Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last Call

Senate will be up all night.
The Senate will get a brief respite from its struggle over health care reform tonight--a six hour break before returning for a procedural vote on defense appropriations.
That recess ends at 12:01 AM.  Republicans want to delay?  It's time for some make up work.

So Now What, Zandar?

As Yellow Dog reminds me, I've been saying for months now that if there was no public option, the Dems would get screwed in 2010.  I said it then.  I say it again now.  Now, the public option is dead.  The results will be rather obvious.
Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner took aim at Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's remark Wednesday that she was "always in campaign mode" and would sell voters next year on Democratic achievements.

"I hope she does a great job of marketing all the garbage they passed this past year," he said at a year-end press conference, vowing "we're going to continue to be the party of better solutions."

Recent public opinion polls show Republicans -- who were thrashed in the 2006 and 2008 elections -- narrowing the gap with Democrats to a virtual dead heat in a generic ballot ahead of next year's contest.
The US president's party typically loses seats in mid-term elections, and surveys have also found deep worries about the direction the country is headed and about the bleak economic picture, including historically high joblessness.

"Right now we've got double-digit unemployment, we're got red ink as far as the eye can see, permanent bailouts, and no long-term plan to put any of this back in shape," said Boehner.
Orange Julius there doesn't have a plan either.  But you know what? He still figures he'll be Speaker of the House come January 2011.

I figure there's an even chance he will be.  You thought it was hard for Obama and the Democrats to pass legislation nowWait until after midterms.

Joe And Al

More of this, please.

McCain and Malkinvania get in on the act too.

New tag, because he's earned it:  Al Franken Is Good Enough.

Karl Rove Is Confused

Karl Rove declares Obama the worst President ever, then proceeds to blame him for all the problems Bush created, as well as the ones that he inherited and hasn't fixed in 11 months.

No, that's pretty much it.  And the WSJ will continue to let him attack the President.

I've Got Your Chuck Norris Joke Right Here

Chuck Norris doesn't worry about logic.  Logic worries about Chuck Norris.
Lastly, as we near the eve of another Christmas, I wonder: What would have happened if Mother Mary had been covered by Obamacare? What if that young, poor and uninsured teenage woman had been provided the federal funds (via Obamacare) and facilities (via Planned Parenthood, etc.) to avoid the ridicule, ostracizing, persecution and possible stoning because of her out-of-wedlock pregnancy? Imagine all the great souls who could have been erased from history and the influence of mankind if their parents had been as progressive as Washington's wise men and women! Will Obamacare morph into Herodcare for the unborn?
Logic?  That pussy hides and prays Chuck Norris leaves without stoning it.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

It's snowing in Scandinavia in December, according to John Cole.

This all but disproves global warming, according to Don Surber.

We're going to Darwin ourselves off this rock, according to Zandar.

Stay Classy, Wingnut Nation

Dan Riehl:
Given that Teddy K ran against Carter after four years, perhaps it should be seen as an homage to his legacy? Oh wait, that was supposed to be this failing bill. What a fitting epitaph to Kennedy from the guy he endorsed early on to give him some cred, opening the door for him to win the nomination. Poor Teddy, on the wrong side of history, again.
Because taking pot shots at dead Kennedys is all that matters in the end to our friends on the right.  They can barely contain their morbid glee.

The Kroog Versus Progressive Whining

Paul Krugman says "Suck it up, people.  It's still better than the status quo." (emphasis mine:)
Now, in a hostage situation there are times when you have to just say no — when giving in, by encouraging future hostage-takers, would be worse than letting the hostages perish. So the question has to be, is this one of those times? I don’t think so, given the history: as Kevin Drum points out, health reform has come back weaker after each defeat. I’d also point out that highly imperfect insurance reforms, like Social Security and Medicare in their initial incarnations, have gotten more comprehensive over time. This suggests that the priority is to get something passed.

But what’s happening, I think, goes beyond health care; what we’re seeing is disillusionment with Obama among some of the people who were his most enthusiastic supporters. A lot of people seem shocked to find that he’s not the transformative figure of their imaginations. Can I say I told you so? If you paid attention to what he said, not how he said it, it was obvious from the beginning — and I’m talking about 2007 — that he was going to be much less aggressive about change than one could have hoped. And this has done a lot of damage: I believe he could have taken a tougher line on economic policy and the banks, and was tearing my hair out over his caution early this year. I also believe that if he had been tougher on those issues, he’d be better able to weather disappointment over his health care compromises.

So there’s a lot of bitterness out there. But please, keep your priorities straight.

By all means denounce Obama for his failed bipartisan gestures. By all means criticize the administration. But don’t take it out on the tens of millions of Americans who will have health insurance if this bill passes, but will be out of luck — and, in some cases, dead — if it doesn’t.
Pass the bill.  Improve it later, but it has to pass now.  Period.

[UPDATE 1:40 PM] Your Bonus BooMan of the day:
Obama can't pass anything that doesn't have unanimous support in the Democratic caucus because of the ruthless obstruction and opposition of the Republican Party. This forces him to govern to the center and make all his compromises with centrist Democrats and/or the two still-existing centrist Republicans in the Senate. The Republican obstruction empowers people like Joe Lieberman. It actually gives veto power to every single senator, but the only way to make up for a defecting Democrat is to win over Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins. So, if Bernie Sanders or Roland Burris revolt, he has to move the bill further to the right in response.

The left is immensely frustrated with this situation and inclined to blame the administration, but this is a simple logic tree. Obama cannot push the progressive position on pretty much anything if the centrists refuse to go along. Compounding the problem, progressives don't really know how to influence centrists. They tend to insult them, call them whores, attack their families, and generally question their morals. Over time, this sets up the situation we saw with Lieberman where he switched positions on a Medicare buy-in proposal simply because the measure was pleasing to people who have been demonizing him for over three years. Rather than persuade the Ben Nelsons and Blanche Lincolns of the Senate, progressive tactics make them even more inclined to reject anything they perceive to be coming from the left.
That hasn't changed.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Remember, your alternative to Obama was McCain/Palin.  Ten for you then:
  1. Do you think they would have done a better job with health care reform?
  2. Do you think there would have been a bill at all?
  3. Do you think there would have been any stimulus bill? 
  4. Do you think we would be getting out of Afghanistan any sooner?  
  5. Do you think there would be any fewer bailouts of the banks?  
  6. Do you think the DoJ would be doing a better job on torture and trying KSM in NYC?  
  7. Do you think they would be moving terrorists in legal limbo out of Gitmo?
  8. Do you think McCain would sign a jobs bill and unemployment extensions in an even worse economy?
  9. Do you think McCain wouldn't have followed through on his spending freeze?
  10. Do you think America would even be at Copenhagen right now?
Your alternatives to the Dems in 2010 are still teabagging, anti-science, anti-thought, anti-government, anti-labor, anti-choice, anti-peace, anti-Earth assholes who want to bomb, pollute, and corrupt the entire planet in the name of the 'Murican way.  They will be your alternative in 2012 as well, and 2014, and 2016 and on and on.

Be mad at Obama.  Hell, I am.  But don't give the assholes the keys to the kingdom in your anger.

Standing On The Deck And Saluting While The Ship Of State Sinks

The latest NBC/WSJ poll shows that the Tea Party now has higher favorability ratings than the Republicans OR the Dems.
More than four in 10, 41%, of respondents said they had a very or somewhat favorable view of the Tea Party movement, while 24% said they had a somewhat or very negative view of the group. The Tea Party movement gained notoriety over the summer following a series of protests in Washington, D.C. and other cities over government spending and other U.S. economic policies.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party, which controls both the White House and Congress, has a 35% positive rating compared with a 45% negative rating.

The Republican Party identifies closest to the Tea Party movement’s ideology, but the group has also caused splits within the GOP. Republicans currently hold a 28% favorability rating compared with a 43% negative one.
The Left is giving up on Obama.  The Right is giving up on the GOP and joining the Teabaggers.  Our country's headed for a complete disaster ahead.  Nearly twice as many people are mad at the GOP and the Dems than they are the Teabaggers.

It's come down to this.  Pass the bill.  A good bill.  Or we're less than three years out from a Palin/Huckabee ticket running House Speaker Eric Cantor and Senate Majority Leader Tom Coburn.

The line must be drawn.

Pass the bill.  Improve it.  Fast.

[UPDATE 12:15 PM]

Howard Dean wants to kill the bill.  Mary Landrieu wants to save it.  There be dragons here in this part of the political map, folks.  At this point, I don't know.  Nate Silver tweeted that getting this passed was now a coin flip.  That sounds right to me.

Bengals WR Chris Henry Dies

The Charlotte Observer is reporting at this hour that Bengals WR Chris Henry has died from his injuries yesterday from his fall from the bed of his fiancee's pickup truck.
Police said he died at 6:36 a.m. at Carolinas Medical Center where he had been taken early Wednesday afternoon. Police haven't released a cause of death.

On Wednesday, officers were called to Oakdale Road near I-485 just before noon in reference to a person down. When officers arrived, they found Henry in the road, with life-threatening injuries.

Paramedics transported Henry to Carolinas Medical Center.

Police say Henry was involved in a "domestic situation" with his fiancee on Peachtree Road. His fiancee, who police haven't named, got into a pickup truck and drove away from the home. As she was driving, police say, Henry jumped into the bed of the truck.

The domestic dispute continued between the woman and Henry. At some point, Henry "came out" of the back of the vehicle.

Police refused to elaborate on whether Henry fell or might have been forced out of the truck. No charges have been filed, though police say homicide detectives have been investigating since Wednesday.
You never want to see that happen to anyone, but Henry was a large part of the Bengals offense.  What happened with his fiancee we may never know, but it wasn't worth his life, whatever the altercation or argument.

Puts things around here in perspective.  You talk about health care and economics and policy in clinical terms and throw around numbers...but in the end we're all going through life one day at a time, no matter our job.

Bengals Henry Football
We'll miss you, Chris.

Harsh Realities

Releasing prisoners early in states facing budget woes is a practice that's drawing a lot of fire from the public.  To this I say "Tax cuts, mandatory minimum sentencing, three strikes laws and overcrowded prisons have consequences."
Last week, figures from the U.S. Department of Justice indicated that in 2008 the growth of the prison population was slower than in any year since 2000. Some experts say the slowdown confirms that states are reconsidering their sentencing policies.

Oregon now allows low-risk inmates to earn reductions of up to 30 percent off their original sentence instead of 20 percent. In November, Illinois began early release of inmates who committed non-violent crimes. The state plans to release 1,000 inmates, which could save $5 million a year, said Januari Smith, an Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

"We have been very thorough in selecting offenders," Smith said.

Colorado loosened its corrections policies this year by letting non-violent offenders earn 12 days off their sentence for each month of good behavior. Previously, the limit was 10 days. Inmates who break the rules in prison -- even once -- are not eligible, according a spokesperson from the Colorado Department of Corrections.

In Mississippi, a state with one of the highest incarceration levels, officials abandoned a 180-day cap on the amount of time an inmate's sentence can be shortened. This year, a panel of federal judges ordered California to reduce its prison population by 40,000 because of overcrowding. Governor Schwarzenegger proposed releasing 27,000 inmates.

It is often controversial to pass laws that shorten inmates' sentences. Such a move seemed impossible at the height of tough-on-crime sentiment in the 1980s and 1990s.

"It's a big shift, and I think it's coming about because states and counties are having problems with finances," said Doris MacKenzie, a criminologist who specializes in sentencing policy at Pennsylvania State University. "All of the sudden they are thinking: 'Do we really need to lock up so many for such a long period of time?'
News flash, America.  It costs money to lock people up for decades. You think government is bad.  You think government is wasting money.  You want entitlements and services, but you don't want to pay for them.  Above all, you don't ever, ever, ever want to raise taxes, for any reason, even for ones like keeping inmates in jail.

Hence, consequences.  Only money could force states not to lock people up for most of their lives.

Here endeth the lesson.

You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers

Yesterday FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver posed 20 questions to those on the left who said "kill the bill" on health care reform.  Today, he's posted the answers he got from both FireDogLake's Jon Walker, and Big Orange Kos and his response to them.

It's a lengthy read, but it's the best discussion yet I've seen on the future of health care reform in this country.  It's two activist progressives versus Nate's

(Highlights after the jump...)

If It's Thursday...

Both weekly and continuing jobless claims up this week to 480K and 5.19 million, respectively.

The way to go, it is long that we have being ahead.

Lower Business Taxes Means Lower Wages

Henry Liu over at Business Insider explains very well what I've been saying for some time now:  lowering corporate taxes means lower wages.
In recent decades, an intuitive myth has been pushed on the unsuspecting public by Supply Side economists that low taxes encourage corporations, employers and entrepreneurs to create high paying jobs. But the counter-intuitive historical truth is that a progressive income tax regime with over 90% for top bracket incomes actually encouraged management and employers to raise wages. The principle behind this truth is that it is easier to be generous with the government’s money.

In the past, when top corporate income tax rate was at over 50% and personal income tax rate at over 90%, both management and employers had less incentive to maximize net income by cutting cost in the form of wages. Why give the government the money when it could be better spent keeping employees happy?

The Reagan Revolution, as inspired by voodoo Supply Side economics, started a frenzy of income tax rate reduction that invited employers to keep wages low because cost savings from wages would produce profits that employers could keep instead of having it taxed away by high tax rates.

It follows that the low income tax rate regime leads directly to excess profit from stagnant wages which leads to overinvestment because demand could not keep pace with excess profit due to low wages. Say’s Law on “supply creating its own demand”, which Supply Side economists lean on as intellectual premise, holds true only under full employment with good wages, a condition that Supply Side economists conveniently ignore. To keep demand up, workers in a low wage economy are offered easy money in the form of sub-prime debt rather than paying consumers with living wages, creating more phantom profit for the financial sector at the expense of the manufacturing sector. This dysfunctionality eventually led to the debt bubble that burst in 2007 with global dimensions.
In other words, supply-side economics makes it more profitable to business owners to keep wages low and pocket the profits because they're allowed to keep them.  Higher business taxes means it's more profitable to pay more to hire better workers as an investment in the company rather than see those profits taxed and sent to Uncle Sam.

It really is that simple.  Supply-side shenanigans led directly to the bubbles of the last decade as easy credit became the preferred way to "pay" employees, not with actual money.  Businesses profited twice, first off cutting wages, second from expanding credit and left workers in the hole.

That's where we are now.  That's what Reaganomics did to this country:  it loaded up the America worker with so much debt due to 30 plus years of stagnant wages that it's now destroying our economy.

And now this current crop of neo-Hoover Republicans want to "fix" the problem by cutting off the country at its knees.


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