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Hullabaloo


Thursday, June 30, 2011

 
Clap like crazy for the confidence fairy

by digby



Jon Stewart takes issue with both sides of the aisle for their stubbornness in the debt ceiling talks and asks if there's anything they both agree upon. Then he shows some funny clips of Democrats and Republicans saying that the other side is kooky and delusional. What he fails to note is that there is one thing that both sides have already agreed upon: somewhere in the neighborhood two trillion dollars in spending cuts.

The only thing that's currently under debate is whether some gluttonously profitable oil companies should get their subsidies cut (until their lobbyists can sneak them back in) and whether CEOs should have to pay a little bit more in taxes for their corporate jets. That's the substance of the partisan argument. And somehow, I have the feeling that the Democrats are not going to tank the world economy because of CEO jet travel. And neither are the Republicans. The real problem is what they've already agreed to.

Dday has a great piece on that subject today in which he points out that the only leverage the Democrats have left is to deploy the so-called constitutional option, whereby the president simply orders the treasury to pay the nation's debts. I don't expect that will be necessary since I don't think the wholly owned subsidiaries of Wall Street in the congress are interested in angering their masters. (It's interesting that Tim Geithner apparently mentioned it today. It appears that the pageant is going to have quite the suspenseful third act.)

But Dday's analysis of the real stakes in this kabuki shows they are much higher than people are acknowledging:

I’m not only worried about the problem of the debt limit. I’m worried about the solution. Near-term fiscal contraction is going to kill an already sick economy. If anything will produce market uncertainty, it’s a double-dip recession, which is entirely possible in an extreme scenario where there’s a lot of deficit reduction at the federal level to match all of it at the state level. No less than Bill Clinton explains this:

“If they [the Republicans] said, look, that now is not the time for big tax increases to harm the recovery, they would be right,” Clinton told ABC News in an exclusive interview at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference in Chicago. “But it’s also right to say that now’s not the time for big spending cuts.

“What I’d like to see them do is agree on the outlines of a 10-year plan and agree not to start either the revenue hikes or the spending cuts until we’ve got this recovery underway,” Clinton added. “The confidence that the Republicans say would be given to investors with a budget plan, they’d get whether we started this year or next year or the year after that, for that matter.”

For the first time, the former president is focusing his Clinton Global Initiative on creating jobs here in the United States. He suggested waiting for the recovery to take hold before pushing spending cuts and tax increases will make the issues clearer.

“We’ve got to get the jobs back in this economy again,” Clinton said. “The more people we get going back to work, the more businesses we start, that’ll bring up the revenue flow, and it will cut down on the expenses. Then, we’ll see what the real dimensions of our problem are.”


Well, we wouldn't want to do that, now would we? We might find out that a good portion of these deficit projections were based on the fact that 20 million people who wanted to work full time couldn't find a job! That would waste this marvelous Shock Doctrine moment. (Having the Democrats lead the way is just icing on the cake...)

Everyone who reads this blog already knows what I think of these "negotiations." There's simply no excuse for the Democrats to have gotten to this point in the first place and I hold them equally, if not more, responsible for the repurcussions. There can be no excuses -- "the president had no choice" or "they didn't have the votes." Bullshit. The GOP signaled long ago what they were doing. The Dems could have held tough for a clean vote --- and taken it to the people if they had to. Would they have been any worse off politically than they are now?

How's this working out for them:

Where are the adults in Washington?
By Gloria Borger, CNN Chief Political Analyst

Call me old-fashioned, but when the president and congressional leaders get into a tussle over who should be "leading" the country in matters of real national consequence, I feel like sending them to their rooms.


(Good thing she didn't use the "d" word or she might have gotten in trouble.)

Clearly, the Democrats believe that at the end of the day massive spending cuts will be so popular that the beltway and the people will reward them with fawning press and a big majority. I'm guessing they'll get the first, but if it tanks the economy even more I'm guessing that Michele Bachman is their only hope. They'd better pray the confidence fairy is so impressed with all this that it waves a magic wand and creates a gigantic boom that will make everyone in the country so rich that even the old and sick will be able to survive just by picking up the hundred dollar bills that are lying all over the sidewalks.


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