Their opponents shouldn't be too quick to call Republicans "crazy." It makes more sense to employ that time-honored investigative principle: Follow the money. Sure, they've said crazy things -- in their speeches and in their official platform. But crazy? more »
The rich, those born sucking silver spoons like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, really are different from the middle class. The wealthy grow up and live their lives wrapped in security. That’s what gives them the arrogance to organize a posse to hold down a fellow prep school student and chop off his hair, mock NASCAR fans’ clothes and ridicule cookies offered by supporters. more »
epi.org — Tuesday, David Brooks channeled a deeply flawed presentation by the Third Way to argue that while the federal government used to spend money on things that improved national “dynamism” it now just spends on “entitlements.” You’d have to look hard to find a bigger fan of public investments than me. But, the economic benefits of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are absolutely enormous. They provide a service (insurance against risk, and people value insurance quite highly) much more efficiently than do private-sector providers. In the case of Social Security, this efficiency is mainly in low administrative costs and the government’s ability to provide actuarially fair insurance without needing the compensation that private-sector insurance providers would demand.
latimes.com — Ghosts have nothing on some of the ideas that come out of Washington when it comes to rattling chains and knocking pictures off the wall to terrify the common people. Case in point: the privatization of Social Security. One would have thought that this proposal was done in by two major stock market crashes since 2000, not to mention the generally noisome odor arising from almost everything that Wall Street has touched in recent years. Yet ever so stealthily it's creeping back into the public debate via the presidential campaign. Both members of the Republican ticket, Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), have expressed great enthusiasm for the idea in the past; in 2004, Ryan even sponsored a bill in Congress that was so reliant on private accounts that it was rejected by the Bush White House as too extreme.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney foolishly revived the dust up about his income tax secrecy last week. He claimed he paid at least 13 percent, an assertion easy enough for him to prove by releasing his tax documents.
But he’s refusing to do that. He called the concern about his tax rate “small minded.” Much more important issues overshadow it, he contended.
Wow. Boehner must have had a few too many Merlots before he went on Greta Van Susteran's show on Wednesday:
VAN SUSTEREN, FOX News: People think of him as hawkish on the budget, on expenses, but he voted for TARP. He voted for the auto bailout, voted for two stimulus in '08, voted against the '09 -- February '09 President Obama stimulus. How does -- I mean, how does he explain those, or I mean, how does -- politically, how does he sell that?
BOEHNER: I mean, I think that he's a practical conservative. He's got a very conservative voting record, but he's not a knuckle-dragger, all right? He understood that TARP, while none of us wanted to do it, if we were going to save -- save our economy, save the world economy, it had to happen. I wish we didn't have to do it, either, but he understood that.
So those who were against the TARP are knuckle-draggers? How interesting. Howie gives us this reminder today: more »
It's unclear what effect presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's decision to add Rep. Paul Ryan to his ticket will have on his candidacy, if any. But the choice certainly has had a salutary effect on the Obama re-election campaign.
What Vice President Joe Biden said today was, to use his now-famous phrase, "a big effin' deal." No, we're not talking about his "chains" comment which, as usual, has fascinated a press corps obsessed with taking statements out of context and playing "gotcha" games. more »
policyshop.net — Social Security turned 77 today. Unfortunately, it's not a happy day for the historic program: new data compiled by the U.S. Treasury Department for Smart Money reports: "From January through August 6, the government reduced the size of roughly 115,000 retirees' Social Security checks on those grounds. That's nearly double the pace of the department's enforcement in 2011; it's up from around 60,000 cases in all of 2007 and just 6 cases in 2000." So, we're garnishing Social Security checks. This development can't be blamed on poor personal finance and bad life choices. Most of these retirees took on this debt later in life to help others (mainly family members) pay for increasingly expensive and necessary higher ed degrees.