Remember teachers: Mitt Romney and the GOP hate you.
Transcript Via DailyKos: And we’re gonna take back this country and get America working again. (applause) And his answer for economic vitality, by the way, was of course pushing aside the private sector, which he said is doing fine. Instead, he wants to add more to government. He wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people. (applause)
WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————
“Governor Romney is a tremendous improvement. I think we could have been even more of an improvement, but that’s, you know, that’s, that, that, that, that issue was passed. Uh, Governor Romney is an important and dramatic improvement, and that’s why we’re behind him.” – Rick Santorum’s fiery, pulse-pounding, and inspirational endorsement of Mitt Romney
Fox “News” disappears Romney’s attack on Teacher, Firefighter, and Police Hiring – Fox & Friends is shielding Mitt Romney from scrutiny after the GOP presidential candidate suggested that we don’t need “more firemen, more policemen, more teachers,” selectively editing an interview with Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod to excise out his criticism of what Romney said. In doing so, Fox avoided a discussion of the merits of Romney’s comments: that we should not address or rectify the severe and unusual loss of public sector jobs or a conversation about how public sector job losses are hurting the overall economy. – MMFA
It’s absurd that Romney doesn’t know the federal government DOES, in fact, pay for teachers, firefighters and cops — “That’s a very strange accusation,” Romney said on “Fox & Friends.” “Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that is completely absurd.” In fact, the federal government spends huge amounts of money to support all those professions. [...] In all, the federal government pays for nearly 11 percent of the country’s public school costs. Uncle Sam also funds thousands of police jobs ever since the Community Oriented Policing Services program was created in 1994. [...] The feds have doled out less for firefighters, but the money is still substantial. – HuffPo
- NOTE TO ROMNEY: the federal government does fund teachers, firefighters and police – Romney’s comment demonstrates a disturbing lack of understanding of both federal funding and his own published plans. While it is true that teachers, firefighters, and police are hired at the local level, a significant portion of their funding, recruiting, and training comes from the federal government. Here are just some of the ways the federal government funds: continue reading – Think Progress
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) was happy to back up Romney’s position: “It is not the responsibility of the federal government … to send money down to state government so that state governments don’t have to make tough decisions about balancing their budgets. We all admire police officers, firefighters and teachers. The decision about how many of those folks to have rests in the hands of state and local governments.” […] A McConnell spokesman did not immediately answer a question about whether the minority leader thought it was time to stop federal spending under Title 1, IDEA, COPS and the SAFER program. – HuffPo
- Flip-flop alert! Romney doesn’t want to argue against hiring cops. Now what? — You can see Romney trying various gambits to escape the logic of his position. First he says the federal government “doesn’t” pay for the cost of hiring those workers. That’s generally true, though in a massive economic crisis, state and local governments see their revenues collapse and their costs rise. Since they have to balance their budget and the federal government doesn’t, giving them temporary aid makes sense so that state and local government cutbacks don’t worsen the economic crisis. Romney wants to essentially push the question out of bounds — borrowing money to hire back cops and teachers may sound nice, but the government can’t do it, so fuggedaboutit. But, of course, the federal government obviously can borrow money to help strapped state and local governments. – Jonathan Chait
Romney Mocks Stimulus For Saving Jobs – When Mitt Romney mocks the Obama Administration for using stimulus funds to “protect government,” who he’s really attacking is police, firefighters, and teachers. The overwhelming majority of stimulus funds distributed to the states were used to prevent layoffs of public employees. Over 3 million public employees were in danger of losing their jobs following the onset of the recession, but the stimulus afforded states the funds they needed to avoid handing out massive amounts of pink slips. Pink slips that would have gone to police, firefighters, and teachers. As far as Romney is concerned, if you are a public employee then you are a leech, and he thinks you should be out of a job. Ensuring that you lose your job as an employee of the state is now a centerpiece of his campaign. As far as he’s concerned, the money used to employ you would be put to better use by passing another tax cut for himself. That’s not conjecture or hyperbole. That is his platform. – JM Ashby
- Romney bashes stimulus, then fundraises in the home of a stimulus recipient – Romney will spend Tuesday night at a $10,000-a-head fundraiser at the house of Orrin H Ingram II, Chairman of the Ingram Barge Company — which received $130,000 in federal stimulus money. Ingram Barge Company is a private company, not a government entity. – Think Progress
Romney confirms he’ll deny insurance to millions with pre-existing conditions if Obamacare is struck down — Mitt Romney confirmed on Tuesday that he would allow insurers to deny coverage to millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare later this month. ROMNEY: So let’s say someone has been continuously insured and they develop a serious condition. And let’s say they lose their jobs or they change jobs or they move and go to a different place, I don’t want them to be denied insurance because they have some pre-existing conditions. So we’re going to have to make sure that the law that we replace Obamacare with ensures that people who have a pre-existing condition, who have been insured in the past, are able to get insurance in the future so they don’t have to worry about that condition keeping them from getting the kind of health care they deserve. – Think Progress
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
“Everybody knows that government creates jobs.” — Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), citing infrastructure programs and the hiring of private contractors.
President Obama: Debt, deficits were ‘baked into the cake’ with Bush’s tax cuts and the wars – “I love it when these guys talk about debt and deficits,” Obama told supporters in Baltimore. “I inherited a trillion dollar deficit. We signed two trillion dollars in spending cuts into law,” Obama said. “Spending under my administration has grown more slowly than under any president in 60 years.” Obama said that the country’s budget deficits and big debt were the result of the George W. Bush’s two tax cuts, as well as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. “They baked all this stuff into the cake with those tax cuts… and the war,” Obama said. “It’s like somebody goes to a restaurant, orders a big steak dinner, a martini and all that stuff, then just as you’re sitting down they leave and accuse you of running up the tab,” Obama said – POLITICO
- George W. Bush’s Tab – When you check reality, rather than the alternate universe constantly created by Fox News and an amnesiac press, you find that Bush had a chance to pay off all our national debt before we hit the financial crisis – giving the US enormous flexibility in intervening to ameliorate the recession. Instead, we had to find money for a stimulus in a cupboard stripped bare – its contents largely given away, by an act of choice. I’m tired of being told we cannot blame Bush for our current predicament. We can and should blame him for most of it – and remind people that Romney’s policies: more tax cuts, more defense spending are identical. With one difference: Bush pledged never “to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.” — Andrew Sullivan
- The Fiscal Legacy of George W. Bush – Putting all the numbers in the C.B.O. report together, we see that continuation of tax and budget policies and economic conditions in place at the end of the Clinton administration would have led to a cumulative budget surplus of $5.6 trillion through 2011 – enough to pay off the $5.6 trillion national debt at the end of 2000. Tax cuts and slower-than-expected growth reduced revenues by $6.1 trillion and spending was $5.6 trillion higher, a turnaround of $11.7 trillion. Of this total, the C.B.O. attributes 72 percent to legislated tax cuts and spending increases, 27 percent to economic and technical factors. Of the latter, 56 percent occurred from 2009 to 2011. — Bruce Bartlett
Claims that President Obama’s policies have hurt businesses are greatly exaggerated — “Let’s start with the idea that the Obama administration sees businesses as piggybanks. Since 1950, corporate tax receipts have averaged 2.7 percent of GDP. In the Obama years, they’ve averaged 1.16 percent of GDP… Going forward, the Obama administration’s budget envisions corporate tax receipts rebounding to about 2.4 percent of GDP — again, beneath their historical average… After taxes, corporate profits amounted to 6.9 percent of GDP in 2010 — their highest level since 1966… That’s a mighty odd outcome for an administration that supposedly sees the existence of private businesses as an unpleasant side effect of the government’s need for tax revenues, don’t you think?” — Ezra Klein
How Obama’s ‘Doing Fine’ Gaffe May Help Him – Americans may hate the idea of government in the abstract, but they like it in the specific. The Republican strategy is always to keep its discussion of government programs general — with a handful of exceptions, like foreign aid and programs that help the poor — while Democrats try to make it as specific as possible. Firing police officers, firefighters, and teachers is way less popular than firing government bureaucrats. Obama has taken great care to turn the question into one of those specific job categories, and Romney has inadvertently helped him. Also, and perhaps more important, the entire controversy has fixed the attention of the news media on the very point that Obama was trying to make: There are many fewer government employees now than there were when Obama took office. Romney is trying to attack Obama for changing his mind on the merits of this fact, but in so doing he is helping to drive home the very existence of this fact. [...] What’s more, this debate fulfills a second goal of Obama’s: to place himself in opposition to the economic status quo. The broader purpose of his Friday press conference was to remind America that he has an economic plan that Republicans won’t enact. Romney’s general strategy is to force Obama to own everything that has happened to the economy, even those things that have happened over his opposition. Now Romney is endorsing the status quo, and Obama is against it. That is surely the opposite of what Romney wants. — Jonathan Chait
Igor Volsky at Think Progress reported at 9PM last night:
During an interview with CNN’s John King on Monday evening, Romney campaign surrogate Newt Gingrich defended Mitt Romney’s resistance to hiring “more firemen, more policemen, more teachers” and admitted that the former Massachusetts governor’s policy would lead to less teachers in the classroom:
[...] We have to come to grips with how big the challenge is, and does that mean there will be fewer teachers? The honest answer is yes. Does it mean that you’re not going to get quite the same pension plan people have been getting? The honest answer is yes. President Obama may say well, we can borrow our way out of that decision. I don’t think the American people agree with him.
About 12 hours later, Travis Waldron of Think Progress reported this morning:
Mitt Romney slammed President Obama last week for wanting to hire “more firemen, more policemen, and more teachers,” making a clear assertion that those workers belong among the 700,000 public sector workers who have lost their jobs in the last three years… [D]uring an appearance on Fox News Tuesday morning, Romney contradicted his own remarks, saying that the Obama campaign was making “a very strange accusation” when it claimed he didn’t want to hire more teachers:
[...] That’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So obviously that’s completely absurd. He’s got a new idea, though, and that is to have another stimulus and to have the federal government send money to try and bail out cities and states. It didn’t work the first time. It certainly wouldn’t work the second time.
I think we can all agree that what Romney said and meant originally was “completely absurd.” But apparently he’d like to revise history a little and say we’re all “completely absurd” for believing that’s what he said. Nice try, Etch-a-sketch.
WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————
John McCain will be stuck in 2008 forever, his concession speech on an endless mental loop, with Princess Braindead by his side – [In 2005] as the Plame case unfolded, many Republicans now calling for administration heads accused Democrats of playing politics and conducting an unwarranted witch hunt. They urged at the time that Bush administration officials be given the benefit of doubt. “I do believe that every American has the right of presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in 2005, when suspicions were focused on top Bush adviser Karl Rove. “Karl Rove has stated that he did not do anything wrong and break any law. I take him at his word.” [...] Now that a Democrat sits in the Oval Office, the GOP complainers are unwilling to hold off on predeterminations. The administration is “intentionally leaking information to enhance President Obama’s image as a tough guy for the elections,” McCain recently said. “That is unconscionable.” — HuffPo
Republicans vote to block transparency on political ads (you don’t need to know who wants to buy government) – The Republican opponents “of a new rule to post political ad information online have opened up another front in a long-running fight, inserting language into an appropriations bill that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from implementing the transparency measure,” ProPublica reports. – Political Wire
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels called for the elimination of public sector unions — Wallace… asked whether Daniels would like to see public-sector unions disappear entirely. ‘I think government works better without them, I really do,’ Daniels replied.” In 2005, Daniels signed an executive order that “eliminated collective bargaining rights for government workers.” As a result, workers in the state “receive lowers salaries and must pay higher health care costs.” – HuffPo | Note: And there’s the common theme to every GOP argument about employment: lower salaries and less benefits for workers (ALL workers). Lay people off so they’ll accept less just to be employed again. The job ‘creators’ take in more profit, bank more bonuses, continue killing the middle class.
“This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned it into a junkyard” – The ad features Donnie Box, who lost his job of 32 years at Kansas City’s GST Steel after Romney’s firm took it over. “Romney and Bain Capital shut this place down,” Box says in the commercial, standing outside a shuttered factory where he used to work. “They shut down entire livelihoods. They promised us healthcare package, they promised us [they'd] maintain our retirement program, and those were the first two things to disappear. This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital turned it into a junkyard. Just making money and leaving.” – Maddow Blog
Dear Mr. Romney, please explain why America will be better off when more teachers, cops, and firefighters are unemployed – As a rule, gaffes tend to capture the political world’s attention, but in this case, we have something more significant than a soundbite — we have a policy position. Indeed, the Republican nominee for president seriously believes we can “help the American people” by laying off, not just public-sector workers in general, but specifically cops, firefighters, and teachers — and his background as a one-term governor makes clear he means it. This is so far from the mainstream that even Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wouldn’t endorse Romney’s line… the Republican governor said, “I know in my state our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers and teachers. That’s not what I think of when I think of big government.” [...] The differences between Obama and Romney on this have the potential to drive the presidential campaign: does it help or hurt America when hundreds of thousands of school teachers and first responders lose their jobs? For the first time in generations, the two major-party presidential candidates answer that question differently. — Steve Benen
Tea party activists say they’ll abstain from voting on Election Day – “I have heard from various folks in the tea party that they would rather stay home,” said Ana Puig, the state director of FreedomWorks, a conservative activist training group. “I’m hearing that from people all over the country and on Facebook.” The Romney rejection stems from the deeply held belief by many conservatives that the former Massachusetts governor is really a moderate wolf in conservative sheep’s clothing. [...] “The same things were said about [2008 GOP nominee] John McCain,” Burkholder said. “When McCain won the nomination, we were for Romney because he was more conservative than McCain. You can see how far the conservative movement has come now that Romney isn’t conservative enough.” – PennLive.com
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
Obama to focus on Michigan recovery — Instead of just focusing on the turnaround of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, which rebounded since the $85 billion federal auto bailout, the Obama campaign intends to shine a weeklong spotlight on other manufacturers, restaurants, tourist spots and firms that benefitted from the auto recovery… Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, will kick off the Michigan Road to Recovery Tour on Monday with a press call. — Political Wire
Wake up and smell the coffee: What’s wrong with a third of union members and a third of government employees? A strong majority of union members support President Barack Obama, but about one-third back Mitt Romney, a new survey on Monday reveals. Indeed, 57 percent of union workers would vote for Obama, while 35 percent support Romney, according to a Gallup Poll. [...] Meanwhile, government workers — whether union members or not, continue to support Obama over Romney: the former 59 percent to 34 percent; the latter 48 percent to 44 percent. – POLITICO | Note: what exactly do you not understand about what Romney / the GOP would like to do with you if you belong to a union or have a job in the public sector? HINT: they don’t consider YOU a member of ‘the American people’ who deserve ‘help.’
What to expect from a Romney presidency, by his own actions in Massachusetts, in his own words today: less police, firefighters, and teachers — less employment, economic recovery, education, security, and services:
David Axelrod: Mitt Romney ‘Living On A Different Planet’ – “We’re not going to win, and our kids aren’t going to win, unless we invest in education,” Axelrod told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” [...] “So I would suggest he’s living on a different planet if he thinks that’s a prescription for a stronger economy.” “What was most interesting is how he reacted to the spirit of the thing, because his statement was, ‘We don’t need any more teachers, we don’t need any more firefighters or police,’” Axelrod said. [...] “I think the American people are smarter than that,” he said. “They understand the president called the press conference to say that because of the storm clouds that are rolling in from Europe and elsewhere, we need to undergird our economy.” – HuffPo
Van Jones slams Mike Huckabee: The average teacher doesn’t make $100,000 – “Look, first of all, maybe I [was] raised wrong, I never heard of this threat to American called ‘public employee,’” Jones said. “In my neighborhood, we called them teachers, we called them firefighters, we called them cops, we called them nurses. And we were told to look up at them and respect them. And to now be a punching bag, people like my father and my mother, who were public school teachers who did not make $100,000 and whatever you just said and nothing near it, for them to become a punching bag is wrong.” “Furthermore, I think we to need to take a big step back here. When you have the amount of pain in this country, the Republican Party has not only been missing in action, they won’t pass their own bills to help Americans right now. They won’t pass their own ideas to help small businesses right now. Why? Because their gain will come when America has more pain.” Jones added: “It’s like Obama is a lifeguard, trying to help people from drowning, and these guys are sitting back hoping more people will drown. That’s wrong, that’s morally wrong.” In Chicago, the average salary for a teacher is currently $50,577, including all benefits. – Raw Story | Note: what kind of an out of touch idiot (or bald-faced liar) would claim the average salary for a teacher is $100,000 a year?
Krugman: Obama ‘screwed up’ the ‘private sector is fine’ line — The Nobel prized-winning economist explained how the president was technically correct in comparing the private sector numbers to its anemic public sector counterpart, but further added how Obama was clumsy with his words. “By this point in Obama’s presidency, if we had normal sector job growth, we’d have 800,000 more people: firefighters, schoolteachers, police officers. Instead, we’ve got 600,000 fewer,” Krugman said. “So right there, it’s like 1.4 million jobs that we should have had in the public sector. That’s what he was trying to get at and of course, he screwed up the line.” – Raw Story
WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————
Yes, Republicans are stepping on the economy for political gain — The Republican line is that, even in current conditions of mass unemployment, zero interest rates and low inflation, higher short-term deficits harm the economy rather than help it. Republicans embraced this unorthodox line of thinking suddenly, after maintaining the opposite when their party held the White House. I used to reject the accusation that Republicans reversed their thinking out of a conscious decision to sabotage the economy in order to regain power. [...] I was shaken of that belief not long ago, when Mitt Romney said off the cuff that cutting spending in his first year would retard the recovery… Conservatives mounted zero pushback whatsoever, suggesting that their newfound attachment to contractionary fiscal policy is a pure shift of expediency, to be discarded immediately if their party wins power and suddenly has an incentive to speed up rather than slow down the economy. — Jonathan Chait | image: phroyd
Romney Energy Plan Includes Drilling ‘Virtually Every Part’ Of U.S., No Protections For National Parks — As the [Washington] Post reports: Asked whether any place would be off limits for oil drilling, campaign spokesman Andrea Saul said, “Governor Romney will permit drilling wherever it can be done safely, taking into account local concerns.” [...] Presumably, if there was oil and gas found there, Romney would allow drilling in places like the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and Isle Royale National Park in the Great Lakes, regardless of its impacts on them. In essence, he would take lands that belong to all Americans and turn them over to oil companies. – Think Progress
- THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “AMERICAN” OIL — The oil or gas is drilled by corporations of various sizes ranging from wildcat, low-budget start up operations through Exxon/Mobil. [...] The thing is, the stuff that comes out of a successful well doesn’t belong to you and me. Or the state or federal government. It’s owned by the company that drilled for it, produced it, and shipped it to market. It’s not “America’s oil.” It’s Exxon’s. And BP’s. And Shell’s. And believe me: Exxon doesn’t think of it as “American oil.” They think of it as a commodity sold on a hyper-competitive global market. — PoliticalProf
Just to reiterate: Romney’s “jobs” plan is to fire government workers, he mocked President Obama for wanting to hire more teachers, firefighters and police officers – Mitt Romney once again made it clear that his jobs plan is to fire government workers: “[the President] wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” — Greg Sargent
Mitt Romney Thinks High Private Sector Growth and 4.3 Million New Jobs is a “Moral Failure of Tragic Proportions” – Mitt Romney today declared that the floundering economy under President Obama is not just a “failure of policy” but a “moral failure of tragic proportion,” though he offered few new details as to what he would do differently as president. [...] “When you look around at America’s economy, three-and-a-half years into this presidency, it’s painfully obvious that this inexperienced president with no experience as a leader was simply not up to the task of solving a great economic crisis,” said Romney. “This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportion. Our government has a moral commitment to help every American help himself. And that commitment has been broken.” – ABL
- The private sector has been adding jobs steadily since the end of Obama’s first year, and today there are more private sector jobs than there were before Obama took office.
- The public sector, on the other hand, has fallen off a cliff: Total government employment is far below where it was when Obama started office.
- President Obama’s stimulus helped for a while, but it wasn’t enough.
All employees: total private industries
image: Bob Cesca
The private sector IS doing fine — According to the Wingnutosphere, yesterday was a day that will live in infamy. Why? Because President Obama said the private sector is “doing fine.” They are doing fine, actually. [...] Business Insider’s glorious collection of charts also covers the president’s words on the slump in public sector employment, but that’s not in dispute by the Republicans. They may even gloat about it. You know, because those aren’t real jobs. – Bob Cesca
Libertarians work through the five stages of grief over Rand Paul’s endorsement of Romney – The Libertarian Party issued a blistering statement through the party’s website, in which they called Rand a turncoat, a traitor to his father’s legacy and a sellout. “(N)o true libertarian, no true friend of liberty, and no true blue Tea Partier could possibly even consider, much less actually endorse or approve of, the Father of Obamacare, Big Government tax and spender, Republican Mitt Romney,” the statement said. [...] “WHY RAND WHY?!” wrote one angry Reddit poster, who included the climactic scene of George Lucas’s third “Star Wars” prequel, in which Anakin Skywalker is betrayed and abandoned by Obi Wan Kenobi. “He bowed to the neocons!!!” wrote another, “WELL LISTEN RAND!!! WE WON’T BOW!!! WE WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM AS YOU BOWED TO THE KILLER GLOBALISTS!!!” On Facebook, one Ron Paul supporter wrote, “Rand Paul you disgust me.” – Raw Story || Stage one: ALL CAPS
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
Tell Congress we can’t wait — The President’s jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers, and construction workers back to work right now. And it’s paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, but Congress refuses to act. Tell Congress we can’t wait: JobsNow – YouTube
Sen. Sherrod Brown on JP Morgan’s trading mess: ‘These banks are not just too big to fail, they’re too big to manage‘ – Brown (D-OH) said that JP Morgan’s trading mess proves banks are not only too big to fail — meaning they are explicitly backed by the government and will be rescued if they blow themselves up — but simply “too big to manage”: [...] “Jamie Dimon’s smart, he’s articulate, he’s probably a good manager, he’s probably a good CEO. I don’t like his public persona in terms of what he’s done to weaken these regulations and to undercut them. They lost their fights in Congress, now they’re organizing to win them in the regulatory agencies. But I think, if he can’t manage a bank this size, it probably isn’t manageable. I think these banks will be stronger and healthier and probably more profitable if they’re smaller.” – Think Progress
Well played, Senator:
Kudos to Sen. Sherrod Brown for giving CNN contributor/Breitbart.com loon Dana Loesch exactly the amount of respect she deserved, when she popped up like a malevolent jack-in-the-box at the Netroots Nation conference. — LGF
Harry Reid said he will likely push for changes to filibuster rules if the Democrats retain control next year – “I’ll just bet you … if we maintain a majority, and I feel quite confident that we can do that, and the president is reelected, there is going to be some changes,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “We can no longer go through this, every bill, filibusters [even] on bills that they agree with. It’s just a waste of time to prevent us from getting things done.” It remains unclear, however, if Reid would have the votes to change the Senate’s rules, which would require a simple majority vote at the start of the new Congress. Should Democrats retain control of the Senate, they will likely have a razor-thin majority in 2013. Only one or two defections could lead to defeat of the motion, as all Republicans are united against such a change in rules. – The Hill
Paul Krugman at Netroots Nation: solving this depression isn’t an economic problem, it’s a political problem – The Nobel Laureate said that the current state of the U.S. economy is “incredibly awful,” and dinged Romney’s exorbitant wealth, saying, “If you don’t know multiple people who are suffering, then you must be living in a very rarefied environment. You must be maybe a member of the Romney clan, or something.” Krugman underscored the fact that the current economic crisis has been created by deregulation and poor policy decisions. “None of this has to be happening,” he said, “We didn’t have a plague of locusts, we were not hit by a tsunami, there wasn’t some act of God that created this terrible situation. It was acts of man.” [...] “Solving this depression is not fundamentally an economic problem,” he said, “it’s a political problem.” – Raw Story
Things you never imagine Dick Cheney doing: Joe Biden had an epic waterfight with kids today – The Vice President invites the press and their families to his home at the Naval Observatory every year. — Buzzfeed (more photos at the link)
WHAT ROMNEY / REPUBLICANS STAND FOR———————————————
“She absolutely should not be president: no way, no how. I’ve watched her on the public stage over the past four years. There has been zero effort — zero — to improve any of her obvious deficiencies.” — Steve Schmidt, remarking on Sarah Palin and the “disastrous political misjudgment” in selecting her as McCain’s running mate, in the NY Times.
Mitt Romney commenting on Obama and firemen, policemen, and teachers: “he wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” Romney in Iowa – watch:
Romney economics: fire more government workers — The last three years are the worst on record for public sector job loss, and the 700,000 government jobs that no longer exist remain a large drag on the American economy. [...Here's] yet another indication that Romney is more interested in continuing the GOP’s ideological battle against government instead of curing the ills that are plaguing the American economy. — Think Progress
- Recall, just last month (on the anniversary of the Osama bin Laden operation), Romney needed to wrap himself in 9/11 iconography to compete with President Obama, so he and “Noun-Verb-9/11″ Giuliani took pizzas to some FDNY government parasites for a photo-op and as a means to criticize the President over the firefighters’ salaries! What does Romney stand for? IT DEPENDS ON THE HOUR OF THE DAY.
Just another day in America: a Republican throwing more free money at capitalists – The $1.65 billion tax deal the Corbett administration is negotiating with Shell Oil Co. to locate an ethane processing plant in western Pennsylvania is shaping up to be the biggest such state investment Pennsylvania history… Under the deal, taxpayers would foot the bill for hazardous materials clean up at the western Pennsylvania site, a cost that could easily soar into the tens of millions… on top of the $1.65 billion in tax credits over 25 years starting in 2017, and other sweeteners that come with a tax-free Keystone Opportunity Zone, the state would be picking up the bill to clean up the waste from a zinc smelter site. – Philly.com
This is how America works: lay-off workers and over-compensate CEOs – Verizon Communications announced last week that it would reduce its nationwide workforce by 1 percent, and if enough workers don’t accept the buyouts, it will resort to involuntary layoffs. Verizon paid chief executive Lowell C. McAdam more than $22.5 million in 2011, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of executive compensation. The company has paid its top five executives more than $350 million in the last five years. [...] In 2011, the company’s shareholders saw an 18.8 percent increase in the value of their returns. Workers, however, have not shared in those gains. Verizon eliminated 26,000 jobs over a two-year period in 2008 and 2009 — including 16,000 jobs in 2009 alone — and laid off roughly 13,000 more in 2010. At the same time, Verizon has demanded sizable concessions from workers… – Think Progress
Fox “News” makes you stupid – Fox News host Neil Cavuto rehashed old myths on his show today to argue against a proposed Democratic bill that would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 an hour and require annual increases for inflation. To make his point, Cavuto claimed the higher wage would negatively impact current unemployment levels [...]The Center for Economic and Policy Research found that raising the minimum wage has no “discernible impact” on employment, and in fact, concluded that wage increases are more likely to result in more jobs rather than less. – Media Matters
Mitt Romney will now be getting loads of money from billionaire Foster Friess and his Super PAC, Restore Our Future – the primary backer of the pro-Rick Santorum Super PAC, says he is fully behind Mitt Romney’s efforts to defeat President Barack Obama…. [...] Friess said he met with Romney at a fundraiser in Phoenix recently. ”When you look a guy in the eye you can tell a little of what he’s like and he’s a special guy. He’s got a great family he loves America.” — Buzzfeed
Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney — [S]aying your first pick is Ron Paul, but Mitt Romney will do, proves that you stand for absolutely nothing. — JM Ashby
- Paul told CNN it would be an honor to be [Romney's] running mate.
- Ha ha haa!
WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————
Obama clarifies ‘private sector is doing fine’ remark, responding to the ‘political games’ that started over it – “The economy needs to be strengthened,” Obama told reporters Friday afternoon. “That is why I had a press conference. I believe there are a lot of Americans who are hurting right now. That is what I have been saying for the last year, two years, three years.” Dismissing “political games” around the issue, Obama said Americans should instead focus on choosing a candidate who can articulate a clear solution to the problem. “The key is, for folks, what I am interested in hearing from Romney, is what steps are they willing to take right now that will make an actual difference? And, so far, all we have heard are additional tax cuts to the folks who are doing fine.” – TPM
Obama says the “private sector is doing fine” and the GOP circus pulls into town — As gaffes go, this strikes me as extremely weak tea. The choice of words probably could have been slightly better, but really, to treat this as some kind of breakthrough moment in the campaign is pretty silly. Indeed, what Obama said, in context, is largely correct — compared to the public sector, the private sector really is doing fine. This isn’t complicated. Corporate profits have soared, the stock market is up, and private sector job growth has fueled the recovery entirely on its own. In fact, private sector job growth last year was the second best year we’ve seen since the late 1990s, and 2012 is on track to be even stronger. The public sector, meanwhile, continues to be a drag on the economy, laying off workers and cutting budgets. Comparing the two sectors, there’s nothing shocking about saying one is “fine” and the other isn’t. If the media pushback is that the current growth rates aren’t yet good enough, that’s certainly fair — but I think everyone realizes Obama has said the same thing several thousand times. — Steve Benen
JUST HOW FINE IS THE PRIVATE SECTOR DOING? Corporate / private-sector profits after taxes are at record highs – Andrew Sullivan || Note: this private-sector success isn’t doing much for the nation’s economy, the treasury, or for job creation — but there are several CEOs who have huge bank accounts now.
Obama campaign’s full response to Romney’s “fire more government workers” remarks – ”After years on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney finally revealed his jobs plan today. It is a plan of job elimination, not creation. While the President has put a jobs plan on the table that addresses areas of employment where we need to spur hiring the most right now – keeping police officers on the street and teachers in the classroom, Mitt Romney promised to eliminate even more public sector jobs. Mitt Romney has also said we should ‘send home’ 145,000 federal workers – those workers are mostly military personnel, VA hospital personnel who care for the wounded and Homeland Security workers. Not only has Mitt Romney opposed the President’s plan to create one million jobs, he is actually calling for further job loss in the sector that needs the most urgent boost. While job creation in Massachusetts lagged during Romney’s tenure as Governor despite his promises, calling for job elimination when we’re still digging out from the economic crisis is nothing short of stunning.” — Buzzfeed
Romney Economics: Fewer teachers, fewer firefighters, fewer police officers — Watch:
Chris Matthews goes nuts on ‘idiot Republican argument’ – As the conversation turned to the economy in general, fellow panelist and former Deputy Press Secretary to George W. Bush, Tony Fratto, began to argue that people want the private sector and not the government to, “take the lead.” “It hasn’t. It has failed, and it keeps failing,” Matthews interrupted. As he and Fratto talked over each other, Matthews claimed that the private sector was purposefully withholding its money to keep the economy stagnant and to hurt the president’s reelection campaign. [...] “Okay, here’s the idiot Republican argument,” Matthews said. “If you’d just give them a bigger tax cut than Bush gave them.” [...] “I feel like I’m teaching first grade here,” Matthews said. “What do you think Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce does for a living representing American business? He gets Republicans elected. Business and the Republican party are the same thing.” – Raw Story
NEW DATA: 6.6 Million Young Adults Insured Thanks To Obamacare – According to a study by the Commonwealth Fund, 6.6 million young adults have signed up for coverage through their parents’ health insurance plans. Under the ACA provision, young people can now stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26. About half of the 19-to-25 year-olds interviewed for the study reported opting in to their parents’ plans between November 2010 and November 2011. — Think Progress
“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing—but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” – Harry S. Truman
Jobs Are Not My Job, Man – Mitch McConnell once again showed a keen grasp on Sunday of what his constituents want from a Washington politician.
CNN’s Candy Crowley reminded the Kentucky Republican that a recent Gallup/USA Today poll found that 75 percent of Americans supported President Barack Obama’s plan to provide additional money for teachers, police and firefighters.
“Republicans helped not break a filibuster, if you will, in a procedural vote,” Crowley explained. “You basically got rid of that jobs bill which would have given money to the states, designed to hire or retain fireman, policeman and teachers. When we look at the polling, 75 percent of Americans supported that and yet, the Republicans were against it. So, how do you justify that in your mind?”
“Well, Candy, I’m sure that Americans do,” McConnell remarked. “I certainly do approve of firefighters and police. The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They’re local and state employees.”
“The question is whether the federal government can afford to be bailing out states. I think the answer is no.”
BAILOUTS AND FEDERAL ASSISTANCE (and tax subsidies and cuts) are for banks, big business, and the wealthy. Bootstraps are for the rest of us according to McConnell, even if most of his constituents think otherwise. And that reoccurring meme “but we’d hurt small business!” that the Republicans like to trot out? Another load of crap:
Worried that small businesses would be hurt by the Buffett Rule? Don’t be. Less than 4% of small business owners earn $1M per year.
“I say to the American people: watch your senator. Watch him or her choose: Are you going to put 400,000 school teachers back in classrooms; are you going to put 18,000 cops back on the street, and 7,000 firefighters back into firehouses? OR are you going to save people with average income over $1 million a one-half of one-percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million.”
And later that day…
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) issued an official statement after the vote denouncing Republicans for “unanimously block[iing] a bill that would have kept 400,000 teachers in the classroom and first responders on the job because they refuse to ask millionaires to pay their fair share.” “By asking millionaires to pay an extra half a penny on the dollar, this bill would have created jobs by keeping our communities safe and ensuring that our children continue to have access to a high-quality education,” Reid said. “Unfortunately, protecting millionaires and defeating President Obama are more important to my Republican colleagues than creating jobs and getting our economy back on track.”
“The very idea that the minority would filibuster the debate itself, then filibuster the bill, then reject any effort at compromises, then refuse to offer a credible alternative, then rule out the possibility of creating any jobs at all during a jobs crisis would have seemed genuinely insane for much of American history. And yet, in 2011, the entire political world finds this routine and unsurprising. It won’t be front-page news tomorrow morning, and we’d be lucky if most the public heard about the developments at all.
Tomasky concluded, “I have trouble keeping lunch down when I read these jeremiads about how sad and mysterious it is that our institutions of government are failing. It’s not a mystery. One side wants them to fail. And there’s very little the other side can do about it, besides point it out, which the president has started doing — and now he’s the one being divisive! They’ve turned the world inside out.””
— Steve Benen on GOP obstructionism and the jobs bill.