Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Don't take the poutragers seriously either

Yesterday I wrote about how we can't take the GOP presidential contenders seriously. This morning I'm once again reminded that we can't take the poutragers seriously either.

Its really the same old story we've seen over and over again - folks getting into outrage mode at Obama and/or Democrats before knowing the full story. Its always followed up by refusing to go back and correct the record once the full story is known.

The issue this time...the Democrats on the Super Committee who are trying to find an agreement with Republicans about deficit reduction. The latest cause for outrage is what was reported in this article Sunday in the New York Times.

With a little over a week left to reach a deal, members of the Congressional deficit reduction panel are looking for an escape hatch that would let them strike an accord on revenue levels but delay until next year tough decisions about exactly how to raise taxes.

Under this approach, the panel would decide on the amount of new revenue to be raised but would leave it to the tax-writing committees of Congress to fill in details next year, well beyond the Nov. 23 deadline for the panel itself to reach an agreement. That would put off painful political decisions but ensure that the debate over deficit reduction stretched into the election year.

Cue poutrage: I freaking hate Super Congress, and so should you. Here's just a taste.

If you've been reading the news about our great and all-powerful Super Congress, you know that we're now at the stage where Democrats are apparently looking for the best possible way to acquiesce to all Republican demands in exchange for some promises of maybe getting something in return later, maybe, if the Republicans feel like it. The current trial balloon is to cut the crap out of entitlements and other government programs now, in exchange for an argument later over whether and how to raise taxes. During an election year.

No, really. I know it sounds like satire, but it's really being floated.

The "Super Committee" was set up to be a boondoggle from the moment of inception, mind you, so in order to squeeze even more incompetent buffoonery out of it, you really, really have to try at at. You have to set out with incompetence clearly in mind as your ultimate objective, and you have to focus on it, I mean really focus on it. Drink a glassful of expired raw eggs for breakfast. Repeat demotivational sayings to yourself in the mirror. Envision yourself bungling things spectacularly, maybe set it to music, imagine yourself in a nice little 1980s-movie montage of various failures, capitulations, foul-ups, bungles, goofs, screwups and face plants. Only then do you have, perhaps, a chance to foul government up at the Olympian levels Democrats apparently aspire to reach.

I'll admit, that's some pretty good writing. Too bad its totally wrong.

...Democrats aren’t offering to simply take the GOP at their word. Their plan is to make any cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security part of a trigger that would only be pulled if and when Congress passes hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue.

Multiple Democratic aides confirm their strategy hasn’t changed: Dems will only support this sort of two-step tax reform process if there are serious revenue guarantees and the deal includes a trigger to make sure the revenue materializes.

If that sounds a little Rube Goldbergish to you, it is. But both parties have basically agreed that the Super Committee wouldn’t have enough time between its launch and its deadline to write a full overhaul of the tax code. So Dems are privately insisting that any future promised revenue come with more than a promise. If the GOP can’t deliver the votes for it, then the safety net cuts they want disappear.

The truth is - this is actually a pretty brilliant plan. This idea of focusing on deficit reduction right now never came from the Democrats in the first place. It was the Republicans who held the global economy hostage by refusing to raise the debt limit without serious reductions in the deficit. So now the Democrats have found a way to turn the tables and do some hostage-taking of their own.

First of all, if Republicans won't compromise and the committee fails, there will be massive cuts in defense spending. Now, the Democrats are saying that domestic spending cuts (which right now don't touch Social Security, contrary to what the article above says) won't go into affect until the Republicans agree to increased revenue. The debt ceiling deal got passed and now Democrats don't have much to lose. If Republicans want to play ball (ie, compromise) on a deal...fine. If not, no sweat.

And the poutragers whine because they haven't bothered to get the whole story. Most of us have realized that after 3 years of watching this happen, it pays to be patient before you pull the outrage trigger. Some folks never learn. That's why no one takes them seriously.


  1. Thank you for this. The first thing I read this morning over at TPM was an article that cautioned poutragers to wait until the facts were clearer.

    Your article and that one do wonders at clearing things up for people like me who are not politically astute. The comments after the TPM article were very depressing. People had already started to plan to not vote because the Dems had
    "caved" again.

    Take it from me, the poutrager's have a big stick: They do more to depress voter turnout than what the Republicans are currently trying to do?

    When will they learn that " a house divided against itself....? Oh, never mind. So glad you're here, SP.

  2. Excellent article. Too bad Obama & the Dems have a three year track record. It's all the GOP's fault though. Let the Kabuki commence. (I'd buy that meme except for things that happened without the GOP):

    Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Cat Food Commission, Holder, Alan Simpson, Defending Wall Street, Calling for more Free Trade, Calling for Patriot Act Renewal, Looking to GE's Outsourcing CEO for advice on "Jobs", appointing a JP Morgan Bankster as Chief of Staff, meeting in secret with Pharma, Bradley Manning, "Shared Sacrifice".


    Damn those obstructionist Republicans!

  3. Johann - Thanks for commenting but I wonder if you have anything to say about what I've actually written.

    Your list in the second paragraph is interesting but pretty long.

    You seem to think that together they form an immediate knee-jerk reaction that should lead us to not trust Obama/Dems. That kind of cryptic critique is not going to work in these parts. You'll need to do better than that.

  4. There is almost no rumor out of the government that won't generate wildly hysterical blog postings about it by the poutragers. When the facts appear, and it turns out they were totally wrong, they all demonstrate collective amnesia and move on to the next rumor they're going to get upset about. As long as that rumor fits into their "Obama fails" paradigm.

    They're mostly only talking to themselves, and every time they step out of their safe little world, it turns out that there are people who deal with political reality who start slapping them around with facts, so they run back and whine how mean everyone is.

  5. Johann,thanks for proving the post's point, esp. with the Manning reference. Do us all a favor and go vote for the great white hope of your dreams.



    (walks away whistling innocently)