Talks Begin On Debt Ceiling And Shutdown

By: Friday October 11, 2013 5:48 am

Yesterday House Republican leaders met with President Obama at the White House to begin discussing a deal on raising the debt ceiling and ending the government shutdown. The initial proposal by Speaker Boehner to grant a six-week extension on US borrowing authority was rejected by Obama. Apparently the ‘Grand Bargain’ is back. President Obama and [...]

Speaker Boehner Telling Colleagues ‘Grand Bargain’ Back In Play

By: Thursday October 3, 2013 5:55 am

The end result of the shutdown could be not only a victory for extortion tactics by the minority party, but also long lasting damage to the safety net with cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Speaker John Boehner is telling his Republican colleagues that negotiations are taking place behind the scenes on the so-called ‘Grand [...]

Poverty Hits Record Levels As Washington Debates More Austerity

By: Wednesday April 3, 2013 5:50 am

While Washington debates cutting Social Security and Medicare the facts are in on the “recovery” – it’s a bust. Not only has unemployment remained historically high – 7.7% officially, 23% by the old metrics – but poverty has spiked to historic highs. The U.S. Census Bureau puts the number of Americans in poverty at levels [...]

Hoyer Pushes Plan to Pass Obama Offer With Bipartisan Mix

By: Friday December 21, 2012 11:39 am

So Democrats have reached the bargaining phase of the fiscal slope debacle. It’s hard to say whether they’re pushing this because they think they have an opportunity to avoid the austerity bomb or because they know they have no partner on the other side, but either way, the result is the Democratic leadership, at least [...]

Where to Go From Plan B, And Why the Answer Is “Nowhere”

By: Friday December 21, 2012 6:22 am

I couldn’t think of a more fitting story on my last day of blogging to symbolize the nature of our government than the aborting of Plan B, wherein House Republicans couldn’t even pass a messaging bill with no chance of advancing. Sometimes we’ve seen Speaker Boehner miscount the votes – the most notable time I [...]

Obama Proud of His Fiscal Slope Offer, For Some Reason

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 10:50 am

For some reason, liberals are agonized by the fact that a Presidential press conference about gun safety legislation devolved into questions about the fiscal slope. As if this has never happened before, or that reporters are Constitutionally obligated to stay on topic. Or that the fisal policy of the world’s largest economy shouldn’t stay in [...]

Threat of Medicare Eligibility Age Increase Recedes – For Now

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 10:00 am

Amid all the fiscal slope machinations comes one bit of good news, at least in the near term. House Speaker John Boehner has pulled back on raising the Medicare eligibility age in this deal, although he holds it out as a possibility for the conclusion of the deal next year. This suggests that the White [...]

Learned Behavior: Obama’s Backtrack on Tax Rates, Debt Limit Empowered Republicans

By: Wednesday December 19, 2012 7:45 am

The White House announced they would veto “Plan B,” John Boehner’s gambit to pass a bill extending the Bush-era tax rtes for all earners on the first $1 million of income. And Nancy Pelosi said that Boehner had better have 218 votes for such a bill, since House Democrats won’t provide any. Of course, Boehner [...]

Boehner Trying to Push Plan B Over the Counter

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 10:22 am

I guess the good news about the state of the fiscal slope negotiations is that nobody seems to like what’s on offer. Dick Durbin, seen as close to the President, just rejected including the chained CPI for Social Security benefits in a final deal. That rejection came even faster than the rejection of raising the [...]

More on Chained CPI, the Benefit Cut for Social Security on the Table in Fiscal Slope Discussions

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 6:45 am

First of all, this is a benefit cut of about 0.3% a year, as Dean Baker points out. He adds that “This loss would be cumulative through time so that after 10 years the cut would be roughly 3 percent, after 20 years 6 percent, and after 30 years 9 percent.” Actually if we started using chained CPI in 2002, we’d be 3.6% behind today. That’s well over $1,000 a year, and the situation grows worse over time. So the greatest impact would be on the oldest seniors, which happens to correlate with the poorest.

Obama’s Latest Fiscal Slope Offer: I’m Missing the Part Where Republicans Give Up Something

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 6:00 am

The headlines here is that the Obama Administration narrowed the demand they maintained for four years, for tax rates to increase above $250,000, and they would agree to a benefit cut for Social Security and $400 billion in unspecified Medicare cuts, and in exchange they would mostly extend current law on a few fronts (but not all) and get an unspecified amount, no more than $50 billion, in infrastructure spending.

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