White House

Go Ahead, Celebrate — You're Celebrating Failure

Not you at Voices on the Square. You know who.

Well it seems this continuing debacle every 3 months has ceased, for now. However, I really can't get over this pathetic celebration over the really low bar involved with regard to avoiding what I call a political default on the public debt. This is the same embarrassing type of celebration that ensued in 2011. We need to get real. Despite the government being opened up again, there's nothing to celebrate. We've already lost. After all, the debt ceiling was a precious gift Obama bestowed onto John Boehner in the 2010 tax deal as he put his full faith in Speaker John Boehner hands, as he took the full faith and credit of the United States hostage.

Of course, it was a deal struck between both of them to put who they called the "extremists" of both their parties in check, for a grand bargain like in 1983 when Tip O'Neil and Ronald Reagan cut social security. President Obama and Speaker Boehner weren't fooling everyone, though. Just those involved in their hyper deluded, hyper partisan, claptrap. To some of us, this was entirely predictable and preventable. Now people are suffering because some people, blinded by their hyper-loyal partisan illusions, couldn't or didn't want to see what was there. Maybe their lack of sight reveals they don't really care? It doesn't matter though. This will continue to be what we go through when some of this crap continues again in 4 months in February, regardless.

This austerity government will reopen at sequester levels of funding; a sequester I predicted would be born out by the stupid Super Committee from the super austerity Budget Control Act of 2011, which I saw was inevitable since the 2010 tax deal led to the first, now ongoing, debt ceiling debacle; a miniature crisis to crisis government with no plans to invest in its citizens' future. Anything else is possible though, from government shutdowns over the false prospect of defunding Obamacare, to any austerian Senator or Congressman using the threat of default for whatever demands they want.

We, the so called professional left as the White House derisively called us, warned about this. Anyone who denied this can either apologize now or forever restrain from speaking about matters regarding politics, civics, political deals, and the debt ceiling. We told all of you back in 2011 around this same time when that debacle was coming to its end — until this one and the next one 4 months down the line — that this was no victory.

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President Obama Gave Speaker Boehner the Debt Ceiling to Play With in 2010

Disclaimer: This forum rules like the moderators and contributors.

And here we are again! It started in 2010. The Bush tax cuts were about to expire. There was leverage to negotiate a debt ceiling raise or to just let them expire. How do I know there was leverage? I know Republicans like tax cuts for the rich, and there was a deal for the purpose of extending them with Republican votes. It passed with those Republican votes, which led to this whole thing because there was no debt ceiling raise included.

Maybe others are unaware of this? I don't know. It doesn't matter though; the uninformed shouldn't dictate fantasy as reality in a reality based community. This is the actual reality and why we are worried about a global financial calamity with regard to a possible political default on the public debt, which is a choice and otherwise impossible for a sovereign currency issuer.

Obama on the Debt Limit — December 2010

Q Mr. President, thank you. How do these negotiations affect negotiations or talks with Republicans about raising the debt limit? Because it would seem that they have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now, going in. Was there ever any attempt by the White House to include raising the debt limit as a part of this package?
 

THE PRESIDENT: When you say it would seem they’ll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?
 

Q Just in the sense that they’ll say essentially we’re not going to raise the — we’re not going to agree to it unless the White House is able to or willing to agree to significant spending cuts across the board that probably go deeper and further than what you’re willing to do. I mean, what leverage would you have –
 

THE PRESIDENT: Look, here’s my expectation — and I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That’s something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower.

You know, we on the left knew what this would lead to. You don't trust John Boehner with the full faith in credit of the United States unless one is completely clueless or an economic nihilist. The resulting signs we are starting to see of a financial panic in response to the prospects of a default on top of the ongoing depression, the jobs crisis, the continuing climate and ecological crisis all converging into one huge Epochal crisis, point to a special kind of disdain for the public that all our elected leaders have for us. I mean, we have enough problems without adding to them through a self induced global financial then economic crisis caused by the President's pursuit of a deficit terrorist grand bargain whether through incompetence or outright corruption.

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When You Support George W. Bush's Policies, like Obama, I Get to Call You a Republican

Worse than a Republican; I get to call you a fawning sellout with even less principles than the Republican security soccer moms of 2004 that we all remember before. They really believed back then, and still do, that giving up their rights was worth a sense of (fake) security. And you know what? They were more principled than anyone who writes diaries excusing neoconservative policies from the Obama administration that were unacceptable to them when they came from the George W. Bush administration.

Period. End of story. Why? The RW soccer moms didn't pretend to be outraged about this stuff during the Bush years. They have consistently supported it. So since that is an undeniable fact, I have to ask some of you how it feels to have even less principles than Republican voters who excused and supported some of the worst war crimes in history? How does it feel to enable a Justice Department that has now de facto codified some of the worst war crimes and financial crimes in history? How does it feel now that it is now exposed that, like Republican voters, you need a BS war on terror to feel safe?

How does it feel to repeat the same BS that cretins from the right did in the 2004 election to support their chosen leader? You know that fear mongering bit about "having nothing to hide so then having nothing to worry about?" That came from the RNC, and now that garbage is being recycled by people "who consider themselves Democrats or progressives based mostly on their feelings and nothing more. This similar zeitgeist all started during the run up to the Iraq war after 9/11 when the Patriot Act was passed when almost no one read the Bill in Congress.

Unlike apparently many people who didn't really mean it, I was actually horrified by what went on during those years, and yet those same policies continue under President Obama. I'm also horrified that some of the same people who call themselves Democrats are not horrified anymore.

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John T. Harvey: Austerity Leads To... Austerity!

In the real world and the reality based community, there is talk about austerity from people who understand the nuances of it and macroeconomic accounting identities. They point out the undeniable fact that there is austerity in the UK, the Eurozone, and yes, the United States. This interactive chart will show this, though I can't embed it here. So instead, I will add a small snapshot of some of the data.

Net spending in the United States has steadily declined since it rose from 2008 to 2009 when the inadequate stimulus(only $500 billion of direct spending at about 1.5 percent of GDP) was passed. Stimulus packages don't exist in a vacuum, and you have to count all government spending, which basically shows how exactly the numbers, including the stimulus as this does, didn't close the output gap. And since the numbers didn't, that is actually austerity. After all, spending went up in the UK and Eurozone from 2008 to 2009 as well, and since then, their spending has declined. Even though it is on a higher level, it is being cut at an even more alarming rate with its fate set to go below our miserable level by 2017.

I have pointed this out before. Sometimes I get frustrated, and point this out harshly, because some pride themselves on denying this established data to support whatever a politician in their party says or does. I don't know why. Denying reality is not going to give resources to people who need them. There is a reason my last diary has been cited by the reality based Post Keynesian MMT community, in which I am truly grateful for and humbled by; it is the truth.

The real economy of jobs and wages continues to go nowhere thanks to the lack of deficit spending and an illogical debate in DC about how much austerity we need to appease the invisible bond vigilantes and confidence fairies. It is neoliberal deficit terrorist economic insanity based on lies. And on that note, it is my pleasure to republish a piece by someone in the reality based economic community whom I can now proudly say is a friend of mine, Post Keynesian MMT economist John T. Harvey. He, once again, brings clarity to these matters in a way that only he can.

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Are We Really the Reality Based Community? We Don't Act Like It.

This is not directed at the reality based VOTS community.

And by "we" I don't mean me or I, because I make a good effort to at least try. I'm talking about blogs like Daily Kos. I had always assumed, because of the many insightful writers on the site and on the front page that was the case. However, we are starting to see some of what we see with corporate control of all airwaves in how site moderation is run.

For instance, whether on Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC there is always a fake debate when it comes to climate change which is undeniably happening since we have hit 400 ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere for the first time in 3 million years. When this spectacle that pretends to be a live debate on TV happens, there are always two guys picked by the network to come on TV to debate the issue; one a NASA scientist like say James Hansen and one fringe dwelling Koch funded climate changed denier to debate as if there is something to debate as if both sides have an equal argument to make. WRONG. The science is in.

I always thought we in the progressive blogosphere prided ourselves on not accepting that dynamic, but now I am starting to wonder. On the issues I go to great lengths to cover when it comes to the economy, there are certain undeniable facts that have to be acknowledged whether you are a Post Keynesian MMT proponent like me or not. I mean, if we are any different than debates on red state or the corporate owned media, that is. I have to wonder about that now, because it now appears from what went on in my last diary in the comment section that a moderator here stepped in and made an effort to portray the troll like behavior and continual denial of established facts in every diary of mine as "just an honest disagreement."

It was inferred that I was "out of line" for accurately describing a commentator while using a term that accurately describes his brand of troll like behavior. That's not out of line. When people act like trolls in every diary of mine I can only ignore it for so long before calling it out directly. We can't just ignore this kind of behavior forever in this community. I mean, not if we still consider ourselves part the reality based community. Do we?

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Denying the Data Today Won't Make President Obama's Austerity Go Away

That's right. Remember my last diary where I did prove without a shadow of a doubt that the austerity that this administration has put forth right now, and in effect right now, does not make this President a Keynesian? I provided a lot of reference material on Keynes proving each point I made, because that's what we encourage on this site. That's called backing up one's assertions with facts and data. I did.

The same facts were put forth by economist Jared Bernstein who used to work for VP Joe Biden and is now a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. As a Post Keynesian MMT proponent, I don't have the same outlook on economics, to say the least, as the CBPP on a number of things, especially on public debt and deficits. However, there's no reason to doubt the data in this paper from Richard Kogan; it is clearly well sourced from the CBO and the President's own Office of Management and Budget analyzing the Budget Control Act of 2011 signed into law by the President.

CONGRESS HAS CUT DISCRETIONARY FUNDING BY $1.5 TRILLION OVER TEN YEARS: First Stage of Deficit Reduction Is In Law

This proves without a shadow of a doubt that anyone who shows up in every thread and types that "cuts only happen in the future" must not be very intellectually curious. After all, as most can see with thier own eyes, the 70% of recommended cuts from Bowles Simpson going into effect this year, the year 2013, occurring until the start of fiscal year 2023 actually happen every year accumulating up to 1.5 trillion in real cuts. These are the indisputable facts.     

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The Reinhart and Rogoff Errors Discredit the Obama Administration and Austerity

Yes they do. I have heard a statement that bugs me a lot lately and that statement is that this was the go to analysis for the Republicans as if Democrats have never referred to it in any way. I'm here to say that is complete BS and we know this now. The Sequester created by the WH and passed in a bipartisan way, was based on Reinhart and Rogoff's BS analysis about scary scary long term debt to GDP ratios like their offer to cut Social Security.

So let's stop pretending this is only coming from Republicans, especially with the Obama administration using deficit lies and errors to come after Social Security. Reinhart and Rogoff's complete methodology was BS and neither of them understand the nuanced difference between countries with a sovereign currency; fixed exchange rates and floating exchange rates; gold standard countries and those with a fiat currency and how that relates to reserve banking at the Fed and our private current account and trade balance within. So therefore it skews the mean and amounts to garbage methodology even if done correctly.

I love How Mike Norman puts it. It kind of reminds me of how I would say it; those of you that are familiar with my work.

There's a solid account tying the Obama administration directly to the work of Reinhart and Rogoff. You will learn more about this below the fold.

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Protecting Social Security from Inaccurate Accounting with an Agenda

I was asked to contribute to the Daily Kos Social Security blogathon today to draw attention to the neoliberal attack on it. I hope you visit and like my contribution.

I have referenced this before, but there hasn't really been enough of a movement on the this issue, and it's an important one. It's specifically important right now when Washington DC is completely stuck on stupid in a self created crisis. This crisis started in 2010 when the debt ceiling was not secured in the Bush tax cut deal with Republicans by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Many of us predicted it would lead to the debt ceiling debacle in 2011 which in turn led to the fiscal cliff negotiations and the sequester that is now a reality.

However, it could end anytime with House Democratic Representative John Conyer's bill to just repeal the sequester; that is, if he got proper support. I think that needs to be a goal along with forever protecting Social Security from neoliberal economics and the politicians that support it. After all, this sequester was a conscious bipartisan decision on their part to put Social Security in danger now that a 130 billion net cut within the chained(superlative) CPI is now on the White House's website in its proposal to stand in place of the sequester.

What we are hearing to justify it are not only exaggerations and lies about Social Security being unsustainable, those lies are based on inaccurate accounting standards that have pervaded our entire government; the CBO, and yes, even the Social Security Trustees Board itself at times over the years. Let's face it; the Social Security Trustees Board has a broad history of being overly pessimistic.

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Don't Pretend You Care About These Issues When Defending the President

This is an older piece of mine that appeared on Daily Kos on Thursday December 29, 2011.
 

It's an important one because it destroys the argument you hear from some Obama supporters hoping to deflect the inhumane treatment of whistle blower Bradley Manning. They say that since African Americans in our prison system suffer torture and injustice in our prison industrial complex, then that means what is happening to Bradley Manning is not really an issue. Of course what they don't mention is that yes, African Americans have been and are indeed suffering atrocities in our prison industrial complex, yet they don't want to talk about President Obama continuing this trend and even making it worse even hiring a for profit private prison lobbyists in his Justice Department where some of the worst offenses happen making him involved in the state issue and federal issue.
 

You can see the failed deflections in the comments of that diary and how the truth about this really hit a nerve with some people, whether they claim to be a fake Marxist in a past life making their support of the PIC and neoliberalism OK now under Obama or not. The facts show that they don't really care about these issues when hoping to shield Obama from them in the case of Bradley Manning.

Part of the reason the Occupy movement exists and are out in the streets is because of the massive failures of this Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress. This can't be denied. However, because it can't be denied there are certain implications going around in their defense by those who are in denial about this. They imply that what’s going on with Bradley Manning’s confinement and his sham of a trial doesn't truly matter.

They imply Occupy protesters getting beaten, sprayed, and handcuffed until they get nerve damage doesn't matter because of the fact that African Americans and Latinos have been feeling the brunt of police brutality and a corrupt racist justice system for years. It is very true that African Americans and Latinos have felt the brunt of a corrupt racist justice system for years.

However, these injustices still matter regardless, because as MLK said, "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and that still holds true today. The issues the Occupy movement are fighting for affect all races, especially on income inequality and economic justice. That is an acknowledged fact that can't be denied.

The people of Occupy Wall Street are protesting our country's growing inequality--and nowhere is this inequality more acutely felt than the makeup of our prison population.

Recently at a city council meeting in my home of Jersey City, a 46-year-old formerly incarcerated man told the council, as reported in the Jersey City Independent: "I've served 16 years in prison. I came home three years ago and tried everything possible you can do. I got my high school diploma and a driver's license...The job system failed me."
 

When I went to Occupy Wall Street, my friend carried a sign that read: "Troy Davis would still be alive if he had been rich and white." We had attended a protest earlier that month, when Davis was still alive, where signs and demonstrators proclaimed, "We are Troy Davis."
 

We are Troy Davis. We are the 99 percent.

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Processing the President's Disdain for Due Process

This piece is my most viral piece to date and appeared on Daily Kos on December 15, 2011. It's an ironic diary coming from myself given all the economic pieces I write but I do have range on other issues, too. It's about the NDAA and is still relevant because the US can still indefinitely detain American citizens, and the White House has never been able to properly define the terms "associated forces" among others things with regard to Al Qaeda. Section 1021 can still be used to indefinitely detain American citizens.

You may recognize my illustration about the NDAA as well which is also still relevant.

Not that it should only be a worry if it happens to American citizens. This war on terror George W. Bush league crap that the Obama administration is still peddling, even with its signing statement claiming it won't matter while they are in the White House, assuming, of course, no Republican will ever win an election again. That is ridiculous, insulting, and a major assault on the Bill of Rights. This is further compounded with the White Paper and the Rand Paul filibuster in which he didn't get an answer to his simple question really on how they define the term "engaged in combat" when it comes to whether they can order a drone strike on an American citizen on American soil. This one is still relevant so enjoy.

Processing the President's Disdain for Due Process

That’s right. You know what’s going on.

This administration never threatened to veto the NDAA because of civil liberties concerns. This administration is using the same fear mongering that the Bush administration has used concerning Al Qaeda to codify the unchecked executive power it has claimed erroneously for itself in the exact same way.

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