No more Texas governors for president

“Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.” - Molly Ivins
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Posts tagged "medicare"


  • 65% of voters believe that President Obama has a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans after being reelected last month. That includes 45 percent of the Republicans surveyed as well.
  • 64% of voters believe that President Obama also has a mandate to protect programs like Medicare and Social Security during his next term. Considering Senate Republicans are now relying on filibusters of their own proposals related to the “fiscal cliff,” something tells us that Speaker Boehner was probably correct in telling House Republicans not to make holiday plans this year. source

(via bostonreview)

I’d just like to talk about specifically why raising the Medicare age is a very bad idea. … Really what it is is just a shift of cost from the federal government to employers, seniors, and states. And in fact — because Medicare is cheaper per beneficiary — it’s actually increasing cost. So a president who ran on lowering national healthcare cost — it was one of the reasons why we have the Affordable Care Act — if he does this, it’s actually going to increase the cost for everybody, it will raise national health expenditures and will cut off hundreds of thousands of seniors. And those seniors are the hardest to insure, so you’re actually raising the cost of the Medicare program, you’re shifting cost to employers because they’re going to have to cover some of these people, and it’s actually making us less competitive.
Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden on raising the Medicare eligibilty age, which has been floated as one of the possible deficit reduction proposals that may be included in a compromise between Republicans and President Obama. (via upwithchris)
Medicare begins tomorrow.
President Johnson’s Statement by the President on the Inauguration of the Medicare Program. June 30, 1966. Medicare passed the Senate on July 9, 1965, and LBJ signed the bill into law on July 30, 1965. Now, almost a year later, the program actually begins.  (via lbjlibrary)



Democrats, here are eight principles to guide you in the coming showdown over the fiscal cliff:

ONE: HOLD YOUR GROUND. The wealthy have to pay their fair share of taxes. That’s what the election was all about, and we won. It’s only fair they pay more. They’re taking home record share of national income and wealth, and have lowest effective tax rate in living memory.

TWO: NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL. You’re in a strong bargaining position. If you do nothing, the Bush tax cuts automatically expire in January, and we go back to rates during Clinton administration. Which isn’t such a bad thing. As I recall we had a pretty good economy during the Clinton years.

THREE: MAKE REPUBLICANS VOTE ON EXTENDING THE TAX CUTS JUST FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS. After all the Bush tax cuts expire, have Republicans vote on an extending the Bush tax cut just for the middle-class. If they refuse and try to hold those tax cuts hostage to tax cuts for the wealthy, it will show whose side they’re on. They’ll pay the price in 2014.

FOUR: DEMAND HIGHER TAX RATES ON WEALTHY, NOT JUST LIMITS ON DEDUCTIONS. Don’t fall for Republican offers to limit some tax deductions on the wealthy.  Demand we go back to higher tax rates on the wealthy and eliminate their unfair tax loopholes, so they truly start paying their fair share.

FIVE: DON’T CUT SAFETY NETS. Don’t sacrifice Medicare or Social Security, or programs for the poor. Americans depend on these safety nets and can’t afford any benefit cuts.

SIX: DON’T CUT INVESTMENTS IN OUR FUTURE PRODUCTIVITY. Education, basic R&D, and infrastructure aren’t spending; they’re investments in our future prosperity. If the return on these investments is greater than the cost, they ought to be made, period.

SEVEN: CUT SPENDING ON MILITARY AND CORPORATE WELFARE. You want to cut, cut spending on the military — which now exceeds the military spending of the next 13 largest military spenders in the world combined. And cut corporate welfare — support to agribusiness, oil and gas, Big Pharma, big insurance, and Wall Street.

EIGHT: PUT JOBS BEFORE DEFICIT REDUCTION. Finally, Don’t cut the budget deficit as long as unemployment remains high. Otherwise you’ll cause the economy to contract, making the deficit even larger in proportion. That’s the austerity trap Europe has fallen into. We need to create American prosperity, not European austerity.

Remember: Jobs come first.



Has Pres. Obama become a savvy negotiator?

Ezra Klein on negotiations with congress over the fiscal cliff:

…Previously, Obama’s pattern had been to offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up. The White House’s belief was that by being solicitous in their policy proposals, they would win goodwill on the other side, and even if they didn’t, the media would side with them, realizing they’d sought compromise and been rebuffed. They don’t believe that anymore.

Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.

Man, you sure hope so. The negotiating tactic in the first paragraph was what cost us the public option. Obama should’ve opened with singlepayer and made the public option the compromise position. Instead, he offered what he expected the end game to look like. You might as well sit down to a chess board, immediately set up an end game, yell, “Checkmate!” and ask, “Want to play again?” It doesn’t work that way.

Now, the President has Republicans on the spot. They’re demanding that Democrats “get serious” about entitlement cuts, but aren’t offering up any specifics of their own. Why? Because the public will hate any cuts. If Democrats propose them, then Democrats take the blame for them. And the President and his party aren’t falling for it.

You want cuts to Medicare? Fine. You step your shifty GOP ass up to the plate and name your cuts — and get your fingerprints all over them — or go back to the bench and shut up about it.

Sugar Bo and Gingerbread White House!!!


Stories to Watch: 11/29/12.

The state of Washington will issue gender-neutral marriage licenses. Not surprisingly, Fox News reports it as practically the end of the freakin’ world.

The UN recognizes Palestine as a state.

Mitt Romney visits the White House for a post-election lunch. Everything went very sportsmanlike until Pres. Obama could no longer resist the urge to spike a football in Mittens’ mac and cheese. Passersby could hear, “You like that? That’s the kitchen’s ‘Sucks to be you’ special! I have it every day, because I live here — I’m the president!

John Boehner is so supremely disappointed that Democrats aren’t serious about cutting Medicare that he just may turn on the waterworks again. Ezra Klein notes that Boehner is the unserious one, since “Republicans are refusing to name their Medicare cuts” and are instead just complaining. Klein thinks the GOP can’t get specific, in part, because they only had one plan — privatization — and that was shot down by the election. I think it’s simpler; Boehner’s demanding the Democrats take the blame for unpopular cuts. The White House should demand specifics from the Orange One and, when he fails to come up with any, kindly invite him to STFU.

McJobs are jobs — and they deserve a union.

The Weaselliest Dodge of the Day award goes to Republican Rep. Chris Gibson of New York. Gibson says he’s off the hook for Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge because he signed it when he was representing New York’s 20th congressional district. There’s since been redistricting and it’s been changed to the 19th — totally different. Points for doing the right thing, but a big deduction for being so ridiculously dishonest about it.

An association with Donald Trump seems to be dragging Macy’s down in public opinion.

One good cop.

Finally, is it too early for 2012 in review?

[photo via AP]


Americans Oppose Every GOP Idea for the Fiscal Cliff.

I’ve joked that if you “unskewed” the presidential election results to get rid of the American people’s liberal bias, you’d see that Mitt Romney totally won the election. While it’s fun to tweak conservatives over the poll trutherism that caused them to be caught with their pants down on election night, the fact is that this form of denialism has always been there. It’s usually expressed as “you can get a poll to say whatever you want,” but this time they just put more effort into it with the addition of fantasy numbers — an effort that, ironically, was spent getting polls to say what conservatives wanted to hear. You hope this particular strain of reality opposition has suffered a fatal blow with Mitt Romney’s loss, but you never know. Conservatives have a talent for ignoring lessons.

But not learning this particular lesson would be a tragedy for the GOP, so I think it’s sinking in. Given the findings of a new poll, the time would be right for a GOP awakening, anyway.

Raising taxes on income over $250,000 remains a broadly popular approach to dealing with the country’s budgetary woes, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Sixty percent of all Americans back higher taxes on higher incomes in the new Post-ABC data. Earlier this month, an identical 60 percent of voters in the presidential election said income taxes should be raised on income over $250,000, according to the national exit poll.

In the new poll, 73 percent of Democrats support such tax hikes, including a majority, 57 percent, who do so “strongly.” Among political independents, 63 percent back an increase, while 59 percent of Republicans oppose such a move.

Other proposed solutions to shrinking the debt are far less popular with the public. Only 44 percent support new limitations on the deductions people can claim on their federal income taxes — a proposal that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney put forward during his unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign.

In fact, if you look at the results closely, the poll has absolutely no good news for Republicans at all. As Steve Benen points out, “in the fiscal fight, the American mainstream disagrees with congressional Republicans on everything.” If you wanted to get a portrait of exactly what it is that the American public opposes as a fiscal cliff solution, you could just grab any segment from any cable news network featuring any random Republican counting off their party’s talking points. The GOP doesn’t have a leg to stand on here. In fact, earlier polling showed Americans were ready to blame the GOP for a jump off the fiscal cliff. This newest one just spells out the specifics.

And Republicans are even being stripped of their fig leafs. They’ve been suggesting that closing loopholes would be preferable to raising tax rates, but the poll shows that’s not a popular position either. Of course, Mitt Romney proposed this, so America has just gone through months and months of being told you can’t close enough loopholes to get the job done without screwing the middle class. These things sink in and the losing candidate’s position becomes a losing position. For current Republican congress critters, the idea’s just a PR stunt anyway — it’s a way to raise taxes while denying you’re actually raising taxes. Luckily, a big percentage aren’t buying it.

So, will the GOP heed the writing on the wall or will they, in typical Republican style, take a kamikaze run off the fiscal cliff? One sign of the party coming around to sanity is the fact that anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist — once a top powerbroker for the GOP — is now being thrown under every passing bus. At this point, it looks like any tough talk is posturing. Republican leaders will take whatever bone is handed to them and try to sell it to their base and their Wall Street donors as a feast.

Anything else looks like political suicide. As Republicans learned the hard way, poll numbers do not lie.


[poll graphic courtesy of Steve Benen and Maddow Blog


The Honolulu Star-Advertiser endorses Hirono as the clear choice for U.S. Senate citing her strong commitment to protect Medicare and Social Security, fight for tax fairness and work to strengthen and expand Hawaii’s economy

There are some things where governor Romney is different from George (W.) Bush: George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher. George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform — he didn’t call for ‘self-deportation.’ George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood. So, there are difference between governor Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy — in some ways, he’s gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policies.


Body blow.  Body blow.  Uppercut.

(via inothernews)

Shorter Obama: Romney’s different from Bush. He’s worse. (H/T Jeff Yang)

No kidding.

No kidding.


Credit: @michaelsnook


Credit: @michaelsnook


  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney’s plan to keep tax cuts for the rich and not for the middle class?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney choosing not to bother with the plight of 47 percent of all Americans?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney’s party’s stance on marriage equality?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney’s outright lie about not having a $5 trillion tax plan?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney’s party’s ignoring women’s health issues and stripping funds from organizations like Planned Parenthood?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore that Mitt Romney socks his money away in foreign tax havens — a luxury 99 percent of Americans don’t, and will never have?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney’s utter ignorance on foreign policy matters?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore that Mitt Romney wants to keep military spending at record levels even as he calls for cuts to federal social programs?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore that Mitt Romney wants to do away with access to healthcare for 30 million more Americans who might otherwise go without it?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore Mitt Romney’s party’s anti-union stance?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore that Mitt Romney and his party want to take away the safety net that is Medicare and replace it with a voucher system that will result in people not being able to afford quality medical care?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • Why should we ignore that Mitt Romney wants to cut funding — nay, completely do away with the Public Broadcasting System, which provides educational programming that supplements our nation’s already embattled schools?  Because he “won” the debate?
  • You must be delusional if you believe, for a second, that Mitt Romney “won” the debate.