Tag Archives: consequences

News Roundup – Egypt, Paul Krugman, North Carolina

The violence in Egypt is simply breathtaking. Maybe heartbreaking is a better term.. I understand that Egyptians, for the most part, weren’t happy with the Muslim brotherhood. I’m sorry. If you indeed had a free and fair election, you need to live with the consequences. I am sitting here in North Carolina seizing over what has happened to what was the most progressive state in the South. Our answer is not to take to the streets and begin randomly shooting people. Instead, we are organizing. We’re going to get more people registered to vote. We’re going to vote these ultra conservative Republicans out of office and take back our state.

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Paul Krugman had two excellent posts yesterday. The first post had two things that were very interesting to me. First, Professor Krugman wondered if most Americans knew that the budget deficit has been rapidly decreasing. Somebody from Google got in contact with him and they quickly put out a survey. This isn’t the exact same thing as a poll, but it does give you an idea of the power of the Internet. The poll suggested that over 75% of the respondents had no idea that the federal deficit had significantly decreased. This brings me to my next point, that the budget deficit has significantly decreased compared to GDP.

In Paul Krugman’s other post, he talks a little bit about the economy in the Netherlands. The Netherlands had the kind of “Grand Bargain” that several in Washington have been arguing for for the last couple of years. Basically, cut the federal budget and cut the federal budget some more. Then, when you think you’re through, cut the federal budget once more for good measure. Well, this didn’t work out so well for the Netherlands. Their economy is in the tank. Continue reading News Roundup – Egypt, Paul Krugman, North Carolina

Sequester, Bob Woodward And Other Craziness

So, we are in the post-sequestered era. What happens now?

Bob Woodward

First of all, let’s deal with the craziness. The Obama administration has been accused of threatening legendary journalist Bob Woodward. I think that this falls into one of the common themes facing Barack Obama – he’s from Chicago. Because Barack Obama’s from Chicago he must be part of the Chicago, “rough-and-tumble” political machine. Yet, we’ve seen no evidence that Barack Obama plays politics this way (well, it may be an overstatement to say that we see no evidence). Personally, I doubt that the Obama administration has threatened any journalist, let alone Bob Woodward. it appears that the truth is that the superficial political website, Politico, is playing this up in order to drive hits to their website. It is probably also true that Bob Woodward is playing this up in order to drive book sales. The fact that he went on Fox News’ Hannity, where the discussion turned from this latest flap to Sean Hannity’s favorite topic, Bill Ayers, says everything that needs to be said.

What has been lost in the sequester flap is that the sequester has started. Across-the-board spending cuts are going into effect starting today. The spending cuts will have real consequences.

From the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities:

  • The roughly 3.8 million long-term unemployed workers receiving federally funded unemployment benefits will face nearly 11 percent cut in their weekly benefits, according to the Administration. This will translate into a cut of roughly $130 per month for jobless workers.
  • As we explain in a new paper, the WIC nutrition program for low-income pregnant women, infants, and young children will have to turn away an estimated 600,000 to 775,000 women and children, including very young children, by the end of this fiscal year.
  • We estimate that more than 100,000 low-income families will likely lose housing vouchers.

More later.

Romney’s Gaffe Tour

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I agree with David Kurtz at TPM:

First and most important, talking up the innate superiority of the Israelis over the Palestinians isn’t, by any definition, a gaffe. That’s real, with real geopolitical consequences. He didn’t misspeak (and I’m not sure one can “misspeak” about such things anyway), and his initial claim to have been misinterpreted has been trumped by his decision to reiterate all the same points to the conservative audience at National Review.

Second, it’s hard to imagine Romney’s gaffes, missteps, and flat-out egregious mistakes happening if he had a different, i.e., solid, foreign policy team advising him. (Ignore the silly, DC-centric focus on whether his press team mismanaged the ensuing uproar.) Romney has no core foreign policy team. It’s also a team without a core. No surprise since it serves mostly to check the box of various conservative foreign policy constituencies. David Rothkopf can and does explain this part of it a lot better than I. Go read him.

The easy flourish to conclude with here would be drawing a heavy black line from Mitt’s team not having a core to Mitt himself not having a core. Maybe that’s true. But Romney is not the first presidential nominee to wind up saddled with an advisory team that is designed for political reasons to reflect the various constituent parts of his party instead of designed to get the real, difficult work done in service of the nominee. So you don’t have to reach the ultimate conclusion about Mitt’s own core — unless and until he fails to fix his team.