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Yes, Please

[ 49 ] October 9, 2012 |

I haven’t always been the biggest Chuck Schumer fan, but if he can torpedo a stupid lame-duck “grand bargain” I’ll forgive him for any past sins.

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  1. About time Democratic officeholders started to consider what the people they represent think about big issues.

  2. charles pierce says:

    Anything Chuck does has the “financial community” in mind, so…

    • So no matter what is proposed, discussed, or conceded, the result will benefit the financial community. Since Obama says he wants to reform entitlements, Schumer offers entitlement reforms, the Republicans want entitlement reforms, and the financial elite that put the politicians in office want entitlement reform, the result will probably be entitlement reform.

      Obama said in 2009:

      [Obama] said his administration will begin confronting the issues of entitlement reform and long-term budget deficits soon after it jump-starts job growth and the stock market.

      “What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further,” he said. “We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”

      Either we let Obama cut SS and Medicare or Romney will do it. Obama verbally eliminates any other possible course of action that would potentially benefit those not in power, reducing the issue to a binary choice between the lesser of two evils. This is a very effective technique for squashing dissent.

      Obama also depicts the other choice as very dangerous to the well-being of his supporters. By demonizing his opponent he strokes fear in his followers, in the hope that they will stop thinking and obey.

  3. jeer9 says:

    Well, we’ve finally met one set of partners (Republicans and centrist Dems) whom Schumer would like to separate and whose legislative progeny he is not in favor of. Who knew? Somehow, though, I suspect that with a bit of counseling he’ll eventually be persuaded that true love conquers all. He really hasn’t the spine to keep them apart.

  4. c u n d gulag says:

    I live in Upstate NY, and I’m no great fan of Chuckles – but every once in awhile, he ends up on the right side of an issue.

    Plus, a lot of the time, he’s tougher on Republicans than Harry Reid is.

    Sure, he’s a Whoreporatist, but at least he doesn’t blow EVERY Wall Street schmuck that comes along. He’s pretty selective.

    And Kirsten Gillibrand is NY’s best Senator/national politician, by a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON shot!

    As for Andrew Cuomo, he needs to listen to his father more often.
    I’ll take “The Hamlet on the Hudson,” to his son Iago, anytime.

  5. PF2 says:

    Fund managers must think the carried interest loophole is in real danger.

  6. shah8 says:

    Please don’t. I understand austerianism is some kind of toxic makeup powder, but Schumer isn’t exactly the best of Senators…

  7. Steve LaBonne says:

    Did he have to muddy the waters on Social Security and Medicare in the process? Coupled with the disquieting noises Obama keeps making, this could become genuinely damaging. Maybe Biden can do for this issue what he did for the DOMA challenge. I hope so.

    • TT says:

      Good on Schumer, at least in this instance. Two things make the whole exercise doubly pathetic: 1) Obama appears to genuinely believe that a future GOP president and/or Congress will feel bound to his precious Grand Bargain, and 2) the GOP will suddenly consider it off the table should it pass and thus refrain from savaging the Dems for slashing Medicare and raising taxes.

    • Ed says:

      Coupled with the disquieting noises Obama keeps making, this could become genuinely damaging.

      Bob Kerrey was on Lawrence O’Donnell making the same disquieting noises. It will be interesting when/if Obama doesn’t have to face the voters again.

  8. mds says:

    Hurray for Schumer!

    Instead, he said that the top two income tax rates should be frozen, and any additional revenues generated by closing loopholes and curtailing or eliminating tax deductions and credits should be devoted to deficit reduction.

    Republicans, Mr. Schumer said, will have to be lured to the negotiating table not by the prospect of lowering top income tax rates but overhauling entitlements, like Medicare and Social Security.

    … and by “Hooray,” I mean “Die screaming in a wood chipper, you waste of oxygen.”

    This must be part of the bounce-back strategy from the first debate: Have a pompous fuck whose tongue is permanently wedged up Wall Street’s ass graciously declare additional tax cuts for the rich off the table, but Medicare and Social Security are just bargaining chips to entice Republicans into a budget bargain. This is just so awesome and praiseworthy, I hope that there’s a bag of enraged weasels over his face while he’s being pulled slowly into the wood chipper.

    • melior says:

      Yah, my initial enthusiasm choked on the same bone in my throat reading this story. Scylla, Charybdis?

    • Malaclypse says:

      What did the weasels do to deserve that fate? Why does no one ever think of the weasels?

      • mds says:

        The weasels have been paying into Social Security and Medicare their entire lives. They’re grateful for the chance. (There is a quick-release mechanism to catapault the weasel bag free of the chipper before its work is complete; I should have mentioned that at the time. Sorry, PETA.)

        • somethingblue says:

          Uh-uh-uh-uh. Look. The weasels need to understand. That this is going to require. Uh. Some sacrifice. From everybody.

          We can’t just keep doing this catapulting thing. Forever.

          So my message to folks weasels is this. If you’re a weasel. And you’re over 55. Nothing will change. The catapult will still be there. Uh. But younger weasels. Like myself. We need to have a conversation. And Governor Romney has said let’s have that conversation. And I welcome it. But let’s make sure the chipper is well oiled before we start pushing folks weasels through it. Uh. That’s all I’m saying.

          #skininthegame.

  9. Joe says:

    What is this “serious entitlement reform” he talks about? The link ends with saying it is somewhat besides the point since the Rs won’t compromise.

    Okay. Anyway, someone mentioned Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is running against some longshot with the suitable name “Wendy Long.” I keep on getting emails from KG but never hear anything about this other person. Current TV host Spitzer antics had at least one positive result: his replacement appointing Gillibrand, which some around here were a tad bit wary of at the time.

  10. jeff says:

    Schumer seems to not exclude extremely punitive increases in medicare and social security. That is a bad thing. So before we start congratulating him, let’s see how this plays out.

    We are not facing a fiscal cliff – the true fiscal cliff happens if no corrective action is taken after the expiration of the tax cuts. So nothing needs to be done in a lame duck. In fact, the president would have the leverage post lame duck to do something positive. But keep in mind, the president and lots of democrats have signaled an abiding interest in reducing the generosity of out safety net through increases in the age of these entitlement programs.

  11. The devil is in the details, of course. Schumer is offering the Republicans serious entitlement reform, but the last time serious entitlement reform happened – the elimination of the Medicare Advantage subsidies – they ran against it.

    I think he’s calling their bluff, just like Obama did in July 2011. They’re so serious about deficit reduction, those Republicans, that they won’t support rich people paying a single cent more no mater what.

    • Cody says:

      We’ve been calling this bluff for like 4 years now, and not a single Republican voter cares.

      Honestly, I can’t tell if the people voting really care about deficit reduction or just vote for people who constantly say they do full well knowing they’re about to get screwed.

  12. mch says:

    As a western MA observer (with roots in NY), I’d be VERY suspicious about what Schumer’s up to, Scott. We can hope forces are afoot that mean Chuckie has to veer left, but nothing is that simple in NY, ever. (Certainly never anywhere, but NY and NYC are the big apple in this regard — hugely complicated! En garde!)

  13. Chief says:

    Senator Schumer’s proposal does not raise the marginal tax rate nearly enough.

    Fifty percent should be the rate at which they settle. Schumer should be proposing a rate of 70% for all earners over $5 million.

  14. rea says:

    For some reason, mentioning “reform” of Social Security or Medicare gets treated as a call for cutting benefits. There are plenty of things about those two programs that could constructively be reformed without cutting anyone’s benefits.

    • Steve LaBonne says:

      Then Dems should say so and specify some such ways when they open their yaps on the subject. Otherwise, why should anyone trust them?

      • mds says:

        Yes, given that a perfectly reasonable response to Social Security’s supposed problems is “There’s no hurry,” it’s interesting that it’s mentioned so rarely by Democratic politicians. “Raise the salary cap” doesn’t come up very frequently, either, but that’s a much more plausible omission, given that it would require raising taxes. Protecting the status quo would seem a lot more worthwhile than trying to entice this current pack of Republicans back to the “bargaining table.” (Which, by the way, would be that same “bargaining table” which produced those scheduled defense cuts that Republicans have already repudiated and promise to reverse no matter what. So an offer of “nothing” would be doubly welcome.)

        Medicare is a separate problem, but even there, “Let the PPACA do its work in ratcheting down the Medicare Advantage scam” isn’t chopped liver. Anything else proposed in the near term is unlikely to address the fundamental increase in health care costs, but is likely to feature a lot of talk of “sacrifice” from those needing health care by those whose gold-plated health care coverage is secure.

      • Ed says:

        Then Dems should say so and specify some such ways when they open their yaps on the subject. Otherwise, why should anyone trust them?

        There is no reason to trust them. They’re pols. The only thing to do is apply and maintain pressure. Obama and the Dems already fighting on ground chosen by the Republicans with this constant talk of deficit reduction.

    • For some reason, mentioning “reform” of Social Security or Medicare gets treated as a call for cutting benefits.

      For several decades, from the 50s through the 90s, that’s all it was. Republicans would call for “reforming” SS or Medicare, and what they meant was, cut their costs (or restrain their costs) by making the benefits package less generous. Democrats would respond by voicing their opposition to such “reform.”

      Now, Republicans use the term the same way, while Democrats use it to mean things like “eliminate the Medicare Advantage subsidies” or “reduce payments to providers” or “switch to outcome-based payments,” but it still gets read as “cut benefits” because that is what it traditionally meant. That the Republicans responded to the reforms in the ACA by asserting that benefits were being slashed has kept the old understanding alive.

      • somethingblue says:

        Now, Republicans use the term the same way, while Democrats use it to mean things like “eliminate the Medicare Advantage subsidies” or “reduce payments to providers” or “switch to outcome-based payments,” but it still gets read as “cut benefits” because that is what it traditionally meant will actually happen once the Very Serious Centrists get through with it.

        FTFY.

      • mds says:

        So, uh, what do Democrats mean by “reforming” Social Security, exactly? Or do they think there’s one program called SocialSecurityandMedicare, too?

        • Hogan says:

          What I mean is raising the payroll tax cap and then indexing it to inflation or something. I can’t speak for the rest of us.

          • liberal says:

            I don’t see why either of those proposals are good.

            Payroll cap—OK, I’d be affected, so it’s in my cynical self-interest to be against it. But if you’re going to increase my payroll taxes in order to stabilize the program finances (i.e., not to increase my payout when I’m a beneficiary), why not apply the tax to unearned income, too?

            As for “indexing it to inflation,” that’s just another phrase for “cut”.

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