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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Cooler heads prevail; no federal gov't shutdown (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Cooler heads prevail; no federal gov't shutdown
SenojRetep
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According to Speaker Boehner, a budget agreement has been reached.

At first glance it looks like the Democrats, to preserve the $500 million symbolic money to Planned Parenthood, agreed to more significant cuts elsewhere. Total cuts are $38.5 billion, which are a drop in the bucket relative to the impending deficit (let alone the debt). As I recall, that's more than the House Republican leadership originally asked for (before the Freshman busted up the proposal over their promise to cut $100 billion).

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Mucus
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So ... what are the 39 billion in cuts?
(Kinda unsatisfied with the article, nothing obvious on Google News)

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theamazeeaz
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I'm glad there's no shutdown as it could have hurt my dissertation (long story).
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Hobbes
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800+ pages long if engineering dissertations are any guideline.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Lyrhawn
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Near as I can tell, there haven't been specifics on cuts because they haven't really hammered them out yet. Tonight's CR lasts until Thursday, when they'll supposedly vote on the final version that lasts until the next budget in October.

From what I've read, while the GOP lost on its bid to include social reforms (defunding PP, the new health care law, the Consumer protection bureau, NPR and removing EPA powers to police greenhouse gas), they did force the Senate to offer up a vote on these various issues. None of them will make it through the Senate, or if they do, through an Obama veto, but they'll get a vote in the Senate at least. It's symbolic really. In return Reid had to give up a little more money, but no idea from where.

Looks to me like Boehner came out head, but the devil will be in the details. If he managed to defund a lot of other social programs that Democrats like, and for more value than he probably should have gotten while putting up social reforms as a red herring, it'll be a big win for him. Ironically, it probably won't be viewed as a big win since it's dramatically less than the cuts he promised.

This was all just a preamble to the real fight that's coming up. The question is whether or not they'll actually pass a worthwhile budget in October, or whether they push it off until after the election. I'd really like to see the Democrats put forward their ideas for the year, including entitlement and defense spending reform. Wait until after the GOP votes their House bill forward. That way if the GOP tries to play politics with Democrats cutting defense spending, Democrats can whack them back for cutting Medicare. It's stupid politics and I hate it, but it might keep them both in line if they're playing MAD with political nukes.

I really hate my government.

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Samprimary
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I never even gave this story much thought, because there was nearly no way the government was actually going to end up shutting down, even if they have to play the mini brinkmanship politics game with the deadline.

All it comes down to at the end is who would end up taking the biggest image hit if the government DID shut down; that party ends up making the most last-minute concessions overall, but the engine keeps going.

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ambyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I never even gave this story much thought, because there was nearly no way the government was actually going to end up shutting down, even if they have to play the mini brinkmanship politics game with the deadline.

You should have gone into the business of selling shut-down insurance packages to federal employees, then; you could have made a lot of money. Everyone in my office was convinced we were going to be shut down.

I wonder if anyone will ever do an analysis into how much the "almost" shut-down cost the government? Lacking further guidance Friday afternoon, we went ahead and prepared for a utility shut-off, unplugging all machines and bringing things off-line. A not insignificant number of manhours went into that, and a not insignificant number will go into bringing everything up to speed on Monday. Not to mention the cost of developing and printing all the shutdown FAQ packets . . .

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Samprimary
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oh boy, progressive commentary!

quote:
For the last time: the Hyde Amendment prohibits any federal funding for abortion. Planned Parenthood receives federal funding through the Title X program. That money CANNOT be used for abortion. Planned Parenthood pays for abortion care (just 3 percent of its services) through privately raised funds.

Contraception accounts for 35 percent of PP services. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 99 percent of sexually active women age 15-44 have used some form of contraception.

That’s what Republicans were willing to shut down the government over. Condoms. Birth control pills. Cancer screenings. Breast exams. STI tests. For men and women who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access that care. Republicans like to say there are plenty of other facilities besides PP that provide low or no cost reproductive health care. You know what? There aren’t. Andrea Grimes tried to find them. She recently lost her job and needs regular Pap smears to make sure she doesn’t develop cervical cancer. Her state representative told her there were alternatives in PP in the Dallas area. She called around to find out if that was true. The only clinic she could find had an opening in May.

Her local Planned Parenthood could fit her in that same afternoon.

If Grimes had that much trouble finding health care in a large metro area like Dallas, you can bet women in other large cities do, too, not to mention smaller cities and towns. I wrote a few weeks ago about my difficulty finding a gynecologist in a smaller town, and I was lucky enough to have health insurance. The doctors just weren’t accepting patients.

Military families came within hours of not having paychecks. Senators and representatives would have continued to be paid during a shutdown, while soldiers who risk their lives for our country would do without. National parks would have closed. Tax returns would have been delayed.

Over birth control. Republicans demanded that Planned Parenthood be defunded, and Democrats (luckily) were just as adamant that PP not be touched. Although PP was not affected when a budget agreement was reached, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed to hold votes in the Senate on health care reform and Planned Parenthood; bills to repeal and defund those programs passed in the House but don’t stand much chance of getting through the Senate. Also, women who live in Washington, D.C., got a raw deal. The budget will prevent any federal or local funds from being used for abortion in D.C.

This is why the stalemate broke and the republicans relented: they were within an hour of hosing themselves and giving the Democrats tons of very useful ammunition, and they knew it, so they got to take the last swerve in this game of political chicken. "Support the troops" gets whitewashed with things like "Hey by the way the troops aren't being paid anymore because the house republicans don't want to give women access to birth control."
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
I never even gave this story much thought, because there was nearly no way the government was actually going to end up shutting down, even if they have to play the mini brinkmanship politics game with the deadline.

All it comes down to at the end is who would end up taking the biggest image hit if the government DID shut down; that party ends up making the most last-minute concessions overall, but the engine keeps going.

Much of what I've read says that Obama could have pushed this to a shut down to score political points (as many believe a shutdown would have benefited Democrats far more), but he chose not to. Not sure how true that is, but if true, seems like the highwater mark of his leadership in Congress.
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Samprimary
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I don't disagree with the 'could have benefited democrats far more' part. The fallout against the Republicans — especially the house Republicans — would have been pretty wide-reaching, and it would also sync well with the Michigan brouhaha to paint the GOP as a party that has overstepped and needs to be brought back into line (as a firmly minority party).

But at the same time, they're not totally dumb and they know that would have been coming, so they would have shoved out more and more concessions up to the point where it would look bad and assign blame if the Democrats didn't take them.

Which is sort of what happened anyway.

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Lyrhawn
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We'll see. It all depends on where the cuts came from. Republicans gave ground on things they were NEVER going to get anyway, and got straight up or down votes in the Senate to put people on record, which is also what they really wanted. It's a set up for the 2012s already. And they got tens of billions more in cuts from Dems. I'd say the GOP came out on top here, or at least, will be able to paint themselves much better as having won, unless Democrats actually stay on the offensive.
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Lyrhawn
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What's going to be interesting now is Boehner's talk about not voting for an increase to the debt ceiling without concessions from Democrats. Not sure how this one will play out, but at the outset, it seems a pretty ridiculous position to take given what's at stake.
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TomDavidson
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Had the shutdown happened, my wife's boss would have had to kill fourteen cows.
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FoolishTook
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quote:
This is why the stalemate broke and the republicans relented: they were within an hour of hosing themselves and giving the Democrats tons of very useful ammunition, and they knew it, so they got to take the last swerve in this game of political chicken. "Support the troops" gets whitewashed with things like "Hey by the way the troops aren't being paid anymore because the house republicans don't want to give women access to birth control."
Because cutting funding to Planned Parenthood would suddenly make birth control disappear.

I think the public is far more aware of what is actually going on than the republicans or democrats or Barack Obama understand. The cuts need to come from everywhere and everyone. If the republicans only cut funding from programs they dislike, it's not going to work out for them.

If the democrats keep pretending that every spending cut is the equivalent of baking kittens into pies, they are digging their own graves (in terms of the election).

This problem of the deficit isn't going to go away until everyone is willing to sacrifice a little.

At this point, I do think the republicans will come out on top whether they deserve it or not. They at least look like they're serious about cutting the deficit, while the democrats appear to be out of touch.

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Lyrhawn
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Yeah, but the narrative is starting to turn, as far as the Ryan Budget goes, as the GOP being serious about cutting the deficit at the expense of the poor and the elderly. That's not going to fly either. The cognitive dissonance held by Congress IS shared by most Americans. We want all that we want, and don't want to pay any more for it. That's destined to hurt both sides, but at the end of the day, I think Republicans more so.

Supposedly Obama is going to release his new budget on Wednesday in answer to the Ryan Budget. It'll tackle entitlements (perhaps not SS), and even defense spending. And unlike his last one, or Ryan's, there are supposed to be some specific dollar amounts rather than only having targets. Then the conversation can really start, I suppose.

I'll say one thing about the GOP, I think they're full of crap, and wrong, but I'm glad, to degree, that they're finally forcing the issue. I think their solutions to the problem are wrong, but at least we're finally talking about it.

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scholarette
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Foolish Took- there are many women who are dependent on planned parenthood for their gynecological care. A woman in Dallas wrote about her trouble getting a pap smear (which is a requirement for getting oral contraceptives) even with insurance while ignoring planned parenthood. It would have taken several months. Once she added planned parenthood to the options, it took a day. Unfortunately, women's health is a low priority and planned parenthood is one of the few resources available. In some figures, the number of abortions would increase by 400,000 a year without the contraceptives provided by pp.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
the GOP being serious about cutting the deficit at the expense of the poor and the elderly
Ryan's plan doesn't even reduce the deficit. It cuts the budget and puts more money back in the hands of the wealthy at the expense of the poor and elderly, but leaves the deficit largely untouched.
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fugu13
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quote:
Ryan's plan doesn't even reduce the deficit. It cuts the budget and puts more money back in the hands of the wealthy at the expense of the poor and elderly, but leaves the deficit largely untouched.
While you might not like the plan, this is not true. The plan has been scored as reducing the deficit greatly over the next ten years and some, and resulting in surplus by around 2040. That's not "largely untouched".
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The plan has been scored as reducing the deficit greatly over the next ten years and some, and resulting in surplus by around 2040.
Scored by whom? I'm disinclined to grant its growth claims, for example.
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Swampjedi
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Yeah, but the narrative is starting to turn, as far as the Ryan Budget goes, as the GOP being serious about cutting the deficit at the expense of the poor and the elderly. That's not going to fly either. The cognitive dissonance held by Congress IS shared by most Americans. We want all that we want, and don't want to pay any more for it. That's destined to hurt both sides, but at the end of the day, I think Republicans more so.

Supposedly Obama is going to release his new budget on Wednesday in answer to the Ryan Budget. It'll tackle entitlements (perhaps not SS), and even defense spending. And unlike his last one, or Ryan's, there are supposed to be some specific dollar amounts rather than only having targets. Then the conversation can really start, I suppose.

I'll say one thing about the GOP, I think they're full of crap, and wrong, but I'm glad, to degree, that they're finally forcing the issue. I think their solutions to the problem are wrong, but at least we're finally talking about it.

I'm unsure that the Republicans are going to hurt more because their arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic isn't as cool as the Democrats' arrangement of chairs. [Dont Know]

FWIW, I agree with you that the Republicans are full of crap.

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SenojRetep
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Nate Silver on the budget compromise.

Summary: Obama is a bad negotiator, but Boehner should have asked for more cuts in his initial proposal.

Silver's analysis largely elides the role of the Senate, focusing instead on Obama and House Republicans, but I think the answer of how we ended up where we did resides in the analysis of all three. If you figure (as Silver does) that the 'tipping point' House member wanted cuts of around $50 billion, and that Obama asked for an increase of $23 billion, and that the Senate falls ideologically closer to Obama than the House, I don't see any way of arguing this isn't a big win for the GOP.

On top of that, the GOP got up/down votes in the Senate on defunding Health Care Reform and Planned Parenthood, with consequent electoral disadvantages for moderate Senate Dems. In the end, I agree more with the several analysts Silver cites at the top of his column rather than his analysis: the GOP won this budget fight, and they won it as soon as the Dems made a counterproposal for 'only' $31 billion in cuts.

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FoolishTook
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quote:
Foolish Took- there are many women who are dependent on planned parenthood for their gynecological care. A woman in Dallas wrote about her trouble getting a pap smear (which is a requirement for getting oral contraceptives) even with insurance while ignoring planned parenthood. It would have taken several months. Once she added planned parenthood to the options, it took a day. Unfortunately, women's health is a low priority and planned parenthood is one of the few resources available. In some figures, the number of abortions would increase by 400,000 a year without the contraceptives provided by pp.
I have no problem with this argument. It's the jumping to wild conclusions that republicans are trying to get rid of birth control that is not going to win points for democrats. Birth control would still exist.

quote:
Posted by Lyrhawn: Yeah, but the narrative is starting to turn, as far as the Ryan Budget goes, as the GOP being serious about cutting the deficit at the expense of the poor and the elderly.
Here's that sweeping generalization. How does this hurt the poor? How does this hurt the elderly?

Personally, I have no problem with a small tax increase. I mean, an across the board tax increase, for Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare, and income taxes, closing some of the loopholes that let the very, very rich get by with paying very little. But we can't tax our way out of this.

In fact, I threaten to march on Washington in a Betsy Ross thong, tea bags, and nothing else if all we get as a correction is a tax increase and more government spending. This would not be pretty, and the government should take this seriously. There are some things you can't UNSEE.

Swampjedi, why are we arranging deck chairs? What is really going to make this work? I'm not in favor of sitting back and watching the stupidity of our government deal a fatal blow to this country. I'm willing to sacrifice on my end, and I think the best bet is to spread the burden on everyone, with spending cuts and tax increases. But everyone has to be willing to sacrifice a little, instead of heaving the burden onto someone else.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
But we can't tax our way out of this.
Why not? The rich are severely undertaxed.
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Samprimary
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We not only can tax our way out of this, but the upcoming forced correctional methods will probably unavoidably do so.

It's simple, we, uh, tax the batman

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Glenn Arnold
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This is an experiment (I'll tell you my hypothesis afterwards) I'm just going to see what the reaction to this sentence is:

"A tax and spend policy is what got us out of the great depression."

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TomDavidson
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I think war and technical advances in manufacturing and transportation got us out of the Great Depression, but a tax and spend policy is what helped us survive it.
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Raymond Arnold
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Tee hee. I know what the hypothesis is.

[ April 12, 2011, 01:09 AM: Message edited by: Raymond Arnold ]

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Rakeesh
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FoolishTook, who aside from the very far left is seriously suggesting that Republicans are trying to completely eliminate all birth control everywhere? That's a red herring you've latched onto for some reason.

What is much less unambiguous is that there are pretty strong elements within conservative politics that would like to end PP, and that would as we've seen have a prompt and serious impact on a whole host of women's health care, not limited to birth control.

Which, by the way, elements within the GOP that are disproportionately powerful in the party right now (it coming on primary season), the GOP is more amenable than it would otherwise be to such measures, because it's got to pander to it's far-right base.

That's why we get to hear more about Obama bein' a sikrit Muslim furriner right now, for example.

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Swampjedi
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quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
Swampjedi, why are we arranging deck chairs? What is really going to make this work? I'm not in favor of sitting back and watching the stupidity of our government deal a fatal blow to this country. I'm willing to sacrifice on my end, and I think the best bet is to spread the burden on everyone, with spending cuts and tax increases. But everyone has to be willing to sacrifice a little, instead of heaving the burden onto someone else.

My snark was aimed at the politicians - the Republicans think cutting entitlements is the way to go while cutting taxes, and the Democrats want to raise taxes and leave entitlements alone (in general). Neither of those can reasonably fix the problem. There needs to be both.

This fighting over pennies here and there is just theater.

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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What annoys me about this whole situation is that everyone has just gone along with the idea that we have to cut the budget and reduce the deficit right now and that it's the most important thing.
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Swampjedi
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I can somewhat agree with that. I do think that cutting spending and raising taxes during a downturn isn't the best idea.

However, political momentum can be somewhat unreliable. I'll grant that there isn't much momentum, but some is better than none.

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Lyrhawn
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Budget cuts from last week's deal in more detail

Of course, the military is spared from any major hits. Looks like most of it falls on the poor and infrastructure projects.

quote:
How does this hurt the poor? How does this hurt the elderly?
Well, as far as the Ryan Budget goes, without a magical mechanism to lower the price of healthcare, capping payments to the elderly for their healthcare means they have to make up the rest out of their pockets. He also wants to cut Medicaid. Hurts the poor. Look at the targets of this considerably smaller budget cut. And yet in the Ryan Budget, the wealthy actually get ANOTHER tax cut. Doesn't really seem like burden sharing to me. As Tom said, a lot of his budget makes dramatic assumptions about what has to happen to make his numbers work, and I'm not willing to grant that all of them are guaranteed or even likely.

The final plan is going to have to have a combination of spending cuts to entitlements, as well as big cuts to defense, in concert with a tax increase. Time to pay for the free ride we've been getting for the last decade. We have to do it in a way that doesn't gut government spending so bad that the economy tanks again. That means new revenue.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
quote:
Foolish Took- there are many women who are dependent on planned parenthood for their gynecological care. A woman in Dallas wrote about her trouble getting a pap smear (which is a requirement for getting oral contraceptives) even with insurance while ignoring planned parenthood. It would have taken several months. Once she added planned parenthood to the options, it took a day. Unfortunately, women's health is a low priority and planned parenthood is one of the few resources available. In some figures, the number of abortions would increase by 400,000 a year without the contraceptives provided by pp.
I have no problem with this argument. It's the jumping to wild conclusions that republicans are trying to get rid of birth control that is not going to win points for democrats. Birth control would still exist.

Yes. But the people who need it most would have less access to it. It doesn't matter that it "exists" if a woman can't get it.
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Darth_Mauve
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You know, all this bickering about the secret devious plans of the Republicans to hurt the poor are silly and carry about as much weight as the Beckian theories that the Democrats are secretly in service to destroy America.

Yes, there are many in the Republican party, many wealthy, and many in the Tea Party movement who do want to cut services for the poor.

Why?

Because they don't see them as helping themselves.

I see the Tea Party as just the Senior Citizens Version of the Me Generation. Its the "Me" Party. If it doesn't help ME then I don't want the government to pay for it. If it does help me, then everyone should have the government pay for it.

There is no hatred or bigotry involved in wealthy Republican's demanding the shut down of the Planned Parenthood. It has nothing to do with dislike for the poor.

They simply don't matter.

Since those who support the Me Party platform don't gain anything from PP being funded, then they don't want it getting Their Tax Dollars.

They are a generation brought up to believe its all about the "Me" and they don't care about the rest.

I'm just ashamed there are so many of them that are my age, in my country, and make me look bad.

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kmbboots
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That doesn't account for the many in the Tea Party movement who do benefit from services for the poor and from Social Security and MediCare.
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
quote:
Foolish Took- there are many women who are dependent on planned parenthood for their gynecological care. A woman in Dallas wrote about her trouble getting a pap smear (which is a requirement for getting oral contraceptives) even with insurance while ignoring planned parenthood. It would have taken several months. Once she added planned parenthood to the options, it took a day. Unfortunately, women's health is a low priority and planned parenthood is one of the few resources available. In some figures, the number of abortions would increase by 400,000 a year without the contraceptives provided by pp.
I have no problem with this argument. It's the jumping to wild conclusions that republicans are trying to get rid of birth control that is not going to win points for democrats. Birth control would still exist.

Yes. But the people who need it most would have less access to it. It doesn't matter that it "exists" if a woman can't get it.
Surely there must be some rich, liberal charities willing to pay for poor women's birth control, no? Maybe you could lobby the Catholic Charities...
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Arnold:
This is an experiment (I'll tell you my hypothesis afterwards) I'm just going to see what the reaction to this sentence is:

"A tax and spend policy is what got us out of the great depression."

wat

/alternate response is a Protoss voice going "WE REQUIRE ADDITIONAL ELABORATION"

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FoolishTook
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Dark_Mauve, is it possible that some of us republican, conservative, Tea Partiers question the notion that it's the government's responsibility to help everyone in need?

I've seen truly poor people flatly denied services because they didn't meet certain requirements. The safety net failed them and will continue to fail many, because the government is too far removed from the problem to see it clearly. This, while millions of dollars are wasted on people who don't need it.

I don't have an issue with people getting what they don't deserve. I do have a problem with people expecting it, even demanding it.

I have an even bigger problem with people demanding and expecting what they don't deserve and they don't need.

quote:
That doesn't account for the many in the Tea Party movement who do benefit from services for the poor and from Social Security and MediCare.
Yep. And many in the Tea Party will bail out once they discover they will be the ones who have to sacrifice as well.

I still cling to the idea that everyone should sacrifice, even the poor. If that means Miss Jones pays $3 a month for birth control instead of getting it free, so be it. If that means I pay $20 a month extra on income/SS/Medicare/Medicaid taxes, so be it. If that means giant corporations lose some of their loopholes, the congress and senate take a salary cut, and the military has to do with less, so be it.

So far, there is no proposed budget that comes close to what I want. Paul Ryan's is a start, however.

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Rappin' Ronnie Reagan
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quote:
Originally posted by FoolishTook:
This, while millions of dollars are wasted on people who don't need it.

Can you give some examples?

quote:
If that means giant corporations lose some of their loopholes, the congress and senate take a salary cut, and the military has to do with less, so be it.
Yeah... I don't think that's gonna happen.
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TomDavidson
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Tell you what, FoolishTook: since I think we all agree that far fewer people will suffer if military funding is cut and giant corporations lose some tax loopholes than if old people have to start paying more for medicine, let's focus on doing those things first, 'k?
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kmbboots
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At what wealth level do you think people don't need government services? I could see, for example, cutting MediCare benefits to the very wealthy. Is that the kind of thing you are talking about?
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SenojRetep
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House Democrats' "sketchy" budget proposal.

quote:
Democrats claim their budget cuts deficits over 10 years by $1.2 trillion more than President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal, which claimed $1.1 trillion in deficit savings.

The House Republican budget claims to achieve $4.4 trillion in deficit savings compared to the Obama budget.

The Democratic alternative will be offered as an amendment to the 2012 budget, which will come to the House floor Thursday.

To achieve the cuts, Democrats look hard at the Pentagon. Part of the additional savings comes from spending $308 billion less on security and defense over 10 years. It also cuts $309 billion from overseas contingency spending, assuming that the U.S. is out of Iraq by the end of 2011 and Afghan forces are in charge of their war by 2015.

Other details on how the Van Hollen alternative achieves the extras savings are sketchy.

Nothing on controlling increases in Medicare and Medicaid. Here, van Hollen punts on the question, stating that he would confer with other House Democrats about the issue.

One thing to note is the direction of negotiations. The Democrats' proposal decreases deficits by $1.2 trillion (according to them) over the Obama-proposed budget. From what I can tell, the two proposals still straddle the Simpson-Bowles commission proposal, with the Ryan budget embracing entitlement and tax reform but keeping the Bush taxes and maintaining defense spending levels, and the Democrats' proposal (in its current form) cutting defense and increasing some taxes, but not addressing entitlement growth or tax reform.

I think this proposal makes it more likely that President Obama's budget proposal in his speech tonight will largely embrace Simpson-Bowles, given his penchant for triangulation and the strategic positioning of the two House proposals.

<edit>The above-linked blog post from The Hill has been updated, replacing the adjective "sketchy" with "unclear" in relation to the Democrats' claimed budget savings. Such is the danger in citing ephemeral sources, I suppose.</edit>

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SenojRetep
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And now, this about Obama's budget.

Looks like the deficit reduction goal is about halfway between the Democrats' and Republicans' plans, with a proposed increase in taxes on the over $250,000 crowd and soft caps on Medicare. This according to the article; for the actual proposal we'll have to wait for the speech at 1:35 pm (EST). But the article makes the point that early hints point to a strong alignment with the Simpson-Bowles commission recommendation.

<edit>According to the White House press release, the budge will "protect the investments we need to grow our economy, create jobs, and win the future." I find this 'win the future' catchphrase that Obama introduced in the SotU (using it 11 times in the speech) is not wearing well. It sounds too gimmicky, too corporate-speak, under repeated use. Or maybe it's just me. Anyway, if I were the speech writer who coined it (or, uh, borrowed it) I might rethink my chosen career.</edit>

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Lyrhawn
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He's been trying to recapture the "on-message" approach he had during the campaign that quickly left when he became president.

Bush was quite excellent at this. Remember all his backdrops with the catchphrase of the day behind it. The difference I think is that for the most part the GOP took his talking points and ran with them. Obama is simply too aloof from Congressional Democrats to push a cohesive message.

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SenojRetep
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I missed the speech, but I've read several articles covering it and I'm disappointed. Obama still seems to believe (wrongly, IMO) that we can 1) keep Bush tax cuts on the middle class and 2) avoid at least soft caps on Medicare and Medicaid.

For all those complaining that Ryan's budget is unrealistic, I'd be interested if you think Obama's is any more grounded. From where I'm standing it looks like wishful thinking, with almost all the pain pushed off to six years in the future, and no real consideration of the inevitable growth of healthcare costs. That's not meant to be an in depth analysis, just a snap judgment based on the broad strokes being reported in the media.

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Lyrhawn
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Obama was pretty clear about the difference between his and Ryan's solution to Medicare. Ryan's plan is to cap payouts, Obama's is to (attempt to) make healthcare fundamentally cheaper for everyone so that its cost actually falls, rather than leaving the healthcare apparatus entirely untouched.

I think Obama is closer to right here than Ryan is. Ryan's plan does nothing to actually help anyone with the spiraling cost of healthcare, it just foists the problems off on individuals who are ill-equipped to deal with it. Read his speech, you still might not agree with it, but it allays some of your negative impressions.

One of the things I noticed in the speech was that he refers to tax cuts as spending, which I thought was an interesting way to frame the debate. Personally I think the middle class tax cuts should be HALF rolled back. As he noted, incomes for the middle class have actually fallen in the past decade, and have dramatically risen for the wealthy. Roll back theirs, and let the middle class keep half of theirs. I think that's fair.

What I'm really interested in seeing is the Gang of Six budget that will come out of the Senate soon. I think that's the real in-between budget that many have been looking for, and it will likely follow the Debt Commission recommendations even more closely.

On the bright side, both sides seem to be on board with a number of issues, like tax code reform, tax decrease in the corporate tax rate, ending most tax deductions, etc.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I think Obama is closer to right here than Ryan is. Ryan's plan does nothing to actually help anyone with the spiraling cost of healthcare, it just foists the problems off on individuals who are ill-equipped to deal with it.
Your take sounds pretty close to Klein's position.


quote:
Just over a year ago, I wrote a column praising Rep. Paul Ryan’s Roadmap. I called its ambition “welcome, and all too rare.” I said its dismissal of the status quo was “a point in its favor.” When the inevitable backlash came, I defended Ryan against accusations that he was a fraud, and that technical mistakes in his tax projections should be taken as evidence of dishonesty. I also, for the record, like Ryan personally, and appreciate his policy-oriented approach to politics.

So I believe I have some credibility when I say that the budget Ryan released last week is not courageous or serious or significant. It’s a joke, and a bad one.

For one thing, Ryan’s savings all come from cuts, and at least two-thirds of them come from programs serving the poor. The wealthy, meanwhile, would see their taxes lowered, and the Defense Department would escape unscathed. It is not courageous to attack the weak while supporting your party’s most inane and damaging fiscal orthodoxies. But the problem isn’t just that Ryan’s budget is morally questionable. It also wouldn’t work.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from Robert Reischauer, who directed the Congressional Budget Office from 1989 to 1995 and now leads the Urban Institute. “If this is a competition between Ryan and the Affordable Care Act on realistic approaches to curbing the growth of spending,” Reischauer says, “the Affordable Care Act gets five points and Ryan gets zero.” But Ryan would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with his own wishful plan. In doing so, he makes it harder, not easier, for us to balance the budget.

To understand why Reischauer gives Ryan a zero, you need to understand the technical trick that gives Ryan his savings. His proposal says the federal government’s contributions to Medicare and Medicaid can’t grow at more than the rate of inflation. Then he told CBO to score his plan based on that assumption. That’s where his money comes from. But it’s nonsense.

quote:
Health-care costs don’t grow at the rate of inflation. Ever. Previously, Ryan acknowledged that. His Roadmap capped federal contributions between inflation and the actual cost of medical care. He then developed a more bipartisan version of the idea with Alice Rivlin, who founded the Congressional Budget Office and directed the Office of Management and Budget under Bill Clinton. That one was capped at the growth of GDP plus 1 percentage point. Both targets were far more plausible than the fantasy target Ryan is now using.

So why the switch? He has not said. I suspect he couldn’t make the numbers add up without tax increases. The problem now, however, is that his numbers don’t add up at all. Rivlin — a budget hawk’s budget hawk — has abandoned the proposal that Ryan says she helped write. “The growth rate is much, much too low,” she says.

Rivlin’s worry is that Ryan’s plan won’t control costs so much as shift them to seniors. And the CBO agrees with her. It concluded that Ryan’s privatization plan would actually add to Medicare’s costs. In 2030, traditional Medicare insurance, CBO estimates, would only cost 60 percent as much as the private options Ryan is offering. But under Ryan’s plan, seniors would pay two-thirds of the cost, while under traditional Medicare, they’d pay only 25 percent.

That’s not cost control. That’s cost-shifting. And even assuming Congress would turn a deaf ear to the cries of seniors, it wouldn’t solve our nation’s fiscal problems. It would just shunt them off the federal budget and onto family budgets, and make them worse.

quote:
One refrain we’ve heard about Ryan’s budget is that it may be flawed, but at least it’s a starting point. Maybe so, but it’s the wrong one. Taking Ryan’s zero and making it into a five would be a lot harder than taking the Affordable Care Act’s five and making it into a seven — and the Affordable Care Act has the advantage of already being law, not just a glimmer in a congressman’s eye.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
/alternate response is a Protoss voice going "WE REQUIRE ADDITIONAL ELABORATION"
What part of experiment didn't you understand? Well, I guess no one pays any attention to my posts anyway, so I guess I got my answer.
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Dobbie
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I don't understand the "ex" part. I mean, did it used to be a periment?
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Rivlin’s worry is that Ryan’s plan won’t control costs so much as shift them to seniors. And the CBO agrees with her. It concluded that Ryan’s privatization plan would actually add to Medicare’s costs. In 2030, traditional Medicare insurance, CBO estimates, would only cost 60 percent as much as the private options Ryan is offering. But under Ryan’s plan, seniors would pay two-thirds of the cost, while under traditional Medicare, they’d pay only 25 percent.
I really think this is the most important part. It's not even just about shifting costs onto seniors, it's that putting them on private insurance will raise the total amount spent on health care. Medicare is cheaper than private insurance. At this rate, it would make more sense to keep them on Medicare, but cap their payments and make them pay the government instead of a private insurer. At least that rate, the costs that are foisted off onto them would be less so than they'd face in the open market.

This is something that needs to be emphasized.

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