- $1.6 trillion in additional revenue through:
- Raising the rates to Clinton rates for incomes over $250,000.
- Taxing dividends paid to this class as ordinary income (rather than special "capital gains" rates).
- Raising the inhertiance tax to 45% with an exemption for up to $3.5 million, from the current rates of 35% with an exemption of $5 million.
- $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, and replacement or extension of the payroll tax cut, for a full stimulus price tag of $200 billion.
- Mortgage refinancing help from the federal government.
- End Congressional control over the debt limit, except with a veto-proof, two-thirds majority.
- $400 billion in spending reductions in entitlements (Medicare, mostly) through controlling cost, not cutting benefits.
- $1.2 trillion in reductions from discretionary spending, including defense, counting savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yesterday’s vote in the UN on Palestine has stirred a lot of emotions on the left; I’ve taken the time to read the responses across a few blogs this morning, and for the most part they’ve been considered and judicious. So here are my two pfennigs.
When the world’s three most powerful faiths declare a piece of real estate “holy”, that causes problems of a sort not found anywhere else. To the Jews, it is the “Promised Land”, vouchsafed to them by God unto the last generation. To Muslims, it’s holy because God walked in it with the Hebrew patriarchs, whom they consider earlier prophets; and, of course, they believe Muhammad made his Night Journey to heaven from the Temple Mount. To Christians, obviously, it was the land where Jesus lived, preached, and died. The deep emotional and religious attachments are not to be disregarded.
Throw into this mix the history of the past 2,000 years—oppression and genocide of the Jews; the shattering of the Islamic commonwealth and its colonization and domination by Western Christians; and the Crusades, the memory of which seems to have grown in the Arab psyche ever since the Zionist project began to be implemented—and you have a situation not paralleled anywhere else. Certainly, there are many dark places in the world; but, aside from perhaps the Korean peninsula, none of those conflict zones promise to ravage the world as does the Arab-Israeli stand-off.
Setting the Record Straight on Medicare, Budget Negotiations and Obama's Record on the American Social Compact
Cut through the fog, and here’s what to expect: Taxes will go up just shy of $1.2 trillion — the middle ground of what President Barack Obama wants and what Republicans say they could stomach. Entitlement programs, mainly Medicare, will be cut by no less than $400 billion — and perhaps a lot more, to get Republicans to swallow those tax hikes. There will be at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and “war savings.”It's this $400 billion "cut" in Medicare that has liberals concerned. Some liberal members of Congress are getting out in front against entitlement cuts, and groups like MoveOn are losing their collecting bowel movements:
“If this report in Politico is correct, then some ‘senior Democrats’ are sorely misguided about where their base stands. So let me be crystal clear. Any benefit cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, including raising the retirement or eligibility age, are absolutely unacceptable,” [...]
“What’s worried some about the Politico article is that it kind of tossed in reforms or efficiencies along with talk about raising the Medicare retirement age or adjusting the cost of living adjustment — those two things would essentially start a nuclear war on the left,” [Adam] Green [the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee] said.
Mr. Obama will meet with carefully selected small-business owners, middle-class taxpayers and corporate leaders over the next couple days, then fly to Pennsylvania on Friday to tour a toy manufacturer that he argues will be hurt if automatic tax increases take effect at the end of the year.I guess it's not so funny when the president wins re-election and really does take it to the people, outside of DC. This has Republican leaders very concerned and uncomfortable.
“Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he’s back out on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points we’re all familiar with,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said on the floor on Tuesday. “Look, we already know the president is a very good campaigner. What we don’t know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on a big issue likes this.”
The Nation magazine is launching a pre-emptive strike against the president to keep him from reaching any grand bargain with the Congressional Republicans. The most insidious claim though comes in the form of utter fiction, a lie: they are claiming that a grand bargain would lower taxes on the wealthy and pay for it by cutting Medicare. Here's what The Nation had to say:
Election Day was a rousing victory for progressive and middle-class populism. In the face of this mandate, the “grand bargain” would lower top rates on the wealthy and corporations, target Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for cuts and inflict job-killing austerity.
Why? Sure, it's because President Obama won re-election and that fiscal cliff - the one that Republican set up for themselves - is coming crashing down on them at the end of the year. But how did we get here?
You see, the prevailing wisdom in the beltway is that we ended up in the bind of the fiscal cliff through Washington's paralysis of governing. And that's partially true. But that the paralysis is resulting today in Republicans abandoning their central economic philosophy wasn't a given. In fact, it wouldn't have happened were it not for the brilliant setup created by the president.
Too many people in the beltway seem to internalize an interesting case of cognitive dissonance about this president: that he is both a brilliant tactician who put together an unprecedented coalition to become the first Democrat to win a majority of the popular vote twice since FDR and that he's a dumb negotiator who gives away football fields to opponents and "negotiates against himself." Both things cannot be true, regardless of how much the beltway insists on both.
Health insurance issuers in the individual and small group markets would only be allowed to vary premiums based on age (within a 3:1 ratio for adults), tobacco use (within a 1.5:1 ratio and subject to wellness program requirements in the small group market), family size, and geography. All other factors – such as pre-existing conditions, health status, claims history, duration of coverage, gender, occupation, and small employer size and industry – would no longer be able to be used by insurance companies to increase the premiums for those seeking insurance.
The president was serious at the press conference today, pushing back hard against the GOP nincompoops. Especially on the Republican witch-hunt on Benghazi and their attempt to score cheap points against Susan Rice, the President released a volley that was reminiscent of his smackdown of Mitt Romney in the second presidential debate.
TPM helpfully provides the quote:
"If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham want to go after somebody, they should go after me," Obama told reporters at the White House. "I'm happy to have that discussion with them. But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador? Who had nothing to do with Benghazi? To besmirch her reputation? It's outrageous."
He further added that if the senators are going after Rice "because they think she's an easy target," "[t]hen they've got a problem with me."
Today, President Obama met with labor leaders and threw the opening salvo at the Republicans regarding the upcoming negotiations on ways to avoid the fiscal cliff (or slope, or whatever term you want to use): $1.6 trillion in new revenue through higher tax rates and closing loopholes for the top income earners. But as these negotiations begin, there is a marked difference between real progressive and labor leaders who plan to back the president up and the loud, screeching professional whining hacks. Here's what Leo Gerard of the United Steeleworkers had to say last night on Ed Schultz's television show:
Leo Gerard: I'm wearing my shirt tonight and I'm telling our members and the whole world, the steelworkers are ready to go... Ed, we're not going to make the same mistake that we made last time. The last time, we should have been out on the street with the president on the stimulus bill, we should have been out the street with the president on the Affordable Care Act, and we let him down, I think. We sat on our hands. Well, we're not going to do that this time.
It hasn't even been a week since President Obama has been re-elected, and the freakout prognosticators the Professional Left have already started going nuts over the potential that the President might be going for the jugular over this so-called "fiscal cliff." Fear is setting in that - oh, no - the President might be willing to compromise - the horror of all horrors, even though as you just saw on the video, the president is holding a principled line on protecting our investments in the future and asking the wealthy to pay more.
As usual, leading the "ZOMG Obama is betraying us again" pack is none other than Paul Krugman, a brilliant economist but as I described in the wake of the 2011 debt ceiling deal, a political rookie with terrible instincts. And I imagine the release of the outlines of the grand bargain the President was willing to strike had Speaker Boehner cooperated back in 2011, including entitlement reform and payment reforms within health care systems, will set many more Left ideologues' hair on fire.
Shocking, but hardly surprisingly, Krugman sets out a mentality over this "fight" that is far less about doing what is right for the country and more about inflicting wounds on the political opposition:
More important, however, is the point that a stalemate would hurt Republican backers, corporate donors in particular, every bit as much as it hurt the rest of the country. As the risk of severe economic damage grew, Republicans would face intense pressure to cut a deal after all.Translation: go ahead and hurt the country if it also means hurting the Republican backers. This is eerily reminiscent of what the Republicans did in their scorched earth move with the debt ceiling deal and throughout the last four years - hurt the country if it means hurting their political opposition. Krugman's position in this regard is really no better than the Tea Party caucus of the House.
As I was headed back to the local headquarters after that long day, my best friend pulled up a report on his iPhone with the breaking news that John McCain had just conceded the presidential election to then-Sen. Barack Obama. I was happy. But as we followed the returns on the radio on our ride back, another reality began to set it. Proposition 8 was leading. I held out hope against hope, and we got back to the HQ. John McCain was in the middle of his concession speech. On a laptop screen, Proposition 8 was still passing.
That night was the most bittersweet night of my political life. As a young President-Elect swept into office, winning my state of California by 20 points, those same voters also passed a state Constitutional amendment removing my civil right to a civil marriage. I cried that night. Not just from the despair of Proposition 8, but also from the immense feeling of pride and hope from Barack Obama's election. And I don't cry that easily.
32 million additional Americans will gain health insurance, instead of about 70 million losing it.
Health insurance companies won't be allowed to drop you because you get sick, or discriminate against you because you have a pre-existing condition.
Employers will not be allowed to inject their moral beliefs into the health care choices of their employees.
International family planning funding won't dry up just because the groups receiving the funding discuss abortion as an option (though not pay for it with US funding).
Federal student loans won't be handed over to banks with an extra subsidy.
The first federal agency focusing on consumer issues will not be killed in its infancy, and instead allowed to become the strong, pro-consumer regulatory agency it was meant to be.
Wall Street will not be given carte blanche to play Russian Roulette with your money.
We will not be giving tax breaks to the uber rich on the backs of the middle class, the working class, students, the poor, and everyone else.
Medicare will not be voucherized.
Social Security will not be handed over to vultures on the Wall Street who can pick off individuals who are vulnerable.
Our troops really are coming home from Afghanistan.
Abortion will continue to be a safe, legally protected medical procedure for the foreseeable future.
We will have a president who supports a Constitutional Amendment overturn Citizens United, and more importantly, more Supreme Court justices will be appointed who may be able to overturn it in the court.
Never again will we tell some soldiers that they cannot serve the country they love because of who they love.
We will not be dismantling the Federal Emergency Management Agency or sending its functions to the states or the for-profit sector.
We will continue to invest in our country, as a country.
We will continue to move this economy forward.
We will continue to make our country a better place.
Thank you, Mr. President. Let's get to work!
With the president's resounding re-election on Tuesday night - with over a 100-electoral vote margin - the political Right is apoplectic. But lest anyone think that a meltdown is all they are having, one would be wrong. The civil war within the Republican party has already begun - a war between the teabaggers and those in their party who actually want to win a future presidential election. Let's start with the meltdown, just because it's more fun. :-)
El Rushbo went from "war on Christmas" to "Americans want Santa Claus!"
“In a country of children, where the option is Santa Claus or work, what wins,” Limbaugh asked.
“I went to bed last night thinking we are outnumbered,” Limbaugh concluded. “I went to bed last night thinking we’ve lost the country. I don’t know how else you look at this.”
Last night, the President didn't just win re-election, he won it by a good thumping - and if he wins Florida, as is increasingly looking the case - he will have beat all expectations, including that of Nate Silver's - in the electoral college, winning 332 electoral votes. That, in an economy still recovering from the near-depression and in a political environment where the opposition party was determined to drag the country back down into recession just to deny President Obama a second term, is a landslide. If President Obama wins Florida, he will have won 332 electoral college votes compared to Romney's 206 - a margin of more than 100 votes. That's a landslide.
I am trying to set up the liveblog here - by embedding my Twitter feed, but let's see how this goes.
WE DID IT FOLKS, WE DID IT. YOU DID IT. Thank you to everyone who kept faith, called voters, knocked on doors, and kept on keepin' on throughout all the adversity. Congratulations to you, and Congratulations, Mr. President.
Tweets by @thepeoplesview
Results: MSNBC | CNN | ABC
If there are significant non-twitter updates to post, I will post them here. But here we go!
Here is Rachel Maddow's excellent segment from last night recounting what has gotten done under this president.
Elections have consequences. Remember that while you vote today. VOTE.
The Romney campaign knows that it's President Obama who's expanding the map and has a very good chance of running the table on the swing states. He knows that as the president's campaign gets out unlikely, sporadic voters out in the swing states and methodically builds a lead going into election day, his paths to 270 are being closed fast. How fast?
For Romney, just cutting the early-vote/absentee margin in key states might not be enough. Take Ohio, again – as both candidates would love to do. As the percentages now stand, Romney would have to win Election Day voting in Ohio by 10 percentage points to win the state outright, according to Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for Obama.
Everyone pause. Sit still in that still center. Let the world around you spin, as you look with equanimity upon it.
We began this journey with a vague notion of what lay ahead. A junior Senator for Illinois with a strange-sounding name decided to run for the highest office in the land. No one gave him much of a chance. He was running against the vaunted Clinton machine. And when he won the nomination, he was running against a grizzled war hero. Yet he beat the machine. And the war hero had the frailest feet of clay. And suddenly, on January 20, 2009, a man named Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office, and an unfolding began.
It wasn't solely an unfolding of possibilities. His election ripped the festering scab of racial animus from the American body politic. It was a scab thought long healed—especially with his improbable election. But it wasn't. The healing was only cosmetic, and the forces of reaction responded to his assumption of power in a way that they wouldn't have even for their bete noir Hillary Clinton. Even Newt Gingrich came to an accommodation with Bill Clinton; no such modus vivendi was to be had between the GOP and Obama. It was, frankly, a death match, no quarter to be given, and none expected, at least on the GOP side.
But what are these good signs, other than the employment reports themselves? Well, the jobs report from October should not be a big surprise (except perhaps in the Republican bubble world), when you look at some leading indicators of economic health, pointing to us getting back to pre-Great Recession levels.
Midday Matinee – Frieday Critters fur December 13th19 minutes ago
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