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Hullabaloo


Thursday, August 18, 2011

 
The Grand Bargain & Jobs Jubilee

by digby

Wow, this is inspiring:

WSJ - Together We Can Beat the Deficit
By PATTY MURRAY, MAX BAUCUS AND JOHN KERRY

Our country has long been a beacon of light in the world because the American people always come together when times are tough. Over the past few months, in debating the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, that light of common cause has appeared to flicker at times in our nation's capital. As appointees to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—12 members of Congress charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade—we hope to remedy that.
[...]
Make no mistake, this is an important moment for our country. Millions of Americans are still hurting, working overtime to pay the bills, struggling to find a job and a way forward for their families. Trillions of dollars in private capital are sitting on the sidelines because businesses are not yet confident enough in our economy or in their lawmakers to invest in the future. These families and businesses are demanding that this new committee work together to overcome the partisanship and brinksmanship of recent months and put our fiscal house in order.

The Standard & Poor's downgrade of America's credit rating was an unprecedented wake-up call for those who have for too long acted as if overheated rhetoric and dysfunction in Washington has no consequences for Main Street and working families. The shockwaves that roiled financial markets after the downgrade was a condemnation of Congress's inability to address the unsustainable trajectory of our current fiscal policies.


[...]
None of us ran for office arguing that the United States should see its credit rating downgraded. Nobody ever campaigned in favor of mountains of debt or championed the idea that every American's interest rates should go up. And no one has ever gone into a debate pledging that China and India should own this economic century because we can't make our democracy work here at home.

This moment demands leadership, but it also demands consensus. The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was set up to require bipartisanship, and we are going to work hard to achieve it. We know that each of us comes into this committee with clear ideas on the issues and what our priorities are for our nation. But a solution can only be found by merging these priorities across party lines and finding a solution that works for the American people.

We know that our goal is to reduce spending. But we also know that America faces not just a budget deficit but also a jobs deficit. Nobody on this committee would be happy if we reduced the budget deficit but even more Americans end up losing their jobs.

So we are ready to get to work with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to report out a balanced plan, with the shared sacrifices this moment requires. One that moves past the partisan rancor, puts our nation back on strong fiscal footing, and allows us to continue shining bright in the world in this generation and for generations to come.


We are so screwed: confidence fairy, "shared sacrifice", "balanced approach", China bashing, the whole nine yards. But never fear --- it gets even more convoluted and confusing:

To pay for his jobs ideas, Obama will challenge the new “super committee” in Congress to go well beyond its goal of finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, with part of the savings used to cover some of his economy-jolting help without sinking the nation deeper in debt. But there, too, Obama already faces trouble from Republican members who have ruled out tax hikes.
[...]
The final details of Obama’s new economic plan have not been decided, and it is expected to be broader than the proposals known so far.

It is likely to include tax cuts to help the middle class, a build-up-America construction program that goes beyond any infrastructure proposal Obama has had already, and targeted help for the particularly worrisome group of people who have remained unemployed for many months in a row.


That last will be the liberal bait, of course.

I guess the "compromise" the SuperCommittee Dems will be agreeing to is to sell-off the safety net (because the pain won't hit for a while) in exchange for some mealy mouthed tax cut stimulus and maybe a little infrastructure to goose the economy. Oh, and hopefully some minor help for the long term unemployed --- until the election anyway.

I've got a stupid, barely applicable family metaphor for you, since everyone loves them so much. Suppose you found yourself out of a job with some long term debt --- say a mortgage --- on your hands. You have numerous friends and family offering you loans at very low interest to help you get back on your feet, maybe spruce up your job search wardrobe, get a new car so you can commute to work. Under these circumstances, does it make financial sense to kick your spouse into the street, cash out your IRA (with penalties) and sell your house at a loss instead of taking the money? I suppose there are some people who would find that virtuous, but the reality is that it's penny wise and pound foolish to destroy your retirement savings, it's cruel and pointless to kick your spouse into the street and selling your house at a loss is dumb unless you have no other choice.

The country is having no problem borrowing money. Somebody --- people who lend money --- seem to think the US of A is good for it. So, there's no reason to sell off our future in order to get a few temporary tax breaks and infrastructure projects done. But that's what is shaping up to be the Grand Bargain and Jobs Jubilee of 2012.


Meanwhile, back on planet Earth:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released its recommendations for the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, or “supercommittee.”

In its letter, the Chamber’s chief lobbyist calls for “reform of entitlement programs” like Medicare and Medicaid (which means cutting spending on these programs). On taxes, “the group sees on opportunity to reduce tax rates” and does not want the committee to “single out specific industries or individuals for punishment”—which means oil companies, hedge fund managers, or corporate jet owners.


Yeah, I think we can forget about that "revenue" business.


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