Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Thursday, January 20th, 2011.


The Job-Killing Republican Spending Cut Proposal

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Conservative Republicans (isn’t that redundant?) in the House have introduced a bill that they say would reduce government spending by $2.3 trillion over ten years. David Weigel explains how they will do this:

The proposal does what Republicans have been talking about for two years — “repeal” of remaining stimulus funds (now $45 billion), privatizing Fannie and Freddie ($30 billion), repealing Medicaid’ FMAP increase ($16.1 billion), and what they estimate at $330 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Highlights of these projected annual savings:

– Cutting the federal workforce by 15 percent through attrition, and do this by allowing only one new federal worker for every two who quit.
– Killing the “fund for Obamacare administrative costs” for $900 million
– Ending Amtrak subsidies for $1.565 billion
– Ending intercity and high speed rail grants for $2.5 billion
– Repealing Davis-Bacon for $1 billion
– Cutting annual general assistance to the District of Columbia by $210 million, and cutting the subsidy for DC’s transit authority by $150 million.

Reforms that go after their own perks:
– Cutting the Federal Travel Budget in half, for $7.5 billion
– Cutting the Federal Vehicle Budget by 1/5, for $600 million
– Halve funding for congressional printing – $47 million annual savings
– Ending the death gratuity for members of Congress

And cuts that get revenge for Juan Williams: $445 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, $167.5 million from the NEA, and $167.5 million from the NEH.

Steve Benen:

The likelihood of these cuts actually passing is non-existent, but it is a helpful snapshot of Republican priorities. But also note perhaps the most important detail about a plan such as this one: it would be devastating for American jobs. Indeed, if lawmakers were to get together to plot how Congress could deliberately increase unemployment, their plan would look an awful lot like this one. The RSC proposal would deliberately fire thousands of civilian workers, force states to make sweeping job cuts, and lay off thousands more who work in transportation and infrastructure.

Instead of working on creating jobs, we’re left with a new House majority that either (a) wants to ignore the problem; or (b) wants to deliberately make it worse. For all the Republican excitement about the midterm results, I suspect the GOP just wasn’t listening very closely to what Americans said they’re concerned about most.

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One of the Biggest Piles of Crap In the History of Human Civilization

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OK, the title’s a small exaggeration, maybe. But you can see for yourself — “Palinoia, the Destroyer: What’s behind the left’s deranged hatred by James Taranto.

Obviously, Taranto is attempting to fan the dying embers of Sarah Palin’s public career by assuring the faithful that the Left still hates her. And we don’t just hate her, he says. We are unhinged by hatred. The mere mention of the Quitter in Chief sends us into paroxysms of hatred that cause us to drive our hybrid BMWs off cliffs and drown in our hot tubs.

Well, not that I’ve noticed. The thing is, because the Right is so unhinged with hatred about so many things, they seems to confuse “taking notice of” with “deranged hatred.” Because, you know, why else would somebody comment on something if they weren’t driven mad with hatred of it?

Over the years, I’ve noticed even fairly innocuous commentaries about this or that figure of the Right will be dismissed by righties as “[figure of the Right] derangement syndrome.” I guess that’s so they don’t have to confront the ugly truths about such figures.

And, you know, in the minds of righties a public figure can have no higher value than an ability to enrage the Left. It’s all that really matters to them.

Still, I was going to give the Taranto piece a pass until I ran into this about halfway down —

For many liberal women, Palin threatens their sexual identity, which is bound up with their politics in a way that it is not for any other group (possibly excepting gays, though that is unrelated to today’s topic).

One wonders how unhinged someone has to be to actually think that.

My own interest in Palin is less about Palin herself than about why this, um, person could draw such fierce loyalty from at least one segment of our population. I wrote about this almost a year ago, in “Why Sarah Palin Is a Goddess.”

But more recently I only write about her when something puts her in the news, and I think that goes for most of us on the leftie blogosphere. We write about stuff in the news, whether we hate it or not.

Anyway, I didn’t get past the sentence about sexual identity, which inspired in me a deep sense of why do I even bother? If anyone has the stomach to go further, let me know if he let loose any other significant farts.

[Update: This is what unhinged actually looks like.]

Elsewhere — Murphy at The Beast has published The Fifty Most Loathesome Americans in 2010. I don’t agree 100 percent with his choices, but anyone who calls David Brooks “the Bernie Madoff of American letters” is OK in my book. Brooks makes me feel far more deranged than Palin ever did, and I doubt my sexual identity has much to do with that.

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Today’s GOP: Repealing America

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Just a few short comments on yesterday’s House vote to repeal health care reform

This comment from Alex Pareene suggests a few Blue Dogs may have learned the lesson that siding with the GOP won’t necessarily help you win re-election:

Three Democrats voted to repeal: Dan Boren of Oklahoma, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, and Mike Ross of Arkansas. Even Heath Shuler voted against repeal. As Suzy Khimm notes, this means “10 House Democrats who voted against the original health reform bill refused to repeal it today.” Now I guess the House will move on to repealing the president, and the Senate.

Nate Silver goes into a deeper analysis of what the 10 House Democrats were thinking. Much condensed version: They think that in 2012, a record of voting against Republicans will help them win re-election.

The following is to be filed under why do Republicans hate America — yesterday afternoon, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) mocked people who are uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions:

As with other wingnuts, the representative from Georgia (not Texas, as misidentified in the video) doesn’t grasp why this is a problem. And this is all the more disgusting because Rep. Gingrey is a physician. Republicans like to show contempt for government, but this is contempt for the American people, not to mention human intelligence.

Think Progress:

As Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, explained yesterday, while many of the 129 million Americans already have insurance, they would have a hard time finding coverage if the law were repealed and they were to lose their job. “A number of people are in jobs with large employers where people can’t be underwritten because of their health condition, that’s good news. But those folks frankly can’t look at leaving that jobs, can’t start their own business, can’t have the freedom to retiring early before they have qualify for Medicare because they are terrified they will lose that insurance coverage,” Sebelius said, pointing out that insurers deny coverage to 1 out of every 7 who apply for it in the individual market.

And while Gingrey’s “hang nail” comments are certainly ridiculous, insurance companies are not above denying coverage for fairly elementary ailments. Insurers will disqualify you for just taking certain medicines because of the possibility of future costs, including common drugs as Lipitor and Nexium and often deny coverage to individuals in high risk occupations, such as firefighting, lumber work, telecom installation, and anything more dangerous than office work.

Ezra Klein points out that Republicans campaigned last year on the slogan “repeal and replace.” They’ve dropped the “replace” part. But look — Speaker John Boehner says they’re going to introduce a resolution calling for committees to come up with a replacement. So, yes, all those sheafs of paper they were waving around last year and calling “plans” were just props.

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