Longwood Gardens. Photo by joanneleon. December, 2012
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News and Opinion
US Will Reach Federal Debt Limit on New Year’s Eve
Washington, DC — The government will reach the $16.4 trillion debt limit Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders Wednesday, adding a new and possibly dramatic wrinkle to negotiations aimed at averting the “fiscal cliff.”
The news came as President Barack Obama and the Senate prepared to return to Washington on Thursday, and Republican leaders in the House of Representatives conferred by phone Wednesday to plot strategy.
In his letter, Geithner said the Treasury "will shortly begin taking certain extraordinary measures authorized by law to temporarily postpone the date that the United States would otherwise default on its legal obligations."
These could include a temporary halt on payments on federal pensions and a temporary suspension of sales of special-purpose securities issued by the Treasury and often purchased by state governments.
Scott Brown Falsely Announces New Fiscal Cliff Proposal From Obama To GOP Leaders
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) caused a stir on Thursday by saying that President Barack Obama had sent over a new fiscal cliff proposal to Senate Republican leaders -- a key development that nobody else had heard about.
"Heading back to dc. Just learned that the Pres. reached out to Senate GOP leadership with a proposal. It is the first such proposal to be put forth. Eager to see why it is. How it is serious," Brown wrote on his Facebook page.
He tweeted shortly after, "Getting on place to DC to review plan from Pres. We will see. Better late than never."
But it turned out that Brown's scoop wasn't breaking news. It wasn't even true.
White House officials and aides to Senate Republican and Democratic leaders all said Brown's claim was inaccurate, noting there is no new proposal on the table and nothing has changed in the standoff over a fiscal deal. Those same officials also shot down a CNN report that mirrored Brown's comments.
"This sounds like an over-interpretation of our readout of the President's call," said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), referring to a phone call between Obama and Hill leaders on Wednesday night. "While we’re expecting Democrats to finally act, I don’t have a specific time frame."
Maybe We'll Get The Really Obvious Fiscal Cliff Solution That Everyone Expected All Along
All this talk about Grand Bargains and Plan Bs and so forth may have just distracted everyone from what the smart money thought all along, that a deal was much more likely right after January 1, than right before.
Here's what Bill McBride said way back in early November:My baseline forecast assumes a compromise on the fiscal slope (more of a "slope" than a "cliff", and January 1st is not a drop dead date). My current guess is an agreement will be reached AFTER January 1st - so that the Bush tax cuts can expire and certain politicians can claim they didn't vote to raise taxes (silly, but that is politics).
Ask a Democrat: On Social Security, Which Side Are You On?
(Note: This post was temporarily unavailable for technical reasons and was restored as of December 25.)
This is a moment of moral clarity. Right now there are only two sides in the Social Security debate: the side that says it’s acceptable to cut benefits — in a way that raises taxes for all income except the highest — and the side that says it isn’t.
It’s time to ask our leaders — and ourselves — a simple question: Which side are you on?
Nancy Pelosi says she can convince most Congressional Democrats to “stick with the President” as he pursues his gratuitous and callous plan to cut Social Security benefits as part of a deficit deal — even though Social Security does not contribute to the deficit.
Excuse me: Stick with the President? What about sticking with our seniors and our veterans? What about sticking with our disabled fellow Americans? What What about sticking with the more than 4,000 children on Social Security who lost a parent in the Iraq War?
If you want to “stick with” Americans on Social Security, it’s time to call everybody who represents you in Washington — your Representative, your Senator, your President — and tell them that they’ll lose your support if they do this deal.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
Valuing economics over ecology is not only a stupid mistake, it could result in the extinction of the human race.— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) December 27, 2012
This is not Charity, this is #MutualAid.— Occupy Sandy (@520ClintonOS) December 28, 2012
Could Congress deny $60B Sandy relief? House may push revamped bill to '13. Plus, Schwarzkopf remembered in roundup. bit.ly/VGjDHi— NJ.com Politics (@njerseypolitics) December 28, 2012
The Kinks - Father Christmas
Remember when progressive debate was about our values and not about a "progressive" candidate? Remember when progressive websites championed progressive values and didn't tell progressives to shut up about values so that "progressive" candidates can get elected?
Come to where the debate is not constrained by oaths of fealty to persons or parties.
Come to where the pie is served in a variety of flavors.
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum." ~ Noam Chomsky