Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Last Call

And David Brooks loves him some middle class suffering, because he's basically evil and it builds character, or something.

So Republicans have to realize that they are going to cave on tax rates. The only question is what they get in return. What they should demand is this: That the year 2013 will be spent putting together a pro-growth tax and entitlement reform package that will put this country on a sound financial footing through 2040. 

Republicans should go to the White House and say they are willing to see top tax rates go up to 36 percent or 37 percent and they are willing to forgo a debt-ceiling fight for this year. 

This is a big political concession, but it’s not much of an economic one. President Obama needs rate increases to show the liberals he has won a “victory,” but the fact is that raising revenue by raising rates is not that much worse for the economy than raising revenue by closing loopholes, which Republicans have already conceded. 

In return, Republicans should also ask for some medium-size entitlement cuts as part of the fiscal cliff down payment. These could fit within the framework Speaker John Boehner sketched out Monday afternoon: chaining Social Security cost-of-living increases to price inflation and increasing the Medicare Part B premium to 35 percent of costs. 

But the big demand would be this: That on March 15, 2013, both parties would introduce leader-endorsed tax and entitlement reform bills in Congress that would bring the debt down to 60 percent of G.D.P. by 2024 and 40 percent by 2037, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Those bills would work their way through the normal legislative process, as the Constitution intended. If a Grand Bargain is not reached by Dec. 15, 2013, then there would be automatic defense and entitlement cuts and automatic tax increases. 

In other words, Bobo wants to make sure the middle class in America is destroyed, long after he's dead, and that it never rises again.

To get debt down to the levels we're not talking about trillions in spending cuts, we're talking about tens of trillions in spending cuts.  40 percent of GDP would be $6 trillion, from the $16 trillion we're at now, and it require not just balancing the budget and eliminating deficits, it means running up a surplus big enough to pay off the debt through either massive tax increases or massive spending cuts, or both.  At the very least, it would mean balanced budgets until at such time the GDP magically grew large enough so that $16 trillion WAS 40% of the GDP in 25 years.  Raise your hand if you think America's GDP is going to triple or so in 25 years with huge cuts on the menu in basic education and infrastructure.

Sure it will.  Laffer Curve!  

Bobo's just evil, and it sure doesn't matter to him if the middle class burns.  He's a rich snothead with a cushy columnist job.

Malcolm In The Middle (Of A Health Crisis)

Frankie Muniz, known to most of us as Malcolm from Fox's Malcolm In The Middle, has suffered a mini-stroke.  Doctors don't have any reasons yet, but friends did the right thing and took him in when he had a hard time speaking and understanding what was spoken to him.  We may well find that saved his life, because like a heart attack, failure to understand the symptoms and denial play a huge part in survival.

Muniz is very young, only twenty-six.  His band was scheduled to tour starting this week, that's clearly going to be put off indefinitely while Muniz is under observation.

On a side note, it's nice to be back.  I was going to drop in this week anyway, but when you get a headline opportunity like that, you take it.

Nipping McConnell In The Judd

Actress and Democratic party activist Ashley Judd is at least considering taking a crack at Old Age Mutant Nimrod Turtle's Senate seat in 2014...at least, that's what Politico seems to believe.  Take that with an entire planet made of salt.

The Hollywood movie star and eighth-generation Kentuckian is seriously exploring a 2014 run for the Senate to take on the powerful Republican leader, four people familiar with the matter tell POLITICO. In recent weeks, Judd has spoken with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) about the possibility of a run, has discussed a potential bid with a Democratic pollster and has begun to conduct opposition research on herself to see where she’s most vulnerable in the Bluegrass State, sources say.

Whether Judd jumps into the race remains far from certain. She’s reportedly also weighing whether to wait until 2016 to instead take on freshman Sen. Rand Paul, sources say.

But if Judd does become a candidate, she would be the biggest celebrity to run for the Senate since Al Franken’s successful 2008 bid for the Minnesota seat. And her entrance would add a level of star power to a race that was already poised to be the highest-profile in the country with the Senate Republican leader up for a sixth term in 2014.

“She is doing all the things that a serious candidate exploring a race should do,” Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) told POLITICO after speaking with her. “I think there are a lot of people, and I was one of them, who wanted to let her know that her candidacy would be an exciting prospect for us. That’s what I wanted her to know. A lot of the labor unions, they were telling me that too.”

Considering getting rid of Mitch (or Rand Paul!) is pretty much my top local activism priority right now, and that Judd is light-years more progressive than any of the current Kentucky Dems being mentioned as being sacrificed to McConnell, I figure the publicity would at least give her a shot of winning.
We'll see how serious Judd is about this prospect, but I have to say it's not like she could do any worse than the Turtle.  She's no slouch, either, possessing a degree in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.  That makes her more than qualified in my book for the office.
Go for it, Ashley.  This blogger has your back...but her pro-environment stance on coal and mining makes me think she's going to have a very, very difficult road ahead.

We'll see.


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