In other Big Science News: the Earth goes around the Sun, when water gets really cold it becomes ice, and there’s gravity.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell thought he would lure Democrats into a trap that would make them lose a key vote on Thursday, but as it turned out Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had set a little trap of his own.
Conservative anti-tax guru Grover Norquist says he’s not responsible for the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s failure to reach a debt-reduction deal. As president of Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist encouraged Republican members of the “super committee” to sign a pledge that binds them to resist raising taxes. In an appearance on CNN Norquist claimed the pledge was between the country and its congressmen.
“I’m just the mid-wife, so-to-speak, who guides resistance to tax increases from the birth canal of fiscal conservatism, through the vagina of Republican political philosophy, and out into the world of fiscal legislation where I slap it on the butt to make it vomit forth the after-birth of freedom!”
Disgusted CNN viewers switched to reruns of “Gilligan’s Island”.
Members of the Congressional Super Committee charged with forging a bipartisan debt reduction agreement have been making the rounds of political chat shows, and are signaling they are no closer to agreement than they ever have been. There is one sign of movement: Republicans on the committee are saying the words “tax revenue” without the strained look of constipation they have shown in the past.
Republican mathematical theory is no better than ever though, as they insist they will increase tax revenue by lowering tax rates, keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and gutting programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled such as Medicare – or “Communist Wealth Redistribution”, as they like to call it.
Democrats insist the Bush tax cuts must end, and that increased taxes on the wealthiest Americans, and moderate cuts to programs will ensure debt is brought under control without casting the low-income segment of the population to the wolves (i.e. Republicans).
Except for these differences they are in complete agreement as to how debt reduction can be accomplished. And if they don’t come to an agreement by November 23, and if Congress doesn’t pass legislation based on an agreement by December 23, draconian spending cuts will automatically be enacted, not only cutting entitlement programs but the Republican sacred-cow, the defense budget.
The smart money in Vegas is on Draco.
Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D – AZ) returned to the House of Representatives yesterday after being severely wounded in an assassination attempt in January. Giffords returned to vote in favor of the new debt/spending package negotiated by President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders.
House members greeted Giffords with a standing ovation on her return to the House floor, and members of both parties shook hands and embraced her. Except for the Tea Party cranks, of course, but then these are people who go to their own rallies armed with handguns just in case one of their own is overcome by a liberal spasm and has to be put-down.
By a solid majority the Republican House of Representatives voted to approve the latest debt ceiling increase, allowing the United States to borrow trillions more and go even deeper into debt than ever before in history. Fiscally responsible Democrats tried to defeat the bill but had no chance in the GOP-dominated House – and may have to pass the bill through the Senate even though they have a slim majority there, due to Republican threats of reprisals on future legislation.
So-called “Tea Party” Republicans were dancing in the streets around the country to celebrate their victory over liberals by passing legislation that may someday cut spending by some token amount while increasing debt almost infinitely, thus guaranteeing the advent of a fiscal apocalypse and bringing their ultra-rightist prophets predictions of economic doom to fulfillment.
Liberals all over the country were downcast as their attempts to inject some economic responsibility into government finances were swept away by the landslide GOP vote in the House. “It’s spend, spend, spend, baby!” House Speaker John Boehner announced as the final vote was tallied. “Cocaine and hookers for everyone!”
President Barack Obama and House and Senate leaders announced today they have reached an agreement on the U.S. debt. The plan calls for increasing the nation’s debt ceiling to avoid default, and then convening some kind of congressional committee later sometime to do something about reducing the deficit, maybe.
The plan might reduce spending by a trillion dollars someday, and there might also be tax reform to increase revenues, although no one is sure.
The agreement does clear the way for both Republicans and Democrats to move forward with their election campaigns without the distraction of taking care of the nation’s business, and without being pinned-down to any real policy that might prove unpopular with one or the others’ constituencies.
So after weeks of fighting, arguing, whining, moaning, crying, threatening, and acting like spoiled children, the nation’s leaders have decided to go back to business as usual.
The Republican caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives has called-off a vote on House Speaker John Boehner’s debt reduction plan at the last possible second when it became clear there isn’t enough Republican support to pass the bill. GOP representatives have scheduled a meeting for Friday morning at which Boehner is expected to continue to cry like a little baby as he begs and pleads with his own party not to abandon him to the wrath of the ultra-right-wing “Tea Party” splinter of the Republican party.
The Tea Party isn’t pleased with Boehner’s behind-the-scenes attempts to squirm out of driving the country to the poor house.
“Get your ass in line,” House Speaker John Boehner told his fellow Republicans in the face of divisive infighting over his latest debt-reduction proposal. “You’re Republicans, damn it! You’re not supposed to think for yourselves – you’re supposed to park your brains at the door!”
Last night President Barack Obama asked citizens to let their congressional representatives know they want an end to partisan bickering on the debt, and all lines of communication into the nation’s capital were jammed today, but who was calling depended on who you asked.
Democrats claim the communications are in favor of their “balanced” approach of taxes on the wealthy and more profligate borrowing.
Republicans claim these calls are just “liberal activists” and that most callers support the Boehner plan of fueling the economy with the burning dead bodies of the poor and elderly.
If a compromise isn’t found before August 2, the U.S. government will be unable to pay bills – most importantly the interest on money it’s already borrowed. This will cause lenders to lower the nation’s credit rating, drive up interest rates, and send the stock market crashing. All things each side can blame the other for in upcoming elections.
It was kind of like they were trying to get their mom to mediate a dispute.
President Barack Obama will address the nation at 6 pm Pacific time on the failed debt negotiations with House and Senate leaders. Obama is expected to place blame for the failure exactly where it belongs.
House Majority Leader John Boehner (R – Ohio) called-off debt talks with President Obama, rejecting a compromise deal at the last minute Friday. Obama said he felt Boehner had “left [him] at the altar”, though no one suspected that a marriage proposal was part of the deal – though this could explain the President’s recent change of policy on same-sex marriage.
Just before the latest round of talks Boehner announced that a deal had to be made today, as any legislation to raise the national debt ceiling must be posted Monday for a House vote by Wednesday. He says the Wednesday deadline is necessary because his party “is going to pull every dirty procedural trick in the book to bog the thing down in the Senate – just to be a bunch of pricks.”
Oh, no – you won’t catch Mitch McConnell out that easily! Moments after this attempted trickery the President left the room in a huff.
Further revealing himself to be a weak administrator without any vision or spine, President Barack Obama appears to have caved-in to congressional conservatives demands for severe spending cuts that will harm those least able to bear the brunt of budget cuts: those dependent on Medicare and programs such as food stamps.
Congressional conservatives led by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio see the impending debt crisis as an opportunity to secure tax cuts for their corporate owners at the expense of the nation’s poor. Obama is apparently willing to collude with them in order to get the national debt ceiling raised before an August deadline, when the U.S. will go into default on loans unless congress agrees to increase the allowed national debt.
Rather than increasing taxes on the 400 individuals who own almost 1/2 of the nation’s wealth, Republicans want to make severe spending cuts that will jeopardize the health and livelihoods of millions of poor and elderly Americans dependent of government aid and living on fixed incomes – the very people who elected Obama to office as the nation’s first black President in what many saw as a referendum on eight years of failed conservative policies.
Obama has blinked in the light of conservative resistance before on such issues as health care, seemingly more interested in quick results than substantive policy. He seems far more concerned with establishing a track record of legislative resolutions than on standing by the promises he made to voters just two years ago.
And that’s no joke.