Thursday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) Obama celebrates return of [union] jobs from China – He appeared at a plant making padlocks for Master Lock in the midwestern state of Wisconsin, which has recently returned around 100 jobs that were once offshore back to the United States. [...] “For the first time in 15 years, this plant is running at full capacity…. Today, you’re selling products directly to customers in China stamped with those words: “Made In America.” Obama unveiled a package of proposals in his State of the Union address last month to boost American manufacturing and create jobs. The president wants to cancel tax breaks for firms that outsource jobs, require multinational companies to pay a basic tax, and lower taxes for firms that hire workers in the United States.

2) Boehner defends payroll tax deal – House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, defended Wednesday the decision to move forward with a roughly $100 billion payroll tax cut extension that is not paid for, arguing that it was the only way to prevent a tax hike. “We were not going to allow Democrats to continue to play games and cause a tax increase for hardworking Americans,” Boehner told reporters on Capitol Hill. “We made a decision to bring them to the table so that the games would stop and we would get this worked out.” || Note: And if you believe that, I have a beautiful bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.

3) As Number Of Insured Americans Decreases, Affordable Care Act Will Provide More Coverage Options – The number of Americans who received health insurance from their employer dropped again in 2011, continuing a three-year decline. According to a Gallup survey, 44.6 percent were insured through their employers in 2011, compared to 45.8 percent in 2010 and 49.2 percent in 2008. And at the same time, the number of Americans without insurance has increased, growing from 14.8 percent in 2008 to 17.1 percent last year.

WHO BENEFITS? – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes two primary mechanisms for helping people afford health coverage. Starting in 2014, people with family incomes up to 138% of the poverty level ($31,809 for a family of four and $15,415 for a single person in 2012) will generally be eligible for the Medicaid program. [...] On average, an estimated 17% of the non-elderly population nationwide would benefit from the Medicaid expansion and tax credits. In parts of Florida, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and California, 36-40% of population could benefit. In areas of Massachusetts, Hawaii, New York, and Connecticut – states that generally have high levels of employer-provided health insurance or have already implemented reforms to make insurance more accessible and affordable – 2-4% of the non-elderly could benefit from the coverage expansions in the ACA.

4) Santorum: Dems ‘look down their nose’ at Americans – The former Pennsylvania senator went on the attack against President Barack Obama and Democrats for rejecting Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) to replace the current Medicare program with a voucher scheme. “They don’t believe you can make these decisions,” Santorum told a crowd in Boise, Idaho. “They need to makes these decisions for you because if you were left to make decisions you will obviously jump off a cliff. Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average American — these elite snobs.”

Why Romney Can’t Stop Santorum – Then, last night, in Boise, to a very appreciative audience, Santorum produced what may be the pure crystalline essence of a politics gone utterly barking mad. (Watch the whole thing, if only to see where the standing ovations come in, and to see what prompts them. Anyway, I did, and this is not promising.) [...] You could call it “populist,” if by “populist” you mean anti-intellectual jibber-jabber that probably sounds a lot better coming from a general on a South American balcony.

6) Rombo – Rick Santorum has a new political ad where not only does he call the Romney character “Rombo,” the character shoots “mud” at a cardboard figure of Santorum. At the end of the ad, Rombo gets the “mud” all over his shirt. I get it – the guy slinging mud gets dirty himself. But do Santorum’s people “get it”? Is that mud or is it Santorum? Or could it be runny shit from a terrorized dog? This ad so completely symbolizes what the words “Romney” and “Santorum” have come to mean this election year, that’s it’s remarkable Santorum’s people created and paid for it. Watch:

5) Romney Unloads on Santorum – In all probability, Romney’s campaign against Santorum will work. What’s Santorum going to say – that Republicans always vote for the debt ceiling when there’s a Republican president, and that opposition to it is nothing but disingenuous partisan posturing that both sides used until last year, when it got out of hand and Republicans almost crashed the world economy with it? If the debt-ceiling issue became the vehicle for persuading the Republican base to nominate the least sincerely conservative candidate in the field, that would really be poetic justice for the tea party.

7) Romney tells west Mich. businessmen he’ll fight unions – “I’ve taken on union bosses before,” Romney said before hundreds at a furniture manufacturer. “I’m happy to take them on again.” [...] Romney kicked off his “welcome home rally” with a meeting with 10 business, economic and political leaders, who advised Romney of things on their wish list: less regulation, more certainty, more state power, less spending and right-to-work legislation. One business owner asked Romney to sign an executive order on Day 1 to end a provision that federal work be done by union labor. “You’ll have that,” Romney said. || Note: The King of Bain ‘kicked off’ his welcome home rally with the one percenters, promising to fight for their concerns, which in many cases includes reducing wages and benefits! 

When Romney Courted The Unions - in 2002 the former Governor was actively courting the labor vote. Romney prominently featured on his campaign website a call for union members to vote for him because he would invest in infrastructure, adjust the minimum wage annually to inflation, and have labor be a critical factor in developing the state.

8) Aggressive Anti-Union Bill On Life Support In Arizona – A Wisconsin-style anti-union bill that state Republicans aimed to push through the Arizona legislature is now on life support as state Senate Republicans have failed to come up with enough votes. [...] Still, it’s probably too early for unions in Arizona to declare victory. At least two other bills designed to restrict their impact in the state are likely to pass, the senators told the political news website.

image9) Translation challenge of the day — another Palin word salad – “Truly, it is a war on our religious liberties and that violation of conscience that he would mandate that is un-American because it violates our First Amendment in our Constitution.”  

Also, too – Now Sarah Palin is hinting around that if, you know, it comes down to, like, a brokered convention or whatever? She might be available. That is, if nobody else is into it.

Payroll tax cut extension: a small Democratic victory

Boehner will be returning those two presents but here’s the real gift we’ll receive:

After conceding for weeks, the Dems finally said this far and no further — and actually meant it. You read that right.

Shenanigans: the GOP-led House vs. working and middle class Americans

“They hate Obama so much they are willing to raise taxes!”Andrew Sullivan on the GOP


A strange thing happened Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill. As Rep. Stenny Hoyer (D-MD) attempted to call for a vote to extend a payroll tax cut to middle class and working Americans, his Republican colleagues adjourned the House and walked out of the chamber. And if that weren’t odd enough, it got even stranger: As Hoyer railed against them for failing to help working Americans, footage from C-SPAN went silent, then cut away. Moments later, C-SPAN took to the Internet to explain that it wasn’t their doing, but someone working for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

Read more: Boehner’s office cuts off C-SPAN cameras as GOP takes verbal beating 

VIDEO: (The feed is cut off at 1:31):


“House Republicans say they don’t dispute the need for a payroll tax cut. What they are holding out for is to ring concessions from Democrats on issues that have nothing to do with the payroll tax cut — issues where the parties fundamentally disagree. A one year deal is not the issue…

The clock is ticking. Time is running out. And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days.

I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they’re doing as “high stakes poker.” He’s right about the stakes. But this is not poker….This is not a game for the average family who doesn’t have 1,000 bucks to lose. It’s not a game for somebody who’s out there looking for work right now, and might lose his house if unemployment insurance doesn’t come through. It’s not a game when the millions of Americans take a hit when the entire economy grows more slowly because these proposals aren’t extended…

I’m calling on the Speaker and the House Republican leadership to bring up the Senate bill for a vote. Give the American people the assurance they need in this holiday season.”


No one disagrees at this point that the politics of the payroll tax stand-off is awful for Republicans. But in the midst of that realization there is chatter from folks at the Journal and a lot of flotsamy pundits to the effect that it is a dramatic political failure that Republicans have managed to make President Obama into the champion of tax cuts for average Americans.

To say that it is a stunning political failure suggests that the impression is wildly out of line with objective reality. But that’s not true. The President has been pushing middle and lower-middle class tax relief as the most viable (at least the most politically viable) path for stimulus. He’s redoubled on it in the last six months. But it was actually a major part of his original stimulus bill that passed with no Republican support in the House and virtually none in the Senate. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans have been pushing a mix of budget cutting and tax cuts for high income voters. And they still are.


image: namelessgenxer


  • Newt Gingrich offered some support to House Republicans in Iowa by saying Senate Democrats performed a “total dereliction of duty” when they extended the holiday for only two months. (ThinkProgress) As if no one is paying attention…
  • The GOP-led House is holding the payroll tax cut hostage because of Big Oil and Coal regulation. (UTMB) It’s not about 2 months vs. one year.
  • Mitt Romney dismissed the issue as an “internal battle,” “deep in the weeds,” and “sausage making.” (ThinkProgress) There’s leadership for you!!
  • Even Karl “GOP uber-strategist” Rove is advising House Republicans to pass the Senate’s two-month payroll tax holiday extension because “they’ve already lost the optics on it.” (ThinkProgressPolitics above everything.

The GOP-led House is holding the payroll tax cut hostage because of Big Oil and Coal regulation

Extending tax cuts for working and middle class Americans is being held up by Boehner’s House. The Republicans are trying to frame this standoff as being about length of time — that two months isn’t long enough. It’s not about the length of time. The GOP will ONLY agree if the oil and coal industries get to pollute without question or consequence:

The payroll tax bill sent by House Republicans to the U.S. Senate included two polluter poison pills, the Keystone XL provision for the oil industry and Boiler MACT language to protect toxic coal pollution. In an underreported move, the Senate stripped the coal poison pill. Now GOP members of the House are “committed” to put coal back in the Christmas stocking. They are willing to let the extension of the payroll tax cut die to attack the so-called Boiler MACT rules that would save tens of thousands of lives a year…

And here’s an unsurprising fact:

[...] Boehner, Upton, Murphy, LaTourette, and Griffith have received a combined $1,789,000 in contributions from the coal industry since 1999.

If the GOP-led House gets its way and you’re a working or middle class Republican voter, what exactly did you win in this fight?

House Republicans oppose Senate payroll tax cut bill

And the payroll tax cut extension is by no means guaranteed:

The Senate passed a two-month extension on Saturday but Boehner said he wanted to work out differences with the Senate before the end of the year, when the tax cut expires.

The biggest sticking point for a year-long extension is how to cover the $120 billion in lost revenue. Republicans are demanding spending cuts to cover the cost and Democrats want to pay for it by closing some tax breaks for the wealthy.

The lyrics to the GOP song will never change: Tax cuts for the wealthy… austerity measures for everyone else! (dance)

John Cole points out how John Boehner flip-flopped in the course of 24 hours:

Speaker John A. Boehner, who had urged his members on Saturday to support the bill, seemingly did an about-face on Sunday and said he and other House Republicans were opposed to the temporary extension, part of a $33 billion package of bills that the Senate passed Saturday. [...]

But in an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Mr. Boehner said the two-month extension would be “just kicking the can down the road.”

He didn’t “seemingly” do an about face, he completely recanted what he said the day before:

The bipartisan compromise passed in the Senate yesterday received 89 votes, including 39 Republican votes, and Speaker Boehner himself just yesterday called it a “good deal” and a “victory.”

One of the untold stories of the past two years is how Boehner has had no control of the clown car caucus that is the GOP. Cantor has been undercutting him and screwing him from the get-go. Boehner is speaker in name only.