I hope you are aware by now that [Republicans] don’t actually care about deficits. They just care about money being spent on things they don’t like, which outside of overpriced ships the Navy probably doesn’t need and more reinforced steel for the border fence includes pretty much everything. If, say, instead of seeking to spend more money for transportation, Barack Obama had proposed cutting the top marginal tax rate down to 8 percent, well, that would have had a completely disastrous impact on future deficits. But you wouldn’t have seen Republicans complaining about that, because the rich deserve more of their money back.
You also didn’t see Republicans complaining about deficits when George W. Bush was running them up. Oh, a few did. But the protests were infrequent and mousy. By and large, Republicans shuffled along.
I find it useful to think in terms of three questions: What should we be doing to create jobs? What will Republicans in Congress agree to? And given that political reality, what should the president propose?
The answer to the first question is that we should have a lot of job-creating spending on the part of the federal government, largely in the form of much-needed spending to repair and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. Oh, and we need more aid to state and local governments, so that they can stop laying off schoolteachers.
But what will Republicans agree to? That’s easy: nothing. They will oppose anything Mr. Obama proposes, even if it would clearly help the economy — or maybe I should say, especially if it would help the economy, since high unemployment helps them politically.
This reality makes the third question — what the president should propose — hard to answer, since nothing he proposes will actually happen anytime soon. So I’m personally prepared to cut Mr. Obama a lot of slack on the specifics of his proposal, as long as it’s big and bold. For what he mostly needs to do now is to change the conversation — to get Washington talking again about jobs and how the government can help create them.
For the sake of the nation, and especially for millions of unemployed Americans who see little prospect of finding another job, I hope he pulls it off.
"Part of the problem is today, only 53 percent pay anyfederal income tax at all; 47 percent pay nothing. We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something, even if it’s a dollar. Everyone should pay something, because we all benefit." - Michele Bachmann
"We’re dismayed at the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don’t even pay any income tax." - Rick Perry
“Marco Rubio was right when he said we don’t have enough people paying taxes in this country.” - Jon Huntsman
By no means am I opposed to revenue increases, but didn’t the Republicans just refuse to raise taxes on anyone during the debt-ceiling debate? Didn’t we hear them all say again and again, “now is not the time to raise taxes”? What the fuck is going on here?
George W. Bush looks like Abraham Lincoln compared with this crowd.
- John Avlon, on 2012 Republican candidates
In 2009, Senate Republicans filibustered a stunning 80% of major legislation. Given how the chamber is composed— two Senators per state, no matter how thinly populated— people representing just 10% of the country can block all legislation. Is that how a democracy should function?
- Fareed Zakaria
Rather than use the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling, Obama has agreed to a deal comprised entirely of spending cuts, which is what almost 70% of Americans did not want. In other words, the Republicans got exactly what they asked for and not only did Obama fail to get rid of the Bush tax cuts, but he got no revenue increases at all.
There is nothing to be proud of in this deal. It was capitulation, not compromise. Despite having the majority of Americans on his side and despite much rhetoric about oil companies and corporate jet owners contributing their fair share, Obama failed to get what he and most of us wanted.
The message from the President is clear: bring our country to the brink of disaster and I will give you what you want. In terms of increased debt over GDP, every Democratic administration since 1977 has lowered the debt and every Republican administration has raised it. Obama will be the first Democrat to effectively run the economy like a “free” market Republican. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there seems to be no silver lining here. This deal just reeks of failure.
This may be one of the most nonsensical polls ever conducted but I am greatly amused by the thought of someone standing there, stroking their chin, and considering whether or not Obama would be raptured.
If Heaven is a place filled with Sarah Palins and devoid of people like Obama, it really isn’t much of a paradise, is it? Here’s hoping I don’t float up into the sky when Jesus comes back.