Archive for budget plan

More proof that there is no liberal media

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It gets easier and easier to debunk that tired old label, the so-called liberal media, a favorite talking point of those on the right.. For years I've written about how the Sunday morning talk shows regularly feature more Republican guests than Democratic ones, and way more conservatives than true Progressives.

The arguments and policies of right wing conservatives are given legitimacy even when they have no credibility whatsoever. The tried-and-untrue "debate" format presents "both sides," even when one side is completely without merit (climate change ring a bell?).

During the 2012 elections, Rep. Paul Ryan came up with a laughable "budget plan" that was touted as Very Serious, and was taken Very Seriously by the so-called "news" media. Time actually gave "politically brave" Ryan credit, in print, for "hard work" and gutsiness for presenting a "roadmap" . His proposed austerity measures, cuts cuts cuts, and Kill Medicare goals were terrible ideas, but hey! At least he came up with an alternative, gushed the news dee jays. They didn't much care that his "alternative" would have driven an already struggling economy into the ground.

It is now 2014, and it's Ryan Redux time. But yay! Kudos to him! He's Very Serious!

Today I was watching MSNBC, and Tamron Hall was discussing today's job numbers and the overall economy with a guest (didn't catch his name) who said this about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and I quote:

He "is at least offering a plan."

WaPo:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced a plan Wednesday to repeal and replace President Obama’s health-care law, an effort by the Republican to insert himself into the increasingly competitive early maneuvering for his party’s presidential nomination.

Jindal, a former state and federal health official, said his plan is one of many policy proposals he will release in coming months, making clear that he wants to be viewed as a wonky problem solver.

Hot dog! Another Very Serious Republican with a Very Serious Plan! ... that he is "at least offering." Despite its redundant absurdity. It's doomed. It's just more political theater.

But wait. You know who else is offering their own plans? Ones that are solid, ones that are genuinely Very Serious? The Progressive Caucus and the Progressive Black Caucus. You can read them here and here.

And guess who's covered those plans? Nobody! Tamron Hall sure didn't. She devoted her next segment to the mother of a pro basketball player who missed the end of her son's game because she had to leave early to get to work on time.

Instead of reporting on competing-- and compelling-- budget plans of which American voters are completely unaware, the good old liberal media gave us Basketball Mom (which would have been fine at another time, like when the economy isn't in need of some realistic, constructive fixes, f'rinstance).

Your liberal media at work. But I bet her MSNBC colleagues will give her shout-outs galore, because, my friend, my brother, she is their colleague after all.

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Howard Dean: "If this passed I would have to reevaluate if I belong in the Democratic Party."

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Points off for misspelling "independent," but anyway...

As BuzzFeed notes, Howard Dean is none too thrilled about the president's budget proposals, specifically over the increased defense spending and those wrongheaded Social Security cuts by way of the chained CPI plan. Here are all our posts about how such policies would negatively affect the elderly and disabled (scroll).

How about lifting the cap on taxable earnings, Mr. President? Or at least try to? Or at least voice support for those of us who would like some debate about that instead of contradicting your own vice president's 2012 campaign promise? Here’s what “chained CPI” would do.

I'm not sure I'd go as far as Howard Dean, but I would be very disappointed.

Dean:

"I just think that's unacceptable... If this passed I would have to reevaluate if I belong in the Democratic Party. If this were passed with Democratic votes, I think it would be impossible to be Democrat.... I would have to oppose any Democrat that is supportive of this... If the businessweek.com article I sent you is correct, it means the Prez proposed chain CPI cutting SS benefits while asking to restore Pentagon spending. He would never get that through either chamber... What the hell are they thinking or is BW wrong?... I don't think Democrats will vote for it... I can't imagine Republicans voting for this in swing districts."

More at BuzzFeed.

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"If Obama wants to help Social Security, he should start by lifting the cap on taxable earnings."

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Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Obama's entitlement gambit," Opinion, April 10

The current calculation used to determine adjustments to Social Security benefits is based on the cost of living for an urban worker, not a senior. Therefore, it doesn't account for the greater percentage of income the average senior spends on healthcare. Because the cost of healthcare rises faster than other necessities, even the current formula does not adequately protect seniors from inflation.

Switching to the "chained CPI" to determine payouts, as President Obama proposed to do in his 2014 budget, would only make a bad situation worse.

Steve Mehlman

Beaumont

***

This debate over entitlements is about a long-term solution to a long-term problem. Much more important than getting a deal is getting a good solution.

Can we get a good solution now? Of course not. The partisan divide is deep.

If the president is so concerned with his legacy, maybe he should start doing more of the right things, like restoring traditional tax rates on the wealthiest. Today, CEOs and financiers pay much lower effective federal tax rates than doctors. That is socially unsound.

And if Obama wants to help Social Security, he should start by lifting the cap on taxable earnings.

David Greene

San Pedro

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Doyle McManus suggests the president is doing "the kind of thing a second-term president can do." Later, he says the president's proposal is evidence that he "still yearns for a grand bargain."

The former declaration is an empty explanation, while the latter justification provokes the question: A grand bargain for whom? Certainly not for the elderly and disabled dependent on Social Security.

Ben Miles

Huntington Beach

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White House and Senate Dems Should Eliminate Social Security Tax Cap for the Rich: Stop CPI Scam on Elderly

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Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

[B]ecause the Obama White House has adopted the austerity meme of the Republicans, the option to the cat food chained CPI doesn't get discussed much.  That is because Obama, as is often the case, is accepting the GOP and Wall Street "frame" of the deficit being reduced, in part, on the backs of the middle class and poor.  As we've noted recently; the president may even believe the false meme.

... Remapping Debate, in an April 10 article, Remapping Debate disclosed:

For all the talk of the Social Security system running out of money, it is well established that raising or eliminating the cap on the wages subject to payroll taxes would guarantee a healthy Social Security system for many decades, and do so without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.

Public support for elimination of the payroll tax cap is high.  [...]

Nevertheless, these routes to ensuring the promises made to workers that they could rely Social Security benefits are kept is little discussed on Capitol Hill. [...]

... That is probably because they don't want to be undercutting the position of their party's president. [...]

In The Nation, William Greider developed an interesting theory:

In fact, there is an even bigger lie concealed by the fiscal scolds and ignored by witless media, too. Again and again, self-righteous critics have portrayed Social Security as the profligate monster borrowing from the Treasury and sucking the life out of federal government.

Guess what? It's the other way around. The federal government borrows from Social Security.  [...]

That is the real crisis that makes the financial barons and their media collaborators so anxious to cut Social Security benefits. They would like to get out of repaying the debt—that is, giving the money back to the people who earned it. The only way to do this is cut the benefits—over and over again. Count on it...

Please read the entire post here.

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