Archive for simpson bowles

Three Men And A Rabbi On Another Government Shutdown



The old story goes, two men are arguing their case to a third man over the disputed sale of a mule. The argument becomes heated until the third man spots the Rabbi walking by and asks him to arbitrate. As a buddy to both, the third man didn't want to risk his friendship over this battle. The Rabbi agreed.

The first man tells his side of the story and the Rabbi nods to him and says, "You're right."

The second man rushes to tell his side of the story. After hearing it the Rabbi says, "You're right."

The third man looks to the Rabbi questioningly, "Bill's right and Dave's right? They can't both be right?"

The Rabbi pauses and say's to the third man, "You're right too."

And for years, the argument continued.

That story is similar to the problem with Congress and their budgetary committees. They're never going to see eye to eye and neither party is going to give an inch. They both know the other has valid points, but they'll never agree despite both being right. We, the public, are left as the third man.

According to the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Since the end of World War II, more than a dozen high-profile bipartisan panels have been convened to tackle the nation's thorniest fiscal problems. Seldom have their recommendations spurred congressional action.

Their ambitious, high-octane reports and recommendations are mostly gathering dust on government shelves.

This doesn't bode well for the current 29-member bipartisan budget panel which faces a Dec. 13 deadline. What's at stake is another government shutdown. The current short-term spending bill is keeping the government running, but only through Jan. 15. The current debt ceiling runs only through Feb. 7. That last $26 billion debacle should have taught us something. But it's very unlikely if history is any indication.

One of the few special panels generally hailed as a success is the 1981-83 Social Security commission chaired by Republican economist Alan Greenspan, who later served for 19 years as Federal Reserve chairman under four different presidents. His panel is credited widely with rescuing the old-age benefit program from insolvency.

The panel quickly deadlocked, with Democrats opposing benefit cuts and Republicans opposing higher Social Security taxes. It came up with its big fix only after the direct, heavy intervention by Reagan and House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, D-Mass.

The two main participants in that agreement are both dead. And sadly, nothing we can do will bring them back. So we must move on, not die with them.

In 2011, the Simpson-Bowles Act was a result of a wide-ranging proposal that would have generated new revenues and made some social program cuts. But it's sitting, collecting dust after meeting with indifference from both parties.

It failed, Simpson later suggested, because Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike "all worship the god of re-election."

So what will it take to move Congress off the dime and start them on a path to true fiscal leadership?

The answer is actually quite simple. It's a threat.

The threat is for a Congressional clean sweep. Yup, dump the chumps who are gumming up the works. But to get out the bad, remove all of those who are victims of favors they owe or beneficiaries of favors promised by them.

Call it tossing the baby out with the bathwater, but I prefer dump the chump. We'll lose the good with the bad, but if they're really good, they can run for reelection after sitting out a term. Then we'll know who's really dedicated and who's just collecting a check.

Sit one out for the team. Make us miss you and your legislative magic and we'll return you to office.

Until then, fresh blood. No obligations to the gerrymandered farts who don't care about anyone but themselves. They line their pockets with graft and then proclaim they're going to cut unnecessary spending. They will take a cleaver to the fat and sinew in the budget. Sadly they can't distinguish a medallion of fat from a filet mignon.

Fat and gristle to them is defined as spending that doesn't effect them directly. They'll not move an inch to close corporate loopholes but will cut food stamps for the poor. They'll not increase minimum wage or pass a jobs bill which could take hard working people off the food stamp rolls but will enrich farmers and big oil with subsidies -- two places they enrich themselves either directly or indirectly. They favor bridges to nowhere, not roads to deliver kids safely to schools.

It's only a thought, a dream, I know. But movements begin with dreams. And if we're going to face another shutdown, maybe this dump the chump is a dream these elected officials should be hearing before they dig in, entrench themselves and align with the likes of Cruz, Rubio, Paul and the other Tea Party stalwarts. All promoting hard-line stands which will lead to another shutdown.

Let your voices be heard before the shutdown. We can't afford another $26 billion in waste while we're starving millions who live and perish in sickness and in hunger.


VIDEO- Ronald Reagan: "Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit."


Saint Ronnie, who by today's standards would be too liberal to so much as qualify as a Republican candidate, has spoken. But the GOP's selective memory will magically scrub these quotes from their god hero:

"Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit. Social Security is totally funded by the payroll tax levied on employer and employee."

"Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit."


At the first Reagan-Mondale debate in 1984, Reagan set the record straight about Social Security.

Credit to Bill Scher and the Campaign for America's Future for unearthing this quote from Reagan.

Of course, that so-called “fiscal cliff” is more like a “fiscal slope” or “fiscal curb.”

And thankfully, V.P. Biden “flat guarantees” no changes in Social Security, which “effectively takes Social Security off the table.”


V.P. Biden "flat guarantees" no changes in Social Security, which "effectively takes Social Security off the table."


This time there was no gaffe. Vice President Biden is claiming that he "flat guarantees" that Social Security is safe.

Now that there is a full-on Obama-Biden defense of Medicare and Medicaid after Coupon Paul Ryan's plan was embraced, then not embraced, then embraced, then not embraced, and then embraced by Willard Romney, what Biden "flat guarantees" is critical as we prepare for the eventual and inevitable Grand bargain battle.

As the following article points out, according to that ""everything is on the table" Grand Bargain "Democrats agree to cuts in Medicare and Social Security, in return for which Republicans agree to 'tax reform' that lowers tax rates but raises more revenue by closing loopholes." Paul Ryan was against that. But as the article also states, Biden's "guarantee" now "effectively takes Social Security off the table."

Via HuffPo:

First, the president made it clear that his Medicare reforms -- unlike those passed by the Republican House and advocated by Romney/Ryan -- don't cut guaranteed benefits. Instead they take on the entrenched hospital, insurance company and doctors lobbies to exact savings. This focus -- initiated in Obamacare -- is vital [...]

Then Joe Biden announced yesterday that the ticket would guarantee no changes in Social Security. "I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security," Biden told patrons of the Coffee Break Café in Stuart, Virginia, "I flat guarantee you."

This is good policy. Social Security is not in deficit, and has not contributed to our debt and deficits.  [...] In contrast, both Romney and Ryan supported the Bush plan to privatize Social Security, which would have added trillions to our deficits and would devastate retirees when the stock market tanks.

If this doesn't sharpen the choice between the candidates, I don't know what does.


Rep Paul Ryan Attacks Obama For Opposing Proposal Ryan Opposed


It's a daily occurance, but apparently only now is the media paying any attention to their hypocrisy, and not much attention. Via Taegan-

In an interview with Mike Allen, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) criticized President Obama for failing to adopt the recommendations of the Bipartisan Deficit Commission, of which Ryan was a member:

"I was on the commission. And you know what he did? He didn't accept -- he didn't take one of the big recommendations of the commission, he basically disavowed the commission."

Of course, Ryan himself actually voted against the commission's final report.

Jonathan Chait: "You know what a good follow-up question would be? "So, Paul Ryan you voted against the commission's proposals! How can you attack Obama for failing to endorse policies you voted against?""