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Old 01-02-2013, 06:54 PM  
mlyonsd mlyonsd is offline
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Cliff deal reality moment

Cliff deal hollow victory for American people
By David Rothkopf, Special to CNN
updated 10:16 AM EST, Wed January 2, 2013

Editor's note: David Rothkopf is CEO and editor-at-large of the FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy magazine and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

(CNN) -- The last political drama of 2012 and the first one of 2013 suggest that if you love America, you might want to consider making your New Year's resolution quitting whatever political party you belong to.

The "fiscal cliff" debate and the last-minute deal it produced have so far resolved nothing except to show that our system is profoundly broken and that radical changes are needed to fix it.

While many in Washington are breathing a sigh of relief and some are trying to spin the outcome as a win for the president, those who characterize this bill as a genuine victory for anyone at all have clearly lost perspective. The deal brokered by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does make good on President Obama's promise to bring a little more equity to the tax code by raising rates on wealthier Americans, and it temporarily averts the most draconian "sequestration" cuts. But the list of what it does not do, and what it does wrong, is long.

By midday Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office had concluded that the Biden-McConnell package would add nearly $4 trillion to federal deficits over the next 10 years. This was largely because it actually extends and makes permanent more than 80% of the Bush tax cuts. So much for the idea that this whole struggle was supposed to help America get its financial house in order.

Just as bad, or perhaps worse in terms of the day-to-day lives of average people, the bill only postpones the forced cuts of sequestration by two months, to precisely the moment the country will be engaged in another ruinous debate about lifting our national debt ceiling to ensure the country can pay its bills. It thus creates a new, even more dangerous fiscal cliff. Next time around, the markets will not be so blasé about congressional brinkmanship if the national credit rating and the stability of a bedrock of the international financial system are at stake. It is an ominous sign for America that the only direction our top officials seem to be able to steer us is into yet another game of chicken.

It is utter lunacy for the United States to face invented hazards that virtually no other major country does. We face plenty of profound challenges without having to invent new ones that only bring out the worst in our political gangs. I would use the term "leaders" as was common in the past, but precious few in this crowd actually deserve that label.

The Senate package does not include any material spending cuts, infuriating those on the right. It angered many on the left because it worsened unionized government workers' job insecurity, is overly generous to the rich on inheritance taxes, and it doesn't protect entitlement programs. The head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, said the deal "sets the stage for more hostage taking."

Further, the deal addresses only a tiny slice of the economic problems confronting America. Not only does it not address the $16 trillion national debt, it ignores the far bigger and more challenging deficit associated with looming retirement health care obligations. It also does not in any way address the still great need to help stimulate growth and create jobs in the U.S. economy. And it leaves in place most of the loopholes and provisions that allow America's richest to steadily accumulate more and more while inequality in this country gets worse and worse.

So, this was both a manufactured crisis and an unnecessary distraction from bigger issues. The deal that was hastily cobbled together actually increases our deficit, and it creates an even bigger potential crisis just weeks from now. That said, other than its lack of vision, creativity, accountability, sense of responsibility, courage, basic math skills, wisdom or competence, this cliff deal is not bad.

Which raises two questions. One -- the one Washington will focus on -- is "who is to blame?" This question is based entirely on the illusion that there are two sides in our political battles. There are not, of course. All of us are in this together. One party speaks on behalf of one set of interests. The other party speaks on behalf of another. They dress it up in the language of principle and ideology, but at the end of the day, they act on behalf of the perceived economic interests of their bases -- not those who vote for them, but those who fund them.

You may feel one party has done more than the other to cause this problem. That may be fair, but it is also a distraction from the bigger point. The only effective collaboration between both sides in this process has been inadvertent: A problem-creating partnership.

In his late night remarks following the House passage of the bill, Obama lamented that this bill was not the "grand bargain" the country needed to meaningfully raise revenue, cut spending and focus sensibly on growth. He said there was not enough time for that. But of course, we knew this deadline was looming from the moment it was manufactured in our political sausage factory. Both sides decided not to address it during the political campaign.

Oh, and then there is the additional reality that neither side even raised a grand bargain of the type proposed by the president's own Simpson-Bowles commission in a serious way. The fact that we even call the type of agreement that adequately starts to address our multiple needs a "grand bargain" as if it were some impossible dream reveals much about the current state of play in our nation's capital.

Which brings us to the other question: How do we get out of this mess? The only solution is to recognize that everything in our system that institutionalizes and deepens our partisan divides and makes the compromises and collaboration that are the essence of democracy impossible must be seen as an obstacle to the greater good.

It is time to realize that gerrymandering, campaign finance practices and the embrace of extra-constitutional traditions like filibuster rules deepen the divides that have made Washington dysfunctional. The two-party system is a boon for America when it is seen as providing a voice for two parts of a unified whole. But today's Washington is a zero-sum world of ideologues, men and women who have lost sight of who and what they are working for.
It may be that only a real massive movement away from the existing parties and the corrupt system they have created can break the destructive cycle in which Washington -- and the American people -- are trapped.

I've always felt such a move away from the current system was impossible, unrealistic. But then again, I never imagined a situation in Washington so dangerous to the well-being of so many Americans.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/02/opinio...tml?hpt=hp_bn7
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:41 PM   #16
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
Point us to something, anything, the party in power has given us any reason to think things won't get worse.
Improvements across the board. C'mon, you really going to argue that the overall economic situation isn't better than it was 4 years ago?
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Improvements across the board. C'mon, you really going to argue that the overall economic situation isn't better than it was 4 years ago?
Huge additional debt and flatline recovery
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:18 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Improvements across the board. C'mon, you really going to argue that the overall economic situation isn't better than it was 4 years ago?
What improvements? I suppose you'll argue unemployment is down even though the real story is fewer people are looking for jobs. And when you're not looking for a job you're either looking to the government for money without paying taxes or living off your savings.

Have we created a niche market no other country can compete with? No.

Is our brilliant president leading the world fight for 'clean' energy? Sure, but at a cost towards growth in killing the cheapest energy, coal. Which artificially raises the cost for doing business here.

Maybe you'll say health care is better because of Obamacare. To that I'll say it is good for kids being able to stay under their parent's plans but other than that the cost will eventually reduce availability.

Obama's grand stand for his fiscal cliff fiasco will result in another $4T in debt and does nothing to fix anything.

The increase in payroll taxes is projected to cut our GDP by 1.5-2%.

Am I missing anything? Seriously, tell me how things are improved.

The chickens will eventually come home to roost and Obama better hope the media protects him from replacing Herbert Hoover as the guy that led us into our biggest depression.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
What improvements?
There's no point in continuing this. You're determined to be unreasonable.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:34 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
There's no point in continuing this. You're determined to be unreasonable.
Ok, thanks for stopping by. Grab a refrigerator magnet on your way out.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:35 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Improvements across the board. C'mon, you really going to argue that the overall economic situation isn't better than it was 4 years ago?
So you vote GOP in the House election for your district? After all, you are happy
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Old 01-04-2013, 01:32 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
What improvements? I suppose you'll argue unemployment is down even though the real story is fewer people are looking for jobs. And when you're not looking for a job you're either looking to the government for money without paying taxes or living off your savings.

Have we created a niche market no other country can compete with? No.

Is our brilliant president leading the world fight for 'clean' energy? Sure, but at a cost towards growth in killing the cheapest energy, coal. Which artificially raises the cost for doing business here.

Maybe you'll say health care is better because of Obamacare. To that I'll say it is good for kids being able to stay under their parent's plans but other than that the cost will eventually reduce availability.

Obama's grand stand for his fiscal cliff fiasco will result in another $4T in debt and does nothing to fix anything.

The increase in payroll taxes is projected to cut our GDP by 1.5-2%.

Am I missing anything? Seriously, tell me how things are improved.

The chickens will eventually come home to roost and Obama better hope the media protects him from replacing Herbert Hoover as the guy that led us into our biggest depression.
that's what really pisses me off...

it affects the middle class enormously and makes no sense economically...

the ****ing sob's could have included an extension of the payroll tax holiday...

but no, they increased the number of "rich" people getting tax breaks...

i hope they all die in a flaming antifreeze fine in an aids tree while being deflowered by a 400 lb. man...
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:18 AM   #24
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Bend over, here it comes again.... Right out the gate deduct (at least)another $1,000 bucks (I think it's safe to assume we are all making more than 50 grand a year) confiscated from your paycheck to be pissed away by the federales

WASHINGTON (AP) — While the tax package that Congress passed New Year's Day will protect 99 percent of Americans from an income tax increase, most of them will still end up paying more federal taxes in 2013.

That's because the legislation did nothing to prevent a temporary reduction in the Social Security payroll tax from expiring. In 2012, that 2-percentage-point cut in the payroll tax was worth about $1,000 to a worker making $50,000 a year.

More


Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/nati...#ixzz2H1ITi1kG
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Old 01-04-2013, 08:43 AM   #25
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Didn't we hear that the middle class wouldn't get hit with tax increases? Did I misunderstand something?
Are you referring to the expiration of the temporary stimulus measure of lower payroll taxes, a measure that you were vehemently against and supported expiring?
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Old 01-04-2013, 10:18 AM   #26
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Why should we get a payroll tax cut extension? What have we the taxpayers, deserved to merit that continuance? We are 110% behind social security-medicare. So why shouldn't we pay for it? Americans want it both ways: a rock solid entitlement system, but a perpetual tax holiday from paying for it!

We are a very stupid, selfish, disgusting people.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:16 AM   #27
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The politics of the “fiscal cliff” deal is debatable: On the one hand, Boehner got the “Bush tax cuts” made permanent for most Americans; Obama was forced to abandon his goal of increasing rates for those earning $250,000. On the other, on taxes Republicans caved to the same class-warfare premises (the rich need to pay their “fair share”) they’d successfully fought off a mere two years ago; while on spending the Democrats not only refused to make cuts, they refused to make cuts even part of the discussion.

Which of the above is correct? Who cares? As I said, the politics is debatable. But the reality isn’t. I hate to keep plugging my book After America in this space, but if you buy multiple copies they’ll come in very useful for insulating your cabin after the power grid collapses. At any rate, right up there at the front — page six — I write as follows:

“The prevailing political realities of the United States do not allow for any meaningful course correction. And, without meaningful course correction, America is doomed.”



Washington keeps proving the point. The political class has just spent two months on a down-to-the-wire nail-biting white-knuckle thrill-ride negotiation the result of which is more business as usual. At the end, as always, Dr. Obama and Dr. Boehner emerge in white coats, surgical masks around their necks, bloody scalpels in hand, and announce that it was touch and go for a while but the operation was a complete success — and all they’ve done is applied another temporary band-aid that’s peeling off even as they speak. They’re already prepping the OR for the next life-or-death surgery on the debt ceiling, tentatively scheduled for next Tuesday or a week on Thursday or the third Sunday after Epiphany.

No epiphanies in Washington: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the latest triumphant deal includes $2 billion of cuts for fiscal year 2013. Wow! That’s what the government of the United States borrows every ten hours and 38 minutes. Spending two months negotiating ten hours of savings is like driving to a supermarket three states away to save a nickel on your grocery bill.

A space alien on Planet Zongo whose cable package includes Meet the Press could watch ten minutes of these pseudo-cliffhangers and figure out how they always end, every time: Spending goes up, and the revenue gap widens. This latest painstakingly negotiated bipartisan deal to restore fiscal responsibility actually includes a third of a trillion dollars in new spending. A third of a trillion! $330,000,000,000! Fancy that! In most countries, a third of a trillion would be a lot of money. But in the U.S. it’s chump change so footling it’s barely mentioned in the news reports.

Then there’s the usual sweetheart deals for those with Washington’s ear: $59 million for algae producers, a $20 million tax break if a Hollywood producer shoots part of a movie in a “depressed area” as opposed to a non-depressed area, like Canada. I’m pitching a script to Paramount called “The Algae That Ate Detroit.”

In all the “fiscal cliff” debate, I don’t recall a lot of discussion of algae. But apparently it’s essential to the deal. And don’t worry, it’s paid for by all the new revenue — an estimated $620 billion over a decade, or about $62 billion a year, which is what the government of the United States borrows every 13 days. But don’t worry, that’s a lot of algae.

We’re already broker than anyone has ever been ever. But this is America, where we can always do better — or anyway bigger, and broker: Under the “deal,” the federal debt of the United States in 2022 is officially projected to be $23.9 trillion. That’s in today’s dollars, as opposed to whatever we’ll be loading up the wheelbarrow with in 2022. With “deals” like this, who needs total societal collapse? By 2050, the federal debt will be $58 trillion. But you won’t have to worry about a United States of America by then: It’ll just be one big abandoned Chevy Algaerado plant.

Around the world, the only interest of friends and enemies alike in this third-rate Beltway hokum is (to return to the theme of my book) the question of whether America is capable of serious course correction — and, from debt ceiling to supercommittee to fiscal cliff and now back to debt ceiling, the political class keeps sending back the answer: No, we’re not. For a good example of how Washington drives even the greatest minds round the bend, consider Charles Krauthammer’s analysis on Fox News the other night:

“I would actually commend Boehner and Paul Ryan, who in the end voted ‘yes’ for a bad deal. But they had to do it.”

If courage is the willingness to take a stand and vote for a bad deal because you’ve been painted into a corner and want Obama to fly back to Hawaii at the cost of another $3 million in public funds that could have gone to algae subsidies so he’ll stop tormenting you for a week or two, then truly we are led by giants.

But is that all there is? As the old song says: What’s it all about — algae? Is it just for the moment we live? What’s it all about when you sort it out — algae? Are we meant to take more than we give?

If you think politics is a make-work project for the otherwise unemployable, then the system worked just fine. And I don’t mean only the numbers: On Monday, 300 million Americans did not know what their tax rates would be on Tuesday. That’s ridiculous.

Then the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell spent the night alone in a room with Joe Biden (which admittedly few of us would have the stomach for). And when they emerged they informed those 300 million Americans what their tax rates now were. That’s unseemly.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articl...ge-mark-steyn#
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:05 PM   #28
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Are you referring to the expiration of the temporary stimulus measure of lower payroll taxes, a measure that you were vehemently against and supported expiring?
Probably the same thing but in the proper reference it should be called a tax on the middle class that Obama campaigned on and was still lying to the people about even though he signed the bill.

Obama is the biggest lying president in US history.
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:50 PM   #29
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Cliff Deal was unConstitutional

I suspected this was because it originated in the Senate. Why doesn't anyone call these guys on stuff like this? The media, academia or anyone else. I searched all over for back up, in case there was something about it that allowed it to originate in the senate to no avail.

Then tonight while reading the Tenth Amendment Center I see a link in the right-hand corner saying:
Didn’t the Fiscal Cliff Deal Originate in the Senate?
"Recall that the fiscal cliff bill was first passed by the Senate in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, and then seconded by a vote of the House some 20 hours later. And yet, Article I, Section 7, Clause 1—known as the Origination Clause—states:
'All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.'

Far from being 'archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil'—as Georgetown law professor Mike Seidman claimed as part of his argument for throwing out the Constitution altogether—this provision serves, or at least is supposed to serve, the very real and timeless purpose of keeping the taxing power as close to the voters as possible. Mindful of the potential for abuses of this awesome power (see, e.g., John Roberts on Obamacare) the Constitution’s authors chose to give it to the congressional body that is elected every two years directly by people in local districts (the House), instead of the one whose members serve alternating six-year terms and weren’t initially directly elected (the Senate).
http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2013...in-the-senate/

John Robert's decision on Obamacare is allowing more Constitutional breakdowns.

So write or call your senators, and tell them they're being watched on this stuff. Then tell you Congressman to get a spine. Top it off with a letter to the SC. This has to stop on both sides of the aisle.
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“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” — James Madison
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BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.BucEyedPea is obviously part of the inner Circle.
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