I’m thinking that Dana
Milkbag Milbank has a full-blown case of buyer’s remorse as it regards President Obama. But what’s a good mainstream lib like Milbank to do? Easy: he rationalizes his overall pro-Obama stance by adding in (a la Lance Armstrong), “That everyone else is doing it, too.”
Cognitive dissonance is a terrible thing to waste, to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel. So how is cognitive dissonance at work in Milbank?
On one Milbank hand, you have your “Obama isn’t up to the job, either for reasons of intellect, temperament, or both” sentiment:
That messiah [of the 2008 election] never came, and a sluggish economic recovery overshadowed his term. Obama was reelected less because he inspired the nation than because he discredited his opponent. Most Americans still think that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and just one in five trust their government to do the right thing.
On the other hand, you have your Milbank “The other side is doing it too” stance:
Much of this says less about Obama than about the times.
On your third Milbank hand—I blame global warming for his noodelized DNA—you have your Obama hubris issue. Lincoln guided us through a Civil War. Obama guided us through… What?
… the president manages to make his own presidency seem smaller by his frequent invocations of our greatest president.
Back to your second Milbank hand, you’ve still got your “But they’re to blame as well” syndrome:
Today, instead of great moral causes [like winning the Civil War and abolishing slavery], we have ceaseless and petty bickering over paying federal debts.
And that block quote is where it’s obvious Milbank has suffered (best case), cognitive dissonance, or (worst case) a brain injury—or perhaps merely libotomized—perhaps as a result of falling off the liberal fail turnip truck.
The debt is a great moral issue: the Administration is making promises it can’t keep. That’s lying. The Administration favors purposefully incurring debts that can’t be repaid. That’s theft, another great moral cause. They are ever-increasing the power of the government and restricting personal freedom. That’s tyranny, still another issue of great moral gravity. They are practicing crony capitalism to enrich one another. That’s criminal, yet another issue of morality.
Milbank is a media liberal, but I see many cracks in his intellectual armor. And remember this: man is the only creature who can deceive himself. While he may think this much, his column, is true, in this case, he’s only half-right.
From Dana Milkbag Milbank who today found an acorn regarding our belligerent in chief in parsing out Barry’s recent media performance:
Given the tendency by conservative media “to demonize me,” Obama said, socializing with the president might lead to “a challenge from somebody in a primary.” The only way to change lawmakers’ behavior, he said, is for voters to “reject” the partisans who don’t compromise. “And that’ll be true whether I’m the life of the party or a stick in the mud,” he said.
From the affable president, this must pass for friendly advice.
Interesting. With the election in the rear-view mirror, some on the left are now free to comment on Obama’s non-presidential presidential performance.
And Barry has it all wrong anyway. It isn’t those conservatives who socialize with the President who’ll face a primary, it’s those who vote with him.
Milkbag Milbank, who post-election, has discovered his President is a do as I say and not as I do type of guy:
“My administration,” President Obama wrote on his first day in office, “is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.”
Those were strong and hopeful words. Four years later, it is becoming more and more clear that they were just words.
I suppose it depends how one defines openness:
By certain measures, “overall secrecy has actually increased rather than declined,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy. “Criminalization of unauthorized disclosures of information to the press has risen sharply, becoming a preferred tactic. Efforts to promote public accountability in controversial aspects of counterterrorism policy such as targeted killing have been blocked by threadbare, hardly credible national security secrecy claims.”
But Milkbag still manages to write a note for Broncobama and sign it as his mother:
The Obama administration has, to its credit, made progress in a few areas: releasing more of the White House visitor logs, disseminating more information about nuclear weapons, disclosing more about intelligence spending, and declassifying more historical records.
Yes, and Ted Bundy, to his credit, was considered handsome and charismatic by his victims, with fastidious personal grooming habits.
Barack Obama: making the Clinton Administration look forthright since 2009. And the imbedded yet unspoken liberal political thoughts Milbank brings forth: 1) The election is over and we can discuss some of Obama’s shortcomings now. And 2) What, you expected the man to keep his word?
Milkbag Milbank sees that Barry Oh! has gone over the top in his re-election efforts, you know things are pretty bad for Obama and his fellow travelers. But for Barry, the lessons are clear: it’s better to be loved than to be respected and it’s better to be re-elected than loved.
Even the intrepid Milkbag knows the American president has an important obligation to meet with foreign leaders (as opposed to courting the hosts and audience of The View).
But it isn’t nearly good enough to point out an obvious, if gruesome, Obama flaw; that’s like not taking one for the team. What to do? An idea springs to life from the Milkbag mind: Blame Romney for doing the same thing!
This, of course, conveniently forgets that Romney is an as-yet unelected candidate. That means Romney isn’t yet in a position to represent American positions because he isn’t yet the President of the United States (even though he’s met with foreign leaders in his role as Republican nominee).
And all those trees falling in the forest of Obama’s presidency? They’re the epic failures and root rot the media somehow can’t see or hear.
Mr. Milkbag misses both the forest and the trees as it regards President Obama and almost certainly with malice and forethought, a la Brian Ross.
After all, President Obama has been to America what John Elway was to the Cleveland Browns (that is, poison, death from above, bad medicine, etc.).
The Milkbag fails to see his favorite Kansas-Kenya cowboy has captained our nation during the biggest debt run-up, the greatest economic non-recovery, and the most imperial presidency in our history.
Throwing rocks at “Obama nuttiness” can’t hide the fact Barry Oh! makes Jimmy Carter’s epic failure look like the very definition of a successful presidency.
OK, props where they’re due: the Washington Post-It’s Dana Milkbag finds an acorn every once in a while.
Like his take on the President’s Barnyard (oops, is that Barnard?) College commencement speech.
Obama was still early in his address when he acknowledged that his praise for the young generation of women is “a cheap applause line when you’re giving a commencement at Barnard.”
But Obama was being modest. He didn’t deliver a cheap applause line. He delivered an entire speech full of them. His reelection campaign has been working for months to exploit the considerable gender gap, which puts him far ahead of likely GOP rival Mitt Romney among women. But Monday’s activities veered into pandering, as Obama brazenly flaunted his feminine mystique.
I’m not familiar with Barry Oh’s! feminine mystique, although we’ve all seen his feminine physique.
Milbank points out Obama has gone beyond groveling for women’s votes and that he actually seems to feel compelled to elevate them above men. Has he just given up on non-homosexual men voting for him or is this more sinister? That is, is this really Obama’s War on Men?
He speculated that, although no women signed the Constitution, “we can assume that there were founding mothers whispering smarter things in the ears of the founding fathers.”
Surely those cloddish Founding Fathers we’re going to do something really stupid. Maybe merge the colonies with France? Or just pay the taxes for the privilege of being a British citizen? Thankfully their wives and daughters were there to correct them.
But the problem is not with the Founding Fathers, or men. It’s with Obama, whose self-created bubble seems to get tighter and thicker by the day. More homosexual scout masters? Obama favors that. The Lilly Bedwetter Fair Pay Act? He’s proud of it. Married to a first-freeloader who mooches off the American taxpayers almost as much as Obama himself? Check. A President who is delving deeply into self-parody? Obama’s down with that, too.
In making the appearance on the Ivy League campus in Manhattan, Obama risked confirming that he is the coastal elitist he’s often accused of being.
I’d beg to differ on the risked confirming assessment. I’d say Barry re-confirmed.
So what hosannas are left for the Barnyard grads to offer?
The young women applauded and cheered lines about “equal pay for equal work,” controlling “decisions about your own health” and many others.
What should Obama have used for an applause line? A free chicken for every pot and a free abortion for every chick.
Will the fact Obama has been an epic American fail keep Milbank from supporting him in the fall? Doubtful.
But I’m glad Milbank isn’t oblivious to the President’s myriad flaws. In the land of the blind mainstream media, the one-eyed scribe can be king.
Intrepid scribbler Dana Milbank is worried for the future of America.
Why? Because Indiana Republicans are set to leave Richard Lugar in Washington.
Wait a minute, you say. Why does a politician from flyover land getting re-elected warrant a column from the man known to the community of Washington Post-It readers as Dana Milkbag? And hasn’t Lugar already enjoyed six Senate terms, enough that he didn’t qualify to vote in Indiana? Why he’s practically the Lawn Gnome of the Senate.
No, that isn’t it at all. Lugar will stay in Washington, but not as a U.S. Senator, He’ll stay as a lobbyist.
Besides being the Lawn Gnome of the Senate, what is Richard Lugar’s claim to fame? He’s an arms control guru.
Arms control, as they say, is useful when both sides want to do something that’s going to be done anyway. Don’t believe me? Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea have nuclear arms. Soon, Iran will. Did the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty (or NPT) impact their decision making? It would seem the answer is simple: no.
But Milbank is an arms control/Lugar/Republican in Name Only fanboy. And he’s worried because Indiana Republicans are set to pick Richard Mourdock to run for the Lugar-held seat in the November general election. It’s enough to get the normally flappable, disparaging, and often wrong Milbank up in arms. It would appear arms control—for Milbank, anyway—is needed:
Enter Richard Mourdock, a tea party hothead attempting to defeat Lugar in the GOP primary. A cornerstone of his effort to oust Lugar is the six-term senator’s bad habit of bipartisanship — never mind that Lugar’s bipartisanship was in the service of protecting millions of Americans from nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism.
I had the non-pleasure of hearing Lugar speak at an arms control event in early 2008 and he was a bitter, nasty, cynical small man disguised in a great-grandfather’s body who gave the least statesman-like performance I’ve observed. I was shocked to hear him consistently belittle the Bush Administration, Obama-like, for almost everything under the sun. It’s no wonder Lugar has been one of the Senate’s most reliable RINOs.
And it was clear at that event that Richard Lugar was far more worried about his arms control legacy than anything else. His transparency was painful.
So it’s no wonder that Milbank finds much to wring his hands about. The loss of a senate RINO is a scary thing.
Indeed, Mourdock, Indiana’s state treasurer, boasts about his refusal to work with Democrats. “The time for being collegial is past,” he told the New York Times recently. “It’s time for confrontation.”
There is a great deal to dislike in Mourdock’s message, but the most egregious part is his underlying contention that Lugar should be punished for cooperating with the other party — even though such cooperation protects the country against unimaginable destruction. That’s not just wrong; it’s unpatriotic.
Milbank’s thinking often falls apart, a la Tom Friedman. No Mr. Milbank, to fail to represent one’s constituents, as Richard Lugar has done, is wrong. And unpatriotic. And hypocritical. Confronting poor performance—does anyone really think the debt = GDP economy Obama has wrought is what America needs?—is necessary and beneficial. Indiana Republicans know the score.
The lesson? It’s RINO season.
Political analysis ain’t rocket science, unless you think of it as North Korean rocket science.
In a political culture that long ago surrendered to the permanent campaign, Obama has managed to take things to a whole new level.
After some well-deserved Obama bashing with a dash of ‘Republicans do it too’ (even though not nearly at the whole new level previously mentioned) Milbank needs to ask a question and get off the stage:
… Obama’s acquiescence to an intolerable status quo raises a question: Shouldn’t presidential leadership be about setting an example?
The obvious answer is yes. The real-world challenge in squaring the circle is seen in much the President does ranging from private money to Super PACs to his own tax return. It can be summarized as Do as I say and not as I do, or alternatively, Pay as I say and not as I pay.
While it is all quite unseemly, I don’t think these issues will keep Mr. Milbank from again voting for President Obama.
Dana Milbank is a reliably liberal media lapdog at the Washington Post (not the John Philip Sousa march, but the newspaper).
Sometimes—through random success, just as a blind squirrel might find an acorn—Milbank says something funny, interesting, or topical. Generally, he does not.
In this recent column, he does not enjoy random success. Instead, Milbank delivers a reliably partisan and predictable attempt to slime Paul Ryan. Why? Because 1) Raul Ryan’s budget position has been endorsed by Mitt Romney and 2) Mitt Romney will running against Barack Obama in November.
Milbank’s issue at hand is that Paul Ryan had the audacity to deliver a draft budget instead of taking the do-nothing approach meekly favored by the Harry Reid-controlled Senate (no budget in three years, but they did reject the President’s 2012 budget 97 to zero) or the fairy tale/mentally ill 2013 budget delivered by the President (non-endorsed 414 to zero in the House).
Here’s Milbank’s beef:
…Ryan, the author of the House Republican budget endorsed by Mitt Romney, said his program was crafted “using my Catholic faith” as inspiration. But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was not about to bless that claim.
A week after Ryan’s boast, the bishops sent letters to Congress saying the Ryan budget, passed by the House, “fails to meet” the moral criteria of the Church, namely its view that any budget should help “the least of these” as the Christian Bible requires: the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the jobless. “A just spending bill cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor and vulnerable persons,” the bishops wrote.
Milbank’s writing is disingenuous at best, ignoring the overarching context the mentioned and earlier budget-focused USCCB letters to the Congress, both of which say the following:
1. Every budget decision should be assessed by whether it protects or threatens human life and dignity.
2. A central moral measure of any budget proposal is how it affects “the least of these” (Matthew 25). The needs of those who are hungry and homeless, without work or in poverty should come first.
3. Government and other institutions have a shared responsibility to promote the common good of all, especially ordinary workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times.
The above context provides much for the USCCB to find wrong with all versions of the federal budget (and more so, for every federal budget ever produced). First, and of greatest significance, think Obamacare and abortion and ponder how that protects or threatens human life and dignity. But the USCCB also groused against proposed Administration cuts to “safe and affordable housing,” the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, and “the entire foreign operations budget.”
But noticeably unmentioned by the USCCB is the whole Exodus 20:15 thing, better known as Thou shall not steal.
By continuing to grow the federal deficit in the Obama manner, the Administration is stealing from future generations (assuming the debt is someday repaid, a stretch) or else from debt holders (who will be forced to take pennies on the dollar paybacks).
Obama will be forced to address his record during the campaign and after the elections, Mr. Milbank will be able to settle into the intellectual easy chair of railing against the new president and nostalgically longing for the old one. It’s good work if it suits your disposition.
Washington Post-it writer Dana Milbank, better known at this site as Dana Milkbag, has a three interesting takes today and one clunker.
First, he recognizes the so-called Buffett Rule is a gimmick. He probably recognizes it because the President has admitted the same.
President Obama admits it: His proposed “Buffett Rule” tax on millionaires is a gimmick.
“There are others who are saying: ‘Well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit,’ ” Obama declared Wednesday. “Well, I agree.”
Next, he recognizes the President’s Potemkin Village of stage props and suck-ups central to the Obama re-election effort:
On stage with him [the President] were eight props: four millionaires, each paired with a middle-class assistant. The octet smiled and nodded so much as Obama made his case that it appeared the president was sharing the stage with eight bobbleheads.
Finally, Milbank recognizes (taking the very long way around) that the President has been… insufficient (emphasis added):
Three years into his presidency, Obama has not introduced a plan for comprehensive tax reform — arguably the most important vehicle for fixing the nation’s finances and boosting long-term economic growth. His opponents haven’t done much better, but that doesn’t excuse the president’s failures…
His opponents haven’t done much better is code for this: they have done better.
However, the Milkbag then reverts to form. It’s like he just can’t forget his initial Obama media indoctrination (emphasis added):
Nothing is inherently wrong with campaign-style rhetoric from the White House; George W. Bush used it repeatedly to pass his tax cuts and in his attempt at a Social Security overhaul. The pity is that Obama doesn’t use his unrivaled political skill to sell a tax plan of more consequence — and less gimmickry.
Thus endeth the lesson, thus saith the Milkbag.
Somehow, the rest of the world missed the President’s unrivaled political skill in helping slow the rise of the oceans and in the healing of the planet. We also missed his mad skills in enhancing U.S. national security, positively impacting the economy, reducing the federal debt, addressing energy independence, and finally, through his Administration’s many foreign policy accomplishments.
By Dana Milkbag, Published: March 23
In Washington, even the dogs are pundits. Yes, dogs. Literally.
And their cognitive skills often exceed those of the human pundits I associate with. And for what it’s worth, those I associate with would likely say the same about me.
My dog, a 2-year-old Chihuahua named Triple X, had her cable news debut this week, on MSNBC’s “Complete Nonsense” with my friend and host Florence O’Donnell. We were there to discuss Triple X’s membership in this thing I invented called Dogs For Obama.
Basically, Florence would ask Triple X questions and I’d make up answers I thought Jon Stewart would like.
As Triple X lay quietly in my lap, mugging for the camera, I projected myself through her, thoughtfully explaining our unflappable support for the President. At the end of the segment, both Triple X and I, in a show of unity, ate a treat off the anchor’s table.
“Triple X, thank you very much for joining me tonight and for bringing Mr. Milkbag along,” O’Donnell said. Noticing that the camera had moved back on her, O’Donnell instructed: “No, don’t shoot me. Shoot the dog. No wait, don’t shoot the dog, I mean put the camera on the dog!” Well, needless to say, Triple X’s life was spared because the MSNBS studios are a gun-free zone. Thankfully.
They say dogs resemble their owners and I suppose it’s true. Hold a treat in front of me, something like cool insider access to anyone in the Obama Administration, and like Triple X, I will go through my own repertoire of tricks — straw man construction, talking point regurgitation, and of course, roll over and lie.
Likewise, Triple X and I both show unstoppable determination in our pursuit of a desired object. For her, it’s survival, like running from squirrels; for me it’s recognition from MSNBC. For her it’s hiding under the bed; for me, it’s a shout-out on the Daily Show. For her, it’s getting one of those disgusting green chew sticks; for me, it’s writing a column that reflects liberal ideological purity.
When I violate that purity, which I do when I misinterpret the signals of my handlers, like Triple X making a mess on the floor, I hang my head and act remorseful. This is a reflection on both our parts to do things that please our masters, even though we both make honest mistakes.
The media lapdogs, like Triple X, are obedient and wise, but sometimes lack bladder control. When a stranger comes in the house, Triple X wags her tail vigorously; picks up a toy and, forgetting her owners, brings it to her new friend. For the media lapdogs, a stranger, that is, a Republican, is terrifying and we begin to howl madly, scratch ourselves bloody, and drag our rear ends across the floor.
To paraphrase Lord Palmerston, the media lapdogs have no permanent friends, only permanent interests.
© The Washington Post-It Company
(If you must, read the original here.)
By Dana Milkbag, Published: March 20
Look, you know, I know, we all know: I’m a liberal Democrat. I write from a liberal Democrat’s point of view, I see the world through unflinchingly liberal (in the current sense of the word and not the traditional use) mindset, and yes, all writing is autobiographical.
As such, I’m compelled to attack Paul Ryan for performing his “Congressional duty” in providing a budget plan. Ryan said the Republican presidential nominees “are cool” with any reasonable plan that moves the nation away from so-called “financial suicide.” (I just wish you could see the sneer I’m typing with. It’s an awesome sneer; bold yet righteous, much like George Clooney would do if he were to play me in a movie about my life.)
“Do you wholeheartedly believe they will accept your budget?” NPR’s Duke Nooghat tweeted from the audience.
“Of course,” the House Budget Committee chairman tweeted back, in three parts, and without hesitation. “We’ve offered something. The President’s plan is nonsensical and delusionary; the Senate hasn’t had a budget in a thousand days, and in the real world, something beats nothing. So yes, I’m confident.”
Because I’m viscerally opposed to Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, I have no problem in using one sentence of his, taken totally out of context, when he said “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” As it turns out, Ryan has provided the very plan that supports Romney’s disgraceful and dirty position.
Ryan’s plan would—according to him—cut the deficit. A world-class scaremonger, Ryan says the government’s financial situation threatens to enslave future generations, will destroy trust in government promises, and when America is bankrupt, will completely cease to provide any safety net function for our truly needy citizens. Whatever.
How does a man like Ryan even become a Congressman? He appears to have not learned the first rule of government spending. Doesn’t he know We can’t be out of money because there are still checks in the checkbook?
On top of all this, Ryan would then give most of the savings to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according to the non-partisan National Socialist Citizens for Tax Justice.
Incredibly and further offending all progressive sensibility, Ryan chose to use the Bible as a source of moral justification, dropping the line “If a man does not choose to work, neither shall he eat.” There is, he said at the reactionary American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he (Ryan, certainly not the President) said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.
Again, Ryan’s position is not only absurd, it’s cruel: all Americans have the right to receive more from the government than they pay in taxes. Except Republicans.
Ryan’s plan also forgets the fact the entire market-based system as we now know it is severely broken. As proof, I offer the fact our internal analysis shows no one, not one at all, not one person in America, will read my column if it’s put behind the proposed Washington Post-It paywall.
Ryan’s family, who immigrated from Ireland generations ago, apparently instilled in him a belief in the false-virtue of people who “pull themselves up by the bootstraps.” Certainly these simple people–of which Ryan appears to be one still–could not possibly understand the living-breathing form of democracy we’re evolving to where the government is the grantor of rights and the determinant of all. Instead, Ryan (who should be played by Javier Bardem in that movie about me) said a too-generous safety net “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”
How very kind: to protect poor Americans—that’s practically all of us anymore, except the Koch brothers, all thanks to George W. Bush—from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut. The idea that it might be their money to begin with is antithetical to all that I am.
I’ve already worked up a headline for Ryan’s plan, should it come to pass. It goes like this, and I think you’ll agree, is stunning in both its originality and its simplicity: Republican spending plan put in place; poor, women, and minorities hardest hit.
And Ryan thinks the eventual Republican presidential nominee will campaign on his plan? Apparently. “I’ve spoken to all these guys,” Ryan assured reporters, “and they believe that we are heading in the right direction.”
This, and strident partisanship (not Democrats, thankfully), explains a lot about the Republicans’ difficulty. It also explains why our nation’s most important writers and thinkers, men and women of noble character to include your humble scribe, remain firmly opposed to anything Republicans offer.
Copyright 2012, Washington Post-It Corporation
(If you must, read the original here.)
Nothing can be unsaid, so here it is: this is a parody. If you must, read the original here.
By Dana Milkbag, Published: September 13
Not to sound like a Seinfeld monologue, but what’s up with the “supercommittee” (besides the fact it’s reminiscent of a John Grisham novel)?
The SuperCommittee on Deficit Reduction, as the supercommittee is known formally, held a meeting last week that consisted entirely of speech-making. The panel followed that by holding a hearing Tuesday morning that was intended largely to trade blame; however the White House has — so far — failed to introduced the Supercommittee Trading Blame Act to the Congress.
“We have a spending-driven debt crisis,” announced Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.), the Republican co-chairman. “I hope that we’ll be able to discuss the massive transfer programs that are the long-term drivers of much of this problem.”
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) countered that “the biggest portion” of the shortfall, besides the effects of the spending-driven debt crisis, “are the tax cuts in 2001 and 2002, the Bush tax cuts” which the Obama Administration agreed to extend at the end of 2010. The wealthy, he argued, “should be willing and ready to ante up, to meet their patriotic duty to be sucked as dry as the Sahara.” The too-colorful Becerra then added “They need to get used to liking Uncle Sam’s hand down their pants. Like in prison.”
There are some who say prospects are really bleak for the supercommittee and there are others who say their prospects are really, really bleak.
Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf told the supercommittee they must have legislation crafted by the beginning of November to meet their own late-November deadline. Yet if Tuesday’s hearing was any indication, they can’t even agree on the nature of the problem.
“The fundamental question,” Elmendorf helpfully offered, “is not ‘How did we get here?’ but rather ‘Who should be blamed for this disaster?’”
The chief congressional bean counter laid out some choices: If you want to keep big transfer programs the way they are, you’re going to need massive tax increases (beyond 100 percent of GPD) and sharp cuts to high-speed rail, free health care, and green jobs. Or, if you want to keep taxes where they are (since about half the country is not paying any), those who do pay taxes will have to work about 1.22 times their current life expectancy.
The answer here should be obvious to reasonable people: yes.
There are some serious, courageous, honest, compromising legislators on the panel — Democratic Sens. Patty “Wagon” Murray (Wash.) and Jim Baucus (Mont.), and Republican Sen. Rob “Natalie” Portman (Ohio) and Rep. Dave “Deer” Camp (Mich.) come to the bipartisan, enlightened, unbiased, and cooperative mind — but there are also enough hardened partisans to mean members may only agree to cuts to essential discretionary spending programs, such as government cheese, ethanol and banking subsidies, electric cars, and important stimulus needed for Berkshire Hathaway and Bank of America bailouts.
Sen. Jon “Bon Jovi” Kyl (R-Ariz.) indicated how low the panel’s expectations are when he began asking Elmendorf about ways to cut the deficit by cracking down on fraud in programs such as Medicare.
Elmendorf resisted. “There is no evidence,” he said, that “efforts in this direction could represent any substantial share of numbers that begin with ‘t’ for trillion. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of ‘b’s’ perhaps, but no ‘t’s’.”
Rep. Fred Upton “Sinclair” (R-Mich.) apparently understood that a thousand ‘b’s’ equals a ‘t.’ “I want to underscore what our friend Mr. Kyl said about fraud and abuse,” he informed Elmendorf, who appeared to miss the m-to-b-to-t connection.
Wasteful payments, crony capitalism, and payola are chump change compared with the big items: government spending that should by now average 30 percent of gross domestic product (but is stuck at only 24 percent) and spending on Social Security, Medicare and similar transfer programs which have jumped from a 40-year average of 7.2 percent to today’s 10.4 percent — but which are still not growing backwards fast enough.
Each side employed leading questions to enlist Elmendorf’s support.
When asked if the growth in entitlements “can be described as explosive,” Elmendorf (with his glasses and trim beard, he was well cast, at least in appearance, for the role of economic arbiter) said “Beyond explosive, congressman, yes.” When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) asked if the current level of tax revenue is “well lower than the historical average,” Elmendorf asked “What period of history are you referencing, Senator?”
But Portman went too far when he asked Elmendorf’s opinion as to what “ought to be the primary focus of this committee?”
“It’s really not the place of me or CBO to offer recommendations about how to proceed,” Elmendorf replied.
Too bad. If people I like (those who are serious, courageous, honest, compromising, and sensible) were in charge, the committee might actually do something I like, which would be super uber.