Budget Fantasy

It wasn’t all that long ago that Republicans in the House and Senate were claiming that the Obama administration was irresponsible because they hadn’t proposed a budget.

“President Obama missed a great opportunity today to help our economy.  This was supposed to be the day he submitted his budget to the Congress.  But it’s not coming.  It’s going to be late.  Some reports say it could be a month late,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on the House floor.

Then both the White House AND the Senate Democrats put budgets on the table.

What has happened since is a fascinating political turn from Republicans.

The first was the claim that no progress would occur on budget talks until President Obama was willing to support cuts to retirement programs.  Then Obama DID publically outline his willingness to make adjustments to retirement programs in return for more revenue through tax reform and subsidy cuts.  The Republican response was to deny that Obama ever said anything.  Boehner said, “there’s no plan from Senate Democrats or the White House to replace the sequester.”

When confronted by reporters that Obama had not only produced a budget, but that it also included concessions on retirement plans, Boehner responded, “If he had a plan, why wouldn’t Senate Democrats go ahead and pass it?”

The facts again, however, are at odds with that position.

The reason the Senate Democrats have been unable to pass a budget to replace the sequester cuts is that the Senate Republicans have blocked a vote with a filibuster.  The Senate Republicans are filibustering the bill because they know if they allowed a simple up or down vote, the budget would pass.

This is consistent with the Republican message that the sequester is not only Obama’s fault, but his preference.  At the same time as they are criticizing Obama for failing to compromise (which in Republican speak means accept our position), they are taking credit for the whole effort.  “I don’t think taking 2 percent off the top in a $14 trillion economy is going to be a big drag on growth,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.  For an economy that is struggling to grow faster than 2%, that is a curious statement – but then math has historically been a challenge for him.

Both Obama, the Democrats, and Republicans proposed alternatives to the sequester.  Yet the sequester cuts still took effect.  Here’s how Boenher explained it.

Well, no, he didn’t want the cuts, but we have the sequester as a result of his demands. And I, told my colleagues in the House that the sequester will stay in effect until there’s an agreement that will include cuts and reforms that will put us on a path to balance the budget over the next ten years.

This path to a balanced budget is a reference to the Republican Paul Ryan budget which was rejected by voters less than a year ago. That’s the budget that also includes repealing Obamacare which the CBO says will ADD to the debt. But the Ryan budget keeps the “job killing” taxes contained in the Obamacare bill in order to balance the budget in ten years.

What about the deal that Obama put on the table to “trade” reductions in retirement programs for tax reform?

Boehner said, “Listen. I have worked with the president for two years to try to come to an agreement. Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to do so.”

Right! Obama has a deficit plan, but Boehner couldn’t come to an agreement on it because Eric Cantor told him the House Republicans wouldn’t approve it. Cantor has said this himself. That’s not a supporting point for Boehner’s contention that Obama has no deficit proposal that includes spending cuts. It’s, if anything, a refutation.

When pushed on this point, Boehner has said, “The president got $650 billion of higher taxes on the American people on January the first. How much more does he want? When is the president going to address the spending side of this?”

And so the circular part of this illogical argument starts over again.

Republicans claim that Obama doesn’t have a plan to replace the sequester (which he does) because the Senate can’t pass it.  The Senate has the votes to pass it but Republicans are preventing the Senate from taking a vote.  The House Republicans discount Obama’s offer to cut spending AND raise taxes because they oppose tax increases even though their own budget includes tax increases.

So why don’t we have a deal?

Boehner can’t make a deal because if it did, it wouldn’t pass the House and would likely also cost him his job.  Instead of pointing the finger at the Tea Party section of the house, he has simply created this Big Lie regarding the President and his intentions.

He figures if he and other Republicans continue to repeat this Big Lie, perhaps it will stick.

“The president has to go first with plans for Medicare and Social Security,” Maine Senator Collins said. “Then I think you will see more receptivity on the Republican side to an overhaul of the tax code” that raises more revenue.

Or

“It’s still not clear he’s willing to actually cut spending,” said another House aide.  “And that’s what is necessary.”

“I’m not so sure he has given up on raising taxes entirely,” says yet another aide.  “He will try to raise net tax revenue through tax reform.”  GOP Congressional aids quoted by Byron York.

Yet this is EXACTLY what Obama has been offering for months.  He has gone first, as Senator Collins recommended, and nothing has happened.  He has offered to trade tax increases through tax reform for cuts in Medicare and Society Security.  Republicans are rejecting this offer because, apparently, THEY are the only ones who can be trusted to raise taxes.

So why aren’t we getting a deal done?

Ezra Klein from the Washington Post documented this maddening circular logic with GOP Strategists Mike Murphy.

Murphy began by opining that Republicans might cut a deal with Obama if only Obama would endorse means-testing Medicare. Reporter John Harwood tweeted to him that Obama has supported this. Murphy replied that it’s a “good start but not enough” — Obama should also support “chained CPI,” or using a stingier formula to calculate cost of living increases for Social Security. Many people pointed this out to him. Murphy then called chained CPI a “small-beans gimmick.”

Instead we have sequester cuts which are causing real hardships to real people.  The cuts are slowing economic growth and putting people out of work.  That is making even the International Monetary Fund uncomfortable.  They have already expressed their concern that the US cutting spending TOO quickly.  It wasn’t all that long ago that Republicans were using the IMF as the boogeyman.  If the US didn’t cut spending, they predicted, the IMF would impose harsh penalties similar to what they did to Greece.  Now the IMF is warning us, just like it warned Greece, but the warning is that the Republican plan to dramatically shrink government is too aggressive.

“The nature of the recovery appears to be changing,” the IMF staff wrote in its mid-year review of the world’s largest economy. “The automatic spending cuts not only exert a heavy toll on growth in the short term but the indiscriminate reductions in education, science and infrastructure spending could also reduce medium-term potential growth.”

What do they recommend?

The same deal the President has offered.   Increase taxes to fund investments in education, science and infrastructure and reduce longer term spending through retirement program reform.

So why don’t we have a deal?

Because the Republicans are unwilling to make ANY deal with Obama.  This has nothing to do with entitlement reform.  This has nothing to do with taxes.  This has nothing to do with economics.

Republicans would rather prevent REAL economic recovery, blame the continuing hardship on Obama, continue to tell the Big Lie that he’s the one who is unwilling to compromise, and take their chances with voters in 2014.  That’s been the Republican strategy ever since Obama and his new progressive majority took over the White House.  It was a strategy that worked in 2010.

Fortunately the Democrats already have plans to hold Republicans accountable for this strategy in 2014.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said in speaking with constituents that the budget has become a common topic and people are receptive to the approach Democrats have outlined.

“People want a budget,” Schatz said. “There is anxiety because we’ve been on a [continuing resolution] for so long and sequester is hurting our local economy.”

Hopefully there will be some accountability at the ballot box.  That is the best way to punish those who choose the interests of their party over the interests of the country.

37 Responses to “Budget Fantasy”

  1. keith says:

    Jeff,
    I simply can´t respond. In your response last night on the previous post you again ridiculed the use of an article I used. The IBD is not on the Jeff approved list. Having discussion with you is typical of progressives. Only their sources, no one else is crediable, no opinions are allowed, except their own. (I can´t count how many times you´ve told me something I´ve posted is an opinion peice. You only want sources from the NYT, Wash Post and the CSM…. Everything else is out of play… Unless of course you provided it.

    So this response is in honor of your method. Above you quote Ezra Klein from the Washington Post. Happy reading….

    Ezra Klein

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Born
    May 9, 1984 (age 29)
    Irvine, California

    Nationality
    American

    Education
    B.A., Political Science

    Alma mater
    UCLA

    Occupation
    Journalist and Political pundit

    Employer
    Washington Post, MSNBC, Bloomberg

    Spouse(s)
    Annie Lowrey (m. 2011)

    Website

    Ezra Klein – Washington Post

    Ezra Klein (born May 9, 1984) is an American journalist, blogger and columnist. He is currently a blogger and columnist for The Washington Post, a columnist for Bloomberg, and a contributor to MSNBC. He was formerly an associate editor of The American Prospect political magazine and a political blogger at the same publication.[1]

    At The Washington Post, he manages a branded blog called “Wonkblog,” which features his writing and the writing of other policy reporters. His writing interests include health care and budget policy.[2] He writes a primer on policy called “Wonkbook,” which is delivered by e-mail and on his blog each morning.

    In 2011, Klein’s blog was the most-read blog at The Washington Post.[3] In 2011, he was named one of the 50 most powerful people in Washington by GQ.[4] In 2010, he was named Blogger of the Year by The Week magazine and the Sidney Hillman Foundation.[5][6] His blog was also named one of the 25 best financial blogs by Time Magazine in 2011.[7]

    Contents
    [hide] 1 Early life and education
    2 Career 2.1 Health care debate
    2.2 JournoList

    3 Personal life
    4 Notes
    5 External links

    Early life and education[edit]

    Klein was born and raised in Irvine, California.[8] Klein is a middle child,[8] raised in a Jewish family.[9] Religiously, he now identifies as an agnostic.[10] His father is a mathematics professor, his mother an artist.[8] Klein went to school at University High School. He attended the University of California, Santa Cruz but later transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, from which he graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in political science. While at UCLA, he applied to write for the Daily Bruin but was rejected.[8]

    Career[edit]

    Klein started his first blog in February 2003.[11] He soon joined with Matt Singer, and the name was changed to “Klein/Singer: Political Consulting on the Cheap”. In June 2003, he moved to the blog “Not Geniuses” along with Matt Singer, Ryan J. Davis, and Joe Rospars.[12] Following “Not Geniuses,” Klein partnered with Jesse Taylor at Pandagon. This partnership helped Klein gain even more visibility, leading to his eventual founding of his blog “Ezra Klein”.[13]

    Besides his online contributions, Klein worked on Howard Dean’s primary campaign in Vermont in 2003, and interned for the Washington Monthly in Washington, D.C. in 2004. “The media is as effective and important an agent for change as the legislative bodies, and I think it’s where I’m happiest and most effective,” Klein said.[14] In 2003, he and Markos Moulitsas were two of the earliest bloggers to report from a political convention, that of the California State Democratic Party.[15] In 2006, Klein was one of several writers pseudonymously flamed by The New Republic writer Lee Siegel (posting as a sock puppet called sprezzatura).[16]

    On December 10, 2007, Klein moved his blog full time to the American Prospect.[17]

    Klein’s prolific blogging caught the attention of Steve Pearlstein, the Washington Post’s veteran business columnist. A friend referred him to Klein’s work in the American Prospect. “I was blown away by how good he was—how much the kid wrote—on so many subjects,” Pearlstein said. Pearlstein sent samples of Klein’s work to managing editor Raju Narisetti. A few weeks after he heard from Pearlstein, Post foreign correspondent John Pomfret asked Klein to have lunch with him and financial editor Sandy Sugawara. Narisetti quickly hired Klein to be the Post’s first pure blogger on politics and economics.[8] On May 18, 2009, he began writing at the newspaper.[18]

    Klein frequently provides political commentary on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show and Hardball with Chris Matthews. He is a former contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

    In May 2011 when Bloomberg View launched, Klein became a columnist for it, in addition to his work at The Washington Post and MSNBC.[19]

    Health care debate[edit]

    In December 2009, Klein wrote an article in the Washington Post, stating that Senator Joe Lieberman was “willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score”, because Lieberman “was motivated to oppose health care legislation in part out of resentment at liberals for being defeated in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Primary”.[20] Klein based his estimate on an Urban Institute report that estimated that 22,000 people died in 2006 because they lacked health-care insurance.[21] This article was criticized by Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, who called it a “silly claim”.[22] Charles Lane, also of the Washington Post, described Klein’s article as an “outrageous smear”. But EJ Dionne, also of the Washington Post, agreed with Klein’s claim, saying that “Klein is right that there is not a shred of principle in Lieberman’s opposition”.[23] Klein later said he regretted the phrasing[24] and his position is that despite universal coverage, the social determinants of health are still powerful predictors that, on average, ensure the lower socioeconomic classes die sooner than those with more income and education.[25][26]

    JournoList[edit]

    Main article: JournoList

    In February 2007 Klein created a Google Groups forum called “JournoList” for discussing politics and the news media. The forum’s membership was controlled by Klein and limited to “several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics”.[27] Posts within JournoList were intended only to be made and read by its members.[28] Klein defended the forum saying that it “[ensures] that folks feel safe giving off-the-cuff analysis and instant reactions”. JournoList member, and Time magazine columnist, Joe Klein added that the off-the-record nature of the forum was necessary because “candor is essential and can only be guaranteed by keeping these conversations private”.[27]

    The existence of JournoList was first publicly revealed in a July 27, 2007, blog post by blogger Mickey Kaus.[29] However, the forum did not attract serious attention until March 17, 2009, when an article published on Politico detailed the nature of the forum and the extent of its membership.[27] The Politico article set off debate within the Blogosphere over the ethics of participating in JournoList and raised questions about its purpose. The first public excerpt of a discussion within JournoList was posted by Mickey Kaus on his blog on March 26, 2009.[30]

    In addition to Ezra Klein, members of JournoList included, among others: Jeffrey Toobin, Eric Alterman, Paul Krugman, Joe Klein (no relation to Ezra Klein), Matthew Yglesias, and Jonathan Chait.

    On June 25, 2010, Ezra Klein announced in his Washington Post blog that he would be terminating the JournoList group. This decision was instigated by fellow blogger Dave Weigel’s resignation from the Post following the public exposure of several of his JournoList emails about conservative media figures.[31][32]

    Klein had justified excluding conservative Republicans from participation as “not about fostering ideology but preventing a collapse into flame war. The emphasis is on empiricism, not ideology”.[33]

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Kieth,

    You said

    I simply can´t respond. In your response last night on the previous post you again ridiculed the use of an article I used. The IBD is not on the Jeff approved list. Having discussion with you is typical of progressives. Only their sources, no one else is crediable, no opinions are allowed, except their own. (I can´t count how many times you´ve told me something I´ve posted is an opinion peice. You only want sources from the NYT, Wash Post and the CSM…. Everything else is out of play… Unless of course you provided it.

    We have had these conversations about credible news sources before.

    I don’t have any problems with your opinions, or the opinions of any one else, as long as you are willing to defend them.

    The challenge that we’ve had in the past is when you post an OPINION piece as fact to support your opinion. That doesn’t work. The fact that you can find someone else who agrees with you does not strengthen your position. Facts from credible sources should be what we use as a foundation for our discussions. You are entitled to your own opinions. You are NOT entitled to your own facts.

    If you ARE interested in defending the IBD as a credible news source, please feel free.

    If your only defense of IBD, so far, is that my criticism of them is politically motivated – you KNOW that is weak.

    This is a classic “change the subject” sort of argument.

    So please don’t use it.

    Here’s a quick summary of why the article that you posted in particular, AND the IBD are both unrealiable.

    The article did not tell all of the facts. Why are businesses employing people at near full-time hours and still calling them part time? How much do part-time workers pay now for healthcare and how much will they pay after 2014 when these rules kick in? How ARE companies going to adjust their workforce if they choose to reduce part time hours?

    The IBD has been widely criticized for it’s conservative positions. I posted examples of those criticism. The IBD was a BIG supporter of the whole discredited birther movement. Their long-time opposition to Obamacare has a very similar flavor, as evidenced by their dust-up with Stephen Hawking. How can you take a news source like that seriously?

    Regardless of what you think of Ezra Klein personally, the Wash Post as an organization IS a credible source, as are the NYT and the CSM. It is the responsibility of the Wash Post editors to hold Klein to a higher standard than the editors of IBD are willing to hold their contributors. THAT’S the difference.

    The Klein article DID answer questions that the IBD article ignored.

    If you had problems with what was in the Wash Post, please point them out.

    So let’s please move this out of “typical of progressives” partisan discussions and into something real and fact based.

    As I’ve already said, I think all of the broadcast media sources (with the single exception of NPR) are unreliable regardless of political persuasion. Same is true for online sources. Very few credible sources. Politifact, FactCheck.org, and their peers are about it. So that leaves the print sources. Print media is the ONLY source with an accepted ethical standard. That standard is part of the formal education journalists receive in college. As we have talked, sources like the NYT, WashPost, LA Times, AJC, CSM, etc. DO have editorial opinions. They EARN the right to have an editorial opinion by a commitment to reporting that does its best to tell the whole story. That commitment to tell the whole story reflects the ethical commitment that these organizations have. Stories that ARE biased are run on the editorial/opinion pages and are clearly marked so readers don’t confuse them with news stories.

    The challenge that we face in this new world of citizen “journalism” is that ANYBODY can post ANYTHING can claim that it is true. There are no standards. There is no accountability. The result is that, what in the past was the lunatic fringe, are now communities of believers who gain comfort from their shared beliefs. The belief sets are still largely hysterical, but there is far less stigma to be a part of one of these groups than in the past. As a result, what they lack in fact, they make up for with passion. We are living the problems that these single-issue groups present for democracies like ours.

    Finally, there is nothing WRONG with the IBD, just as there is nothing WRONG with the National Enquirer. They are both ENTERTAINMENT just like the Daily Show is ENTERTAINMENT. The difference is that the National Enquirer and the Daily Show don’t claim to be credible news sources.

  3. keith says:

    You missed the point. Ezra Klien is as partican as Ann Colter, I have provided that proof above. Have you ever seen him on MSNBC? You aprove of using him but won´t even address one comment Ann makes as she is disqualified… If Ann is disquilified inyour view from even speaking, then what isn´t EZRA? Do you not see…..

    YS)Regardless of what you think of Ezra Klein personally, the Wash Post as an organization IS a credible source, as are the NYT and the CSM. It is the responsibility of the Wash Post editors to hold Klein to a higher standard than the editors of IBD are willing to hold their contributors. THAT’S the difference. The Klein article DID answer questions that the IBD article ignored.

    MR)So when Ann Colter or Rush Limbaugh answer questions that WASH POST, NYT and CSM ignors, are their answers acceptable? You answer would be know, becasue if the Wash Post, NYT or CSM didn´t ask the question then it didn´t need te be asked!!!!!!

    I don´t use opinions as facts… you know better then this. You simply think I do…

  4. keith says:

    So, am I to underwstand your rules this way. George Will published the following opinion peice in the Washington Post, one of the three gospels. In the piece he referenced the 16 year pause in global warming. He linked to the article I posted below in the body of his piece. Since the Wash Post holds him to a very high standard then the piece he linked to on the 16 year pause in global warming must be creadible, yes?

    Obama hits a wall in Berlin

    By George F. Will, Published: June 20

    The question of whether Barack Obama’s second term will be a failure was answered in the affirmative before his Berlin debacle, which has recast the question, which now is: Will this term be silly, even scary in its detachment from reality?

    Before Berlin, Obama set his steep downward trajectory by squandering the most precious post-election months on gun-control futilities and by a subsequent storm of scandals that have made his unvarying project — ever bigger, more expansive, more intrusive and more coercive government — more repulsive. Then came Wednesday’s pratfall in Berlin.

    There he vowed energetic measures against global warming (“the global threat of our time”). The 16-year pause of this warming was not predicted by, and is not explained by, the climate models for which, in his strange understanding of respect for science, he has forsworn skepticism.

    Regarding another threat, he spoke an almost meaningless sentence that is an exquisite example of why his rhetoric cannot withstand close reading: “We may strike blows against terrorist networks, but if we ignore the instability and intolerance that fuels extremism, our own freedom will eventually be endangered.” So, “instability and intolerance” are to blame for terrorism? Instability where? Intolerance of what by whom “fuels” terrorists? Terrorism is a tactic of destabilization. Intolerance is, for terrorists, a virtue.

    It is axiomatic: Arms control is impossible until it is unimportant. This is because arms control is an arena of competition in which nations negotiate only those limits that advance their interests. Nevertheless, Obama trotted out another golden oldie in Berlin when he vowed to resuscitate the cadaver of nuclear arms control with Russia. As though Russia’s arsenal is a pressing problem. And as though there is reason to think President Vladimir Putin, who calls the Soviet Union’s collapse “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” is interested in reducing the arsenal that is the basis of his otherwise Third World country’s claim to great-power status.

    Shifting his strange focus from Russia’s nuclear weapons, Obama said “we can . . . reject the nuclear weaponization that North Korea and Iran may be seeking.” Were Obama given to saying such stuff off the cuff, this would be a good reason for handcuffing him to a teleprompter. But, amazingly, such stuff is put on his teleprompter and, even more amazing, he reads it aloud.

    Neither the people who wrote those words nor he who spoke them can be taken seriously. North Korea and Iran may be seeking nuclear weapons? North Korea may have such weapons. Evidently Obama still entertains doubts that Iran is seeking them.

    In Northern Ireland before going to Berlin, Obama sat next to Putin, whose demeanor and body language when he is in Obama’s presence radiate disdain. There Obama said: “With respect to Syria, we do have differing perspectives on the problem, but we share an interest in reducing the violence.” Differing perspectives?

    Obama wants to reduce the violence by coaxing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, who is winning the war, to attend a conference at which he negotiates the surrender of his power. Putin wants to reduce the violence by helping — with lavish materiel assistance and by preventing diplomacy that interferes — Assad complete the destruction of his enemies.

    Napoleon said: “If you start to take Vienna — take Vienna.” Douglas MacArthur said that all military disasters can be explained by two words: “Too late.” Regarding Syria, Obama is tentative and, if he insists on the folly of intervening, tardy. He is giving Putin a golden opportunity to humiliate the nation responsible for the “catastrophe.” In a contest between a dilettante and a dictator, bet on the latter.

    Obama’s vanity is a wonder of the world that never loses its power to astonish, but really: Is everyone in his orbit too lost in raptures of admiration to warn him against delivering a speech soggy with banalities and bromides in a city that remembers John Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s “Tear down this wall”? With German Chancellor Angela Merkel sitting nearby, Obama began his Berlin speech: “As I’ve said, Angela and I don’t exactly look like previous German and American leaders.” He has indeed said that, too, before, at least about himself. It was mildly amusing in Berlin in 2008, but hardly a Noel Coward-like witticism worth recycling.

    His look is just not that interesting. And after being pointless in Berlin, neither is he, other than for the surrealism of his second term.

    By David Rose

    PUBLISHED: 01:12 GMT, 13 January 2013 | UPDATED: 01:13 GMT, 13 January 2013
    Global warming stopped 16 years ago, Met Office report reveals: MoS got it right about warming… so who are the ‘deniers’ now?

    Last year The Mail on Sunday reported a stunning fact: that global warming had ‘paused’ for 16 years. The Met Office’s own monthly figures showed there had been no statistically significant increase in the world’s temperature since 1997.

    We were vilified. One Green website in the US said our report was ‘utter bilge’ that had to be ‘exposed and attacked’.

    The Met Office issued a press release claiming it was misleading, before quietly admitting a few days later that it was true that the world had not got significantly warmer since 1997 after all. A Guardian columnist wondered how we could be ‘punished’.

    But then last week, the rest of the media caught up with our report. On Tuesday, news finally broke of a revised Met Office ‘decadal forecast’, which not only acknowledges the pause, but predicts it will continue at least until 2017. It says world temperatures are likely to stay around 0.43 degrees above the long-term average – as by then they will have done for 20 years.

    This is hugely significant. It amounts to an admission that earlier forecasts – which have dictated years of Government policy and will cost tens of billions of pounds – were wrong. They did not, the Met Office now accepts, take sufficient account of ‘natural variability’ – the effects of phenomena such as ocean temperature cycles – which at least for now are counteracting greenhouse gas warming.

    Surely the Met Office would trumpet this important news, as it has done when publishing warnings of imminent temperature rises. But there was no fanfare. Instead, it issued the revised forecast on the ‘research’ section of its website – on Christmas Eve. It only came to light when it was noticed by an eagle-eyed climate blogger, and then by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the think-tank headed by Lord Lawson.

    Then, rather than reporting the news objectively, Britain’s Green Establishment went into denial. Neither The Guardian nor The Independent bothered to report it in their paper editions, although The Independent did later run an editorial saying that the new forecast was merely a trivial ‘tweak’. Instead, they luridly reported on the heatwave and raging bushfires in Australia.

    One of the curious features of Green journalism is that if it gets unusually cold, this will be dismissed as mere ‘weather’ of no significance, while a heatwave or violent storm will be seized on as a warning that catastrophic climate change is already here.

    Instead of focusing on the news that global warming had halted, other newspapers reported on the heatwave and raging bushfires in Australia
    Instead of focusing on the news that global warming had halted, other newspapers reported on the heatwave and raging bushfires in Australia

    Where the new forecast was mentioned on the BBC and other websites, experts were marshalled to reassure apocalypse-hungry readers that the end of the world was just as nigh as before. A warming hiatus of a mere 20 years, they said, was nothing.

    This would all be faintly humorous, if it wasn’t so deadly serious. Back in 2007, when the Labour Government was preparing what became the Climate Change Act, far from being neutral, the Met Office made a blatant attempt to influence political debate.

    In a glossy brochure, it revealed it had a ‘new system’ that could predict the future, by combining analysis of natural variability with long-term trends. The system, it warned, showed that by 2014 ‘global average temperature is expected to have risen by around 0.3 degrees compared to 2004, and half of the years after 2009 are predicted to be hotter than the current record hot year, 1998’.

    It boasted that this showed how the Met Office used ‘world-class science to underpin policy’. No doubt some of the MPs who voted for the Act, with its hugely expensive targets to replace fossil energy with ‘renewables’ such as wind, were swayed by it. Barely five years later, it is clear this forecast was worthless. But the Met Office is unrepentant. ‘Climate models do predict periods of little or no warming, or even cooling,’ a spokesman told me. Despite the pause, the long-term projection that the world is likely to warm by about three degrees if the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubles was still on course.

    Inconvenient truth: The MoS report last October that was vilifed by the Green Establishment
    Inconvenient truth: The MoS report last October that was vilifed by the Green Establishment

    We all get things wrong, and by definition futurology is a risky business. But behind all this lies something much more pernicious than a revised decadal forecast. The problem is not the difficulty of predicting something as chaotic as the Earth’s climate, but the almost Stalinist way the Green Establishment tries to stifle dissent.

    There is, for example, the odious term ‘denier’. This is applied to anyone who questions the new orthodoxy about global warming. It doesn’t matter if one states that yes, CO2 does warm the planet, but the critical issues we need to address are how fast and how much: if one doesn’t anticipate catastrophe, one must be vilified, and equated with those who deny the Holocaust.

    Yet the real deniers are those who don’t just claim that the pause is insignificant, but that it doesn’t exist at all. Such deniers also still insist that the ‘science is settled’. The truth is that the unexpected pause has triggered a new spate of research, in which many supposed ‘consensus’ conclusions are being questioned.

    Some scientists are revisiting some basic assumptions of climate prediction models, such as the effects of clouds and smoke particles in the atmosphere. They now think that the claim that the warming effect of CO2 is ‘amplified’ by things such as cloud cover have been seriously exaggerated. In their view, doubling CO2 may only warm the world by 1.5 degrees or so, giving us many more decades to develop lower carbon energy sources.

    How have the Green deniers been so successful in concealing such debates?

    Partly it is the web of commercial interests that both fund and are sustained by Green climate orthodoxy. But it is also their dissenter-trashing machine.

    A day before the revised Met Office forecast broke, US blog site Planet 3.0 awarded me its Golden Horseshoe award for the ‘most brazenly damaging and malign bad science of 2013’.’

    I’ll be clutching it when they burn me at the stake

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2261577/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-Met-Office-report-reveals-MoS-got-right-warming–deniers-now.html#ixzz2Ws2zCNxQ
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  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I have not seen Ezra on MSNBC.

    I also don’t see credible news sources asking Ann Coulter to even write opinion pieces.

    She shows up in the pages of the Washington Times.

    Ezra is listed in the Washington Post as one of their OPINION writers rather than news writers. So clearly he is going to have more latitude in what he prints because it is expressing an opinion. The Wash Post, IMHO, does a pretty good job in offering opinions from both the left and the right.

    IBD asked questions that the Wash Post and the NYT don’t ask either. Questions like was Obama’s father a communist and is he disqualified to be president because he didn’t use his real name. The National Enquirer asked similar ridiculous questions like Hilary Adopts Alien Baby or Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack as Love Slave. Nobody takes those headlines seriously. Why should anyone take IBD any more seriously?

    The difference, which you steadfastly refuse to accept, is that when a reporter asked the Question “was Obama’s father a communist” in the editorial meetings at the IBD, it becomes a front page story. When a reporter asks that same question in the Wash Post editorial meeting, they ask that reporter to provide proof that the claim is credible and supported by at least three named sources. When the reporter fails to produce that evidence the story is killed.

    Similarly, the Wash Post is not going to print a column from any of their columnists that has assertions that are not similarly supported. Klein is not free to write whatever he wants, just as George Will isn’t either. They all have to work from a set of facts that are generally corroborated. Then they can put their individual spin on those facts based on their political point of view. But they are NOT entitled to a separate set of facts.

    IBD, Limbaugh, and Coulter do not operate under those same limitations. Nor does MSNBC for that matter.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    As I just wrote, the George Will column was published on the OPINION pages.

    That means it is not news.

    George gets to state his facts and then express his own opinion about what they mean.

    Within the context of his column, Will was questioning Obama’s facts, which is what the article that Will linked to did too. The interesting thing, though, is that the links in his article are only relevant as reference to support the basic fact that he was claiming. So in the print version of the newspaper, you aren’t going to see that link. You’ll just see Will’s claim that temperatures haven’t risen as fast in the last decade as some models predicted.

    If you search the Wash Post on that topic, however, you can find other articles that the Post published which go into this topic in the same depth that I did when you originally posted it.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/14/global-warming-appears-to-have-slowed-lately-thats-no-reason-to-celebrate/

    That’s what ethical newspapers do.

  7. keith says:

    Back to the city that´s doing great. I read about 52 year old guy who worked 14 years for the city and has been retired from the city for four years. He said, paraphrasing, ¨why should I give up one penny? He should read below about the bond holders that Orr said should have known better. I agree with that statement and the 52 year old should also….

    Who all will feel ¨OWED¨ when SS is able to only pay 75 cents on the dollar?
    Who will feel OWED when the state of ILL can not pay the massve pensions it promised and many retired at a very early age because they could… Who will be responsible? The tax payer? Why not the individual who right now is deciding to retire in ILL from their school teaching job at the age of 52, as an example, who knows FULLY WELL the promises that were made to them will never, and can not possibly, be kept. Do you see what we are avoiding? Do you see the lunacy of dangleing retirement as the end all of life? What fool leads other fools into the massive deception that our current system will actually be what is promised when we all already know it won´t be there. Bigger still are the FOOLS who negotiate these deceptions on BOTH sides of the table…..

    June 25, 2013 at 11:30 am
    Daniel Howes
    Lenders take it on the chin in Orr’s plan

    Daniel Howes

    Orr (The Detroit News, file)
    Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s restructuring plan for Detroit is rattling a whole lot more people than city employees and the retirees who stand to lose city-paid health care and chunks of their pensions.

    His move to label limited and unlimited general obligation debt as “unsecured,” effectively declaring it no longer backed by the “full faith and credit” of the cash-strapped city, is roiling bondholders and threatening to alter the municipal bond market’s assumption that cities will raise taxes to meet their financial obligations and avoid default.

    Not now in Detroit, where taxing authority is already at its statutory limit. Not in a city that already can claim to be the highest taxed municipality in Michigan, notwithstanding a pathetic inability to collect much of the real estate and income taxes it is owed.

    Orr’s point: Lenders should have known better, and Detroit won’t pay because it can’t.

    “If you lent money to an insolvent city that has been going insolvent as openly and notoriously as possible since 2000, and you don’t have a security interest, then you are an unsecured creditor,” he told The Bond Buyer in a recent interview. “This has been building for decades and decades. They understood the risk.”

    His contention may prove to be the linchpin of tough negotiation, protracted litigation or both. But his observation that Detroit has been “openly and notoriously” headed toward bankruptcy is spot on, supported by reams of news articles, independent studies, state-ordered financial reviews, public testimony of the city’s longtime auditor general and towering financial mismanagement exceeded only by the city’s deep political dysfunction.

    A former mayor — the one whose administration engineered the interest-rate swap deal to fund pension payments and routinely failed to file annual financial reports with the state — is in federal prison, convicted on corruption charges. And a former member of City Council last month completed her own prison term.

    Detroit has lost nearly a third of its population over the past decade, probably the most significant voluntary exodus from any city in the developed world. The calamitous trend cut tax revenue and gutted home values by creating more supply than demand; it undermined the city’s ability to meet financial obligations it arguably should not have made.

    None of this is a secret. No, Orr says lenders whose positions are not secured with specific revenue streams (such as the water department or casino taxes) are, by his definition, unsecured. They would share equally the pain of a restructuring that is increasingly likely to take place inside what would be the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy in American history.

    Who says Texas is the only place where everything is bigger? Four years ago, Detroit became home to the largest bankruptcies in American corporate history, courtesy of General Motors. and Chrysler. This year, it probably will produce the largest municipal bankruptcy ever — a dubious distinction that says a lot about the culture of Detroit and its auto industry.

    Most of what it says isn’t good. The coming Detroit reckoning would confront the bad habits of its past and would try to chart a humbling future. But its path to get there proposes to trample conventions of the municipal finance market, to pierce constitutional protections of vested pensions and to impoverish public employees who didn’t make the rules or the deals.

    Sound familiar? It should, because Detroit’s singularly grim predicament isn’t Detroit’s alone. Cities and school districts across Michigan are under emergency management. Pension liabilities in states such as California and Illinois are massive, forcing politicians to confront the confluence of union power, pension promises and the cash that greases the political process.

    Detroit is just getting there sooner, a municipal canary forced into the coalmine largely of its own making. Its predicament is the cost of one-party rule for 50 years; a political culture obsessed with power, control and self-dealing; a city budget whose priorities too often reflected the demands of employees and their union leaders, not the needs of taxpaying residents or the responsibility to adequately maintain public infrastructure.

    And the financial community? Too many chose to ignore the unmistakable arc of the Detroit’s decline so long as they could engineer one more deal, pocket more fees and bank on the assumption that the city would raise taxes yet again to honor its debts, that Michigan would backstop the commitments, or both.

    Could the remedy for Detroit’s undeniable profligacy have implications for Triple-A-rated Oakland County right next door? It could if proximity trumps performance and the common sense to recognize that the city’s problems were mostly made in Detroit.

  8. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I never said Detroit didn’t have problems.

    It has huge financial problems that are the result of mismanagement and the 10 year recession in the auto industry.

    But it also has green shoots of development, which you refuse to acknowledge.

    To use Detroit as a jumping off point for claiming that the whole retirement system including Social Security is unstable is a leap MUCH too far.

    Social Security is easy to fix. Here’s just one example from Forbes.

    This top 10% of senior households numbers just over 2.5 million. We estimate that the average Social Security income that these households receive is about $40,000. If Congress were to impose means testing for Social Security in a manner that would exclude only this top 10% of senior households, Social Security outlays would be trimmed by roughly $100 billion per year. This action alone would provide the Social Security system the solvency it needs.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddganos/2013/06/07/should-someone-making-150000-receive-social-security/

    Obamacare is also helping bend the curve in the growth of healthcare expenses, which is improving the outcome of Medicare.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/30/medicare-health-care-costs-decreasing/2366399/

    Legalizing immigration will boost funds for both Medicare and Social Security because people who had previously been working “off the books” will now be legally employed. Both they and their employers will be paying into these retirement programs way more than they are taking out.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/health/immigrants-give-more-to-medicare-than-they-receive-a-study-finds.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    As far as other pension plans are concerned, I agree that this is something that we can’t ignore.

    Workers are NOT responsible for the failure of those who offered plans that later turned out to be unmanageable. Detroit is responsible for mismanagement, not the public workers who contributed to these plans for decades before they earned their retirement.

    But, as I’ve posted before, most of these defined benefit plans (private and public) are fine and well funded. Most of those that aren’t are actively switching their members who qualify for these benefits to other sustainable plans. There are likely to be some large defaults in places like Detroit, BUT the whole system is not even close to the collapse which you predict.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-24/traditional-pension-plans-can-still-work-really-.html

    As far as others who hold Detroit debt, here is the reality. The reason Orr is there is to make sure that those who have political clout at the state level get paid. Suggesting that those who did business with Detroit, or purchased Detroit’s debt deserve whatever they get is not going to fly. What Orr wants to do is paint the worst picture he can so that he can make the best deals that he can. Threatening to blow up the municipal bond market is a great way to start.

  9. Keith says:

    It is inevitable the left will again roll out the economic inequality song book again shortly. The top 1% Will be vilified for their outragous incomes Interesting article in fortune which sums up my argument from a year or so ago. The argument is however is flimsy. An unspoken assumption is wrong. The 1% in anual income is not a group of plutocrats who found a way to take in staggering incomes year after year. For example, your favored NYTimes report on research by economist Emmanuel Saez begins “income rose more then 11% for the top 1% of earners durning the recovery but not at all for everyone else.” this depicts a fat cat in a manhattan skyscraper who’s income just gets bigger and bigger every year.

    Mostly that’s not reality. Most recent data is quit different. America’s too earners are not a group at all. Irs data doesn’t provide relevant data for the top 1% but it does for the top 400 earners. Most recent data details their income from 1992 – 2009. Entry level income was 77 million in ’09 having peaked at 138.8 million in 2007.

    The main take away from the data is the total number of people who have been among the top 400 in that 18 year period. What’s your guess? 400? The correct answer is 3,869 out of a possible 7,200. Of those 73% appeared in the top 400 exactly one time in 18 years. Hardly a closed caste of super-earners, the top 400 are a constantly changing assemblage the vast majority of whom experience one spectacular year. By far the largest source of income, over 70%, comes from capital gains.

    A picture emerges. Someone sells an asset which he carried a great risk, probably a business which he spenta lifetime building or maybe he got lucky with the right Internet company. He cashes in and collects a fortune. He makes his one appearance in the rarefied air of the top 400 then just as quickly disappears.

    The difference between this data based picture and the one that dominates the inequality debate is an important one. It’s a contrast between two nearly opposite views of our economic system. In one the super rich are a cozy self perpetuating club that rigs the game in their favor in order to keep collecting. In the data driven view by contrast, the super rich isn’t a group of people but a wide open place from which on average most residents get kicked out every year and a new group moves in. in one view America is a land of privilege and injustice. In the other, it’s a land of extraordinary opportunity.

    To be sure a few people in the top 400 are regulars. Of all those who made the list over 18 years about 2% did so 19 times or more. Those are obviously the exceptions. The overwhelming norm is almost no one lasts long at the summit.

  10. Jeff Beamsley says:

    If I understand this post correctly, you are saying that the characteristics of the top 400 IRS tax payers apply uniformly to the rest of the 1.38M tax payer to comprise the top 1% of those who file taxes. The FACT is that they only represent .03% of the top 1%. They are the fabulously rich, and it makes a lot of sense that this list would change from year to year.

    The top 1% have gross incomes of at least $380K.

    Also according to the stats, few fall out of the top 1% and those that do, don’t fall far.

    That’s because if you make at least $77M in a year, even if you put that in an investment that only earned 2%, the next year you would $1.5M just in interest.

    Sorry you are going to have to work harder on this in order to prove your point.

  11. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I did some of that research for you.

    Though this particular article is a couple of years old, it paints a more complex picture than your focus on the top 400.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204336104577096410776256928.html

    The term is High Beta, which normally is associated with volatile stocks, but also can be associated with incomes of some of the top 1%.

    The new rich have become the high-betas of our economy. With their dependence on financial markets, their leverage and their hyperspending, the top 1% have income swings that now are more than twice as high as those of the rest of the population.

    Remember that this data pertains to a subset of the 1%. Those who have recently become wealthy rather than those who have some degree of generational wealth.

    The New Wealthy essentially don’t know when to stop. They are unable to switch from the risky behavior that paid off to a more conservative approach to preserve what they have gained.

    They are overly dependent on a particular stock or class of investment.

    They are highly leveraged using debt to create a wealth multiplier.

    They spend based on their paper net worth rather than their actual cash flow.

    Their new found success generates family issues around how this new money should be shared. Divorce and inheritance issues end up dividing up the new gains.

    In other words, these people are not much different than the guy who wins the lottery or has a good day at the casino. They have beaten the odds and struck it rich. Rather than attribute their wealth to good fortune, they not only take credit for it, but insist on making even bigger bets at the same table. They aren’t content with just being in the 1% and financially independent. They aspire to the Forbes most wealthy list and feel that they are just one more big bet away from getting there, and in the meantime will spend as if they are already there.

    These people DO have highly volatile incomes just like any other gambler.

    This IS NOT the sort of activity that we as a country should encourage because it INCREASES market and economic volatility.

    We live that every day in the price swings of commodities like gas.

    So I have NO PROBLEM heavily taxing this sort of behavior to discourage it.

  12. Keith says:

    What’s left of the affordable healthcare law?
    *Employer mandate? Delayed…
    *Verifiy income? Nope
    *Exchanges? half?
    *Tax on medical devises? Going going gone?
    *Those with no insurence signing up for
    something they don’t want? Don’t count on it.
    *is it constitutional for a president to sign something
    Into law then fail to enforce it? Many say no. If your answer is
    Yes, can the next president simply ignor the law?

    The good outgoing dem senator vision of a train
    Wreck is getting clearer every day…

  13. Keith says:

    And now the repubs are going to bring up a vote to delay the individual mandate. If its ok to delay the employer mandate then why not the individual mandate?

    Dems main problem? Great ideas poor Delivery. Obama in particular. You or I would have MADE SURE this all happened ok and AHEAD of time. He didn’t.

    The problem, or maybe the answer, is the act is a terrible bill, flawed. Single payer, which I oppose, is the only answer. Why didn’t the dema and Obama in Particular act with courage for their conviction?

    Terrible terrible terrible. So I didn’t bring facts to my opinion piece

  14. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Big changes like Obamacare are disruptive. There is no other way around it.

    Republican obstructionism certainly bears some of the responsibility too. States like Michigan have not put up their own insurance exchanges or opted into Medicaid expansion even though the Republican governor has pushed hard for both and the economics are undeniable. The conservative 2010 Republican majorities in the state legislature don’t care about economics. They, like you, simply oppose the whole concept without any clear path to an alternative.

    In practical terms, Obamacare implementation was stalled until the Supreme Court case was decided. It continues to be opposed, not only in Michigan but at the Federal level through trench war politics in House. That’s because conservative Republicans, even though they are in the minority, feel that Obamacare and Immigration are hot-button issues for their base. They continue to be in denial about the demographic changes that Obama used to build majorities in 2008 and 2012.

    Instead they are trying to delay both plans until 2016 when they can run on them again.

    Those hopes depend on retaining their House majority in 2014.

    If they lose that majority, you will finally see the government able to focus on implementing Obamacare in a meaningful way. That doesn’t mean that it will be perfect, but implementation will improve dramatically because Obama will be able to get his stalled appointments approved and the house will no longer be able to strangle the implementation efforts with funding restrictions.

    Responding to these tactics was in part the reason why the Obama administration stalled the employer part of the bill.

    The bottom line is that we are dealing, In My Opinion, with the last desperate gasps of the Tea Party. Those attempts to push through legislation on right to work, abortion restrictions, and Obamacare delays will hopefully drive enough people to the polls in 2014 to finally defeat them at the federal and state level.

  15. Keith says:

    The repubs have opposed, did you expect them to help? However don’t lay this at their feet. An overwhelming majority of Americans still oppose this, 3 years later…. Do put that on republican efforts either. If they are able to influence an overwhelming majority on this issue then why couldn’t they have done better in the nation election? Doesn’t make sense. Also more unions are coming out against it. (International brotherhood of electrical workers) Maybe Nancy should have told us what was in the bill first. This law is trash and can not be reworked. If your side wants to change it then please feel free to go to single payer….Your side was effective in creating the conversation and the need. They totally screwed up the delivery. I lay this at Obamas feet…

    On other news still waiting for the keystone pipeline to be approved. Still waiting for the EPA to tell us finally how to do fracking!!

  16. Jeff Beamsley says:

    You seem to forget the original intent. Healthcare reform is vital to our long-term economic health (no pun intended).

    The existing system of private employer-based insurance is unsustainable. We HAD to change.

    Republicans only talk about repeal. They have FAILED to offer a viable alternative. Instead they try to paint a picture that Obamacare is WORSE than the status quo. That is simply not true.

    Republicans don’t bear the full responsibility for the challenges in rolling this program out, but you have to admit that they have deliberately made it more difficult. To the degree that those efforts have succeeded, any discussion of the manner in which Obamacare is rolling out has to include some reference to the effect of Republican opposition.

    Beyond that, your ONLY recourse for a law which you oppose and which the Supreme Court has deemed constitutional, is the ballot box.

    So far the ballot box has failed you. Whatever gains the Tea Party enjoyed from Obamacare in 2010 are fading. So either the opposition you suggest is growing is in fact just your own imagination, OR the other repugnant aspects of the Republican platform effectively overwhelm any benefit the party may gain from opposing Obamacare.

    Assuming Obamacare opponents fail again in 2014 to gain a majority in the Senate, the next opportunity will be 2016. It will be very difficult to displace by then. It will be interesting to see how many more elections Republicans are going to be willing to lose on this issue until they finally change their position.

  17. Keith says:

    Since 2008 more republicans have won election then dems ie house and senate seats, governorships and president. What elections are you referring to? Obama is the outlayer he wins period, issues don’t matter. Look at his favoribles for 2008 until 2012 a slow decline. Then just before the election they spike up. After the election that fall again until today they are back around 44% according to the last Rasmussen poll. He like Reagan had nothing stick to him. You seem to like to attribute his winning elections with folks agreeing with his policies and a rejection of the other guys. I’m not so sure of that in its entirety. The absolute slaughter of 2010 should not be over looked. It was the worst defeat in history…

    If you want to continue to ignor the polling which shows obamacare is more unfavorable today then the day it was signed feel free to do so. If you think the tea party is responsible for that then you are delusional.

  18. Keith says:

    I have said many times if the rebound want to repeal they should offer an alturnitive. If they simply don’t Have one then they should say this too.

  19. Jeff Beamsley says:

    There have only been two national elections since 2008. Hardly a fair comparison. If you start your count at 2006, at least that is two off year elections and two national elections.

    In 2006 Dems gained 30 seats in the house and 6 in the Senate. In 2008 the Dems gained 21 seats in the house and 8 seats in the senate. In 2010 the Republicans gained 63 seats in the house and 6 seats in the Senate. In 2012 the democrats gained 8 seats in the house and 2 in the senate. In four national elections over 6 years the Democrats have won three and lost one. The net gain in the house for Republicans was 4 seats. The net gain for the Democrats in the Senate was 10 seats. The Democrats have also won the White House twice.

    For Governors, democrats gained 6 in 2006, one in 2008, lost 6 in 2010, and lost one in 2012. So net from 2006 to now was no change.

    Obama was elected twice by a new demographic coalition. Hardly an outlier. You only have to look at the exit polls to figure out why he won. in 2008 it was because people believed he could do a better job handling the financial crisis. That was in comparison to John McCain who scared people with his uneven performance as the economy tanked. In 2012 exit polls, Obama won the economic issue again because more people thought the economy was improving rather than getting worse. He also won on the issues of foreign policy, healthcare reform, and empathy.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/2012-exit-polls/index.html#United-States

    As far as polls, the Kaiser Family Foundation has been regularly polling on this subject since the Affordable Care act was signed. It is true that support for the Act is lower than it was when the bill was signed (46% to 37%), but opposition to the bill hasn’t increased either. It was 40% when the bill was signed and it is 40% now. About 10% oppose it because it doesn’t do enough. The 30% of the opposition that is left tracks pretty closely to those who oppose virtually everything else that Obama does.

    What HAS increased is the number of people who don’t know or refuse to answer (14% to 23%). The big numbers are for those who say that don’t completely understand the bill and how it will affect them (57%). When you ask people about individual provisions of the bill 80% approve of things like health insurance tax credits for small businesses, improved prescription drug coverage under Medicare and the creation of health insurance exchanges that allow comparison shopping for benefits. Majorities also support expanding Medicaid, providing tax credits for individuals to buy health insurance, requiring insurers to offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and subjecting large employers to financial penalties if they don’t cover their workers. Even though some of those same people oppose the overall bill.

    The trends that you suggest just aren’t there in the polling numbers.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/20/health-care-reform-survey_n_2915826.html

    Finally you are also wrong about the scale of the 2010 loss. The 63 seats lost in the House and 6 in the Senate in 2010 were surpassed by Harry Truman in ’46 if you assume as most do that Senate seats mean more (54 in the House and 12 in the Senate), Roosevelt in ’38 (72 in the House and 7 in the Senate), and Harding in ’22 (77 in the house and 7 in the senate).

    FDR’s ’38 midterm election loss (the second largest in history) was a backlash to the New Deal and all of the debt he accumulated in stimulating the economy and putting people back to work. Sound familiar?

    http://www.hnn.us/articles/133224.html

    FDR is widely regarded as the second only to Lincoln as our greatest President even though he had the second largest mid-term election loss in history. I suspect that Obama will survive the 2010 loss as well.

    So as a quick summary, when you look at a more fair comparison of 2006 – 2012, the Democrats come out ahead in terms of elections won and seats won.

    Issues DID matter in both Obama elections based on the exit polls.

    2010 was not the worst defeat in history and is remarkably similar to FDR’s midterm defeat in ’38. All of those New Deal policies including Social Security were very controversial when first introduced. They have since proven to be some of the most effective and popular government programs in existence. My prediction is that you will find yourself on the wrong side of history on Obamacare in the same way the Republicans in 1938 were on the wrong side of history with the New Deal.

    Finally the Tea Party IS responsible for the solid 30% that oppose Obamacare. Another 10% oppose Obamacare because it doesn’t do enough. Those groups opposed Obamacare when it was passed and continue to oppose it today. A consistent 40% is not a trend. Suggesting that it is, is the true delusion.

  20. Keith says:

    *Now Gallup has obamacare at an all time low.
    *Nate Sliver now says repubs are on the verge of taking the senate in ’14. You make a very incorrect assumption above.

  21. Keith says:

    I said since the 2008 election. This is what Obama and his “new coalition” has had an effect on. The 2006 election had nothing to do with this.

  22. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Here’s a quote from Gallup about their poll.

    The healthcare law itself elicits highly partisan responses, with Republicans nearly unanimously disapproving (89%) and a smaller but still large majority of Democrats (76%) approving. Democrats’ and Republicans’ views are essentially unchanged from November 2012. It is independents whose views have changed — they have become more likely to disapprove now. The majority of independents (52%) approved of the law last fall, while now a majority disapprove (53%).

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/163253/americans-wary-health-law-impact.aspx

    This doesn’t appear to be the huge momentum swing that you portray.

    Obamacare and Obama approval ratings seem much more closely tied than actual increasing awareness of details of the plan itself. Most people are still fundamentally unaware of how the plan will affect them.

    And now you’re a Nate Silver fan?

    What he posted is a point in time. In the same article he also said,

    Two years ago at this time, Republicans faced what seemed to be a promising environment and could have won the Senate by gaining a net of three seats from Democrats and winning the presidency. Instead, Mitt Romney lost to President Obama, and the G.O.P. lost a net of two Senate seats.

    But it is true that Republicans have fewer seats to defend in 2014 and because of retirement, Democrats are going to be running new candidates for what have been long-term democratic seats.

    He is currently calling it a toss-up.

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/senate-control-in-2014-increasingly-looks-like-a-tossup/

  23. Keith says:

    Nate go it right last time. Am I a fan? Who knows. I only posted that because above you assumed the dens would hold the senate. Nate isn’t so sure.

    I am not suggesting huge momentum shift on obamacare. The point is if what shift there is is against!

    Your words “most people are fundamentally unaware of how the plan will effect them.” Jeff three years later and most unaware? That says it all….

  24. keith says:

    Moderate Democrats are quitting on Obamacare

    By Scott Clement, Published: July 23 at 9:00 amE-mail the writer

    The landmark health-reform law passed in 2010 has never been very popular and always highly partisan, but a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that a group of once loyal Democrats has been steadily turning against Obamacare: Democrats who are ideologically moderate or conservative.

    Just after the law was passed in 2010, fully 74 percent of moderate and conservative Democrats supported the federal law making changes to the health-care system. But just 46 percent express support in the new poll, down 11 points in the past year. Liberal Democrats, by contrast, have continued to support the law at very high levels – 78 percent in the latest survey. Among the public at large, 42 percent support and 49 percent oppose the law, retreating from an even split at 47 percent apiece last July.

    The shift among the Democratic party’s large swath in the ideological middle– most Democrats in this poll, 57 percent, identify as moderate or conservative – is driving an overall drop in party support for the legislation: Just 58 percent of Democrats now support the law, down from 68 percent last year and the lowest since the law was enacted in 2010. This broader drop mirrors tracking surveys by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation and Fox News polls, both of which found Democratic support falling earlier this year.

    Politically, the downward shift among moderate and conservative Democrats may be inconsequential. Senate Democrats have ignored more than three dozen House Republicans efforts to repeal the law, and even if they lost control of the chamber in the 2014 midterm elections Obama would surely veto any attempt to undo his signature legislative achievement.

    But persistent skepticism of Obamacare continues to pose an obstacle to getting key parts of the law off the ground. The Obama administration is planning to exert enormous education efforts in the next 12 months to persuade uninsured Americans to sign up for new health insurance exchanges, and it’s unclear how much political opposition will discourage people from participating.

    On the other hand, launching health insurance exchanges for those who are uninsured offers an opportunity for the Obama administration to win over detractors through action rather than political argument, which has not been very effective. It may be the last best chance for Obama to win support for a law that has been stubbornly unpopular from the start.

    Clement is a survey research analyst with Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post Media. Capital Insight pollster Jon Cohen contributed to this report.

  25. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I think the most important part of this particular poll is the following paragraph.

    Politically, the downward shift among moderate and conservative Democrats may be inconsequential. Senate Democrats have ignored more than three dozen House Republicans efforts to repeal the law, and even if they lost control of the chamber in the 2014 midterm elections Obama would surely veto any attempt to undo his signature legislative achievement.

    I’ll post something in the near future digging into the details.

  26. keith says:

    You are correct about that paragraph. This is clearly ideology and a ¨you´ll get it weather you want it or not.¨ Probably very simalar to the Bush wars to the left…. It would be interesting to compare the polling at the three year mark, though Bushs wars had way more support in the beginning then Obamas Obamacare which never had a majority of support….

  27. keith says:

    Keystone? Fracking? Something…. ANYTHING!!!!!

    Obama: Washington took its eye off economic ball
    Darlene Superville
    Associated Press
    19
    Comments
    US-POLITICS-OBAMA
    President Barack Obama speaks July 24 at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. (Brendan Smialowski /Getty Images)
    Galesburg, Ill. — President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Washington has “taken its eye off the ball” as he pledged a stronger second-term commitment to tackling the economic woes that strain many in the middle class nearly five years after the country plunged into a recession.

    Obama returned to the college campus where he gave his first major economic address as a U.S. senator, and he chided Congress for being less concerned about the economy and more about “an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals.”

    “I am here to say this needs to stop,” Obama said in a speech at Knox College. “Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires.”

    The president’s attempt to refocus on the economy comes amid some hopeful signs of improvement, with the unemployment rate falling and consumer confidence on the rise. But looming spending and budget deadlines this fall could upend that progress if Washington spirals into contentious fiscal fights like those that plagued Obama’s first term.

    “I believe there are members of both parties who understand what’s at stake,” Obama said. “But I will not allow gridlock, inaction or willful indifference to get in our way.”

    The president announced no fresh policy proposals, though he promised new ideas in a series of speeches he plans in the coming weeks. They will focus on manufacturing, education, housing, retirement security and health care.

    On education, the president promised to outline “an aggressive strategy to shake up the system, tackle rising costs, and improve value for middle-class students and their families.” He renewed his call for increasing the minimum wage.

    Even before the president spoke, Republicans panned his pivot back to the economy as little more than vague, empty promises.

    “It’s a hollow shell, it’s an Easter Egg with no candy in it,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

    Despite pressing public concerns over jobs and economic security, the economy has taken a back seat in Washington to other issues in the first six months of Obama’s second term. That’s in part due to the White House’s decision to focus on other agenda items following Obama’s re-election, most notably stricter gun control measures and immigration.

    Some distractions also have thrown the White House off balance, including revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted political groups and the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records. Foreign policy crises, particularly in the Middle East, have competed for Obama’s attention, too.

  28. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I’ll post something in more detail in the near future about the state of the economy. But I agree with Obama’s view. The big issue remains jobs. He is smart to start now to position the discussions that will occur later this year around the debt ceiling.

    The sequester took 1%-1.5% out of GDP growth this year. That was stupid.

    The reality, though, is that the sequester cuts combined with the earlier debt reduction efforts HAVE accomplished the basic goal, which was to eliminate the growth of the debt as a percentage of GDP. We are now in a position where the economy is growing faster than the debt. That means that a rational plan from here forward is to tidy up the tax code and use that money to stimulate economic growth and bring down the unemployment rate.

  29. keith says:

    ys)But I agree with Obama’s view. The big issue remains Jobs

    mr) its been for 5 years!!

    ys)The reality, though, is that the sequester cuts combined with the earlier debt reduction efforts HAVE accomplished the basic goal, which was to eliminate the growth of the debt as a percentage of GDP. We are now in a position where the economy is growing faster than the debt.

    mr) YESSSSSS! Thanks for joining us! This makes you a tea party memeber my friend. Keep it up and I´ll start calling you my very good and smart friend.

    I would suggest we keep at it like this for much longer. We will grow, we always do, so leave it alone!!! GROWTH WILL HAPPEN BY ITSELF. Gov´t just needs to make good rules to help. LIKE MAKING A RULE FOR FRACKING so we can build the infrastructure…. No rules, no infrastructure, no infrastructure no nat gás cars…..can the tax code and watch BILLIONS/Trillions come back to the USA from offshore!

    Its been quite since the end of last year, the Market is up and the economy continues its slow recovery. The debt deal will start the noise again….

  30. Jeff Beamsley says:

    It has been 5 years. During the last three we have seen the House block every jobs bill that the President has proposed. Hopefully we’ll see a change in 2014.

    As far as the sequester, I’ve said it was the worst choice on the table to accomplish the goal of bringing the rate of debt growth down.

    That said, I’m afraid I still would fail the Tea Party entrance exam because I don’t want to see the debt go to zero. That is also stupid.

    What we need now is not just organic growth. We need STIMULATED growth to put people back to work. Otherwise we risk creating a class of permanently unemployed.

    I agree that Fracking is a huge problem that we are not addressing. I’ll post something about it in the future.

  31. keith says:

    Sex, money and lies: ‘Culture of Corruption’ boomerangs on Democrats as scandals blossom nationwide

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    By Valerie Richardson

    Certainly written by a conservative but factual. One day you will change your blog from to acknowledge and point out wickedness on both sides. Then I will no longer agrue the title ¨from a CHRISTIAN….¨Its sin, its mans nature, and its not limited or the ownership of one side. Nor is it unequal. Its the sin nature of all men, including you and I….

    The Washington Times

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013

    The Democratic Party is battling scandals from New York to San Diego and from city hall to Capitol Hill, as the party finds itself on the defensive over embarrassing lapses ranging from sexual misconduct to multiple scandals ensnaring the Obama administration.

    President Obama on Wednesday denounced what he called “phony scandals” and “an endless parade of distractions” blocking progress on the economy and other issues, but critics say the controversies underscore the missed opportunities for the president and his party to live up to pledges to clean up politics and break traditional patterns of money, influence and privilege in government.

    The scandals have spanned the spectrum from a Democratic mayor in San Diego accused of being unable to keep his hands off his female aides to charges that the administration put the Internal Revenue Service on the trail of its political enemies.

    One of Congress‘ most famous Democratic names, the scion of Jesse Jackson in Mr. Obama’s home city of Chicago, was just sent to prison for converting campaign funds to personal use. In Detroit, the ex-mayor and the wife of longtime House Judiciary Committee member John Conyers Jr. have fallen to corruption scandals, while the son of former Democratic Party Chairman Ron Brown admitted last month to bribery charges as a city councilman in the nation’s capital.

    Longtime political analyst John Pitney Jr. said the Democrats’ woes can be viewed as examples of history repeating itself and how the enticements of Washington’s political culture can trip up the party in power.

    “This culture of corruption has more to do with the culture of Washington,” said Mr. Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif. “It’s a matter of people being in power, and power plus money equals temptation.”

    It was eight years ago that Nancy Pelosi, then the leader of the House Democratic minority, made headlines with her attack on what she called the Republican Party’s “culture of corruption,” but now that moniker is coming back to haunt Democrats.

    It’s reminiscent of the outcry over the influence-peddling scandal that dogged the Republican Party in 2005, helping put the GOP on the defensive heading into the November 2006 midterm elections.

    In 2005, the poster boy for power run amok was Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist and influence-broker who pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. Mrs. Pelosi coined the term “Republican culture of corruption” and wielded it to attack the GOP on issues such as the Medicare prescription drug bill and the Iraq War.

    The result: Democrats recaptured the House and Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, and two years later, Mr. Obama was elected president.

    Summer scandals

    With the 2014 midterm elections looming, however, it’s now Democrats who are fighting off charges of corruption and misconduct as the party endures its own summer of scandal. Grabbing the headlines just this month are the sexual escapades of former Rep. Anthony D. Weiner of New York and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

    Mr. Weiner, who resigned in 2011 after admitting to sending explicit photos of himself to several women, is under pressure to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination for New York mayor after reports surfaced Tuesday of raunchy exchanges under the pseudonym “Carlos Danger.”

    Mr. Filner, who was a 10-term congressman, became mired in accusations of sexual harassment by former employees. On Tuesday, a former campaign consultant said he patted her on the bottom, and his former communications director recently filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.

    Mrs. Pelosi has refused to comment on the Filner matter. She and Mr. Filner were co-founders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but last week she snapped at reporters who mentioned that, saying, “Don’t identify him as my former colleague.

    “What goes on in San Diego is up to the people of San Diego,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “I’m not here to make any judgments — or even be fully versed on what happened.”

    Rep. Charles B. Rangel, the veteran New York Democrat who was censured by the full House for a series of tax and ethics violations in 2010, brushed aside Mr. Weiner’s latest sexual scandal and its impact on the New York mayoral race.

    “Knowing New York as I do — and I do know New York — this is not going to be a story by the time we get to September the 10th,” Mr. Rangel told MSNBC in an interview Wednesday.

    Mrs. Pelosi also has refused to demand that Mr. Weiner exit the mayor’s race, saying that the decision should be left to the voters, according to a report by The Associated Press.

    In 2006, however, Mrs. Pelosi called for a criminal investigation into former Rep. Mark Foley, Florida Republican, after he admitted to sending sexually explicit messages to an underage male congressional page.

    In a statement, she said the investigation was warranted because members of Congress operate under a “special trust” with the pages. Even so, critics have accused Mrs. Pelosi of employing a double standard for Democratic sexual misbehavior.

    Mixed record

    While gleefully pointing up Republican sexual and influence-peddling failings before Mr. Obama came to power, Democrats have proved to be vulnerable to the same temptations under Mr. Obama. Good-government groups have tracked the rising number of former Obama aides who have found lucrative lobbying posts, and the number of top Democratic fundraisers rewarded with plum diplomatic posts.

    Mr. Rangel’s ethical problems effectively cost him the chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee in 2010, just months before Democrats lost their majority in the chamber. Jesse Jackson Jr., an Illinois Democrat once considered — like Mr. Weiner — a rising force in his party’s House caucus — pleaded guilty in February to wire and mail fraud after he resigned his seat in November.

    Democratic one-party rule in city halls across the country also has led to overreach and scandal. Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing has trained another spotlight the corruption that plagued the administration of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a Democrat who went to jail after being convicted of charges ranging from mail fraud to racketeering over his six-year term that ended in 2008.

    In the District of Columbia, former D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown last month pleaded guilty to a public corruption charge for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash stuffed in duffel bags and coffee cups while in office. He pleaded guilty after the chairman of the D.C. Council, Kwame R. Brown, resigned and pleaded guilty to bank fraud in June 2012. Former council member Harry Thomas Jr. resigned from the D.C. Council and pleaded guilty in January 2012 to stealing $350,000 in public funds intended for youth sports programs.

    Critics say the Democrats’ sharp rhetoric when out of power has made it more difficult for figures such as Mrs. Pelosi to distance themselves from party members like Mr. Filner when they find themselves in trouble.

    “Whether she’s carrying a gavel or just carrying water, Pelosi has served as a loyal apologist and abettor of the Democratic Bad Boys Club,” conservative columnist Michelle Malkin said in a Wednesday article. “What exactly will it take before voters finally turn this perv protector into a ‘former colleague’?”

    Although the sexual scandals may be embarrassing for Democrats, Republicans have endured cringe-worthy moments from their own former lawmakers, notably former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who was elected to Congress in May despite revelations about an extramarital affair.

    “You’re always going to have unscrupulous individuals elected to Congress who do unethical things. Republicans had Mark Sanford — Democrats have Anthony Weiner,” said Republican political consultant Dick Wadhams.

    What sets the Democrats’ woes apart from those of the Republicans in 2006 is the gap between the party’s rhetoric and the “summer of scandal” that has marred the start of Mr. Obama’s second term. “Phony or not, the administration in recent months has had to deal with the IRS-tea party scandal; the questions surrounding the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi; clashes with the press over aggressive leak investigations and the seizing of press phone records; and the fallout from the leaking of widespread government surveillance and intelligence-gathering programs.

    “What we’re seeing from the Obama administration is this raw abuse of power that we haven’t seen since Watergate,” Mr. Wadhams said. “I think that’s what sets this apart.”

    That is not how Mrs. Pelosi views the uproar. During a May news conference on Capitol Hill, she rejected suggestions that Democrats, led by President Obama, are caught in their own culture of corruption.

    “They make so much of these issues because this president is such a great president,” said Mrs. Pelosi, adding that “some of them are legitimate issues, but they should not dominate everything.”

  32. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Sorry but the Washington Times is NOT a credible source.

    This is NOT an accurate factual account unless the point is that politics in general is corrupt. On that fact I think we both can agree. To suggest that Democrats somehow are more susceptible to corruption, which appears to be the point of this particular article, is fantasy.

    Our political system trades influence for money regardless of the political persuasion of the elected official. It costs money to run campaigns. Politicians raise that money from people who support their positions. The also sometimes take positions that they know will generate money for them. Finally, some office holders sell their votes and influence for money. Until we figure out how to get private money out of politics, this will continue.

    The Washington Times is complicit in the whole mess because they have chosen to bias their reporting in an effort to build a base of conservative support. That helps their bottom line and accomplishes the goals of their founder.

    I write this blog to express my own opinions. Just as you are welcome to yours, I express mine. Neither of us, however, are entitled to our own facts. That’s most of what I do is lay out the facts that I find and then express my opinions about them. This would become a long a boring activity for me, if I devoted it solely to documenting instances of bribery and influence peddling.

  33. keith says:

    Politics is corrupt on both sides. Thats the reason I posted this nrritive. Could have been written by a lib in 2007 and chnge the names and party. Whats unfortunate is the Christian in your title. If I read by through the years of your blog it is obvious you believe the right is corrupt and muchless so the left. This should eliminate the word Christian from your title…. until of course you call it in nuanced detail both ways….

  34. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I agree that money uniformly corrupts politics.

    I write about what interests me, but I do it from a Christian and political point of view.

    I believe that discussions should start with common facts. I’m grateful that you are willing to engage, though we sometime struggle on the definition of common facts.

  35. keith says:

    You can´t do it from a Christian perspective if you can only call it one way. What interests you is ¨Spiritual wickedness in high places,¨ If this interests you then you should be able to comment from a Christian perspective. If its only called one way then its from a PROGRESSIVES, Jeff´s perspective, which is intirely ok!. The word Chrisitan however would have no place in that.

    The New York Gov and controller race candidates would desserve some comment for their gross arrogents, just as MR Stanford in SC… I believe in forgiveness and the rehabilitive process, and sin does not disquailify but what these two are subjecting themselves too is increadible….

  36. Jeff Beamsley says:

    I understand your position regarding the definition of “Christian”. I simply don’t share it.

    As I said, I write about what interests me and I’m grateful that you are willing to read and comment.

    As far as the races in NY, I think between the media and the NY voters, they will take care of it. Unlike Governor Sanford, neither of these candidates have claimed any sort of moral high ground. I haven’t commented on those races because I’m not sure that there is much to say that hasn’t already been said. All I can add is that ever since Candidate Hart challenged the media to follow him around, and they did; that politicians are CRAZY if they think that any part of their personal lives is off limits.

    That said, it is refreshing to see that the last two Presidents appeared to be good family men.

  37. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site?

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