Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why We Better Keep Pelosi At the Ready: The Triumph of Shock Doctrine-Loving Sell Outs Like Democrat Kent Conrad (Happy Veterans Day!)

(Where I write sometimes when it's nice.) Many people (we call them "Progressives" currently although they used to be known as "Liberals") don't understand or can't quite figure out how we got to the point in this country where the inadequately prepared (poorly educated academically) began to be the elected majority of the leaders representing the part of the population that are so sure that they have all the answers for the rest of us that they are willing to ruin the country economically (and the world physically) for the rest of the next several decades to prove it.

Getting rid of the rest of the safety net? No problem.

Moving Social Security into the the same risk pool that Wall Street regularly gambles with in the National Casino? Done deal.

Making quality education so expensive that no one making less than $100K a year can afford it for their children? Done!

Ensuring that health care for all citizens will never be a part of the American Dream?

Need I go on?

So why do we need to fight for Nancy Pelosi to stay as Minority Leader? (Granted that she has her flaws (and as a supporter of Code Pink I'm well aware of these), but who doesn't in that strange largely ungovernable brew of Dems and Dims?) Because she's the best we have left to stop that onrushing train of fools from running over and smashing to bits what's still recoverable of our poor suffering country. (And, North Carolina's Erskine Bowles as the Leader of the Cat Food Commission? Puh-leeez! Don't get me started.)**

UPDATE: Finally A Democrat Who Isn't On The Board Of MorganStanley Praises The Cat Food Commission - (Kent) Conrad, Of Course

Citizen K has a nice treatment of all they could have done to actually solve our problems. Good luck with that happening!

Dean Baker wrote a letter to one of the dishonorable Blue Dog Dems who are trying to push Pelosi out in favor of someone who will "compromise" with the Radical Right even more than Obama already has on unneeded immediate reform of Social Security and all the rest of the righties' Mighty Agenda to deep six what's left (the dregs?) of the middle class. Shock Doctrine come home, anyone? Good luck with that, Dems! Or should I just buy you all guns? (For suicide watch, of course.) (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

November 9, 2010 The Honorable Kent Conrad 702 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator Conrad: You were quoted as saying at a press conference today:

“People on the left who don't want to touch entitlements, that is just unrealistic. . . . I would say to my friends on the left it is unrealistic, Medicare and Social Security are headed for insolvency. The idea that nothing has to be done is divorced from reality.”

This struck me as a very peculiar statement for two reasons. First, I literally cannot identify a single person on the left working on Social Security who has not suggested many ways to close the projected long-term shortfall. The list of items they have put forward has included raising or eliminating the payroll cap, applying estate tax revenue to financing Social Security, and applying the revenue from a financial speculation tax to Social Security.

Many have also suggested phasing in modest increases in payroll taxes at a gradual pace, which would still allow after-tax wage growth to substantially outpace the rate of inflation. As I’m sure you know, polls have consistently shown that payroll tax increases are unpopular, but nonetheless preferred to benefit cuts.

I mention this list of ways to deal with the shortfall because it is simply not honest to claim that people on the left have not put forward suggestions for dealing with the shortfall. You may not consider these suggestions to be good ones, but that doesn’t mean that they do not exist.

The second reason that your statement is peculiar is that it is quite literally wrong in the case of Social Security. None of us know the future, but if we rely on the Social Security trustees projections the program will be fully solvent until the year 2037. (The Congressional Budget Office projects that it will be fully solvent until 2039.) This means that we certainly can wait before taking any action on the program.

For example, if we waited until 2020, and then implemented a fix comparable in size to the Greenspan Commission’s proposals, then the program would be fully solvent through the rest of the century. In fact, this would be true even if we waited until 2030 to implement the fix.

In short, it is simply not true to claim that we cannot wait to address the program’s projected shortfall. There are reasons why you may think it is better to move quickly, but the reality is that the projections show that we have the option to wait.

I would be happy to discuss this issue with you further if it would be helpful.


Dean Baker

Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research ** From Down With Tyranny (emphasis marks added - Ed.): Meanwhile, over on the House side, the crap that's left of the Blue Dog Caucus, is running around chasing it's collective tail trying to wreak revenge on Pelosi for... not being Republican enough or something. According to Roll Call the reactionary corporate wing of the House Democratic caucus feels it can best serve its masters by some of these proposals its considering: • Holding Blue Dog meetings at the same time as Democratic Caucus meetings, under the logic that if Pelosi isn’t going to listen to them, they don’t need to listen to her.

Taking down a rule during the lame-duck session to express their displeasure with the Speaker and embarrass her on the floor.

• Pushing to make the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee an elected position to weaken the Democratic leader’s power.

• Getting members to sign letters expressing their displeasure at the Speaker and threatening not to run for re-election if she remains.

Making a push to enforce term limits against Reps. George Miller (Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), Pelosi’s closest allies, in their roles as co-chairmen of the Steering and Policy Committee.

Opening formal negotiations with Republicans on budget cuts or other issues and cutting Pelosi out of the talks.

Please keep in mind that this past cycle, Blue America TV and radio ads were responsible for ridding Congress of the single most reprehensible Blue Dog, Bobby Bright (AL).

Our Blue Dog page is still open for business and we promise to work on getting rid of more Blue Dogs in the primary season next year. Please consider giving us a hand.

Though not for lack of trying, Erskine Bowles has never been elected to anything, not by real people.

But the shameless corporate hack - Obama's second worst pick for his Cat Food Commission - was selected for a very lucrative position on the Board of Wall Street financial predators MorganStanley.

That Board is his constituency and he is representing their interests with his viciously anti-family proposals. One of the most corporate-oriented Democrats on the commission other than Bowles, is North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad - and he thinks Democrats should sacrifice their political careers on the alter of concentrating more of the nation's wealth in the hands of his campaign donors.

This garbage will wind up on history's trash pile in two years, when his corporate donors abandon him for a teabagger and Democratic voters decide there's no reason to bother to go to the polls.

'Nuff said? Still surprised at the level of venality to be found in the Dims? No?

Gotta start working for some real change now.

Kris reminds us of what we thought we had all learned long ago. You'd think people hanging onto helicopters as they fled from an American Embassy under fire would have been enough of an image of failure.

Get ready for the next ones. Suzan _______________

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