Archive for bush tax cuts

Dep't. of Duh: The Bush tax cuts did not work


duh so duh

Some posts don't really need to be written, but what the heck; occasionally it's entertaining to state the obvious. Yet sometimes stating the obvious still doesn't penetrate thick Republican skulls.

And thick Republican skulls refuse to allow even the simplest, most basic facts entrance into what's left of their Republican minds (assuming they didn't lose them completely decades ago).

One of those simple, obvious facts made its way into WonkWire at Roll Call in a very short piece that ends with this quote from Bruce Bartlett, an American historian whose area of expertise is supply-side economics and who writes for the New York Times, Financial Times, Fiscal Times, and Tax Notes magazine. He served as a domestic policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and as a Treasury official under President George H. W. Bush.


“It is hard to find even a reputable conservative economist willing to say anything good these days about President Bush’s tax and economic policies.”


And yet, despite fewer identifying themselves as economic conservatives, the stubborn GOP insists on clinging to their austerity, tax breaky ways, because, to quote W's own mother, they still, stunningly, somehow believe that...

"This is working very well for them."


John Boehner is a squish. He says he ain't.


boehner squish

Memo to Progressives: We have a new meme to introduce, and it is with fake solemnity and stifled laughter than I implore you to get the word out.

Here it comes.


The Boehner is a squish.

Run with it. Savor it. Eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Oh, but I kid The Boehner.

The Hill:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is sharing his regrets about his "fiscal-cliff" strategy, less than a month after the House bitterly swallowed a last-minute deal hatched in the Senate.

In a private speech to the Ripon Society [a 50-year-old GOP advocacy group] on Tuesday, Boehner said that he should have taken a different course after the November election by immediately demanding that the Senate produce a bill to avert the worst parts of a combination of tax increases and spending cuts [...]

“Some of our members don’t realize that while I may be a nice enough guy, and I get along with people, when I was voting I had the 8th most conservative voting record in the House,” he said. “But a lot of our newer members – they don’t know that. And so, you know, they think I’m some squish, that I’m ready to sell them out in a heartbeat, when obviously, most of you in this room know that that ain’t quite who I am.”

Oh we all know who you ain't and who you am, Boehner... you big regretful squish, you. Sniffle!

popeye I am what I am


Who Won?! Hint: Rhymes with Schmeric Schmantor.


It's on 2

Today’s guest post is from my long time, dear friend, a TV writer-producer with an endless and impressive resumé, and regular TPC contributor, David Garber.


With the pending agreement on a last minute bill to prevent the fiscal cliff, you gotta ask yourself who won?

There are always winners and losers in these budget showdowns. The surprising answer may come very soon. And not the answer most people might be thinking. In the chess game that is constantly played for power in Washington, sometimes little things don't get noticed or recognized until later on down the road. Sometimes it's the subtle moves made before the big move. It's the traps that are set and if you're not careful, you'll become ensnared and then it's "check" and "mate."

Certainly the people of the this country would appear to have gotten a semi-win. The financial markets got a win. The Republicans, for the most part lost. The Democrats for the most part won. The Speaker of the House lost and big time. The President of the US, elected by the people for his position, not just his party (like Boehner) looks like a winner. But none of those are the gand champion. Not by a long shot. The biggest winner is -- ta-daaa! -- Eric 'The Mighty Mouse' Cantor. He finally got what he wanted -- the new power position of the Republican party. Yup, good ol' preppy, Eric. He now leads the party of the dysfunctional. He betrayed his leader, sold him out and now is taking the reins.

Boehner has lost his control. He's led his party to bowing under pressure and listening to the will of the people (oh,doesn't that sound Democratic) and vote for a tax increase on the rich. And if you're making $400K a year, you're rich. Hell, if you're making $250K a year, you're rich. But along comes Cantor -- the supposed best friend of Johnny Boehner -- and like Brutus to Caesar, stabs him in the back and leads the right-wingnuts by voting against the bill. And why? It wasn't because it didn't include the Sandy Hurricane relief. He doesn't care about that. It's that he now can move to the front of all those Republicans who had 'zero tolerance' for any tax hikes of any kind. And with the Speaker caving, with party members nervous about being primaried by the far right conservatives in 2014, they're going to need a leader. A man who represents them and their anger. And Cantor, in severing his support for his party's House leader, separated himself and now is poster boy for a party that's become overtly fractious and out of touch with the mainstream.

Being leader of the Republicans right now may not be the best job in the world, but it beats being the "gofer" for the Speaker. And that's what Cantor had become. He did everything to get the Speaker to put the bill on the floor where everyone knew, despite their wishes, it had to pass. Cantor behind the scenes would tell Boehner this is a bad bill but you've got to do something -- so put it to vote and we'll have your back and save your face. Cantor then just left Boehner to swing in the wind. And while choking for air, Boehner drops the power baton right into Cantor's devious hands.

Watch for Cantor to make a power play which will split the party. This will be fun to watch and nobody deserves it more than Boehner. As he and Cantor duke it out, maybe we'll see some changes in the strident insanity of party leadership. There could even be some movement to becoming a bit more moderate as the single Republican party becomes two. But we're sure going to get quite a show. Buckle your seat belts. Let the little ride attendant,Mr. Joe (Scarborough) punch your ticket as the lions are led in to face the Christians in the Colosseum. We're just about to get onto Mr. Toad's wild ride. Popcorn or cotton candy, anybody?

For the past 25 years, David Garber has been serving as the show runner and or writer on some of television’s biggest hits… Saved By The Bell, Power Rangers, 227, Bill Cosby Show and many other network series. His writing and producing have also netted David two very prestigious awards:the PRISM AWARD and the TV CRITICS AWARD – TV SPECIAL OF THE YEAR. Currently he’s authoring a short story series called “A Few Minutes With…”


Graham: "Save your powder for the debt ceiling fight.” McCain (VIDEO): "There’s gonna be a pretty big showdown."


frick n frack

John Sidney McCain on CNN with Wolf Blitzer:

"I think there’s gonna be a whole new field of battle when the debt ceiling rolls around. Most of us have pledged that we’re gonna have to… before we vote again to raise the debt ceiling — even though it may be at great political cost — we’ve got to address spending, and that means entitlements. We’ve got to sit down together and get us back on a path… look, we just added, what, $2.1 trillion in the last increase in the debt ceiling, and spending continues to go up. I think there’s gonna be a pretty big showdown the next time around when we go to the debt..."

Yes indeedy, Frick and Frack are at it again, this time humming their little "Screw America" tunes, harmonizing, holding hands, and skipping down Hostage-Taking Lane.

Via Think Progress:

Ironically, McCain was among those most critical of phantom Medicare “cuts” in the Obamacare legislation, calling reductions in the program “a price that Americans should not be asked to pay.”

But now, McCain and other Republicans are making it clear: either programs protecting the health and financial solvency of American seniors must be significantly cut — or they will thrust the nation into an economic calamity unheard of since the Great Depression.

And via Politico, here's what McCain's little BFF had to say on Fox:

“We’re going to get blamed and about two weeks into this, we’ll fold like a cheap suit. … Save your powder for the debt ceiling fight.”

By all means, rest up, because it takes a lot out of a Republican to sink an entire country.


Off the Cliff: GOP "shameful, repulsive, vomit-inducing... In their world, people are poor and elderly because they choose to be."


fiscal cliff thelma and louise fiscalbs

Andy Marquis, reporter for, is our guest blogger of the day. He used to consider himself a Republican but not any more.  He changed his voter registration to Independent in 2011 and says that’s how it will remain.

Here’s his latest guest post:

Off The Cliff

Strap in, the American economy has officially gone off the “fiscal cliff”. The Senate has acted, but now the Republican controlled House where people like Congressman Paul Ryan, Congressman Eric Cantor and Congressman Darrell Issa could be poised to wank around and sabotage the Senate deal.

I don’t know, at this point, if Republicans are refusing to act in good faith because they hate President Obama or if they want to punish the American populace for re-electing him. Whatever it is, it’s shameful, repulsive and vomit-inducing.

Instead of cooperating, our nation’s fearless leaders stomped their feet around acting like petulant little children. When a deal was on the table, Republicans walked away in an attempt to spite the President and then spited the Speaker of the House, the leader of their own party, for working with Obama. When a deal looked likely on Monday, Republicans were butthurt over President Obama’s comments. They took to the Senate floor, whining and crying about how Obama said mean things (the truth) about them.

Fact is, President Obama has the advantage in negotiations, but like a pack of Honey Badgers, the Republican Party just doesn’t give a single care. They think they won the election, because Republican Congressmen were gerrymandered right in to their seat on the House Floor. The right wing dumbassosphere knows President Obama’s going to get his way, so they’d rather do nothing at all… the hell with the people.

The entire debate is BS. It’s simple stuff – extend the tax cuts for the middle class, raise taxes on the wealthy (fact, even the majority of the wealthy want their taxes increased) and work on a plan to cut spending. Congress had a timetable, and they knew they did. After all, they are the ones who implemented the “Fiscal Cliff” as a way of forcing negotiation.

You see, I keep hearing Republicans talk about “entitlement reform”. That’s it. That’s all they care about, because they think the money that you paid in to for your Social Security benefits is the exact same thing as giving food stamps to someone who won’t find a job. That’s what the Republican Party, who cares about the rich and damn the poor, thinks about you. They think everyone is a 47 percenter who wants something for free.

Fact is, Democrats have also talked about entitlements – but they believe everything should be on the table.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in an interview I had with him back in August: “There have been a number. The answer to your question is, I have said all along, entitlements need to be on the table. We need to make sure entitlements are fiscally sound for decades to come and sustainable.”

The difference between Democrats and Republicans can be summed up in this comment by the Democratic Congressman from Maryland, “We need to make sure the most vulnerable are not hurt by any agreement we reach.”

You see, the Republicans don’t give a damn about the poor, the elderly and the nation’s most vulnerable. In their world, people are poor and elderly because they choose to be and they’re lazy freeloaders, so we should just let that starve. And again, this TEA Party logic was rejected in November.

Now that the time has come to talk about meaningful spending cuts, the Republicans would rather see middle class incomes fall to protect their criminal friends on Wall Street and kick the can down the road instead of sit down at the table with a black President. They might think they’re acting courageously, but they’re acting with great cowardice. Instead of bucking Grover Norquist and Donald Trump, they’re bending over the rest of the country.

Let’s all give a round of applause to our “fearless leaders” in Washington who have successfully screwed our economy right off the cliff.

Andy Marquis

Twitter: @amarquis32


"President Obama wins 'fiscal cliff' victory, but at high cost"

fiscal cliff 8 prinicples Robert Reich MoveOn

Via Robert Reich,


The blog headline is the title of an article, or rather, an analysis of the fiscal negotiations in the L.A. Times.

Many liberals are asking when Democrats, led by President Obama, will stop conceding to Republicans, especially when we have the upper hand, when we finally have the "political capital" and leverage we need. Compromise is great, but not at the expense of future negotiations or setting bad precedents. But the problem is, Republicans will never stop demanding and holding America hostage. Ever. We won the election, we continue to win in the polls, but that doesn't faze those on the right in the least.

Let's get one thing straight: "Both sides" are not equally responsible for the mess we're in, and it's time to make that It's time to hold the GOP accountable, loudly and often.

That said, the Bush tax cuts-- now the Obama tax cuts-- are largely intact with the exception of those making over $400-450,000. I am hardly "anti-Obama," but sometimes he seems to be losing those multi-dimensional chess games he plays. How much will he be willing to compromise when it comes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? The "sequester" battle has been postponed , so I guess we'll have to wait a few months to see who declares "check mate."

At this point, I'm in wait-and-see mode, but as Paddy said in an earlier post, "I thought about getting excited last night, but I knew better. The whole deal stinks."

L.A. Times:

But Obama's victory fell short of what he had campaigned for, and came at a high cost. Even if the House later Tuesday or Wednesday musters the votes to approve the bill that the Senate was to vote on in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the terms of this compromise guarantee another pitched battle over spending and taxes within months.

Whether the agreement announced Monday evening turns out to be truly a victory for Obama or a lost opportunity, as many of his liberal critics feared, will depend heavily on how that next battle turns out. [...]

The persistent battle over spending, which already has consumed Washington for two years, threatens to block Obama's other major legislative priorities, including immigration reform and gun controlMoreover, to get a deal, Obama had to accept far less new revenue than he had wanted. [...]

"I just think that's grossly unfair," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a liberal leader, said in a Senate speech Monday objecting to the deal. "If we're going to have some kind of a deal, the deal must be one that really favors the middle class — the real middle class." [...]

The challenge of squeezing tax increases out of a Republican-led House will get harder, not easier, in the new year. Without the threat of an automatic tax increase, Obama has much less leverage, said Jared Bernstein, the former chief economist and economic advisor to Vice President Joe Biden. And Republicans will gain leverage through their threats to refuse an increase in the debt ceiling, which would cause the government to default on its bonds. [...]

"The Republicans are absolutely sharpening their knives for that next fight, which is horrific, by comparison — a much worse self-inflicted wound on the economy."

"To be fair," he said, "there are good things in this deal and if the president truly refuses to negotiate on the debt ceiling, it may turn out to be a pretty good deal. But if he folds, then he will have squandered his leverage."

Check, mate.

check mark


And over the "fiscal cliff" we go... No deal today!


H/t:  @michaelbiette for the video.


...Republicans have no plans to hold a vote on any Senate-passed legislation to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

So there you have it. Thelma, meet Louise:

thelma and louise cliff

So much for the Bush tax cuts. What will the Obama tax cuts look like?

Speaking of the president, check out Ezra Klein's post "Here’s what Republicans really hated about Obama’s news conference." Video of his presser here.

Holding America hostage is no longer an option... at least for now. As for that "fiscal cliff" phrase, it will soon be replaced by "debt ceiling" all over the media. Keep your Pepto Bismol and Valium handy.


The House is not scheduled to vote on any fiscal cliff package on New Year's Eve, so the United States is technically going over the fiscal cliff, but perhaps only for a day or two if the White House and congressional leaders can win enough support for passage of a tax package already being negotiated between Senate leaders and the White House. Timing for House and Senate votes remained unclear with just a few hours to spare before 2012 ends.

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