The Big Con
The Senate, having struck its compromise, has gone home. The House, controlled by delusional Republicans, has gone home. Payroll taxes are slated to rise, and unemployment insurance is set to expire before they return in January. The compromise wasn’t just between the two parties in the Senate, apparently. According to Wednesday’s Washington Post, House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor met with Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell on Friday and told him they’d get the votes to pass the two-month extension deal he’d worked out with Harry Reid. But Boehner, who is turning out to be the weakest speaker since the House was first gaveled to order in 1789, couldn’t hold his troops, whose caucus meetings, by numerous accounts, increasingly resemble the pep rallies of cults that have lost all feel for how other humans think.
No doubt Republicans know the fight over extending the payroll tax is one they could lose. Thus, they've pivoted away from opposing the extension, and have presented a plan of their own — one that Timothy Noah says the Democrats should be willing to work with because it "doesn't stink."
Well, in my experience, just because you can't smell something doesn't mean it doesn't sink. Some things "pass the smell test" because of a faulty sniffer; not because they don't stink. And the GOP's payroll tax plan does so stink.
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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) recently announced his legislative priorities for the upcoming months, and they consist of the same old reckless attacks on health and environmental safeguards for all Americans. Creating an apocalyptically titled hit list of his "Top 10 Job-Destroying Regulations," Cantor takes aim at an astonishing 12 clean air safeguards, and five other labor, environmental, and health care standards. But problems with basic arithmetic are the least of the concerns with this "top 10" list. The House Republican dirty air hit list reflects a baseless and ideological tirade against clean air protections that would put Americans' lives at risk, while doing nothing to create jobs. American families cannot afford to see these clean air standards rolled back.... more »
From the debates in Wisconsin and elsewhere about public sector unions, you might get the impression that we’re going bust because teachers are overpaid. That’s a pernicious fallacy. A basic educational challenge is not that teachers are raking it in, but that they are underpaid. If we want to compete with other countries, and chip away at poverty across America, then we need to pay teachers more so as to attract better people into the profession.... more »
There are a lot of myths about “Simpson-Bowles,” the plan being circulated by former Republican senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton administration official Erskine Bowles that is being touted as a balanced, reasonable way to reduce the federal deficit. In reality, it is neither balanced nor reasonable. Here is what you should know about the Simpson-Bowles plan.
It’s a word seldom heard since Karl Rove brandished it after the 2004 election. On the basis of an Electoral College win secured by the precarious margin of one state, an Ohio rife with voter suppression, “Bush’s brain”—is that a compliment to Rove?—proclaimed an era of Republican realignment. Rove’s fantasy was demolished in 2012, when the GOP waged a backward-looking campaign directed to the American electorate of a decade and more ago—two white, too old, too rural, too Southern. Instead, the crabbed, plutocratic, intolerant Republican appeal did succeed—in mobilizing the new America, which convincingly voted for a second Obama term. But something more has happened here than the reelection of one president, as consequential as that is. We are witnessing a Rove in reverse—but this time, an authentic and accelerating realignment in the demography, ideology, and political identity of the American mainstream.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is departing from the State Department on her own terms and with a formidable legacy intact. Given that Clinton, no matter what she decides about 2016, will undoubtedly remain an influential figure in American public life for years to come, one might have expected her long-time detractors, who have been trying for more than 20 years to trip her up, to land some solid blows to her widely admired reputation for leadership on the global stage. Instead, we've been treated to salvos that were silly, at best; and on the one potentially serious issue raised, the Fox News-initiated and Mitt Romney-fortified Benghazi craze, all the attacks fell flat.
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As the election results sink in, partisans are busy debating what 2012 voting patterns mean for Republican and Democratic prospects in the next election cycle. But what lessons do this year’s results hold for those of us who are committed to expanding opportunity and protecting human rights in ways that transcend party and outlast individual elections or candidates? more »
Anyone who has read The Shock Doctrine understands exactly what this "Fiscal Cliff" scare is. more »
Take the conversation related at the beginning of this article with a grain of salt since it's a "my sister's best friend's brother told me" sort of thing, but I think it's a fair representation of the way the conservatives are gaming out their strategy in case it's close and Obama wins the electoral col more »
Austerity is back in the news, and the news about austerity is never good. We've only had de facto austerity on this side of the pond. So as usual, the news is from Europe, where the austerians are going full-tilt boogie. Our homegrown austerians, like their European counterparts, tell us that the kind of severe austerity underway in Europe is necessary to reduce the deficit. Everything from food stamps to Medicaid and Medicare — everything except defense spending — must be cut in order to reduce the deficit.
The thing is, it hasn't worked. In Greece, Europe's austerity poster child, austerity has shrunk the economy and increased the national debt.