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Plan Coddle the Plutocrat From Outer Space



Here’s the reality that changed: President Obama can no longer accuse House Republicans of failing to present a plan for reducing the deficit. On Monday afternoon, Speaker John Boehner did just that, in a letter to the president laying out the basic parameters of what his caucus would be willing to accept—pushing up the retirement age for Medicare, reducing the growth of Social Security benefits, and closing tax loopholes to raise a modest amount of revenue.

Here’s the reality that didn’t change: Obama has insisted that any deal meet several conditions—among them, higher income tax rates on the wealthy, an end to the debt ceiling drama, and stimulus for the fragile recovery. Republicans have said no way. And with this proposal, Boehner and the Republicans are still saying … no way. The new proposal merely commits to paper a few ideas that Republicans have been floating for the last few weeks. It does so with the usual level of specificity—which is to say, very little specificity at all.

Frankly, as the second paragraph implies, the first sentence is too generous. Since none of the tax loopholes to be eliminated and little of the spending to be cut is actually specified, it really shouldn’t be dignified with the name “plan” at all. It’s easy to come up with a “plan” that reduces the deficit if you just invent figures without specifying how you’d reach them.

I don’t know why we can’t all agree with the obvious plan — just balance the budget by eliminating White House Christmas trees that Michelle Obama won’t call Christmas trees except when she does. I estimate this to create eleventy billion google dollars of savings. Problem solved! Now we can get to the real deficit-reducing tool, upper-class tax cuts.

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  • JKTHs

    See? They have a plan! Now all Obama needs to do is “lead” (AKA make concessions to Republicans preemptively so that they reject them and force Obama to make more concessions).

  • Mudge

    Not a plan, an arm wave. Are you sure the Republican response wasn’t on the back of an envelope? Oh, sorry, one puts calculations on the back of an envelope.

  • Pestilence

    Sorry Scott, you can’t call that a plan – it doesn’t include anything to cause pain to the 99%ers

    • JKTHs

      Well…as far as you know

  • Brandon

    Jesus I can’t believe they’re still giving them a pass on calling this a “plan.”

    We’re doomed. :[

  • Brandon

    And I see, via that Whiskey Fire link, that Althouse’s fans still find the “57 states” thing to be a hilarious joke.

    • They have a chicken, and they are going to keep fucking it.

      • rea

        They have a chicken walrus, and they are going to keep fucking it

    • Scott Lemieux

      He read it off a teleprompter! On steroids!

      • S_noe

        While having cocaine-fueled gay limousine sex. And smoking.

        I’m hoping Obama’s-on-steroids is not really a thing now. Kind of reluctant to google it. (I mean, he doesn’t really have the body for it. Unless it’s a convoluted “tiny balls” slur.)

        Oh, I think you meant the TelePrompTer was on steroids. Never mind.

  • Just revealed: The executive summary of the Republican deficit reduction plan:

    1) Oppose any proposal from Dems

    2) Endless droning on FOX News about fiscal cliff

    3) ????

    4) PROFIT!

  • Mudge

    One must always reference, and paraphrase,the free enterprise gurus of the era, the Underpants Gnomes:

    1.Collect Underpants
    2. ?

    Fill in #1 and #3 for the Republicans as you like.

    • Mudge

      And Actor 212 has.

      • My apologies for missing my cue

  • Rarely Posts

    Of course, the Republican “plan” doesn’t even “commit[] to paper a few ideas that Republicans have been floating for the last few weeks.” As Kevin Drum has repeatedly pointed out, the proposals to “push[] up the retirement age for Medicare” and “reduc[e] the growth of Social Security benefits” are not even included in the letter! Thus, the Republicans have specifically refused to commit to paper any specific steps to actually decrease spending! Cohn’s second sentence is thus flatly incorrect.

  • If you use double-plus awesome dynamic scoring (DPADS to us insiders), my plan to reform local zoning codes, reduce carbon emissions, and get my cat to stop puking on the bedspread will cause the economy to grow at a 15% annual rate, vastly increasing tax revenues.

    • JKTHs

      You forgot cutting capital gains taxes.

    • S_noe

      I think your cat actually has a stimulative effect on our vital domestic laundry industry.

      • You need to take Econ 101, moocher.

        For the record, details of how to get the cat to stop puking on the bed will be worked out in negotiations later this year.

      • Hogan

        I’ll bet joe is one of those people who scans his own groceries and does his own laundry.

        • S_noe

          I have it on good authority that he BUYS his laundry detergent.

          Nice try, Joe – if you actually go Galt, it’ll be illegal immigrant smugglers selling you watered-down, grey-market Mexican detergent.

          Or gay-married Brooklyn hipsters, with some locally-sourced artisanal detergent. It’ll be $40 a bottle, but at least the workers in the factory will be non-union.

          Either way, socialism wins…

          …Unless you make your own phosphate-intensive, patriotic laundry soap! Like the Founders used. Send me $10 for the recipe!

        • I’ll bet joe is one of those people who scans his own groceries…

          And I bag each item separately, in a triple-bag, because screw you, hippies.

  • Snarki, child of Loki

    Hey, can the rest of us get in on this “plan creating” thing?

    Here’s mine:

    1. Render House GOP caucus into Pink Slime
    2. Sell for pet food
    3. Budget problems solved!

    #2 might be a bit of a problem, if you really care about your pets, but we all have to make sacrifices, amirite?

  • Pestilence

    #2 shouldnt be a problem, once you think of the Democrats as poorly house-trained pets :D

  • Joe

    Republicans prefer “guidelines” over actual rules of deficit reduction.

    • tonycpsu

      Maybe Obama and the Democratic leadership should set up one of those bipartisan summit things that the press seems to love. I know they’re a waste of time, but at least in person, Obama can say “specifics or GTFO.” If they aren’t serious about avoiding the cliff in the summit, then at least the Democrats can say they gave the GOP a chance to name their price.

      • Indeed. Norquist said he thinks the meetings should be on C-SPAN so everyone can see something or another about which side is serious.

        Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform who’s become Democrats’ favorite bogeyman, said if President Barack Obama meets with congressional leaders in front of cameras the American people will be able to better judge who is being “reasonable” about compromise.

        “It’s the president who is threatening to raise taxes on the middle class if he doesn’t stamp his feet and get his way,” Norquist said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He should get into a room with C-Span cameras there and negotiate. Lets have it in front of C-Span cameras. And if the Republicans are being reasonable, we’ll see that. If they’re not, we’ll see that. Gotta have cameras in that room.”

    • DrDick

      Republicans actually prefer elimination of all taxes of the wealthy and corporations over actual deficit reductions. Which is ultimately the heart of their dilemma.

      • JKTHs

        Why? If we did that we’d raise trillions of new revenue

        • DrDick

          Not even the GOP politicians believe that. That is just a line they feed the rubes to get them to vote for them.

  • Cheap Wino

    It doesn’t matter if the Boehner has a plan or not (and they know it, which is why they don’t really have one). The key for progressives is to characterize whatever shit comes out of GOP mouths as cutting medicaid and social security to pay for tax breaks for millionaires. That’s gonna be a winner.

  • tonycpsu

    Jim DeMint is not on board. Regardless of whether this is an actual mutiny or a negotiating tactic, it shows that Boehner doesn’t have a strong hand. I don’t think the White House cares if Jim DeMint isn’t on board with Boehner’s non-proposal.

    • mpowell

      That’s awesome DeMint is not on board with the non-plan.

      • DeMint is TEH awesome, but I miss Delay, because his name was so perfect.

        • Hogan

          I don’t know if anyone will ever top Dick Armey, though.

  • TT

    What the press refuses to understand is that Republicans are implacably opposed in every way to “higher revenues”. While their fanatical opposition to higher marginal income tax rates gets all the attention, it’s the other “revenues” they’re allegedly offering which are the real con game. They make noises about capping deductions and/or ending certain rich guy perks, but the specifics rely heavily on dynamic scoring or myriad other fraudulent accounting devices that they can easily hollow out so that it actually doesn’t raise revenue. The goal? They get to blame Obama for raising taxes and, as a (hopeful) added bonus, savage him for Medicare cuts that they insisted on.

    • JKTHs

      This. Nothing is said about how much of this $800 billion is from double secret dynamic scoring or counting premium increases as revenue as they have done in past offers.

    • Cody

      Yes, Republicans are generally full of it.

      However, the slew of campaign ads about how Obama cut medicare (which he didn’t cut benefits in) while simultaneously running on the platform of cutting medicare to decrease the deficit really irked me.

      Especially since their own plan called for worse cuts! How do people believe that crap?

  • Steve LaBonne

    We have this shit because voters didn’t get off their asses in Nov. 2010 (hence Republican state governments hence gerrymandering.) How do we get people to understand that turning out in non-presidential years- like 2014, for instance- is still pretty fucking important?

    • tonycpsu

      We have to wait another 20 years or so until the younger folks who vote Democratic now get older. There’s really nothing inherent about GOP voters that makes them turn out to mid-terms, special elections, etc. other than the fact that they’re older, and therefore more politically involved.

      • Steve LaBonne

        I don’t think we can afford to wait 20 years. I hope OFA shifted gears to planning 2014 turnout operations right after the election. I refuse to believe it’s impossible to inform and motivate younger voters on the importance of off-year elections; after all, nobody thought they’d turn out in 2012 in anywhere near the numbers of 2008, but they did.

        • tonycpsu

          I’m not saying it can’t be done, but it’s an uphill climb, and I’d put the odds at 20% or less.

          Maybe my perspective is skewed because of how successful the GOP gerrymandering has been here in PA — virtually all of the Democratic strongholds are stacked in 5 districts, with 13 pretty strongly red GOP districts. The kind of Democrats we’d have to run in 2014 to win a few of those seats would be Jason Altmire / Mark Critz types (both of whom are gone due to redistricting and losing in 2012 respectively) who can’t be counted on to vote on Democratic priorities anyway.

  • Murc

    Anyway else find it funny that the Republicans have actually started referring to their most-likely scenario as the ‘Doomsday Plan?’

    I mean, really. They might as well issue white cats and island fortresses to all incoming congressional freshmen.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Just like the kind of idiots who vote for them, they simply aren’t grownups. Being a Republican is one of the Seven Habits of Highly Defective White People.

      • Murc

        I’m not sure I can indict them for this specifically, being as how despite the fact I’m well into my third decade, I don’t think I could describe myself as a grownup with a straight face.

  • Bernard

    well if Obama was a leader, he could actually lead and put out a plan. lead rather than respond to the Republican plan.

    not that this will ever happen.

    • Murc

      You mean… doing what he’s been doing so far?

      Unless this was sarcasm that I missed. In which case, carry on sir.

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