Much has been made over the last few days of the Des Moines Register‘s endorsement of Mitt Romney. The Register‘s argument is two-pronged: first, they believe that Romney’s plan of lower taxes and decreased regulation is the best way to fix the economy. That’s obviously true; when businesses and rich people spend money, it goes into the economy, whereas when the government spends money it goes into a deficit. Low taxes and deregulation are known drivers of economic growth—that’s why we had a massive economic collapse when taxes and regulations were at their lowest. But forget that. The second, more important reason the Register endorsed Romney for president is that he is the better candidate to “forge compromise” in Congress. David Brooks made the same argument over at the Times, and he sounded just as nuts.
As of this morning, the Congressional Deficit Super Committee is neither super nor really a committee, since they managed to agree on exactly no things. Congress and the deficit remain real. Meanwhile, the group of six Republicans and six Democrats cannot even settle on why they failed to reach an agreement, although both sides concur in principle: it was them. “We made a reasonable offer and got nothing in return. We got naked in the room. Republicans are standing there in overcoats, hats and gloves and are toasty warm,” said one Democrat on the panel. “We showed some leg. The Democrats want us to get completely naked,” explained a Republican aide. As usual when two parties can’t bring themselves to take their clothes off at the same time, somebody else is going to get fucked.
As the August 3rd deadline to either raise the federal debt ceiling or submit to our Chinese masters nigh approaches, Mitch McConnell has proposed a new solution: Congress could authorize President Obama to increase the borrowing limit himself. The Senate Minority Leader suggested that the President be given the authority to allow an additional $2.4 trillion in debt over the next year, provided he specifies an equal amount in spending cuts. It’s an odd move, given that negotiations have foundered for weeks on Republican demands that the President agree to cuts before the ceiling is raised. Unless you are a Republican, in which case negotiations have foundered on the President’s insistence that 25% of the increase be covered by taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
You know the deal between President Obama and Republican congressmen to extend the Bush tax cuts for households making more than $250,000 is real, because the New York Times is trying lamely to justify it. They make an okay point. David Leonhardt argues that the extension of unemployment benefits, the cut in payroll taxes and the various credits for college tuition and whatnot amount to another stimulus package. He’s right, in the sense that it costs $900 billion and hopefully the economy will get better after we do it. On the other hand, the original stimulus package didn’t blow $120 billion on the wealthiest 2% of Americans at a time when those Americans were convincing their poorer, fatter brethren to demonstrate in the streets about the federal deficit. And that’s what it is about the Obama tax cut agreement: it seems like a pretty good deal, provided you don’t think about American politics over the last two years.
Good news for people who live in Connecticut, already have health insurance and work for Aetna, Cigna or Oxford Health Plans! According to the New York Times, Joe Lierberman (D–CT, net worth $2 million) seems finally to have succeeded in torpedoing the public option. The former Democrat announced Sunday that he would filibuster any Senate bill that included the Medicare buy-in compromise Harry Reid struck with ten liberal and centrist Democrats last week. That’s a slight difference from the position he articulated last Tuesday, when he said he was against the public option but for the expansion of Medicare, and an utter goddamn sea change from the position he articulated in 2000, when he ran for Vice President promising the exact same Medicare expansion he now threatens to filibuster the Senate to stop. How soon we forget, Joe Lieberman. Either that, or how willing we are to do whatever we think might get us elected to public office. “My wife said to me, ‘Why do you always end up being the point person here?’” Lieberman told reporters on Monday. She was probably eating caviar out of an ostrich egg at the time, and considered it rude to add, “Is it because you’re an unprincipled dwarf?” with her mouth full.