Obama to Request $50 Billion for Sandy Relief

By: Wednesday December 5, 2012 11:45 am

For a Congress spending every waking minute talking about deficits, they sure know how to spend gobs of money above and beyond requested budgets – as long as it goes to the hands of defense contractors. The Senate version of the defense authorization bill costs $631 billion. This is $17 billion more than the Pentagon asked for. It passed 98-0. It now goes to a conference with the bill passed by the GOP-led House, which costs $3 billion MORE. The White House threatened to veto the bill over the budget overages, which is just adorable.

 

Poll: Public Will Blame Republicans If Country Starts Down the Fiscal Slope

By: Tuesday December 4, 2012 1:15 pm

Republicans have enough problems dealing with their own internal insurgencies, but it should be explained that their biggest problem in the fiscal slope negotiations is that the public is poised to blame them if things go awry.

Boehner’s Counter-Offer: How About the Ryan Budget? Bowles-Simpson? Help Me Out Here!

By: Monday December 3, 2012 4:12 pm

John Boehner delivered a letter to the White House today about the fiscal slope, and I just find it to be weird. He starts off by calling the events of November 6 a “status quo election” where the American people expect a “fair middle ground” on fiscal issues (the fact that House Democrats got more votes than House Republicans, and could have taken the chamber but for factors like gerrymandering, didn’t enter into this). He then says that Republicans “presented (the White House) with a balanced framework of spending cuts and new tax revenue. Nobody has seen this and the White House has repeatedly said that Republicans have not presented them with anything specific.

Then, Boehner laments the terrible partisanship of the Geithner proposal, which he frames in ways favorable to the Republican position.

Then there’s this curious line: “If we were to take your Administration’s proposal at face value, then we would counter with the House-passed Budget resolution.”

Today on the Fiscal Slopes

By: Thursday November 29, 2012 9:29 am

Politico’s VanDeAllen team have a exclusive inside must-credit-Politico rundown of the fiscal cliff talks that merely recycles known information and makes a bunch of guesses.

Contra the Deficit Scolds, We Can Keep Medicare and Medicaid Strong Simply By Keeping Them Intact

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 3:16 pm

This diatribe bestowed upon Rep. Raul Grijalva on CNBC, which has become Fiscal Cliff TV, is really priceless, with the anchor accusing Grijalva of tanking the market because he refuses to cut benefits for poor people and seniors. The means testing angle is really a joke here, too. Medicare is already means-tested. To means-test it more, in a way that will actually capture enough revenue to matter, you would have to dip into the middle class to make the math work. Similarly, this idea that this is the “wealthiest generation of retirees in history,” when they just suffered a financial crisis and the stripping of their wealth right before their retirements, is ridiculous.

In reality, we cannot be secure enough in the long-term projections about Medicare and Medicaid to take a hacksaw to the benefits today.

Bowles and Simpson Rake In $40,000 Per Speaking Engagement

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 12:45 pm

Every time Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson talk about how the United States simply cannot afford to offer their citizens a modest income in retirement, they get $40,000. This is three times the amount that Social Security recipients actually get themselves in retirement, ANNUALLY. Bowles and Simpson get that for an hourlong talk.

Tim Geithner’s Lead Negotiating Position on Fiscal Slope Should Cause Concern

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 6:08 pm

The White House absolutely wants the Treasury Secretary to be deeply involved with budget issues. But we know this because they’ve already designated current Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the lead negotiating role on the fiscal slope. So while Lew may have the resume, Geithner already has the job, and he has indicated he will not step down until the negotiation gets resolved somehow.

Durbin Outlines Democratic Approach on Grand Bargain

By: Tuesday November 27, 2012 4:16 pm

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who has almost become the liaison to the left for cuts to federal health care programs in the grand bargain, gave a speech today at the Center for American Progress that included a couple important points…

The Norquist Rebellion: Not Actually News

By: Monday November 26, 2012 8:16 am

The big story I’m supposed to chase today concerns Republican legislative figures distancing themselves from the Grover Norquist pledge, opening the door a crack to increases in tax revenue. This is really a Washington process story about lobbying power rather than a legitimate policy evolution, however.

How to Slay Invisible Bond Vigilantes

By: Saturday November 24, 2012 9:00 am

Like little children scared about monsters under their beds, DC appears to be in thrall to fears of Invisible Bond Vigilantes. Krugman has been trying to slay these fears with logic and rational argument, but as any parent can tell you, fears like these are irrational and succumb to only one thing: mockery.

As the pressure for a Grand Bargain mounts and screaming about the Invisible Bond Vigilantes rises, let the mockery begin. It’s the only weapon that has a chance of success.

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