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House Majority Leader Cantor is Aboard the Tea Partyís Renewed Drive for Dismantling Medicare

August 4, 2011

It’s Official – House Majority Leader Cantor is Aboard the Tea Party’s Renewed Drive for Dismantling Medicare Under the Ryan Plan

 

See below, on the heels of the alarming article yesterday from Reuters: ‘US Tea Party groups see Medicare overhaul chance’ -- now the unofficial tea party leader in Congress says Americans need to “come to grips” that the promises of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid “frankly, are not going to be kept for many” and wants to be the conductor on the Tea Party Express’ renewed drive to pass the Ryan plan for dismantling Medicare, decimating Medicaid.    This is the same guy that has made a lot of promises to protect wasteful subsidies for his big oil industry donors at the same time they’re enjoying record profits.

 

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/08/04/287560/cantor-entitlement-promises-frankly-are-not-going-to-be-kept-for-many/

 

Cantor: Entitlement Promises ‘Frankly, Are Not Going To Be Kept For Many’

By Pat Garofalo on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:35 am

 

During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he is ready and willing to slash entitlements like Medicare, because, in his opinion, Americans have to “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many“:

 

What we need to be able to do is to demonstrate that that is the better way for the people of this country. Get the fiscal house in order, come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many. [...] The math doesn’t lie.

 

Watch it: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/08/04/287560/cantor-entitlement-promises-frankly-are-not-going-to-be-kept-for-many/

 

Republicans have been saying for months that they want to preserve programs like Medicare and Social Security for all people over the age of 55, but that those under 55 will have to shift into a different program. But Cantor’s pronouncement is maybe the most explicit explanation that, under the GOP’s vision, the government would be actively reneging on promises made to those who haven’t yet hit the arbitrary age of 55.

Of course, the math would look much better, particularly on Social Security, if the GOP were to back off its insistence that the government not collect a single dime in new revenue. Meanwhile, Jacob Hacker, political science professor at Yale University, has called the GOP’s scheme to raise the Medicare retirement age “the single worst idea for Medicare reform” since it “saves Medicare money only by shifting the cost burden onto older Americans caught between the old eligibility age and the new, as well as onto the employers and states that help fund their benefits.”

Kombiz | 08.04.11 | | Link to this post

Tea Party Launches Campaign to End Medicare

August 3, 2011

A MUST READ BELOW FROM REUTERS – With just a few fingers on the steering wheel in Washington, Tea Party Republicans came within inches of purposely driving the economy off the cliff this week, taking the GOP’s no-jobs agenda to a new extreme. And now corporate-backed Tea Party leaders want the American people to know: if you hand them the keys they will drive Medicare straight into a wall and seniors’ health care costs through the roof.  Tea Party leaders don’t care that the Ryan plan to end Medicare is hugely unpopular with America’s seniors – they don’t even care that the vast majority of self-described tea party members have rejected it.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/03/usa-health-medicare-idUSN1E7710M920110803

 

US Tea Party groups see Medicare overhaul chance

Wed Aug 3, 2011 11:59am EDT

* FreedomWorks lobbies for Ryan plan for Tea Party push

* Support from powerful elderly voting bloc at stake

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - With Medicare at the top of U.S. lawmakers' fall agenda, Tea Party movement leaders hope to ignite support for Republican plans to transform the popular federal healthcare program for the elderly.

Thousands of Tea Party movement activists are expected to descend this month on town hall meetings across key battleground states as part of an intensifying campaign ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

Their priority is a plan to slash Medicare costs proposed by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, which could gain momentum now that a debt-limit deal between President Barack Obama and Congress has made potential Medicare cuts a centerpiece of the deficit debate. [ID:nN1E7711QM]

A new congressional committee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by November 23 is expected to focus on Medicare, and the program would see automatic cuts if the committee failed to reach agreement, or if Congress did not approve its recommendations by December 23. Market values of companies that depend on Medicare spending fell more than 10 percent in a sell-off on Wall Street after the agreement.[ID:nN1E7700Z3]

"The August town halls are going to be, potentially, a referendum on Democrats who don't care and Republicans who've dared to offer real policy solutions, particularly on things like entitlements," said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the small-government advocacy group organizing the initiative.

"The Ryan plan is the only one out there so far, and what we need is an adult conversation with all politicians talking about the real issues."

Decried by retirees, labor unions and Democrats as a voucher system that would end Medicare, the Ryan plan appeared near death after opposition to it helped Democrats capture a congressional seat in a Republican stronghold in upstate New York in May.

But FreedomWorks, which helped found and shape the Tea Party movement, sees its campaign as the opening salvo in a long battle to secure a place for the Ryan plan in the 2012 debate and the legislative session that will begin in January 2013.

RISKS FOR REPUBLICANS

The gambit poses risks for Republicans in swing states including Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio, which FreedomWorks is targeting.

At stake is the support of senior citizens, a powerful bloc of swing voters who broadly oppose the Ryan plan and could punish its supporters in Congress if Republicans fail to turn the debate in their favor, according to analysts.

The Ryan plan -- which the House approved in April but which went nowhere in the Democratic-led Senate -- would preserve Medicare for current beneficiaries but transform it for future retirees from a system that provides guaranteed benefits to one that gives the elderly financial assistance to buy private insurance.

Polls point to broad public support for preserving Medicare in the deficit debate, with majorities favoring higher taxes for the wealthy over program cuts.

Still, a June CBS poll showed that nearly 60 percent of Americans know little about the changes proposed by the Ryan plan, suggesting that many voters have yet to form an opinion.

FreedomWorks faces a daunting challenge from Democrats and progressive groups including the coalition Health Care for America Now, which pushed for healthcare reform in 2010 and intends to defend that new law and Medicare against Republican attacks through the 2012 election.

"Each side is going to try to scare the hell out of seniors. And they're going to do that because it works. It motivates seniors to get to the polls," said Michael Cannon, a health policy expert at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Kibbe, whose group is led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and claims 800,000 volunteers nationwide, says Republicans lost in New York because they abandoned the Medicare debate to Democrats.

Republican lawmakers now need to come out swinging before the same thing happens elsewhere, he says.

"If they don't do that, we won't win this debate," Kibbe told Reuters. "You can't move a legislative initiative unless you've vetted it through the political season."

'PUBLIC EDUCATION CAMPAIGN'

Ryan himself appears to agree and has been promoting his views on television and in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece.

"We need a public education campaign and that means people from all around the country, different groups, need to engage with their people," Ryan told CNBC a day after the House approved the debt limit deal.

"You've got to have wherewithal to get out to the public to educate them as to the pending bankruptcy of Medicare."

A perennial campaign issue, Medicare could be key in 2012 House and Senate elections in swing states and could help determine the outcome in the White House race as Democrat Obama takes on a Republican challenger.

Senior citizens demonstrated their electoral clout in last November's midterm elections, when they rebelled against Obama's healthcare reforms in large enough numbers to help Tea Party activists install a Republican majority in the House.

People age 60 and older accounted for 34 percent of the vote, even though they make up only about one-quarter of the population, according to a July 29 article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Robert Blendon, who teaches health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, says elderly voters fear the Ryan plan could undermine support for Medicare among younger taxpayers by denying current benefits to future retirees.

But the current Democratic edge might disappear quickly if elderly voters associated Obama with program cuts that could come under the deficit-cutting deal.

"If their take-away is that neither party stood up for us, Medicare won't play a big role," said Blendon, who co-authored the New England Journal of Medicine article. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Vicki Allen)

 

Kombiz | 08.03.11 | | Link to this post

Boehner Prepares to Launch Sneak Attack on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

July 13, 2011

Boehner Prepares to Launch Sneak Attack on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Shrouded in So-Called “Balanced Budget Amendment”

Tipping The Scales Against America’s Seniors: Republican Balanced Budget Amendment Would Force Deep Cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, While Protecting Tax Breaks for Millionaires, Big Oil and Job-Outsourcing Corporations

Ø  From ABC News, July 13: House Speaker John Boehner released a new video blog today on his website, expressing his support for the balanced budget amendment that the House of Representatives will consider next week, but Democrats are indicating their opposition to the bill they describe as "extreme and draconian."

House Republicans made very clear when the passed their budget on April 15 that they intend to dismantle Medicare and decimate Medicaid one way or another to pay for more tax breaks for big oil and jet-owning CEO’s.  Poll after poll after poll shows the American people have resoundingly rejected their plan, and many outraged seniors have shown up at town halls across the country to express their disapproval to their Representatives personally.   And so it’s no surprise that these Republicans -- who remain as determined as ever to shred the social safety nets that keep millions of seniors, children, survivors and people with disabilities out of poverty -- would look for a back door way to achieving their goals.   Enter the “Balanced Budget Amendment.” 

GOP’s “Balanced Budget Amendment” = “sweeping cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security”

Ø  National Women’s Law Center: Current Proposals for a Balanced Budget Amendment Are More Extreme and Dangerous Than Earlier Versions: Capping future spending below Reagan-era levels would force sweeping cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, child care, education, and many other critical programs. 

Ø  CBPP: Balanced Budget Amendment Would Require More Extreme Cuts Than Ryan Plan: “It contains deeper Medicare cuts than the Ryan budget. The RSC budget includes the Ryan proposals to convert Medicare to vouchers and raise its eligibility age from 65 to 67, but it raises the eligibility age sooner than the Ryan budget would.  It raises the Social Security retirement age to 70. It also contains cuts of almost unimaginable depth in the core programs for the poorest and most disadvantaged Americans: in 2021, Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps), and Supplemental Security Income would all be cut in half…It cuts at least $86 billion over ten years from Pell Grants, which help low-income students afford college.”  

 

Ø  CBPP: A Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Threatens Great Economic Damage: “…the amendment would force policymakers to cut spending, raise taxes, or both just when the economy is weak or already in recession — the exact opposite of what good economic policy would advise… Social Security could not draw down its reserves from previous years to pay benefits in a later year but, instead, could be forced to cut benefits even if it had ample balances in its trust funds as it does today. The same would be true for military retirement and civil service retirement programs. Nor could the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation respond quickly to bank or pension fund failures by using their assets to pay deposit or pension insurance, unless they could do so without causing the budget to slip out of balance.”

 

Ø  Democratic House Budget staff: The balanced budget constitutional amendment (H. J. Res. 1) recently approved by the Judiciary Committee is a masquerade designed to foster the policy choices of the Republican budget: to end the Medicare guarantee for seniors and slash vital services while providing tax breaks for the wealthy. This balanced budget amendment would have dire consequences on the economy, on Medicare and other government guarantees to our citizens, and on Congress’s ability to respond to changing needs.

 

Ø  Economic Policy Institute: “Beyond shrinking government to implausibly low levels, the House BBA would also irrationally constrain fiscal policy during recessions…As we argued before, parliamentary restrictions on tax increases and budget deficits would amplify political gridlock, handicap fiscal policy, and intensify economic downturns by ruling out effective responses to both cyclical events and unforeseen emergencies.”

Kombiz | 07.14.11 | | Link to this post

The Heat is On

The Heat is On: Vote to End Medicare, Block Grant Medicaid Still Facing Fire From NM to WI to NY, "mass protests" "spirited exchanges"


http://media.syracuse.com/news/photo/9741148-large.jpg

Jim Commentucci / The Post-Standard

Demonstrators, including Tina Fitzgerald of Mattydale, vice-president of Disabled in Action of Greater Syracuse, who is in a wheelchair, gather outside the James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse on June 16, 2011 to protest Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle's support for a proposed overhaul of the Medicare system.

Las Cruces Sun-News: Pearce talks debt in Las Cruces: Unlike a town hall meeting in April that drew only supporters, Saturday's event featured much sharper questions and spirited exchanges. A woman who identified herself as Cynthia from Las Cruces and later declined to give her last name challenged Pearce on his vote for the House budget crafted by Paul Ryan that would, among other things, change Medicare to a voucher system. "You're cutting off my Medicare while at the same time giving tax breaks to the richest 2 percent of the country," she accused, adding that the gap between wealthy and poor in this country is as wide as its been since the 1920s. … "I'm not a big fan of the Ryan plan, but it's the only plan in Washington," Pearce said.”

Brookfield Patch (WI): Medicare Concerns Dominate Town Hall Meeting: “Concerns about Medicare and health care dominated a Town Hall meeting Sunday held by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who along with state legislators also fielded questions on issues ranging from deficits and collective bargaining to voter ID and ethanol. At age 54, Menomonee Falls resident Paul Race said he just misses the cutoff in U.S. Paul Ryan's proposal to reform Medicare for those younger than 55.  "If it's good enough for the people 54 and younger... then I think it's good enough for people 55 and older," said Race, a former Marine who has been a teacher for 25 years… Sensenbrenner said, "I'm not here to say he's (Ryan) right or he's wrong, but at least he's got a plan."… Darcy Gustavvson of Brookfield said Congress should prioritize funding for essential social nets such as "decent, affordable health care" for seniors who need it most. “Your job is to fund what the American people want," she said, not turn Medicare into a “voucher system.’”

Syracuse Post-Standard: Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle under pressure over her support for Medicare overhaul: “Six months after taking office, U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle is facing the first mass protests of her congressional career over her vote for a Republican plan to cut spending by dramatically overhauling the federal Medicare program. Over the past three weeks, Buerkle said, she and her staff answered hundreds of phone calls from Central New Yorkers — including some from sobbing seniors — worried about the future of Medicare, the public health care system for the elderly and people with disabilities. The freshman congresswoman also faced angry protesters at a town hall meeting in the Wayne County town of Palmyra this month, and later a raucous crowd rallied in front of her Syracuse office to protest the proposed reforms… For seniors currently receiving benefits, the Ryan plan would reopen the prescription “doughnut hole” that had been fixed by President Barack Obama’s health-care reforms passed by Congress last year. That means 11,300 residents of the 25th Congressional District would pay more for their prescription drugs, costing local seniors an extra $111 million over 10 years, according to a study by House Democrats.”

 

Kombiz | 06.27.11 | | Link to this post

Charlie Bass: What, me, vote to end Medicare?

 

 

Concord Monitor, 6/20 : "The allegation that I voted to end Medicare is just absolutely factually false," [U.S. Representative Charlie] Bass said.

 

Wall Street Journal: Bass-Ryan Plan “would essentially end Medicare

Statement from Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United for Change: “Numerous independent analysts have concluded that the budget plan that Charlie Bass voted for on April 15 would effectively end Medicare and replace it with an ever-shrinking private voucher system that would not keep up with health care costs and would leave seniors paying at least $6,000 more out of pocket.   Rep. Bass seems to think he and his Republican colleagues can scrap Medicare for a private voucher system and still call it ‘Medicare’ – they can’t.  Just ask the folks at Coca-Cola how that worked out when they tried changing their formula and still called it Coke – no one bought it, just like no one is buying the Republican plan to privatize Medicare.  The radical plan Rep. Bass voted for doesn’t stop at dismantling Medicare – it would also kick millions of seniors in nursing homes today off of Medicaid, all to pay of trillions of dollars in new tax breaks for millionaires, big oil and companies that ship jobs overseas.”

 

Bass-Ryan Plan “would essentially end Medicare

Ø  Wall Street Journal, 4.4: The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.

Ø  The Economist, 4.5: But there is one thing about it that's fairly clear, regardless of what's in the details Mr Ryan will announce today: Mr Ryan's plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance.

Ø  McClatchy-Tribune News Service, 4.5: Ryan's is the opening move in a political chess match that's likely to unfold over several years. His plan effectively would end Medicare for seniors, revamp Medicaid for the poor, scrap the 2010 health care law, roll back nonmilitary federal spending overall and lower individual and corporate tax rates.

Ø  New York Times columnist and Nobel-Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, 5/16:  I know that serious people are supposed to be shocked, shocked at the Democrats calling the Ryan plan a plan to dismantle Medicare — but that’s just what it is. If you replace a system that actually pays seniors’ medical bills with an entirely different system, one that gives seniors vouchers that won’t be enough to buy adequate insurance, you’ve ended Medicare. Calling the new program “Medicare” doesn’t change that fact.

·         More Krugman, ‘Vouchercare Is Not Medicare’: But Comcast, the station’s owner, rejected the demand — and rightly so. For Republicans are indeed seeking to dismantle Medicare as we know it, replacing it with a much worse program…. But there’s nothing demagogic about telling the truth.  Start with the claim that the G.O.P. plan simply reforms Medicare rather than ending it. I’ll just quote the blogger Duncan Black, who summarizes this as saying that “when we replace the Marines with a pizza, we’ll call the pizza the Marines.” The point is that you can name the new program Medicare, but it’s an entirely different program — call it Vouchercare — that would offer nothing like the coverage that the elderly now receive. (Republicans get huffy when you call their plan a voucher scheme, but that’s exactly what it is.)

 

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 6.14: Here's Tom Scully -- former Bush administration director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services -- on the Republican plan, in an interview with me. "It gets rid of -- and I would do that -- gets rid of the current Medicare program where the government is the insurance company and the government sets the prices."

 

Ø  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4.7: The first year the voucher would apply, CBO estimates that total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the Ryan plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare. CBO also finds that this beneficiary's annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double — from $6,150 to $12,500.  In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater.

Kombiz | 06.21.11 | | Link to this post

Mark Amodei tries to ignite a ‘Red Scare’ in Nevada, but what’s really scary is if he had his way

June, 20, 2011

Mark Amodei tries to ignite a 'Red Scare' in Nevada, but what's really scary is if he had his way

In Case You Missed It: Mark Amodei’s Ad Depicts Chinese Army Marching On Capitol, Thanks To 'Obama's Debt Ceiling' (VIDEO)

 

Statement from Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Americans United for Change: “While an ad this absurd is a clearly a desperate cry for attention, what Mark Amodei has really drawn attention to is his reckless position that the U.S. should default on its debt obligations, which the business community warns would crush our economy and, ironically, would mean hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt.  While Mark Amodei is trying to ignite a ‘Red Scare’ in Nevada, what’s really scary is if the GOP congressional hopeful had his way: defaulting on our nation’s debt could very well lead to another economic collapse and kill Nevada jobs.  Amodei’s extreme positions don’t stop there: he proudly backs the Paul Ryan plan to end Medicare and kick millions of seniors in nursing homes off of Medicaid, all to pay of trillions of dollars in new tax breaks for millionaires, big oil and companies that ship jobs overseas.”

 

DEFAULTING ON NATION’S DEBT = “Dangerous Gamble,” “higher federal debt,” “Could Blow Up the Economy,” “possible collapse in equity prices, bank failures and a severe depression”

Ø  Wall Street Journal, 5/17: Business Groups to Congress: ‘Raising Debt Ceiling Is Critical’ : Sixty-two business groups, including the American Gas Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers, urged congressional leaders on Wednesday to raise the federal debt ceiling amid fears that political brinkmanship could lead to another financial crisis.

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 6/9: “Experts: Even Brief Default Could Blow Up The Economy” : Because interest rates on bonds determine how much it costs the US government to secure more debt, even seemingly slight changes can affect the long term deficit on a large scale. A 1% rise in interest rates, or 100 basis points, would grow the deficit by over $400 billion over the next five years and $1.2 trillion from 2012-2021, according to the CBO. 

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 6/14: ‘CBO Director Elmendorf: Debt Default ‘A Dangerous Gamble’. Ironically, Elmendorf noted that one of the potential consequences of even a brief period of default would be higher federal debt, triggered by a spike in interest rates and, thus, higher interest payments on federally issued debt.

 

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 5/19: ‘Moody’s, S&P Warn U.S. Risks Triple-A Credit Rating If It Defaults On Debt — Even Briefly’. But two of the biggest ratings agencies say they could downgrade the United States' triple-A credit if the government misses even a single debt-service payment.

Ø  Wall Street Journal, May 13: US Chamber Urges Lawmakers to Raise Debt Limit ‘Expeditiously’.  The business community’s chief lobby in Washington made the case in a letter to lawmakers signed by Bruce Josten, the group’s head of government affairs, arguing that failure to pass legislation authorizing an increase in borrowing by Aug. 4 “would create uncertainty and fear, and threaten the credit rating of the United States.”

Ø  Politico, 4/27: ‘Bank execs warn GOP on debt limit’ : Executives from the deep-pocketed industry that traditionally pumps millions into political campaigns are warning members that failure to raise the limit would risk a spike in interest rates, a possible collapse in equity prices, bank failures and a severe depression.

Ø  New York Times’ Economix, 4/26: ‘What Happens if the Debt Ceiling Isn’t Raised’

 

Kombiz | 06.20.11 | | Link to this post

Out-of-Touch Hundred-Millionaire Mitt Romney tells out-of-work Americans he can empathize

June 16, 2011

Out-of-Touch Hundred-Millionaire Mitt Romney tells out-of-work Americans he can empathize: ‘I’m Also Unemployed’

 

Today out-of-touch hundred-millionaire and wannabe comedian Mitt Romney made another poor attempt at humor, telling a group of out-of-work Floridians that he can empathize with their situation: “‘I’m Also Unemployed”

 

What’s also not funny at all is Romney’s job record as Governor, ending his term with Massachusetts ranked fourth from last among states in jobs growth -- or his record as CEO Of Bain Capital, where he profited handsomely as five of the companies under his firm's direction went bankrupt, and thousands of workers lost their jobs.   How many of those thousands of lost jobs were outsourced? 

 

You can’t help be reminded of another multi-millionaire Republican presidential hopeful’s out-of-touch moment.  Remember when Senator John McCain was unsure of how many houses he owned? – 8, as it turned out.

 

By the way, how many homes does Mitt Romney own these days?  -- aside from this one:

 

SEE ALSO: AMERICAblog: Colbert Explains How Mitt Made His Money

Kombiz | 06.16.11 | | Link to this post

At odds with the US Chamber, Bachmann looks forwards to voting to default on nationís debt

June 14, 2011

At odds with the US Chamber, Bachmann looks forwards to voting to default on nation’s debt and risking economic calamity

 

When last night’s Republican presidential debate – a debate full of promises of ending Medicare/Medicaid and giving millionaires another tax break and generally making a full return to the failed Bush-era economic policies that left millions of Americans without jobs – turned to the issue of where candidates stood on defaulting on the government’s debt, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) made clear she stands on the side of exploding the economy:

 

BACHMANN: I've already voted no on raising the debt ceiling in the past. And unless there are serious cuts, I can't.

 

Bachmann joins Rep. Paul Ryan and other House Republicans willing to hold the economy hostage until they see “massive cuts” to Medicaid, which would leave millions of seniors that depend on Medicaid for long-term nursing-home care, as well as disabled Americans of all ages, with no options left.


Like Ryan, Bachmann puts herself at odds with the U.S. Chamber
(via Washington Post’s Plum Line) :

 

                Posted at 06:46 PM ET, 06/13/2011

By Greg Sargent


* Did Tom Donohue, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, vow that his organization will work to “get rid” of any House Republicans who don’t vote to raise the debt ceiling? Sure sounds like it, according to a well respected Atlanta blogger who watched Donohue give a local talk:

In one of the funnier moments during his Rotary talk, Donohue was asked if Congress was going to raise the debt ceiling.

Yes, it will be raised, Donohue answered, mainly because the country can not afford to not pay its bills. To those newly-elected representatives who say they aren’t going to raise the debt ceiling and will shut down government, Donohue said the U.S. Chamber has its own message: “We’ll get rid of you.”

MORE: DEFAULTING ON NATION’S DEBT = “Dangerous Gamble,” “Could Blow Up the Economy”

 

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 6/9: “Experts: Even Brief Default Could Blow Up The Economy” : Because interest rates on bonds determine how much it costs the US government to secure more debt, even seemingly slight changes can affect the long term deficit on a large scale. A 1% rise in interest rates, or 100 basis points, would grow the deficit by over $400 billion over the next five years and $1.2 trillion from 2012-2021, according to the CBO. 

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 6/14: ‘CBO Director Elmendorf: Debt Default ‘A Dangerous Gamble’

 

Ø  Talking Points Memo, 5/19: ‘Moody’s, S&P Warn U.S. Risks Triple-A Credit Rating If It Defaults On Debt — Even Briefly

Ø  Wall Street Journal, 5/17: Business Groups to Congress: ‘Raising Debt Ceiling Is Critical’ : Sixty-two business groups, including the American Gas Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, and the National Association of Manufacturers, urged congressional leaders on Wednesday to raise the federal debt ceiling amid fears that political brinkmanship could lead to another financial crisis.

Ø  Financial Times, 4/26: ‘Nervous Wall Street warns on debt limit’

 

Ø  Politico, 4/27: ‘Bank execs warn GOP on debt limit’ : Executives from the deep-pocketed industry that traditionally pumps millions into political campaigns are warning members that failure to raise the limit would risk a spike in interest rates, a possible collapse in equity prices, bank failures and a severe depression.

Ø  New York Times’ Economix, 4/26: ‘What Happens if the Debt Ceiling Isn’t Raised’

Kombiz | 06.14.11 | | Link to this post

Bush Tax Cuts Turn 10

June 7, 2011

Bush Tax Cuts Turn 10: The Top 10 Things the Congressional Republicans That Want to Make Them Permanent Forget to Mention

 

1) New York Times’ Economix, 11/18/10:  “Those tax cuts passed in 2001 amid big promises about what they would do for the economy. What followed? The decade with the slowest average annual growth since World War II. Amazingly, that statement is true even if you forget about the Great Recession and simply look at 2001-7.”

 

2) Wall Street Journal, 1/9/09: ‘Bush On Jobs: The Worst Track Record On Record’

Ø  New York Times, 9/7/09: “FOR the first time since the Depression, the American economy has added virtually no jobs in the private sector over a 10-year period.”

 

3) The Huffington Post, 05/20/11: Bush-Era Tax Cuts Projected As Largest Contributor To Public Debt [CHART]

 

3) Economic Policy Institute, 6/1/11: From 2001 through 2010, the cuts added $2.6 trillion to the public debt; nearly 50% of the total debt accrued during this period.

 

4) TRICKLE-UP ECONOMICS: Economic Policy Institute, 6/1/11: In 2010, the top 1% of earners received 38% of the breaks in the 2001-08 tax changes; 55% of the tax breaks went to the top 10% of earners (those making over $170,000)

Ø  Tax Policy Center, 7/8/10: The average millionaire gets more than $100,000 a year in tax breaks under the Bush tax cuts.

5)EPI, 6/1/11: In 2010, tax filers in the bottom 20% of the income distribution (tax filers making less than $20,000) received only a 1% share of the tax cuts, and 75% of these low-income families saw no reduction at all.

 

6) Fiscal Times, 5/13/11: According to an April New York Times/CBS News poll, 41 percent of people primarily blame the Bush administration for today’s deficit; only 14 percent blame Obama. That same poll found that an overwhelming 72 percent of people support raising taxes on couples making more than $250,000 in order to reduce the deficit.”

 

7) Citizens for Tax Justice: “Many lawmakers want to extend the Bush tax cuts again into 2013 and beyond, which would almost double the federal budget deficit.”

 

8) Huffington Post, 6/6/11: 'Patriotic Millionaires' Describe What They've Done With Their Bush Tax Cuts: 'I Built A Dance Floor In My House'


9) CBPP, 5/26/11: The House budget would permanently lock in all of the Bush tax cuts, which flow disproportionately to high-income people.  It also would make permanent the relief from the AMT that now is regularly extended every year or two.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates that extending these tax cuts would cost $3.8 trillion over the coming decade, the vast majority of which would be attributable to the Bush tax cuts. 

 

10) CBPP, 4/20/11: The House budget essentially would finance these tax cuts with extremely large budget cuts, including cuts in a number of key programs for people with low or moderate incomes:

Ø  Associated Press, 5/10/11: The House Republican budget would leave up to 44 million more low-income people uninsured as the federal government cuts states’ Medicaid funding by about one-third over the next 10 years.

Ø  ThinkProgress, 6/2/11: House GOP Cuts To Nutrition Assistance Equal To One Week Of Bush Tax Cuts For Millionaires

Kombiz | 06.07.11 | | Link to this post

They just couldn’t help themselves, could they?

June 7, 2011

 

They just couldn't help themselves, could they?  : “House Republicans Look To Privatize Social Security"

SEE BELOW.    Statement from Tom McMahon, executive director of Americans United for Change – the group formally known as Americans United to Protect Social Security that led the national campaign to defeat President Bush’s effort to privatize Social Security in 2005: “They just couldn’t help themselves, could they?  After already voting to voucherize Medicare and eviscerate Medicaid to pay for trillions of dollars in new tax breaks for millionaires and big oil, House Republicans must have figured ‘Why stop now?’  Now they’re proposing to privatize Social Security and let their friends on Wall Street get their hands on the trust fund – apparently trying to achieve the Triple Crown among conservative ideologues by doing away with the nation’s three most cherished social safety nets that keep millions of seniors, children, survivors and people with disabilities out of poverty.  House Republicans don’t seem to care that the American people already rejected this scheme for turning Social Security’s guaranteed benefits into a guaranteed gamble on Wall Street when President Bush proposed it. They don’t seem to care that the vast majority of Americans are rejecting their proposals for ending Medicare and Medicaid as we know them.  Nothing else seems to matter to House Republicans when it comes to more profits for Wall Street.”

 

 

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/06/house-republicans-look-to-privatize-social-security.php

House Republicans Look To Privatize Social Security

Benjy Sarlin | June 7, 2011, 9:26AM


Republican leaders left Social Security untouched in their House budget this year, but a group of GOP lawmakers are looking to fill the gap themselves with legislation that would create a voluntary privatized version of the program.

Introduced by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who also chairs the House's campaign efforts at the NRCC, the "Savings Account For Every American Act" would allow people to immediately opt out of Social Security in favor of a private "S.A.F.E." account. Eventually the program would expand to let employers send their matching contribution to workers' Social Security to a "S.A.F.E." account as well.

"Our nation's Social Security Trust Fund is depleting at an alarming rate, and failure to implement immediate reforms endangers the ability of Americans to plan for their retirement with the options and certainty they deserve," Sessions said of the plan, according to The Hill. "To simply maintain the status quo would weaken American competitiveness by adding more unsustainable debt and insolvent entitlements to our economy when we can least afford it."

Republicans have been wary of wading back into Social Security privatization after a major push on the issue during President Bush's second term failed to reach a vote in either the House or Senate despite there being a Republican Congress. One Freshman Representative who suggested the federal government could be rolled back to just four departments even listed protecting Social Security from privatization as one of his top causes on the 2010 trail. Among the GOP presidential candidates, Rick Santorum had tried to adopt the cause as part of his platform.

 

 

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/164947-house-republicans-propose-social-security-opt-out

House Republicans propose Social Security opt-out

By Pete Kasperowicz - 06/06/11 04:25 PM ET

House Republicans on Friday introduced legislation that would allow workers to partially opt out of Social Security immediately, and fully opt out after 15 years.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, and several other Republicans introduced the Savings Account for Every American (SAFE) Act. Under the bill, workers would immediately have 6.2 percent of their wages sent to a "SAFE" account each year.

That would take the place of the 6.2 percent the workers now contributed to Social Security.

Another 6.2% is sent to Social Security by employers. Under the Sessions bill, employers would continue to make this matching contribution to Social Security, but after 15 years, employers could also send that amount to the employee's SAFE account.

Sessions said this transition to a private retirement savings option is needed because Social Security last year began paying out more money than it took in.

"Our nation's Social Security Trust Fund is depleting at an alarming rate, and failure to implement immediate reforms endangers the ability of Americans to plan for their retirement with the options and certainty they deserve," Sessions said. "To simply maintain the status quo would weaken American competitiveness by adding more unsustainable debt and insolvent entitlements to our economy when we can least afford it."

Under the bill, employees would be able to make tax free contributions to their SAFE account, and take tax-free distributions at retirement age. The bill would also allow employees to stay with the Social Security program if they wish.

Other sponsors of the bill are Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).

Kombiz | 06.07.11 | | Link to this post

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