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5 Things We Should Be Talking About Instead Of Pseudo-Scandals

Memo Pad Politics

5 Things We Should Be Talking About Instead Of Pseudo-Scandals


by Joe Miller, The Century Foundation

So, apparently the IRS has illegally investigated the tax-exempt status of AP reporters who were calling Tea Party groups in Benghazi. Or something like that. It’s been a little hard to decipher my Twitter stream of late.

What’s much clearer is that Washington’s latest round of Much Ado About Nothing scandal-mongering has come at the perfect time to distract us from several important issues that were starting to gain some traction.

Here are five things we should be talking about right now, but aren’t.

1. Unemployment And The Budget.

Unemployment rate

Remember how not very long ago, everyone was running around predicting a budget doomsday, with mounting deficits signaling an imminent collapse of the economy? Debt hysteria brought us austerity measures, including massive budget cuts and the end of a pile of stimulus spending.

Only it turns out that the justification for austerity was based on an Excel error.

And yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the deficit for 2013 is $200 billion lower than its estimate in 2013, and that the 10-year cumulative number decreased by $618 billion.


So austerity is a mistake, and the deficit is improving anyway. Maybe it’s time to address the fact that the unemployment rate remains at 7.5%.

In February, the Congressional Progressive Caucus introduced a plan that addressed unemployment. That plan would replace sequestration with a number of short-term stimulus measures, all aimed at directly putting Americans back to work. Or we could go big, and embrace Century Foundation and Economic Policy Institute fellow Andrew Fieldhouse’s call for $2 trillion in new stimulus spending.

The media is busy reminding us that freedom of the press is the only thing guarding their ability to create fake scandals and lie about sources. A better use of time might involve reminding the Congress that 11.7 million Americans can’t find a job.

Graph: Bureau of Labor Statistics


  1. Dominick Vila May 15, 2013

    Judging by the accomplishments, or lack thereof, of Republican members of Congress during the past 4.5 years, I think it is fair to say that the only qualities they have exhibited are obstructionism, an absence of ideas and vision, and a total focus on conspiracies and make-believe. The sad part is that we are paying their salaries.

  2. Agentpapers43 May 15, 2013

    An additional 750 billion or one trillion would probably get us by just fine. We have to keep in mind that the original 800 or so billion stimulus was basically 2/3ds things that aren’t stimulus (tax cuts) and even that created or saved between a million and 4 million jobs. We can always pass more if its needed.

    1. Dominick Vila May 16, 2013

      I hate to tell you this, but had we invested enough money to repair and modernize our infrastructure, replace our inefficient and antiquated power grid, our embarrassing levies, and invested in R&D and education our economy would have been on solid ground, we would have had full employment by now, and our competitive position would have been at par with the rest of the industrialized world. Economic recoveries, when the private sector in more interested in maximiing profits and expanding in new markets by investing abroad, are influenced by stimulii provided by the public sector. In this specific case, we should have focused on increased consumer spending to encourage private sector expansion, and on modernization to guarantee our ability to compete as a nation and as individuals.
      BTWm the stimulus helped, unfortunately it was not large enough to overcome the effects of economic stagnation.

      1. cats33 May 16, 2013

        But hey, at least that successful Mormon businessman who has created thousands of jobs didn’t win– suck it up , you voted for it

        1. Independent1 May 17, 2013

          I guess it’s what you consider successful. Personnally, I don’t consider someone successful who goes about making millions of dollars by ruining other peoples lives. And Mitt Romney has destroyed by far more jobs of American workers than he’s ever created new American jobs. Even while he was running for president, pretending to have this magical plan to create 12 million jobs (which was a fairytale); he was engaged with some of his rich buddies buying out companies that didn’t want to be bought out, sucking up all their pension funds, stripping the companies of their union jobs and sending thousands of American jobs overseas – leaving thousands of American workers not only without jobs but thousands of them also with no or relduced future pensions. Mitt Romney is as devious and underhanded as it gets – the reason Romney was so admanat about Obama not following through with the auto bailout, is because he wanted GM and Chrysler to actually go into bankruptcy, so that he and his rich hedge fund buddies like Paul Singer, could buyout GM and Chrysler for pennies on the dollar, strip them of their assets and pension funds and ship their jobs to China just like they were in the midst of doing with Delphi – the auto industy’s major small parts maker.

          Here’s a little news article for you about how Romney helpped his buddy Singer buyout Delphi, strip it of all its union jobs and ship the majority of the company’s jobs to China:

          Romney has slammed the bailout as a payoff to the auto workers union. But that certainly wasn’t true for the bailout of Delphi. Once the hedge funders, including Singer—a deep-pocketed right-wing donor and activist who serves as chair of the conservative, anti-union Manhattan Institute—took control of the firm, they rid Delphi of every single one of its 25,200 unionized workers.

          By the end of June 2009, with the bailout negotiations in full swing, the hedge funds, under Singer’s lead, used their bonds to buy up a controlling interest in Delphi’s stock. According to
          SEC filings, they paid, on average, an equivalent of only 67 cents per share.

          Of the twenty-nine Delphi plants operating in the United States when the hedge funders began buying up control, only four remain, with not a single union production worker. omney’s “job creators” did create jobs—in China, where Delphi now produces the parts used by GM and other major automakers here and abroad. Delphi is now incorporated overseas, leaving the company with 5,000 employees in the United States (versus almost 100,000 abroad).

          Third Point’s Daniel Loeb, whose net worth of $1.3 billion owes much to his share in the Delphi windfall, told his fund’s backers this past July that Delphi remains an excellent investment
          because it has “virtually no North American unionized labor” and, thanks to US taxpayers, “significantly smaller pension liabilities than almost all of its peers.”

  3. Charles___Darwin May 16, 2013

    It’s so much fun watch the Dems squirm and spin. Obama’s teleprompter is going melt from all the hot air he’s been spewing.

    The IRS scandal could be Obama’s Watergate, but the press is complicit in making sure their chosen token survives intact.

    1. I Zheet M'Drawz May 17, 2013

      Yes! The Republicants & the Tea partiers should focus solely on this matter. dedicate all of their resources to this terrible act.
      And don’t forget to take up Roe v. Wade again also, it’s just such a great no brainer for the no brainers.
      And gay Marragige! That’s another one that affects ALL Americans & if allowed will destroy the institution of marraige (how they can’t answer).
      And someone please reinstate funding for mental hospitals, our GOP (Greedy Oil Party) Congress members need to be receiving a lot of help for their obvious mental health conditions.

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