Paul Ryan’s Hammock

By: Thursday January 27, 2011 7:15 pm

How stands the Social Security discussion in Washington following State-of-the-Union night? More or less where it was before. Which, for defenders of the program is mostly not good.

President Obama honored his pledge to congressional Democrats over the previous weekend not to endorse cuts to the program. In fact, he went a bit farther, rejecting any plan that would include “slashing benefits for future generations.”

There’s more to say about that. But first, what about Paul Ryan and that Michele Bachmann?


State of the Union to Include “Focus on Deficit”

By: Thursday December 23, 2010 6:30 pm

We’re getting our first indication of how the President will use the State of the Union address. With Speaker John Boehner behind him, President Obama will address a solidly Republican House of Representatives and a Senate with a 53-47 Democratic split. In his press conference yesterday he alluded to his persistence and unfinished business on a variety of issues, particularly surrounding the federal budget, the first wave of which will need to be completed by March to avoid a government shutdown. According to spokesman Robert Gibbs, the State of the Union will have a focus on the budget and deficits.

The New Catfood: Warner, Chambliss to Offer Deficit Commission Recs in Bill Next Year

By: Tuesday December 21, 2010 11:45 am

Hilariously, Warner and Chambliss, who want to bring forward a plan that cuts the budget deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years, just both voted for a tax cut bill that, if the Bush tax rates are continued into perpetuity… add $4 trillion to the budget over the next ten years. This is why I thought that the tax cut deal had to be looked at as a whole. You could have basically eliminated the need for this Warner-Chambliss clown show simply by doing nothing.

Obama Seeks Tax Reform, “Long Discussion” About Spending

By: Friday December 10, 2010 4:50 pm

Yesterday on Dylan Ratigan’s show, he asked Austan Goolsbee a question I submitted via Twitter. It’s something I’ve been asking here as well: how are you going to perpetuate the stimulative effect of this bill, when you have deficit hysteria breaking out in Washington and a new Tea Party caucus bound and determined to cut spending next year? Goolsbee’s answer made it seem like he never considered the question…

Obama Delivers Mixed Messages on Deficits and Spending (with Worse than Mixed Results)

By: Monday December 6, 2010 3:30 pm

After months of actively signaling weakness on extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich, President Obama is about to reach a “compromise.” According to reports, it sounds like the compromise with be a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts for all, a year-long extension of unemployment insurance, and an extension of some of [...]

After Catfood Commission Fails to Meet Mandate, Dem Senators Rally for Austerity

By: Friday December 3, 2010 2:50 pm

Fourteen Democratic Senators have asked Harry Reid for action on reining in the budget deficit, on the same day that the Catfood Commission failed to reach the threshold to deliver an official report.

Catfood Commission Backs Myth That We Must Increase Health Care Cost Sharing

By: Wednesday December 1, 2010 4:30 pm

Beyond the Deficit Commission’s non-report total cop-out on health care, what disturbs me is what changes they do recommend: embracing the economagic myth that the way to control health care costs is just to make regular people pay even higher co-pays, deductibles, and out of pocket costs. This idea that we can reduce overall health care spending by making people pay even more is pure economic theology. It is support by free-marketeers like a religious doctrine despite the fact that all evidence shows it is not successful.

Bowles and Simpson Violate Commission Charter and the Washington Post Covers Up

By: Wednesday December 1, 2010 6:25 am

The Washington Post, which long ago abandoned rules of journalistic objectivity in pushing its agenda for cutting Social Security and Medicare, today covered up the plans by deficit commission’s co-chairs to violate the commission’s charter. The Post reported that the commission expects to delay voting on a plan until December 3. This means that the commission will miss the December 1 deadline for a final report specified in both its by-laws and its charter.

Simpson and Bowles Defy Executive Order, Want to Delay Catfood Commission Vote

By: Tuesday November 30, 2010 1:50 pm

For most of the week, you could see the wheels coming off of the Catfood Commission. First we heard that “they may surprise us,” but then there was this moving of the goalposts. Despite the fact that 14 of the 18 panel members had to agree to secure any recommendations which would go to Congress for a vote, now insiders were saying that a majority vote would show a signal of support.

But it’s clear that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson can’t even get that.

Toxic Shock: Poll Confirms Social Security Cuts Are Still Political Third Rail

By: Friday November 19, 2010 5:22 pm

Cutting Social Security benefits, either directly or by raising the retirement age, is deeply unpopular. No Democrat should even entertain the notion, especially given that the trust fund currently solvent for the next two decades, and the public is clearly behind the more progressive alternative to dealing with any future shortfall.

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