Fix the sequester
Congress should quit playing politics and starting working on behalf of the nation

Have Republicans learned to love the sequester? All signs indicate that while plenty of House GOP members blanche at the way the automatic spending cuts hit the defense budget and other discretionary spending, they may be willing to hold their noses and let the cuts take effect on March 1.

They’re banking that the destructive spending cuts will stall the economic recovery occuring under President Obama long enough to help them win control of Congress and, eventually, the presidency.

It’s a dangerous and cynical gamble. The Congressional Budget Office said that sequestration could cost more than one million jobs and send the country into another recession.

Jeffrey Zeints, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, estimates the cuts would leave 16,000 teachers out of jobs, prevent 700,000 women and children from receiving nutrition assistance and leave 100,000 children out of the Head Start program.

The cuts don’t just impact public programs. Economists estimate that if non-defense sequestration goes into effect, professional and technical services would lose $600 billion in sales, the manufacturing sector would lose $400 billion, and finance and insurance services would lose close to $400 billion over the next 10 years alone. In 2013, every American worker would lose up to $750 in income and a family of four would see its income reduced as much as $1,800.

The irony is that sequestration was supposed to be so horrible that Congress would never let it happen. It was designed as a stick to force Congress to reach an agreement on how to resolve the nation’s deficit spending.

But the brain trust behind sequestration failed to appreciate the stubbornness of the Tea Party Republicans and their willingness to put ideology, and the interests of the wealthy, ahead of the country as a whole. The warning signs were there in the past with party members’ foolish refusal to raise the debt ceiling. Even the beginning of the year was marked by a battle of wills that threatened the nation’s economy by triggering across-the-board tax increases.

Republicans have already tipped their hand as to their motives, attempting to brand sequestration as a creation of Obama. While his staff did propose the idea as way to break a logjam in budget discussions, Republicans willingly embraced it. In fact, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan called it a victory of bipartisanship and a welcome change in Congress’ culture.

The public is unlikely to buy into the GOP’s story line. Several polls released since last November’s election show Republicans would get the bulk of the blame for the fiscal crisis and it will provide the Democrats with more evidence that the GOP is unable to govern sensibly. Some Democrats have predicted it could win them another 10 seats in the next Congressional elections.

It’s troubling that both parties spend more time calculating the political fallout of their various positions, and so precious little time conducting the important business of the country. Both sides need to shelve the politics for now and work on crafting a compromise that prevents sequestration, and the economic downturn that will inevitably follow. The president has asked Congress to use an approach that balances responsible spending cuts with new revenue, generated by steps such as closing tax loopholes that benefit a privileged few. It’s a reasonable request.

Some have suggested other options including a mini-deal to buy more time before sequestration takes effect. But the preferred approach would be to work now to address the country’s fiscal challenges in a way that recognizes both the need for long-run sustainability and the fragility of the nation’s economic recovery. Doing that sooner rather than later would reduce uncertainty and boost household and business confidence.

Instead of worrying about who will be in charge two years from now, it’s time for Congress to focus on the present and work on restoring the nation’s economy for the long term.

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When it looked like the Republicans were completely serious in their threats to refuse to lift the debt ceiling and melt down the world economy, Democrats came up with the sequester proposal. Republicans didn't hesitate to embrace it, most in the House voting for it while most Democrats voted against it and John Boehner who boasted, "I got 98% of what I wanted".

A week ago, Boehner's office sent around a Charles Krauthammer column encouraging Republicans to embrace the budget sequester saying with $1.2 trillion cuts going into effect, this is the one time they can get the cuts they want.

For months, Republicans have been dangling tax reforms with Boehner's December budget pledging to increase tax revenue by $800 billion. Now they reject that even in exchange for cuts to SS/Medicare to replace the sequester.

They can't just say they are fine with the sequester, full speed ahead and then blame the sequester on Obama.

How about some leadership? The Washington croud has our government and our economy so badly managed that we just limp along.

Both parties are to blame, but I give the Democrats more blame for runaway spending.

I'm truly afraid our economy is destined to crash. Spend, and print money! Spend and print money? How long can we go like this.

Obama is saying what hardships the country will face unless the sequester is fixed. If the sequester is so bad, Obama did our country a huge disservice by signing the bill. He signed it, he owns it.

I believe Obama also said he would veto any bill that tries to take the sequester out.

2011,It was the first time in history that a party tried to attach any conditions to increasing the debt limit. Republicans were threatening to not pay our nation's bills, money already spent and send our country into default while demanding huge spending cuts and refusing to consider new revenues. They refused to raise the debt limit without dollar-for-spending but with no revenue to reach that target and couldn't agree on several hundred billion dollars in targeted spending cuts.

May 16, 2011 the US went into technical default but the Treasury Dept was able to string things along for a couple of weeks. The real problem would hit on August 1st.

May 31, 2011, the House Republicans voted no, all 236 of them, on Obama's request for a "clean" debt-limit increase (not hold paying our bills hostage to spending cuts).

More months pass with Republicans still screaming for deep cuts. It looked more and more plausible that Republicans were actually irresponsible enough to push our country into default. With a bomb held over the White House's head, the WH proposed the sequester, the least bad option. What would kick in would be not only automatic budget cuts but also automatic revenue increases.

July 31, 2011, John Boehner sent a PowerPoint presentation to his conference and the final slide made the case for sequestration.

Aug 2, 2011, right up to the wire, the Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed by House Republicans, 218 voting yes. Boehner was very happy, "getting 98% of what he wanted".

Feb, 2013. We've gotten around $2.2 trillion in deficit reduction; Dems have agreed to about $1.5 trillion in spending cuts; Republicans have agreed to about $700 billion in revenues, twice as much in cuts than revenue.

Have we seen the spending cuts yet? Twice before Democrats promised spending cuts for tax increases, we got the taxs but no cuts. I noticed you didn't mention Boehner and Obama had a deal and shook hands on it. At the next meeting Obama demanded 400,000 in more spending thus breaking the deal.

Sequester's Impact from Econbrowser, Feb 20, 2013:

"By the end of 2014, the sequestration would cost roughly 700,000 jobs (including reductions in armed forces), pushing civilian unemployment up. The higher unemployment would linger for several years.

The shifting views on sequestration from Republicans:

Sept 2012, Eric Cantor warned that the sequester cuts would make unemployment "soar" and risked "setting back any progress the economy has made".

Paul Ryan repeatedly said the cuts threatened massive job losses.

John Boehner: "The sequester was designed to be no one would go's like taking a meat-axe to federal one on either side believes this an apporpriate way to reduce the role of government".

About a week ago, Boehner told AP the sequester was a disaster that would present him and his members with nothing but bleak options if it went into effect.

Yesterday, Boehner said in the WSJ that the sequester "threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more". Conservative Byron York is puzzled, questioning, "Why would the Republicans support a measure that threatens national security and thousands of jobs?...Could the GOP message on the sequester be any more self-defeathing?"

Republicans who are looking forward to the sequester taking effect:

Rep. Mike Pompeo asked if he was concerned about the political fallout said, "It's going to be a homerun...I am very optimistic that on March 2nd, we'll all wake up and America will have tremendous respect for what its House of Representatives led".

Rep. Cynthia Lummis said, "Sequestration will take place...I am excited".

Rep. Paul Broun: "I want to see it go into place".

Rep. Scott DesJarlais: "Sequestration needs to happen".

Rep. Tom Cole: "We would rather see those cuts happen".

There are several more Republicans publicly, blithely looking forward to across the board cuts.

It's clear that John Boehner fully understands the sequester is "ugly" and now trying to say it was all Obama's idea even though he sold sequester to his caucus in 2011 and told everyone it was a great accomplishment. The truth is he had no power over his extremist house members who had and have no qualms about shutting down our government, tanking our economy or the global economy or threatening national security. He could not get them behind his own bill in August 2011 and was desperate to find something he could sell to them to avoid our country defaulting on it's debts.

The deficit/debt ceiling is not the same as the economy.The debt/deficit apocalyptic hysteria is a canard. We don't need to start reducing the budget deficit right now, it would actually be very harmful to do that when unemployment is still so high and stuck there.

An IMF report, Oct 2012, looked at their forecasts for European countries' economies and found their predictions were more wrong for countries that implemented severe austerity programs. Greece, already in trouble, and other countries did much worse than expected after austerity programs was forced upon them while countries like Germany which expanded their budgets, did better than expected. Roughly, you get an output loss of 1% for every 1% of austerity.

We can't cut our way to a booming economy. Our government has been hurting the recovery by spending and investing too little. The stimulus should have been bigger. We need so much infrastructure repairs across the country (one legislator made the remark that every bridge should have a sign "cross at your own risk") that investing in that alone would create enormous economic activity and save a ton of money fixing things before they deteriorate even further and cost much more to fix or replace. You work on the debt when the economy recovers.

Boehner came up with a new twist on the sequester Tues. He said it should be "in effect until there are cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget in 10 years". Hearing that, some Republicans are saying, Whoa. Remember the House Republican budget plan from the last Congress written by Paul Ryan? That didn't balance the budget until 2040 and was projected to run deficits every year for nearly 30 years. It also had very severe spending cuts, Republicans avoided talking about them in public. Boehner's plan to balance the budget in 10 years has Rep. Mike Simpson concerned. He's been telling his constituents "nobody is talking about changing SS/Medicare if you're 55 or older...well, to balance in 10, that 55 is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we're going back on what we were telling people.." The CBPP crunched the numbers and concluded it would require across the board cuts totaling anywhere from 1/6 to 1/3 of the the government depending on whether defense and/or entitlements are included". Ten years or 30 years, we won't be able to count on SS/Medicare but, hey, balanced budgets!

The GDP report at the end of January showing the economy is shrinking and Republicans said, aha, that means we have leverage because it's bad economic news for Obama. However, the contraction was due to a drop in defense/federal spending. Now the Republicans think this supports their view that we need more spending cuts to help the economy. Huh? Republicans were against the sequester because spending cuts threatened severe harm to the economy but now want to use that to get more spending cuts. If sequestered spending cuts will do much damage to the economy, wouldn't replacing them with other cuts do the same harm? Totally incoherent.

What spending cuts has Obama proposed? Let me get this straight, the Republican House approves the sequester, the Democrat Senate approves the sequester, the Democrat President approves the sequestor, and it's the Republicans fualt? If the sequester is so bad, why did Obama suggest it? Why did he sign it? If he signed a bill that he knew was so bad for the country he was derelict in his duty by signing it.

"Going back on what we were telling the people." That's a good one, government has been doing that for years. S.S. was to be put in a "lock box" when it started. it didn't take Johnson long to put it in the general fund and Clinton to tax your benifits. Both Democrats if I remember right.

I get the feeling that you don't want to cut any spending. Where are we going to get the money to pay for all this spending?

Bonfire, it is obviously up to you ... but seems kinda like trying to argue with Fox News. (In fact, no need for "kinda")


Wow, I haven't heard the words "lock box" in years. No, Johnson did not put the SS Trust Fund into the General Fund. You have access to the internet and can find out the facts. Here are a few places to get you started:

The National Academy of Social Insurance, a non-profit research group that analyzes the findings of the Annual Social Security Trustees report. There you will find section on Social Security and Quick Answers to Common Questions.

"The myth of the Social Security system's financial shortfall", Michael Hiltzik, Chicago Tribune.

"No, the Social Security Trust Fund Isn't a Fiction", Kevin Drum.

It's maddening to hear these groups like Fix The Debt, the Business Roundtable and Simpson-Bowles saying we must "reform" Social Security, Medicare, etc. Fix The Debt and Business Roundtable are made up of very wealthy CEO's who will never have to worry about any social insurance in their senior years or health care costs or their home. Neither will Simpson and Bowles who get $40,000 a speaking engagement to say they are so worried about debt/deficits, there must be large cuts to SS/Medicare. The Business Roundtable CEO's are also quite concerned about SS/Medicare, they want the eligibility age increased to 70. Bless their hearts.

These groups and the major news media keep talking about deficits/debt and cutting SS/Medicare/Medicaid, etc in the same breath but we sure don't hear them talk much about the sweet entitlements the wealthy and corporations enjoy, paying very low taxes or increasingly more common, no taxes at all, stashed money overseas to cheat our government, low capital gains taxes, no financial speculation taxes on Wall Street and on and on. Europe is moving on plans to impose a financial speculation tax. The Joint Tax Committee has estimated that a modest tax on financial speculation here could raise $40 million a year. A study by CRS found that changes in tax law that reduced the federal tax rate on capital gains (in 1996 and again as part of the Bush tax cuts) is "by far the largest contributor" to rising income inequality. This study is similar to a CRS 2011 study which found that while income grew 25% from 1996 to 2006 for all Americans, it grew 74% for the top 1% and 96% for the top 0.1%.

"Where are we going to get the money for all this spending?" Hmm, thinking, thinking. Gee, I'm stumped. Oh that's right, Republicans are standing firm that none of that money come from the 1%, corporate or wall street moochers. So of course, we must pay....again.

btw, The Budget Control Act of 2011 with the sequester thingie that I mentioned above which you evidently didn't read was voted for by 218 Republicans and NO Democrats. I have to say I was surprised to see that Chip Cravaack also voted no.

Obama kept offering cuts and Republicans kept turning them down. You can find this out this stuff easily enough with the google machine.

My memory seemed to fail me, what I found out was it was against the law to take money out of the and put it in the general fund. What Johnson did was take the money out of the S.S. fund and put it in the general fund and replace it with Treasury Bonds, this has been going on ever sense. The question now comes up, with government borrowing about 4B/day(2012 numbers) will the treasury have the money to pay when the bonds come due? Only time will tell, we may be on the hook again.

You seem to think that the 1% should pay more. The sheet I saw (2012 numbers) said that if you took 100% of the adjusted income from the rich you would have enough to run government for 2 1/2 - 3 mo.. If you did that why would the rich work as hard next year? A better question is why would they even stay in this country. Would you work if government took 100% of your earnings? The simple truth is we spend more that we take in, raising taxes will bring us out of this mess. We need to cut spending, for to long Republicans and more so Democrats have traded benifits for votes. Government has gotten to big and has it's fingers in to many things it should stay out of. Do you think government should be telling us what kind of light bulbs we should use? I don't.

"Obama kept offering cuts........." How many times can you play Charlie Brown? You know the one where Charlie goes to kick the football and Lucy takes it away. Twice before Repubs. had deals with Dems.. believe it was $3 cuts for every$1 taxes. We got the taxes but no cuts. If you are really serious lets do the cuts first , than if we need to raise the taxes.

I probably won't be anwering your post should you choose to write. I'm leaving on a week long snowmobile trip.

Mr. Hypocrite, I was wondering if you would show up. Mr.Bonfire and I are having a nice civil discussion. At least he hasn't called me a idiot yet (he may have thought it) which is more than I ever got from you. Have a good day. Is MSNBC still your news channel of choice?

Well, then ... just to keep you happy, you are an idiot. But then, that isn't new or news. And while I surely hope you enjoy your trek in the wilderness ... when you return, perhaps a return to American History ... in this case, not "Lost, Stolen, or Strayed"

I see you recognized your name, very good.

And you, yours. But then it is quite short ... just the five letters.

JayBerg: Glad to hear you are making a week-long snowmobile trip. Where are you going? A neighbor of mine went to Yellowstone one winter and to the Black Hills during another winter. Said the scenery was spectacular. Let us civil people know how the trip went. My machine is just a small one, suitable for day trips for trout fishing, but my health has prevented that for the past couple years. Hope to have it running for next year, probably make a trip up to Kettle Falls or over to Ely.

orrcountry, We are coming up Sunday and will start out on Monday. Not as much traffic on the trails. We start in the Orr area and go to the Northshore. Than up around Grand Marais, make a loop and come back. We don't travel that far in a day as we are all in our 70's, we're not into the fast riding. We try to find a place to stay before dark.

Hope you get your sled going, might see you on the trails next year.

Have a good day


For two years, Obama has offered reducing SS/Medicare spending in return for Republicans agreeing to spreading the fiscal burden, more revenue, but Republicans won't budge. Now Obama is offering to cut spending on retirement programs and cancel out defense cuts in return for more revenue by reducing tax deductions. Paul Ryan says no deal because using revenue from reducing tax deductions to close the deficit wouldn't be available to reduce tax rates. Bipartisan tax reform could produce a half-trillion dollars or more in savings and go a long way to solving our so-called "debt crisis". It can't be much of a crisis to Republicans if every other fiscal priority must give way to giving the wealthy tax breaks they don't need. Where is Congress with the sequester to start in a couple of weeks? They've been on recess the past week.

Today, the wealthiest 400 individuals own more wealth than the bottom half of Americans, 150 million people.

The 6 heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune own more wealth than the bottom 30%.

The top 1% own 40% of all wealth. The bottom 60% own less than 2%.

The bottom 40% own just 3/10 of 1% of the wealth in this country.

According to a new study from the Federal Reserve, median net worth for the middle class dropped nearly 40% from 2007 to 2010, the equivalent of 18 years of savings.

In 2010, 93% of all new income created from 2009 went to the top 1%. The bottom 99% got the remaining 7%.

In NE Minn, every Friday The United Way of NE MN packs 450 school children's backpacks with food for their weekend away from school breakfast and lunch programs.

Tax avoidance saves wealthiest Americans $3 trillion a year coming from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, loopholes and business subsidies.

Only 3% of taxpayers in the top 1% were classified as entrepreneurs. The great majority of entrepreneurs come from middle-class backgrounds with less than 1% coming from very rich or very poor backgrounds. It seems that the vast majority of those so-called job creators prefer to live on their investments.

The U.S ranks 43.2 in income inequality among almost 100 countries according to the CIA.

The largest tax break category is dividends, capital gains taxed at lower rate than wages, 55.5%. A new study showed that changes in tax law that reduced the capital gains income was by far the largest contributor to rising income inequality in the U.S. Capital gains and other investment income were taxed as regular wage income but reduced in 1996 and again as part of the Bush tax cuts.

Corporations paid an average of 22.5% taxes from 1987 to 2008, since then an annual rate of just 10% even though their profits have doubled in less than ten years.

There is no sales tax on U.S. financial transactions which have been estimated at about $3 quadrillion annually despite the high-risk "flash trading" that can lose entire pension funds in a few seconds. Just a half penny of every dollar of financial transactions would pay off not just the national debt but the whole $15 trillion debt. More conservative estimates revenues of a half-trillion dollars annually.

Light bulbs? Seriously? You must not have noticed the price of the non-incandescent bulbs have been steadily coming down and improving in quality and variety. I like that they last much longer and use less electricity. Did you lose your faith in good old american enterprise and competition?

Bravo! Something about FACTS that can set an argument. Well, ... in some cases!!!

Nice back and forth. I would prefer much smaller government and more personal responsibility.

You argue about taxes versus spending cuts. We have a huge problem with annual deficits of a trillion dollars. If you want to keep spending we must raise taxes, but it has to be on all earners not just the top 1% or 10%. If you want government taking care of you we must face reality. Send your money to Washington. They will give you back your share.

Rick, again you are missing a key point. Look back (rather than take our word for it). Note the tax rates and tax income from about 2000 compared to today. Then look at the total spending for "war" over the same gap (noting the unfunded couple wars we have had). Again, don't listen to dumb me ... look it up. Post the numbers for us so it comes from you ... not us dumb folks sucking off the government.

Then, when you have those numbers ... look up what we are spending on "us" ... details. And note where that money is coming from.

In other words, get smart. Quit babbling the tea party talking points which simply do not hold up.

And go back about six months and find the short list of some 125 +/- things which government provides that you seem to no longer want ... like police and fire protection and roads and ...

Go! Start! No ... not back to the tea party. Do some real research. Facts, not opinions. And most of all ... do not listen to me. Absolutely not. I am just a dummy.

jt, rick sathre,

I'm all for personal responsibility too which I see in abundance from most average folks who never get to a 6 figure income. They work hard, help their kids through school, live within their means, etc, etc. Most took a hit in their retirement accounts when the economy melted down and decided to delay retiring, stay in their jobs if they still had them so they had health insurance coverage until they are eligible for SS/Medicare which is social insurance we pay into all of our working lives.They are not moochers.

There was no personal responsibility used by banks/wall street when they bundled up home loans and deliberately and knowingly sold toxic, ready to blow up products to make themselves fabulously wealthy causing the home mortgage crash. We, the taxpayers, paid for this. Then we paid for the bank bailouts to the tune of about $4 trillion. Not only has none of them responsible for cheating us gone to jail, instead they got gigantic, mind boggling bonuses.

Nick Hanauer, a venture capitalist who founded an internet media company acquired by Microsoft, was the first investor in Amazon and invested in dozens of companies has written a couple of very interesting op-eds in Bloomberg and Atlantic plus he did a Ted talk. He is one very, very wealthy person who thinks we've had it backwards for 30 years saying, "Rich businesspeople like me don't create jobs. Middle-class consumers do, and when they thrive, U.S. businesses grow and profit. That's why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich".

That reminds me of a wealthy German businessman who was interviewed on Bloomberg TV a couple of years ago, iirc, and the interviewer kept asking him about the high taxes in Germany. He finally said, "I just don't care about the taxes I pay". When the astonished interviewer asked why, he thought for a few seconds and said, "Because I don't want to be a rich man living in a poor country".

Even though we are the richest country in the world, we are becoming a much poorer country, at least 99% of us are. Statistics from the Federal Reserve, in 1978, the top 1% took in under 9% of the nation's income leaving 91% for the rest of us. In 2007, the year BEFORE the crash, the 1% took in 23.5% leaving 76.5% the rest of us. In 2010, it was 1% got 93%, we got 7%.

It should be obvious that this extreme income inequality is very unhealthy in every way for this country, no matter if you are rich, middle class or poor. There is no doubt there is at least a few trillion that the very wealthy/corps owe the U.S. I'm not so sure there is much more blood that can be squeezed out of us turnips.


bonfire & jt:

I see now where your hero Obama has been exposed for originating the sequester idea by Bob Woodword (not exactly a conservative), the reporter who along with Carl Bernstein exposed Nixon for the Watergate affair. Now, we see Obama embarking on personal attacks (just like Nixon did) on one of the finest journalists we have ever known because he won't march in lockstep with Obama and Valerie Jarrett. I have often compared Obama to Nixon, two presidents whose styles I abhor. Now, NBC (the Obama network) journalist Chuck Todd has called out Obama for trying to buy influence by asking people to contribute $500.000 to a political action committee he has formed to advance gun control and other issues. $500.000? Is that part of the other 98% Obama and you guys say you are working for?

As for bonfire's comparison of the 6 WalMart heirs owning more wealth than the bottom 30%. Why didn't you call out Obama supporters and multi-billionaires Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg and George Soros? Are they one of us, the lower 30%? Or is it OK for them to spend all those billions to strip us 30% of our way of life? And how about calling out all of Obama's friends in Hollywood, multi-millionaires in their own right? And how about big labor? What about the millions of dollars of the 30%'s money are they giving to Obama, that's the little people's money that is supposed to be used to improve the quality of worklife on the job.

I agree with Rick Sathre, I want less government in my life. And that less begins with the elimination of the EPA, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Education (Federal level only) and the Department of Energy. Reduced spending on the BATF, foreign aid to third world nations (as we are quickly becoming one ourselves) and strict oversight on purchasing practices in the Department of Defense.

It now appears Obama devised sequestration. Let him have it. Force him to own it. And then let us rebuild before it is too late.

I don't know if anyone is reading this post any more? I would like to make a comment or two.

bonfire, yor comment on banks and bailouts, I agree. What has Obama done? He has been Pres. for four years and what has he done? I guess they gave us Dodd-Frank, that made the banks to big to fail and put us back in the same position we were in before.

"Light bulbs? Seriously?" Yes seriously. You do not get the point I was making, it's not about how good or bad the bulbs are, it's about government having the control to tell us what bulbs to buy. If the bulbs are good we don't need government telling, no forcing us to buy them. Next they will be telling us we have to buy Obamacare, wait they allready have. Lets change that to the Volt.

What is this really about? It's about a 2 1/2% cut in proposed spending. Only in Washington is this called a cut. Jan. 1st you had a 2% cut in your take home pay. You probably adjusted to it, most people did. Was it hard? May be? If we can't make a 2 1/2% cut in proposed spending how will we ever get this under control?

Hot damn ... I am off to race down the freeway at 110 mph. Yippee!

Hey welcome back JayBerg. How was your snowmobile trip? Trails still in good shape? Anything notable to report? Wish I was with you on the trip. Give us some feedback.

jt: Does the Autobahn exist in Arizona?

orrcountry, the trip was great. Trails were good and we didn't have any problems. I was suprised the traffic started building on Wed. and by Fri. we saw a few groups of up to 12 sleds. I think it was Tue. when it got so warm, we were a little worried what the trails would be like on the way back but they were good. Nothing out of the ordinary to report, just fun.

Hey, who needs an autobahn. JayBerg says we should just ignore what the government tells us to do. After speeding, might go shoot somebody. Got a big new gun ... at your suggestion. Dang, and poisoning the neighbors pets ... love the freedom.


Perhaps you also asked what GW Bush did when he signed the Emergency Economic Stability Act and the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008. TARP asked for $700 billion but the Dodd-Frank Act reduced that to $475 billion.

The opportunity to put strong conditions on the banks before getting the cash was there in 2008 and later but how realistic is it that that would have happened. There was a full blown panic going on in Washington, DC. Sept 18, 2008, Bernanke and Paulson were screaming the sky was falling saying $5.5 trillion would disappear by 2pm that day and the world economy would collapse in 24 hours. They wanted that money badly but with as few strings as possible. Both R and D legislators later said they were upset at being lied to.

Spending legislation originates in the House of Representatives. A bill cannot become law without consent of the Senate and the President. Presidents campaign for what they want to see done but they can't write the actual bills. They can only sign or not sign the legislation into law. You also have to ask what our legislators have done.

After the Enron fiasco, the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act was overwhelmingly passed (House 423 to 3, Senate 99 to 1) to deal with the massive corporate accounting fraud of many corps, WorldCom, Tyco, etc. Corporations went down and CEO's went to jail. Much fraud did get cleaned up but SOX should have been stronger which can also be said of the Dodd-Frank and Volcker Rule later.

Since then, Republicans have continually pushed hard to delay, weaken, defund and repeal SOX, Dodd-Frank and the Volcker Rule and any legislation for consumer protection or rein in banks or Wall Street. All you have to do is look at their bills. Every GOP presidential candidate said repeal SOX and Dodd-Frank. In 2011, Rep. Spencer Bachus, chairman of the House banking committee told the Birmingham News, "In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks." It's pretty clear where the Republicans' priorities are and that is to keep on letting banks/Wall Street regulate themselves. I remember Alan Greenspan saying in a 2008 hearing that he was in "shocked disbelief" that the banks couldn't police themselves causing the meltdown. I don't know if he was really that naive, stupid or just covering his backside.

I ask, what are the House and Senate Republicans doing to prevent another financial bubble collapse and from our taxpayer money paying for it? Where are their bills to address that? I see a number of Democratic legislators trying...I see zero Republican legislators.

Wow. House Republicans unveiled a short term budget bill yesterday. Included in it is a provision banning federal funding to ACORN. Just in case some don't know this, ACORN hasn't existed in almost three years! You can't make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan has some centrist House Republicans worried. Ryan's previous 2012 budget plan included privatizing Medicare for under 55 year olds which would not have gotten near balancing the budget until 2040. To make that happen in 10 years, by 2014, Ryan and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy broke the news at their Tuesday Group lunch that the coupon Medicare age may have to be adjusted to age 59. Ahh, Republicans have a lovely world in plan for us.

On a whole different note, has anyone heard from Torkko lately? Given some of the topics floating around here, certainly he would be speaking out ... in his own way, of course.

jt, I haven't seen him around for awhile...I have no idea why. I doubt it is a political epiphany though.

Well, no. If he didn't want to attack your facts, he would then chose to attack some unnamed others opinions!!!

Sorry, I blame the dry and poor humor on my scandinavian genes.

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