Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Budget Speech

There should be a picture of a wolf here Caption: Just waiting for the sleigh to pass by again.

Image credit: Arrr!.

Glenn Greenwald states what should be blindingly obvious. Referring to how the continued erosion of core Democratic values during budget negotiations, with no visible counterpoint of the GOP not getting what it wants, has brought out the usual progressive pundits explaining how President Obama is getting his ass handed to him:
All of that has led to a spate of negotiation advice from the liberal punditocracy advising the President how he can better defend progressive policy aims -- as though the Obama White House deeply wishes for different results but just can't figure out how to achieve them. Jon Chait, Josh Marshall, and Matt Yglesias all insist that the President is "losing" on these battles because of bad negotiating strategy, and will continue to lose unless it improves. Ezra Klein says "it makes absolutely no sense" that Democrats didn't just raise the debt ceiling in December, when they had the majority and could have done it with no budget cuts. Once it became clear that the White House was not following their recommended action of demanding a "clean" vote on raising the debt ceiling -- thus ensuring there will be another, probably larger round of budget cuts -- Yglesias lamented that the White House had "flunked bargaining 101." Their assumption is that Obama loathes these outcomes but is the victim of his own weak negotiating strategy.

Obama's "bad negotiating" is actually shrewd negotiating
[links from original]

I'm not criticizing Greenwald, mind you, when I say it's obvious. The problem is that we live in a political environment where the obvious needs to be repeated endlessly. Robert Reich provides another example of why it's necessary in his bit of advice to the President:
When I was a small boy I was bullied more than most, mainly because I was a foot shorter than than everyone else. They demanded the cupcake my mother had packed in my lunchbox, or, they said, they’d beat me up.
I hope the President decides he has to take a stand, and the sooner the better. Last December he caved in to Republican demands that the Bush tax cut be extended to wealthier Americans for two more years, at a cost of more than $60 billion. That was only the beginning — the equivalent of my cupcake.

Why the Right-Wing Bullies Will Hold The Nation Hostage Again and Again
Jeebus Frickin' Crispies - just how dumb do you reckon Barack Obama is? The man got himself a law degree, then got himself elected a state senator from Chicago, and then President without even the most rudimentary idea of how human psychology works? George W. Bush was easily the most mentally deficient President of my lifetime, yet I have no doubt that even he knew all this.

As if that wasn't enough, Professor Krugman had to chime in with this bit of wisdom:
Overall, way better than the rumors and trial balloons. I can live with this. And whatever the pundits may say, it was much, much more serious than the Ryan “plan”.

Update: I should probably say, I could live with this as an end result. If this becomes the left pole, and the center is halfway between this and Ryan, then no — better to pursue the zero option of just doing nothing and letting the Bush tax cuts as a whole expire.

The Budget Speech
The difference between Obama and the GOP proposal appears to be that the President won't "privatize" Medicare, but will instead ask Medicare to figure out how to keep costs from rising about as much as gross domestic product (GDP) does. Since the recently passed health care "reform" bill did little to reform health care, I think it's safe to assume that money will come out of Medicare patients somehow. Oh, and he will cut some from defense, but the bulk of cuts will be in domestic programs. Any clues where $60 billion a year in savings is going to come from, in the portion of the budget that is by far the smallest? Me neither.

Oh, and this is the "left pole", Professor, by definition. That's how it works in DC. I've explained before why it works that way, but it comes down to this - there's no money to be made in DC helping the poor and the middle class. As long as that's true, and the suckers, umm, I mean progressives, continue to vote Democratic, there's no reason for Democratic politicians to do otherwise.

And there will be plenty of progressive pundits handy to make sure that doesn't change.

Is it any surprise that one of the leading synonyms for "ineffective" these days is "progressive"? We should be happy that Obama did a little more than a man who not only clearly doesn't understand how a national economy works, but doesn't want to.

Nevermind that we're still going the wrong way, and the wolves never seem to have enough to eat. At least we're not driving so fast that we'll get in an accident.

No comments: