February 27, 2009
Today At Tnr (february 27, 2009)
Mad Men: Rick Santelli and the decline of the angry Republican, by Jonathan Chait Relentless Press-Bashing--From Both The Left And The Right--Just Gives Politicians More Reasons To Ignore The Media, by The Editors A Modest Proposal To Solve The Roland Burris Problem.
February 26, 2009
WASHINGTON--President Obama's message to the nation Tuesday night was plain and unequivocal: The era of bashing government is over. So, too,is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance withoutregulation, government oversight or public intervention.
The New Reality In Iraq
With President Obama likely to announce a 19-month timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq in the coming days, debate over the form, sequencing, and extent of the withdrawal has gathered momentum. But much of the discussion is being conducted from a Washington-centric perspective that ignores how radically the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), signed by President Bush late last year, has altered the landscape for U.S.
In addition to sketching the course of future climate legislation, Obama's budget proposal today also dropped some hints about the direction he plans to take on farm policy. Most notably, the White House budget proposes the elimination of direct subsidy payments to farmers making more than $500,000 per year. This makes a lot of sense from the perspective of eliminating government waste, given that the government spends billions each year on “direct payment” subsidies to farmers growing commodity grains and pulses—and much of that money goes to large corporate farms.
Government Talk Pretty One Day
Talk about judges making up law out of whole cloth--that, pretty much, is what the U. S. Supreme Court has just done. In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, the Court, by a unanimous vote, concluded that a somewhat offbeat religious group has no right to place a monument touting what it calls the Seven Aphorisms on public land that already features a monument to the Ten Commandments. A unanimous verdict suggests that Summum was on shaky legal grounds to begin with.
Roland Burris is obviously going to put "U.S. Senator" on his mausoleum, but I can think of another entry that might belong there, as well: "Destroyer of the Illinois Democratic Party." Here's the dilemma Burris has created for his fellow Illinois Dems by refusing to resign. Burris not only denies the state's Democratic Governor Pat Quinn the power to appoint another Democrat to serve out the Senate term until a special election can be held in 2010; his continued presence in the Senate threatens to cast a cloud over those elections and hurt the Demcorats' chances in them.
Readers of this blog may have been a little confused this morning. On the one hand, I've reported that Congress isn't likely to give the administration another cent for the banks, at least not any time soon. On the other hand, the reports on Obama's budget suggest he's asking for another $250 billion in bank bailout money (and that's a net cost; the gross number is $750 billion).
Ooookay, let's scrunch up our sleeves and talk accounting for a bit. (Wait! Don't click away!) As mentioned earlier, the White House's newly unveiled budget proposal plans to raise $646 billion in tax revenue between 2012 and 2019 by auctioning off carbon permits under a cap-and-trade regime—about $80 billion per year. But what sorts of assumptions are they making here? What, exactly, are they envisioning for climate policy? On a White House conference call just now with reporters, a handful of senior administration officials unspooled their thinking a bit.
Spoiling For A Fight On Taxes
Jonathan Oberlander, one of the nation's leading experts on health care policy, is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of The Political Life of Medicare. This is the first of what we hope will be many posts at The Treatment. The Obama administration's just released budget blueprint marks the beginning of a new health reform battle. The largest source of money for financing health reform comes from a proposal to reduce itemized tax deductions for families making over $250,000.
In The Washington Post, Juliet Elperin and Steve Mufson bring word that Obama's first budget, set for release today, will assume revenues from a cap-and-trade system on carbon emissions: Today, the White House will unveil a budget that assumes there will be revenue from an emissions trading system by 2012. Sources familiar with the document said it would direct $15 billion of that revenue to clean-energy projects, $60 billion to tax credits for lower- and middle-income working families, and additional money to offsetting higher energy costs for families, small businesses and communities.