Joe Lieberman left the Senate for the last time today, and the Washington Post‘s Dana Milbank was there to witness his lonely departure. For Milbank, Senate Democrats’ clear disdain for the Connecticut senator is further evidence of the polarization and incivility that mark modern Washington:
A few more senators arrived during the 20-minute speech, but even by the end Lieberman was very much alone — which is how it has been for much of his 24-year tenure. He tried to push back against the mindless partisanship that developed in the chamber, and he paid dearly for it.
Despite the fact that Democrats have already agreed to large spending cuts, the Republican position continues to be that further reductions are needed, despite the fact that spending on social programs has already been cut to the bone.
The problem, of course, is that there just isn’t much money left in social programs, absent major, unpopular cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare. Those aside, the most ripe area for savings is the Pentagon, and Republicans have no interest in reducing military spending—indeed, Mitt Romney spent the past year campaigning on more military spending, regardless of actual needs.
If deficit reduction is a priority, then more revenue is needed. This chart illustrates the problem:
One striking thing about Governor Rick Snyder’s successful push for a right-to-work law in Michigan—and Scott Walker’s similar push against public employee unions in Wisconsin—is that they relied on bait-and-switch tactics.
Like Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei at Politico, Charlie Cook does a nice job of unintentionally revealing the huge blindspots of our business elites:
While the vast majority of major corporate leaders either backed Mitt Romney last year or stayed neutral, they don’t really see the Republican Party as the good guys and Democrats as the bad guys. They see the whole political and governing process as dysfunctional. They believe that even the smart, well-intentioned, and economically sophisticated policymakers on both sides of the aisle are rendered almost powerless by the extremists.
This isn't as radical sounding as it looks—Bill Clinton is only expressing regret about a particular set of operations run by his administration—but it's still a noteworthy change of sentiment from a president who greatly expanded the war on drugs.
Conservatives might think otherwise, but the liberal focus on repealing the upper-income Bush tax cuts has less to do with higher taxes for their own sake, and more to do with revenue—we need it—and basic distributional concerns: The rich have been extremely well-served by the economy, taking a huge percentage of all income produced since 1979.
The title of this post is harsh, but when you consider the actual effects of the policies he endorses in this Politico op-ed, it's fair to wonder if he's trying to provoke a combination economic/constitutional crisis.
Via Matthew Yglesias, Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, explains one of the administration's key demands as deals with Republicans on the fiscal cliff—an end to the debt ceiling as a negotiation tool:
It's clear from their negotiations over the fiscal cliff that Republicans have not abandoned their commitment to lower taxes on the rich and fewer services for ordinary Americans. They continue to support a bare bones federal government, regardless of the damage it would do to middle- and working-class families.