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David Dayen

 
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As Gun Safety Debate Heats Up, Danger in Trying to Solve Wrong Problem

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 11:41 am

Before this fight gets waged there has to be some understanding of what problem needs to be solved. I completely agree with Mark Kleiman that asking “how do we stop the type of shootings we saw in Newtown” risks solving the wrong problem. The gun safety debate should not just focus on protecting children, and it may not be accurate to tailor policies toward preventing mass shootings. There are certainly things we can do to curtail the 9,000-odd homicides with guns used each year, but they may not be applicable to the case of the young, mostly white, often mentally disturbed individuals who commit mass murder, often out of a need for attention, which is then lavished upon them by the news media.

More on Chained CPI, the Benefit Cut for Social Security on the Table in Fiscal Slope Discussions

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 8:25 am

First of all, this is a benefit cut of about 0.3% a year, as Dean Baker points out. He adds that “This loss would be cumulative through time so that after 10 years the cut would be roughly 3 percent, after 20 years 6 percent, and after 30 years 9 percent.” Actually if we started using chained CPI in 2002, we’d be 3.6% behind today. That’s well over $1,000 a year, and the situation grows worse over time. So the greatest impact would be on the oldest seniors, which happens to correlate with the poorest.

Obama’s Latest Fiscal Slope Offer: I’m Missing the Part Where Republicans Give Up Something

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 6:54 am

The headlines here is that the Obama Administration narrowed the demand they maintained for four years, for tax rates to increase above $250,000, and they would agree to a benefit cut for Social Security and $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts, and in exchange they would mostly extend current law on a few fronts (but not all) and get an unspecified amount, no more than $50 billion, in infrastructure spending.

Fatster’s Roundup

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 4:45 am

❖ The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea has ruled that Ghana “shall forthwith and unconditionally release” Argentina’s ship the Libertad which was seized on October 2nd “at the behest of a US fund [Elliott Associates] seeking to collect on defaulted bonds.” Argentina is to fly the 98-member crew back to Ghana tomorrow. Argentina’s Economy Minister tweeted “Vultures, you shall not pass.” Caution: the fat lady hasn’t sung–yet.

❖ Michigan State Police will be investigating the collapse of the Americans for Prosperity Tent and an altercation involving a Fox “news personality” during last week’s uproar in the capital as the legislature prepared to and passed “right-to-work” and other anti-labor measures.

❖ Announcement: Tar Sands Blockade’s Mass Action and Training Camp to held January 3 – Jan 8, 2013 in southeast TX.

RIP Daniel Inouye

By: Monday December 17, 2012 3:14 pm

Senator Daniel Inouye, Hawaii’s senior Senator and an American war hero, died today at the age of 88. He suffered complications from a respiratory problem and was in the hospital for the past few days.

Inouye was the President pro tempore of the Senate – fourth in line for the Presidency.

We Don’t Have a Deficit Problem, Cont’d

By: Monday December 17, 2012 12:45 pm

To say that “we have a budget deficit” is no different than saying “we’re in the middle of a recession.” The correlation between deficits and economic growth is very tight. A large part of deficits are composed of reduced tax receipts from less people working, and increase in utilization of automatic stabilizers like unemployment benefits, Medicaid and food stamps, which recedes in better economic times.

Republican Tim Scott to Become Only African-American Senator, Replacing Jim DeMint

By: Monday December 17, 2012 10:50 am

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley chose Tim Scott to become the interim replacement in the US Senate for Jim DeMint, who will leave to run the Heritage Foundation in January of next year. Scott becomes the first African-American Senator since Roland Burris left in 2010, and the first African-American representing the South in the Senate since Reconstruction (there have only been six other African-American Senators total in the history of the country). Governor Haley made the announcement at the State House in Columbia a short while ago.

Republicans and Democrats Speak Out Against “Too Big to Jail” HSBC Case

By: Monday December 17, 2012 9:05 am

Where is Patrick Leahy on this? He has made no public statement on the HSBC case, despite being the co-author of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act, which was supposed to deliver funds toward prosecuting fraudulent big bank activity (it never actually did). Grassley, a co-author, has spoken out. Why not Leahy?

Gun Safety Should Not Just Be Directed at Protecting Children

By: Monday December 17, 2012 8:20 am

Let me say something unpopular. There is nothing special about the fact that the Newtown massacre was visited upon 6 and 7 year-olds in an elementary school, relative to massacres where the majority of the victims are college students or adults. A human tragedy is a human tragedy regardless of the age level that it most directly impacts. But the fact that Newtown is seen as a spur to action, as a “tipping point,” that it can get someone like Joe Manchin to say that it’s time for action on the matter – is reflective of the basically dumb way we do politics in this country. In many cases, no outrage, no tragedy, no activity at all rises to the level of legislative response unless it gets visited upon children – and I could probably amend that to say “white children.”

Boehner’s Debt Limit “Concession” Not a Concession at All

By: Monday December 17, 2012 6:57 am

The offer apparently paired $1 trillion in tax increases with major social insurance cuts. Assuming that the spending cuts match the tax hikes dollar-for-dollar, all Boehner is saying is that his rule, where every dollar of debt limit increase must be matched by a dollar of spending cuts, remains in effect. So he’ll honor that with a $1 trillion increase in the debt limit. Tax increases do not count as deficit reduction in Boehner’s equation; only spending cuts will register for increasing the debt limit.

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