Archive for john boehner

Let’s Talk About ‘Fair Share’

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2011 by rottenart

Steve Benen has a good post today about the persistent meme that’s been making the rounds since the deficit became the holy grail of national political discussion: it’s not fair to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay more in taxes because they already pay so much! John Boehner, ever the voice of the oppressed 1%, said this:

“Come on. The top 1% paid 38% of income taxes in America. How much more do you want them to pay?”

“We are not going to engage in class warfare,” Boehner said, adding: “The president’s clearly trying to do it, and it’s wrong.”

Well, let’s just parse that a bit, shall we? As Steve puts it:

“Just as important, while these very Americans are paying a larger percentage of the nation’s overall income taxes, they’re also paying a smaller share of their personal income in income taxes.”

As a percentage of their income, they’ve seen their tax rate drop significantly. While the top 20% do pay the majority of the income tax, they also control around 90% of the wealth and account for ~80% of the income.  In fact, while the middle and lower classes have seen their wages stagnate and even decline over the past 30 years, the uppermost 1%  have seen their incomes soar by 275% in the same period. And those vast majority who Boehner thinks aren’t paying enough? They’re already poor and don’t make enough money to have to pay!

Beware the Republican bearing statistics about taxes and who pays their ‘fair share’.

Failure is a Pretty ‘Super’ Option

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2011 by rottenart

It’s been clear for a while now that Republicans on the so-called “Super-committee” to oversee deficit reduction weren’t going to budge in the slightest. The media, for their part, have continued to advance a ridiculous narrative in which the GOP’s offer of $300 million in raised revenue (read: taxes) while making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent is somehow serious. Democrats on the panel, surprisingly, have refused to go along with such an inane proposal. So, here we are, less than a week until their deadline and they appear to be headed for complete failure.

Good.

First of all, the whole idea was stupid in the first place. It’s already congress’ job to come up with a budget. To put in the hands of an extra-super-secret congress is just political theater. More important, however, is what happens when they do fail. The whole idea was to make this committee accountable by building a doomsday scenario into their work:  if they can’t come to an agreement, automatic budget cuts (or sequestration, to use the word of the day) are triggered. Entitlements take a hit, defense takes a big hit, everyone’s pissed off and everyone can brag about reducing the deficit, right? Well, yes, but there’s one other huge piece of the puzzle that would have more of an effect than anything else: letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire.

We faced this same scenario earlier this year in the debt limit fiasco and last year when the cuts were supposed to expire originally: Republicans are too busy licking Grover Norquist’s boots (no matter how much John Boehner tries to pretend otherwise) to actually get serious and admit to fiscal reality. The fact that the GOP has become radicalized to the point of self-parody doesn’t help either. Tax rises, no matter the context or practical use, are anathema to the modern Republican party.

Regardless, the super-committee’s failure to reach an agreement, for all the bitching and moaning that Republicans will undoubtedly do, will actually lower the deficit. They won’t admit it, but it’s hard to deny facts. In fact, it looks to be as much as $7.1 trillion over the next decade. That’s a lot of scratch and it should be cause for celebration for those who feel the deficit is the end-all, be-all of American political discussion. Yet it’s clear that if the panel fails to deliver, the blame game is going to shift into overdrive with an election year looming. At the end of the day, however, the Bush Tax Cuts are the major driver for the deficit and letting them expire at the end of 2012 would put us back on track, with virtually no other actions to be taken.

It seems like those on the GOP side who are accusing the Obama administration of cheering for the super-committee’s failure should be doing a little cheering themselves if they truly care about the deficit. Anyone believe that’s the case?

When Doing Nothing Makes Sense

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by rottenart

Yesterday, Eric Cantor had a tantrum and stormed out of the budget talks between himself, Boehner and Obama that have been ongoing for weeks. Today, we get a look at why: he simply couldn’t bear to live in a world where we didn’t give corporate jets favored tax status. It’s been known for a long time that the GOP is holding the country’s economy hostage over the Most Pressing Issue Of Our Time™, the deficit. Of course, the reason Eric ran off in a huff is that the right is absolutely opposed to anything and everything that could even remotely be considered a tax increase. Never mind that raising revenue is the only way to reduce the deficit. Setting aside the utter hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue, let’s assume for a moment that running a balance the red is our biggest challenge at the moment. At the very least, the Republicans would be correct in thinking that we simply have to do something quickly, right? Well…

The numbers don't lie...

…not exactly. It turns out, if we let the Bush tax cuts expire (as they were designed to do last Fall, before the extension was passed), then that’s it. The deficit simply goes away because of the increased revenue. Keep in mind, that this would mean a return to Clinton-era tax rates for the whole country, wealthy and worker. I seem to recall things were pretty good during the 90s but perhaps I’m misrembering…

In any event, Boehner & Co. think they have a winning strategy, pushing the US right up to the deadline of our debt limit and threatening a default. This would be catastrophic and they know it, therefore, they aren’t serious about any of this. But if the Kabuki play continues and we let the preening egos prance without actually touching anything, then maybe we might see the GOP’s worst nightmare for 2012: a recovering economy.

Well, Isn’t That Convenient

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2011 by rottenart

"You've got to be kidding."

In an effort to make the heads of anyone paying attention the past two years completely explode, congressional Republicans have sent a letter to the White House. You can read the letter here in its entirety, but I’d like to draw attention a key point via TPM:

On Tuesday, Kinzinger and 41 of his colleagues sent a letter to President Obama, asking him to rein in Democratic attacks on GOP members who voted for the House budget, which includes a plan to privatize Medicare and cap spending on the program.

We ask that you stand above partisanship, condemn the disingenuous attacks and work with this Congress to reform spending on entitlement programs,” the letter reads. (emphasis mine)

This is so utterly hilarious that I can barely type from laughing so hard.

This is the GOP freshman class of Tea-drinking dunderheads who successfully wormed their way into congress by convincing seniors that “Obamacare” was going to kill granny. They touted themselves as the stalwart defenders of Medicare against the socialist usurper who was going to gut it. After conning enough scared old folks into voting them into office on this bile, the proceeded to vote on a budget that explicitly changes Medicare to a voucher system, effectively killing the program as we know it. These Republicans, who voted lockstep in favor of Ryan’s plan, are now asking the president to tell Democrats to stop telling the truth about their plan because people don’t seem to like it. Steve Benen has the perfect analogy:

It’s as if Republicans hit Democrats with a baseball bat, over and over again, for about a year. Now that Dems, bloodied and bruised, have managed to get their hands on a bat, they’re hearing Republicans proclaim, “Let’s all agree that hitting people with bats is wrong.”

If President and the Democrats have any sense (and there is some indication that, unbelievably, they do) , the response to this letter will be only the picture above.

Slow But Steady, No Thanks to the GOP

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2011 by rottenart

Private Sector Job Losses/Gains

Conservatives don’t want to admit it (and frequently lie about it with abandon) but the truth of the matter is that the public sector is hemorrhaging jobs while private sector hiring is picking up steam.  Keep in mind that GOP policies that have hurt the public sector have kept the economic recovery from being even bigger. Remember, when asked about federal job losses due to his policy, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, had this to say:

“And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it.”

Given their priorities since taking control of the house, you might be forgiven for thinking the GOP simply doesn’t care about jobs.

So, What’s Happening with the Budget?

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by rottenart

An excellent post and thorough explanation in the comments over at Political Wire about how the deal reached by Boehner and the Baggers is actually more in favor of Obama (and, by extension, the liberal base) and their priorities then it initially seemed. The Right may be crowing about a victory but it seems Mssr’s Ryan, Cantor and Boehner aren’t as bright or crafty as they believe. As is mentioned, the precedent for executive control over spending is interesting to say the least but overall the president has consistently proved he’s more savvy than many on the left, myself included, often give him credit for.

Others have mentioned the shoddy reporting on what President Obama will actually lay out tomorrow night concerning the next fiscal year. After learning a little bit about how John Boehner evidently got taken for a ride, I’m mildly more optimistic than I was before. Now, if we could just get the Mostly Useless Media™ to give Rep. Gijalva and the House Progressive Caucus’ proposal a fair hearing, we’d be in pretty good shape moving forward.

They Call This ‘Serious About the Deficit’

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2011 by rottenart

In case you’ve been too busy following the dramatic goings-on in WI over the state supreme court election (something smells rotten in the Cheese State), there’s also been lots of action in DC. One party is trying to make sure the government continues to function and provides services for millions of people and the other is giddy at the idea military personnel won’t get their paychecks. Guess which is which.

Apparently, the main sticking points have so little to do with the Most Important Issue of Our Time™ (i.e. the budget deficit for some reason) it’s laughable. I’m not sure anyone  other than the most fervent Tea Baggers and this guy understand why taking rights away from women and gutting the EPA’s ability to keep our air clean is going to make us prosperous again. But here we are. Negotiations have been ongoing since early this week with no solution in sight. As of this morning, there was still hope that a shutdown might be averted, even as furlough notices were going out. But Boehner and his rabid caucus are refusing to budge and so we’re practically back to square one. It’s like a slow motion bad dream that seems too ridiculous to be true.

Then you wake up and Paul Ryan is handing you his budget proposal.