Steve Benen at Washington Monthly points out that the Repub’s not-so-hidden agenda — their real goal — ensured this camel was never going to leave the quorum:
… [A] deal would have required Republicans accept some tax increases. Indeed, the basics of a debt-reduction deal have always been painfully obvious: Dems would accept spending cuts, Republicans would accept new revenue, and the two sides would haggle over the ratio.
Except that proved impossible, not only because Republicans refused to consider any tax increases on any one, but because those same Republicans actually decided to use the super-committee process as a vehicle to push for more tax cuts — which necessarily would have created more debt, not less, and make the goal harder, not easier, to reach.
At a certain level, the very idea of including Bush-era tax breaks in the discussion probably seems bizarre to anyone outside the GOP caucus. The panel’s members were given one task: reach a deal on debt reduction that totaled at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade. With this assignment in mind, Republicans on the committee, from the outset, decided that their principal goal was locking in tax cuts that (a) are largely responsible for the massive debt; and (b) would make the debt much worse going forward.
This underscores why failure was inevitable: the parties can’t reach an agreement if they’re not even having the same conversation.
What was the purpose of the super-committee? Ostensibly, it was supposed to reach a bipartisan agreement to reduce the debt. That was the description on the page, and that’s the mandate that drove Democratic efforts.
Republicans saw it differently. The point, they said, is to reduce the size of government…
The conventional wisdom tells us Republicans are desperate to reduce the deficit and address the debt. This obviously isn’t true — if it were, they would stop demanding more tax breaks and start accepting more increases.
Rather, Republicans are desperate to reduce the size of government, and are using a massive deficit — which the GOP is largely responsible for creating — as an excuse to do what they want to do anyway.
My emphasis. Way I see it, this would be a textbook example of the Republicans acting in bad faith… which has been, in the nearly 50 years of my political awareness, pretty much what Republicans do. To extend the religious analogy, “acting in bad faith” probably appears as an article of faith in the Republican liturgical handbook.
I always found it hilarious that, in the obvious inability to get a full Congress (with all the Blue Dogs and other spineless Dems) to agree to a debt deal, they thought that 6 handpicked, hard-core idealogues from each side were going to somehow agree to something. I’m guessing they couldn’t even agree on the color of chairs to sit on and the toppings on thier work-ordered Papajohns…
The committee did exactly what it was designed to do: fail. Now that the total mishegas is out of the way, can they do some actual WORK?
@Punchy: Would have been much more interesting if each side picked the 6 committee members from the opposite team. Are there even 6 reasonable Republicans in the entire House?
What is going to be interesting is to see how they walk back the forced cuts in 2013. We can all rest assured that they will never cut a dime from DoD’s budget (apparently there is not fraud waste or abuse in that one). But how they are going to justify the walk back should be mildly entertaining – not unlike the orchestra playing on the Titanic as it went down.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
The rethuglicans would have a much easier time finding 6 Dems who would give them everything they wanted & then apologize for not being able to do more damage than Dems would have in finding 6 not-insane Rs.
If they enforced bank regulations like they do park rules, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place..
Oops, posted in the wrong thread.. Oh well.
Oops, posted in the wrong thead.. Oh well.
Stan of the Sawgrass
The Reboobs are looking at the polling numbers that show Obama losing to a generic Republican– and with the Presidency, the Congress, and the Supreme Court in their hands, with the Senate checkmated, the Reeps figure they’ll roll right over what’s left of the Dems in the 2012-’16 sessions.
Trouble is, once you put a name to that “generic Republican,” they don’t do so well anymore. And “no taxes on the rich, no way, never, no how,” isn’t a winning message. If the Dems can manage to get that message past the Fox News spin, they should at least be able to get the ‘independents,” maybe even 13 or 14 Reep votes out there.
But (sigh) we all know the Dems will probably fuck it up trying to run away from OWS, especially after the rest of the media fall into line behind Fox in demonizing those DFH panhandlers and rapists.
Anybody see the 60 Minutes piece on Grover Fucking Norquist? I wonder if he could be more smarmy if there was money in it for him.
But he was right about 1 thing: branding. The Rethuglicans are the no tax increase no matter how much damage we do party. What is the Dems brand? It used to be helping the working class and the disadvantaged but so many of them have gotten on board the money train the brand is gone. Its no wonder it is so easy to paint them as tax-n-spend when they have given up their own brand.
The entire idea was a complete and pathetic joke.
We’ve got ridiculously high unemployment for an extended period of time, so lets focus on cutting the deficit?
This is what happens when the people who run the Democratic party adopt Republican framing.
If they had any sense (!) they’d be the ‘protect Social Security no matter what’ party.
Fix’d. That was the diabolical scheme of Lee Atwater and his minions — they took the traditional strength of the Democrats and twisted it into Us vs Them.
That’s why Democrats can’t talk about helping out the disadvantaged anymore — the Republicans have successfully made that mean “taking money from white people and giving it to undeserving black and brown people.” And, as Davis X. Machina so rightly said, there are a whole lot of people in this country who would be content living under a bridge and roasting sparrows over a fire as long as Those People one bridge over didn’t even have a sparrow.
ETA: Not that the Democrats didn’t manage to shoot themselves in the foot by chasing after the big money guys. But, still, I think a lot of people underestimate just how broad the Republican scheme to exploit racial animosity really was.
Culture of Truth
Indeed, but in their minds it makes perfect sense: tax cuts lead to economic growth, which lowers the debt. Dems on the committee likewise should have countered with a massive stimulus and the committee could have compromised on doing nothing, although that is what they are doing anyway.
Exactly. As Taibbi said:
Stan of the Sawgrass
Always amazed at how durable that “tax-and-spend” tag is, even after Clinton’s surplus, and Reagan-Bush-Bush II’s massive “borrow and spend” deficits. There has to be a simple slogan that can be attached to them, if we can repeat it enough to stick. Nominations open…
@Stan of the Sawgrass:
The Republican message on taxes is more nuanced.
No taxes on Job Creators.
A flat tax (or expanding the tax base) to get those stinking, lazy, good for nothing 47%-ers, who do not pay Federal income taxes to start getting off their lazy butts and pay their fair share.
You’d be surprised how many middle-class right-wingers throw mud on the concept of the 47% and defend the idea the rich pay too much in taxes.
Divide and conquer. A strategy the rich of successfully used against everyone else, since this country’s founding.
It has always bothered me that the national debt is frequently reported as a citizen’s share on an equal basis per capita, currently approaching $50,000. Allocating debt this way doesn’t make sense, especially since the largest beneficiary from the accumulation of that debt is disproportionately at the very top of the wealth/income scale. If the national debt was distributed based on wealth, I would like to know where I should mail my check.
Also, we need better job creators. We keep giving them more money in terms of tax breaks and frankly they aren’t doing a very good job. I think that since teachers are being forced to have merit based pay that it stands to reason that the job creators should have merit based pay. I propose a job creator tax on all income for the top income bracket equal to the unemployment rate. This would be in addition to taxes already on the books.
That was the basis for Dixiecrat politics for nearly 100 years, from the end of the Civil War through the Civil Rights movement; we are for protecting white working class folks and we’ll make sure no blackie gets a penny.
Nixon, et. al. just expanded the Southern strategy employed for nearly a century, onto a national stage and found racial animosity also existed in Midwest and Northeast blue collar whites.
We’re spending $900 billion this year on military discretionary spending. What’s got the GOP absolutely flipping a gasket as the deal moves forward? Cuts to military spending.
This whole “reduce the size of government” argument – while ideologically accurate – is still total bullshit. McCain and Graham are going to shit bricks if their states lose that precious, precious military spending money.
Republicans tried yet again to put a bullet in Social Security/Medicare, and yet again they failed. That’s all this Super Committee was ever about for them. That, and maybe raising taxes on poor people, a la Pat Toomey.
I’m hoping that this supercommittee farce will help kill off the centrist-fetish idea that if the opposing parties just sat down and talked it out, everything would be just peachy.
I’m even more hoping that that was the plan all along.
Locally, that’s true. But they’re employing millions outside the country at the expense of the 9+% of our workforce that they’ve basically jettisoned.
Stan of the Sawgrass
Also, note that they rely on weasel words like “job creators” when that tag is demonstrably false. They’re not called on this (because Dems can’t offend those ‘job creators’), and because their messaging discipline is tighter than a chain-gang– repeat, repeat, repeat.
Anybody see Krugman on This Week? I’m allergic to George Will, but there was this clip on Raw Story:
Also– not surprised at how many struggling, just barely middle-class white voters defend not taxing the ‘job creators.’ We’re talking my entire extended family, welders and nurses and tractor drivers too. Looking forward to tense times this weekend…
Stan of the Sawgrass
Only Fools and Clowns…
@willard: Really sick of this bogus “job creators” label. What we should be talking about are the “profit creators” — American workers who are more productive and who work longer hours than workers in most industrialized countries, creating vast new wealth that has almost all flowed into the pockets of the rich. That is the real story of the last 30 years. The people who created that wealth didn’t get any of it. Yet we have this weird idea that we have to coddle the sociopaths who look on their workforces as costs instead of the assets they are.
Also, too, who are those boardroom geniuses who built a national economy on consumerism and who are now systematically destroying their consumer base?
I can’t help noticing that, too. Talk about the scorpion and the frog.
I don’t know about the specific merits of what she was talking about, but the other day Jennifer was saying we should organize people to default on their consumer debt as a way of pointing out to the 1% that, without consumers, you don’t have much of a US economy left.
There’s a fun little twist to canceling the DoD cuts. Obama’s been pushing those cuts for ages. So either the deal has to be sweet enough to convince him, or they need a veto-overriding supermajority. Even for something congress loves as much as defense spending, that is hard.
Has Heath Shuler (D-GOP) weighed in yet on this terrible failure of the Democrat Party to cut taxes in order to cut the deficit?
Bring on the Defense cuts!
Do it now, and do it deep, and do it smart, because it has to be done.
@Mnemosyne: That’d be Werebear’s Occupy Credit Card idea. It was a refinement of Jennifer’s idea to default on all debts by at least 10% of the population and hope that their resulting lack of homes, cars, and jobs (because of no cars) somehow forces an economic reset.
Defaulting on credit card and other line-of-credit debt though? Not a whole lot the powers that be can do about that, especially if every tells them to go pound sand. It’d get violent in a hurry, but a Citizen’s Jubilee might actually be possible.
Unfortunately getting even 10% of wage earners to take that kind of risk is bound to fail, but as a thought experiment it’s exciting. Jennifer’s dead serious about her idea, and it’s basically the equivalent of financial suicide bombing. To top that off she tut-tut’s anyone pointing out that if people lose their car they’re screwed and can’t just go out and get another one. So there is that. Don’t give her too much credit here.
@Schlemizel: “The rethuglicans would have a much easier time finding 6 Dems who would give them everything they wanted & then apologize for not being able to do more damage than Dems would have in finding 6 not-insane Rs.”
Nope, each side has to have representatives who can determine what they can sell to their own party. Does no good to have lapdogs in the committee if they cannot sell the deal to their own side.
@Frankensteinbeck: “There’s a fun little twist to canceling the DoD cuts. Obama’s been pushing those cuts for ages. So either the deal has to be sweet enough to convince him, or they need a veto-overriding supermajority. Even for something congress loves as much as defense spending, that is hard.”
Important if true. I also remember approximately 90-3 votes for telling Obama he could not do certain things with the defense budget. So there may be extremely broad bipartisan agreement to NOT CUT DEFENSE. We shall see.
@Schlemizel: With any luck the democrats brand will be ‘the sane party’, in contrast to the other guys.
My impression is that it’s not a thought experiment, but is happening in slow motion right now. People are spending only as much as they have to (thus the plaintive cried of “low demand” in the boardrooms of the nation), so the profits from credit card spending are probably not what they once were. On the debt side, those who are up against the wall may be putting necessary expenses (food, transportation) on their cards and digging a hole they can’t ever get out of. As I recall the “bankruptcy reform” passed by our Overlords during the Bush admin made it impossible to clear credit card debt through bankruptcy if your income is above a certain level. But guess what? Incomes for the people who have to keep digging that hole have fallen below that level, as they are likely unemployed or underemployed. I’d expect a wave of personal bankruptcies wiping out a big chunk of the debt on the banks’ books. Not sure if it will reach 10%, but a nice little double dip Great Recession might do that nicely.
Note: Are there experts out there who know if the income requirement to be able to wipe credit card debt through bankruptcy is still there? I know Dems tried to reform the “reform” early in O’s presidency, but don’t recall if they succeeded.
@Stan of the Sawgrass:
My old principle of “people want to get Democratic policies by voting Republican” reaching absurdly new heights. People realize that every single Republican candidate who’s been given them is so full of shit it’s coming out of his ears, that the same is true of the crop of Republican congressmen and governors they just elected, and that the same was true of the last Republican president they elected and all his buddies in Congress…
… but they still desperately want a “good” Republican to come and save them from somewhere, because, because, freedom and patriotism and lower taxes and support our troops and, you know, those awful Democrats are just so liberal!
@mamayaga: that’s all true. also, frankly,those same workers are the job creators. Demand creates jobs, not wealth, and not entrepreneurship. Nobody starts a company to create jobs. Jobs are a necessary expense, clearly to be minimized.
And if you compare the market cap of a company like Facebook to one like GE, and then compare the payrolls, it’s astounding. No wonder the few lucky ones like myself who work in the Internets can still be compensated well.
Now, how do we give American workers their productivity dividend, and favor true job creation?
@Frankensteinbeck: yeah, I don’t hate this “failure” at all. Smells more like a pincer movement to me. The Dems never heard an offer from the Pubs that was any better than the triggers.
@xian: The Dems ought to be pushing the line “The real job creators are customers with money to spend.” Then you can get into explanations like “With so many people out of work, and many others afraid of layoffs, most of us are afraid to spend any more than we have to, and some low-interest-debt financing of infrastructure can get more people employed, spending money and paying taxes again”.
@Stan of the Sawgrass:
Isn’t it more Republicans are desperate to reduce the size of the favored-by-Democrats part of the budget. the parts the Republicans like will not be reduced
Yes, yes, yes! Henry Ford paid his workers enough to afford a Model T, and then a Model A. Otherwise Mr. Ford wasn’t a pretty picture. He hated unions, and spent a ton of money supporting the German American Bund and Mr. Hitler’s politics in Germany during the slow run-up to WW II.
An unappealing as Mr. Ford was politically, he was smart enough to understand that if you are going to build things en mass on an assembly line, there had to be enough people with enough money to afford those products if you also planned to make a profit.
Who does the 1% expect will support the consumer economy that they have built? Without consumers, the fabulously wealthy will suddenly have a fraction of the cash flow they expect to live on.
If the Repugnants manage to turn everyone into serfs, where do they think their doctors, heart surgeons, artists and films will come from? Where will their mass market profits come from?
These people are so stupid we have to fight with all our ability to keep them from destroying the world as we prefer it, that is, with hi-tech, medicine, fast cars, slow food, etc.
Sometimes I think we should stop, let them do as they will, and then say to them, “There, are you happy now?” No doctors, no films, art, music, no Interstate highways, no airlines safe enough to travel on…