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New Year, Another Fiscal Scheme [Obama's Remarks]

A Wanderer Dances the Dance of Stars and Space — The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular image of the bright star-forming ring that surrounds the heart of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1097. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble

In other words, the financial markets responded as many of us non-insiders predicted. As long as it was clear that a deal would be forthcoming, they didn’t give a damn about the fiscal “cliff”deadline. Chalk this one up as yet another example of the experts — the people who report on the budget and the economy for the Washington Post and other major news outlets — not having a clue. The second point has to do with the substance of the deal. For those who wanted to see key programs like Social Security and Medicare protected this deal is pretty good news. The hare-brained idea of raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 seems to be off the table. The plan to cut Social Security benefits by an average of 3 percent by changing the indexation formula for the cost of living adjustment is also at least temporarily off the table. – Dean Baker, UK Guardian

THE ESTABLISHMENT political elite in the Senate passed the fiscal scheme by 89-8. The House vote at 1 p.m. and it will likely pass.

“The House will honor its commitment to consider the Senate agreement if it is passed,” House GOP leaders said. “Decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members – and the American people – have been able to review the legislation.” [The Hill]

Dealing with bloated Pentagon is just too much for our corrupt Congress to contemplate. If we were doomed since Eisenhower, the Obama era has shown a new vein of weakness we’ve never seen from our politicians before.

The White House-backed legislation would prevent middle-class taxes from rising, and raise rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples. It also blocks spending cuts for two months, extends unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a 27 percent cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and prevents a spike in milk prices. A last-minute addition would also prevent a $900 pay raise for members of Congress from taking effect in March. [Huffington Post]

Unemployment insurance is extended for another year, while no one is talking about jobs and growth plan. This is what America has come to in the Obama era. Giving people money instead of a living wage, while Pres. Obama okays a pay increase Congress has not earned and does not deserve.

Onward, away from the pack, towards honesty and with an eye on saving yourself from the corruption of American politics and the leaders who are visionless, purposeless and driven by cowardice.

Happiest of New Year visions, my contrarian patriots. May you endeavor to find the heart of intent that will enable you to manifest a new dream for yourself in 2013.


Statement from President Obama
January 1, 2013

Leaders from both parties in the Senate came together to reach an agreement that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support today that protects 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business owners from a middle class tax hike. While neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the House should pass it without delay.

This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way — by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.

What’s more, today’s agreement builds on previous efforts to reduce our deficits. Last year, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut spending by more than $1 trillion. Tonight’s agreement does even more by asking millionaires and billionaires to begin to pay their fair share for the first time in twenty years. As promised, that increase will be immediate, and it will be permanent.

There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it. But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans. And as we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, I will continue to fight every day on behalf of the middle class and all those fighting to get into the middle class to forge an economy that grows from the middle out, not from the top down.

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23 Responses to New Year, Another Fiscal Scheme [Obama's Remarks]

  1. secularhumanizinevoluter January 1, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Frankly I don’t see why President Obama even considered anything but everything he had said he wanted. He and the Dems won BIG. If it had crashed the repug.baggers were reaping the well deserved blame and would have set 14 up as a shooting gallery of repugs in the house. Once again, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

  2. fangio January 1, 2013 at 12:08 pm #

    A group of monkeys with some darts could have come up with the same agreement; Groundhog day?

    • LiberalJoe January 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm #

      Fangio,

      One of the best descriptions (and funniest) of Congress -ever. you are absolutely correct.

  3. ladywalker68 January 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    You know, with all due respect, sec, I don’t see how we can say that anybody “won” yet. The House hasn’t voted on it yet and they are now even playing games with that.

    According to the NY Times, the latest from Orange Man is that they will “study” it and take it under consideration. He hasn’t even committed to voting on it yet as of this writing:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/02/us/politics/house-takes-on-fiscal-cliff.html?hp

    They are meeting at 1PM to discuss it. Nothing has been settled yet, other than this passed the Senate last night.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 1, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      We can always hope the teabaggers are so overwhelmed with Obama derangement syndrome they will refuse to sign off on anything he has proposed and save him from himself…and us by accident.

  4. LiberalJoe January 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    I hope the House kills this bill. Krugman once again hits it on the nail. Pres Obama -Conceder in Chief.

    Pres Obama is being true to himself and his beliefs. We were hoping against hope that because we have a Democratic President he will fight for Democratic party principles. But he is not a Democrat he is moderate Republican. So what we have is someone representing moderate Republican principles from the 80′s negotiating with the hard right Republicans of the 2000′s.

    This was in effect Repubs negotiating with themselves not Pres Obama negotiating with himself.This is an inside Repub Party negotiation with the asshole Dems in Congress-both Houses-too stupid and feckless to care. I said in a prior post here that the progressives in Congress would be rolled in the deal and they were in the Senate, and will be rolled in the House.

  5. angels81 January 1, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    That’s right, lets kill this bill. People who depend on their unemployment checks to live, well, what the hell, they don’t need those checks. Families who have kids don’t need that child tax credit either. Students need not worry about student loans either.

    The fact of the matter is, this is the best we will see from the congress we have. The right wing who holds the house hostage will not permit anything close to what the people of this country wants no matter what the President would or wouldn’t want to do. Until the people of this country vote the extremists out of office, it will not make any difference what democrat or liberal person sits in the white house.

    • TPAZ January 1, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Congress changes tomorrow. Let’s wait 24 hours and hope; you know about hope (and change) don’t you?

      If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.(this is my response to anyone who has ever written “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” bullshit.

    • DaGoat January 1, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      I agree with you here angels, The bill seems like about as good as the Dems were going to get and I continue to hope the GOP extremists in the House will make some token changes and declare victory to save face.

      The larger point is that the fiscal cliff has consequences. I haven’t quite figured out the prevailing attitude on this site, which often sounds like because this is a created crisis it is not in fact a crisis. There also seems to be an attitude at times that because something positively impacts the stock market it must be bad. Maybe I’m misreading people here but that’s the way it sounds sometimes.

      • TPAZ January 1, 2013 at 5:53 pm #

        If you owned a paid for car that did not run would you exchange it for a car with monthly payments that you could not afford only because you needed transportation for the next 30 days? That’s the deal Republicans are offering Democrats; temporary unemployment checks (among other short-term benefits) for permanent changes in estate taxes (and other changes) for the rich. A person’s status from unemployed to employed can change in months, weeks, days, or hours. The same cannot be said is true for the status of being rich.

  6. angels81 January 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    Well LiberalJoe, it seems you got your wish. Cantor came out and said they won’t support the senate bill and may amend the bill with entitlement cuts to go along with the tax increase for them to even consider it. Once again, the extremists will hold the country hostage until they dismantle entitlements and the safety net for the poor and middle class.

  7. TPAZ January 1, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    Dear God, please let the twisted Republicans save the corrupted Democrats from themselves by NOT passing this dog crap piece of anti-seniors and working poor legislation being hawked by the Trojan-horse conservative POTUS.

    • angels81 January 1, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

      No need to worry, rethugs in the house are going to try and amend the senate bill because there is no cuts to entitlements, in fact there is no spending cuts at all, its just a tax bill.

      • TPAZ January 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

        Good. Alan Grayson and 113th Congress will clock in Thursday to go to work. Keep hope alive.

    • secularhumanizinevoluter January 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      I’m with you on this TPAZ….funny that the most insane bunch of gibbering lunatics to ever pollute the House will save us from this mess…..and set themselves up for annihilation in the upcoming election too!!!

  8. LiberalJoe January 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    This was not the best deal we could have gotten. The current Congress , especially the Dems are not as progressive as the next Congress. the deal will get better, and unemployment benefits will be restored.in a new deal. That’s why Pres Obama wanted a deal the next congress is less blue doggie.

    Is it a a given-no -but stop accepting crumbs and think its a sirloin steak. Everyone on this site wants to see the Dems fight- yet think this pos of a deal is good. its not it can be better. Nothing is going to happen to the country because everything will be fine in the end. The Dems are feckless and weak and the Pres is not the Dem base friend. Read Robert Reich’s comments on the deal.

    I’ll take my chances with a Senate with Eliz Warren and Tammy Baldwin than one with Herb Kohl and Scott Brown. BTW where are those vanguards of the middle class Sherod Brown and Bernie Sanders. I don’t expect perfection in negotiating for liberal and progressive ideals but this deal sucked and the Dems gave up a crap ton of leverage.

    • Cujo359 January 1, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Some of Reich’s claims are nonsense, like this one:

      start quote:

      But as the nation slowly emerges from recession, more people are employed – generating more tax revenues, and requiring less spending on safety nets and stimulus. That’s why the deficit is shrinking.

      end quote

      As the chart in this article (see UPDATE 3) clearly shows, we are not becoming more employed. I don’t know why the deficit is shrinking, but that’s not it. I suspect that the cuts to other government programs are having that effect. There’s no more stimulus, for instance.

      and this one:

      start quote:

      The White House’s and Democrats’ single biggest failure in the cliff negotiations was not getting Republicans’ agreement to raise the debt ceiling.

      end quote

      The Democrats seem to be getting just what they want out of this. Their failure has been to not do the things that they can do despite the Republicans. They haven’t even done that. They know they can get away with this, because progressives will make excuses for them and vote for them no matter what.

      As people here have pointed out, the next House will be less Republican. That’s why there’s pressure on their side to do a deal now. The Democrats should have ignored that, and let the “sequestration” deal go through. It would have disrupted government work for a while, but not cataclysmicly. As many folks have pointed out, the government is still constitutionally required to pay its debts (14th Amendment), and so SS checks and Medicare/Medicaid would still be going out if a Democrat who gave a crap were in charge of the White House.

      Anyway, Reich is right in pointing out that the main reason deficits are projected to increase again is rising health care costs, and that is one of the things Congress and the President would be addressing if it were concerned about reducing deficits.

  9. angels81 January 1, 2013 at 4:01 pm #

    The senate is not the problem. The house has not changed enough, and the extremists in the house will still be in control.

    • fangio January 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

      They are in control because they gerrymandered half the country over the past 20 years. They used dark money to buy up the state houses which enabled them to create one party states and safe seats across the nation. The democrats won over a million more votes and are still in the minority. What does that tell you about the future of democracy in this country?

      • angels81 January 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

        agreed.

  10. ladywalker68 January 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    Who knows:By the end of the day, the bill just might go up for another Senate vote, only this time with a chained CPI as part of the deal for Social Security. Obama already served that one up in an earlier deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes back again. He supported once, and so did Pelosi.

    At this point, I say, the cliff has come and gone and we are all still here. Screw trying to deal with this bunch and start over and put some reasonable thought into the package instead of rushing to get just any piece of crap legislation passed.

    I however, am a very tiny cog in the Universe, so I doubt things will go my way.

  11. ladywalker68 January 1, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Here are 3 very good and thoughtful opinion pieces on what I am calling “The Raw Deal”:

    Robert Reich:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/fiscal-cliff-deal_b_2390067.html
    Paul Krugman:
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/01/perspective-on-the-deal/
    Jeffrey Sachs:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/reject-the-deal_b_2392654.html

  12. newdealdem1 January 1, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    I hope that the ghost (and I don’t believe in ghosts but I’m using whatever is available to me now) of FDR and LBJ (his domestic policy) hover over these cowards (the Dems) and cavemen (GOP nutzoids) and give them the runs out of both ends of their bodies.

    And, doubly so for the phoney media hysterics and CEO’s.

    Today, I was watching CNN this morning for a short while when Ashley Banfield was anchoring the hour and she had Christine Romans on (who is one of the worst financial analysts on any news show). She was discussing the deal agreed upon by the Senate by an overwhelming majority and she was as dishonest as anyone I’ve ever seen from someone supposedly representing the “financial experts”. She was discussing the payroll tax deduction with Banfield and sounded the worry wort bell that taxes were going to be increased for everyone below the 2% as payroll taxes were going to be increased by at least 2 percentage points.

    Now, while this is true on it’s face, what she failed to mention was that the payroll tax was the mechanism which saves dollars for each American into their individual Social Security Account which was to the benefit of the individual American.

    She and Banfield were going on and on about how terrible this was since taxes were going to be increased for all Americans which would impact the middle and lower classes. While not explaining that the payroll tax is not part of the budget but whose sole purpose is to go into a trust account for Social Security for that individual tax payer. Romans knew what she was saying wasn’t the complete story but yet she falsely tried to sell her audience that everyone’s taxes were going up and specifically used the payroll tax example to make her false report.

    A fuckspell on all of these charlatan politicans, news reporters, fan boys/girls, and so-called objective financial analysts.

    Jeff Zucker needs to fire Christine Romans and 90 percent of those who call themselves reporters or financial analysts on CNN.

    BTW, I was never for the payroll tax deduction decrease (not matter how temporary as it was meant to be) because this was always a backdoor way for the GOP to gradually eat away at Social Security which the majority of Gop’ers have always been against since FDR first proposed it and saw that it was passed in 1935 or 72 years ago. The GOP in general has never let up on trying to dismantle this great social program for its citizens.

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