Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 08:57:07 AM PST
The weekend madness in Sacramento, product of the California Republican Party and its persistent refusal to accept reality, has finally led much of what remains of the media in California to call bullshit on their obstructionism. Even high Broderists like George Skelton, who usually find a way to avoid saying it's all the Republicans' fault, today finally comes around in an excellent column that destroys the Republican notion that we can close the gap without new taxes:
To avoid raising taxes and still balance the books in Sacramento, you'd have to virtually shut down state government...Ardent anti-taxers say the governor and Legislature should simply whack the "bloated" bureaucracy by 10%. Even 20% if need be. Lay off and cut pay. Pare benefits too. After all, private companies are doing it.
You could lay off all those state workers -- rid yourself of their pay and benefits -- and save only $24.4 billion....
OK, lose the Legislature, you say. It's good for nothing. But it's also not worth much when you're trying to fill that size deficit hole. The Legislature's 16-month cost is roughly $400 million.
So now one branch of government is critically wounded, and another is dead. And we're still $16 billion short of enough savings....
You could cut off all state money to higher education -- the two university systems and the community colleges. That would save the remaining $16 billion.
Hardly any Californian actually wants any of this. They don't want to shut down the prison system and let hundreds of thousands of criminals out on the streets. They don't want to close the DMV, or shut down the CHP, or destroy their children's chances at a college education, or close their neighborhood school.
They don't want any of that. But that's exactly what Republicans propose to do by their insane anti-tax position. It makes clear that Republicans see themselves as not representing the people of California, but instead they merely represent John & Ken and the staff of the Howard Jarvis Association. They see their oath as to Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge and not to the state constitution. And because of the 2/3 rule, we're all forced into membership in the death cult.
Regardless of the fate of this budget, it should now be clear to California that the Republican Party is a threat to our state's basic survival. The next move needs to be a systematic disempowerment of these terrorists. The 2/3 rule must be eliminated at the first available opportunity. And then we go after their seats - whether through a recall or a vote in 2010.
9 Norquist “crush” quote from Henderson and Hayward, “Happy Warrior"; Norquist “bathtub” quote from Ed Kilgore, “Starving the Beast: If President Bush keeps listening to Grover Norquist, Republicans won't have a government to kick around anymore,” Blueprint Magazine, The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) (June 30, 2003), http://www.ndol.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=127&subid=170&contentid=251788 (accessed June 16, 2006). Cockroach quotes appear in both.
10 Kilgore, “Starving the Beast.”
Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst, Political Research Associates
Jamie dimon cali Greece
These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.
To reiterate, although David Barton might deny it one can reasonably assume he endorses the re-introduction of slavery given that an article on Barton’s own Wallbuilders web site (which Barton links to in his own Wallbuilders articles), by a member of the Wallbuilders board of directors (Barton also serves on the board of an organization run by McDowell) endorses “Biblical slavery” as defined by Christian Reconstructionist titan R.J. Rushdoony, whose idiosyncratic views included rejecting Copernicus’ Heliocentric model of the Solar System. In his master work The Institutes of Biblical Law, Rushdoony argued that that less than one million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War Two and asserted most of those died from cold rather than execution.
God’s laws concerning slavery provided parameters for treatment of slaves, which were for the benefit of all involved. God desires all men and nations to be liberated. This begins internally and will be manifested externally to the extent internal change occurs. The Biblical slave laws reflect God’s redemptive desire, for men and nations.
McDowell then lists various types of slavery which can be legal according to scripture from the Old Testament books of Leviticus, Exodus, and Deuteronomy. According to McDowell, “pagans [non-Christians] could be permanent slaves” and to bolster this position McDowell quotes theologian R.J. Rushdoony:
“since unbelievers are by nature slaves, they could be held as life-long slaves” 1 without piercing the ear to indicate their voluntary servitude (Lev. 25:44-46). This passage in Leviticus says that pagans could be permanent slaves and could be bequeathed to the children of the Hebrews.”
The Libertarian Theocrats: The Long, Strange History of R.J. Rushdoony and Christian Reconstructionism,
by Michael J. McVicar, The Public Eye
Frederick Clarkson’s four-part series on Reconstructionism in The Public Eye including Part Three, “No Longer Without Sheep.”
The Christian Right, Dominionism, and Theocracy,
by Chip Berlet, The Public Eye
Bruce Wilson on the U.S. Taxpayers Party/Constitution Party’s relationship with Reconstructionism at Talk to Action.
A freeze on the debt ceiling could erode confidence in U.S. Treasury bonds in a number of ways, creating further and wider panic in financial markets. First, by causing a disruption in the issuance of Treasury debt, as happened in 1995-96, a freeze would cause investors to seek alternative financial investments, even perhaps causing a run on Treasurys. Such a run would cause the cost of U.S. debt to soar, putting even more stress on our budget, and the resulting enormous capital flows would likely be highly destabilizing to global financial markets, potentially creating more asset bubbles and busts throughout the world.
Second, the massive withdrawal of public spending that would occur would cause significant concern among institutional investors worldwide that the U.S. would swiftly enter a second, very deep, recession, raising concerns about the ability of the United States to repay its debt. Finally, the sheer recklessness of a debt freeze during these tenuous times would signal to already nervous investors that there was a significant amount of political risk, which could cause them to shy away from investing in the United States generally.
Taken together, these factors would almost certainly result in a significant increase in the interest rates we currently pay on our national debt, currently just above 2.5 percent for a 10-year Treasury note. If in the near term these rates moved even to 5.9 percent, the long-term rate predicted by the Congressional Budget Office, then our interest payments would increase by more than double, to nearly $600 billion a year. These rates could climb even higher, if investors began to price in a “default risk” into Treasurys—something that reckless actions by Congress could potentially spark—thus greatly exacerbating our budget problems.
The U.S. dollar, of course, is the world’s reserve currency in large part because of the depth and liquidity of the U.S. Treasury bond market. If this market is severely disrupted, and investors lost confidence in U.S. Treasurys, then it is unclear where nervous investors might go next. A sharp and swift move by investors out of U.S. Treasury bonds could be highly destabilizing, straining the already delicate global economy.
Imagine, for example, if investors moved from sovereign debt into commodities, most of which are priced and traded in dollars. This could have the catastrophic impact of weakening the world’s largest economies while also raising the prices of the basic inputs (such as metals or food) that are necessary for economic growth.
In short, a freeze on the debt ceiling would cause our inter r interest payments to spike, making our budget situation even more problematic, while potentially triggering greater global instability—perhaps even a global economic depression. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/10/big_freeze.html
I think the more likely outcome is that the GOP, newly radicalized by the influx of Tea Party supported freshmen will push the House of Representatives into forcing another government shutdown, which seems to be the most likely outcome of a failure to raise the debt ceiling. In fact, there are already those on the right who are saying that is exactly what they should do.
The head of the influential Americans for Tax Reform is encouraging the new House Republican majority to adopt a take-no-prisoners approach to federal spending — and if that leads to a 1995-style government shutdown, so be it.
Midterm voters “were voting to stop the Obama spendathon, and that’s what people were sent to Washington to do,” Norquist said in an interview for POLITICO’s “Taxing America” video series.
“That’s what all the freshmen are going to do. That’s what the fight’s going to be about,” he said of the party’s majority-makers, who are spoiling for a showdown with President Barack Obama. The president “will be less popular if — in the service of overspending and wasting people’s money — he closes the government down, as opposed to now, when he’s just wasting people’s money.”
The problem with Norquist’s advice is two-fold.
First, it rests on the premise that spending and debt were in the forefront of voters’ minds when they cast ballots in November 2nd. As I argued earlier this week, though, there’s simply no evidence to support that assertion, and the exit polls make clear that it was the economy that voters were concerned with when they cast their ballots, all other issues were a distant, distant second. Additionally, more recent polling shows us that the public is divided over whether spending should go up or down, and not very impressed with the deficit cutting plan put forward by Senator Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
Second, it assumes that the public would back the Republicans in the event of a government shutdown. As anyone who was around Washington in 1995 could tell you, there’s absolutely no guarantee that would happen. Even Senator-Elect Rand Paul recognizes that a shutdown would be politically risky:
[S]ome GOP members of Congress, as well as some of the activist conservatives elected on Nov. 2, continue to discuss a shutdown as a viable option. But Sen.-elect Paul is not among them.
In an exclusive interview Monday on Capitol Hill, the Kentucky ophthalmologist told Newsmax: “I think shutting down the government is a mistake. Nobody really wants that. That’s sort of government by chaos.”
Paul is right, of course, and doubly right to the extent we’re talking about a shutdown brought about by a failure to raise the debt ceiling. In that case, the fact that the government would not have the legal ability to borrow means that, in theory, everything would have to be shut down, even the so-called “essential” services that would normally be exempt during a shutdown caused by failure to pass a budget. Politically, that would mean that the White House could plausibly claim, for example, that Republicans were putting American troops in danger by not providing funding. Combine that with the panic in the financial markets that would likely take place, and there’s simply no way that the GOP would come out of a shutdown undamaged.
Raising the debt ceiling is a crappy vote for any legislator to take. It demonstrates as plain as day the fiscal irresponsibility of the Federal Government, and the act of voting to push the debt limit even further into the fiscal stratosphere is one that looks bad on any representative’s resume. However, it’s also not a vote to be playing games with, as Boehner correctly points out. Unless Republicans intend to use the debt ceiling vote as a catalyst to force a national debate on making the kinds of spending cuts and tax changes that will be needed to seriously deal with the debt (and I would love it if they did), they need to just swallow their pride and cast the vote.
The just-concluded budget fight has spawned talk that the White House and Congress will perhaps resort to a series of short-term extensions of the debt limit while they bargain over a debt-reduction plan or some other mandatory budget restraints. The question is, how might global financial markets react?
“We’ve never seen that before,” said Robert E. Rubin, the Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and a longtime Wall Street executive. “But I know this: It’s not a risk I’d take.”
He was so successful in helping Arnold Schwarzenegger privatize the CalPERS system that the fund went into the toilet. Even though Grover wants to drown government in the bathtub, which may help him raise funds for himself and his organization, I do not believe that it is the point of view of even conservative Republicans here in California.
Good-government Grover of course worked with the totally discredited convicted criminal Jack Abramoff, and public records allege that his group served as a conduit for funds contributed from Abramoff’s clients to finance “grassroots lobbying campaigns.”
It is not surprising that somebody who supported the illegal effort of Oliver North, which tried to overthrow various governments around the world, would want Republicans to deny their constituents the right to self-determination on any number of issues including increasing revenue to support schools, health, public safety and other measures.
Grover was once quoted as saying when he became 21, he decided nobody learned anything about politics after the age of 21. Clearly the man’s growth has been stunted. His effort to stunt the growth of California makes this plain for all to see.
how ar we so deceived? The whole basket is rarely brought, impossible to bring- http://www.perrspectives.com/blog/archives/002137.htm
And this country, people who may not make earning a lot of money the centerpiece of their lives, they may have other things to focus on, they just say it's not just. If you've paid taxes on your income once, the government should leave you alone. Shouldn't come back and try and tax you again.
Terry Gross: Excuse me. Excuse me one second. Did you just ...
Grover Norquist: Yeah?
Terry Gross: � compare the estate tax with the Holocaust?
Grover Norquist: No, the morality that says it's OK to do something to do a group because they're a small percentage of the population is the morality that says that the Holocaust is OK because they didn't target everybody, just a small percentage. What are you worried about? It's not you. It's not you. It's them. And arguing that it's OK to loot some group because it's them, or kill some group because it's them and because it's a small number, that has no place in a democratic society that treats people equally. The government's going to do something to or for us, it should treat us all equally. �"
Terry Gross: So you see taxes as being the way they are now terrible discrimination against the wealthy comparable to the kind of discrimination of, say, the Holocaust?
Grover Norquist: Well, what you pick -- you can use different rhetoric or different points for different purposes, and I would argue that those who say, 'Don't let this bother you; I'm only doing it' -- I, the government. The government is only doing it to a small percentage of the population. That is very wrong. And it's immoral. They should treat everybody the same. They shouldn't be shooting anyone, and they shouldn't be taking half of anybody's income or wealth when they die."
to prevent the holocaust, anything is better…According to Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins of the group Responsible Wealth, nearly half of all estate taxes are paid by the wealthiest 0.1 percent of the American population -- a few thousand families each year.
In 2001, Gates was the lead signer on Responsible Wealth's Call to Preserve the Estate Tax, which was signed by over 1,000 wealthy people personally affected by the estate tax -- including George Soros, Ted Turner, and David Rockefeller Jr. He points out that since it was enacted in 1916, the estate tax has helped to limit the concentration of wealth, making it easier for Americans to educate themselves, innovate, build new businesses, and prosper.
Gates also points out that while there is no question that "some people accumulate great wealth through hard work, intelligence, creativity, and sacrifice" it is equally important to acknowledge "the influence of other factors, such as luck, privilege, other people's efforts, and society's investment in the creation of individual wealth such as a patent system, enforceable contracts, open courts, property ownership records, protection against crime and external threats, and public education."
The father of the man with the billions understands the word "we."
. They see their oath as to Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge and not to the state constitution.----------------------