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As you wake up this morning, there is a lot of talk about the leaked report of the Debt Commission. Keep in mind that this is not the final report, but a draft passed out by the co-chairs.
What you need to know is pretty straight forward.
Yes, the plan ends the deficit. It does so with lots and lots of spending cuts across the board. There are actually some good suggestions in the plan, but there is one inescapable fact — the proposal has buried in it one trillion dollars in tax increases.
Some of what are defined as tax increases are, in fact, closing loopholes in the tax code that lobbyists have inserted on behalf of clients. But also included is getting rid of the home mortgage deduction. That would amount to a massive, massive tax increase on the middle class.
The reforms suggested for social security are out and out garbage. It is not means tested. It is not “lock boxed”. Payments are cut. Retirement is increased.
This proposal is dead on arrival.
But there is another point that must be made.
One week before the midterm elections in 2006, George W. Bush publicly said he would stand by Donald Rumsfeld. The day after the election, Donald Rumsfeld was out the door.
The President, Republicans, and virtually everyone else blamed the war for the GOP midterm disaster. Rumsfeld was the head that rolled.
The day after the election.
Tim Geithner’s head remains in Washington. Why? The President says it was the economy, not his policies. The Democrats say it was the economy, not their policies.
Why then does the Treasury Secretary remain?
President Obama is sitting over at the White House praying that Republican Leadership in the Senate defeats Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) earmark ban. Remember when Republicans were hit hard for voting against the Stimulus Plan, then some of them sent letters to the Obama Administration requesting projects? The current earmark debate is turning into a similar political trap and some Senate Republicans are falling for it hook, line and sinker.
This debate is going down the same road of the Simulus debate where many Republicans and Democrats who voted against the Stimulus were painted as hypocrites for requesting projects.
Back in June reports came out suggesting that Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar had lied in a report on the Gulf Coast spill by claiming that a panel of outside exports had peer-reviewed the report’s conclusions, which included a job-killing moratorium on offshore drilling. After this came out, the Interior Secretary had to retract and disavow any nefarious intent on the administration’s behalf; and you could have believed as much of that disavowal as you liked. Given that this White House purely hates offshore drilling and jumped at the chance to reverse course on the topic, it was reasonable enough not to believe a word of it.
Well, it’s now confirmed, via an Inspector General’s investigation, that the language in question was actually changed by a staffer to White House energy adviser Carol Browner.
n the wake of last Tuesday’s election there has been much debate on the effect that the Tea Party label had on candidates for office.
Last week, MSNBC’s First Read came out with an analysis of Tea Party candidates showing they only managed to win 32% of their races. Unfortunately, the approach taken by MSNBC, by looking at all races without regard to the competitiveness of the district, has the potential to misrepresent the impact of attaching one’s candidacy to the Tea Party movement.
In order to get a better handle on the true impact of the Tea Party label it is useful to restrict our discussion to a list of Tea Party candidates in races that were considered competitive leading up to the election. The following analysis is based on the list of 138 Tea Party affiliated candidates from the New York Times. In the interest of leaving out sure winners and sure losers, races rated as “Solid Democrat” or “Solid Republican” were excluded from the analysis (67 solid ‘D’ races were dropped and 8 solid ‘R’). This leaves 30 races rated as “Leaning Democrat,” 23 races rated as “Tossup” and 10 races rated as “Leaning Republican”.
In order to get at the central question of whether Tea Partiers were underperforming what a “normal” Republican would have done in the district their performance, it is then useful to compare the performance of the Tea Partiers on the ballot with the Cook Partisan Voting Index of the district.