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President Obama comforts a marina owner after Hurricane Sandy struck.  Oct. 2012
President Obama has comforted Sandy victims. Now he must ensure they receive the aid they need.
Touring superstorm Sandy-stricken areas, President Barack Obama said:
I'll be working with the members of Congress to do everything we can to get the resources needed to rebuild[.]
That work must begin with the negotiations regarding the austerity bomb (a/k/a the "fiscal cliff") that Republicans in Congress lit when they held the debt ceiling hostage last August. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has requested $30 billion in aid to rebuild after Sandy. Estimates of just insured losses in New Jersey top $20 billion. And Sandy wreaked havoc in other states as well.

Avoiding the austerity bomb and tossing the economy back into recession requires federal aid that will address the recovery and rebuilding needs of affected areas. As Queens Congressman Joe Crowley said:

If New York — the region around New York in the tri-state region — turns into an economic downturn because of the effects of the storm, it will certainly affect the entire nation's economy[...] And so I think it's in all of our interests to get the region back up and running at full throttle so that it doesn't become a drag on the rest of the country.
Appropriate levels of federal aid for recovery and rebuilding in Sandy-ravaged areas must be a central part of negotiations and deal-making on the austerity bomb. A few ideas on that on the other side:

One of the revealing aspects to the panic over the so-called "fiscal cliff" is the reveal of the misleading idea that what matters now is addressing the deficit. The "confidence fairy" is truly dead. As Paul Krugman noted:

[T]he only reason to worry about the fiscal cliff is if you’re a Keynesian, who thinks that bringing down the budget deficit when the economy is already depressed makes the depression deeper. And the same logic actually says that we should not just avoid spending cuts, we should raise spending right now. [... T]he supposed deficit hawks, who should be celebrating the prospect of such a big move in their direction, aren’t. Why? [But] this isn’t the deficit reduction they wanted — it was supposed to involve hurting the working class, not raising tax rates at the top (which were supposed to be cut!). [Emphasis supplied.]
The "deficit hawks" aren't worried about the deficit—they are worried that middle class and poor people are not being hurt. The "fiscal cliff" nonsense demonstrates this as clearly as anything could. They should be celebrating, not wringing their hands. They are wringing their hands because the "fiscal cliff" involves the Bush tax cuts for the rich expiring and cuts to military spending. The only government spending that worries them is spending that benefits the middle class and the poor. When discussing these issues it is imperative to keep that in mind.

Indeed, the progressive position on the "fiscal cliff" (more correctly, the "austerity bomb") should be to look for productive ways to increase federal spending in the short term. Senate Democrats may be coalescing around this idea:

“We need to do something on stimulus as part of the overall fiscal cliff,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist. “We have to do something because the economy is not growing fast enough in the first year or two.” Schumer said deficit reduction and a federal stimulus package are not mutually exclusive.

“You can have a 10-year deficit-reduction package that encourages a way to get the economy moving more quickly in the first year or so,” he said. Schumer said extending the payroll tax holiday and “dealing with infrastructure” are among “all kinds of different things” on the table.

I heartily endorse this idea. But I'm skeptical that such a deal can be struck in that framework by the end of the year. Accordingly, I believe that short-term stimulus can best be pushed in the form of federal aid for Sandy recovery and rebuilding, including infrastructure. This is the type of push that should be political difficult to oppose. And if such spending is likely to pass, THEN, it seems to me, that a more generalized stimulus package can garner the necessary support. In other words, once the congressional reps from the rest of the country see that Sandy-ravaged areas are going to get federal money, then they will want some for their areas of the country too. Call it a sort of build out strategy for building political consensus for stimulus spending.

What would such a deal look like? I think it will be long on promises of agreements to agree about long-term deficit reduction (to be carried over to the next Congress), agreement on extending the Bush tax cuts for a period (6 months to a year) and a suspension of the automatic spending cuts (sequestration). We can already see this type of formulation coming from GOP House Speaker John Boehner:

“Since tax and entitlement reform are too complex to complete this year, the Speaker noted, our goal for this year, in the coming weeks, is to settle on long-term revenue targets for tax reform as well as targets for savings from our entitlement programs,” according to a Boehner aide. “Once we settle on those targets, the Speaker proposed, we can create simple mechanisms, in statute, that would achieve those revenue and spending goals. They would be in place unless or until more thoughtful policies replace them. The Speaker recalled the president’s call for a ‘balanced’ approach to the debt problem — a combination of revenues and spending cuts — and said the framework Republicans have proposed is consistent with it.”

The framework suggests that automatic budget cuts and tax increases scheduled for the new year would be removed and replaced with a different kind of enforcement mechanism that would include both higher taxes and lower spending.

Add stimulus to the deal, appropriate levels of Sandy recovery and rebuilding aid and others such as proposed by Senator Schumer, and I think there is a deal to be had with the lame duck Congress this year.

I would support such a deal as it could deliver what should have been done years ago—short-term stimulus from the federal government.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i'd go for that (9+ / 0-)

    genuine stimlus, kill sequestration, a short term tax cut extension which can be killed in six months, and a nod and a wink on the deficit- nothing binding as far as cuts down the road. but i don't see that happening.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:25:24 PM PST

    •  Lost me right from here (13+ / 0-)
      That work must begin with the negotiations regarding the austerity bomb
      No deal but a new deal.

      Krugman is right that the cliff is a fake.

      The Social Safety net is not negotiable.

      Support the 100 city AFL CIO action.

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:43:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  i'm okay with the optics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder, dkosdan

        if it led to stimulus and but a feign on future cuts, while just kicking the can on the tax cuts so they can just be allowed to expire not too far down the road. it's the feign on future cuts that i don't see. well, i don't see any stimulus, either.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:49:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The optics are kinda blurry if... (0+ / 0-)

          your takeaway is that all going over the cliff would do is delay tax cuts.  It would, as Krugman, and others point out, eliminate them Jan 1st unless a deal is cut by Dec 31st.  

          Not that it works all that well for the Republicans if that's their idea of a pressure point because, at the same instant, the current year over year deficit will be gone.  Outside of some Republicans and bankers I don't hear all that much complaining from the truly rich that they cannot afford to pay their share.  That is thinking people not Donald "The Rug" Trump and his like.

          If one is a Keynesian one would celebrate going off the cliff.  So, strangely, would most practitioners of monetarism.  The Bush era cuts smack of favouritism which offends monetarists.  The only ones wanting to cling to them are Ayn Rand style "libertarians", it seems to me.

          Stimulus will, in many ways, come from cleaning up from Sandy.  That cleanup will, of necessity, improve on pre-existing infrastructure on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States where it's been decaying for decades now.  

          For better or worse, the New York/New Jersey area so hard hit is the financial centre of the U.S. and is still, adding PA still a major manufacturing region.  That clean  up must and will happen even with the howls of outrage that will come along with it.

          Think of it this way, it's stimulus through the side door.  That will work for the benefit of most of if not all of the United States.

          We can live in today or live life not understanding yesterday is a cancelled cheque, tomorrow but a promise all while we piss on today.

          by TtfnJohn on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:20:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  'Fiscal cliff' is nonsense to (0+ / 0-)

        Reich, too.

    •  Let the Republicans refuse help for Sandy and (0+ / 0-)

      they will have a hornets nest of mad voters and no chance of winning elections in those states. Can they afford that and remain a true national party? Me thinks not.

      Conservatives supported slavery, opposed women’s suffrage, supported Jim Crow, opposed the 40-hour work week, the abolishment of child labor, and supported McCarthyism. from 'It's The Conservatism, Stupid' by Paul Waldman July 12, 2006

      by arealniceguy on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 02:07:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I disagree (23+ / 0-)

    Sandy relief/FEMA aid should be independent of any deal.  It's disgraceful that we try to nickel and dime FEMA and then act surprised when a disaster occurs.  Perhaps this was a larger than normal disaster, but FEMA should have healthy funding every year.  If we end up with money left over, that's a reason to celebrate; not wonder where we went wrong.

    Hell, why does anything need to be part of a grand bargain.  Why does middle class tax cuts need to be part of it?  Why do defense cuts need to be part of it?  Why can't we just do these things for their own sake and not to make numbers on a spreadsheet add up?  This is why pay as you go has always disgusted me.

  •  Should be a no-brainer. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    Would like federal control over some of the materials sourcing for public works to ensure American companies get the benefit, but besides that, drop cash from helicopters every hour on the hour in the coastal tri-state region.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:28:42 PM PST

    •  I'm getting grumpier ever time I hear the term (0+ / 0-)

      "no-brainer".  Sorry.

      Rather see the benefits go to individuals and families than "companies".

      Also need some cost-sharing requirement to ensure the states become more responsible about building in flood prone areas.

      •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akmk, sethtriggs

        When I say "American companies..." I'm not saying that only companies should get the benefit. Just that where companies are getting contracts, they should where possible be American, in order to boost the stimulative effect on the national economy.

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:46:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wellll......Redux (0+ / 0-)

          I understand your concern that the money should have a stimulative effect on the United States but every time we get into this discussion there's a tendency by American's top forget that Canadian and American manufacturing, development and research are so tightly wound together  as to be, often, indistinguishable.  The last little trap on this one was after New Orleans got clobbered

          There's a type of sewer/water/drainage piping that's made only in Canada and it took a bit of a battle to make it available in the States for that recovery.  The differences are partly in the materials used and in how the piping joins both of which are supposed to reduce weak points to almost zero. The reality is that it's a joint, cross border effort in the true spirit of NAFTA but the final stage, manufacturing, is done in Canada.  It would have a stimulative effect on both sides of the border, though we need it somewhat less than the U.S. does, but it does fit your understandable desire to maximize stimulative effect in the States.

          I'm not being critical for its own sake but simply to point out that horizons need to be raised at times like this.

          Oh, and for the record, the recovery spending should have nothing to do with the so-called fiscal bluff.  It needs to happen anyway so get on with it already!

          So call the GOP's bluff.  They're backs are against the wall on this one.  One way or another the US tax regime needs to change Jan 1, 2013.  If the Bush tax cuts go down at least there's a clean slate to start from.

          We can live in today or live life not understanding yesterday is a cancelled cheque, tomorrow but a promise all while we piss on today.

          by TtfnJohn on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:00:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely a no-brainer.. (0+ / 0-)

      ...which is why I fear that self-interested Reptilicans from the Tea Party and other right-wingers in the house will again attempt to hold this hostage. They have no brains, so they are quite willing to sacrifice the greater for the ideology of a very few.

      Any member of Congress who stands in the way of economic recovery, not just for the East coast, but the Nation, should be impeached and run out of politics. These idiots don't understand that the "Blue" part of the country is the phuqqing economic nerve center of the country!!

      And by the way... if you wish to secede, just renounce your citizenship and leave the adults alone. Go play in your libertarian paradise....

      Somalia.

      "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

      by CanisMaximus on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:41:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Now were talking. Congress is good at that, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Calamity Jean

      apparently doing so in Iraq and Afghanistan for years.

      Right now HUGE Fed stimulus going on in the middle east...

      Via War Costs

      America Begins Nation-Building at Home (Provided Your Home is the Middle East)
      Posted by John Amick · November 15, 2012 3:56 PM

      This article was originally published at TomDispatch.com.

      By Nick Turse

      A billion dollars from the federal government: that kind of money could go a long way toward revitalizing a country’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

      The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District (USACE-MED).  More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.  These contracts represent a mix of projects, including expanding and upgrading military bases used by U.S. troops in the region, building facilities for indigenous security forces, and launching infrastructure projects meant to improve the lives of local populations.

      The figures are telling, but far from complete.  They do not, for example, cover any of the billions spent on work at the more than 1,000 U.S. and coalition bases, outposts, and other facilities in Afghanistan or the thousands more manned by local forces.  They also leave out construction projects undertaken in the region by other military services like the U.S. Air Force, as well as money spent at an unspecified number of bases in the Middle East that the Corps of Engineers “has no involvement with,” according to Joan Kibler, chief of the Middle East District’s public affairs office.
      SNIP

      WTF?  And its being suggested we negotiate for aid for the tri state region? WTF WTF WTF  WTF ?

      Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

      by divineorder on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:50:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  re: the negotiation... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        divineorder

        I think Armando's got a strategic aim in mind, which I don't think will work, but he's not just saying we should negotiate -- he's saying that you open that door and more cash will follow because the principle will have been set. I think the aid should be separate unless there are no spending cut strings attached, i.e. there should be no tradeoff in any sense at any level between aid and cuts, and of course the overall idea of massive cash inflows to the region is a good one.

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:54:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My reply was focused on this part of your comment (0+ / 0-)
          drop cash from helicopters every hour on the hour in the coastal tri-state region.

          Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

          by divineorder on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:04:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  That's my more ambitious goal (0+ / 0-)

          But my short term goal is easily doable politically imo.

          I would not be surprised if Schumer has something like that in mind already.

          It's an endgame position though, not what you offer out of the box.

          I think Obama and Reid are making all the right noises right now about being determined that the Bush tax cuts for the rich end this year.

          Ask for more than what you will settle for.

          Basic bargaining technique.

    •  It already exists for the DOD (0+ / 0-)

      All large contracts have minority set-asides.

      I know from personal experience that the smaller defense contractors give better service than larger ones.

  •  Some tips for saving = remove: (3+ / 0-)

    1. Morrtgage interest for 2nd or greater homes
    2. Agrigcultural supports
    3. Petroleum supports
    4. Coal industry supports
    5. Tax breaks for offshoring
    6. Subsidies for WS

    And purely symbolic = reduce:
    1. Health plan coverage for Congress to be that = to average "Obamacare" recipeint
    2. Congress' pensions to national average
    3. Perks for general officiers
    4. Captial gains offsets

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:30:36 PM PST

    •  What "perks" for General Officers are you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shigeru

      talking about?

      The only thing they get different is in their pensions.  They get 100% of base pay, as opposed to "High 3".

      •  Don't have a problem with the pensions (0+ / 0-)

        It is the other stuff they get during active duty. And they need to be reined in a bit in regard to the arbitrary use of power. That and there has been an escalation in the number of 4-stars in recent years. Perhaps a tighter filter process would be good too.
        As noted in the link below and on the VN LRRP society group, to which I belong.

        http://www.americanthinker.com/...

        If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

        by shigeru on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:46:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Long-term targets (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    may be the best approach. Something that will, in principle, reduce the deficit over ten years. Of course, anything passed by the lame duck session will not necessarily be binding on the 113th Congress, let alone those 5 or 10 years down the road.

  •  We are the country that rebuilt Europe after WWII. (12+ / 0-)

    Yet we seem to lack the resolve to rebuilt parts of our own country ravaged by a natural disaster, at a time when the collective wealth of this nation far exceeds the wealth we owned at the time of the Marshall Plan.

    We must not, can not, allow the greed and narrow mindedness of the 0.01% to destroy this country.

    The 0.01% did NOT win the election, in case anybody hadn't noticed.

    "But there is so much more to do." - Barack Obama, Nov. 4, 2008

    by flitedocnm on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:31:38 PM PST

  •  If this kind of deal can be struck, (0+ / 0-)

    it's going to involve no deficit reduction. Why? The Republicans just aren't going to capitulate on the Bush tax cuts. Ever.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:33:32 PM PST

    •  They already did, though! (0+ / 0-)

      I understand the realities vis-a-vis posturing and hostage-holding, but the concurrent reality is that the Bush tax cuts ARE expiring. They already voted on that. It's a done deal. Democrats would have to vote to undo the existing reality to keep the Bush tax cuts for the top 2%.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:41:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  He should do a reverse G. W. Bush maneuver and (4+ / 0-)

    fund $50 Billion in disaster reconstruction as an off budget addendum like Bush did with the wars.  Oh I forgot, it's only when Republicans are in the White House that deficits don't matter.   The disaster relief would be a HUGE short term stimulus that would actually HELP the ECONOMY.  In other words Republicans will surely be AGAINST it!

  •  pass a law(or rule) which says... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, Calamity Jean

    "money appropriated for natural disaster relief is not subject to the "pay go" rule".
    In other words they can be added to the deficit and do not need to harm other programs. Disasters are unforseeable and thus can't be put into a budget so they belong in the catagory of special appropriations where Bush put the entire billions in war funding.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:35:08 PM PST

    •  Disasters due to building in flood prone areas are (4+ / 0-)

      somewhat forseeable.

      We also need policy to encourage responsibility from local governments in this regard.

    •  No need for a special rule (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, wu ming

      Congress is not subject to any substantive spending limitations.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:38:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  legally true but politically not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        Democrats put in the 'pay go' rule to show they would be different than Republicans after Bush used the national credit card for everything and created this deficit crisis.

        But now the GOPers are using it to force cuts equal to any appropriations. They have already done it for several natural disasters and democrats generally go along with them since it's their rule. The language I proposed would negate that reasoning and it would get wide support because of Sandy.

        But I agree, you are legally correct in what you say. It's just that politically things don't work out that way. The 'pay go' rule itself hasn't totally stopped deficit spending but it has put constraints on it. In some places like disasters it's been bad but in others it's been good.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:38:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

      and the way to do it is to make it part of the austerity bomb negotiations.

  •  How would such a bill (0+ / 0-)

    get passed in the House?

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:37:02 PM PST

  •  Cuomo is also, in typical NY fashion, asking for (4+ / 0-)

    100% reimbursement from FEMA, while it is typical for FEMA to reimburse states for anywhere between 75% and 90% in the losses incurred.  Vermont was reimbursed 90% after Irene.

    I don't think New York should get one nickel more than any other state in terms of reimbursement rate.  They are no more deserving than the next guy.

    While this may be neither here nor there, one hell of a lot of tax money was poured into NYC's financial sector in the aftermath of the financial collapse, which they created.

    Cuomo should accept 90% and not pout about it.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:43:03 PM PST

    •  I guess maybe you think that the people of NY (0+ / 0-)

      are buying Cadillacs and T-bone steaks with the Wall Street bailouts.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:53:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

        I think there's understandable frustration that a certain segment of the population got bailed out and another segment absolutely did not, in 2008-2009. Well understandable rage. I agree that tying this to disaster recovery is specious.

        it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

        by Addison on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:58:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  May I mention New Orleans? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sethtriggs

          and how arbitrarily FEMA gave aid, and what a mess that was, altogether?
          As we say in New Orleans:

          Fix
          Everything
          My
          Ass

          "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

          by azureblue on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:37:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't see any reason for NY to get more than (0+ / 0-)

      anyone else. Hope we don't see any blank checks passed around. Anyone living in vulnerable areas should expect to pay something more as part of that.

    •  Much of the NE needs new zoning codes to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      prevent rebuilding in areas sure to be subjected to flooding resulting from sea-level rise. People who currently live in those areas whose homes were destroyed in Sandy could be given relocation assistance.

      I've also heard NYers talking about building "storm-surge walls." These would be worse than a waste of money. I hope geologists who specialize in beach processes would be consulted first and not just engineers who believe that holding back the sea is just a Fourier transform away.  

      Also, I wonder if the people of the Gulf of Mexico should get some assistance from the fines BP is paying to offset costs associated with long term damage not previously recognized.

      Finally, I understand the rationale of stopping the agricultural subsidies, but I would suggest that they could also be repurposed to assist the farmers affected by the droughts resulting from climate change.

      I once went to work for an organization in dire financial straits that was made highly profitable by a group of hard working people "pulling together." Looking back, I can easily say that making a lot of money was far less contentious than deciding how to spend/invest it turned out to be.

      “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

      by RJDixon74135 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:13:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, well, Armando, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    since it seems few Dems are even willing to spurn the immediately dire "fiscal cliff" canard, I have serious doubts about this,

    ... the progressive position on the "fiscal cliff" (more correctly, the "austerity bomb") should be to look for productive ways to increase federal spending in the short term.
    Sensible people already know how the economic slip-n-slide should be triaged but there don't seem to be many of those in D.C. Beltway folk seem to prefer one-upping each other's window displays while the floor rots out from under their feet.
    •  In the post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      714day

      I quote from Charles Schumer saying it.

      I'm not sure what type of evidence you are looking for.

      •  I know it was Schumer's statement and I don't (0+ / 0-)

        contest that it was said.
        I was expressing (poorly) a disdain for the whole kettle of fiscal cliff fish and that Dems are inclined to miss the forest for the trees by adopting the GOP rhetoric and acting as if it's something they, too, buy. If they were genuinely progressive, they would reframe, at the very least.

  •  Obama can't give in on the Bush cuts again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Karl Rover, antirove

    you say...

    I think it will be long on promises of agreements to agree about long-term deficit reduction (to be carried over to the next Congress), agreement on extending the Bush tax cuts for a period (6 months to a year) and a suspension of the automatic spending cuts (sequestration).
    This is probably the only time Obama will have a chance to finally end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. He has too much political capital invested in ending them that I can't see him reneging again this time.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:48:03 PM PST

  •  Austerity Bomb (4+ / 0-)

    There is no negotiating with Terrierists

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:51:21 PM PST

  •  Republicans holding disaster relief hostage (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dkosdan

    to get their way on fiscal policy (i.e. the austerity schtick). It could be framed like this, you know, but it won’t. Republicans have tried in the past to hold disaster relief hostage. It didn’t work then, but I have the feeling it will 'work' this time (i.e. made-for-TV-saga).

  •  Lame ducks shouldn't do it (0+ / 0-)

    just wait till the next Congress, which will be better. There is no emergency that can't wait until early next year.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 04:42:31 PM PST

  •  Reading through the comments (0+ / 0-)

    I guess I did not explain my idea very well.

    Very few seem to understand it.

    One example - the idea that it is now or never for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. This is obviously nonsense. If the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire in 6 months or a year, then they can be ended then the same way they can be ended now.

    As for not tying Sandy aid to pushing off the austerity bomb, I've not seen a coherent argument why not. Saying it "should be separate" is not an answer.

    Should and is are different concepts.

    The fact is the President will be, imo, in a much better position to negotiate if the economy is stronger 6 months from now.

    A stimulus infusion now will strengthen the economy now.

    Which will impact the CBO projections. Which will make the political imperative for cuts much weaker.

    I frankly think most of the comments in this thread are not particularly coherent.

  •  Pushing Down the Road (3+ / 0-)

    I'm all for Boehner's Plan for pushing all the real decisions on the deal into the next Congress were we will have larger numbers in the House and Senate (and hopefully put in place filibuster reform, EXCEPT...

    Notice its a big bold EXCEPT...

    For the extension of the tax cuts for under $250,000.

    That needs to be done NOW as President Obama is asking so we can finally de-couple it from the over $250,000 tax rate, and free the middle class hostages once and for all!  We need to once again pass the under $250,000 tax cut extension in the Senate and put Boehner and his fellow House Republicans in a position of either passing it or being put on record as the reason middle class taxes go up in 2013.

    If the under $250,000 tax cut extension is not part of the deal, we would be better off with no deal at all, and let the new Congress (were we will have greater control) deal with the whole thing.

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:02:20 PM PST

    •  That's not in doubt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doctor Who

      unless you mean permanently extending them.

      That's problematic because it increases the deficit and would require spending reductions to match them, even under reconciliation.

      I understand the impulse to decouple them, but I think that increased stimulus spending now is more important than achieving the decoupling by December.

      Also, I'm against a lame duck Congress making long term decisions.

      •  Armando: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Doctor Who
        Also, I'm against a lame duck Congress making long term decisions.
        Granted, but that decision has already been foisted upon us. If the lame duck congress refuses to make a decision, that IS a decision.

        You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. --Bob Dylan-- -7.25, -6.21

        by Tim DeLaney on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:15:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Armando, do you think that (2+ / 0-)

        six months or a year from now the GOP will readily accept the expiration of the Bush tax cuts? Or do you think they will find another way to hold the country hostage to their failed idea?

        I don't think they will give up. Paraphrasing Frank Pantangele in Godfather II, we have to deal with them now, while we have the muscle.

        Politics is not only the art of the possible, but also the art of what is possible NOW.

        You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. --Bob Dylan-- -7.25, -6.21

        by Tim DeLaney on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:38:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It won't matter if they do (0+ / 0-)

          They will expire just as they do now at the end of the year.

          In the meantime we will have Sandy relief and other stimulus in hand.

          •  But "In the meantime ..." (3+ / 0-)

            they will find other reasons to hold the country hostage to these tax cuts. Every postponement of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts is an immense victory for the GOP. Many billions of dollars for the extremely wealthy are at stake.

            Do you think the country would stand for the GOP withholding Sandy relief? Unthinkable! We are not in the position of having to beg the GOP to for Sandy relief. We won the election, after all!

            I am not nearly as confident as you are that these infamous tax cuts will someday, bye and bye, be allowed to expire. This beast will die only when its heart stops beating forever. We should draw that line at December 31. JMHO

            You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. --Bob Dylan-- -7.25, -6.21

            by Tim DeLaney on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:12:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Extend Only the $250 and Under Cuts (5+ / 0-)

        I have no problem with a temporary extension for the $250 and under cuts, as long as we don't extend the over $250 cuts.  I'm open to any lame duck deal that just extends the $250 and under cuts, but we should not agree to any deal that extends both leaving them coupled and our side exposed to another round of hostage taking.

        Free the Middle Class Tax Hostages NOW!

        "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

        by Doctor Who on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:42:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  tipped for "austerity bomb" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dkosdan

    that's good!

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:50:29 PM PST

  •  You lost me on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    South Park Democrat
    agreement on extending the Bush tax cuts for a period (6 months to a year)
    The President has said this is non-negotiable for incomes above $250K. These tax cuts have to end. They are the primary driver of the deficit, which is the primary excuse used by Republicans for why we can't spend money on anything (except Defense, of course).

    Democrats will never be in a stronger position than they are now, and now is the time for these deficit-driving tax cuts for the rich to end.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:48:26 PM PST

  •  Aid for Sandy and the hundreds of storms to (0+ / 0-)

    follow?   Need a bigger plan than just rescue.

    If money is speech, then speech must be money.

    by dkmich on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 03:20:14 AM PST

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