Friday, April 26, 2013

Last Call

What Ezra Klein thinks happened on sequestration:

In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.

What actually happened, via Steve M:

Democrats didn't lose the sequester fight today. Democrats have spent the last few decades losing the sequester fight. They lost it long before it even began, because they've done absolutely no pushback against the notion that government budgets are riddled with colossal amounts of waste, the elimination of which is all we need to have balanced budgets and low taxes and a happy dance around the maypole to celebrate our widespread abundance.

Democrats have defended a few programs fairly vigorously at times -- Medicare, Social Security, public broadcasting -- and they've gotten Joe and Jane to accept the notion that the rich are undertaxed. But Democrats have let the "waste, fraud, and abuse" narrative become unquestioned gospel in the heartland. And so the public went into this sequester moment assuming that a few minor adjustments could get all the good stuff paid for.

Republicans understood that. Democrats didn't. So Democrats lost this fight before it began.

I'll go even further.

Please note that in the Senate, that not a single one of the supposed bastions of liberal purity who are far more progressive than President Obama bothered to lift a finger to stop the unanimous consent motion to agree to the FAA deal.  Not Bernie Sanders.  Not Elizabeth Warren.  Not Al Franken.  Not a single effing one of them showed even token resistance to this when they were given a chance to do so.  When one voice saying stop would have least registered the disappointment of the American people, "those who lack political power" as Ezra put it, the Democrats in the Senate did nothing.

Barack Obama did not pass the FAA measure in the Senate by unanimous consent.  Senate Democrats did.  They handed the President this crock of shit and said "You deal with this.  We abdicate any responsibility for it."

Keep that in mind.

If It Weren't For All You Damn Parasites...

...why, handsomely paid business pundits like FOX's Steve Tobak wouldn't be so upset.  You were never supposed to benefit from the easy credit subprime bubble that made the one percent even wealthier, you're supposed to eat your Austerity Sandwich and like it.

Want to know why the gap between the haves and the have-nots keeps growing? Because the haves live within their means. They don’t waste their hard-earned money on all the crap that Americans spend billions, maybe even trillions, on each year.

American consumers seem to have an almost insatiable appetite for just about any type of useless garbage that anyone decides to make in China for a few bucks and sell here for a few hundred. Which is probably why nobody has any savings and everyone complains they don’t have enough money to live on.

Actually, the problem is much worse than that. The all-consuming consumer is like a lifestyle choice that’s quickly becoming the norm. What’s it all for? Honestly, I really don’t know. All I do know is that it wastes far more than our money. It wastes our time. It wastes our lives. And it doesn’t make us happy. It makes us miserable.  

To recap, the economy built on buying useless consumer crap is now your fault, consumers.  When the one percenters buy cars and pet toys and smartphones, that's the economy.  When your ass buys it, it's waste and making you miserable.

Tobak then goes on to rage for another 1500 words at Costco, Whole Foods, and basketball courts that "nobody plays on", and of course ends with saying that really, if all you brokeass mofos would just embrace the fact that you're supposed to be poor like GOP Jesus intended you to be, while guys like Tobak continue to shill for the obscenely rich folks buying up Congress to have them continue to get rid of police, schools, firefighters, environmental protections and the oversight on exploding fertilizer plants, you'd be content with the crumbs that fall to the floor and you'd generally be much happier!

Here’s the thing. Life is for living, not owning or buying. Just ask any legitimate Buddhist monk and he’ll tell you: the less you have, the happier you’ll be. The simple things make you happy. Complicated things make you miserable. No kidding.

Says the former Silicon Valley exec.  Considering Americans have less than ever before, we should be thrilled, right?

The Immigrant Song (And Dance)

Sick of Sen. Marco Rubio getting all the attention, House Republicans have decided that it's time to get started in killing immigration reform by getting the ball rolling on a piecemeal approach that will make a planned comprehensive Senate bill nearly impossible.

Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee announced Thursday they would begin introducing a series of narrow immigration reform proposals, choosing not to wait for a bipartisan coalition to reach agreement on comprehensive legislation.

Saying the committee would examine immigration reform “in a step-by-step approach,” Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said Republicans would introduce the first two pieces of legislation this week. One bill would establish an agricultural guest-worker program, while the other would create an employment verification system for businesses.

The move is part of Goodlatte’s plan to take a deliberative approach to immigration as House Republican leaders work behind the scenes to build support among the party’s conservative membership for a comprehensive overhaul. With the House bipartisan group slow to complete its legislation, the lower chamber has taken a back seat to the Senate, where an 844-page proposal is now moving through committee. 

No, that bolded part is an outright lie.  House Republicans aren't working on this to build support, they're working on it to kill support.  If the only thing to come out of the House Judiciary is party-line GOP enforcement and guest worker stuff (without all that messy "compromise with Democrats over citizenship" part in the Senate) then House Republicans can say "Well, we passed immigration reform and the Democrats killed it.  Why does Barack Obama hate Latinos?"

And boom, immigration reform blows up by June, July at the latest. Just like gun control, Republicans expect minimal damage from scuttling legislation that would only help Barack Obama's coalition.

Keep an eye on Rep. Goodlatte's committee here, because this is how the GOP will sink immigration reform.


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