Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Open Thread: Shutdown, Schmutdown

As a Federal employee, I was paying pretty close attention to the looming shutdown of the Federal government. Don’t get me wrong, I love free time as much as the next lazy ‘gubmint Delta Bravo‘, but my family can’t really afford to go without my meager paycheck, dig?


Fortunately for me (for others not so much), an 11th hour deal was struck to ensure that I have the ability to continue to provide for my kiddies — at least for the time being. Was the deal a bad one?

Well, seems Booman and I have landed in the same square on this one:

I am not impressed with the interpretation many progressives are taking on these negotiations.

I respect David Dayen, but reading his piece on this I have to shake my head. He confirms a lot of stereotypes by taking the position that government spending is “dollar-for-dollar” equal to economic stimulus. He says “I think you’ll find that the failure to put the 2011 budget to bed in the last Congress cost the economy $60 billion.” That assumes that the $60 billion in cuts would have actually been spent. A lot of it wouldn’t have been spent, or would have only been spent unwisely on projects or programs that were no longer needed or were not wanted. For just one example, $1.74 billion was cut from the Census Bureau, which won’t be needing the money until 2020. Just because money has been appropriated doesn’t mean it will, or should, be spent. And this process did a very efficient job of trimming all that kind of fat off the bone of our federal budget. It’s a complete stretch to say that every dollar cut was a dollar “removed from our economy.”

There is a problem with the assumption that government spending is good and stimulative and that government cuts are bad and hurt the economy. It’s the flip-side of the Republicans’ absolutism over tax cuts. I’d like to see less analysis along those lines on the progressive side.

It’s true that the government can and should spend money to create jobs while the private sector recovers its strength, but any possibility that it would do so during this Congress was ended on election night last November. No amount of rhetoric or pressure by the president, by members of Congress, or by progressive media can change that basic fact, so blaming the government for not injecting new stimulus is pointless. The president’s job is to do the best he can with the cards on the table, not to try to manufacture ponies and unicorns out of his ass.

Maybe I’m just selfish for wanting to pay the electricity bill on time, but that’s about where I am with the ‘deal’.  How about ya’ll?


  1. creamer

     The tactic of asking for things he new the dems could not accept seemed to net him another 5 billion in cuts. Gonig forward, Obama or Reed would be well advised to use the same tactic.

    The tea party is still somwhat insulated from the radical foolishness they represent by the adults in the room.

      Raising the debt ceiling is next. Cant wait to see the riders attached to it.  

  2. sricki

    It sucks.

    Could have sucked worse.

    Maybe I’m spending too much time on dKos of late (though not the past few days, haven’t much been on the blogs at all), but I’m getting very very tired of both sides of the Obama “pie fights.” I like Obama personally, but I’m not enthusiastically pro-Obama generally speaking anymore. Nor am I at all anti-Obama as a rule. And he will have my vote in 2012 no matter what. He’s done a lot of important things, and I am a one-issue voter: SCOTUS.

    For the most part, I stay out of Obama diaries entirely, pro or con, unless I want to piss myself off royally.

    I think perhaps I’m tired of politics. I am much more interested in other things of late. Or maybe I’m just busier and my inability to keep up with everything that goes on makes me less enthusiastic all around. I dunno, but I feel kind of weary of so much.

  3. HappyinVT

    I think people won and people lost; I think the deal stinks and I think it works.

    To be perfectly honest, I was a bit disappointed that a deal was struck because I think it could have been politically disastrous for the Republicans.  And that’s putting politics ahead of real people which doesn’t say much for me.  (Further truth, if a shutdown had gone on into April I would have been affected via my VA check so I did have some slight skin in the game.)

    Remember that Boehner just in February promised CPAC $100 billion in cuts; if he’s forgotten he just needs to check out the Speaker’s FB page for a reminder.  Then they were aiming for $60 bill and ended up with $38.5.  But the biggest issue pissing off the Right is that funding for the abortionists Planned Parenthood remains.  How much of a “win” is that for us?  Combined with the fact that a shutdown could have severely hurt the economy (see fogiv and all the other federal employees).

    The issue I have is that Democrats are framing the budget/deficit debate on Republican terms; the president will be talking about it later this week.  Instead of driving home the continued need for government spending while the economy is still fragile Democrats are talking about controlling spending without mentioning the bugaboo of taxes because they will lose, and lose big, any discussion of raising taxes even if only on the top wage earners.  Because a chunk of folks think the president has already raised their taxes.

    I’m still looking (too busy funneling money into the economy yesterday to look) into the details of the $38.5 to have much of an opinion on the specifics but I will say that I think grousing about $8 billion, in the grand scheme of things, seems a bit like nitpicking.

  4. creamer

      That has to be part of the solution, be it income taxes on the wealthy, corporate tax structure or the national tax structure as a whole. Won’t be popular but the math backs it up. You have to have the debate to win it.

     If you put up a coherent plan that makes sense, involving cost cutting and revenue increases, you will make Ryans plan look as extreme as it is. The public might still reject it( the rich will), but at least voters will given an opportunity to be responsible.

  5. DTOzone

    Nearly six in ten Americans approve of the eleventh hour budget deal struck between Congress and the White House to avert a government shutdown, according to a CNN poll released on Monday. And what’s more, a plurality give Democrats the most credit for making it happen.

  6. IL JimP

    that I made over at the Orange Nuthouse yesterday that basically says what I think about this whole situation.

    Agreed, this (5+ / 0-)

    Recommended by:Fogiv, sviscusi, science nerd, virginislandsguy, Imhotepsings

    diary is a prime example of what’s gone wrong on this site.  First, I thought this was a Democratic site, but then I see personal attacks on Democrats.  The attacks are cloaked in policy but then go further to attack Democrats on a personal character level; hardly the way to elect more and better Democrats.

    Then, there are the “progressives” who I would think would want progress.  Every step forward by this administration and the Democrats in Congress are met with hyperbolic attacks that it drowns out whatever policy issues they are trying to make.

    The fact is we lost the last election and we lost it big.  Governing requires the President to work with a hostile Congress.  We’re never, never going to get everything we want from any piece of policy or legislation; now that we have a Republican Congress we’re likely going to have to defend everything we’ve won, which means we’re going to lose some ground.  When you have to defend, you almost always give up something.  That’s where we are now.

    There’s no getting around that fact and the fact that the President is the President of all the people not just those that voted for him.

    If we want more of what we think are the best ideas we need to win more elections and we need to win more consecutive elections.  Winning 2 in a row isn’t enough, especially when change is scary which it is, people will default to the status quo if you let them.

    We need to build a bench, like the GOP did.  It took them 40 years to get here and they have people at all levels of government from federal, to state, to local offices who are ready to step up.  Where are we?  We’re not there yet.

    It’s disappointing to read some of the things I’ve read here lately, I guess I built this place up to much in my mind as a place where facts and good arguments rule the day.  What I’ve found lately is people are stuck in the ideological loops that aren’t helping anyone.

    I guess it’s time to diversify where I spend my time, because this doesn’t feel like the place that it was when I started coming here a few years ago.  That’s too bad.

    Find out what progress is being made by following my group Progress is the Point

    by IL JimP on Sun Apr 10, 2011 at 05:56:00 PM CDT

    [ Parent | Reply to This ]

  7. jsfox

    on the right comes from a deep belief in Ayn Rand I give you this quote –

    screenwriter and producer John Rogers:

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

  8. HappyinVT

    Every once in awhile I go get an update on the full repeal efforts of DADT because, as you know, full repeal won’t take affect until 60 days after the president and the Pentagon give the go-ahead:

    Pentagon officials reported that they have finished training about 200,000 troops, or about 10 percent, of its forces in advance of repeal of the ban.

    The remainder of US military service members should be trained by midsummer, said Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness and cochairman of the team tasked with implementing the repeal. “So far it’s been very good. The training’s gone very well,” he added in testimony before the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee Friday that was largely overshadowed by events in Libya.…  

    Based on the timeframe it looks like its 60 days from sometime in September.  Hopefully, by the SOTU we’ll have a few weeks if not a more than a month of gays serving openly under our belts, so to speak.  🙂

    Fwiw, recruiting has not apparently been affected, either.

  9. fogiv

    Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half our 401Ks, took trillions in TARP money, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes? Yeah, me neither.

  10. fogiv

    Got this e-mail this morning:


    Lewis Roberts Binford, born November 21, 1931 to Joseph Lewis Binford and Eoline (Roberts) Binford in Norfolk, VA, died on Monday, April 11, 2011 at 6:10pm (officially declared at 6:30pm) in the house he designed and shared with me in Kirksville, MO. Lew was 79 years old last November.

    Martha Binford, Roz Hunter-Anderson, and I were all present at the time of his death. He passed very peacefully – breathing which had been labored much of the day became slow and shallow and then just stopped.

    Lew is survived by me & his daughter, Martha Binford (of Belen, NM).


    On the day he died, Lew rested comfortably most of the day. He did not open his eyes, but he was aware of our presence and our conversation and often squeezed our hands (though very lightly) at appropriate times (he seldom had a hand that wasn’t being held by either me or Martha – usually one on each side).

    Following his wishes, Lew will be cremated at a local funeral home. We will plan a personal, local commemoration in the near future. Martha and I are both aware that it would be appropriate to plan (or for us to collaborate with some of you to plan) a public, academic commemoration at a later time; we are unable to think that far ahead at present.

    I will pass along those plans to this list as they are made.

    Thank you for your warm wishes, positive thoughts, and stories. Martha, Roz, our good friend Diane Johnson, and I spent a few hours last night drinking tea, eating pineapple, and sharing memories. [Thanks to the Binford cousins for sharing the story at our reunion 2 yrs ago about Lew encouraging a younger cousin to tie crab bait to his toe… that one got us laughing last night – and we needed to laugh.]

    I have spent most of the night listening to some of our favorite jazz (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughn), curled up in Lew’s recliner, alternating between sobs, dozing, and happy memories. One day soon, I’m sure I’ll sleep soundly. At the moment, I’m listening to Ella & Louis sing “Nearness of You” – which, more than any other song, will always make me think of Lew.



    He was a giant in the field, and his passing marks the end of an era in American archaeology.

  11. HappyinVT

    Accounting tricks … earmarks already agreed to … cutting stuff slated for cutting anyway … All the weeping and gnashing of teeth by progressives over the Obama ‘cave in’ on that $38.5 billion cut package appears to be a case of premature dissatisfaction.

    Like what, you ask?

    The negotiators grab fully one-third of the cuts – $10 billion worth, by targeting earmarks lawmakers, particularly Republicans, had already agreed to forego.

    Another $5 billion comes from capping a Justice Department crime victims’ fund – by claiming savings for the whole fund even though they’re only capping a portion of it.

    In addition, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees agreed to cancel more than $3 billion in local transportation projects authorized at the behest of lawmakers, including some who are no longer in Congress.

     This is money left over from previous years.

    Another cut, $3.5 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, would affect only rewards for states that make extra effort to enroll children. But officials with knowledge of the budget deal said that most states were not likely to qualify for the bonuses and that sufficient money would be available for those that did.

    Good stuff at the link.

  12. Reaction, first posted on blackwaterdog’s blog:

    Oh. My. God.

    This is as historic, as brilliant, as incisive a view of America, its history, its ideals, its future, as his speech on race.

    This is the greatest President of my 62 years on this Earth.


    And I am given to cynicism, not hero-worship.

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