The Life of Boehner

Time to face the tiger, John Boehner. (Photo: From “Life of Pi”)

As the Republican Party navigates this perilous chapter in its history, the organization begins to resemble — more and more closely — the desperate, lonely protagonist in “Life of Pi.”

If you haven’t seen or read it yet, it’s the story of a guy whose personal brand becomes so broken that he has to literally rename himself, swapping “Pi” for “Piscine.”

Pi barely survives a terrible shipwreck, only to land in a lifeboat with a tiger.

Only then it turns out maybe he was just lying to himself the whole time.

Maybe he was the tiger, threatening and terrifying himself.

Are you listening, John Boehner?

Let’s recap for a moment the events of the last two months.

The Republican Party ran cranium-first into the reality that modern Americans are no longer creeped out by gay people, have no interest in revisiting the issue of contraception (or rape), and are in growing numbers not Caucasian.

That’s the shipwreck, see?

And then there’s this little life-raft, which is fiscal conservatism.  That’s safe, right?  I mean, if nothing else, Americans are hungry for a party that will balance the books, and run a (sorry, can’t resist) tight ship.

Only it turns out there’s this tiger.

Which is the decades-ago discredited fantasy that if you just keep cutting taxes, government revenue will magically blossom and erase all deficits.

And then there’s the presto-change claim that you can actually increase spending on the military — one of our largest single budget items — while somehow embracing austerity.

In “Life of Pi,” the main character actually winds up abandoning his life boat, leaving it to the tiger.  He builds a second, cobbled-together raft.

That moment has arrived in our national politics.  John Boehner is sitting on a rag-tag collection of half-ideas, slogans, pitches and click-your-heels-together three-times arguments.

All of which boil down to a hard-line defense of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

These are notions that 65% of Americans have no interest in, which in modern politics amounts to a landslide.  Even a majority of Republicans want the rich to pay taxes comparable to those they paid during the Clinton years.

Which isn’t to say that Republicans have lost this fight.  Americans are clearly worried about deficits and the national debt.  And they’re wide open to the idea that the government needs to shrink.

Getting to that argument and that set of ideas will take time.  Republicans first need to take control of their lifeboat again and then get that lifeboat to shore.  They need coherent, math-based budget proposals — not ideological manifestos.

(In the movie, Pi finds an instruction book full of hilariously useless survival tips.  For Republicans, on their raft, that book is “Atlas Shrugged.”  Or maybe it’s Grover Norquist’s pledge.)

The alternative to facing reality isn’t pretty, as Pi can attest. He wound up on a carnivorous island, after all.  It looks safe but you wind up a pile of bones.

Are you listening, John Boehner?  Mitt Romney is on that island.  So is John McCain.

Democrats already control the high ground on racial demographics.  They dominate American youth culture, on issues ranging from homosexuality to religious multiculturalism.

They have a party full of rock stars and thinkers and, yes, accomplished community organizers, from the Clintons to the Obamas.

Republicans, by contrast, have the Bush family in hiding, a lingering romance with Ronald Reagan — who left office in 1988 — and a penchant for cannibalizing anyone who doesn’t obey the tiger.

The one thing they have left is this lingering, stubborn reputation for caring about and understanding the economy.  They should be grateful.  It’s amazing that the hurricane of George W. Bush didn’t sweep that away, too.

But Barack Obama is now presiding over a slow and steady recovery, with unemployment edging downward and optimism edging upward.

And in the fiscal cliff debate — like the debt ceiling debate last year — it is Obama who sounds moderate and seasoned and grounded.  His poll numbers, not surprisingly, are the highest they’ve been in three years.

Are you listening, John Boehner?

The answer to all this isn’t all that complicated. Republicans need to face, once and for all, that the revolution is over.

The grand drama that began with Barry Goldwaters messianic flame-out in the 1960s is finished.  Richard Parker is heading into the jungle, and he’s not looking back.

Translation:  The GOP is never going to remake America into the “real” America.  We’re not going to get whiter, or more Christian, or less gay, or more rural.  We’re not going to abandon every last scrap of the New Deal.

So what’s left then for Republicans?  Governing.  Being grown-ups.  Helping to run the country.  Protecting the borders.  Tweaking the economy.

You know, the boring business of stewarding the world’s largest economy and most important democracy.

Which means coming up with plans that acknowledge some cold, hard realities (i.e. everybody‘s going to wind up paying more taxes, and losing government services that really help people), while embracing the America we’re stuck with and not some Greatest Generation flashback nirvana.

It means shucking the Apocalistas and the people who are trying to get us all to buy gold and the wild-eyed dreamers who think we’ll all be okay if we just stockpile enough handguns.

As Pi can attest, this kind of journey isn’t easy.  But it’s also not a time for messing around.  You have to get busy when you’re on a raft and the sharks are circling.

You have to take some risks, tame the tiger, get control of your boat.

Otherwise, the next In Box essay about Republicans may wind up using the TV series “Lost” for its metaphor.  And nobody wants that.

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55 Comments on “The Life of Boehner”

  1. Bob Falesch says:

    Just when I’m starting to contemplate becoming acclimated to rural life, I have to read this:

    …We’re not going to get whiter, or more Christian, or less gay, or more rural.


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  2. The Original Larry says:

    I can barely respond to this offensive, arrogant nonsense. I can’t imagine how Romney got as many votes as he did or how Boehner got to be Speaker of the House. Oh yeah, that’s right….. Anyway, stop with the unsolicited advice, most of which is based upon nonsensical and long-cherished liberal myths about conservatives. Obama just invited AL SHARPTON to the White House and you’re giving Republicans advice about shucking crazy people? Get a grip.

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  3. Brian Mann says:

    Larry – My essay argues that John Boehner needs to formulate a coherent fiscally conservative plan for governing the US, one with functioning math. And I suggest that voters will support that. Hardly a liberal fantasy.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  4. Paul says:

    “Republicans first need to take control of their lifeboat again and then get that lifeboat to shore. They need coherent, math-based budget proposals — not ideological manifestos.”

    This kind of reporting is silly.

    For example the offer that the GOP has made on the “fiscal cliff” is based on math that the president endorsed last year.

    From the Washington Post:

    “But on July 22, 2011, Obama had said that “$1.2 trillion in additional revenues . . . could be accomplished without hiking tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process.”

    (here is their reference:

    Isn’t this what the GOP has offered? What is the problem now?

    The ones with crazy (and dangerous) math are the ones that propose no entitlement reform and even propose increased spending in what is supposed to be a deficit reduction package.

    This sums it up pretty well:

    “This is partisan zero-sum politics. Nothing more. Obama has never shown interest in genuine debt reduction. He does nothing for two years, then spends the next two ignoring his own debt-reduction commission. In less than four years, he has increased U.S. public debt by a staggering 83 percent. As a percentage of gross domestic product, the real marker of national solvency, it has spiked from 45 percent to 70 percent.

    Obama has never once publicly suggested a structural cut in entitlements. On the contrary, he created an entirely new entitlement — Obamacare — that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, will increase spending by $1.7 trillion over 11 years.”

    We are all going to need a lifeboat pretty soon.

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  5. wj says:

    Actually Larry, this is a good post.

    I’m a proud Lefty, with a wide Libertarian streak.

    The message I get from Brian’s post is that the GOP needs to focus on the country’s financials. I agree, for a couple reasons:

    1) We need a major political party that’s fiscally responsible and acts as a balance to the Democrats’ spending tropism, and
    2) If the GOP would stop telling us who we can love or who we can’t marry and stop forbidding abortions and the use of contraceptives, I might vote for them.


    Before and after all the labels, I’m an American. I want this country to be healthy and strong. As a candidate or a party, if you help my country, you’ll have my support. And isn’t that what candidates and parties want?

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  6. Paul says:

    I feel bad that the president might have to delay his vacation because of this fiscal mess. The White house is asking for our sympathy here. They have a link so you can tweet in and try and save the vacation:

    Now don’t get all excited. This is a fake white house website. But it is pretty funny stuff.

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  7. The Original Larry says:

    I don’t think anyone, including John Boehner, would disagree with the premise that “John Boehner needs to formulate a coherent fiscally conservative plan for governing the US, one with functioning math. And I suggest that voters will support that.” If that had been all you said, I would have agreed, but you feel this compulsion to demonize Republicans by trotting out every Democratic talking point from the last four presidential elections. Are you trying to get yourself invited to the next White House luncheon? God help American youth culture if it is truly dominated by people who venerate Bill Clinton and make common cause with Al Sharpton.

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  8. Paul says:

    Maybe we should give the GOP some time to lick it’s wounds. One reason the democrats have been doing so well is because they have been pushed to the right (despite what the right or left wing nut jobs say). A case can be made for the idea that we have a recovery not because the government did anything but because the GOP prevented much from getting done. If Romney had made some very minor adjustments to his campaign things could have been very different.

    But a loss is a loss. I think we are in for some interesting stuff over the next four years. On the fiscal side even when the president talks about revenue he cannot help but say how that revenue will be “invested”. There is very little chance that any of that money will be used for debt or deficit reduction. How many new social security and Medicare recipients did we add today? How many tomorrow?

    The good news is that Cuomo is the republican type of democrat that may be able to fix this. Since the you-know-what will hit the fan during his first or second term he may have the political will to do what needs to be done to fix entitlement programs. Taxing out of it at that point will not be an option. The other option (and maybe the preferred option) is to let the system die. I think that most younger Americans expect that anyway. They see that no one currently in charge plans to do anything to fix that problem. We are not heading toward the entitlement state that the right wing nut jobs are saying is coming. We are heading toward the “every man for himself” state that many of those same nut jobs are longing for.

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  9. Peter Hahn says:

    Paul – I think you could argue that the Republicans made things a lot worse than necessary. By demanding “fiscal austerity” and smaller government a lot of public employees – especially teachers and police- got thrown out of work adding to the unemployment. Fewer people paying their bills (mortgages etc.) dragging down the whole economy at a time when we needed to be doing the opposite.

    The time to deal with the deficit is when the economy is doing much better than it is now.

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  10. Peter Hahn says:

    “Reforming entitlements” is a euphemism for cutting medicare. And as lots and lots of people have pointed out – reducing medicare doesnt reduce health care costs. It just pushes the costs from the young and healthy onto the poor and elderly. Or the retired middle class.

    Letting it “die” as you suggest is not going to happen and would be a disaster for anybody retiring in the next 50 years.

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  11. Peter Hahn says:

    probably reducing medicare increases health care costs globally (just in the USA), since medicare is cheaper than private insurance.

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  12. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Okay, so, first off Peter- 73% of the jobs created in the last 5 months since the so called “recovery” began were gov’t employees according to the BoL. The austerity spending you speak of doesn’t exist.

    Second, Brian M, when you say, “My essay argues that John Boehner needs to formulate a coherent fiscally conservative plan for governing the US, one with functioning math.”, could you tell me what Obamas version of any of that is? I haven’t seen any evidence that he has any plan whatsoever, outside of raising the tax rate on the top wage earners. BTW- raising the tax rate is not the same as supporting a tax cut. The taxes were lowered for everyone under the Bush rates. And note also, Boehner offered to close several loopholes that would have resulted in the same revenue as raising the rates- Obama refused the offer! It’s not about revenue, it’s about politics and winning. Who needs to grow up?

    Lastly. the Republicans are toast. They’ve lost their base, they’ve lost their drive, they’ve lost. I predict the party will split even more than it is now. I think they are about over. Maybe the Whigs will make a come back.

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  13. Peter Hahn says:

    Arlo – thats silly – the recovery didnt start 5 months ago. It started about 3 years ago and if you were paying attention to the job numbers, private sector employment was increasing at a slow but reasonable rate for most of that time, but the totals were anemic because at the same time states, municipalities, and the federal government were all laying off workers.

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  14. tootightmike says:

    Nicely written Brian.

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  15. Pete Klein says:

    For all those who would like to go after “entitlements,” how would you feel if your life insurance company decided not to deliver what you paid for? Maybe the bank should take your house and car even though you have kept up-to-date with your payments?
    What part of “entitlement” don’t you understand?
    Things are called entitlements because people pay for them.

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  16. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Sorry, I sent before proof reading a 27th time. “Began” was supposed to have been “began to really take off” which is what is being claimed. And you seem to be ignoring the U6 numbers that show the so called recovery indicators- unemployment claims- are bogus. The U6 rose from about 8% in 2007 to a high of over 16% from the second quarter of 2009 through the last quarter of 2011. Could you give me a link to any reports showing significant numbers of gov’t workers being laid off over the past 3 years? I know the number is supposed to be 6-800 K, but that’s also the number so census workers that were hired and laid off, so my distrust of the gov’t numbers games makes me wonder. I’m sure there have been lay offs, but I haven’t seen them locally at all and I don’t trust the alleged numbers. It’s like the report today that the UE rate dropped to 7.7%- they ignore the fact 540K people dropped out of the job market last month! And the September and October numbers were revised, 49K fewer jobs created than reported before the election! We’re at a 3 year low for labor participation and what we really had last month wasn’t job growth, but a net loss of 122k. And that’s not from FOX, that’s CNBC-

    So, as much as I’d like to believe there is a real, solid recovery the numbers just show us barely breaking even. And that’s before our taxes start climbing which will have the price of everything else climbing too.

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  17. Paul says:

    Pete, bankrupt is bankrupt. No money is no money. The screwed up with the math. It is changing or going away.

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  18. Paul says:

    Peter the stats show that the unemployment rate for public sector workers has remained quite low over the last few years. When the president said that the “private sector” was doing okay I think he meant the public sector?

    These rates are very low. Especially when you compare them to sectors that were supposed to get a boost from stimulus funds. It just didn’t really work.

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  19. mervel says:

    Well politically I think Brian has it pretty close, although not perfect. Republicans won the House, they are far from close to being gone, however they are fading into a permanent strong minority.

    I don’t think the Republican ideas are as bankrupt as he makes out. Some of the social issues are going to be a long term problem, but not all of them. Many of the Republican ideas are sound and will move far beyond identity politics (remaking America as white, Christian etc. or conversely white Christians are the problem and we need to put them out).

    I think Boehner has a very tough job right now. The long run problem IS spending not tax rates, the long run problem IS the massive size of government, so yes he has to negotiate and he probably has to cave on the tax rates for those making above 250K, but lets face it; we all know the deficit is going to continue to explode under obama, there is no real commitment to change that from his side. Will this hurt the country? Yes in the long term it will and you can’t blame Bush 15 years from now even though I have no doubt these guys will still be trying to do so.

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  20. mervel says:

    The proof will be in the pudding and this is the great thing about our democracy, I do think people respond to results, does the idea work or not? If obama’s ideas and the liberal ideas work, if they lower unemployment if they help our health care well OK we will support them even if we didn’t really believe they would work. Our death will be if we go down the path of, I will always vote against you because your group is black and non-Christian and my group is white and rural or I will always vote against you because you are old and I am young. This is when we die, the red state blue state paradigm is very damaging to this country, it is false and a media invention, but it could end up really dividing us for no reason.

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  21. Peter Hahn says:

    Paul – the president meant the private sector. You conservatives suffer from the problem that if the data don’t fit the theory you assume there is something wrong with the data. If you look at graphs of public vs private employment since the recession ended in 2009, private employment goes up, but public employment goes down. There was a spike in public employment following the “stimulus”.

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  22. Peter Hahn says:

    That’s the employment figures not the unemployment.

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  23. Walker says:

    A new study by the International Monetary Fund raises a further warning flag for fiscal cliff negotiators in the U.S. In what it bills as the first-ever study of its kind, the fund analyzed decades of data on the world’s major industrialized countries to estimate how changes in government spending or revenue affect economic output.

    The news isn’t good. Given current circumstances, with a U.S. economy that is growing but still trying to make up lost ground from the 2008 crisis, a one dollar change in government spending could knock as much as $1.80 in output from the economy – what fund researchers called a “statistically significant…and sizeable” outcome.

    One brighter spot that could also influence negotiators: the growth impact of a tax hike is estimated to be negligible. The list of measures that automatically become law absent an agreement include both spending reductions and tax increases. While the spending cuts would comprise a heavy drag on growth, the fund paper suggests that a one percent rise in tax revenue would knock just 0.1 percent from gross domestic product.

    Overall, however, the paper reinforces what has become the IMF’s recent mantra on cutting government deficits: in a recovery that remains vulnerable, slower is better: “When feasible a more gradual fiscal…consolidation is likely to prove preferable to an approach that aims at ‘getting it over quickly.’”(IMF: Budget cuts hurt growth a lot. But tax increases barely matter.)

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  24. Walker says:

    “Republicans won the House…”

    Only because they out-gerrymandered Democrats: “While Republicans hung onto control of the House of Representatives after Tuesday’s election, Democratic candidates across the U.S. received more total votes than Republican candidates did. ” Democratic House Candidates Received More Votes Than Republicans

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  25. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Okay Peter, I’m looking-

    I’ll just leave those 2 so that Dale doesn’t have to review everything. And I avoided partisan sites like Heritage or dailykos. I would also suggest you look at longer term numbers. The giant increase in gov’t employment following 9/11 skews some of the reports and graphs out there because they compare Bush to Obama. That’s sort of flawed since Obama came in during the downsizing of our military.

    The problem still exists that you have large numbers of people simply leaving the workforce. Once they stop looking for work, they disappear from the charts. That’s not saying there is something “wrong” wit the data, but it’s not something you should ignore.

    As Mervel noted, spending is our problem. It troubles me greatly that all I hear these days is talk of revenue and the need for more and more. The voices calling for significant spending cuts are very, very few. Why? I simply don;t see how anyone can look around them and not see the problem with an ever growing debt caused by clearly excessive spending. Our pocket book is empty, the credit card is maxed out, the saving account is empty and the collection agencies are calling night and day. I don’t much care where we start cutting, but it has to be done NOW.

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  26. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Brian you are wrong wrong wrong wrong WRONG! The Republicans are the party of rock stars and Hollywood, and forget about Nashville!
    They have Ted Nugent and Kid Rock, Hank Jr and Meatloaf! What could be all American than Meatloaf for cripes sake! Not only is he a rocking bad boy but also a delicious main dish. The only thing better would be seeing Meatloaf do the Mashed Potato!

    And Hollywood. Ronald Reagan, Moses – I mean, Charlton Heston, Fred Thompson, Drew Carey. Janine Turner – total babe, and a Republican.

    So let’s just end this baloney about Democrats being the party of the stars.

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  27. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    About economics and the budget. The Republicans of my youth seemed to live a practical, reality based existence.
    They had ideas about things and they tested their ideas in the real world. If their ideas didn’t work in the real world they rejected the idea. They ran farms and fixed cars. It the truck wouldn’t crank they checked the battery. If the battery was good they made sure the cables were tight. They didn’t run around screaming that the Unions were destroying America.

    The leadership of the Republican Party is dominated now by people who aren’t rooted in real world, hands-on problems. They can’t cope, in the original sense which meant properly cutting and fitting tow pieces together. So they butt joint the corner even though the wall is slightly out of square and it leaves a slight gap. Can’t see it from their house! Caulk it and paint it!

    But there are people who can cope. Those people are the ones who have been correct in their predictions on the economy the deficit and the debt. I’m sticking with the people who turn out to be correct most of the time.

    “In February 2003, 450 economists, including 10 of the 24 living Nobel laureates in economics, made a public plea to President George W. Bush not to enact the recent tax cuts passed by Congress. These tax cuts, officially called the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 but forever known as the Bush-era tax cuts, would not do what they promised, the economists argued. Instead, they said, the cuts would “worsen the budget deficit, increase inequality, decrease the ability of the U.S. government to fund essential services, while failing to produce economic growth.”

    In the nearly 10 years that have elapsed since that plea, the budget deficit has ballooned, the gap between the wealthy and the middle class has expanded, and the American economy has spiraled into the greatest decline since the Depression.”

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  28. The Original Larry says:

    OK, Walker, now that the left has heard it from the IMF will they stop the “everyone has got to pay a little bit more” chanting? When Republicans said increased taxation wouldn’t solve our economic problems there was no end of vituperation from the left. The continued insistence on”taxing the rich” now seems more and more like spite and jealousy.

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  29. Pete Klein says:

    Actually, I am not in the least bit jealous of the rich. Fact is that the richer they are, the more I feel sorry for them.
    It seems the more money they have, the more houses and cars that they own, the more they moan and groan. They remind me of the tiger who chases his tail around the tree until he melts into butter.
    Wealth can be a real ball and chain.

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  30. The Original Larry says:

    You remind me of a school kid, who doesn’t get chosen for a game, and then stalks off muttering that it was a stupid game and he really didn’t want to play anyway.

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  31. Walker says:

    “…now that the left has heard it from the IMF will they stop the “everyone has got to pay a little bit more” chanting?”

    Larry, are you reading the same text I am? What they said is that decreased spending at this time would damage the economy, and increased taxes won’t do any harm. And this from the IMF, which has been preaching austerity, austerity, austerity for decades now.

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  32. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Yeah Pete! Same thing with the Dalai Lama. He’s just pretending to be serene. On the inside he wishes he was Donald Trump. Or maybe Hugh Hefner.

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  33. The Original Larry says:

    I took “tax increases barely matter” to mean that they would not help. I apologize for my misunderstanding; I hoped people were finally understanding that spending is the problem, not revenue. Actually, it’s worse than I thought. Now we’re being told that the cure is worse than the disease.

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  34. Mervel says:

    Boehner will ultimately give in; the data shows that no matter what they do or how they negotiate republicans will be blamed for a breakdown and going over the fiscal cliff. Thus the thing to do is save face and pretend you are standing up, but make sure a deal is struck and that means giving Obama what he wants pretty much across the board, meaning raising the tax rates on those making above 250k and agree to vague promises about spending cuts next year sometime.

    Frankly that is probably the best thing anyway for the economy at this point.

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  35. You should have two separate NCPR news discussion blogs: one for the same boring national news topics we can argue about a zillion other places and one for the local and regional news topics for which this is one of the only places to debate. I thought there was going to be a “re-think” of The In Box after the election. It looks the same to me.

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  36. Paul says:

    Peter, If you look at the census stats for federal state and local government employment the numbers have gone up every year including the last few. These are not conservative or liberal stas, just stats. Unemployment at 4% for public sector employees versus 14% for construction workers is an important stat.

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  37. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It is funny that the fiscal cliff is a simply an artificial construct that could be wiped away by legislation. Most liberals had been arguing that it isn’t a cliff and that Obama shouldn’t be using that language. But the White House keeps calling it a Cliff!!!!

    So why would they keep using that language? Well maybe it is because the Republicans have used it to scare their base, and they’ve done it so well that the people most afraid of economic disaster are conservatives who are screaming at their representatives to do something before it is too late. They set a man-trap for Obama and they have fallen in it themselves and can’t find a way out. Now they are begging Obama to throw them a rope and Obama is saying to them, “hey down there I have a really good rope but the end of it is a piece of 2% twine. You have to grab the twine in order to pull down the rope. Your choice. Have fun.”

    It reminds me of the phrase ObamaCare that Republicans tried to use against the administration except that it took much longer for Obama to realize that attaching his name to the word Care was a good move.

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  38. Peter Hahn says:

    Paul – not the stats that I have been looking at. Those are the “jobs” numbers like the ones that came out last Friday. (see the reference above that Arlo cites.) Public sector unemployment is something else. I dont know the stats, but I believe yours. “job security” is a big advantage of public sector employment – goes with unions. Pay is a disadvantage (except maybe federal employees). What they do is institue a hiring freeze so when someone retires or gets a job in the private sector, they dont fill the position. With teachers, the ones recently hired dont get rehired. Its not a rational way to reduce payroll. In bad times, the workload goes up for some agencies and down for a others.

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  39. Paul says:

    Peter, I looked at the census bureau data. Even in states hit hard like NV had very small percentage drops in public sector employment. But if you look overall the numbers are up slightly or flat. Do you have some data that shows some even moderate drop in public sector jobs numbers? It just isn’t there.

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  40. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Brian MOFYC, if Brian NCPR’s posts about national news topics bother you so much, you can not click on them.

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  41. Ken Hall says:

    In my opinion the election of Reagan to POTUS cemented the republican party into the role of handmaidens to the uber rich and power players in the US, with their ultimate purpose to ensure the natural resources of the US, and as much of the rest of the Earth’s as possible, are converted into equity for same.

    There are far more folks in the subset of the far less than uber rich; therefore, the psychological methods of marketing which rely on deeply embedded evolutionary survival instincts within our brains are utilized by the marketing folks of the uber rich to magnify ideologically petty differences between us to create the so called left right issues with accompanying irate rhetoric. The gay versus straight, women’s rights versus right to life, ., ., ., ., them versus us are the mechanisms by which the republican party has been kept viable to enable their handmaiden role.

    Unfortunately for the uber rich, they and their handmaidens are running up against a buzz saw with their them versus us preferential play, the us are being outnumbered by the them. It would appear that it should be obvious to those who consider themselves “conservatives” that which is being conserved is the “status quo” of the PTB, certainly no conservation of that which remains of spaceship Earth is in evidence.

    For all of you who claim you hold no antagonist feelings toward the uber rich; you should. That Earth, our only home for the foreseeable future, is being rendered inhospitable to her current fauna population by ravaging hordes of homo sapiens for the maximum benefit of a few, is beyond my ken.

    The vaunted “free enterprise” economic system so prized as a government hands off system by the republican/conservatives who favor a minimal government, with the exception of government for “their” benefit, would likely not enjoy a true government hands off free enterprise economy. Gone would be patent protections, educated work forces, government funded research, government funded infrastructure, government funded bailouts, government funded catastrophe reparations, ., ., ., yes sir Grover Norquist’s highly publicized comments about reducing government to a size which would allow it to be drowned in a bath tub would really work out well for the conservatives. But of course we all know what he really meant was to drown the part of government which keeps the clamoring hordes minimally surviving but keep the parts vibrant and alive which continue to enrich the greedy uber rich.

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  42. Walker says:

    Well said, Ken!

    “For all of you who claim you hold no antagonist feelings toward the uber rich; you should.”

    I would quibble, though: I have nothing against the uber rich simply because of their wealth (and I truly do not envy their wealth). I do strenuously object to their (largely successful) efforts to buy our government. It’s deeply ironic that “conservatives” say they want their country back, often seeming to mean the U.S. of the ’50s. I, too, want back the U.S. of the fifties, minus the racism, sexism, homophobia and McCarthyism– I want the progressive tax structure, the liberal public works, the strong private sector unions, the mostly rational Republicans and the reasonably equable income distribution.

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  43. Ken Hall says:

    Walker, Unfortunately the massive accumulation of wealth by the uber rich has had a massively detrimental influence on the over population of the Earth by humans. The dawn of the Industrial Age ushered in the rise of very industries which gave rise to the exponential human population explosion and the greenhouse gas induced Global warming, euphemistically renamed “Climate change” to reduce the recognition by the majority of it’s devastating potential. Now that the populous may at last be starting to recognize the magnitude of and the rate of approach of the potential disaster portended by Global warming the likelihood is that it is not within mankind’s capability to avert it. Year after year the quantity of greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere by humans increases and we in the wealthiest countries who initiated this situation continue to reject any obligation to cough up the $billion nay $trillions necessary to even attempt to avert same.

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  44. The Original Larry says:

    Has pot been legalized in NY or is this just regular paranoia?

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  45. Walker says:

    Larry, whether it’s paranoia or not remains to be seen. I’m hoping to shuffle on out of here before we really find out…

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  46. mervel says:

    But Ken you kind of make the conservative case with your post.

    Conservatives feel that climate change politics is just a massive shakedown asking for trillions of dollars which will DO nothing to help climate change.

    The US is not the largest greenhouse gas producer, we could severely reduce our gas output and it would not make a difference. So the question is whether climate change politics is about punishing the evil West or about solving the problem? If its about solving the problem you have to lead with China and India, we are no longer driving the world boat and the quicker we realize that the better.

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  47. Walker says:

    “The US is not the largest greenhouse gas producer, we could severely reduce our gas output and it would not make a difference.”

    Mervel, you mean unless the very largest greenhouse gas generators cut back on wasteful fossil fuel usage, everyone else might as well just keep on burning. Let’s see, by that logic, unless we cut wasteful military spending, there’s no point in cutting spending on social services. And who exactly is “trillions of dollars” and how do you know that the measures which are being proposed “will DO nothing to help climate change”? You guys need to lighten up on the idea that anybody’s trying to “punish” anyone. We’re just trying to solve real problems, in this particular case, one that is likely to make life mighty difficult down the road for all of those unborn fetuses you’re so concerned about.

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  48. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Not to speak for Mervel, but no Walker, that’s not it at all. What “it” is, is that every answer to the problem, if there is a problem, we’re given involves harsh sanctions on the US. I don’t hear a word about doing anything to China or India, yet they lead the world in emissions. There’s never talk of the reducing anything. That’s the problem. It looks to be entirely political, a giant money grab from the US. And at that there’s no actual “answer” that will change the climate in the next 100 years. It sure would put an awful lot of power in some peoples hands though, wouldn’t it?

    Could I just try and make a point here? I don’t hate the rich or like them. Their wealth, a few of them having a lot of it, that doesn’t bother me at all. Why? Because I know that even if we somehow passed a law that would take all their wealth and pass it out equally among us all, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. We’d still have massive debt, we’d still be spending more than we take in. The only difference is that now we’d have a new group of your “uber wealthy”. They’d be the people that used to be just below the ubers but now since we passed all that money out they lead the pack. So we’d pass a law to go after their wealth and we’d still have the debt and spending. It would just repeat itself until finally you and I were the ubers and then they’d come for us. The debt would still be there and we’d still be spending, maybe we’d even be spending more and owe more because more people would be expecting more and more. You aren’t going to fix the revenue problem by spending more and you aren’t going to fix the debt problem by borrowing more. You have to cut spending to pay down the debt. You could take everything the top 2% have, every penny, and it would run the gov’t for 8 days. Who do you turn to then?

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  49. hermit thrush says:

    I don’t hear a word about doing anything to China or India, yet they lead the world in emissions.

    you’re obviously pretty well-read and well-informed, arlo, so i’m surprised to hear you say that. there’s a really good answer available: carbon tariffs. a carbon tariff regime in the u.s. and e.u. would exert massive pressure on developing economies to reduce their emissions.

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