Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Populism for plutocrats

by digby

So I read this morning that the Republicans are finding their inner occupier? Sure they are:

The Occupy Wall Street movement has generated enormous media attention for its protests across the country as it tries to highlight income inequality — so much so that the language is creeping into Republican talking points and interviews.

What are they proposing?
"denying unemployment insurance benefits to millionaires," "cuts to farm subsidies for the wealthy," "limit[ing] Medicare payments for wealthy senior citizens," and "new means tests for Social Security"

And what will they accomplish? According to Politico:
The proposals amount to largely nickel-and-dime savings, unlikely to make a significant dent in the federal deficit. An analysis by the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research this year argued that means-testing on Social Security that limited benefits to the wealthy would save only a fraction of a percent of benefits. Citing government data, [Sen. Tom] Coburn said that millionaires earned more than $18.6 million in unemployment benefits in 2008, and rich farmers won $49 million in farm subsidies.

So they won't raise any significant money and they'll give Republicans a chance to sound like populists. Sounds like a big winner. I'm sure the Democrats are anxious to seize the opportunity.

But that isn't all, is it? All of these chump change items are designed to change the fundamental nature of the safety net --- the idea that everyone pays in and everyone benefits.

Keep in mind that these are people who are already shrieking like harpies over the progressive income tax and insisting that people who are too poor to pay federal income taxes that they must contribute their lunch money. So now they're lobbying for means testing, which means that the rich who work pay in their whole lives and get nothing out? Sure they are.

In fact, what they are doing is lobbying for the nation's safety net to be turned into a form of welfare. And I think we know what that's all about, don't we? (The shocking number of programs for the needy (welfare...)already on the chopping block in this insane drive to slash spending in the middle of a recession shows exactly what the end game is.)

Now, I don't think they'll be content to simply means test. That's been on their agenda forever and it's also useful in this populist moment. They will be seeking much deeper cuts --- indeed, the Democrats have already offered them up on a silver platter. But this is one for the long game, the ultimate destruction of the programs altogether, which is their real goal. Up until now Democrats have been savvy enough to hold them off. But who knows if they will accept these token "revenue" hikes so they can say they were "tough" and forced concessions on the GOP? It certainly appears that's all they really care about at the moment.

In the fog of these negotiations over the phony deficit crisis, it's hard to see the true outlines of how significant this shrinkage of government will really be. But we know that it's almost impossible to create any new programs and I see very little possibility that this will change any time soon considering the political environment. So these cuts will be permanent and the scope of what's anticipated seems sure to change the fundamental relationship between the people and their government.

If they succeed this will be a hugely significant win for the right, which will reverberate for a long time to come.

Update: The Supercommittee has a very enthusiastic cheerleader. None other than Erin Burnett who had this to say last night:

[T]he bottom line is that the confidence and stability for the world economy can come from one place, and that place is the number one economy and the number one bond market and the number one stock market in the world, the United States of America. So far the super committee charged with stepping up to the plate and dealing with America's deficit does not have a deal. But if they make one, they won't be what you see on the screen.

They will be super heroes and they could change sentiment around the world and save America from a debt crisis like Europe's.

And then she welcomed former Club for Growth president, fiscal extremist Senator Pat Toomey, to chat about it. She ended with this:

As you know we care passionately about the super committee, so we are rooting for you.