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Saturday, October 1, 2016

May 13 (Bloomberg) — When it comes to deficit reduction, President Barack Obama may have correctly taken the measure of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles and U.S. corporate leaders; that’s a reason why any deficit deal is more remote than ever.

Two and a half years ago, when the president refused to embrace the recommendations of his own deficit-reduction panel, he was criticized by the authors, Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and Simpson, a former Republican senator from Wyoming, as well as by business leaders.

The plan proposed a balance of spending reductions and tax increases of about $4 trillion over almost a decade; that would bring the long-term debt to a sustainable level, according to proponents, who said the president was abdicating leadership.

Privately, Obama saw the proposal as a trap. If he embraced it, Republicans would say, “let’s focus on areas where we agree — spending, including entitlement cuts — and return later to raising revenue.” Then, he feared, Simpson, Bowles and those worried executives would provide aid and comfort for that position, handing a devastating defeat to Democrats.

In these recurring budget battles, Obama deserves his share of blame. At the turn of the year, he was unwilling to hang tough for an entitlements-revenue deal as tax increases loomed for all Americans. He blinked and accepted a smaller tax increase on the wealthy. The White House then miscalculated that the mindless across-the-board spending cuts under sequestration were so bad that an alternative would emerge.

Yet, a month ago, Obama took a risk and proposed a budget containing cuts to entitlements cherished by his party. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, and his cohorts were unmoved; they wouldn’t give an inch on new revenue.

Simpson and Bowles gave Obama a pat on the back and largely refrained from criticizing Ryan or House Speaker John Boehner, while corporate leaders ducked.

Moreover, Simpson and Bowles have revised their plan and moved to the right, proposing proportionately more spending cuts and less in new revenue. Obama is playing ball, Ryan isn’t, and the two deficit hawks, and their CEO supporters, are rewarding the guy who is stiffing them.

Simpson and Bowles have been admirably persistent, open to some modifications and correctly insistent on the need to curb long-term health-care costs. A spokesman offered this explanation for their latest move to the right: Republicans now control the House. Sorry, Republicans had just won a huge victory, taking control of the House, and were on a high when Bowles-Simpson was first offered in December 2010.

What’s really going on is that their fervent hope for a deal rests on a naïve assumption that the able Ryan will strike a responsible compromise, even though he has made clear that he won’t.

The Republican position is that taxes went up as part of the deal on the so-called fiscal cliff, and there will be no more increases. In reality, all the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush were slated to expire anyway, and Republican congressional leaders, their backs against the wall, had to accept some higher levies on the wealthy.

Moreover, that $600 billion, over a decade, is only a little more than half of what Bowles-Simpson proposed. In addition, the new revenue is dwarfed by spending cuts, which have been more than twice as large.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    We have in President Obama, one amazingly intelligent man. He knew all along that the GOP Gangsters were never going to pass the budget he submitted and they complained he hadn’t provided for 3 years. When you know no matter what you do, you’ll only end up with mass GOP rejection, President Obama played it as close to the GOP vest as it gets. He knew that no matter what he put in any budget, these GOP Gangsters would find something wrong with it. But, a president has to do what he must for his country as this president does. So, he submitted a budget he knew the GOP would NEVER accept. And, it’s been nearly 2 two months and Ryan and the rest of his gang still have not moved to pass it…Why? Because our wonderful president had the presence of mind to place a 30% across the board tax rate on those earning over $5 million a year AND…worse for the GOP, an end to profitable corporations continuously taking handouts in the form of tax subsidies they don’t need and the taxpayers of this country do. See? All this president had to do was call GOP bluff…and no one but no one does it better than this president. Outsmarted them again…Go Big O!

    • I Believe Their Running The Clock Down Trying To Make President Obama Presidency Look Bad!! But I Don’t Think It’s Working Cause We Are The Witness To Their Dirty Game!! We Are Wide Awake And We See Every Nasty Dirty Trick They Have Done!! I Can’t See Another GOP/Tea Party President Winning For Years To Come!!!

      • Seems to me they don’t have to work at it Obama is BAD

        • You Just Can’t Get It In Your Teabagging Pussy Ass Head BITCH STOP FUCKING TALKING TO ME!!! FUCK YOU!!!

          • Fern, you need to get your message across in a more dramatic fashion.

            No more soft punches.

          • You’re Right My Friend Maybe I’ll Reach Thru The Computer And Punch Them In The Eye!!! LOL

          • CPAinNewYork

            Better that that, Fern: clean up your filthy language.

          • Better Shut The Fuck Up Talking To Me ASSHOLE!! Is That Clean Enough For You Dickhead!! Kiss Your Own ASS And Mind Your Own DAMN Business BITCH!!!

          • Mark Forsyth

            Keep on keepin’ on Fern.You and I both know that we don’t let the bastards grind us down no matter what.

          • Thank You My Friend 🙂 Besides Nursing Ripping New Assholes In Lying Trolls Is My Part-time Job!! LOL

          • CPAinNewYork

            Fern:

            Your self imposed job appears to be a total nut case.

            You come across like a total moron.

          • Your Mother Is A Moran She Had Your Ignorant Ass Go Fuck Yourself Troll!!

          • CPA= CrazyPussyAssholeIn NewYork Shut Your Bulling Ass Talking To Me You Can’t Bully Me ASSHOLE!! You’re The Nut Case Where Do You Think You’re Going With This Shit You Tried This Before Remember Asshole FUCK YOU!!! With Your Low Scoring Ass 1,436 Likes To My 17,599 Likes LOL!!! Shut The Fuck Up And Try And Catch The Hell Up Asshole!!

          • plc97477

            You are the expert.

          • Betta

            Too bad there is not a function to report you. If you can’t act like an adult with something useful to say, then go wash your mouth out with a strong abrasive soap.

          • cats33

            Your as bad as Fern is–I think Sambo is in trouble, finally : ))

          • Betta

            You are a very toxic person, Fern. There really is no reason to use such garbage language. Been living in the projects all your life?

        • plc97477

          They seem to be working pretty hard, although it might just be killing time so they don’t have to do their jobs.

        • cats33

          Isn’t Fern a bad trip. She has no decency. I get the same treatment. If you don’t agree with her, watch out.–Hopefully Obamas’ lies have finally caught him. IMPEACH!!!! : ))

      • Betta

        “Trying To Make President Obama Presidency Look Bad!!”

        He’s good at that all by himself. He needs no help making himself look bad.

        Oh and nice try to the article writer. Nobody gives two hoots about Ryan right now. The stories of the day are all the scandals yo’ boy lord and savior is entangled in, such as BENGHAZI, FAST AND FURIOUS, IRS targeting conservative groups. There’s so many you can’t count them any more. His behavior is ghetto level.

        • cats33

          Fern is a bad trip. I’ve gotten it from her many times. She’ll have to be put in a strait jacket when her “leader” falls from grace

      • cats33

        Obama is doing a good job making himself look bad. Benghazi, the IRS. snooping on the media and I heard one more thing is coming too. It’s just impossible for this “man” to tell the truth!!!

  • Rep. Ryan is very serious about the budget, in fact, he put his plan in writing for everyone to see. It includes, among other things, dismantling MEDICARE. The reason his “plan” has not been put forward is because Republican strategists, and the GOP establishment, know that doing so would be a kiss of death for the future of the Republican party.
    Contrary to what the far right believes, most Americans are mainstream when it comes to politics, and most Americans support Social Security and MEDICARE. While we recognize that minor changes are needed to keep these programs solvent for generations to come, we also understand that dismantling and privatizing them is not a viable option. Rep. Ryan’s plan appeals only to Tea Party extremists whose agenda is dictated by the likes of Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, with Karl Rove in charge of the finances needed to advance their reckless austerity agenda.

    • I Agree He’s Very Serious About His Budget It’s All About Gutting Out And Selling Out The American People!! They Are Hell Bent On Destroying The 98% Of The American People!!! 🙁

  • RobertCHastings

    It reminds me of the woman in the toilet paper commercial (appropriately enough) who says, “It’s time to get serious about what goes on inthe bathroom.” Amazing how art imitates life, isn’t it. One big reason the Ryan budget has not passed in, what,39 tries is that it includes the abolition of “Obamacare” and, as the Republicans have made abundantly clear, this would lead to the eventual dismantling of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. They have made no excuses for this path, nor will they be swayed from it until the polls take them out of the picture, making their message irrelevent, along with their once-great party.

  • JDavidS

    Please…Paul Ryan, get serious? This clown could have 3 more brains exactly like the one he has now and he’d still be an idiot.

  • Allan Richardson

    The Republican strategy reminds me of an old gas station scam pulled on tourists passing through, of which authorities warned people in public service announcements.

    In those days, gas stations pumped gas while the customer stayed in the car, and the gas pump operator checked the fluids under the hood. Since sealed batteries had not been developed, the operator would also unscrew the lid for each cell and check the strength of the acid with a hydrometer (a weighted glass bulb with a calibrated tube which floated at a level dependent on the fluid density).

    The scam was that the operator palmed an antacid tablet and dropped it in the cell, then called the customer’s attention to the resulting foam, thus selling the customer a new battery. And the customer really DID need a new battery, because the gas pump operator had RUINED it! That is the Republicans: dropping an antacid into the acid of the economy, then saying the President needs a new battery!

  • Lovefacts

    To fix the budget, we need to fix the tax code and get rid of the entitlements it has within it. I’m fed up with talking point thinking. It’s time for both parties, but especially the Republicans. It’s time for both parties to consider what’s in this country’s best interest–and that isn’t demeaning or weakening the presidency.
    It is time our Senators and Congressmen/women worked to improve our economy and international standing. That means actually understanding how the world works, how our economy works, the importance of education, the importance of understanding history, and last but not least honoring our promises to our vets.

    Oh, and it’s past time for them stop this crap of calling social security and Medicare entitlements. My DH and I pay just over $450/month in Medicare deductions from our month Social Security payments and another $375/month in secondary insurance. It’s time our legislatures did away with the true entitlements–corporate welfare in our tax code.

    What slays me is how the working poor and middle class have bought into the Republican and T-party propaganda–that they care about the economy and the little people and “social issues.” Of course their view of social issues is whatever will get them elected. Those social issues revolve around individual religious beliefs, however religions are as different in their stand on social and personal issues as there are people.

    • I pay about the same in MEDICARE fees and supplement insurance, and I feel I am entitled to receive the benefits I paid for throughout my professional life and since I retired. Social Security and MEDICARE are not free, are not welfare, and the services they provide are not handouts. They are government-run insurance programs that make pension and medical care benefits more affordable by eliminating the middle man (insurance companies) and by taking advantage of a huge pool of participants to lower premiums.
      My son started his own company a couple of months ago. He is diabetic and has medical problems. He is currently paying over $1,300 a month for health insurance for himself! Cab you imagine how much people like us would pay if SS and MEDICARE were privatized?
      I agree with you about the negative connotation that some people use for the term entitlement, and if semantics is a problem, perhaps we should change it to something that reflects the services we earned after many years of paying FICA and fees. BTW, in addition to MEDICARE fees and supplement insurance, many of us also pay dental and RX insurance. Some of us are fortunate and can afford the astronomical fees we pay, most retirees making an average of $1,000 a month can’t. Many of them use MEDICAID, and elicit the ire of our “conservative” cousins whose only priority is conserving as much money as they can to go on an Alaskan cruise, a shopping weekend in Paris, or buying the latest cell phone.

    • 788eddie

      We all have visions of what a fair tax code should include. Mine would include an Alternative Minimum Tax provision (AMT) for corporations and businesses. An AMT for more wealthy tax payers is in the code. No corporation or business making a profit should get away without paying taxes for the privilege of doing business in the United States.

    • CPAinNewYork

      We don’t need to “fix” the tax code to fix the budget. Who sold you that bill of goods? What part of the 76,000-page Internal revenue Code do you propose to “fix”?

  • rafibaby

    How does a wacko like Paul Ryan get elected to office? He proposes ideas and concepts simply to appease a fringe element of the conservative parties. He has no idea of the reality that those of more humble backgrounds are experiencing in our country today. Paul Ryan and those alike act like if everyone in this country is living a life well provided for.

    • adriancrutch

      Who cares about you! He gets his funding from the Kochs,Pete Petersen and the fix the debt crowd. Who are pushing for global corporate control over everything you (own). And it’s coming very soon to the president’s desk for a signature.

      • CPAinNewYork

        Baloney.

        • adriancrutch

          Never heard of ALEC? They pre-package LAWS for States and the Fed republicans to implement!

          • CPAinNewYork

            Ok adrian crutch, which pending legislation gives the “fix the debt crowd” control over everything I own? Please be specific and identify the pending law, which you claim is “coming very soon to the president’s desk for a signature.” No generalities, please. Identify the law by its Senatorial or House number.

            I’m waiting with baited breath.

    • The Lying King Paul Ryan Lived On Social Security Now He Just Don’t Want Nobody Else To Get What They Paid For!! 🙁

      • CPAinNewYork

        Hey, dopey Fern:

        You did it babe. You actually posted a blog without resorting to an expletive.

        I’m, proud of you. You may actually qualify for inclusion in polite society yet.

        • Hey CrazyPussyAssholeInNewYork FUCK YOU!!!

        • Your Job Being The CPA=Sucking All The COCKS PUSSIES And ASSHOLES IN NEW YORK= CPAInNewYork!!

    • CPAinNewYork

      He gets elected because there are many voters who have no idea what is and what is not in their best interest.

      This seems to affect the Southern voters most, but the mid-Westerners aren’t far behind them.

      A friend of mine long ago voiced the opinion that, because early man originated in the oceans, we exhibit aberrant behavior the further we get from the water.

      • tobyspeeks

        Being from Wisconsin I’ll tell you why Ryan was elected. Because until about 4 years ago he kept his mouth shut. His last election was due to the wave of the Tea Party in 2010. Now that the people who voted for him have had a chance to hear what the idiot has to say, he will not be so lucky in 2016. My thoughts are he already knows this so basically he’s a lame duck and this is why he’s continuing to trot out his same old failed policy ideas. He doesn’t have anything to lose.

  • CPAinNewYork

    Paul Ryan is a pathetic demagogue. Despite his and his cohorts’ frantic efforts, they lost the 2012 election.

    I’m surprised that this clown has had the gall to come back onto the national stage with his discredited social and economic theories. He belongs in history’s garbage with Romney, Rove, McCain, etal from the failed 2012 election.

  • RobertCHastings

    Hell, it is time for Paul Ryan to get serious, period, and stop basing his economic recovery plans upon a fictitious economic philosophy of a dead philosopher/ fiction writer.

  • howa4x

    Medicare doesn’t have to be dismantled just changed. Currently doctors are paid by the amount of tests they order. change that to outcome management which is a part of Obama care for everyone else. America has to wake up to the 2 distinct parts of what everyone refers to as health care, which really means preventive care, primary care and prevention or health education. What we have in this country is the illness intervention and disease management system. This is the system that costs everyone 2.6 trillion per year and rising. It is really the cost of our collective gluttony, and the result of a sedentary and risk based lifestyle. Currently the doctors and big pharma have realized that they would make more money treating diseases with drugs that don’t really cure anyone but rather maintain their disease. This is called disease management. Look at Cancer and the costs. 1st we have chemo, which is literally poison and very expensive. . It kills every cell not just the cancerous ones, so it has a lot of nasty side effects, and the pill to help with them costs $100. each. We need other drugs to counter that also. So maybe steroids are prescribed if you have lung cancer, and the side effects are a spike in blood sugar , and a toxic load to your liver. Now you have to take other drugs to counter that, and it goes on and on as you progress in a downward spiral. Most people suffer cancer and heart disease as you age, although the rise in child cancer is an ominous sign. The cost of treating diseases like Alzheimer’s is astronomical since it involves nursing homes and long term care.
    So if we want to lower cost the trick is don’t get sick. Start to exercise, eat a healthier diet, and avoid all that sugar for starts. If we choose a life style that we know will lead to illness then we just have to pay for it and stop winning.