On the tenth anniversary of the war in Iraq it is worth remembering how many people were deeply wrong. Top politicians in both parties, administration officials, reporters, columnists, and even many bloggers. They were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction, about the links to Al-Qaeda, and about how quickly the war would end. Over the past decade basically none of these people have faced any repercussions for being so wrong. In fact many of them are still working at their same jobs or have much better jobs.
|By: Jon Walker Tuesday March 19, 2013 10:20 am|
|By: Jon Walker Thursday February 28, 2013 9:40 am|
One of the big reasons that deficit hysteria gripped Washington for years despite dozens of more pressing issues is that Pete Peterson has spent the GDP of a small country propping it up. According to Joshua Green, Peterson spent half a billion on this current deficit push and plans to spend a half billion more.
|By: Jon Walker Thursday February 28, 2013 8:50 am|
The way Obama has handled basically every manufactured crisis from the debt ceiling, to the Bush tax cuts expiration, to the sequester has been about trying to force both Democrats and Republicans to embrace his version of a “grand bargain.” While it is clear this has been the driving force behind Obama’s decisions, if you pay close attention to his actions is is rare than an administration official will directly admit this. This is actually what I think it most interesting about the recently leaked email exchange between Bob Woodward and Gene Sperling up on Politico.
|By: Jon Walker Friday February 15, 2013 1:00 pm|
House Republicans really really really hate new taxes. This is one promise from the GOP I do believe. It seems almost everyone from their base, to their donors, to independent voters believe this. Despite a mountain of evidence the only people who don’t seem to believe this are a small circle of professional grand bargain promoters, the “both sides are always equally to blame” pundits, and President Obama.
|By: Jon Walker Monday January 7, 2013 10:40 am|
The best hope for protecting Social Security and Medicare from benefit cuts during the next round of manufactured crises continues to be the Republican unwillingness to accept any new taxes.
|By: Jon Walker Monday December 31, 2012 1:50 pm|
Obama could have used this revenue-increasing deal to finally pivot to immigration, education, climate change, gun control or any of a dozen other issues that have been completely neglected while Washington has been overwhelmed with deficit hysteria. There is no shortage of more pressing problems in America that need to be dealt with. Instead Obama seems to be signalling that much of his second term is also going to be consumed with his desire to get a balanced deal to reduce the deficit, and in Washington “balanced deficit reduction” is basically the code word for cutting entitlements.
|By: cocktailhag Thursday December 27, 2012 8:00 pm|
In any normal country, there would be no particular reason to expect 2013 to be an awful year. The right-wing Presidential candidate, who preached austerity, family values, and military adventurism, was soundly defeated by the center-left candidate, who favored, well, austerity-lite, personal freedom, and a fiscally convenient “peace dividend.” Overconfident and overfunded Republicans were similarly trounced in the House and Senate, losing seats in both despite stunning structural advantages.
It seemed that the Right’s perennial hobby horses, from favoring the wealthiest above all others and demonizing minorities of every type, to demanding that every non-military expenditure be slashed to the bone, had clearly been sent to the glue factory by the electorate. Alas, things are never what they seem in Washington.
|By: wigwam Saturday December 22, 2012 6:00 pm|
It’s important to understand that “deficit” and “stimulus” mean the same thing: money pumped into the economy by government spending and not pulled back by taxation. So deficit reductions (tax hikes and spending cuts) destimulate the economy. FDR learned that the hard way in the first year of his second term; in a premature return to “fiscal responsibility,” he cut deficits, which destimulated the economy and induced the Recession of 1937.
In the Summer of 2011, Obama concocted the Grand Bargain of 2011, a deficit-reduction package not unlike that of FDR. But, it cut Social Security and Medicare (entitlements), which offended some progressive Democrats. And, because it also contained tax increases, which offended Tea Party Repubicans, it was eventually shot it down.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 1:33 pm|
So Democrats have reached the bargaining phase of the fiscal slope debacle. It’s hard to say whether they’re pushing this because they think they have an opportunity to avoid the austerity bomb or because they know they have no partner on the other side, but either way, the result is the Democratic leadership, at least in the House, taking control of a plan that would, among other things, cut Social Security benefits as well as benefits for any of the 50 federal programs with a cost of living adjustment or income-based eligibility standard, and begging John Boehner to work with them to pass it.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 6:40 am|
I couldn’t think of a more fitting story on my last day of blogging to symbolize the nature of our government than the aborting of Plan B, wherein House Republicans couldn’t even pass a messaging bill with no chance of advancing. Sometimes we’ve seen Speaker Boehner miscount the votes – the most notable time I can think of was an initial vote reauthorizing the Patriot Act, when some civil libertarians revolted – but not on a pure messaging bill.