Sunday, May 15, 2011

Krugman on ABC's "This Week"

I watched as Paul Krugman was the only one on the four person panel organized by ABC to talk about the US's budget "crisis". I watched an gnashed my teeth and writhed on the floor. Nobody on that panel pointed out that the "debate" was one sided. An easy way to fix the "deficit problem" is to raise taxes so there is no deficit. Not discussed. Nobody on the panel pointed out that just six months ago Republicans ignored any issue about deficits and debts when they argued that Bush's tax cuts "had to be extended". Not discussed. Nobody pointed out that for eight years under Bush the US went from surplus to big deficit and nobody was screaming that the debt was "unsustainable". This is all political theatre. It is nonsense. But nobody pointed that out.

I give credit to Krugman for standing up to the cave-in to Republican party political extortion. But even Krugman didn't try to disrupt the implicit agreement that "this is a crisis and must be acted on now". It doesn't. It didn't six month ago. It didn't for the years 2001-2008. It doesn't now.

For a nice summary of the insanity (plus video clip), here is a post by digby on his blog:
Terrorist Sympathizers

by digby

Watch This Week's round table and tell me if you've ever seen a more idiotic group of Chicken Littles than Roger Altman, Sheila Bair and Douglas Holz-Eakin? It's a wonder Paul Krugman didn't just resort to banging his head on the table at the obtuseness of the discussion.

Here's the thing nobody except Krugman would recognize or admit: it's only Republicans who are threatening to vote against raising the debt ceiling. Only them, nobody else. Democrats have already said they will raise it. In fact, the Republicans have already said they will raise it too! The entire argument is bullshit.

Krugman gives the Democrats the benefit of the doubt, saying that they are being blackmailed. I honestly don't think they are this time although he's right about the dangerous precedent this portends for future negotiations. The Dems also know the Republicans are going to vote to raise the debt ceiling. (Since Democrats are all on board, does anyone believe that Boehner can't put together enough Republican votes to pass that bill? Really?)

No, this is kabuki of the most obvious kind and Altman, Bair and Holz-Eakin, with their rending of garments over what will happen if the Democrats don't give in and give the Republicans what they want, are the comic relief.

Here's an idea: why doesn't Obama take a page from his much ballyhooed bin Laden book and do the "gutsy" thing on this one? Why doesn't he just say no and issue an assassination order on this stupid debt ceiling threat. The Republicans will back down, (the Navy SEALS in this scenario are the financial sector) and he would win. And I would be among those dancing in the streets celebrating his badassedness.

Seriously, this is the economic equivalent of responding to 9/11 by negotiating with bin Laden over joining the Caliphate.
No wonder the American people vote for crazy right wingers to "represent" them. They are inundated by a media which presents a choice between centre-right, right, and extreme right. So the people go vote in various shades of right wing parties!

The sad fact is that only a humour site like The Onion puts out "news" that reliably presents facts in their true form. This is a site dedicated to poking fun at politics and politicians (like SNL, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, etc.) and it has a more honest coverage of the political facts than the "mainstream media":
Though Mitt Romney is considered to be a frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the national spotlight has forced him to repeatedly confront a major skeleton in his political closet: that as governor of Massachusetts he once tried to help poor, uninsured sick people.

Romney, who signed the state's 2006 health care reform act, has said he "deeply regrets" giving people in poor physical and mental health the opportunity to seek medical attention, admitting that helping very sick people get better remains a dark cloud hovering over his political career, and his biggest obstacle to becoming president of the United States of America.

"Every day I am haunted by the fact that I gave impoverished Massachusetts citizens a chance to receive health care," Romney told reporters Wednesday, adding that he feels ashamed whenever he looks back at how he forged bipartisan support to help uninsured Americans afford medicine to cure their illnesses. "I'm only human, and I've made mistakes. None bigger, of course, than helping cancer patients receive chemotherapy treatments and making sure that those suffering from pediatric AIDS could obtain medications, but that's my cross to bear."

"My hope is that Republican voters will one day forgive me for making it easier for sick people—especially low-income sick people—to go to the hospital and see a doctor," Romney added. "It was wrong, and I'm sorry."


Thus far, Romney is polling strongly in early primary states like New Hampshire and Iowa, but Republican strategists and voters agree that even in a general election, his sordid past would continue to dog him.

"I don't think I can vote for someone like that," Pennsylvania Republican Eric Tolbert said. "He says he's sorry, but how do I know that's the real Mitt Romney? What happens if he gets elected and tries to help sick people again?"

"I like Michele Bachmann now," Tolbert added. "Because what this country needs is a president who doesn't give a fuck about helping people."

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