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Hullabaloo


Monday, April 11, 2011

 
Grand Bargain Gang

by digby

Two members of the Gang of Six emerge from their spider hole to squawk about deficits and bipartisanship on CNN:

Jessica Yellin: Here are two members of the so-called Gang of Six a bipartisan group of Senators who are trying to negotiate deficit reduction. Saxby Chambliss is a Georgia Republican and Senator Mark Warner is a Virginia Democrat. Gentlemen thanks for being here.

First to you Senator Chambliss. You have been working together on this proposal for months. When will you reveal it and do you really think you can get 4 trillion dollars in savings?

Chambliss: Well there's not question but that we're working on a plan will achieve 4 trillion dollars in savings over the next ten years.As to when we're going to complete the details, that's still up in the air, but out group of six has been working very diligently over the last several months and we're going to continue to work until we can get this done and get it done the right way.That's a lot more important than the time frame in which to get it done.

Yellin: Well let me press you on that Senator Warner. House Republican budget Chairman Paul Ryan has revealed the initial Republican deficit reduction proposal, president Obama will reveal one on Wednesday, don't you both need to unveil it now, within days to be relevant in this debate.

Warner: I think one of the things we saw in last week's debate, if we start in our partisan corner you wind up with an 11th hour brinksmanship. We've been working for months on a serious plan and we're very close. We want to make sure it's right. And I do think in the coming short period of time that we need to get this into the debate and I think there are members in both parties who are willing to step up and say we are starting from a bipartisan basis and there's a much better chance of getting something done.

Yellin: let's start with bipartisanship because we saw an awful lot of acrimony over the last month over just a tiny sliver of the budget, the continuing resolution. How in the world Senator Chambliss, are you going to get Democrats and Republicans to agree for a long term spending plan in this partisan environment?

Chambliss: Well, that's why it's important that we work together as a bipartisan group to develop a bipartisan product. If we do start from one side or the other side and hope that we can meet in the middle, my guess is that never gets done. But the fact that we have three Republicans and three Democrats in a room discussing in a very serious way the most significant national security interest that the United States is facing today I think says an awful lot number one about the fact that we think we can get it done. And secondly that this group is committed to make sure that in a bipartisan was we address the issue will in itself give us a better opportunity than if we started at opposite ends and hope that we could meet in the middle.

Yellin: Senator Chamblis do you believe that Senate Republicans will agree to a package that includes any sort of tax changes?

Chambliss: Well, the fact of the matter is that you can't solve this debt problem just with reductions in discretionary spending. You can't solve it just by attacking and reforming entitlements. You've got to look at the revenue side also.

What we are looking at proposing is actually a reduction in corporate rates and personal individual income tax rates, which will put more money in people's pockets and we're going to do that with the reduction in tax expenditures. Every time we've done that in years past whether it was under President Reagan or president Bush we have seen revenues increase. And we've got to have an increase in revenues if we are going to retire this debt... revenues have to be on the table if we're serious about attacking that debt.

Yellin:Senator Warner, that's a big concession by Republicans. For Democrats, you've acknowledged that they have to come along and tweak entitlements. Over the week-end one of the president's advisers said this should potentially include social security. So what changes to social security would be part of your budget proposal?


Warner replied that they don't plan to take money from social security to pay down the debt but just feel they should make SS "secure" for the next 75 years anyway. (Apparently this epic deficit battle is such a breeze that they can squeeze in this unnecessary issue right along with it.) He finished up with this:


Warner: I think we've got the makings of a Grand Bargain if we start with a bipartisan basis, I think we can get it done and surprise a lot of the pundits.


Ok, so they are afraid of getting upstaged by Obama and Ryan and they've decided to sell their snake oil with this bipartisan Grand Bargain drivel.(And Warner is clearly anxious to get it out than Chambliss who is willing to let the Republicans in the House carry the water for the moment.) Whatever.

But Chambliss did say something very interesting. Did you catch it?



You've got to look at the revenue side also.

What we are looking at proposing is actually a reduction in corporate rates and personal individual income tax rates, which will put more money in people's pockets and we're going to do that with the reduction in tax expenditures. Every time we've done that in years past whether it was under President Reagan or President Bush we have seen revenues increase.


Uhm, no, Saxby. Cutting taxes for your rich friends (again) doesn't count as raising revenue. Seriously. Supply siders tried that rationale years ago and it's not going to be any more successful when you say you are going to cut up the future safety net than it was when you pretended that you didn't need to cut at all. It was a very slick presentation though. He's an excellent bullshit artist.

Warner stood there vacantly babbling about bipartisanship and Grand Bargains and didn't even attempt to set the record straight so I'm guessing he's on board with this Orwellian claptrap. But that's nothing compared to Jessica Yellin responding that Republicans had made a big concession and demanding to know if Democrats had agreed to cut "entitlements" in turn. I think that frames it about as perfectly as the deficit phonies could ever hope for.

It's getting really claustrophobic down in this rabbit hole, guys.


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