In a determined effort to convince the base that losing their Senate majority would be no big deal, Senate Democrats are already trying to dismantle the jobs program, and using Republican talking points to do it.
They've got Austerity Fever, and the only cure is a recession cowbell.
Which parts do the Democrats object to? Only the good ones.
Tom Carper (D-Credit Card Industry) opposes any kind of stimulus or jobs creation. He wants nothing but deficit reduction. In other words, he thinks destroying jobs will create jobs.
“I think the best jobs bill that can be passed is a comprehensive long-term deficit-reduction plan,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), discussing proposals to slash the debt by $4 trillion by overhauling entitlement programs and raising revenue through tax reforms. “That’s better than everything else the president is talking about — combined.”
He's joined by--who else--Joementum:
“Every dollar that is spent on the jobs bill … is not going to be available to Congress to deal with the debt,” said Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. “And to me, the top priority of ours should be long-term major debt reduction.”
Jim Webb, who used to impersonate a populist, is upset that rich people might have to pay more in taxes:
“Terrible,” Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. “We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.”
Ben Nelson, as usual, reads from Eric Cantor's wish list:
It’s hard to have an opinion on something you don’t think is going to be the final product,” said Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, a conservative Democrat who faces a tough reelection next year. “I’ve made it clear I’m looking for [tax] cuts, so I’m very hopeful there will be cuts.”
And, of course, the Senators who represent Big Petroleum have vowed to protect Exxon/Mobil et al
That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,” said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies. “Maybe it’s just for his election, which I hope isn’t the case.” . . .Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, from the oil-rich state of Alaska, said it was “frustrating” to see the president single out the oil industry after calling on the congressional supercommittee in last week’s address to Congress to find savings.
“When you start singling out certain industries, there’s an unfairness to it,” he said in an interview. “On the pay-fors, I have a problem.”
So, to recap:
We have Senate Democrats opposing:
raising taxes on the rich
ending tax breaks for the oil companies
injecting any cash at all into the economy
So, apparently, the only thing that can even gain 50 votes in the Senate is something that slashes entitlements, kills jobs, favors the rich, and gives a pass to Big Petroleum.
Our conservative working majority on full display.
The only consolation is, that when people like Nelson and Claire McCaskill get booted out of office and Democrats technically lose their majority, the impact will be minimal.
House Blue Dogs say "bring the recession on!"
After the press conference I asked Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) whether he agreed with CBO chief Doug Elmendorf -- and by extension Obama -- that the wisest economic path involves near term stimulus followed by long-run fiscal restraint.
"I would definitely be at odds with his comment on that -- I mean we've got to get our fiscal house in order," Shuler said. "We're at 15 percent of GDP in revenue and 24 and a half percent of expenditures. You want to take that 15 percent to 13 percent and increase spending to 27 percent.... I've ran a business, that doesn't go good on my balance sheet. I'm in the red when that happens."