Saxby C the flim-flam man

Saxby C the flim-flam man

by digby

Zaid Jilani pours cold water on the Chambliss celebration sweeping the Village:

There has been much fanfare about Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss’s (GA) break from Washington Lobbyist Grover Norquist. On a local television station, Chambliss spoke of breaking with Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes under any situation, saying, “I care too much about my country. I care a lot more about it than I do Grover Norquist.”

Many progressives have been celebrating Chambliss’s rebuke of Norquist. While Norquist is indeed a powerful lobbyist who should not have so much influence over the Republican Party, progressives should not be fooled by Chambliss’s rhetoric. The senator is not breaking from Norquist because he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy or big corporations. Rather, he’s doing it because it will make it easier to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Here’s why. For more than a year, Chambliss has been involved with a group of senators who support the Bowles-Simpson plan to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits while lowering the corporate tax rate. This Bowles-Simpson plan closes a few token tax loopholes, and also reduces the popular mortgage interest deduction. Norquist is opposed to closing even the tiny loopholes that the Bowles-Simpson plan closes, so he staunchly opposes the plan altogether — which also means opposing Chambliss.

Chambliss is willing to deal with closing small loopholes in the tax code in order to get to the wider goals of the Bowles-Simpson plan: cutting Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age, cutting Medicare benefits by capping overall spending, and dramatically lowering corporate tax rates.
This is exactly right. And the handwriting has been on the wall for a good long time. Recall this from April of 2011 quoting Chambliss on CNN:
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.
Chambliss and the various Gangs of Capitol Hill have always known that they needed to "look at the revenue side" in order to get the Democrats to agree to cut the hell out of vital programs. The president long ago proposed a "balanced approach" of two dollars in spending cuts to one dollar in "revenue". And the Democrats have been extremely clear that they are prepared to agree to virtually any cuts to programs (except defense, of course) if the GOP will just agree to cough up some temporary "revenue" so they can look as if they got something in return for degrading their own legacy.

The fact is that Chambliss said nothing he hasn't said before. They set all this up so that we would have a number of arbitrary deadlines coming to a head at the same time. It's how we govern these days --- a bipartisan plutocratic centrist and conservative coalition comes together to do the bidding of the moneyed interests and betray their own constituents under a phony sense of crisis in a lame duck session. The details vary only slightly depending on who allegedly "won" the recent election, but basically, this stuff is all baked in the cake long before any of us have a chance to vote.

If Americans of both parties want to change this, they will end the bipartisan plutocratic centrist and conservative coalition. (Don't tell the Villagers --- they'll faint dead away at the mere prospect.)