Monday, February 02, 2009

Party Of Zero: Clue Phone, Line One. Reality Calling.

Senate Republicans’ ‘Temporary and Targeted’ Tax Cuts Are Permanently Targeted To The Wealthy

Pat Garofalo:
Of course, there’s a contradiction here, in that McConnell extolled the virtues of targeted tax cuts for lower-income people, while Kyl ridiculed just that sort of cut. More importantly though, the only stimulus proposal that Senate Republicans have come forward with is Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-SC) “American Option,” which as Ben Furnas noted earlier, is $3.1 trillion in permanent tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy.

If McConnell is really concerned about giving tax breaks to lower-income people then the following statistic — the average tax break for a corporate CEO and a minimum wage worker under the DeMint plan — should be troubling:

Romer responds to distortions of her research: GOP analysis is ‘flat wrong’ and ‘absolutely incorrect.'

Matt Corley:
Last week, House Republicans offered a tax-cut heavy alternative economic recovery plan that they claimed would create 6.2 million jobs. The conclusion was based on a distortion of past research done by Council of Economic Advisers Chair Christina Romer. Over the weekend, Berkeley economist Brad DeLong obtained Romer’s response to the GOP’s misuse of her work.
The Republican House analysis is flat wrong in its claim that the House Republican stimulus is more effective. No matter what your analytical assumptions, as long as they are consistent the plan the President supports would result in substantially greater job creation than the House Republican plan.
...A more recent analysis by Romer and Jared Bernstein concluded that government investment creates more jobs than tax cuts.

Republican Suicide Watch

P.M. Carpenter:
It may now well be America's favorite pastime: Republican Suicide Watch.

Its season is longer, its ramifications more profound and Lord knows its principal players are at least as amusing as any Super Bowl commercial. [...]

So when the party's new chairman, Michael Steele, announced last week to his fellow Republicans that his first task would be to address their "image" problem, was he sufficiently aware of just who his fellow Republicans are, and, with respect to the 2010 election, what they're up to?

Because these jokers are becoming political jokes, real fast -- and there's nothing more politically suicidal than that.

In the Face of Economic Disaster, Republicans Have No Ideas

Instead of trying to help figure the way out of our economic mess, Republicans are busy trying to get in the good graces of Rush Limbaugh.

Frank Rich, NYT:
The House stimulus bill is an inevitably imperfect hodgepodge-in-progress. Obama’s next move, a new plan to prevent the collapse of America’s banks, may prove more problematic still, especially given the subpar record of the new Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, in warding off calamity while at the New York Fed. No one should expect the Republicans to give the new president carte blanche, fall blindly into lock step or be “post-partisan.” (Though that’s exactly what the G.O.P. demanded of Democrats with Bush: You were either with him or with the terrorists.)

But you might think that a loyal opposition would want to pitch in and play a serious role at a time of national peril. Not by singing “Kumbaya” but by collaborating on possible solutions and advancing a policy debate that many Americans’ lives depend on. [...]

The more disturbing problem is that the party has zero leaders and zero ideas. It is as AWOL in this disaster as the Bush administration was during Katrina.

If the country wasn’t suffering, the Republicans’ behavior would be a laugh riot. The House minority leader, John Boehner, from the economic wasteland of Ohio, declared on “Meet the Press” last Sunday that the G.O.P. didn’t want to be “the party of ‘No’” but “the party of better ideas, better solutions.” And what are those ideas, exactly? He said he’ll get back to us “over the coming months.” [...]

For its own contribution to this intellectual void, the Republican National Committee convened last week under a new banner, “Republican for a Reason.” Perhaps that unidentified reason will be determined by a panel of judges on a TV reality show. [...]

The Republicans do have one idea, of course, but it’s hardly fresh: more and bigger tax cuts, particularly for business and the well-off. That’s the sum of their “alternative” stimulus plan. [...]

We also now know conclusively that the larger Bush tax cuts, besides running up record deficits and exacerbating income inequality, were also at best a placebo on our road to ruin. [...]

The Republicans’ other preoccupation remains Rush Limbaugh, who is by default becoming their de facto leader. While most Americans are fearing fear itself, G.O.P. politicians are tripping over themselves in morbid terror of Rush.

These pratfalls commenced after Obama casually told some Republican congressmen (correctly) that they won’t “get things done” if they take their orders from Limbaugh. That’s all the stimulus the big man needed to go on a new bender of self-aggrandizement. He boasted that Obama is “more frightened” of him than he is of the Republican leaders in the House or Senate. He said of the new president, “I hope he fails.” [...]

“It’s up to me to hijack the Obama honeymoon,” Limbaugh soon gloated, “and I’ve done it.” In his dreams. He has hijacked what’s left of the Republican Party; the Obama honeymoon remains intact. The nightmare is that we have so irrelevant, clownish and childish an opposition party at a moment when America is in an all-hands-on-deck emergency that’s as trying as war. To paraphrase a dictum that has been variously attributed to two of our most storied leaders in times of great challenge, Thomas Paine and George Patton, the Republicans should either lead, follow or get out of the grown-ups’ way.

Ozymandias of Egypt

Percy Bysshe Shelley

I MET a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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