Friday, February 6, 2009

Last Call

What Digby Said.
Hardball is reporting that the new bill is 42% tax cuts now and 58% spending, which is considered a big win for Republicans.

And they are still fighting it.

And when it finally comes to the floor, they won't vote for it anyway.

That's how a truly ruthless opposition party works. They ruin the legislation, are lauded as winners for ruining the legislation and then vote against the legislation that they ruined. Awesome.
Roughly the same proportion as Republicans to Democrats in the Senate. Or, after the Very Sensible Centrists hack off a couple billion here or there and replace it with some more Sensible Tax Cuts, they can easily get the bill to the same 54%-46% ratio as Obama's win over McCain...the basis of Rush Limbaugh's "plan" for the "bi-partisan stimulus bill" he demanded last week in the Wall Street Journal. And of course, El Rushbo will take this bill, meeting the standards he set out on January 29, and then declare the bill the worst thing since Hitler and any Republican voting for it the worst since Neville Chamberlain.

And I call it a night, knowing that as Digby said the Republicans will vote against it almost across the board in the Senate, will vote unanimously against it in the House, and declare that now Pelosi/Obama/Reid now 100% own the Pelosi/Obama/Reid recession.

Because after all, the economic genius that was closest to guessing the plan that will save America's economy is Rush Fucking Limbaugh, who does not run the GOP, the Village Media, the Democrats, or the entire country.

G'night, folks.

What's At Stake Here

(Courtesy Sadly, No!)

So, took 32 months to recover the jobs lost from the 1990 recession, and 22 months before the recovery actually began. That's the blue line.

It took almost into Bush's second term before jobs recovered in the 2001 recession, and a full four years to recover those jobs. That's Mr. Red Line.

That green line there? That's us since December 2007. We've already lost 3.6 million jobs in 13 months. A full 2.6 million of those came in the last 5 months alone.

You think we need some real help here?

PS, you want to know why this is getting worse and will not get any better soon? Because the Republicans are already blaming this recession on the Democrats.
The economy began to collapse when the Democrats captured the House and Senate and we then knew that the lower tax rates on individuals, capital gains, and dividends would end after 2010.

We are in the early stages of the Reid/Obama/Pelosi recession and nothing they are even talking about doing will help.
Yes, that's good old Grover Norquist calling this the Reid/Obama/Pelosi Recession.

Do you believe me now that there is no chance for bipartisanship? Do you believe me now that the entire GOP plan is to make sure the economy is destroyed and the Democrats get the blame for it?

[UPDATE] And finally, we have GOP strategist Alex Castellanos laying out the plan (h/t AmericaBlog)

Bipartisanship is indeed for wussies. You can't negotiate in good faith when the other side has no intention of doing so.

It's Disturbing As Hell Because It's True

Over at Iggy's place, Brian Beutler explains the differences between Republicans and Democrats.
Imagine an alternate reality in which the economy is in fine shape and Barack Obama’s just been elected president. Perhaps he’d go hog wild and propose a trillion dollars in unfunded spending just to sneak a bunch of liberal wish list items on to the government debt ledger. But I don’t really think so. And I don’t think Ross does either. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think it’s much more likely that under kinder circumstances Obama would carry forward with the plan he campaigned on–to let the Bush tax cuts expire, tackle the energy, climate and health crises and, maybe, give the middle class a tax cut. That, of course, was before the economy started shedding 600,000 jobs a month, but it made some sense at the time. Just as Jon suggested.

Now imagine Barack Obama is a Republican. He’s just been elected and the economy is in the toilet. What’s his answer? Tax cuts for the rich! What if the economy’s in decent shape? Tax cuts for the rich! What if we’d just been invaded by China, Canada, and Mexico, and alien space craft were hovering over Manhattan, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.? Tax cuts for the rich!

And that pretty well sums it up.

Bizarro! Bizarro! Bizarro!

Peggy Noonan in today's WSJ:
Then four things: Nancy Pelosi served up old-style pork, Mr. Obama swallowed it, Republicans shocked themselves by being serious, and then they startled themselves by being unified. But it was their seriousness that was most important: They didn't know they were! They hadn't been in years!
Yes, the Republicans are suddenly serious. They are far more serious than the hated, unserious, pot-smoking filthy hippy Hollywood Democrats.

Republicans like Jim DeMint, whose brilliant, serious idea for the bill included nothing but tax cuts...and 36 of the 40 Republicans in the Senate voted for the idea. Even better, he seriously attacks the bill for a 46 year old Federal higher education provision over the fact somebody on his staff read the bill incorrectly. He's serious.

Republicans like Mitch McConnell, whose main argument against the stimulus is the fact there have been less than one million weeks over the last 2,008 years (in fact there's roughly 104,421 weeks between then and now.) Eminently serious.

Republicans like Lindsey Graham, whose argument (obtained while giving interviews to the press) is that Barack Obama has failed America by giving interviews to the press. Terribly serious.

Republicans like John McCain, whose complaints about the stimulus package are that the stimulus package contains things like "spending" and "tax cuts". Serious as a heart attack.

Republicans like James Inhofe, who figures the stimulus bill would employ 15,000 in his home state of Oklahoma, only he can't support the bill because it's "too bloated." Mega-serious.

Yes, the Republicans are serious, alright. Seriously demented, seriously deluded, and seriously wrong.

Why Things Might Be Wrong With Our Economy

Today's lesson:
  1. Economy loses 600,000 jobs in one month, therefore
  2. Wall Street rallies with the Dow up 200 plus points, because of
  3. The sheer anticipation of craploads of free gubment money due to
  4. See #1.
Here endeth the lesson.

Point Of Order, Mr. President

Obama laid into Republican critics last night at a meeting of House Democrats in Virginia.
President Obama veered away from his repeated calls for bipartisanship on Thursday night, laying into Republican opponents of his massive stimulus package before a wildly enthusiastic audience of House Democrats.

“This package is not going to be absolutely perfect,” the president told more than 200 House members gathered here for their annual policy conference. “You can nit it. You can pick. That’s the game we play here. But we can’t afford to play that game now,” he said to loud cheers.

Coming into the first day of the three-day policy conference, some House members fretted that Obama and Democratic congressional leaders weren’t doing enough to combat Republicans who claim the $819 billion package (HR 1) passed by the House two weeks ago contains too much wasteful federal spending and not enough in job-stimulating tax cuts.

Laying into the critics, Obama said, “They say this isn’t a stimulus bill. It’s a spending bill. Well, that’s the whole point.” He rarely used the word “Republican.”

Now. The good news is, Obama's going on the offensive. Even The Kroog sees this is a good idea.
It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.
But as The Kroog points out, it's that last part of the President's statement I have a problem with. This isn't s spending bill, Mr. President. it's a "save the f'cking economy from the Second Great Depression" bill, sir.

You might want to keep that in mind. Redefine the argument away from spending vs tax cuts altogether. Use those January job numbers and hammer it into both sides that the goal of this bill is, quite frankly, to keep us ending up from a much worse situation.

In other words, in that Monday press conference, level with the American people. If we're still fighting over spending vs. tax cuts, we're losing sight of the fact the GOP is trying to wreck the fracking economy over political power games.

Call them out on it. Daily.

Man I Hate Being Right

I called 600k jobs lost, official numbers 598k, U3 figure up to 7.6% and climbing. The U-6 numbers are goddamn frightening in particular, showing a seasonally adjusted rate of 13.9% (which is bad) but a non-seasonally adjusted U-6 number of ->15.4%<- of the workforce out of work or underemployed. The difference between the two is awesome, in every epic sense of that word. It's overwhelming. What it means is if you remove seasonal hiring and yearly adjustments, our economy is in far worse shape than imagined.

That's a nearly 2% jump in One. F'ckin'. Month. Take out the seasonal adjustments for January and the U-3 is a staggering 8.5% right now.

We are in an inordinate amount of trouble right now. 2.5 million net jobs have been lost in the last five months. There is no sign whatsoever that this is going to slow down.

The U-6 numbers in the last 12 months have gone from 9.9% to 15.4%. A five point jump in unemployment in one year. That hasn't happened since the 1930's.

Crunch time is now here. We're playing for the difference between deep recession and major depression, and the clock's ticking now. As it is...we may be too late. These numbers, if they continue, will mean by January 2010 we could very well be looking at the 20% U-6 numbers I predicted.

Cheery thought, huh.

Please Check Your Lottery Ticket Numbers Today

...because for the first time I can remember, I agree with freakin' Larry Kudlow on something. That something is Tim Geithner has to go. Now.
Americans do not want tax cheats and tax dodgers in critical leadership positions. Tom Daschle tendered his resignation to become HHS secretary over this same issue. So did another high-profile nominee — Nancy Killefer — in the budget office. Mr. Daschle himself said that he doesn’t have the trust or confidence of the people to lead the nation on healthcare reform.

This is not personal. Geithner has good qualifications. But he is wrong on this key issue. I think most Americans know that. Mr. Geithner should give some serious thought to this.

I continue to beat this drum. I continue to believe that Timothy Geithner should resign as an act of conscience, confidence, and good faith. He has forfeited the trust invested in him. He cannot lead us through financial reform.

I disagree with Kudlow that Geithner is in any way qualified to lead us out of this financial mess. As NY Fed chief, he's responsible for, among other things, designing a plan to overpay tens of billions for bank assets under the first half of TARP. That responsibility falls on Helicopter Ben as well, and he absolutely needs to step down.

But Kudlow's last sentence is 100% true. Tim Geithner cannot lead us through financial reform whatsoever. He's part of the team that already has shown no ability to make the hard, hard decisions that are needed at this point in history. He has already been tested and been found wanting. It's time to clean house at Treasury starting with Geithner.

Remember that when the January job loss numbers come out here at 8:30 AM. At the very least another half a million people lost their jobs last month. I'm betting it'll be close to 600k.

We'll see.


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