Tag Archives: Steve Benen

Reagan at 100: WTF you clowns doing down there?

RR with Tip O'Neill

Repeatedly documented, but rarely cited in the current kerfuffle over raising the debt ceiling are two things:

  1. 1. Ronald Reagan “repeatedly signed deficit-reduction legislation in the 1980’s that melded annual tax increases with spending cuts just as President Barack Obama is now asking Congress to consider.” from POLITICO via Steve Benen, here, and
  2. Congress raised the debt ceiling under George Bush seven times – every time he asked.

From Benen:

. . . it’s also worth noting that the conservative Republicans of the 1980s were absolutely certain that Reagan’s policy would destroy the economy, and as part of the right’s unyielding track record of failure, they were wrong.

The larger point, though, is that when the 40th president sat down with lawmakers  to work on debt reduction, he accepted as a given that the agreement would include a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. The debate would be over the ratio. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons Reagan ended up raising taxes in seven out of the eight years he was in office. (Remember, “no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people” as Reagan.)

Republicans in Congress balked in 1983. Reagan wrote to then-Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker Jr. (R-Tenn) about their intransigence. From the letter:

The full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial markets and the value of the dollar.

Now Baker was a Senator I admired for his moderation, and many Republicans in the Congress then may have been right about the dangers of the debt. But that is not the point. Then, as now, they were ignoring the causes and resisting action on the consequences.

More from Benen:

Mike Huckabee recently said, “Ronald Reagan would have a very difficult, if not impossible, time being nominated in this atmosphere of the Republican Party.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had a nearly identical take last year, arguing Reagan “would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today.”

It’s also worth noting that the GOP never shut down the government when Republican presidents Reagan or Bush or Bush were in office. They did it only when the Democrat Clinton was in office. And now they threaten to do it to this Democratic president.

For the good of the country of course.

We’ll get to that job stuff later

Behind the curtain perhaps of the huge Egypt story, the House GOP is now offering up its first bills.  Like the Senate bill I referenced earlier this morning, this has no chance of going anywhere, but it’s necessary to appear to be giving the contributors something for their dollars.

So here we go – Steve Benen continues the yeoman work this morning:

“HOUSE GOP EYES PLAN TO GUT EPA, CLEAN AIR ACT…. This afternoon, Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee will host an event focused on job-creating proposals.

Around the same time, House Republicans will unveil their latest legislative priority, which, you guessed it, isn’t related to reducing unemployment.

In a sharp challenge to the Obama administration, House Republican leaders intend to unveil legislation to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases, officials said. They expect to advance the bill quickly. […]

Officials said the House bill, which was to be offered Wednesday, would nullify all of the steps the EPA has taken to date on the issue, including a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health.

In addition, it seeks to strip the agency of its authority to use the law in any future attempts to crack down on the emissions from factories, utilities and other stationary sources.”

For me but not for thee

Instead of crafting legislation to create jobs (remember that?), the Senate Republicans are offering up their first bill of this new Congress, “The State Health Care Choice Act.” It’s a repeal effort of course, and it allows States to opt out of not just the ‘onorous’ parts of the bill but stuff like protections for pre-existing conditions. Allows them to opt out of the whole dangburn thing.

I’ve noticed lately an increasing sentiment among Washington (and State) Republicans that this ‘Union’ thing is becoming a bit bothersome. Secession  language for instance has really escalated, along with respect for the Constitutional principle of             .

From Steve Benen at the excellent Washington Monthly blog Political Animal, a good post on the subject and this – from commenter KurtRex1453:

Remember, memorize and repeat….

Health insurance companies want to pay doctors as little as possible and charge customers as much as possible while providing the minimum health care possible. This adversarial relationship hurts everyone but health co execs and the Republicans who support them. When the Republicans scream death panels, socialism or try to scare you with horror stories of malfeasance in government run health care systems, they are only protecting the Heath Insurance Execs excessive profits, Hermes handbags, and overpriced sports cars.


It’s a fair question

Steve Benen says:

“And I’ve been trying to stress this for eight years: “The right and the left both have intemperate voices. But here’s the key: only the conservative movement counts the most vile blowhards as leading lights, embraced by the leadership. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin: these are among the most popular conservatives in America. Who are the folks on the left with equivalent popularity and influence?”

(He said this before there was a Glenn Beck.)

This is good news

I know it’s going to be hard for the FOX audience to accept,  but we seem to be seeing a trend here. Unlike the charts I posted yesterday, this shows private sector jobs only. Picked this up at Washington Monthly, where Steve Benen notes:

“All told, the economy has added 763,000 private-sector jobs in 2010. For comparison purposes, note that the economy lost nearly 4.7 million private-sector jobs in 2009, and lost 3.8 million in 2008.”


It’s hard to read those numbers on the bottom – the last bar on the right is August 2010.