Here's some stuff we aren't hearing on Meet the Press:
Correcting the spin of "Fix The Debt" shills, economist, professor, and author of "Capitalism Hits The Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It", Dr. Richard Wolff, who was fresh off his debut appearance on Bill Moyers, sits down with me for a quick talk about the sequester in the context of our ailing economic system. In this, the first of a four-part series, he breaks down the sequester and discusses what he calls a 'hustle' being perpetrated by the Obama Administration on the American people.
Stay tuned here on Crooks and Liars for Part 2, or subscribe to Absurdity Today's Youtube Channel here.
Seriously, I don't understand this. Why don't Republicans understand the concept of videotape? This is not hard: We have records of what they've said in the past. We know when they've flip-flopped or are being hypocritical by showing them their own words.
Now granted, it's rare that you see a tradmed outlet confronting a Republican politician for his doublespeak, but that's exactly what Jonathan Karl did to Rep. Paul Ryan on his blasting President Obama for the looming sequester cuts. H/T to ThinkProgress for the video and transcripts:
As Karl pointed out, when Congress was debating the Budget Control Act in August of 2011, Ryan supported the framework and urged his fellow Republicans to vote for the sequester:
KARL: Congressman, I’ve heard you Republicans for a long time. This was the president’s idea on and on and on but let’s look at your own words. What you said right after the law putting this in place was passed in August of 2011. These are your words. You said “what conservatives like me have been fighting for for years are statutory caps on spending, literally legal caps in law that says government agencies cannot spend over a set amount of money and if they breach that amount across the board sequester comes in to cut that spending. You can’t turn it out without a supermajority. We got that into law.” Now, it sounds to me there like if you weren’t taking credit for the idea of the sequester, you were certainly suggesting it was a good idea.
RYAN: So those are the budget caps on discretionary spending. Those occurred. We want those. Everybody wants budget caps. The sequester that we’re talking about now is backing up the super committee. Remember the Super Committee in addition to those caps was supposed to come up with 1.2 trillion in savings. The Republicans on the super committee offered even higher revenues in exchange for spending cuts as part of that. It was rejected by the president and the Democrats. So no resolution occurred and therefore the sequester is occurring.
So Ryan can make his bones in Republican leadership and position himself as a Very. Serious. Budget. Pointman. by pushing for these automatic sequester cuts...until it gets to the point where Congress is too inept to come together to present President Obama a budget that is acceptable enough to pass to the majority of the members of Congress. Then it's all Obama's fault.
I wonder why Republicans always think they can simply wish their records away. They don't seem to understand that with the internet, it's a matter of minutes to verify or invalidate what they say. Hell, look at how easy it is to catch them on video! Yet they still lie. "Who, me?" Look at Eric Cantor, actually insisting he didn't support last year's budget sequester. He voted for it, he just didn't support it!
WASHINGTON -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) insisted Monday night that he didn't support the budget sequester put into place last summer that Congress is now trying to get out of. But, well, he did vote for it.
During a debate with his Democratic challenger Wayne Powell, Cantor blamed President Barack Obama for pushing through a debt deal in August 2011 that included a $1.2 trillion sequester, or a trigger for automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to kick in at the end of this year. The sequester was never intended to take effect. It was supposed to spur lawmakers to come up with a better way to cut trillions in spending. But Congress failed to come up with a bipartisan plan, so the possibility of the sequester taking effect now looms.
As Cantor spoke of the need to cut spending, Powell threw in his face that he voted for the sequester, which includes major cuts to defense spending -- an issue that resonates in the military-heavy state of Virginia. Cantor disagreed.
"Mr. Powell keeps saying that I supported the sequester. As he knows good and well, that's not true," Cantor said. "The president insisted on its insertion into the debt ceiling deal. ... We were put in a position where there was no other choice because the president didn't want to go along with actually beginning to address the real deficit issue, which are health care entitlements."
Cantor said Obama told congressional leaders that "the only way" a debt deal could pass is if there was a sequester in it, which meant lawmakers had to choose between swallowing the sequester or having the nation default on its debt.
"What we did is we went and said, 'The House is too important,'" Cantor said. "It's a very scary thing, this sequester. And it ought not go through."
But as bad as it may have tasted, Cantor voted for it, along with more than 170 members of his party. Among them: Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.), who also tried to argue last month that he is opposed to the defense sequester that he voted for.
Hah, hah! Dumb Republicans don't know Obama is offering to cut Social Security? What a kneeslapper!
The spectacle of a supposedly liberal President repeatedly and needlessly trying to cut Social Security is enough to bring a reasonable, economically literate person to the point of existential despair. To see leading liberal lights like Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein chuckle indulgently at those foolish Republicans in Congress over the subject – Don’t they know he’s already giving them what they want? – is to risk plunging into the depths of that despair.
This week, the President hosted a dinner for Republicans leaders where he worked to sell his budget proposal, including his harmful plan to cut benefits through the “chained CPI.” National Security was the main course and Social Security was the dessert. And guess who wasn’tcoming to dinner: The elderly, the disabled, or any policy experts who understand the disastrous implications of the chained CPI.
The Maddow/Klein exchange is the crest of a building wave in pro-Democratic Party commentary which says, as Klein puts it, that “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Klein says that at least “some of the gridlock (in Washington) is due to poor information.” Jonathan Chait bemoans the fact that Republicans ”won’t acknowledge (Obama’s) actual offer, which includes large cuts to retirement programs."
Silly, silly Republicans. Klein quotes one reporter as saying of the White House, “They tell us three times a day that they want to do chained CPI!”
That’s right: The White House has been trying to impose this benefit cut on Social Security’s elderly and disabled recipients for years, and Republicans don’t even know. Neither do most Democrats, for that matter. They think they voted for a President who will defend those benefits, not work relentlessly to cut them.
But Democrats like Maddow, Klein, and Chait know better. They know exactly what Obama’s been trying to do. And their only complaint seems to be that he’s not doing it effectively enough. We’re not hearing much from the ‘left’ side of the debate about the profound flaws, biases, and inherent cynicism behind both the President’s policy and his rhetoric.
Here are the facts:
Research suggests that Social Security cost-of-living increases are already inadequate. (See studies on “CPI-E” for more details on the best ways to increase them.)
Obama’s proposed chained-CPI cut would typically reduce benefits for 3 percent, and by as much as 6 percent for some recipients.
The White House’s decision to label this cut the “superlative CPI” is grotesque. It suggests that elderly women who receive an average of $950 or so per month are receiving “superlative” benefit increases each year.
The Administration’s insistence on speaking of “entitlement reform,” mixing Medicare (which has a real cost problem because of our for-profit health system) with Social Security, is a cheap trick first devised by Republican consultants.