american democracy

Home » american democracy

Friday Evening News Roundup (addendum)

Friday Evening News Roundup

Mitt Romney seems to vacillate on every single topic except his taxes. On the subject of his taxes, he stands firm. It just makes you wonder –

I’m wondering, do you see much difference between these two statements:

U.S. Embassy in Egypt:

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Romney to ABC:

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I haven’t seen the film. I don’t intend to see it. I, you know, I think it’s dispiriting sometimes to see some of the awful things people say. And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. And I wish people wouldn’t do it. Of course, we have a First Amendment. And under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ve seen General Martin Dempsey call Pastor Jones to say, “Please don’t promote this film.” You think that’s a good idea?

MITT ROMNEY: I think the whole film is a terrible idea. I think him making it, promoting it showing it is disrespectful to people of other faiths. I don’t think that should happen. I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment- the good judgment- not to be- not to offend other peoples’ faiths. It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing.

Nope, I didn’t neither. (more…)

By | 2013-11-03T18:13:28+00:00 September 14th, 2012|Foreign Affairs, General, Party Politics|Comments Off on Friday Evening News Roundup (addendum)

I want to be a millionaire so Paul Ryan will love me, too

For reasons that are unclear, I have been very busy over the last several weeks. I am hopeful that things will slow down. 🙂

I haven’t had much opportunity to review Paul Ryan’s budget. As you recall, his last budget caused quite a stir. After a cursory review, his budget, which was passed today by the House, is a perfect reflection of Republican ideals. We have very few opportunities to understand and see what people are really like. Politicians have PR men and focus groups to hone their message. This budget is a rare opportunity for us to look into the soul and heart of Republicanism.

Let’s dive in-

“It is so rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract, but that is exactly where we are today,” said Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the architect of the blueprint. “Today’s budget is a vote of confidence for the American experiment.”

From CBPP:

In last year’s Ryan budget, the cuts over ten years (fiscal years 2012-2021) totaled $4.5 trillion, of which at least $2.9 trillion — about 65 percent — would come from low-income programs. In Chairman Ryan’s new budget, the cuts (exclusive of the proposed defense spending increases) total $5.3 trillion over ten years (fiscal years 2013-2022), of which at least $3.3 trillion — 62 percent — would come from low-income programs.

In other words, the size of the low-income cuts is a bit larger, while their percentage of the total cuts is a bit smaller because the cuts as a whole are bigger.

From EPI:

Paul Ryan’s latest budget doesn’t just fail to address job creation, itaggressively slows job growth. Against a current policy baseline, the budget cuts discretionary programs by about $120 billion over the next two years and mandatory programs by $284 billion, sucking demand out of the economy when it most needs it and leading to job loss. Using a standard macroeconomic model that is consistent with that used by private- and public-sector forecasters, the shock to aggregate demand from near-term spending cuts would result in roughly 1.3 million jobs lost in 2013 and 2.8 million jobs lost in 2014, or 4.1 million jobs through 2014.*

Oh, and here’s the best part. It isn’t that Paul Ryan is taking money from programs that are actually helping people. No, it isn’t that. It isn’t that there are no Pentagon spending cuts or that his budget gives the Pentagon more money than they asked for. No, that’s nothing. It is that we need to follow the Bush model leading to ruin. We need to give huge tax cuts to the rich, again. It is as if we don’t remember how that worked out the last time. (See economic collapse of 2007.)

From CBPP:

The Ryan budget includes a number of specific tax cuts, on top of making the Bush tax cuts permanent.  All of its new tax cuts are both expensive and tilted toward high-income households.  It would cut the top individual tax rate to 25 percent, the lowest level since the Hoover Administration more than 80 years ago.  It would cut the corporate rate to 25 percent and eliminate both the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Affordable Care Act’s increase in the Medicare tax for high-income people.

A new TPC analysis finds that people with incomes above $1 million would receive a $265,000 average annual tax cut just from the new Ryan proposals (i.e., not counting what they would also receive from extension of the Bush tax cuts).  Middle-income taxpayers — those with incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 — would receive $1,045, on average.

This is 100% Republicanism. If you don’t have money, if you are out of a job, sorry. We got nothing for ya except contempt.

By | 2012-03-29T22:59:34+00:00 March 29th, 2012|Budget, Economy|4 Comments

Obama lays out his vision of America

I have watched this speech twice. It is really great.

From George Lakoff:

Last week, on April 13, 2011, President Obama gave all Democrats and all progressives a remarkable gift. Most of them barely noticed. They looked at the president’s speech as if it were only about budgetary details. But the speech went well beyond the budget. It went to the heart of progressive thought and the nature of American democracy, and it gave all progressives a model of how to think and talk about every issue.

It was a landmark speech. It should be watched and read carefully and repeatedly by every progressive who cares about our country — whether Democratic office-holder, staffer, writer, or campaign worker — and every progressive blogger, activist and concerned citizen. The speech is a work of art.

The policy topic happened to be the budget, but he called it “The Country We Believe In” for a reason. The real topic was how the progressive moral system defines the democratic ideals America was founded on, and how those ideals apply to specific issues. Obama’s moral vision, which he applied to the budget, is more general: it applies to every issue. And it can be applied everywhere by everyone who shares that moral vision of American democracy.

Discussion in the media has centered on economics — on the president’s budget policy compared with the Republican budget put forth by Paul Ryan. But, as Robert Reich immediately pointed out, “Ten or twelve-year budgets are baloney. It’s hard enough to forecast budgets a year or two into the future.” The real economic issues are economic recovery and the distribution of wealth. As I have observed, the Republican focus on the deficit is really a strategy for weakening government and turning the country conservative in every respect. The real issue is existential: what is America at heart and what is America to be.

In 2008, candidate Obama laid out these moral principles as well as anyone ever has, and roused the nation in support. As president, as he focused on pragmatics and policy, he let moral leadership lapse, leaving the field of morality to radical conservatives, who exploited their opposite moral views effectively enough to take over the House and many state offices. For example, they effectively attacked the president’s health care plan on two ideas taken from the right-wing version of morality: freedom (“government takeover”) and life (“death panels”). The attacks were successful even though Americans preferred the president’s health care policies (no preconditions, universal affordable coverage). The lesson: morality at the general level beats out policy at the particular level. The reason: voters identify themselves as moral beings not policy wonks. (more…)

By | 2011-04-21T15:51:10+00:00 April 21st, 2011|Obama administration|Comments Off on Obama lays out his vision of America