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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 28, 2012. Boehner voiced optimism that Republicans could broker a deal with the White House to avoid year-end austerity measures, saying on Wedn
Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner
Republicans are starting to squirm and look for ways out of the upcoming sequester. And no wonder: If it goes into effect, it would deal another blow to the economy. It would be wildly unpopular. And, for all the GOP's efforts to pin it on President Obama, Republicans would be in for blame from the public—as they should be. After all, at the time the sequester was signed into law, John Boehner said he'd gotten 98 percent of what he wanted. So how do you solve a problem like the sequester? For Republicans, the answer is a foregone conclusion. You demand massive cuts to the programs that people rely on, and ultimately give in grudgingly on cosmetic compromises on a few teeny tiny revenue increases that Democrats and voters want and that would help the economy.

Here are some of the blows to ordinary people Republicans would be willing to trade to get rid of the sequester: raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Changes to Medicare premiums. "Reforming" federal pension programs. Chained CPI. Changes to Medicaid. Get the picture?

The list of possible cuts to replace the sequester being bandied about among GOP leadership aides serves to highlight the distance between the two sides. All of these policies would be difficult for Obama to accept without a hefty revenue number.

Obama said he needs to close loopholes as part of a short-term or long-term sequester replacement. And House Republicans are extraordinarily hesitant to do anything that looks like raising taxes. But privately, GOP aides concede that if they get a spending-cut heavy proposal, they could accept some loophole closures to satisfy Democrats.

So while the acknowledgement that new revenue would have to be a part of any deal is starting to emerge, Republicans still have a lot of posturing and hostage-taking to do before they can start to agree to minuscule revenue increases in exchange for massive cuts. And talk about highlighting the differences between the two sides:
At a closed-door retreat in Annapolis, Md., this week, Senate Democratic leaders struck a populist tone. They suggested they could rally public support for a measure that would temporarily suspend the cuts by limiting tax breaks for oil and gas exploration, reducing the tax advantages for wealthy private-equity employees who pay a lower 20 percent capital gains rate on much of their income, and ending tax deductions for the cost of moving business functions overseas.
Of course, the proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus would actually create jobs while reducing the deficit, but since Democratic leadership isn't going to do anything crazy like fight for that, those Senate proposals are at least a good counterpoint to the Cut! Cut! Cut! of Republicans, and should draw lots of public support. So please, Senate Democrats, get out ahead of Republicans and really push these ideas. Don't let John Boehner's posturing and bluffing define the public debate.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congress is supposed to provide for the (12+ / 0-)

    general welfare, not deprive us of the currency we need to manage our affairs.

    Rationing has, in all instances, prove counter-productive. Rationing a commodity (dollars) that is in infinite supply is sheer stupidity.

    Why would the cons want to do it? To make themselves feel important. The idea that they are public servants is not just inconvenient, it's downright scary 'cause they don't know how to serve.
    Boehner, for example, got into politics 'cause he wasn't a very good plastics salesman.
    What was Cantor not very good at? Selling real estate. And that was after he got a law degree and a degree in developing real estate (who knew there was such a thing?)

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:28:26 AM PST

    •  Like you say, their object is power and exerting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare

      It on as many people as possible. This includes their continuing strategy of rule, no oppression by division. They get people to for for them, sigh?!

    •  It's a lousy $100 Billion per year (4+ / 0-)

      Half of it being defense.

      Congress is supposed to provide for the general welfare, not deprive us of the currency we need to manage our affairs.
      I could probably find $50 Billion by looking in the cushions in the Capitol.  I doubt you would notice it missing, much less suffer deprivation.

      All this faux outrage about it being a "blow to the economy" is laughable.

      •  The quantity is irrelevant. It's the principle (0+ / 0-)

        that counts. Dollars are nothing but certified IOUs. Making them scarce is akin to withholding marriage certificates under the mistaken impression that will prevent marital unions and relations.
        It is, of course, possible for people to organize their lives without currency. However, that humans have been using it for 5000 years suggests it's a convenience that is widely appreciated, mostly because it compensates for our forgetfulness. If we have to remember whom we owe and who owes us, we're in a pickle, espcecially as we get older and our network of relationships gets larger. Indeed, currency makes it possible to make fifty year old debts current. Relying on children to remember what they owe their parents is an iffy proposition. :)

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:02:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So, let's make everyone millionaires then! (0+ / 0-)

          If it is irrelevant, let's just wipe out all private debt and cut a check to each and every American for $10k per month.. or more!  Why not?

          Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.  The certified IOU's will need to be paid back by our kids.  But first, they will be saddled with paying off the interest - which is currently amounting to $151 Billion dollars per year - even at near zero interest rates.  If inflation ever takes off (and it will) the debt servicing alone will bury future generations.

          •  Thank you, Mr./Ms. Austerity! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tb mare, hannah

            A nice example of reductio ad absurdum for the audience's pleasure.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:19:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  $100 Billion is not austerity (0+ / 0-)

              not even close.

              And, with $50 Billion of it coming from a bloated defense budget, it is even less austere.

              The fact that Panetta and Obama have decided to target that $50 Billion dollar defense cut directly at troops is shameful, when there are weapons programs that could be shut down with only a few rich contractors feeling the pinch.  Shameful.

              •  Your argument is straight out of (0+ / 0-)

                the austerity playbook, though; it is to that to which I am replying.

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:46:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  $100 billion is austerity (0+ / 0-)

                Now $100 billion from defense might be less austere than $100 billion from infrastructure, but it is still austerity and will result in job reductions. just less than some other choices.

                Finally, a sovereign government with a non-convertible currency is NOT required to issue interest bearing IOUs called bonds in order to deficit spend.  It can just issue currency.

                As for inflation, demand pull inflation might kick in if we ever reached full productive capacity.  At which point the government needs to adjust spending and taxes to bring inflation in check.  Much of those adjustments are automatic via income tax and social safety net spending which would increase and decrease respectively just due to the increase in employment.

                Of concern to me is supply inflation caused by the FIRE sector creating products for the wealthy to use for rent seeking.  Like ETF that are backed by warehoused commodities.  Which will cause inflation by increasing the price of commodities for no productive purpose other than rent extraction.

                •  We're doing both.. printing money and issuing (0+ / 0-)

                  IOU's.  

                  And The Fed is causing another housing bubble with the $40 Billion in housing securities it is purchasing every month.  (not to mention the $45 Billion in Treasuries!)  Housing prices increased almost 6% last year.  You don't call that inflation?  The government inflation figures conveniently leave out every item that is actually rising in price!

                  And don't even talk about the stock bubble.  We are heading for a big crash.

                  •  Actually, it is not... (0+ / 0-)

                    All the Fed is doing is trading assets that pay interest (interest bearing securities) for assets that don't pay interest (currency/reserves).  The net result should actually be less inflationary, since it is actually causing less interest to be paid into the private sector.

                    As for real estate that is from the Fed trying to keep interest rates low in the hope that somehow that will magically cause more spending.  But, everyone is still deleveraging, so it won't do squat.  The only way to increase employment is for government spending to increase and for there to be a likely short term increase in the deficit in order to get people employed.

                    I don't trust that housing price number has any possibility of being stable in the face of the current economy.  And, second it is 6% in the face of a previous up to 50% deflation in housing (depending on region).

                    Also, I specified demand pull inflation versus general inflation for a specific reason.  Inflation caused by financial manipulation of assets like real estate and commodities are a different creature.  It is still inflation, but its causes are different than what happens when more people are actually put to work.

        •  Inflation? nt (0+ / 0-)

          I see what you did there.

          by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:17:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Inflation has to do with too many dollars (0+ / 0-)

            chasing not enough goods.  The Zimbabwean dollar, for example, is worthless because nobody's producing anything worth buying, which is sort of what happens when all natural assets are handed over to cronies.
            We haven't done that in the U.S. quite.  But, I suspect the granting of thousands of acres to ranchers in Texas came close. Giving railroad magnates a mile of land on either side of the right of way for track didn't do much good either.

            Too big fails. Some people think that monpoly is the key to success, but they are wrong. Diversity is was assures the survival of organic existence. Inert monopolies do OK.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:30:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Won't Fly (0+ / 0-)

      Repubs act like we are all rich and their cuts would hurt no one. Then when folks are out on the streets they will blame PBO.  Hey repubs, that dog won't hunt anymore!

      We are not all as stupid as your base.

  •  One-Note GOP still can't read polls. (10+ / 0-)
  •  When it's tea party against corporations (8+ / 0-)

    in the GOP... that means lots of tough talk before the quiet fold.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 07:51:03 AM PST

    •  Business prefers a growing rather than a stagnant (3+ / 0-)

      economy. The sequester cuts will apply the brakes at a time when we are trying to accelerate.
         They'd be bad for business, bad for the economy, bad for Q2 and Q3 projections, and they really can't have that.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:29:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Business prefers unsustainable inflation (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, crystal eyes, tb mare

        Go listen to any CEO report.  All they talk about is growing revenue (and the stock price) by 10% year over year over year.  Because that's how they pay themselves the big bonuses.  While that game lasts anyway.

        They all know inflationary growth like that is unsustainable.  Which is why they all have golden parachutes and are ready to short their own stock at the drop of a hat.  

        We're best off with slow, steady sustainable growth, but that doesn't get CEOs beachfront mansions.  Just ask Mitt Romney.

  •  I love it when they squirm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, JML9999, wishingwell

    It's always their own damn fault. Always.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:20:42 AM PST

  •  And some blows the President is willing to trade: (7+ / 0-)

    All he needs are some revenue items to give him cover for making changes that he believes in, and has been trying to advance from the beginning of his administration.

    ....raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Changes to Medicare premiums. "Reforming" federal pension programs. Chained CPI. Changes to Medicaid.
    It is only Republican intransigence that has saved us from these cuts to this point, not the sudden and unexpected sprouting of spines from populist or progressive Democrats.
    •  The president is in the driver's seat now. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

       He's in a position where he can get more tax revenue by closing loopholes, which is tremendously popular.
         What he can give on is more "medicare cuts," but not cuts to beneficiaries. Just like the $700 billion in "cuts" passed in 2010, there are several hundred billion in further savings (things like negotiated Rx prices, and restructuring payments to providers in more logical, efficient ways) which in the long run need to be achieved anyway.

         Such a deal would bring down the deficit, without doing harm to the economic recovery.

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:38:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, how are you so sure that (0+ / 0-)

        closing loopholes will be "tremendously" popular?

        It will only be popular (with the masses) if the loopholes closed are corporate loopholes, right?

        Unfortunately, since it is 'the wealthy' who employ lobbyists, I imagine that it will be the lower and middle classes who will take the brunt of the "loophole closings."

        Like the "elimination or cap on" the mortgage interest deduction, the elimination of the "exclusion of the premiums paid by one's employer toward group health insurance," from being counted as "taxable wages" (i.e., working class folks will be paying taxes on thousands of more dollars, if this exclusion is passed), excise taxes on union members' excellent (Cadillac) health insurance plans will go into effect in several years, already increasing the tax burden on some working and middle class folks, etc.

        I will support the closing of loopholes ONLY when I see the bill that spells out which loopholes are on the table.

        And progressives in general, would be wise to withhold their support, until such time as this occurs.

        NOTICE THE PARSING OF WORDS:

        All of these policies would be difficult for Obama to accept without a hefty revenue number.

        What the heck is "comforting" in those words?

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:44:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, congratulations, then, are due to the GOP? (0+ / 0-)

      Up 'til you wrote, I thought poorly of Republicans, but you're luring me to like them in order to please you. Of course, I don't know how far that'll get either of us ...

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:40:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Survey says X. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MPociask

      Nothing kept those proposed cuts from being included in the latest deal. If Obama 'wanted' them, they would've been in there.

      I see what you did there.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:42:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I love Obama Mythology (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoGoGoEverton

      Obama, who expanded social programs by the largest amount in 45 years, wants to get reductions to social programs, but the Republicans, who are want cuts to social programs, keep preventing him from making those cuts.

      Do you have any idea how foolish you sound?

      •  No do you? (0+ / 0-)

        Do you know how foolish you sound?

      •  So how do you explain this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Losty, 2laneIA

        White House Grand Bargain offer to Speaker Boehner Obtained by Bob Woodward.

        See Section I, Title II:  "Must reduce total Medicare spending by at least $250B from 2012 to 2021...[including] Alteration in the eligibility age of Medicare."

        Tip of the hat.

        •  Politics and negotiations (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GoGoGoEverton

          The idea is that Obama wants to cut entitlement programs, despite his actions to the contrary. All sorts of things go into politics and negotiations, and as many believe, it was just posturing to make the Republicans look unreasonable. I put more stock in actions (you know, reality) than leaks and rumors.

          •  This is a great way to negotiate. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            musiccitymollie

            I don't want to raise the Medicare eligibility age, but I'll put it into the negotiations.  And if the Republicans say yes, then I have two choices: 1) withdraw it and have the Republicans say I'm not negotiating in good faith, or 2) go along with it, because after all, I'm the one who put it in there in the first place.

            So if you're going to say it's just posturing, do you have actual evidence for that?  Because it sounds to me as if you're doing exactly what you're accusing others of doing: interpretation.  

            •  The Republicans will always take a SS cut, so why (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NoFortunateSon

              wasn't it in the last deal?

              I see what you did there.

              by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:55:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Who said anything about SS? (0+ / 0-)

                That memo is about Medicare.  But for either one, perhaps it's because of the optics?  Perhaps lots of Democrats would scream bloody hell?  Perhaps Republicans would run campaigns saying that the president wants to cut Medicare?

                After all, there are limits to what the president can get, right?  That's what you keep saying.

                •  I keep saying that? nt (0+ / 0-)

                  I see what you did there.

                  by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:52:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Hey, Aunt Martha. Social Security cuts "are " (0+ / 0-)

                  mentioned in this Memo. Look again, please.

                  See Title III, on Page 3.

                  The reference to the Superlative CPI is just another name for the Chained CPI.
                  Please double check this.  

                  This is verification that the Administration has put the Chained (Superlative) CPI on the table, as well as cuts to Medicare.

                  Mollie

                  "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                  "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                  by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:54:09 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  If those leaks are true (a big if) (0+ / 0-)

              Then why wouldn't the Republicans accept the deal?

              Because they want to save Medicare?

              •  Oh, so now you think that there's (0+ / 0-)

                a fake memo going around?  Wow.

                •  You didn't answer the question (0+ / 0-)

                  I don't know what was leaked, when, and why. Let's assume it's accurate. Why wouldn't the Republicans accpet these cuts?

                  •  Respectfully, allow me to help you with this NFS. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    2laneIA

                    Here's an excerpt from the transcript of the November 11, 2012 Meet the Press Sunday show, featuring David Gregory interviewing journalist Bob Woodward.  (Of "Deep Throat" fame, I might add.)

                    [And here's the link to the entire Meet The Press transcript.]

                    GREGORY:  We’re back with more from our roundtable.  I want to talk about politics and how the president won.  But I want to stick with the fiscal cliff.  Past this prologue, Bob Woodward, and you have a document here, a secret White House document that goes back to the grand bargain negotiations. Tell us what it is and what it means, you think.

                    MR. WOODWARD:  Well, this is the confidential doc last offer the president, the White House made last year to Speaker Boehner to try to reach this four trillion dollar grand bargain. And it’s long and it’s tedious and it’s got budget jargon in it.  But what it shows is a willingness to cut all kinds of things, like TRICARE, which is the sacred health insurance program for the military for military retirees; to cut Social Security; to cut Medicare, and there are-- there are some lines in there about we want to get tax rates down, not only for individuals but for businesses.  So Obama and the White House were willing to go quite far, in a sense this is the starting point, and I guess you’re going to put it up on your website…

                    GREGORY:  Absolutely.  Yeah.

                    MR. WOODWARD:
                     …after the budget wonks can…

                    GREGORY:  They can see it.  Yeah.

                    MR. WOODWARD:
                     …parse through it.

                    GREGORY:  Right, we just got it here and we’ll-- we’ll put it on the web.  But that’s the point.  And congressman, I guess the-- the question that Bob and I talked about is, there’s a lot of spending pain in there that Democrats are going to have to go back to their folks and say, hey, this is the pain you’re going to have to suffer.  Are you prepared to do that?

                    REP. CASTRO:  Oh, look, there’s no question.  I mean, these are tough issues and that’s why there's been a lot of hand-wringing and wrangling over them.  But, yeah, I believe so.  I believe you’ve got a Democratic Congress, especially in the House and in the Senate that are willing to make those tough choices, that know that in the long term that we’ve got to reform entitlements.

                    GREGORY:  Mm-Hm.

                    REP. CASTRO:
                     But we want some balance.  We want to make sure that there’s also revenue raising that’s part of it and for four years now the Republicans have been unwilling to do that, I think election will get them in gear and they’ll do it.

                    Mollie

                    "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                    "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                    by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:17:11 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Spot on, Aunt Martha. N/T (0+ / 0-)

              Mollie

              "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

              "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:47:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Hear, Hear! 2laneIA, Thanks for the reminder! N/A (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      2laneIA

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 02:28:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Erick Erickson this AM on Faux was whining about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, elwior, Norm in Chicago

    the reducing the Carrier Battle groups from 2 to 1 off of Iran and other reductions.

    They have taken the position of Defense dollars as % of GDP

    and a apples to oranges compare with Russia and China

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:21:28 AM PST

  •  Angry (6+ / 0-)

    I'm getting pretty angry at Obama and the Democrats. After a groundbreaking election (2008) and re-election (2012) it is extremely frustrating to be facing things like Medicare age increase (which would be an effing DISASTER), chained CPI, no Saturday delivery for the Post Office, and watching the president defend the power of the executive branch to execute American citizens!

    I feel like I'm caught in some kind of a weird time warp, except that things keep getting worse and worse.

    Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

    by coral on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:27:41 AM PST

  •  Listening to Panetta testify (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, JML9999, elwior, MPociask, tb mare

    on Benghazi - he's given a load a shit to Congress for uncertainty, sequestration & and not doing their jobs. I don't necessarily agree that the US would be "less safe" with defense cuts, but I like hearing him scolding them all like they are children.

    I'm pretty tired of being told what I care about.

    by hulibow on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:34:33 AM PST

  •  Let the sequester happen. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, elwior, Norm in Chicago, ferg

    The biggest sequester cuts are to defense, and that's bound to put everybody in a talking mood.

    With sequester a reality, Congress would be in a position to put things back on the table -- including some of those Defense cuts. It would also be in a position to direct spending in directions likely to create more jobs than Defense does.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:34:41 AM PST

  •  Oh, I don't know.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, wishingwell, tb mare

    The last time I saw Boehner on the TeeVee "News" -

    He said something akin to "read my lips, no new taxes, it's time to get serious about spending,"  and about dropped the mic and strode offstage like he had just popped off the winning rap.

    It was effing ridiculous. Saturday Night Live ridiculous.

    Posturing isn't governing, but somehow it passes for it these days.

    •  like he's not part of the problem... (1+ / 0-)

      I saw Mr. Boehner squealing last night that during his 22 (?) years in Congress, "they" have been kicking the can down the road, and he's sick and tired of it and he is going to get serious.  Which leads to the questions:

      a) Why was he so eager to help kick the can down the road for 22 years?  He was part of the "them" that he's now railing against, even though evidently he accepts no responsibility for his own inaction and/or thinks that we won't notice.

      b) Why didn't he decide to "get serious" until, apparently, last weekend?  Were all the taverns/liquor stores closed for some sort of holiday last weekend, and did he have to face life without a drink-induced haze conveniently masking the bitter truths for him?  

  •  Dear Speaker Boehner, This is what YOU wanted. (7+ / 0-)

    You - Congress and the President, with your very prominent, personal, hands-on involvement at every stage - crafted the sequester. And with respect to it, you bragged publicly that you got 98% of what you wanted.

    So ... was the sequester in your 98%? If so, congratulations; it's your baby! Or was the sequester in that 2% and therefore so small, it did not look to you then like a big deal? Then Voila!, by your standards today, you and the members you supposedly led turned out to be wrong BigTime.

    In any event, Mr. Boehner, your House owns this deal. It's on you to live with it. Or fix it.

    Time to be statesmanlike, Mr. Speaker. Please proceed.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:37:08 AM PST

  •  If they are squirming so much and this is all (6+ / 0-)

    going to be blamed on republicans......  why in the world are democrats even discussing the idea of putting SS on the table....again??

    I don't see this as a good thing at all....and I am throughly really mad about it.   If we get any cuts to SS, I am going to blame the Democrats who put it up there to be cut....especially knowing they don't have to.

    Our side needs to publicly and emphatically state that they will never offer SS and Medicare in any way to be cut and hurt those who need it most.  I want to hear this promise....over and over again.

    •  Agreed, but let's keep the heat on the GOP! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

      I don't think the White House is discussing putting SS on the table these days. I could be wrong, so if you provide a current cite to where it is, I'll help put the heat on that, too.

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:46:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ummm two days ago, our President....link to diary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Losty, musiccitymollie
        •  No, I don't think so. SS cuts were Boehner's idea, (0+ / 0-)

          ... according to the article you linked, not the White House's. And, on a skim of the President's remarks - the subject of the article - I saw no such proposal.

          I know he he's proposed it before ... but the more specifics he takes off the table now, the more fuel goes on the fire. It's agreement the parties have to get to now. The President's message two days ago was, I believe, intentionally vague, a deliberate counter to Boehner's desperate attempt to embarrass Democrats into offering cuts in safety nets.

          That said, I'm with you on no changes in SS. On M&M - which has serious and ongoing funding problems that it is in our best interests to address - I want to see specific proposals before I'll argue that changes are unthinkable.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:05:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  President's quote during that speech: (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Losty, musiccitymollie
            "In order to achieve the full $4 trillion of deficit reductions, these modest reforms to our social insurance programs must go hand-in-hand"
            "Modest Reforms" to a program that should be left the hell alone......sure sounds like cuts to SS to me.

            In any regard, our side doesn't need to be saying these things...ever.  We are not the party of cutting government or social programs.  Once it is said, it can't be taken back and it becomes a sound bite to be used during elections, even if it never materializes. We know they put it on the table in December, and Pelosi, of all people,  went around talking to cameras and saying she agreed with it!  WTH??

             Now, we are back to a Grand Bargain  when again, we have zero reason to do it???  It makes no more sense than when we gave up the 250,000 threshold, that we said we would never cross.  We had no reason to do that either.

            I am sick to death of "bargaining" when we hold all the cards and have a complete mandate to tell them to jump off a cliff.

             If SS gets cuts, Democrats will have the blame.  They put it out there, they are willing to "talk" about it, they want to "bargain" when we don't have to.....no reason at all for any of this.

            •  See Jay Carney's press briefing today. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GoGoGoEverton

              Look at the emphasis, the strong emphasis.

              SS is off the table. M&M is on it, as any program that costs that much and growing must be. Our job is to help make alternatives possible that do not involve cuts in benefits.

              Politics is bargaining. And I disagree that we hold all the cards, not by a long shot. Unless you mean the wholesale cut-and-slash tubing of the public interest that the sequester deal was. But IF you mean that is one of our cards and you're willing to play it - frankly, I've looked at how the sequester could/must-by-its-terms be implemented - I'd be willing to go with it for a while. Mostly because it would prompt triage within the walls of the Pentagon that probably would not occur any other way. That might well be worth the hit on vital domestic programs, at least for a while. (Which, if I recall correctly, includes safety nets.)

              2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

              by TRPChicago on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:15:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Our side shouldn't put ANY social program on the (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                musiccitymollie

                table, period.  We have zero reason to do so.  No reason at all.

                If the Republicans are so backed into a corner about the sequester, why should we offer a damn thing, much less any part of the Big 3?

                 If it must be done, let the GOP spell it out for the public...so they will get the blame.  Otherwise, we will get the blame...mark my words.

                •  OK, so any domestic spending cuts will come ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... from all other domestic programs. Are you sure that's the wisest overall course to take?

                  Or, do you oppose all cuts on the domestic side? In which case, there's no bargain to be had, negotiations are unnecessary and whatever will be, will be. What will be?

                  In 2013 for domestic cuts, $6B in payments to Medicare providers ($11B in 2014) and an 8% cut in almost all other domestic programs (except Social Security). This would be Head Start, education, health programs and prescription drug benefits, job training ...

                  I agree with you on the optics of having Republicans take the heat. After all, they deserve it. But all of us will take the hit.

                  2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                  by TRPChicago on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:41:03 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You are correct. And the reforms are not modest. (0+ / 0-)

              Mollie

              "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

              "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:20:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, here's what Carney said during (0+ / 0-)

        the February 6th Press Briefing.  And here is the link to the transcript.

        Mr. Carney: . . . Compromise solutions have the support of the American people, solutions that involve some revenues through tax reform -- the kinds of tax reform -- closures of loopholes and capping of deductions that, supposedly, Republicans supported a few months ago, but don’t support now.  And then combined with spending cuts and entitlement reforms, we can achieve what has long been this President's goal and the goal of many others, which is significant deficit reduction on the order of $4 trillion over a decade that would put us on a fiscally sustainable path and allow our economy to grow and continue to create jobs.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:31:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's a detailed piece by Matt Bai (NYT) from one (0+ / 0-)

          of the earlier debt crises, that might be an eye-opener to some folks.

          Here's the link to the article entitled, "Obama vs. Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?"

          This is a 'blow by blow' account--please read it.

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 03:37:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  As always, the president will prevail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell

    to the extent that he plays hardball with these people.
       He is putting out excellent proposals to avoid the sequester. Senate Democrats and House Democrats both are also putting out popular ideas which avoid sequestration while accomplishing deficit reduction, and not harming the economy.
       The House proposal actually helps to grow the economy.

       The Pubs got fuck-all as their "plan," and so long as the Dems stay firm and resolute, the GOP will have to cave (again.)

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:47:17 AM PST

  •  They're scared of the SOTU Speech... (5+ / 0-)

    Pres will have 25M+ people watching him make the Democratic Party case for spending cuts with new revenues, about closing loopholes that were snuck in by lobbyists to benefit the very rich.  He'll talk about big oil making record profits again and yet the GOP is wholly unwilling to remove their $4B yearly tax break.

    The Rubio will come on and talk about how it needs to be only spending cuts, that the rich are already too burdened and less taxes on the rich means more jobs.    

    Keystone XL Pipeline - Canada gets the money, Asia gets the oil, America gets the toxic refinery pollution and potential for a pipeline leak ecological disaster.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:48:51 AM PST

    •  Agreed and the Republicans will unveil their (0+ / 0-)

      new darling, Rubio, trying to show they are diverse and they have a young and attractive and Latino spokesperson.  

      They are so full of shit.

      Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

      by wishingwell on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 08:57:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •   "His brain is squirming like a toad" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell

    the Doors nailed johnny be bad's mental state long ago.

  •  Poor Boehner. He can't decide whether to spit... (0+ / 0-)

    or swallow.

  •  When do we get to discuss tariffs to create jobs? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, shoeless

    Our automotive companies have to build car factories in China to sell in China, because China has tariffs on imports.  But we have "free" trade that sends most of our industrial base, along with all the jobs and all the tax revenue overseas, so the 1% get richer.

    It is time to accept reality that there is no way to provide for the social safety net we all want when we are importing a massive ammount of goods running an insane trade deficit.

    We need our factories back.  People will move from unemployment to work, the tax balance will shift from paying for unemployment/foodstamps to getting revenue from the worker's salaries.  And we need to keep the industrial production and that wealth creation here so we can tax it here.  And keep companies from sheltering profits overseas.

    All I see in these discussions is squabbling over how to carve up an increasingly shrinking pie, without any discussion at all over how to grow that pie.  If import tariffs are fine for China, they're fine for us.

    It is time to put "free" trade square center in the budget debate.

    •  Tariffs are not the answer. (0+ / 0-)

      You don't have to build cars in China to sell in China. The Alabama Mercedes plant sells cars in China.

      Tariffs start trade wars that increase prices on consumers. We may not like that cheap stuff from other countries is sold in our stores, but it is the only way many working families can afford to shop at all.

      The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

      by Common Cents on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:12:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tariffs are already in place (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Norm in Chicago

        against what paltry exports we make. We are fighting an economic war against ourselves by refusing to counter. You want to keep imported goods "cheap"? Raise incomes for Americans. When in a depression/recession, inflation is the counter. When/if things heat up too much, you can always come back to this spot.

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:30:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isolationism is no answer in global economy. (0+ / 0-)

          Innovation is the answer. One of our best exports is the film industry and entertainment in general. Things like free speech and expression in the United States along with exciting diversity has made the US the entertainment capital of the world.

          In the same vein we have to take advantage of our freedom and liberty to innovate and be the fountain of new ideas.

          The reason low skill jobs are going overseas is because they are low skill and therefore low pay. Americans want high skill and high pay.

          It will not do to simply make low skill jobs high paying because what business will thrive doing that?

          Innovation not isolation is the key and pushing green jobs and energy is one way to do that. Pushing farther and faster on tech jobs and the like is another.

          But to think we can isolate in this global economy and pay people high skill wages for low skill work is a fantasy.

          The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

          by Common Cents on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:45:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tariffs have worked for (0+ / 0-)

            centuries to stimulate internal this innovation of which you speak. Why do you think they won't work now? The US currently has little by way of manufacturing these days, mainly because we have encouraged the free trade mechanism by which the other nations on the globe destroy our economy--businesses seek the lowest labor costs if they have no brakes to their doing so.
            We can, and should, isolate ourselves, because we are among the very few countries with the resources and heritage to be able to take advantage of being isolated. The pendulum has swung too far to "free" for us to survive as we have for most of our history; it has to swing back before we are completely denuded of all possible strengths. The "global economy" is killing our country, because we were on top and had the farthest to fall in the race to the bottom.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:53:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  The ones who still have jobs you mean (0+ / 0-)

        Don't you reconginze the downward spiral of the economy that says we have to have everything made in China so that people can afford to live on minimum wage?  You don't recognize how that means fewer and fewer people are working?

        And what of the millions of the unemployed?  How do they afford to shop?  What do you want to do, bring back slavery?

        This link refutes your claims on tariffs.  A whole bunch of cars that should have been built here and exported will instead be built in China.  I don't see a trade war, I see capitulation.
        http://www.americanthinker.com/...

      •  Tariffs are the most important answer. (0+ / 0-)

        For two hundred years, tariffs in the US ranged from 20 to 30%. That is how we built this country. Now our tariffs are one to two%. It might as well be zero, because all other developed countries have much higher tariffs, including China.

        How's that working for you?

        Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

        by shoeless on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:40:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are in a new age. (0+ / 0-)

          Talking about tariffs in the 19th century as a solution for economic issues in the 21st is like Scalia looking at 18th century textual meaning to solve 21st century legal questions.

          The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

          by Common Cents on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:49:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We already have a trade war, you fool. (0+ / 1-)
            Recommended by:
            Hidden by:
            GoGoGoEverton

            The problem is it is a one sided war. Is there no way to get it through your thick skull that other countries have tariffs, and we do not?

            Either answer that question, or STFU.

            Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

            by shoeless on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:01:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Disagree with CC but this is over the top. nt (0+ / 0-)

              I see what you did there.

              by GoGoGoEverton on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 10:57:32 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Too bad. (0+ / 0-)

                I am so sick of these right-wingers who ignore the facts when proven wrong. If that knucklehead wants to explain why other countries may have tariffs, but the US cannot, I will be happy to listen. However, I know how his type operates. His position is indefensible, so he will just move on.

                Disgusting.

                Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

                by shoeless on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:20:54 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Sequester is the only way we get defense cuts. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SEAlifeguard, shoeless

    I'm all for just letting sequester go through and then when domestic cuts cause pain we can get deals to basically refund the programs cut. Meanwhile defense cuts won't cause any pain and we can get a sensible defense budget.

    The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

    by Common Cents on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:09:38 AM PST

    •  That is why the sequester will not happen. (0+ / 0-)

      The defense contractors will never allow the war budget to be cut by one nickle.

      Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

      by shoeless on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:45:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sequester is good for Progressive values (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, Losty, she the technocrat

    As Gov. Dean explains here:

  •  A blow to the economy is not what has them worried (0+ / 0-)

    Lobbyists ffor the defense contractors showed up at their offices and told them to fold their hand.

    Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

    by shoeless on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:26:30 AM PST

  •  Raising Medicare age worsens the problem (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, tb mare, shoeless, musiccitymollie

    Lowering the Medicare age, or better yet, removing it entirely, is the best fix. Let young and predominantly healthy people pay into the system.

    There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the Republicans no matter what. Our job is not to worry about those people.

    by xenothaulus on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:34:52 AM PST

  •  don't let ... define the public debate (0+ / 0-)

    It appears to be the exclusive right of republicans to define the debate; the dems always defer

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 09:45:15 AM PST

  •  I hate to say it, but (0+ / 0-)

    Everytime I read something like

    Republicans are starting to squirm
    I think back to all the other times it happened.  When Republicans start to squirm, it seems that President Obama and/or Senator Reid feel a deep and uncontrollable urge to help them out.

    Let them squirm, and let them dig themselves out of the hole they have dug.  They don't need (another) hand up.

  •  No one has a plan that will create jobs... (0+ / 0-)

    Progressive Caucus plan will NOT create net jobs.

       Maintain the $1.7 trillion in spending cuts created by the 2011 Budget Control Act's spending caps;
    -Austerity = Job Reduction
       Maintain the more than $700 billion in revenues generated by the tax cliff deal at the end of the last Congress;
    -Austerity = Job reduction
       Replace the nearly $1 trillion sequester with new revenue generated by closing loopholes and deductions; and
    -Austerity = Job Reduction
       Cut defense spending by nearly $300 billion, which would then be spent on creating jobs by investing in our infrastructure.
    -Might be slightly positive on jobs, only due to infrastructure creating more jobs that the defense spending.

    The Congressional Progressive Caucus will not create jobs because IT IS STILL AUSTERITY you F-ing MORONS (referring to the all of Congress including the CPC).

    There is no deficit reduction plan that creates jobs in any significant quantities.  What we need is a JOBS plan, period end of story.   The deficit will take care of itself, and is something NO ONE should be worrying about until employment improves enough to create demand pull inflation.  At which point if the deficit has not been reduced automatically tax and spending adjustments should be made in order to drain some monetary reserves from the economy.

  •  Most of the defense budget is spent in red states. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    she the technocrat

    It's part of the reason red states are net recipients of federal funds while blue states are net payers.

    Sequester? Make. My. Day.

  •  Revenue (0+ / 0-)

    The more I read about it, the more I think a transfer tax of say, 3% on every stock trade might be a good place to start looking for additional revenue.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 11:16:19 AM PST

  •  #$^& (0+ / 0-)

    These politician got a good scam going on.The Democrats Tax and Spend.The Republicans Cut's and Balanced Books.It's a endless cycle.But the American citizens are the ones who Suffer

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