where commercial and investment banking were separate, there was only so much racketeering, fraud and corruption that could go on.

    The “Black Market” as an official way to do *banking*….? That’s basically where we are – everything being sucked up into a ridiculous Ponzi scheme. Seriously, aren’t you BORED with the daily change in definition of “ponzi scheme”?

    A decade long, billions a month in cost *WAR* was “off the books”….and my Grandma got killed because of the war being put *on the books*.

    Look up *Just War* on wiki – this is a JUST WAR that we are going to wage against the global delusionaLISTS….

    I would LOVE to run for a political office just for the *free* research that would ensue to paint me as a monster – I need to make sure the right people get EXPOSED and the dependable nasty vicious *media* research is key to open up the black box of current psychos – PROOF of who and what The Patriot Act empowered….

    Nothing left to lose…now that’s having fun in your fifties, Mr. President….

  59. I recommend that all disheartened Obama voters (presumably now EX-Obama voters) attend his re-election rallies next year and give him the same treatment the duplicitous Louis XVI received from his people in 1789.

    It doesn’t require much. Simply stand, your backs turned in quiet contempt, while he delivers his finely-crafted deceptions. Nothing else could be more un-nerving to a prideful orator, confident in his ability to win over people with empty words, and desirous of their rapturous approval. Nothing.

    Stop Obama’s lies. Go to his speeches and silence him with silence.

  60. Singing Around the Campfire

    @ Trouser, the President has his family to think about, and despite all the blather from the liberal-progressive contingent in USA relating to Barack Obama’s failures and disappointments, his heart, I believe, is still basically decent.

    He was probably given a message that left no doubt in his mind….he had to play ball, would be free to pursue some facets of his presidential aspirations, but couldn’t deviate too far from where the PTB want to take USA, and, moreover, the planet.

    I recall VERY early on after his Inauguration, the plenipotentiary for the Orion Grey ET’s and the Draco -Reptilian faction, George H W Bush, paid Obama a visit at the Oval Office, via the back door.

    Whenever this spook shows up, you can bet the farm he’s laying it all down.

    Thus spoke the Shadow Government.

  61. @Singing

    no matter how you look at it, free-willed Obambi sat down at the table to play poker with the *devil*…he should have thought about his family before doing that….

    So I guess we are all in agreement that D.C. is being so *dysfunctional* because their lives are being threatened?

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