Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obama Lays Out New Deficit Reduction Plan (With Ryan's (R) Response)

At least that is what is was billed as. The speech seemed lite on details, but pretty heavy with the partisan attacks. We will have to see a more flushed out written plan before knowing exactly what the effects are likely to be.

Here is his speech.

Video embedded below.

Ryan (R) was none-to-pleased.

Video embedded below.

Krauthammer was also unhappy.

Video embedded below.

I will leave you with a link to Biden apparently having been put to sleep by Obama's speech.


  1. Judging by "Very Serious Conservative Intellectual" TM Krauthammer's outburst here it should be obvious that the Republicans seriously overplayed their hand on this. Most of the country either despises them, or despises their actual ideas.

    They claim that the Ryan plan is not "some radical departure from American norms." But severing public responsibility for seniors' healthcare with a lump sum to buy private insurance (that is designed not to keep pace with healthcare inflation) surely is a radical departure from the post-1965 norm. Even if you want to argue that this is necessary ( its not) this sure is a radical reframing of the post-'65 social compact.

    Yes, they're right that Obama essentially sets up a rationing board of experts to dictate what you can and cannot get under Medicare; but that's because he is trying to work within the current system, rather than abolishing it, and cutting healthcare costs rather than simply transferring them from the rich to everyone else. It is amazing that you guys get away calling yourselves "conservative", but you know, the bigger the lie..

  2. @Ian Spencer Dubrowsky - Ryan's plan is not technically a cut you know; the government's budget still grows just at a slower rate then Obama would like. We are growing at an unsustainable level and unless we do something about it soon we are headed for hyperinflation or defaulting on our debt obligations. Those are as close as you get to global economic calamity. How is the country going bankrupt at the same time Grandma's life savings suddenly become worthless going to help her?

    You know that 'rationing board' equals 'death panels', right? The government is deciding that someone people are not worth saving in their cost benefit analysis. Which people do you think are going to end up on the wrong side of that equation (hint, it is the old people)?

  3. Ian Dubrowsky4/16/2011 3:03 PM

    All that is fine except that The Republican pose toward deficit projections under the Obama administration is one of pure hysteria -- "we face an existential civilizational crisis that requires us to remake our welfare state". Your hysteria is typical of this (never mind the real threat right now is high unemployment and deflation, that's too much reality for you). Ten years ago, the Republican pose 9and Paul ryan) was surplus hysteria. The surplus is huge, we must eliminate it it lest the government pay off the entire national debt and start buying up private industry. As part of this argument, conservative Republicans were fervently insisting that the Congressional Budget Office was underestimating surpluses over the next decade. It of course turned out to all be nonsense.

    but even assuming you and conservatives seriously care about the deficit (which I don't):
    Ryan enjoys overwhelming prestige and influence on budget policy within his party. And despite his carefully crafted media image, he is not and never has been a deficit hawk. Ryan was on the Bowles-Simpson panel but voted against the plan. Ryan displayed through the health care debate that he does not accept the budgetary assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office, or any entity not steeped in his ideology. When Ryan invokes the need to avert a fiscal crisis, he is not talking about the numerical gap between revenue and outlays. He is invoking his Randian belief that collectivism is doomed to lead to societal collapse. And indeed, a deal that closed the numerical gap between revenue and outlays but preserved the collectivist character of the welfare state would not, from Ryan's standpoint, represent progress of any kind. It would deprive him of the pretext he requires to win the sweeping changes to the social compact he requires. You are presenting the same flase choices that he is and I don't for amoment believe you are really concerned about "death panels". If you were, then you would have been right there with me a year ago advocating for a single payer system in place of the system now of private health insurance bureaucrat death panels in conneticut, rationing on the basis of ability to pay.

  4. Ian Dubrowsky4/16/2011 3:06 PM

    Like, if you or Ryan were actually concerned about the deficit, a much better plan than Ryan's would be to do nothing and just to let Bush's tax cuts more millionaires and billionaires expire. That is by no means all we should do, but it is still a better idea than what "very serious conservative" Ryan has put forward.

  5. @Ian Dubrowsky - The debt is a major problem and the massive deficit is making it worse. Are you seriously refuting that point?

    As for your soak the rich idea, I think you should do a bit of math. How much money do you think we can get from the rich even if we took all their money? Compare that to how much more we owe just for the spending this year. You will see it is really not as much of a magic bullet as liberals would have people believe. You should also familiarize yourself with the Laffer curve.

  6. Ian Dubrowsky4/18/2011 12:15 PM

    I'm refuting the ideologically driven hysteria about the problem that you promote and are not very serious about.

    Let's review:

    Two weeks ago, House Republicans released their big budget proposal, selling it to credulous pundits as a statement of necessity, not ideology — a document telling America What Must Be Done.

    But it was, in fact, a deeply partisan document, which you might have guessed from the opening sentence: “Where the president has failed, House Republicans will lead.” It hyped the danger of deficits, yet even on its own (not at all credible) accounting, spending cuts were used mainly to pay for tax cuts rather than deficit reduction. The transparent and obvious goal was to use deficit fears to impose a vision of small government and low taxes, especially on the wealthy.

    So the House budget proposal revealed a yawning gap between the two parties’ priorities. And it revealed a deep difference in views about how the world works.

    When the proposal was released, it was praised as a “wonk-approved” plan that had been run by the experts. But the “experts” in question, it turned out, were at the Heritage Foundation, and few people outside the hard right found their conclusions credible. In the words of the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers — which makes its living telling businesses what they need to know, not telling politicians what they want to hear — the Heritage analysis was “both flawed and contrived.” Basically, Heritage went all in on the much-refuted claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy produces miraculous economic results, including a surge in revenue that actually reduces the deficit. That's what you call the Laffer Curve- a widely discredited idea that has been taken to the level of economic dogma and doctrine- you should familiarize yourself with it a little better.

    By the way, Heritage is always like this. Whenever there’s something the G.O.P. doesn’t like — say, environmental protection — Heritage can be counted on to produce a report, based on no economic model anyone else recognizes, claiming that this policy would cause huge job losses. Correspondingly, whenever there’s something Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy or for corporations, Heritage can be counted on to claim that this policy would yield immense economic benefits.

    Both parties, but Republicans in particular having a stable of supposed experts who reliably endorse whatever they propose.

    Now, Republicans claim that last year’s midterms gave them a mandate for the vision embodied in their budget. But last year the G.O.P. ran against what it called the “massive Medicare cuts” contained in the health reform law. How, then, can the election have provided a mandate for a plan that not only would preserve all of those cuts, but would go on, over time, to dismantle Medicare completely?

    Of course what the public actually wants doesn't matter here. For what it’s worth, polls suggest that the public’s priorities are nothing like those embodied in the Republican budget. Large majorities support higher, not lower, taxes on the wealthy. Large majorities — including a majority of Republicans — also oppose major changes to Medicare. Of course, the poll that matters is the one on Election Day. But that’s all the more reason to make the 2012 election a clear choice between visions.

  7. @Ian Dubrowsky - "That's what you call the Laffer Curve- a widely discredited idea that has been taken to the level of economic dogma and doctrine- you should familiarize yourself with it a little better." -> in that case lets just raise the tax burden to %100 and the economy will just explode with growth; or raising taxes does discourage earnings which depresses the overall amount of taxable income which in turn results in lower revenue generation from higher taxes. Granted the curve shows it only works to a point, but we are well on the downward slope of the curve.

    The deficit and debt are a problems, serious problems. If a politician is trying to use the issue to their own advantage, that does not magically make it no longer a real problem. The 'Draconian' Republican plan still grows the government which is at unprecedented size already. What we really need are real cuts, not fake DC termed 'cuts'. Given the choice between absurd grow to an already unimaginable budget, or slower growth to that budget, I will choose the latter. Just be sure to remember in the debate that it is not actually over if we should cut the government, but if it should grow more slowly.

  8. Ian Dubrowsky4/25/2011 12:33 PM

    I notice that it is easy to knock down an argument when the arguments you deal with are strawmen:"100"percent taxation? Did glenn beck whisper that to you or something? There is still no evidence from credible economics research that "raising taxes does discourage earnings which depresses the overall amount of taxable income which in turn results in lower revenue generation from higher taxes." except from sources that have ideological commitments to turning the United States into a Russian style capitalist oligarchy.

    And yes the deficit is a serious problem, what is unfortunate is the inability of some to be serious about it (let alone acknowledge actual crises effecting Americans, like our disaster health care system).

    "debate that it is not actually over if we should cut the government, but if it should grow more slowly. "

    Predictably, the budget framework that Barack Obama outlined quickly became used as the leftward pole in the debate. After all, Obama gave a partisan speech! He criticized Paul Ryan! So with the Obama plan on the left and the Ryan plan on the right, the range of debate had been narrowed artificially. If you want to position yourself comfortably within what the geniuses in Washington have decided are the boundaries of discussion, then feel free. Just be sure to remember, most Americans however strongly disagree.

    But there is an actual budget plan on the left; several, to be precise. But one has legislative language and got 77 votes in the House. That would be the People’s Budget from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. This plan brings the budget into balance by 2021, with primary balance by 2014, without any cuts to social programs and even a modest but sustained stimulus package to create US jobs. It does so through progressive taxation, an end to two unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further cuts to the defense budget.

    More specifically, it ends most of the Bush tax cuts and adds millionaire’s brackets. It taxes capital gains and dividends as ordinary income. It adds additional brackets to the estate tax to progressively tax the largest estates. It limits itemized deductions for high earners. It eliminates corporate welfare and adds a financial speculation tax on derivatives and foreign currency swaps. It includes the financial crisis responsibility fee proposed by the Obama Administration in early 2010. It adds a public option and institutes negotiation of prescription drug prices in Medicare and Medicaid. It increases the payroll tax cap to collect 90% of earnings on the employee side and eliminates it on the employer side. It ends the wars, producing a savings of $1.8 trillion in the process. It makes deeper cuts in defense by reducing procurement and conventional forces. This provides all the money needed to institute a 10-year doc fix, patch the Alternative Minimum Tax so it doesn’t dip into the middle class, increase Social Security benefits, and invest $1.45 trillion in job creation through education, infrastructure and R&D.

    If we’re going to have this talk about budgets, then, this is a pretty good place to start. It reflects the priorities of job creation and peace with a heavy dose of tax fairness. Whether or not official Washington calls it “responsible” or “courageous” is really besides the point, but at least some observers are, including no less than the right-wing The Economist:


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