Any time I hear the word "serious" out of one of these politicians, the words "stick it to the working class" come to mind because that's usually what they're talking about. Of course asking the rich to pay more in taxes or ending these military occupations would be considered very "unserious" because we can't have that, now can we? That might dry up their campaign contributions.
And as Dave Dayen noted, Biden -- who is supposed to be heading negotiations -- is leaving town for the week: Biden, Supposed to Be Lead Negotiator on Continuing Resolution, Headed to Europe for a Week:
Good thing the White House is taking the imminent government shutdown so seriously. President Obama designated Joe Biden as his lead negotiator with Congress on a long-term plan to set spending for the rest of the year. They had a meeting Thursday, and I’m not certain they followed up on Friday. And now, Biden’s headed to Russia, Finland and Moldova for a week. [...]
All that this week will accomplish, then, is a bunch of back-and-forth shouting in the media. And that started on the Sunday shows today. [...]
The likely scenario is another two- to three-week stopgap that includes the $6 billion in cuts proposed by the White House, while negotiations continue. You’re starting to see a pattern emerge. Democrats offer small cuts. Republicans take them and ask for more. Democrats offer more small cuts. Lather, rinse, repeat. And pretty soon, the small cuts add up to everything the Republicans wanted in the first place.
I hope he's wrong but given the administration's track record "negotiating" with Republicans, it sure looks like where we're headed. Here's more from CBS News. -- McConnell: Obama not serious about budget:
The leading Republican Senator said the White House is not intent upon addressing government spending and debt, and disputed a Democratic Senator's accusation that the GOP budget plan was "reckless."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that Republican control of the House and Democratic control of the Senate means it is the "perfect time" to tackle budget matters, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, if both sides embrace a solution before the 2012 elections. "I haven't given up hope, but frankly I'm not optimistic," he said.
When asked if he thought Mr. Obama was serious about getting something done with regards to the budget battles between Republicans and Democrats, McConnell said, "No, I don't. I have now had a number of private conversations with the president and the vice president. I was hopeful that we would step up to the plate here, if you will, and use this divided government opportunity to do something big about our long- term problem. [...]
When asked why he thought the administration was not serious, McConnell said, "I've a number of conversations with people who count at the White House, and I think that so far I don't see the level of seriousness that we need. For example, they're in denial about Social Security. They are saying Social Security is not a problem. The Congressional Budget Office said it's running a $50 billion deficit this very year. Medicare, Social Security are unsustainable. Medicare, Medicaid is unsustainable." [,,,]
McConnell disputed Kerry's assertion that the Republican plan was "reckless."
"What's reckless, Bob, is the $1.6 trillion deficit we're running this year," McConnell said. "What's reckless is the $3 trillion we've added to our national debt. Our national debt is now the size of our economy. We begin to look a lot like Greece. And this doesn't even deal with our long-term unfunded liabilities in Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, [adding] up to over $50 trillion of promises we've made to future generations that we cannot meet.
McConnell said the negotiations have only come "about one-sixth of the way to where House Republicans are, and where I am the majority and hopefully all Senate Republicans are." [...]
McConnell also compared unemployment rates between government workers and the private sector, and said that while "the American people have shed millions of jobs," the government has added 100,000 jobs during the Obama administration.
"Our priorities are out of whack. When my friend John Kerry says cutting government spending is reckless, I'm wondering, what planet is he living on?"