Kinda Sorta Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (April 10, 2011)

This Sunday I was unable to watch the original broadcast of Meet the Press, hence the kinda sorta, real time thoughts.  But, it was fairly obvious what the argument on the show would be about: the 2011 budget, the near government shutdown and the monster fight looming in the near horizon.

Paul Ryan has offered a GOP budget, which the Obama adminstration will have to respond to, and has already yanked out David Plouffe, who in his role as Senior Advisor to the President will offer teh White House’s response to Congressman Ryan’s move.

The compromise move will cut anout $38.5 billion from the 2011 budget just as the U.S economy is recovering (it seems the GOP doesn’t read the international news.)

The Democratic leadership failed to pass a budget last year, which lead eventually to this showdown.  So now whether he wants to admit it or not, the president has been forced to cut the budget and therefore cut spending-much on of on programs that he’d initially supported.  And now to make matters worse, the GOP is holding the debt ceiling hostage in order to pass give a thumbs up to raising the debt ceiling.  And given how this little showdown went off with a huge hitch, its hardly surprising that leaders of both parties are thinking of the worst outcomes this time out.

The Bowles-Simpson debt commission that the president appointed came back with recommendations that the president didn’t implement, but now it seems Paul Ryan has taken them up. In response to that the president promised to offer his own budget and debt reduction plan for 2012 and forward.

Even though the president’s budget reduction plan will cut $1 trillion and will bring domestic spending down to the lowest its been in more than 50 years.  But Congressman Ryan’s proposed budget is a radical document that fundamentally shifts the burden of paying for government onto middle class shoulders through tax cuts that disproportionately work well for the rich.

But President Obama;s budget will likely increase taxes on those earning mroe than $250,000 a year.  But no tax increases on the middle class. This will likely turn into a re-election pledge.

Now onto Guantanamo and military trial commissions.  This is a huge backward step for a man who as a candidate promised to close Gunatanamo and promised would do away with military commissions.  But just this week he supported the trial in a military tribunal of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad the so-called Pakistani mastermind behind 9/11.

Paul Ryan is up next and he is being hard about the debt ceiling. He and the rest of the GOP will not increase the debt ceiling unless spending reductions are negotiated as well as the ceiling increase. (This seems non-credible, the ceiling will have to be increased no matter what; so although the GOP is likely to witness some real cuts in spending, it can’t possibly be as large  as they envision. The Tea Party will have to take a hit this time.)

So given all this what will the GOP give to pass something like Ryan’s budget as law? He promises to cut $6 trillion to President Obama’s likely $1 trillion, over 10 years. Medicaid will become a block grant given to states, the Bush tax cuts would be made permanent and the tax cuts on the wealthiest would go down to 25% from the current 35%, while leaving the military entirely alone.  (This is a huge reorientation of the American character! This plan does not envision shared sacrifice and instead puts paying for  politics only on the backs of the poor and the middle class.)

Again, without any arguments to support him Congressmna Ryan is saying that spending is the reason we are in this mess. (Not that private markets that took huge risks on housing had anything at all to do with it??!)  And no tax increases-ever!

About Medicare, this is what the LA Times reported:

“GOP’s budget shifts health burden; The plan reduces the federal government’s role in Medicaid and Medicare in an effort to trim $5.8 trillion.” It goes on to say the following:  “The GOP proposal would phase out direct payments to doctors and hospitals under Medicare, scale back the Medicaid program for the poor and the disabled, throw out government insurance subsidies that the new healthcare law is to make available to millions of Americans starting in 2014. That would force seniors to pay more for health care and would likely make states cut back their Medicaid programs.”  ‘Nuff said!!!

He’s saying that competition works to keep everyone afloat; that the market works. (Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve lost their houses because the market bet that they could pay their mortgages when they couldn’t. Oh and the Ryan budget promises to private Fannie and Freddie, even though there is no housing market beside government sponsorship at the moment.  How does that work??!)

Helene Cooper, Chuck Todd, Tim Shriver and Jim Cramer make up the roundtable today.

Chuck Todd is saying the well is poisoned because its obvious that the government nearly shut down over ideological differences not spending cuts, valued in dollars.  Americans don’t get why the government nearly shut down; they just want the mutha to go on trekkin’.

Interesting that the panel all agrees that the GOP is running the argument.  David Plouffe and President agree with the Republicans that the budget needs to be smaller in 2012 than it is this year.  (Paul Krugman has been railing on this for a few years now.)  But this is just a move to woo independents to Obama in 2012.

Jim Cramer made a good point that Ben Bernanke is likely to raise interest rates in within the year because of medicare’s booming entitlement costs. (Perhaps Obama is taking this cutting message a bit too close to heart, but perhaps this present a more decent political economic argument behind the spending cuts; otherwise the rest of it is re-electioneering)

The Obama administration is happy that Paul Ryan has signed up this budget for the GOP, because whoever is the nominee in a year is going to own it. And it won’t sell well in Florida, for instance.

But the president’s re-election strategy is all about jobs and Hispanics.  California, Arizona, and Texas will swing to Democrats unless the GOP can figure out a way to be less nativist and more inclusive.

Someone in either party has to be able to channel this overwhelming anger if he wants to win the 2012 election.

In the international arena Qaddafi staying on in office in 2012 will hurt Obama’s re-election campaign-another war we’re mired in. For though he tries President Obama can’t seem to get back on the jobs message.  This is a bad for his re-election

~ by Faheem Haider on April 12, 2011.

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