Sequester news: Pelosi again onboard with “Chained CPI”; HR 900 now has 26 cosponsors

This is very much an on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand news piece. The Sequester keeps making the news, and not always in a good way. First, more about Nancy Pelosi. Then some HR 900 news.

What’s up with Pelosi? Sadly, we know

Let’s start with Dem House Leader Nancy Pelosi. From The Hill:

Pelosi open to looking at Obama proposal to cut Social Security

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that she’ll consider Social Security cuts as part of a sweeping deficit-reduction package.

Ahead of a meeting between President Obama and House Democrats, Pelosi said moving to a less generous formula for adjusting Social Security benefits to inflation — if it protects the most vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries — might be preferable to other entitlement cuts Republicans are urging, like raising Medicare’s eligibility age.

So Pelosi caves again to the free-traders (billionaire-backed neoliberals) in control of her party. I won’t go all the way back to the previous rounds, when she praised Simpson-Bowles then muddled her praise. Let’s just look at this recent timeline:

■ December 6, 2012:

At House Speaker John A. Boehner’s request, Senate leaders and Representative Nancy Pelosi have been excluded from talks to avert a fiscal crisis, leaving it to Mr. Boehner and President Obama alone to find a deal, Congressional aides say.

All sides, even the parties excluded, say clearing the negotiating room improves the chance of success. It adds complexity as the two negotiators consult separately with the leaders not in the room.

This is the second time at least that Pelosi has been denied a “seat at the table” despite being her party’s leader in the House.

■ Now move to December 19:

Though Chained CPI would reduce lifetime benefits relative to the current cost of living adjustment formula, Pelosi said she does not consider it a benefit cut. “No, I don’t,” consider it a benefit cut, she said. “I consider it a strengthening of Social Security.”

Be sure to read, at the link, her earlier rejection of that position.

Looks like going along to get along to me. She now has a “seat at the table,” though a subservient one. Here’s Howie Klein on how Nancy Pelosi’s been folded into the pro-billionaire Neoliberal tent:

Pelosi: “I’m in my place: as the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.”So… is there anyone, with any modicum of power in DC who we can hope will carry– effectively carry– the banner of progressive values and principles … ? Look at the Democratic House leadership. Nancy’s best days– and they were great days– are behind her. Sorry but, basically, she’s one of them now. [sigh]. Then there’s Hoyer, Clyburn, Becerra, Israel, Wasserman Schultz and Crowley [in the House Democratic leadership], except for Becerra a really, really bad bunch. They’re corrupt political hacks with a tendency towards conservatism. Not on social issues; they’re at least grudgingly pro-Choice and pro-gay and all. But on bread and butter issues, these are not friends of ordinary working families. They’re friends of big donors, corporations and K Street. Except for Becerra.

So when I say the Democratic leadership is filled with Neolibs like Hoyer and Neolib-enablers like Pelosi

Some [Democrats] are strongly in favor of benefit cuts. This group includes Barack Obama (obviously) and also House neoliberals like Steny Hoyer and neoliberal enablers like Nancy Pelosi. Some oppose cuts but don’t want to buck the neoliberal leaders of their party.

… this is what I’m talking about. It isn’t rhetoric. She’s been folded into the tent; is playing along for all she’s worth. And sadly is not your friend. Look for her, as a supposed “progressive,” to pressure progressives to fold when there’s an actual bill to vote on. Her brand gives them ground cover. That’s now her job.

Time to remove her brand, for our own protection? I actually think it’s critical to do that. In the world of power, there needs to be consequences for behavior like this. (Anyone want to do some Freeway Blogging in Pelosi’s district? Or in Washington DC? I’m serious, and you’ll have a blast.)

More Democratic HR 900 cosponsors

And in good news, the number of cosponsors to HR 900 — the Cancel the Sequester Act — has almost doubled, to 26. The new names are:

Last name First District Party Phone Frosh? CPC?
Brown Corrine FL-05 D 202-225-0123 1
Cummings Elijah MD-7 D 202-225-4741 1
Davis Danny IL-07 D 202-225-5006 1
Hastings Alcee FL-20 D 202-225-1313
Lofgren Zoe CA-19 D 202-225-3072
Pingree Chellie ME-1 D 202-225-6116 1
Pocan Mark WI-2 D 202-225-2906 Y 1
Schakowsky Jan IL-09 D 202-225-2111 2
Shea-Porter Carol NH-1 D 202-225-5456 Y
Vargas Juan CA-51 D 202-225-8045 Y
Holmes Norton Eleanor DC D-Del 202-225-8050 1

Each deserves your thanks, especially of they represent your district.

The name Jan Schakowsky deserves note. There has been an attempt to broaden the cosponsor list to include more than the usual progressive suspects (though the “usual progressive suspects” are still welcome!). So it’s good to have names like Zoe Lofgren, for example, who is not in the Progressive Caucus, and Juan Vargas, who’s on the corporatist New Dems list.

Schakowsky is an interesting special case. She’s presented as a “liberal” by frequent friendly visits to MSNBC, and she’s an organizing leader within the House Progressive Caucus (that’s why there’s a “2” in the CPC column). But she also has many “centrist” (neoliberal) tendencies and allegiances.

For example, in the matter of the two House letters — the one promising to vote No on cuts, and the one just withholding “support” for cuts — once CPC leaders Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva signed both letters, the weaker letter was being linked to Schakowsky’s name. (There’s also this; search the link for “Progressive Choices PAC”, which Schakowsky leads.)

This is not to bury Schakowsky, but to praise her. To have someone with her centrist leanings onboard is good, and we hope she can bring others. A call to thank Jan Schakowsky and encourage her to talk this up among her friends may not be wasted.

Democratic House heroes list

The list of Democratic House members who have either signed the strong Grayson-Takano letter (promising a No vote on cuts) or cosponsored HR 900, or both is lengthening. We now have 41 names. If there’s movement on the Grayson-Takano letter — yet more names to be added — I’ll note that and publish an updated heroes list.

We’ve been calling out the villians — that’s you, sir, at the link. Time to thank — and further encourage — those who act on their consciences and not just their careers.

GP

To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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  • BloggerDave

    Your fear is tiresome…

  • condew

    That’s why the Tea Party has the Republicans by the short hairs while “Liberals” aren’t even invited to the party.

  • Ford Prefect

    Rather than downrate you, I’ll just say this: 1) No one is freaking out; 2) The words are what they are, which in this case is a promise to damage the lives of non-rich people and send millions into poverty; 3) a standard O-Bot trope is we shouldn’t react to things until they happen… when it’s already too late to do or even say anything about it.

    Then, when the pre-announced does happen (quelle surprise!), we’re supposed to understand it’s not the Dems fault… even when it was their idea in the first place, like this CPI matter is right now. If some people have a sense of “doom,” it’s because it’s being reinforced by the criminals they voted for. Maybe it’s just because they actually care about the future, which is obviously a foreign notion to an O-Bot or Democrat Loyalist these days. I realize you don’t care about anything except your precious preznit and party. But it became tiresome years ago. GEt over it!

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    I disagree.

    It’s past time to hurt them…

  • Butch1

    Boy do I agree about that. Pelosi and all of those traitors need to be replaced.

  • BloggerDave

    Yes.. I’ve been under a rock on another planet so please… Provide proof that Obama cut financial aid to single mothers; cut financial aid to hungry children; and slashed Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

  • BloggerDave

    I wanted John because he has the political experience to make it meaningful. In fact, I miss his perspectives and wish he would do more political commentary. As for the rest of your reply, you are STILL freaking out over WORDS. Interpret them as you will if it helps you fill web space with your “darkest suspicions.” But I should remind you that Pelosi also said the she was in favor of raising the retirement age and then she wasn’t. I should also remind you and the rest of the Doom Squad that NOTHING HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED YET….

  • Ford Prefect

    Compromise also means getting things we do like. But your definition means only accepting crap while getting nothing in return. So stop with this adolescent nonsense, okay?

    You forget one important thing: Namely, the powerful are responsible for what they actually do. This is especially true when they say one thing and do another. Instead, you just blame the “little people” for failing to overcome a totally rigged system.

    As for “progressives,” please note that most of them are total sell-outs and thusly are not the least bit Progressive. They’re wolves wearing sheeps’ clothing. You’re obviously one of that sort.

    BO is to blame. So are the entirety of Inner Party leadership. WE know it as well as they do.

    Stop making excuses. Stop defending the indefensible.

  • lynchie

    no I am not holding the GOP harmless, rather the number of times Obama gave in before he negotiated, nominees never brought forward because of the threat of not being approved, Wall Street and Big bank inclusion and in oversight of Wall Street and the banks, not one single person responsible for the biggest theft in history ever charged, drone attacks on civilians, Keystone Pipeline, offering up SS and Medicare after running two elections stating they were off limits. Do you wish me to continue. Obama governs not as a leader as much as a good little soldier doing what his masters want.

  • http://twitter.com/EleanorWhitel Eleanor White

    People, people, people compromise means accepting some things we don’t like. I do however believe that the Republican controlled the messaging from 2007 on and the Democrats were fell into the trap of believing that we have an immediate debt crisis and repeated the mantra about debt and deficits.

    President Obama is not the blame, We the People are for not holding Congress Dems/Repubs responsible. That’s how the Tea Party became effective and the same would apply to the progressives if they would get off their keisters and take action.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s time to hurt them.

  • http://twitter.com/EleanorWhitel Eleanor White

    It appears you are holding harmless, the GOP, who in an unprecedented manner, are committed to doing what is better for their party rather than what is better for the American people.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    yep!

  • http://twitter.com/EleanorWhitel Eleanor White

    You’re right I have not heard anyone suggesting that raising more revenue for SS is an answer but, it is a good idea The Dems got bamboozled into following the banter calling for deficit reduction , etc, rather than calling for growth strategies. Now recently, they have changed their rhetoric.

    There is a great deal of waste and fraud that if eliminated could reduce the cost of the social services. I hope that the Dems take a good look at the criteria for SSI and eliminate eligibility for the drug addicted. Section 8 housing is another area where they can take a closer look at the waste and fraud.

  • Ford Prefect

    Perhaps you might wish to enlighten us? Why wait for someone else to do it?

    In any case, I think most here understand the strategic questions here. When Pelosi volunteered to be seen as an insufferable tosser with her “new era of austerity” remark about a year ago, she pretty well planted the flag of class warfare on her front lawn. If anything, her Chained CPI remarks are tame in comparison.

    The words uttered aren’t really at issue here. The publicly stated direction of policy in the Democratic Party is very much at issue. The words merely confirm our darkest suspicions.

  • Butch1

    Some of us have been calling out Pelosi for the past year along with Obama. You can add Harry Reid to that list as well. There are absolutely NO LEADERS in the democratic party that are our friends who have our backs when it comes to protecting our Safety Net. Social Issues? Yes. But, there are many of us who live and survive on Social Security and these rich fools are going to ruin it for us if they continue to ride the same bus with the republicans instead of fighting them on this issue.

    What has gotten into them that they quit fighting them and standing up to them and protecting us like they swore and promised they would do? This is why we voted them into office and for them to become republicans instead and to vote like them is disingenuous of them. They have become traitors to us.

  • ezpz

    I know you didn’t ask me, but — where have you been the past 5 years? Under some rock? Another planet?

  • ezpz

    I didn’t “jump” Bernie; just simply stated the obvious.
    I used to LOVE Howard Dean, but he also sold out. He rightfully spoke out against the ACA before he supported it.

    If believing that the senators and representatives that we send to congress should actually represent us in ACTION, not just words, makes me naive, then so be it – and with pride!

    “The grist of legislating” doesn’t mean saying something that sounds really good, but not voting accordingly, or does it?

    Do ANY of our so called representatives have the courage of their convictions?
    Do they even HAVE convictions?

    Again, please tell me how I’m wrong about Bernie, besides your conclusion that I’m “simply misinformed about the complexities of law making.”

  • BloggerDave

    “Cutting financial aid to single mothers; cutting financial aid to hungry children; slashing Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare”
    Please provide proof.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Agreed John’s opinion would weight more heavily than the hysterics of the righteous.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I voted for Jill Stein dipshit.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Lets expand the wonderfulness of Obama: assassination of American citizens; death droning of innocent civilians; war crimes; failure to prosecute financial banking/Wall Street crimes; Cutting financial aid to single mothers; cutting financial aid to hungry children; slashing Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare; punishing crime whistle blowers; and a national police state which spies on American citizens……and the list goes on.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same here

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly what we did and have absolutely no regrets.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    If you had jumped Barney Frank I would agree. I knew Bernie from Vermont, along with Howard and Jim Dean. You are simply wrong about Sanders, probably because of a nativity about the grist of legislating. I often find John often frustrated on this site trying to explain law making to the righteous. We are not on different sides. But, when it comes to Bernie you are simply misinformed about the complexities of law making.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Same here

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s purely a game with the Democrats. They are all wealthy and have no danger in the game as they strip away security for the rest of us. Pelosi is a few hundred million away from her last 3sqs and a warm bed.

  • ezpz

    And voting for your guy means you support war crimes and grand theft of the 99%, to name just two from a very long list of egregiousness.

  • ezpz

    There’s no “split liberal vote” because a true liberal would not vote for the corporatist party, which includes both Ds and Rs.

  • condew

    And she lost as you knew she would. Kind of like “self-gratification”.

  • Sweetie

    Pelosi is counting on the naivete of Democratic citizens.

  • Sweetie

    LOL

  • Sweetie

    “Why any Democrat…”

    There’s your answer.

    New party or continue on a fool’s errand.

  • Sweetie

    Yeah, Sanders is a lot of smoke and mirrors.

  • Sweetie

    The place to respond is with the creation and expansion of another party, a true populist party that is opposed to plutocracy.

    Anything short of that is an utter waste of time.

  • Sweetie

    “It is clear that we must enter an era of austerity…”

  • BloggerDave

    I wish John would weigh in on your posts so you can get the political strategy behind why Pelosi etc say what they say. Don’t go off the deep end with every word uttered. It’s not what they say but what they actually DO…

  • ezpz

    Everything you said is painfully and frustratingly true.
    I freely admit to being duped by 0bama the first time around, but shortly into his first term, I knew we’d been had. Badly.

  • lynchie

    When people talk about GOP stupidity we forget that they don’t have a monopoly. Any one who blindly believes and follows without question as ripe for the picking. That’s why the tv preachers are so successful, they depend on the fear some people have of not getting in to heaven. In our case these Obamabots just can’t/won’t believe he has done nothing. Yeah I know a few token things, but has done no heavy lifting and the constant pandering to the right is passed off as being bipartisan. There is nothing bipartisan about doing the right thing, for standing up for the poor and elderly, of making the 1% accountable. No the obamabots fear they will have to admit they were duped. I admit it. I wanted him to do what he promised but i see nothing but how bad the GOP have been against him. Well fine, but why appoint wall street bankers to police wall street bankers. Cut and run when his supposed nominees were rejected initially by the GOP. Continue to make false promises-recent campaign-no changes to SS and Medicare. The list is endless. Now we get the constant lesser of two evils horsehit. Evil is still Evil. Sometimes it comes with honey and sugar and sometimes it burns your lips but you still swallow the same old shit because that’s all there is. I know writing these meaningless tripe just points out how powerless we all are, and the 1% knows it. When they tire of reading the protests that will stop too. They control the newspapers, tv stations, government, banks, wall street and you and me. When they have everything they figure than squeeze out of us they will simply turn off the faucet, and the first signs of that are attacking SS and Medicare.

  • ezpz

    Because it might work, and they can’t have that. The SS/Medicare fund has been looted by the 1% over the years. It’s filled with IOUs that they DON’T want to honor. Hence, the fear mongering about the New Deal – that they have to kill it to save it – y’know…’for future generations’. What’s really pathetic is that there are quite a few bots who buy into this crazy and false notion, as evidenced by some comments even on this thread.

  • ezpz

    I did just that this past election – did NOT vote for any candidates that had R or D by their names. No, I voted for Jill Stein, and other third party candidates. It felt so good.

  • ezpz

    Did you even read anything from those links?

    Sorry to burst your bubble. The truth may hurt, but ignorance is NOT bliss. Just look at all the obamabots and the damage they inflict on others with their blind support of a lying criminal. They are complicit. Bernie Sanders is complicit.

    Knowledge is power. Open your eyes. Don’t be a bernie-bot.

  • htfd

    Politics is a dirty game. Politicians let you see only what they want you to see.

  • htfd

    You left out her mafia roll of breaking arms, legs and heads with the withholding of funds from the DNC or appointments to chair committees.

  • htfd

    Killed any children today with your vote for Obama? How many people did you put on the kill list Tuesday with your vote for Obama? O, ya, it’s about women’s rights and the next nominee for the Supreme Court. Tell me how important those issues are when your belly hurts from hunger.

  • htfd

    Negativity is the reason Third Party candidates do not win. If you could hold you nose and vote for Obama, why not bite the bullet, dump the fear factor politics, end the sport spectacular super bowl that elections have become and vote Third Party. Just think, no antiquated electoral vote, 100% popular vote for Representative and Senators. Dump the DNC and RNC control.

  • htfd

    But of course Pelosi, Hoyer, Clyburn, Becerra, Israel, Wasserman0Shults,
    Crowley and most of all Obama are Tea Party Democrats. If you look in
    their closets you will see all those three corner hats. They are all the mouth pieces for the 1%.

  • htfd

    Pelosi needs a good dose of highway signs and add to that homemade, grassroots signs on cars with some really stop and think messages.

  • htfd

    Nancy is counting on the Democrats taking over the House again and be elected to be the speaker. Well, if she’s pushing for austerity with the Chained CPI (citizenry plundered indefinitely – sent to me as a reply to a comment I made) than she can forget it. When she was speaker it cost us tax payers a small fortune to fly here round trip to SF,CA every week end. Someone should look up the total cost and post it. I don’t care if she’s next in line for the presidency after the V.P. she can go economy or not at all. Homeland Security and the TS A are making flying safe aren’t they? And since they now supposedly have a test for Alzheimer that predicts the onset within a 5 year period, it should be made mandatory that she be tested…in fact make it mandatory for every elected official over the age of 60; positive results immediate dismissal.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ppppppfffffttt!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Brava!

  • ezpz

    What has he done for the 99% lately? Talked a lot, like his mock filibuster?

    http://archive.truthout.org/sens-sanders-brown-and-landrieu-conduct-mock-filibuster-to-voice-criticism-of-tax-deal-video65862

    And here’s what he had to say about the recent REAL filibuster when asked about the absence of Democrats’ participation:

    I’m working right now on many, many, other issues,” Sanders said.

    “Presumably you go down on the floor because you believe in something,” he added, though he argued that the method Paul used to raise his questions and his timing weren’t “particularly constructive.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/rand-paul-filibuster-democrats_n_2830850.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

  • Ford Prefect

    I bet her replies are a good deal better than that. As in better pandering.

    Hoyer, by virtue of his seniority (will be the next Leader if he doesn’t die or something) and his history, is the second most corrupt member of the Dem Caucus. He’s been that way for forever. So he ought to get points for being perversely open about it. I have nothing but contempt for people like him, but at least there’s that.

    Schakowsky, OTOH, is far more hypocritical. So she and her ilk bother me a great deal more.

  • cole3244

    to get the neanderthals that support the rw you have to put something on the table they can swallow if there is to be any possibility of getting a tax increase that will help solve the problem, whatever it takes to eventually raise taxes on the wealthy is a vehicle worth using no matter how repulsive, by using the same approach as the rw in my way or the highway is no way to a solution, we just disagree here but that’s fine the goal is what matters not how we get there, if you can’t beat them join them as in promise whatever it takes to get a tax increase, once that is initiated and the deficit starts receding the electorate as a whole will realize damaging ss & med is a rw goal of decades in the making.
    this problem is the result of not electing anyone from the left to congress except in a few isolated instances, the right has been spewing the garbage about liberals being the satans from hell for so long the sheep have believed it, until there are more in congress and the wh from the left things won’t get better, sorry we disagree but thats what democracy is all about no matter what the rw say.

  • ezpz

    You make the case. ‘He fools a lot of people.’

  • condew

    Pols have talked about eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse for 40 years I can personally remember, and certainly longer than that. If the government asks a company to do something that’s never been done, they try to do it, and they fail because the technology isn’t up to it, I’m sure some will call that fraud and some will call that waste. Never mind that it is one way government can push technology forward.

    When I think of waste, I think of all the times corporations have torn down a recently-built, perfectly good building because it is not the standard corporate design. Like tearing down a 5-year-old bank to build a McDonald’s. I’m sure industry wastes 30%, too. And then there are the privately held companies, how much is wasted in nepotism Like Bush Sr.’s buddies bailing out W repeatedly, or Romney bailing out his son?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    exactly

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you Obot

  • condew

    A boom out of the sequester? That’s the biggest bullshit rationalization I’ve ever heard. The defense industry will keep the under 40 and under 50 engineers and lay off the over 50 and over 60 engineers. And while age discrimination is illegal, it’s OK to refuse to interview candidates over 50. Industry actually tells it’s hired recruiters not to send them anybody that old. So a lot of older engineers will just be unemployed, and the economy will shrink a little more.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This is utter bullshit!

  • condew

    Yeh, not just “impeachment is off the table”, but her “very productive” congress made a lot of congressmen cast difficult votes for legislation that everyone knew would not be taken up by the Senate. Nancy played a big part in handing the House over to the Tea Party Republicans.

  • condew

    Now there an idea for how to lose faster, vote third party. Yeh, sure, you betcha!

  • condew

    She sounds like her attitude is identical to what I get from Steny Hoyer. Call his office and complain about his advocating cuts to Social Security, get back a form letter saying he’s glad you support his approach.

  • condew

    The Democratic primaries is indeed the place to respond. I suspect the problem is not so much a “rabid obama crowd” but that the people who should be leading us in an effort to primary every turncoat Democrat instead push a Ralph Nader-like suicide mission to see if we can get the Green party to to 15%. A split liberal vote will leave us powerless to stop further attacks on working Americans.

    But of course it feels so much better to vote for a self-righteous loser than do something constructive within the Democratic party.

  • Ford Prefect

    Since the ’70s, the GAO has consistently estimated the DOD budget (not including the “black” portions, as those were always completely unaccountable to anyone) were roughly 30% “waste, fraud and mismanagement.”

    I’d bet that proportion is much higher today, since DOD has been largely privatized and corporate “contractors” literally write the DOD budget themselves.

  • Ford Prefect

    Exactamundo! But the tell also goes so far as to what Neo-Libs mean when they mean “most vulnerable.” In the end, they’re going to screw them too, just as they always do.

    Notice also, that she’s literally using decades old GOP claptrap about the “most vulnerable” that’s never meant anything beyond, “We’re going to screw them harder than a pile driver on Friday afternoon, but we mentioned them nicely, so they should be happy with what they get.”

  • Ford Prefect

    You’re buying into the establishment logic that some kind of “deal,” any “deal,” is paramount. The resulting policies matter not. ezpz is correct, those two things are mutually exclusive and putting them into the same basket is nonsense.

    Sadly, this isn’t about “negotiations” or “discussion.” It’s about class warfare waged by the rich in both parties against the poor and soon-to-be-poor in both parties. Neither party cares about the details. What they care about is the rich are let off the hook, while the lower orders get to pick up the tab in the end.

    The rest is all kabuki.

  • condew

    When Pelosi says cuts to Social Security are OK with her provided “it protects the most vulnerable Social Security beneficiaries”, how can I read that any way except that Nancy is OK with screwing the middle class.

  • Ford Prefect

    My bad. I misinterpreted your sense.

    I did an enormous amount of encouraging–even applauding–good behaviors from January 2007 (before, actually) onward. Clearly, that was a waste of time, as I’m quite confident I wasn’t alone in that. Donations, letters of praise and so forth. But especially monetary donations. Now even though I’ve not given a penny since 2010, I’m still on everyone’s lists and receive three or four money calls a month even now. That, of course, turns into a 25 minute lecture on why the Democratic Party is a total failure for the 99%. I would say roughly 75% of my interlocutors agree with my appraisal of the Party. But one has to make a living and these are paid telemarketers for the Party and some of them have told me how difficult it is for them to make ends meet. I’m familiar with this, since I worked for the Party previously and was surrounded by people who could afford the shitty salary and austere bennies because rich unka Mikey subsidized their existence.

    Jan is in a safe seat. She knows this, but like any competent politician, she also understands the ramifications of what’s coming and her own role in it. She knows people are increasingly angry. She gets that. She also knows the socio-economic stats from her district, so she knows her constituents are taking it up the wazoo for Wall Street et al. That’s why she does this CYA dance like the others. We can name 98% of congressional Dems and find similar behaviors in different styles. Remember, only 26 Dems could be bothered to sign a tepid letter which means next to nothing, aside from fodder for press releases.

    Will she “get hers”? She’s obviously betting the answer is NO. She’s also probably correct in that conclusion, since no one is organizing against her. We’re nowhere near seeing a revolt within the Party and until that day comes, assuming it ever does, then all the wishing in the world doesn’t mean squat to people who know how to “work” their polities. Nice notes from “little people” don’t impress people who hobnob on huge yachts on the Chesapeake.

    So I guarantee you that if you want to be heard, those CYAs have to become not worth the cheap electronic “paper” they’re written on. She will not hear anything until it threatens her economic advancement or her incumbency. This is the way politicians operate generally and that’s not entirely a bad thing. It just is what it is, essentially. Of course it’s worse now, when almost everyone is corrupt. They can kick the proverbial can down the road for a very long time and the Inner Party is totally invested in that idea.

    Without the kind of leverage that makes people freak out with existential angst over losing Power, you’re just a mark to be played. (Not YOU personally, just generally)

    At some point, things will play out along more dramatic lines. I’m not looking forward to it, but unfortunately, people just don’t want to learn all that quickly and a lot of people have an awful lot to learn. (Again, not about YOU, just more generally)

    There’s very little that’s actually impossible in this world, but some things require a lot of angry people to get moving. We’re still not there yet, methinks.

  • cole3244

    obviously, my point is that you have to have them on the table to even start the conversation with the gop but everything can be solved with other cuts & the tax increases if they are large enough, and as i said they should increase to more then the level during clintons terms.

  • wds

    So interesting that the people who will NEVER be dependent on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid are the ones most interested in cutting it or doing away with it …. >shakes head< It's so sad really…and typical of what my Father used to call "The best government money can buy" (actual statement from him)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    There was a great article in the Washington Post, detailing just how ridiculously bloated the U.S. defense budget has become:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/07/everything-chuck-hagel-needs-to-know-about-the-defense-budget-in-charts/

  • emjayay

    Well yes, particularly with neo or any other kind of conservative. But as politicians, if fairly traditional Democrats like Nancy Pelosi feel the need to compromise, I would think they would propose at most a little of each but I haven’t seen any politician breathe a word about raising more revenue for Social Security. Only non-politicians. Maybe I’ve missed something.

    With Medicare, there are possiblities of changing things to reduce or eliminate incentives for fraud and get better at finding it (the kind of thing Republicans tend to reduce funding for of course), make medical care more effective and appropriate and of course have the govmint negotiate drug prices so we get down to Canadian and European levels and a lot of other ways to save money. But Social Security is just a check. The only opportunity to reduce the payment side without reducing those checks is maybe reducing fraud in the disability area, and I think SS is pretty good already in that area, but I’m no expert. And in a few years gay marriage will include a few more widow/widowers getting those checks, but probably not that many because of almost all gay couples both working anyway.

  • ezpz

    cutting ss or medicare should be a last resort after tax increases on the wealthy…

    No, it shouldn’t be a ‘resort’ at all. SS/Medicare should not even be on the table. It shouldn’t come ‘after’ or together with a tax increase. The two are mutually exclusive.

  • ezpz

    I wouldn’t count Bernie Sanders as an exception, except if he knows that something will pass without his vote.

    Myles Hoenig:

    Everything Sanders says is so right on. However, his actions belie his words. He is clearly playing ‘I’m of the people’ politics, even doubting the president’s sincerity in protecting Social Security but nonetheless supported his ‘fecal’ cliff bill. This was clearly not a good bill; a compromise that both sides hated. Yet any support of it was a support of the narrative written by Wall Street and endorsed by President Obama….

    …If Bernie had any real credibility as a Senator, and one who once called himself a Socialist, he should have urged to the point of filibuster that we ‘went over the cliff’, not side with the Wall Streeter-in-Chief.

    Senator Sanders fools a lot of people…But he’s a Democratic Party hack just the same and votes more with this corporate party than most Democrats. He’s got a good tongue. But as it wags, his finger is on the ‘Aye’ button for Wall Street.

    http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/01/senator-bernie-sanders-stfu/

  • blue

    “These days I’m wondering if, along with a perpetual state of war, a
    perpetual state of economic depression/recession isn’t what the
    Plutocratic Bastard Class actually wants — because they sure as hell
    aren’t suffering at all.”

    It’s 1984, all the way down to the government saying one thing when it always does the opposite. Scares me. Is Handmaid’s Tale around the corner? Because the fairly recent pushback against women’s rights in the form of restricting access to abortion/BC scares me, too.

  • GaiusPublius

    Not praising, in the sense you mean. Encouraging and using. I’m encouraging you to encourage her to do a good thing. She’ll get hers when she next strays. She’s on the radar.

    GP

  • lynchie

    Once again the Democrats lead in offering cuts to earned benefits. The benefit for the GOP is they can say it was the slimy liberals who cut your SS and Medicare and the Dems win with their corporate banks and Wall street. Passing more onto the backs of the 99% is the way this country has been run for decades. Clinton was a pissant, signed NAFTA, welfare reform and deregulated banks and wall street. He became an instant millionaire when he got out and continues with his tax free foundation which has done fuck all to help Americans and little to help the rest of the world. He and his buddy Herbert Walker are great at photo ops for tsunami victims and Billo is always handy to sniff the panties of celebrities and models. Pelosi and her fellow fuckers deserve to be primaried and thrown out, but that won’t happen. We have a rabid Obama crowd who fall to their knees and fellate him on every great speech but never demand he put substance instead of rhetoric. Remember George Carlin–Its a big club and we ain’t in it.

  • cole3244

    cutting ss or medicare should be a last resort after tax increases on the wealthy and i mean significant tax increases not just back to the clinton era, any dem that agrees to take away benefits from ss and medicare should be targeted from the left in the primary because they don’t deserve to be representing the 99% in congress since that stance represents the 1% and no one else.

  • KingCranky

    Pelosi’s “logic” seems to be “if we don’t agree to a chained CPI, we’ll have to raise the age for Medicare”.

    Why any Democrat would buy into this political version of Sophie’s Choice, when both should be roundly rejected, is still a mystery, especially since those Democrats will be the ones paying the price on election day.

    Perhaps some enterprising reporter could be bothered to ask Pelosi how a chained CPI doesn’t harm the most vulnerable of Social Security recipients, how such a move “strengthens” Social Security, but doesn’t lead the way towards the eventual gutting of Social Security.

    The ultimate irony is that, at this point, the social safety net, and the deferred compensation programs of Medicare & Social Security are only being preserved by the intransigence of those most insistent on their elimination.

  • Ford Prefect

    The Clinton “boom” was mostly from the financial bubbles blown up in that period: dot.bomb, stock market, real estate and so forth. The “boom” wasn’t a boom at all. It was also the beginning of the end for our economy.

    As for defense cuts, I’m sure you recall those cuts only lasted a few years. After that, spending went up, up, up, not down. He made sure there was no “peace dividend.”

  • Ford Prefect

    26 is probably the number of votes this bill will get if it gets to the floor.

    Don’t knock yourself out praising Schakowsky, GP. Your description of her is pretty good, although a bit overly generous, methinks–in 2006 I thought she was great, but that was before the Dems took majority… it’s been downhill ever since. She’s pretty crass and she’s doing this because she knows this goes nowhere, but it’s good PR for her district. Same for Vargas and others–since they know their polling will plummet when Austerity is enforced. They’ll need to ads in 2014 that says, “I opposed the sequester, if only to save my own sorry ass from your disapproval, cynical though I am.” As far as New Dems go, anyone who puts out that shingle is basically advertising they’re up for sale.

    As cynical as I sound to my own self, I know I’m not taking this far enough. Praising professional cynics like Schakowsky only feeds the beast, since that’s what she’s looking for. It’s not enough and it’s no indication of future performance. Indeed, it gives her cover for her awful behaviors when they occur, which is often enough.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The definition of insanity, as I’m sure you all know, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Of course Nancy Pelosi is gonna roll over. How many times do we have to watch the same song-and-dance? It’s like putting a DVD into the player and expecting a different ending to the movie you’ve already seen a hundred times before: Madness.

    Her role in this is as it ever was: To give the foolish rubes a Democratic figurehead upon which to pin their hopes, that there’s someone who’ll hold the line against regressive cuts, so that people don’t go looking for genuine progressive leaders to replace her and the rest of the corrupt DNC leadership. Moreover, the Democratic Progressive Caucuses in the House and Senate will also roll over the instant their votes are needed, with just a few exceptions such as Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders (yes, I know he’s actually an independent) — because they, too, have been completely coopted by the neo-liberal agenda. Which, oddly enough, is identical to the neo-conservative agenda as far as tax, spending, and regulatory priorities go.

    Our political class’s raison d’être is to serve the 0.01%, which they’ve been doing very well for a long time now.

    Personally, I think it’s tragically hilarious that the best chance to avoid these cuts to Social Security and Medicare is through continued GOP intransigence.

  • Mike Meyer

    REPUBLICRATS, the rich folks party(s).

    Third Party, Folks. (unless, of course, yer rich then its best ya stick with who brung ya to the dance)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Oh, I don’t know about that last point. If freed up labor resources was stimulative, the excess of unemployed and underemployed people right now would have fueled a big boom in innovation.

    I have a lot of involvement with tech start-ups and the common refrain among all of them is the real problem is lack of capital funding. Which the banks and investment houses are sitting on, or swapping between themselves as they play with magically inflated derivatives.

    No, I think what’s going to happen is the market is going to be flooded with laid-off defense-specialized engineers, which will only increase the downward pressure on salaries and benefits for these college-educated professionals.

    These days I’m wondering if, along with a perpetual state of war, a perpetual state of economic depression/recession isn’t what the Plutocratic Bastard Class actually wants — because they sure as hell aren’t suffering at all.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Why not? Because that would actually fix the problem they claim to be addressing, whereas cutting benefits weakens Social Security, which goes to the long-term neo-liberal/neo-conservative goal of privatizing and/or eliminating a gov’t guaranteed old age pension altogether.

  • Phil Perspective

    The GOP talks a lot about slashing entitlements but their base is 60+ years old so they know they can’t cut benefits for current recipients which chained CPI would do.

    You’re wrong. They don’t give a shit about their supposed base. The base of the GOP electeds are people like Art Pope and the Koch Brothers. They want to ditch Social Security and Medicare, they just don’t want their fingerprints on it. Problem is, they can’t even see to raise taxes temporarily on the .01% to do it.

  • dula

    Next week she’ll just say she was bluffing in order to negotiate.

  • FunMe

    I have been saying for a long time that CONservatives have infiltrated the Democrat Party, and that includes Pelosi. With her “impeachment is off the table”, I just knew that she is a freaking PHONIE. Not to mention a corporate whore.

    I detest that woman and the damage she continues to cause to our country. She only works for the rich 1% and the rest, she could care less. I can’t wait for her to get her karma. Bad karma.

  • MyrddinWilt

    If so, Dems are the only people on board with Chained CPI.

    The GOP talks a lot about slashing entitlements but their base is 60+ years old so they know they can’t cut benefits for current recipients which chained CPI would do. Thats why they have to do the two step of end benefits for the under 55s so the money can be used to give Koch bros and Romney another tax cut then after they have that through get the under 55s to shut down the programs they no longer have any stake in.

    I can’t really see any way out of the mess right now. There is no deal that the GOP can agree to. Half their caucus rejects everything out of hand as not cutting too much and the other half won’t agree to what is already on the table.

    One factor that the bean counters don’t seem to factor in is that the sequester might actually be stimulative, or at least the portion that slashes defense procurement. The spending being cut most is the procurement spending and in particular development of next generation weapons to fight the Soviet Union. Those programs employ vast numbers of engineers who are not available to the rest of the economy.

    The Clinton economic boom happened not despite the reduction of military spending but because of it. It was the shuttering of Pentagon bloat that released engineers for productive work and enabled the dot com boom.

  • emjayay

    Why aren’t they talking about raising the FICA income limit and getting tax avoiders like Wall Street guys to pay in or whatever other stuff that can be done on the funding side?

  • nicho

    Meanwhile, the IMF is going to bail out the banksters in Cyprus by taking depositors’ money.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-16/euro-area-takes-aim-at-depositors-in-cyprus-bailout.html

    It’s a worldwide corporatist assault on working people.

  • Mike Meyer

    SAVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY, call Boehner @ 1-202-225-0600. Express YOUR concerns.

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