Do that long enough -- years?! -- and you can no longer count on your head to be working correctly.
Let’s get one thing straight: America is not facing a fiscal crisis. It is, however, still very much experiencing a job crisis. ... We may be about to slash spending and raise taxes not because markets demand it, but because Republicans have been using blackmail as a bargaining strategy, and the president seems ready to call their bluff. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
Give the man a chance. He's been right all along. Why does anyone listen to the cliffies?
... There is a whole industry built around the promotion of deficit panic. Lavishly funded corporate groups keep hyping the danger of government debt and the urgency of deficit reduction now now now — except that these same groups are suddenly warning against too much deficit reduction. No wonder the public is confused.
Meanwhile, there is almost no organized pressure to deal with the terrible thing that is actually happening right now — namely, mass unemployment. Yes, we’ve made progress over the past year. But long-term unemployment remains at levels not seen since the Great Depression: as of October, 4.9 million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months, and 3.6 million had been out of work for more than a year.
When you see numbers like those, bear in mind that we’re looking at millions of human tragedies: at individuals and families whose lives are falling apart because they can’t find work, at savings consumed, homes lost and dreams destroyed. And the longer this goes on, the bigger the tragedy....Krugman, NYT
If human loss bothers you less than economic loss, then remember that the tragedy Krugman is talking about includes the economic loss. If people with their lives upside down don't move you, then the realization that "high unemployment is undermining our future growth as well, as the long-term unemployed come to be considered unemployable, as investment falters in the face of inadequate sales." Either way you lose.
A Times reader, commenting on Krugman's editorial, writes: "We need a one percent per month plan. Tax rates for the wealthiest individuals - income, capital gains, estate, etc., would go up one percent per month until the unemployment rate falls to 5 percent..."
Somehow the negotiations to address that Republican concoction, the "fiscal cliff," have dwindled to two -- one who still stands upright and uses his head and the other the political leader who helped to manufacture a crisis and whose head is stuck... well, you know. Neither the Republican House nor the Republicans in the Senate seem capable of working for their country. Boehner, with the agreement of the President, heads to talks in the White House alone.
White House aides and the speaker’s staff, by mutual agreement, have largely shut down public communication about the talks to avert hundreds of billions of dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January if no deal can be reached. Both sides said on Thursday that lines of communication remained open. ...NYT
Mitch McConnell has now surpassed himself as perhaps the most ridiculous figure on the Hill.
On Capitol Hill, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, moved Thursday to vote on Mr. Obama’s proposal, in his broader deficit package, to permanently diminish Congress’s control over the federal government’s statutory borrowing limit, assuming that Democrats would break ranks and embarrass the president. Instead, Democratic leaders did a count, found they had 51 solid votes, and took Mr. McConnell up on what Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, called “a positive development.”
Mr. McConnell then filibustered his own bill, objecting to a simple-majority vote and saying a change of such magnitude requires the assent of 60 senators. ...NYT
One Democratic senator -- Dick Durbin -- observed wryly, “I do believe we made history on the Senate floor today."
John Boehner is in trouble within his own party. He could lose his gavel -- his job as Speaker.
While this nonsense continues unabated, so does reality. The bills are coming in from New York and New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy and they are enormous. Thank goodness that kind of storm doesn't happen all that often? You think? Why aren't we prepared for the next one?
Reality has a way of intruding. A 7.3 quake this morning near Fukushima -- where "public spending on quake-proofing buildings is a big election issue" -- is a reminder. It wasn't a 9-pointer like last year's disaster. But it's a reminder of how little time we have for trumped-up "crises."