In Morning Money this morning, Politico’s Ben White called out President Obama for being mean to big business yesterday in his news conference:
HEAD SHAKER: BIZ BASHING RHETORIC RETURNS – Fairly or not, corporate America continues to disdain the Obama administration following two huge regulatory bills (health care reform and Dodd-Frank) that will increase compliance costs and, in the case of banks, make doing business significantly more difficult. So it seemed odd to hear the President-who is regularly said to be mending fences with the corporate world-lapse back into business-bashing rhetoric at his press conference.
From the presser: “Keep in mind that the business community is always complaining about regulations. When unemployment is at 3 percent and they’re making record profits, they’re going to still complain about regulations because, frankly, they want to be able to do whatever they think is going to maximize their profits.”
It’s certainly fine to think these things and there is undoubtedly truth to them. And maybe it SHOULD be a lot harder for banks to do business. But at time when the President desperately needs companies to start hiring, going out in public and calling corporate executives a bunch of amoral whiners is not going to help and is only going to reinforce the already widely held belief that the President simply does not believe in or trust the profit motive. [Emphasis added]
Shortly after, Mark Halperin went on Morning Joe and explicitly called the President a dick, saying “I thought he was a dick yesterday.” It’s not clear if that’s because the President was mean to big business or mean to Republicans, but clearly Halperin didn’t like having his pals fee fees hurt.
Halperin has already been suspended indefinitely as an analyst by MSNBC, though I assume indefinitely will mean longer than one week but less than two months.
I tend to agree with BooMan and Atrios, as Halperin accurately revealed his viewpoint, which is normally hidden from view. Halperin’s world is ruled by Matt Drudge and he has a strongly Republican viewpoint, which is reflected by his lousy reporting.
The Dirty F’ing Hippies at the IMF think the US should raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit over the long term, but “not steep [enact] immediate cuts or tax increases. Cutting the deficit too quickly could slow the weak recovery, the fund said.”
What a bunch of crazy hippies.
What Atrios said:
One infuriating thing about this is the apparent belief by many politicians that voters will reward them for making the economy even worse.
I know that, generally speaking, the deficit is something that polls around 3rd to 5th highest in priorities about what voters care about. That’s not nothing. But considering jobs and the economy usually poll number 1, it’s hard to imagine any voters rewarding the politicians who craft deals behind closed doors which cut social services, don’t make the rich share in national sacrifice, don’t create jobs and generally hurt the economy. Whoever is seen as most responsible for austerity, for wrecking the economy and for failing to create jobs will be voted out of office, even if their opponent is a ham sandwich. Considering the Republican presidential primary is effectively a field of ham sandwiches, President Obama should be scared.
Ben White of Politico’s Morning Money points out a piece by Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post where he calls for both Republicans and Democrats to suck it up and accept outcomes they don’t like around the debt ceiling and reducing the deficit. Robinson:
Democrats are right that this is a terrible moment for spending cuts. Republicans are right that this is an awful moment for tax increases. The only reasonable thing to do is kick the can down the road – but in a purposeful, intelligent way. … Republicans must swallow an increase in the debt ceiling, and Democrats must accept painful spending curbs that kick in when the economy is off its sickbed. It means conservatives have to be patient in bringing expenditures down and progressives have to be patient in returning tax rates – even for the wealthy – to what many of us consider appropriate levels.” [Emphasis added]
Eugene, that is not a compromise. There are two areas of debate here – the first is if we should raise the debt ceiling and if so, by how much. The second is what should the federal government do to reduce the budget deficit. The GOP has sought to tie these together and by all accounts has been completely successful. But as long as the sober outcome and outcome demanded by Wall Street happen to be raising the debt ceiling, it’s hard for me to think about this as truly paired in the way the GOP is trying to get this done.
In that light, Robinson’s proposal is not a compromise any Democrat should think about accepting. If Democrats have to concede that Republicans will not allow a tax hike on the rich to close the deficit gap, then the appropriate Republican compromise would be that they would not get to cut spending on social programs to close the deficit gap. Or to put it differently, we just raise the debt ceiling now and deal with the deficit afterwards! Republicans accepting raising the debt ceiling isn’t a compromise, it’s an economic necessity and it must be treated as such, otherwise the GOP will get what they want and be allowed to hold a gun to the US economy and say, “Cut Medicare or the economy gets it!”
I don’t know why the administration and congressional Democratic leadership aren’t out there making the case that there must be a clean debt ceiling vote, that they will fight for raising it, and then we can deal with the deficit. That would be a sober way to kick the can down the road. Instead we’re having a debate with a Polish hostage and it isn’t going well for the rest of us.
Back when the austerity (I mean, fiscal responsibility) debate was starting, it was pointed out that the United Kingdom went with a 2:1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases. The result has been disastrous for the UK economy and painful to working people there.
When President Obama kicked off his push, he proposed a 3:1 cuts to revenue plan:
Balance Between Spending Cuts and Tax Reform: The President’s framework would seek a balanced approach to bringing down our deficit, with three dollars of spending cuts and interest savings for every one dollar from tax reform that contributes to deficit reduction. This is consistent with the bipartisan Fiscal Commission’s approach.
Amazingly with the GOP walking away from talks, we now find out that a devastating 5:1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases was not good enough for them. Ezra Klein reports:
A bit more information has trickled out over the last few days detailing the exact state of the budget negotiations when they collapsed. Both sides, as they often said, were shooting for about $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. They’d already agreed on around $1 trillion in spending cuts and were making good progress on the rest of it. But Democrats insisted that $400 billion — so, 17 percent — of the package be tax increases. And that’s when Republicans walked.
This is bat shit insane. I hope someone on the Democratic side is pointing it out…
This is a real great clip from Van Jones’ speech at Netroots Nation earlier this month (the full video is here). And here’s a bit of Van from the launch of Rebuild the Dream this weekend:
Van Jones is doing really important work here, elevating and combining the conversations of job creation, racial equality, and the political empowerment of working people.