ChrisWeigant.com

Cram A Year's Legislation Into A Few Days, Or Punt?

[ Posted Monday, December 18th, 2017 – 18:01 UTC ]

As we begin the final week of 2017's congressional calendar, it is worth noting how ridiculous the whole process has now become. This becomes painfully obvious when you compare what has been done versus what remains to be done. Because after the final votes on the GOP's Christmas gift to their wealthy donors (expected Tuesday and Wednesday), an entire year's worth of problems are supposedly going to be dealt with -- before the end of Friday. No wonder the public holds Congress in such low esteem.

Other than the Senate confirming judges and presidential appointments, what exactly has been accomplished this year in Congress? Not much. They've kicked a lot of things down the road -- most notably the budget -- and have failed to address all sorts of other pressing issues, to boot.

Roughly the first half of the legislative year was spent in an abortive attempt to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell really wanted to just prove it couldn't be done early in the spring and then move on to other things, but the White House insisted on wasting gobs of time on this failed effort. This meant everything else in Congress (since they are so obviously incapable of walking and chewing gum at the same time) got pushed aside. When the final attempt failed in the Senate, more than half the year had been consumed by tilting at this windmill. The only real thing Republicans had accomplished on Obamacare was to make it a lot more popular with the public, once they found out what the Republican ideas for "replacement" turned out to be. Obamacare's popularity, ironically, hit public approval highs that Barack Obama himself never managed while he was in office.

Then Congress pivoted to "tax reform." That's what they called it originally, before it devolved into a tax-cutting frenzy for wealthy individual GOP donors and big businesses, with not a shred of fiscal restraint. Originally, Republicans swore it would be "revenue-neutral," but that concept was quickly left by the wayside. Then they limited themselves to only blowing a $1.5 trillion dollar hole in the budget, and got down to the serious business of screwing the little guy in favor of those who really had no need of a tax cut.

Republicans have now all fallen into line behind their plan, despite the fact that they used to vociferously complain about budget deficits and despite the fact that what they've come up with in no way resembles a "middle-class tax cut," because they were so desperate to prove they could get something (anything!) done this year. They've all sold themselves on the delusion that their base voters will reward them for doing so, even though the plan is already wildly unpopular with the public. Trump voters in particular seem to be waking up to the fact that Trump just sold them out in a big way in order to provide himself (and those in his income bracket) enormous tax breaks. This backlash against the plan could grow throughout the course of the next year, when everyone figures out what exactly the new scheme means for their own tax situation, although it won't become completely apparent until early 2019, when everyone has to fill out their tax returns for the 2018 tax year (which is, conveniently for Republicans, months past the midterm elections).

So, to recap, the Republican Congress spent over half the year on a failed effort to repeal an ever-more-popular Obamacare, and then spent all their remaining time producing a real turkey of a tax cut for the wealthy that the public already hates.

As I predicted about a month ago, this leaves quite a lot on their plate, all of which will have to be dealt with in some fashion by Friday. So an entire year's worth of necessary legislation will somehow be thrown together in two or three days. Back then, I wrote:

This has resulted in quite a few things getting shoved up against end-of-the-year deadlines. Next month, in addition to whatever happens on the tax bill, Congress will be required to: pass an omnibus budget deal, raise the debt ceiling, pass a DACA immigration fix, and pass a bipartisan bill to tweak the Obamacare subsidy programs. Each one of those would normally result in weeks of debate and lots of jockeying for position and dealmaking, but they may all have to happen at once. The budget will be the big fight, and may just subsume all the rest of the issues into one giant bill (if the past is any indication of how these things eventually happen).

I even missed a few things in the list I came up with, I should confess. Congress also has to pass CHIP funding for children's healthcare (whose funding they let lapse months ago), extend the surveillance laws for the N.S.A. (which expire this Friday and are shaping up to be incredibly contentious), beef up border security (a big priority for Trump and the Republicans), and resolve the issue of once again ignoring the budget caps for both defense spending and social spending (Republicans want more defense spending and no additional spending for everything else, while Democrats want parity). You've got to admit that's a pretty monstrous list of "to do" items, no matter what you think about any of these issues. One month ago, I pointed out:

Which sets up a December with a Congress which has so far been unable to act upon anything having to address multiple major issues all at once. While all of Washington and the media world have been solely focused on the GOP's tax bill, nobody's been paying much attention to the backlog waiting in the wings. And, unlike the tax bill, there are hard deadlines attached to many of these issues. So after eleven months of inaction, we may be in for an absolute frenzy of political battles being fought in the final month of the year. The issues are all large, complex, and have clear partisan battle lines already drawn. It's impossible to say how successful Congress will be at addressing any of these (they could always punt and pass yet another short-term extension to all the deadlines on the budget questions), but no matter what happens it seems sure that December is going to be a very busy month on Capitol Hill.

Turns out I was optimistic. They didn't spend all of December on any of this stuff. They are going to take the next few days to finish up their tax bill, which leaves not a month to figure all this stuff out but instead maybe two or three days to make all of these crucial decisions they've been putting off all year long.

This exponentially increases the likelihood that what will actually happen this week will be yet another gigantic punt. Already, the debt ceiling has been pushed out (by "extraordinary accounting measures" by the Treasury that have now become rather common). The budget could easily be pushed out until January as well. DACA doesn't have a hard deadline until early March. The Obamacare subsidies were promised to Susan Collins to convince her to vote on the tax bill, but will also likely be punted to next year -- even though the states are going to start running out of money to continue them very soon. The CHIP programs are also running out of money, but Republicans so far haven't paid much of a political price for screwing around with poor children's health (while instead concentrating on cutting taxes for Wall Street), so they'll probably be content to punt this one, too. The one issue which may be hard to punt is reauthorizing the warantless wiretapping and surveillance of American citizens. This issue actually is rather bipartisan, because there are Republicans (such as Rand Paul) who are incensed about the program and want it changed. But as Congress has proven so far, there is no issue so big it can't be punted down the road for a few weeks or even a few months, so perhaps voting for an extension will appeal to everyone just so they can flee Washington and get home in time for the holidays.

If all this sounds rather pathetic, well, that's because it is. What's even more pathetic is that while the Republicans have wasted the entire year on one effort that failed and one seriously flawed tax bill, they have done so by running around with their hair continually on fire. All of their major legislative efforts have been constructed without any regard to "regular order" whatsoever -- they spent long periods of time bickering among themselves in back rooms (far from the public eye), and then they presented the result with the caveat that it absolutely must be voted on within mere hours of its release. You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it, they explained (without recognizing their sheer hypocrisy, of course, since they used to complain so loudly about this very tactic). So they have achieved what seems to be an oxymoron, by wasting an entire year while in complete panic mode: "Ahhh! We have to vote right now -- we simply don't have time for any public discussion of what we're trying to do!" All while wasting all the time in the world, which could have been spent discussing all the other pressing issues of the day. What's even more amusing is that all this time-wasting and panicking has all happened within the Republican caucus. Democrats were not invited to even take part of any of it.

Now we're down to the wire, and we truly are in panic mode. The entire business of the federal government must be decided by week's end, despite not having spent any time at all on it throughout the entire legislative calendar. And this time, Democratic votes will be needed to pass anything. Does anyone really expect any solid progress by Friday on any of it? An entire year's worth of legislation really cannot be thrown together in two day's time, to state the obvious. So look for a gigantic punt of almost everything, late on Friday, so they can all go home for yet another few weeks of unearned vacation time.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

59 Comments on “Cram A Year's Legislation Into A Few Days, Or Punt?”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    The GOP Tax heist shows, in stark relief, exactly what Republicans are about. They have lied every step of the way. They have exhibited total irresponsibility -- they plan to vote for this mess without fully knowing what's in it, or how the parts will interact, or what the massive slew of unintended consequences will be. They have done their dirty work in secret. They literally wrote the bill at the behest of lobbyists. Orrin Hatch personally, apparently, wrote the bribe to get Bob Corker's vote. They literally inserted bribes for different wavering Senators.

    Meanwhile, they sit on their fat, rich, white asses and do nothing while Blotus loots the treasury, breaking emoluments "laws", putting goddamned morons and/or criminals in charge of Federal Agencies, trying to destroy press freedoms, coddling nazis and American terrorists, destroying the State Dept and diplomatic personnel, letting Pence-favored christionist wingnuts drive various policies, hurting women every way in his power, and more.

    I've known Republicans in power were full of shit for years now -- that they talked a good game but consistently legislated/ruled/voted in opposition to their stated "values" -- but even I didn't think they were as utterly devoid of any merit as they have shown themselves to be.

  2. [2] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Good for you, Paula. Couldn't have put it better myself.

  3. [3] 
    neilm wrote:

    Looks like Paula's wavering on the fence on the next election ... what is it going to be Paula, the Republican, the Democratic candidate or another?

    ;)

  4. [4] 
    Paula wrote:

    {2} Balthasar: Thanks@

    {3} neilm: did you misread me or am I misreading you? Or are you kidding? :-)

  5. [5] 
    neilm wrote:

    Paula [4] - yup - I'm kidding ;)

  6. [6] 
    neilm wrote:

    This really has been an example of what happens when a political party spends 20 years losing grip on reality, pedaling conspiracy theories, and accepting theories like "trickle down" that are obvious nonsense.

    This is what happens when "experts" are seen as the problem, and "my ignorance is equal to your science".

    This is also what happens when you define your wins by how much you can do the opposite of your political rivals, regardless of the impact on America and Americans.

    This is what happens when Dunning-Krugers consumes a political party.

    In the future this will be an interesting period for political scientists studying how irrationality can subsume a right wing party completely. There will be doctorates written on Fox News, the bubbles created by social media and how they were exploited by foreign parties to drive discord.

    Let's hope this is the awakening of the educated, sensible people in this country, who, instead of being polite, will start calling BS on the nonsense, lies, conspiracies and cheap little blowhards like our current President.

    If America doesn't wake up, the recovery pains will be worse.

  7. [7] 
    Paula wrote:

    [6] neilm: Yep.

    Here's a good - brief - piece about the tax scam: https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-gop-tax-bill-is-unworkable

    Ends: But, for anybody who believes in a properly functioning government, a rational, clearly defined tax system is essential. The Republican reform doesn’t meet that standard. In the words of the report, the “haphazard lines” that the legislation creates are “fundamentally unfair and inefficient,” and, taken as a whole, it represents “a substantial blow to the basic integrity of the income tax.” It won’t survive in its current form.

  8. [8] 
    neilm wrote:

    Good article Paula. The shenanigans that this tax bill will encourage, which will be completely legal, should be no surprise to anybody.

    This is exactly what happened in Kansas when they went bananas.

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    As every other time this came up they punted the odds are they will punt again.

    Then we can look forward to articles on how and why they punted again and then move on to another round of articles about the unresolved issues until it is time to punt again and the articles on will they punt again.

    Why come up with a new narrative when the old one works so well?

    We could even take this all the way through 2018 and maybe even to 2020!

    Anything is possible except purging the Big Money from the Democratic Party to provide an actual alternative to the Republicans and the current narrative provides an easy excuse to ignore the real problem and it's possible solutions.

    "If all this sounds rather pathetic, well, that's because it is."

    What is even more pathetic is how the Democratic Party has wasted the whole year on crap like this and pretending to be fighting for ordinary citizens rather than fix what is wrong with the Democratic Party by purging the Big Money interests out of the party.

    "Courage!"
    -the Cowardly Lion
    The Wizard of Oz

  10. [10] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    This is exactly what happened in Kansas when they went bananas.

    So Toto, I guess it's not just Kansas anymore. :}

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    As we begin the final week of 2017's congressional calendar, it is worth noting how ridiculous the whole process has now become. This becomes painfully obvious when you compare what has been done versus what remains to be done. Because after the final votes on the GOP's Christmas gift to their wealthy donors (expected Tuesday and Wednesday), an entire year's worth of problems are supposedly going to be dealt with -- before the end of Friday. No wonder the public holds Congress in such low esteem.

    No one seemed to have a problem when this was the process when Democrats owned the House & Senate..

    "Oh well... That's different..."

    It always is...

    509

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    They have done their dirty work in secret. They literally wrote the bill at the behest of lobbyists. Orrin Hatch personally, apparently, wrote the bribe to get Bob Corker's vote. They literally inserted bribes for different wavering Senators.

    Yea... Only DEMCORATS are allowed to bribe congress critters to get legislation..

    I can understand why you would be pissed that Republicans are taking a page from the Dumbocrat playbook...

    That was sarcasm, in case it was too subtle...

    510

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh.. I forgot...

    KLATCHUM!!!!!

    :D

    511

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Pelosi bails on tax cut protest after only handful of activists show up

    A handful of folks are really steamed that Republican lawmakers are planning to lower taxes, and they gathered in tiny conference room on Capitol Hill where House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slated to speak Monday.

    But the demonstration was so weak, MSNBC reports, Pelosi didn’t even bother to show up.

    “These protests have never been like what we saw with the healthcare law,” an MSNBC reporter said as a camera man panned the crowd of a couple dozen mulled about in self-scheduling conference room 2456.

    “This particular protest was supposed to start at three, it was supposed to feature Nancy Pelosi, and it’s supposed to have hundreds of people, and none of those things are going to end up being true,” the reporter said.
    http://www.theamericanmirror.com/pelosi-bails-tax-cut-protest-handful-activists-show/

    What if Dumbocrats had a protest and no one came??

    KLATCHUM!!!!!

    :D

    512

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    President Trump

    Black Unemployment Rate Lowest in 17 Years

    (CNSNews.com) -- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics( BLS), the unemployment rate for black Americans is the lowest it has been since the year 2000, 17 years ago.

    In November, the national unemployment rate for black Americans, ages 16 and over, was 7.3%.
    https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/michael-w-chapman/black-unemployment-rate-lowest-17-years

    Making America Great Again

    513

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh.. I forgot...

    KLATCHUM!!!!!

    Well, THIS is embarrassing.. :^/

    "LATCHCOMB!!!"

    :D

    514

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    I do have to say, I am pretty disappointed in my fellow Weigantians...

    I should EASILY be in my 700s or 800s comments wise...

    Betweem the BSers who claimed that they would come out of their safe space to help out CW and those who just won't engage, it's gonna be a blue blue Christmas for CW....

    Com'on people!!

    Help out.... I can't do it all on my own!!!

    515

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Paula and neilm:

    Corker seems to have be getting cold feet about all the rat feces in the tax sausage. By his own admission, he just trusted his fellow Republicans and didn't actually read the details. His solution seems to be picking out the micro turds one by one with subsequent legislation. I'm guessing the electorate is going to be thoroughly sick with political food poisoning by 2018 and will vote accordingly...if they have the strength to overcome the dry heaves and drag themselves to the polls.

  19. [19] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Try and keep a straight face while reading this old saw about the US Senate:

    “the world's greatest deliberative body.”

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    “the world's greatest deliberative body.”

    Well, that's what 6 solid years of Dumbocrat control will do, eh? :D

    516

  21. [21] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale (17)-
    The problem is that when there is only one song to sing (Look how bad Republicans are and Democrats are not as bad) not only do people get tired of hearing it, the singers even get tired of singing it.

    "Heard the singers playing
    How we cheered for more
    The crowd had rushed together
    Trying to keep warm
    Still the rain kept pouring
    falling on my ears
    And I wonder
    Still I wonder
    Who'll stop the rain?"
    -Who'll Stop the Rain?
    CCR

    Maybe if CW would do a little bit of Here Comes the Sun by informing citizens about One Demand and help clear the storm clouds of Big Money hovering over the Democratic Party and our entire political process there would a new song worth listening to and joining in to sing.

    "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" is getting old.

  22. [22] 
    Paula wrote:

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/12/final-tax-analysis-good-for-the-rich-bad-for-the-middle-class/

    As the top chart shows, within a decade tax rates will go up for everyone making less than $55,000 and stay about the same up to $225,000. They’ll go down for everyone above that level, and they’ll go down the most for millionaires. This one is from the Tax Policy Center.

    On the bottom, you can see how this affects households. Up to $75,000, households will pay several hundred dollars more each year in taxes. Those making over a million dollars per year will pay about $14,000 less. This is from the Joint Committee on Taxation.

    Coz millionaires have it so tough, they need MORE money, while working people making under $75K need to have LESS, specifically and ONLY to make sure rich people get even richer. Not for any other reason. Not to save anything or fix anything or help anyone who needs help. Soley to make Trump and people like him even richer.

    A pox on them all.

  23. [23] 
    Paula wrote:

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/19/16786006/looting-of-america

    The looter-in-chief
    It takes a lot more than Donald Trump to orchestrate the kind of feeding frenzy that’s currently playing out in Washington. Nothing about this would work if not for the fact that hundreds of Republican Party members of Congress wake up each morning and decide anew that they are indifferent to the myriad financial conflicts of interest in which Trump and his family are enmeshed. Moral and political responsibility for the looting ultimately rests on the shoulders of the GOP members of Congress who decided that the appropriate reaction to Trump’s inauguration was to start smashing and grabbing as much as possible for themselves and their donors rather than uphold their constitutional obligations.

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    MotherJones and VOX :^/

    'nuff said...

    517

  25. [25] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Paula

    When the high-earners (aka "the rich") manifest any reluctance to share the fruits of their labors with the low-earners/no earners (aka "the poor"), we poor folks characterize that as 'greed'.

    However, when we poor folks (low earners) express the DEMAND, not the 'wish' that the rich folks (high earners) share the fruits of their labor with us, we NEVER call that greed. I have to wonder, what should we call it?

    What's your suggestion???

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    DH,

    "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" is getting old.

    That's what's so awesome about President Trump..

    For the first time in our lifetimes, we have a POTUS that is, for all intents and purposes, a TRUE Independent...

    It's frabjous!!!! :D

    You can bet that if Trump ran and won with a -D after his name, *EVERYONE* here would LOVE him!!! :D

    518

  27. [27] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    It takes a lot more than Trump and the GOP members of Congress to shoulder the moral and political responsibility for the looting.

    A good portion of the responsibility belongs to the people that keep supporting and voting for the Big Money Democrats which results in only two Big Money options in the voting booth. And the media that keeps perpetuating the false choice.

    "You reap what you sow.
    You reap what you sow."
    -Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson
    The Great White Hype

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    DH,

    Of that there is no doubt... Weigantians pay a lot of lip service to complaining about big money in politics.. But only when it comes to complaining about REPUBLICANS and big money..

    As you have aptly exposed, they will fight tooth and nail to protect Big Money for Democrats...

    It's all part and parcel to the hypocrisy that is a genetic trait of the Democrat Party...

    519

  29. [29] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Michale-
    Unfortunately, we got meet the new boss worse than the old boss.

    Instead of here comes the sun we got you are like a hurricane.

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    I disagree.. President Trump has made termondous progress in draining the swamp, getting rid of political correctness and making America great again...

    520.....

  31. [31] 
    John M wrote:

    [15] Michale

    "President Trump

    Black Unemployment Rate Lowest in 17 Years"

    Too bad Trump had NOTHING to do with it. Employment numbers lag economic performance by at least several months. Trump has done nothing for the economy except the stock market. The economy is better in SPITE of Trump, NOT BECAUSE of Trump.

    Your actual slogan should be:

    "Making China great again!"

    There, fixed it for ya!

  32. [32] 
    John M wrote:

    [25] C. R. Stucki

    "What's your suggestion???"

    How about you try this on for size? "SOCIAL JUSTICE"

    Or would you rather see a French style revolution here, along with the guillotine?

    Or better yet, really skew the system so much towards the already rich that we bring back all the worst abuses of 18th century Britain, including debtor prisons and poor houses?

    Since you seem to want to demonize the less fortunate and keep calling the people working two jobs "lazy" while people whose major talent is skimming thousands of dollars off of multi million dollar trades are somehow the "real heroes" and are so deserving?

  33. [33] 
    John M wrote:

    [26] Michale

    "For the first time in our lifetimes, we have a POTUS that is, for all intents and purposes, a TRUE Independent...

    It's frabjous!!!! :D

    You can bet that if Trump ran and won with a -D after his name, *EVERYONE* here would LOVE him!!! :D"

    Independent my ass. Trump hasn't had an original thought unless it was put there by Mitch, Paul Ryan or Steve Bannon.

    And if you think we would all just love him if Trump had a "D" after his name, then you are even more delusional and off the deep end than you normally are. In fact, I would be that if Trump had a "D" after his name, not only would you NOT have voted for him in the first place, YOU would be the one screaming about just how awful he is.

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    JM

    Too bad Trump had NOTHING to do with it. Employment numbers lag economic performance by at least several months. Trump has done nothing for the economy except the stock market. The economy is better in SPITE of Trump, NOT BECAUSE of Trump.

    OF COURSE Trump had "nothing to do with it".. Everything BAD that happens is ALL Trump's fault and everything GOOD that happens is all because of Odumbo and the Dumbocrats..

    I get it.. I really do...

    Your actual slogan should be:

    "Making China great again!"

    There, fixed it for ya!

    FACTS to support??

    No?? Of course not...

    Nothing but sour grapes and stuffed crow as FAR as the eye can see :D

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    How about you try this on for size? "SOCIAL JUSTICE"

    Oh give me a fraking break!!!

    This is EXACTLY why Dumbocrats are in the WORST position they have been in in over a century...

    Because they are more concerned with what bathrooms gender confused morons are going to use and less about saving Americans' LIVES....

    Independent my ass. Trump hasn't had an original thought unless it was put there by Mitch, Paul Ryan or Steve Bannon.

    Whatever you have to tell yerself to make it thru yer day... :D

    And if you think we would all just love him if Trump had a "D" after his name, then you are even more delusional and off the deep end than you normally are. In fact, I would be that if Trump had a "D" after his name, not only would you NOT have voted for him in the first place, YOU would be the one screaming about just how awful he is.

    No facts to support..

    I voted for Donald Trump and don't care what letter he has after his name..

    Ya'all can't make the same claim....

    Dumbocrats kow-towing to Trump the Democrat is well documented....

    522

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    Grrr....

    And if you think we would all just love him if Trump had a "D" after his name, then you are even more delusional and off the deep end than you normally are. In fact, I would be that if Trump had a "D" after his name, not only would you NOT have voted for him in the first place, YOU would be the one screaming about just how awful he is.

    No facts to support..

    I voted for Donald Trump and don't care what letter he has after his name..

    Ya'all can't make the same claim....

    Dumbocrats kow-towing to Trump the Democrat is well documented....

    If Trump had run as a Democrat everyone here would have voted for him, myself included...

    :D

    523

  37. [37] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If Trump had run as a Democrat he would not have won the nomination.

    But of he did then ALMOST everyone here may have voted for him.

    I know of at least one that wouldn't.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Trump had run as a Democrat he would not have won the nomination.

    I think he would have...

    This was, without a doubt, an OUTSIDER NON-ESTABLISHMENT election...

    Trump was the only candidate who fit that description...

    524

  39. [39] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    John M

    Big lie, I have never referred to anybody working two jobs as "lazy".

    "Social Justice", like 'beauty', lies always in the eye of the beholder. If my earning less than you earn somehow grants me an entitlement to share what you earn, "social justice" simply ain't gonna cut it as a definition.

    I fear we're pretty much stuck with 'greed' for that purpose, right?

  40. [40] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Let's raise the level of debate a notch or two, shall we?

    I was watching Ryan gleefully swing that gavel with the enthusiasm of a six year old on his birthday, and I thought: is Ryan done?

    This monster has been cooking for years up in Ryan's laboratory, made from the corpus' of Ayn Rand and Jack Kemp with a curve of Laffer and a heart of Hayak.

    In other words, unlike most of what Trump seems to do, this tax plan has been carefully thought out, and we're likely to still be surprised to learn some of its more obscure provisions a year from now.

    But is bringing this monster to life the climax of Ryan's career? Will he ever be as excited as he was today again? It's alive! It's alive!

    I say this cognizant of the fact that it still has to pass the Senate, but I gave up on that being a barrier when Collins and Corker signed on to it.

    No, this story has to have its denouement, wherein the Monster terrorizes the town, and befriends a little girl and a blind man. (Collins and Corker?)

    For Ryan, this means cutting entitlement programs like a factory butcher. Take a look at some of Ryan's previous tax proposals to get an idea of what he thinks is 'moderate' budget-cutting.

    The only thing I'm unsure of in this story, is what Frankenryan's timing will be. Will he set right to work to extract maximum terror on these hasty budget and debt ceiling bills next week, or wait and use the hubub of the spring primary season to rally the GOP base with draconian bills? We'll see. This story isn't over yet.

    Igor, fetch me a cup of coffee and a pitchfork!

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    CRS, just accept it.. If you don't toe the Dumbcorat Party line, fully and slavishly, yer a deplorable...

    I still think it's AMAZING that Dumbocrats can't win any elections unless they create fake and forged pedophile scandals..

    525

  42. [42] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    If my earning less than you earn somehow grants me an entitlement to share what you earn, "social justice" simply ain't gonna cut it as a definition.

    So, in your decidedly un-Christian worldview, you have no obligation to contribute to the society around you?

    The same society that provides you roads to drive on, and ensures that your water is safe and that terrorists won't blow up the electricity plant that powers your PC?

    Is it justice that you, along with everyone else, get to enjoy the fruits of the labor of every other man in your society, and yet contribute nothing to its posterity?

    That's greed. For sure.

  43. [43] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    This was, without a doubt, an OUTSIDER NON-ESTABLISHMENT election..Trump was the only candidate who fit that description.

    Only clueless would do.

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Only clueless would do.

    Says the guy who backed the candidate that LOST to "clueless"...

    So, employing Occam's Razor the ONLY logical conclusion is that Trump is not as clueless as you like to think he is..

    526

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, in your decidedly un-Christian worldview, you have no obligation to contribute to the society around you?

    I love it when Liberals adopt Right Winger views when it suits their agenda..

    When it suits their agenda, they are Law & Order CONSTITUTION UBER ALLES... Normally, they wipe their asses with the Constitution

    When it suits their agenda, they are the most fanatical Jesus-Freak around.. Normally, they cheer at peeing on christ...

    I swear, hypocrisy is a Dumbocrat requirement.....

    The same society that provides you roads to drive on, and ensures that your water is safe and that terrorists won't blow up the electricity plant that powers your PC?

    My gods, what a load of crap... "Society" doesn't provide roads or safe water or any of your other spewage.. PEOPLE provide those things and they are PAID to do it...

    Are you saying that they should be WORSHIPED in addition to their pay???

    I'll remind you of that the next time you want to shit on a cop because she did something you didn't like...

    527

  46. [46] 
    neilm wrote:

    CRS:

    You seem to believe the system that creates wealth somehow distributes it based on meritocracy, and thus if somebody earns $5M/year it is because they have some skill, coupled with a phenomenal work ethic that means they deserve that income.

    I simply don't agree that this is always the case.

    Just are there are poor people who skipped out of school, don't want to work, and are 'undeserving' of largess, there are rich people who haven't done a stroke of work, or if they have, work no harder or have no better skills than average. Luck plays a huge role in most people's life outcomes, when if it is just the luck of the womb you drop out of.

    Capitalism has a bug - if the return on capital > return on labor and the ability to tilt the level playing field comes from power that can be bought with money, over time the markets end up skewed further and further in favor of capital.

    We can use the Gini coefficient as a proxy for this, and it is currently very high by the standards of the last 75 years.

    Transfers of wealth are a feature of all functional societies, and are most fair when they correct systemic imbalances such as the one we are currently experiencing.

    The current tax bill tilts the playing field further away from historical norms.

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    I simply don't agree that this is always the case.

    No one said it is ALWAYS the case..

    But it's more often the case than you want to concede...

    The current tax bill tilts the playing field further away from historical norms.

    Historical norms suck.....

    :D

    528

  48. [48] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthazar

    I've never claimed to be "Christian", so that's beside the point, but I've likewise NEVER claimed to have "no obligation to the society around me".

    Your [42] response is rife with non sequitur reasoning and unjustified aspersions. I've never denied my obligation to "contribute to the society around me". I've been paying car registration and gas taxes all my life to support the public streets and hiways, been paying property taxes and water bills all my life to support the water department, same with electricity bills, and all the things you mentioned. Where do you get off claiming otherwise?

    But those things are actually not what you're really concerned with. None of those things have the slightest connection to whether low-earners should have the right to share the fruits of the labors of high-earners, which is the real basis for your rebuttals to my [39], and the real basis for our ideological disagreements, right?

    And you need to realize that I AM ONE of the 'low-earners'. When you libs seek to force the high-earners to subsidize the low-earners, I AM A BENEFICIARY OF THAT KIND OF CRAP, so you need to stop assuming that I am being greedy or hypocritical when in opposition, OK?

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    None of those things have the slightest connection to whether low-earners should have the right to share the fruits of the labors of high-earners, which is the real basis for your rebuttals to my [39], and the real basis for our ideological disagreements, right?

    And THAT is the argument in a nutshell..

    Should low-earners share in the fruits of high-earners labors??

    Or, to be more accurate, should high-earners be FORCED to share the fruits of their labors with low-earners??

    Anyone who says "YES" has a screw loose...

    530

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    MAJOR win for President Trump and the American people..!!!

    And Dumbocrats are whining and crying.. Just like Republicans when TrainWreckCare passed...

    It's a great day to be an American.. :D

    534

  51. [51] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    CR: None of those things have the slightest connection to whether low-earners should have the right to share the fruits of the labors of high-earners, which is the real basis for your rebuttals to my [39], and the real basis for our ideological disagreements, right?

    The American Constitution instructs the State to 'provide for the General Welfare' in its first paragraph, so the mandate for redistribution of resources is a settled matter of law and societal purpose.

    If you want to argue whether the State has a moral right to take from the rich and give to the poor, you'll have to take that up with the writers of the enlightenment, who woke us all up to the concept that concentrated wealth really sucks, eventually.

    you need to realize that I AM ONE of the 'low-earners'.

    Good. Then don't buy into the old-as-dirt argument that the rich 'produce' and the poor 'take'. That argument, made by lords and shahs and billionaires throughout history, is a load of bunk designed to make you resent your neighbor rather than notice the basic inequality between you and the fellow sitting on the huge pile of cash. That family down the street living on meager government handouts isn't causing your poverty - that's the result of higher than necessary prices, rents, and utilities, and lower-than-necessary wages and pensions, which make life more difficult than it should be for you and for everyone else around you.

    One could even argue that it's near immoral for that neighbor NOT to take advantage of government assistance, as without it, their children might be dumber and less healthy, their neighborhood would be poorer generally, and they would be less able as consumers to contribute to the common prosperity.

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    The American Constitution instructs the State to 'provide for the General Welfare' in its first paragraph, so the mandate for redistribution of resources is a settled matter of law and societal purpose.

    Yes.. "GENERAL" welfare...

    The Constitution guarantees everyone equal opportunity..

    Not equal outcomes..

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here is a totally radical idea..

    If people want to be successful and be a high earner, the clue on how to do it is in the label..

    Hi-EARNer

    See how it works???

    541

  54. [54] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthazar [51]

    That's definitely a new and unique take on the "General Welfare" idea. At the time the constitution was written, the word 'welfare' was synonymous with 'prosperity', and was NOT synonymous with 'charity', which is the way you're using it.

    I believe your phrase ". . that's the result of higher-than-necessary prices . . and lower-than-necessary wages . . ", actually pinpoints where our respective understandings of how the world actually works, diverge.

    You seem to feel that wages and prices are established by somebody or something which is inherently unfair to poor people. My understanding is that all of those things are determined by the free market, and that it's ridiculous to even mention the word "necessary", or 'fair' in that discussion.

    The market doesn't know from "necessary" OR from 'fair, it only knows from 'supply and demand'.

  55. [55] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's definitely a new and unique take on the "General Welfare" idea. At the time the constitution was written, the word 'welfare' was synonymous with 'prosperity', and was NOT synonymous with 'charity', which is the way you're using it.

    And CRS should know because he was around when they wrote it!! :D

    Sorry, CR.. Couldn't resist...

    542

  56. [56] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Michale

    Actually, I was NOT there at the time it was written. I was convalescing from being wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and I missed the convention.

  57. [57] 
    Michale wrote:

    Actually, I was NOT there at the time it was written. I was convalescing from being wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and I missed the convention.

    heh

  58. [58] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    You seem to feel that wages and prices are established by somebody or something which is inherently unfair to poor people. My understanding is that all of those things are determined by the free market, and that it's ridiculous to even mention the word "necessary", or 'fair' in that discussion.

    Somebody like, for instance Martin Shkreli, who raised the price of a lifesaving drug from $13.50 to $750.00 per pill, apparently on a whim?

    Hey, I've worked in retail stores large and small, and watched when suppliers marked up all their merchandise in September, so that they could offer 'bargains' in December. That happens.

    But you don't need to look to bad actors for bad results, you only need to see the difference between what a dollar bought several years ago, versus what that same dollar buys today. In 1975, a concert ticket was $5.00, today that same general seating ticket is $50-$100. Have minimum wages risen accordingly? No. In 1980, a 2 bedroom apartment was $250/mo. Today, that same space in a lesser neighborhood might cost upwards of $900/mo.
    Don't even get me started on the sudden jump in the cost of education. The lower classes have been gradually shut out from things they used to be able to afford, and their income taxes are not to blame for that.

    Belief in the concept of a 'free market' is about as quaint as belief in dragons. It's another con, like the concept of 'trickle down' economics, designed to lull us to sleep while they rip us off.

  59. [59] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthazar

    Sorry, the the laws of economics under which the market functions are alive and well. It's true that we are dependent on competition to keep the participants 'honest', and apparently Shkreli has (or had) a monopoly on his pill, but remember, those kind of profits tend to draw competitors into the market, solving the problem. Also, nobody is forced to buy his over-priced medication, same as nobody is forced to buy the retail merchandise that is marked up in Sept to be marked down in Dec.

    It's true, concert tickets are going up every year (greedy gawdam performers, right?), but electronics are getting cheaper every year (I presume the engineers must therefor be what, maybe 'overgenerous'?) That's how the laws of supply and demand work.

    You and I spending our $ anyway we like is the essence of the 'free market'. I admit it is the worst possible way of doing things, except for ALL THE ALTERNATIVE WAYS!

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