Midmorning break: SURPRISE!!

via mabelalexa

A startle-bunny for your Thursday.

The “new” death panel: raising the age of Medicare eligibility

At least for lower wage earners:

Andrew Sullivan: We know that average life expectancy went up less than 5 years overall in this period. But what’s somewhat stunning is how much of a disparity there is in these gains. The top half of earners gained more than 5 years of life at age 65. The bottom half of earners, though, gained less than a year. [...] If you raise the age of eligibility by two years, then you are taking away more years of Medicare than half the country gained in longer life. Moreover, we’ve already taken away these people’s Social Security. The Greenspan Commission in the early 1980s made it so that the retirement age is already 66. It’s scheduled to rise to 67. So those at the bottom half of the socioeconomic ladder have already lost more years of Social Security than they’ve gained in years of life expectancy at 65.

Life_Expectacy

Nancy Pelosi wishes John Boehner would man up

John Boehner is having a very hard time with the idea of not automatically putting his political party and the super rich first:

MSNBC: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi doesn’t have much sympathy for her successor’s predicament. “Figure it out,” she scolded Speaker John Boehner about dealing with the fiscal cliff.

“Pelosi cited her own experience dealing with President George W. Bush’s request to fund the unpopular war in Iraq. A fierce opponent of the war, Pelosi still wanted to ensure that the troops weren’t left high and dry. Her strategy: hold multiple votes. Democrats could go on record as opposing the war, but could still vote to fund it.

“Do you know what it was like for me to bring a bill to the floor to fund the war in Iraq?” Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s tough, but you have to do it if you don’t want to put your members on the spot. Figure it out. We did.” [...]

“Working on the same principle, Pelosi urged Boehner to bring up a bill extending middle-class tax rates under a suspension of the rules, which would require a two-thirds majority to pass—something she thinks is possible. Tax rates for the wealthiest Americans would then automatically go up at year’s end. “It’s painful, but it’s the job he signed up for,” said Pelosi.

“Democrats say they won’t accept a solution unless it includes tax rate increases for America’s wealthiest. Closing loopholes and capping tax deductions for the wealthy—as some Republicans have suggested—is not enough, say the Dems.”

Related:

How UNSERIOUS is John Boehner in negotiating a solution to the fiscal cliff?

CNN: Washington (CNN) – One of the reasons Tuesday night’s conversation between President Barack Obama and John Boehner did not go well was because the GOP House speaker sent the White House a fiscal cliff proposal calling for a permanent extension of Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, including for incomes in the top 2%, a Democratic source said Wednesday. — Dem. source: GOP calling for permanent extension of cuts for wealthiest 2%


image: livealifethatscompletelyfree

Poll: majority of Americans want taxes raised on the wealthy, Republicans continue to stall

Reuters: “Negotiators warned the showdown could drag on past Christmas. A Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll released late on Wednesday …held the potential to shake up the stalemate. Three-quarters of those surveyed, including 61 percent of Republicans, said they would accept raising taxes on the wealthy to avoid the so-called cliff, as Democratic President Barack Obama is demanding.

“With Republicans in Congress already divided, that rejection by their own supporters of the core demand of Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner could further weaken his position.

“Both sides refused to give any ground in public, one day after what Boehner described as a “frank” conversation with President Barack Obama about the remaining hurdles to a deal.”

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I’m quite sure the Republicans in Congress don’t give a damn what their base wants if it interferes with the happiness of their wealthy benefactors.

Also why isn’t there more discussion about cuts to defense spending — why are we now only discussing cuts to the safety net? And that goes for both Republicans and Democrats.

Morning coffee


via humortrain

A snapshot of my holiday spirit level this morning.