Monday, January 14, 2013

Headline of the day:

At Politico: GOP looks for ways to stop the rape comments

Yes, that might help with the party's image.


Monday, January 07, 2013

Bob Sehieffer doesn't understand what's going on in Washington D.C.:

Which is why he hosts Face the Nation.

On Sunday, January 6, there was this exchange: (emp add)
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me tell you, here are the big dates that are coming. End of February, congress has to raise the debt ceiling to keep the country from going into default, as you say. On March 1, those draconian cuts in social programs and defense program goes into effect, unless you do something to put it off. 
PELOSI: Unless we do something, yeah. 
SCHIEFFER: And then on March 27, the government basically runs out of money. Why can't the congress solve these problems before we get up to those deadlines? Why do we go through this kind of exercise that embarrasses everyone? 
PELOSI: Well, you ask the Republicans because we always passed the debt ceiling when President Bush was president... 
SCHIEFFER: What has happened to Washington? 
PELOSI: I don't know. 
SCHIEFFER: It simply did not used to be this way. 
PELOSI: Absolutely not, no. 
SCHIEFFER: What do you think is wrong here? What happened? And what needs to happen?
Somewhat later there was Bob's opinion segment where he lamented the friendly relations between Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill, among others.

It's as if Schieffer is unaware of Mann and Ornstein's book ("It's Even Worse Than It Looks") detailing the radical rejectionism of Republicans in the last half-decade (at least). 

Howard Kurtz is aware of the book, but he played the innocent in an interview this same weekend. It was one of the very few times the duo have been invited to news programs since their book came out half a year ago.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The proposed estate tax:

During the Bush years the estate tax was 45+% with an exclusion of around $2 million. Now Obama claims a win with a 40% rate and exclusion of $5 million. How? By saying that the rate goes up from 35%.

But the 35% was Obama's policy when he agreed to a two-year extension of the Bush cuts in late 2010. So we are actually seeing the estate tax raised from Obama's low number. The "Bush rate" was always 45% or greater (excepting 2010 when there was no estate tax).

Talk about negotiating with yourself.

UPDATE: Here is how the White House is putting it:

• Raises tax rates on the wealthiest estates: The agreement raises the tax rate on the wealthiest estates – worth upwards of $5 million per person – from 35 percent to 40 percent, in contrast to Republican proposals to continue the current estate tax levels.



Taking today's story and replacing some elements, you might have a story from the future.

Vice President Biden's principal argument to Democrats on Monday night appeared to be that this deal was the best that could be negotiated on a bipartisan basis and that while it might not be popular, it was better than hitting the debt ceiling.

Coming out of the meeting with the vice president late Monday night, many Senate Democrats conceded they were displeased with aspects of the deal but agreed with the vice president's larger point.

"The disagreement on this provision and that provision and other provisions are large and wide, but the number of people who believe that we should hit the debt 
ceiling rather than vote for this is very small," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). "It's not that this proposal is regarded as great or is loved in any way, but it's regarded as better than hitting the debt ceiling."

Contrast with this:
To sell Senate Democrats on a controversial plan the White House negotiated with Senate Republicans to avoid the fiscal cliff, Vice President Joe Biden had to repeatedly reassure frustrated members of his own party Monday night that President Obama and Democratic leaders will not negotiate with the GOP to raise the debt ceiling in February or March.

“We also talked about something I feel strongly about is that we should tell the Republicans on debt ceiling we are not negotiating any political agenda in return for raising the debt ceiling,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters in the Capitol after a long Democratic caucus meeting during which Biden pitched his deal. “That if they start doing that, we’re saying, ‘We’re not discussing it. … If you want to let the debt ceiling lapse, and we don’t pay our bills, that’s on your shoulders. We’re not negotiating cuts, revenues or anything else for the debt ceiling. That should just be done automatically. Don’t come and tie the two together because we’re not going to talk to you about that.’”
Which will it be?