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Monday, November 21, 2011

Tough medicine

by digby

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Dylan Ratigan: Oh, yes, it's a board game coming out for this holiday season. They've perfected it in Washington and we'll all get to play soon enough. Any chance, though, of a final deal? Is there anything about my narrative that's too cynical or too vicious an indictment? Can you correct me in some way?

Luke Russert: well, Dylan, there was some talk of an 11th hour deal today. Senator John Kerry called some members of the super committee into his office in an attempt to grab the low-hanging fruit. Maybe a couple hundred billion that both parties could agree on. We've heard from capitol hill aides on both sides, saying that meeting was very much about aesthetics, trying to show the members of congress that those people were serious about debt reduction, on the eve of this super committee announcing that it would fail.

Remember when John Boehner and President Obama both said failure is not an option? It looks like failure will be the option. And really, the reason why, Dylan, it comes down to two things. The issues that have plagued not only this congress, but this country. Republicans will not see taxes go up under any circumstances, Democrats do not want taxes touched under any circumstances without revenue.
If you look at the backdrop, Dylan, just look at the stats. Federal revenue now is at its lowest level since 1950. If you extend the Bush tax cuts the way the Republicans want, you get $3.8 trillion added to the deficits. If you add them the way Democrats want, you get $3 trillion added over the next three years. If you don't do anything to medicare or medicaid or social security, those programs will not be solvent.

Both parties don't want to tell the american people it's time to drink their tough medicine.

Both parties are going to try to take 2012 as the avenue to have this debate further. But as this debate goes on and on and on. The real difficult decisions, the real ideas of how are we going to cut this deficit, they go unanswered.

All so folks can can get re-elected, continue to get their $174,000 salaries, and the beat goes on and on. The special interests get rich, the parties can argue and argue and argue.
In terms of this super committee, Dylan, they had an opportunity to do something special. They had an up or down vote in the United States Senate, filibuster proof. That is so valuable here on Capitol Hill, I can't tell you. And they punted it all away, because they were besieged with the same thing that has killed every idea here on Capitol Hill, the partisan interests on both sides.

Dylan Ratigan: you're starting to sound like me, first of all, Luke, so you're probably going to get thrown out of there. I can't imagine you're going to last in D.C. much past the next month or so.

Apparently they forgot to tell Ratigan that Luke Russert was raised on vacuous beltway platitudes like these from the time he was a little boy on his big daddy Tim's knee.

It is really, really rich to be lectured by this fatuous little jerk about "drinking my tough medicine" when he was handed the celebrity spokesmodel job he has now without any real qualification or slightest bit of talent beyond doing a bad impression of his father (who also wasn't that great) for several years now. How much do you think this callow little boy is worth?

I won't even comment on his inane narrative which is so stultifyingly predictable I think even Cokie Roberts would be embarrassed to deliver it. It speaks for itself.

He and Ratigan went on to give each other big wet kisses about how great they both are so I'm assuming they are good friends. Which doesn't say much for Ratigan, who has also fallen into the cheapest trap in political analysis: "they're all alike so I'll just rant and rave about what losers they are and won't bother talking about the details." In fact, he and Russert said nothing that was real, important or relevant to anyone watching that segment.

The stench of unwarranted moral superiority in that exchange was overpowering. It makes me reflexively defend the politicians out of simple human decency. And I really don't want to defend politicians.

You can see the whole segment here.

Update: And please spare me Erin Burnett's pearl clutching about the stock market reaction. Someone needs to get her some smelling salts.

Here's reality from Krugman:

Again and again, slight upticks in interest rates have been attributed — in news stories, not opinion pieces — to debt fears, despite the complete absence of any actual evidence to that effect.

Bloomberg today has an interesting twist: U.S. Futures Decline on Concern Supercommittee Won’t Agree on Budget Cuts. In reality, US rates are down, suggesting no increase in debt concerns whatsoever.

But if you read the Bloomberg piece carefully, what it actually says is that market players fear that the absence of a debt deal means no stimulus. So the actual fear is not that spending won’t be cut enough, it is that it will be cut too much — which actually makes sense, and is consistent with the action in stock and bond markets.

There's no reason, by the way, that the failure of this deal should be attributed to an inability to pass any further stimulus. It's not as if the Republicans would have allowed that in any case.

Plus this.