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ObamaKerryDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 10:55 AM
Original message
Kerry warns of economic disaster if deficit committee fails
I am continually happy and relieved that the Senator is on this cmte, though I wish there were many more of him on it..!
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 01:59 PM
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1. That is a sober assessment
The facts he presents on what will be cut if they do not get a solution really are being ignored by many on the left. There are many who have called, just as this says, for just failing and letting the cuts come. The fact is that is more likely a Republican win - as I do think they will "chicken" enough Democrats out of voting against rescinding the military cuts. They could well pass protection for military spending - even forcing an Obama veto of it.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 04:24 PM
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2. Sober assessment, but Kerry keeps his objectives in view

Even as he sought to drive the committee toward a far-reaching deal, Kerry said he would not sign on to Republican plans that lean heavily on cuts while ignoring tax increases.

Im not going to cripple Medicare or something else because these guys are going to be unreasonable, he said. If they think Im going to blink on that, theyre dead wrong.

And in another article in the hill

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said on Tuesday the 12-member super committee still has significant differences on a deficit reduction package and he downplayed reports of a GOP proposal floated to eliminate certain itemized deductions and loopholes in exchange for making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
Well, are anxious to promote a certain concept with all of you, but Ill be very clear that whatever they put there doesnt get the job done, and weve got some distance to travel and were working very hard to do that, Kerry, a super committee member, told reporters following the weekly Senate lunches.
Kerry said tax revenues remain an issue. Democrats have long insisted they be part of any viable package. Republicans continue to insist tax rates remain off the table....

I am still wary of hearing about cuts in Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, but I also get the feeling he does not think there will be a deal.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. What scares me is that I think the poor lose if there is no deal
The cuts Kerry enumerated as what would happen are painful to read about - these are extremely needed. I think the deterrent of the automatic cuts is easier for the Republicans. First off, there are likely easy cuts to the military given the already announced departure from Iraq and I HOPE a draw down in Afghanistan. Second, if there aren't, the Republicans can likely get enough Democrats, afraid of being called soft on defense to simply eliminate the cuts on the military. Sadly, I doubt a single Republican would cross the aisle to save slots in Head Start.

The automatic cuts also hit Medicare, but not SS and Medicaid. I suspect that was because the negotiators thought it better to place the more popular Medicare at some risk - maybe hoping it would be more a deterrent.

One thing that has seemed a little troubling on the left is that they have spoken mostly of Medicare and SS, programs that help the elderly - and affect the middle class as much as the poor. It might be that this is because they find that an easier case to make - that the money was paid in.

It does sound like the ever optimistic Kerry is relatively pessimistic. In another article it spoke of Kerry essentially leading the biggest fragment of the committee - a bipartisan group of 6. I wonder if the comments on the impacts of the automatic cuts were to win over the at least one Democrat not with him - creating a majority of 7. (From one hearing it seems that Van Hollen was reiterating and pushing the points Kerry opened up; and it seems he was willing to go with Baucus' plan, which was never detailed publicly. The question is if he also had Murray - meaning there were as many as 2 Republicans. ) In addition, though they were a group, it did not say that they had a plan all agreed to.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. The poor lose anyway. Do they lose more by cutting Medicaid or by cutting Headstart?
I guess it depends of whom you speak to.

BTW, the left and the dems in general speak ONLY about the middle class. Thisd is why I admire Sanders. At least, he deals with poverty. So does Harkin, and Rockefeller, trying to filibuster the GOP bill that changes Medicaid. And so does Kerry (and he should, because cutting Medicaid would put more financial pressure on MA, where the Medicaid program is much higher than in other states). (on an aside, this is one of my issues with Warren, who seems to have a problem with the word poor and only speaks about the middle class). It may be because POOR PEOPLE DO NOT VOTE.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Here's a WP article with lots of Kerry quotes on the Republican plan
Edited on Tue Nov-08-11 06:23 PM by karynnj
I thought this was an interesting comment:

Ive said all along, Ive never characterized anything as optimistic; Ive said hopeful, and I remain very hopeful, Kerry said. I think the stakes are high enough that the committee needs to meet the challenge, and Im pushing very hard for us to do that. I think there would be a lot of negative implications of us not achieving the de minimis measure of what weve been asked to do, using a Latin phrase meaning least to the point of inconsequence.

Interesting that he thinks there will be a majority that really put the country's good ahead of politics.

Here is another after Kerry refused to call the Republican change "substantial"

The Posts Lori Montgomery reported Tuesday afternoon that in a closed-door negotiating session Monday night, Republicans offered a plan that for the first time would have included higher tax revenue but also would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts past 2012. Democratic aides have dismissed the GOPs reported offer as insufficient.

Asked whether there needs to be new tax revenue, as opposed to non-tax revenue, in a final deal, Kerry said Tuesday that Democrats have been very clear that there has to be some additional tax revenue.

It has to be able to be scored by the (Congressional Budget Office); it has to be measured, he said. That requires a certain kind of revenue, and weve been very clear from day one. ... Everybodys working in good faith.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. The article by Motgomery is incredibly biased
Edited on Tue Nov-08-11 06:46 PM by Mass
First, she creates an opposition between Kerry and other dems that escape me. It seems

Kerry said the offer represents a change in position for Republicans, though he said, I would not characterize it as a substantial change yet.

Other Democrats challenged the notion that Republicans have offered significant tax increases, however. They argued that Republicans are demanding that the top income tax rate fall from 35 percent to 28 percent, a substantial decrease that would eat up any extra revenue generated by limiting deductions and leave nothing for deficit reduction.

In addition, she shows the GOP as those ready to compromise and the Democrats as unreasonable.

But the going has been slow, with lawmakers deeply divided over how much of the savings should come from tax increases and how much from spending cuts, such as cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

Democrats want a roughly equal mix of spending cuts and tax increases. They have offered to cut federal health spending by as much as $500 billion over the next decade and trim Social Security benefits by about $100 billion over the same period by using a less-generous inflation index to calculate annual cost-of-living increases. In return, however, they have demanded far more significant tax increases than Republicans say they are able to support.

Republicans, meanwhile, have been trying to compromise on a balanced mix of cuts and revenue increases, but they have been pressing Democrats to substitute other forms of revenue for outright tax increases. For example, by counting such things as fees for an array of federal services, asset sales and higher Medicare premiums for well-off seniors, Republicans say they could raise as much as $300 billion over the next decade.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 08:42 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Wow
There is really no gap between Kerry and the other Democrats, other than they are willing to say more about the specifics. I agree that she is highly biased. From the list she gives of the Republican "tax increases", I understand Kerry's comment on wanting things CBO can calculate AND it seems the bulk of the burden here falls on the middle class (with higher Medicare premiums) and the poor (increased fees for federal services.

Not mentioned here is the elephant in the room - that they are willing to do this - which is too little in and of itself - in return for agreeing to make the Bush tax cuts permanent - this really gets back back to your Kerry quote in the earlier post.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 08:45 AM
Response to Original message
8. Here is a Washington Post article that describes which will be cut by the trigger

Yet theres nowhere near the same anxiety about the cuts to domestic discretionary spending that will also bite down once the supercommittee chucks in the towel. Arguably, there should be. Budget experts are already warning that these cuts to domestic spending totaling $294 billion over 10 years, starting with a 7.8 percent cut in 2013, and coming on top of the spending caps in Augusts debt-ceiling deal could have even harsher consequences, both for everyday Americans and for the ability of the United States to maintain a thriving, competitive economy in the years ahead.

This isnt just a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington who are going to have fewer jobs, says Isabel Sawhill, a former associate director of the Office of Management and Budget now at Brookings, of the cuts. This is going to affect public safety, its going to affect low-income people, its going to affect veterans health care. We cant just wave our arms and pretend it wont have an impact on peoples lives.

First, lets define terms. Non-defense discretionary spending has been known to glaze over eyes and induce snores whenever its thrown around. Which is part of why politicians like to cut it. Everyone knows what Social Security is. Everyone knows what Medicare does. But what about domestic discretionary spending? Well, its anything that falls into Congresss appropriations budgets each year. Its the Veterans Health Administration. Its medical research at the National Institutes for Health. Its low-income housing assistance. Its the Coast Guard. Its highway spending. Its EPA clean-air enforcement.

To make this more intuitive, Sawhill has picked through domestic discretionary spending and sorted all of the programs into four broad categories. Theres competitiveness, which includes things like energy and transportation infrastructure and R&D. Theres low-income programs like housing vouchers or nutrition assistance for women with infants. Theres public safety: border control, food inspections, etc. And then theres care for veterans.

It confirms what Kerry said, that the lower income people will be touched disproportionately. But sadly, nobody cares. All that matters is the middle class.
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karynnj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 09:00 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks for posting this
Edited on Tue Nov-22-11 09:20 AM by karynnj
There is at least one thread where it is desperately needed. It is sad when some of the best pundits ignore the pain the automatic cuts will cause. ( )

Had the Republicans not stupidly insisted on making the Bush tax cuts permanent (which could wait another day even for Norquist fans) and presented plans that were totally unreasonable, they could have created a wedge between the middle class interests and the interests of the poor.

I guess when things get tough personally, the ability to care for those with less diminishes. I also think many here are forgetting things like the Pell grants and other things that help them.

What is clear to me is that Kerry stayed true to the values he has always expressed and willing to do what he did on the energy bill - to go outside his personal comfort zone and seriously look at cuts that he would never ever have wanted to make. As he said, he was willing to take political hits. It had to be hard having organizations that supported him all his career protesting outside his Boston office. What is equally clear is that there was no one on the Republican side willing to do the same. This makes it more annoying that the media focused so much on the Toomey plan - which I hope becomes the albatross it should be around Toomey's neck when he runs for re-election.
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Mass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-22-11 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. Sadly, some people are delusional and continue to insist that cuts across the board
can be achieved without hurting the poor.
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