How the Lame Duck Will Quack this December

On the Side Of Precaution

Over the next few weeks, Congress has the opportunity to vote on a number of key legislative initiatives. What follows is my brief take on what will and will not happen.

Extension of “Bush Tax Cuts”: This one will be a compromise solution. The rich will get an extension of their tax rate for two or more years. The Democrats will not agree to make it permanent but they will cave on the $250,000 limit temporarily. Some folks say the findings of the Deficit Commission, due out in the next week or so will have some bearing but I think ideological compromise will win the day.

Extension of Unemployment Benefits: This one will likely go hand in hand with the Bush tax cuts. The Democrats will save face on the tax compromise by forcing the GOP’s hand on this extension.

Ratification of the START Treaty: This one will not fly in the lame duck session. Despite liberal claims of urgency, the GOP led by Senator Jon Kyl will drag on this one. Kyl has already gone on record saying that there is too much on the plate to give this treaty the attention it deserves. First, he cites the length of the document (the prior START treaty was supposedly only three pages long) and there is grumbling about insufficient discussion of missile defense systems. We won’t see action on this until next year. How this will make us look on the international stage is anybody’s guess. I suspect it can’t be good. Then again, after the latest “Wiki-leaks”, should we really continue to worry about our reputation?

The Immigration Dream Act: This will not see the light of day this December. Despite the fact that the legislation is focused on giving young illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, I believe the anti-immigrant fervor is so strong right now that the act will garner insufficient support in Congress.

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The results of a feasibility study will be published this week. We will see the GOP move the goal posts following the lead of John McCain, who has already stated this study does not satisfy the questions he has about repealing DADT. Since Obama’s track record on gay advocacy has been abysmal, expect no movement on this in the next few weeks.

That’s my quick take. What’s your opinion?

Rutherford Political Blogger Alliance


72 thoughts on “How the Lame Duck Will Quack this December

  1. Is “resolved” the right word to be using here? I cast my votes with the sense of “acted upon.”

    Some of these issues will never be “resolved” in our lifetimes. Take the Bush tax cuts. Congressional Republicans can always be depended upon to think that the best time to lower the top marginal income tax rate is… right now! Deficit? Surplus? Cut taxes, especially for the wealthy. It’s good for whatever ails you, always.

    Meanwhile, they oppose extension of unemployment benefits – the least stimulative kind of spending imaginable. The Bush tax cuts will worsen the deficit, as they have for the past eight years, while doing almost nothing to create jobs.

  2. Huck – I agree. The Democrats still control the White House and the Senate. That won’t change until January 2013 – if then.

    Obama was played for a sucker by the Republicans for the last two years. They always shared your point of view – no compromise. And they never did. (They didn’t get the “elections have consequences” part, however.)

    The meetings this week at the White House with Republicans are a sham and a fraud on the Republicans’ part. They have no interest in governing – only in the next round of elections. Power for its own sake.

    I commend you for your honesty.

  3. I would like to believe that Senate Republicans have what they believe are valid concerns that make them oppose the START treaty, but I haven’t heard them if they exist.

    Even most Republicans with experience in such things favor the treaty. The difference seems to be whether or not one has a current vote in the Senate. If you’re in the Senate, you toe the party line. If you aren’t under those constraints, you favor the treaty.

    Are the current crop of Senate Republicans really so irresponsibly motivated solely by politics that they would kill a treaty that, by all accounts, would make America and the world safer from nuclear weapons. Would they reject the treaty just to make Obama look bad and defeat him in the next election?

    It’s a serious charge to make, but why shouldn’t I take Mitch McConnell at his word?

  4. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?

    Perhaps gays are the only American minority despised by Republicans more than illegal immigrants.

    The Joint Chiefs want DADT repealed. A majority of members of the military want it repealed. A VAST majority of the American people want it repealed.

    Even Cindy McCain wants it repealed.

    What ever happened to John McCain? Give him what he wants, and he keeps moving the goal line further back.

  5. Your guesses are pretty good ones. Parse through them and it’s not hard to see who the Repubs work for.
    HINT: It is not the citizens of the United States.
    Maybe if they screw the country enough for two years the under-informed voters will finally figure it out.

    And yes unemploymenet, food stamps, welfare are very good ways to stimulate the economy – paybeack something like 150%. Why? becasue it immediately gets spent! DUH. You don’t need a liberal blog to tell you that.

  6. As one might expect, the CBO disagrees with the Ape. Unemployment benefits are the most stimulative of the options under discussion.” Chin

    Exactly. They’re not talking about all the options now are they.

    Secondly, did you even read the article? Oh, that’s right, MM said so and that’s enough for you. Did you look at the chart? The next three on the list were dealing with… wait for it… wait for it… TAXES. And over the short term, payroll taxes actually had a more consistent and positive effect on employment.

    But you fail again at doing any real analysis… again. What are the second and third order effects from unemployment benefits? What happens to job skills? When is enough, enough? You also completely ignore why business is not hiring right now.

    But that would all be too hard, now wouldn’t it…

  7. Ape, did you see the CBO chart that Media Matters reprinted? Did you?

    It’s frustrating to discuss anything with you. You would dismiss a statement that the sun rises in the east, if it didn’t come from one of your approved sources of information.

    Attack the source, ignore the argument. Typical.

  8. Jackass, I just refered the chart in my last post.

    Pull your head out of the bitches ass and read before you post…

  9. We don’t have to give evidence here, remember?

    Just saying it is enough. Ask your pal….

    As to evidence that unemployment, welfare and food stamps don’t work to stimulate an economy, I give you the Golden State of California.

    Need I say more?

  10. “And yes unemployment, food stamps, welfare are very good ways to stimulate the economy – paybeack something like 150%. Why? becasue it immediately gets spent! DUH. You don’t need a liberal blog to tell you that.”

    So too does the government spending the money directly or through tax cuts, right? It seems to me that the other measures loathed by the left might have the possibility actual long-term job creation/growth rather than an inremental and temporary increase in GDP.

  11. Besides, if government programs were the end all be all of economic stimulus, why has the War on Poverty been an abject failure? According to your logic, were should have seen breath-taking economic growth among the poor… except that we didn’t.

    I wonder why?

    Question: how many poor people gave you a job?

  12. “So too does the government spending the money directly or through tax cuts, right?”

    WRONG. Tax cuts benefit the rich – who are least likely to spend it. Payback around 15%.
    Government spending? It depends. If it goes directly to salaries of lower payed workers – sure. If it goes to capital investment – say in the military fancy hardware absolutly not.

  13. Bville, what you’ve said is insipid. I refer you back to your and G-chin’s own damn chart.

    The type of spending is important. In order to have sustainable job growth and wealth creation we need to stimulate/promote investment new industries. The type of consumer level spending from UI, Food Stamps etc., while temporarily boosting consumption, does not meet this objective. As Gorilla said, “how many poor people gave you a job?”

  14. And still flogging “trickle down” Phony economics that has utterly failed.

    I have tweeted this a couple of times but damn I love this quote:

    A rising tide lifts all yachts. — Warren Buffet in response to trickle-down economics. 😆

  15. WRONG. Tax cuts benefit the rich – who are least likely to spend it. Payback around 15%.

    Government spending? It depends. If it goes directly to salaries of lower payed workers – sure. If it goes to capital investment – say in the military fancy hardware absolutly not” – The Bitch

    Quite possibly, one of the most ignorant comments made on this blog, second only to Sensico’s claim that taxes were charity. THAT will never be forgotten…

    Approximately 50% of retail spending is by the rich, which really isn’t all that surprising. To think that redistributing that money to poor people will do it simply foolish. And yes, capital investment, whether infrastructure or military acquisition, would be far better to the economy than simply redistributing it. Those things are not built by unskilled poor people, they are built by skilled middle class workers.

    The problem with your foolish redistribution schemes- and that’s all they are- is that poor people spend their money on consumables, there is no second order economic effect. But if you build a jet, someone has to build the jet, and someone has to build the components, and someone has to design it, and someone has to develop the software for it, etc, etc, etc.

    Yes dumbass, trickle down economics work, which is why the longest peacetime economic growth this country has ever seen came from the Reagan years.

    Barclays: Buy Luxury Stocks Because Rich People Are Still Spending

    Holiday spending outlook: Merry for the rich; ho-hum for the rest

  16. “Nor do jobless benefits bust the budget. Just the opposite. They do not add to dangerous long-term deficits because the spending is temporary. And because they support spending and jobs, they contribute powerfully to the economic growth that is vital for a healthy budget. Extending the Bush high-end tax cuts would be budget busting, because they are likely to endure, adding $700 billion to the deficit over 10 years. Tax cuts for the rich provide virtually no economic stimulus, because affluent people tend to save their bounty.”

  17. How do unemployment benefits contribute to job growth?

    I’ve already demonstrated how the rich are spending. You’re speculating that they won’t, when they’ve shown they are.

  18. “I’ve already demonstrated how the rich are spending”
    Exactly the oposite You said they sit on most of what thy get. Lying with percentages always works… Calculate it out in dollars and the conclusion flips.

  19. What? Quote me Where did I say that?

    As for percentages, you’ve been pulling them out of your ass all morning.

    You’re such a fucking fraud…

  20. I haven’t figured out your fascination with this phrase, R. Are you aware of its origins?

    Tigre the point is pretty obvious. “A rising tide lifts all boats” implies that what is good for the economy in general is good for everyone. So if we do stuff that makes rich people richer, than the poor will somehow benefit from that “common rising tide”. Buffet has the honesty to say that only the yachts get lifted. In other words, tax breaks for the rich, benefit the rich. Period. He ought to know. He could buy and sell both of us ten times over. That’s why I love the guy. He knows how the game is played and he’s honest about it.

    Tell me this guys. What was the impact on the poverty rate during our economic boom years? I haven’t done the research but my gut says the effect was negligible. Trickle down economics implies that the poorest will see some relief and that’s plain bunk.

    I agree that jobless benefits provide no long term relief to the economy. However in the short term, those funds do get spent. People need jobless benefits to pay bills, not to invest in stocks or buy a Money Market CD.

  21. Money market CD? How many “unemployed” were Christmas shopping on Friday? The poin t of unemployment is to keep you afloat while you look for another job. We have people who’ve been on unemployment for 99 weeks- that’s almost two years! At what point do you say, “get a job”. They can’t hold out for the perfect fit anymore, they need to get a job, and if that means flipping burgers or working a couple part times, then so be it. There are too many stories of the unemployed intentially blowing interviews so they don’t have to get off of the dole.

    Cut them off…

  22. Nothing will get accomplished.. this is why they call it Lame.. All are sitting on their hands.. anxiously watching Europe falter. This will be the last good USA holiday.. Gold just went up 20 pts.. The effect of Q2.. hasn’t even made a dent. Buy silver folks. It is cheaper. I got mine at 19.50.

    Hillary and the rest of the yahoos will be sweating bullets when the Wiki Niagara gushes out.. I can’t wait.

  23. G, you’re spouting a common misconception. You have to separate those on unemployment insurance from the typical “welfare queen”. Folks who have worked and earned money through working, and who had that work taken away from them, WANT to work again. They don’t want to rely on the government. You’re assigning a mindset to a group of people whose own past behavior (i.e. hard work) completely defeats your premise.

    I may be a special case but I’ve been underemployed for three (not two but THREE) years. I can’t flip burgers. I can’t work in a retail store on my feet all day. When I got laid off, it never occurred to me to file for unemployment insurance. I used my layoff “settlement” and started my own business. But my business has not taken off. I’ve applied to loads of jobs. When I finally get past the resume shredding monster, I’m told I’m overqualified. Now quite frankly I’m kicking myself for not filing for jobless benefits. I can’t do it now because I’m guessing I’d have to give up my business, which I don’t want to do.

    To make a long story short, you grossly overestimate how easily one can get a job. I didn’t even go into the fact that I’m near 50 and few employers prefer middle aged men to up and coming “whipper snappers”. Funny thing is, if you’d asked me 3 and a half years ago if I thought 99 weeks of joblessness was excessive, I’d have been right with you. “What lazy bastards” is what I would’ve thought. You have to live through it to know better especially when you’ve been employed without interruption your entire adult life as I was.

  24. “Tigre the point is pretty obvious. . .”

    Indeed. And unoriginal too. Which is why asked about your fascination with it.

    Oh well. If Buffet’s aphorism is all you require to believe that raising taxes on the rich (which the left has for some Godforsaken reason determined means more than $250k for households and businesses) only improves the lots of the rich, so be it. It also explains your question about the “poverty rate.”

    In any event, here’s a reasonable assessment of what you’re now digging at, which is another tired refrain from the left:

  25. If Buffet’s aphorism is all you require to believe that raising taxes on the rich … improves the lots of the rich, so be it.

    Either you still don’t understand Buffet’s point or you just accidentally replaced “lowering” with “raising”. I assume the latter.

    The tax “hike” we’re talking about is a measly 3%. Are you really telling me millionaires are going to sweat over 3%? Are you also going to tell me that if only we left that 3% alone it would go toward hiring unemployed Americans? BS pure and simple.


    I do agree with one thing you said. 250K was a dumb number for them to settle on. I’ve said in prior threads and in tweets that 250K is comfy but hardly rich. They should have made the cutoff a cool million. That’s a number that even fat cat Republicans associate with “rich”. 🙂

  26. R, I do get it and no, I’m not over estimating anything. Again, like I said earlier, plenty of articles talking about folks intentionally blowing interviews…

    You know you don’t have to put everything on your resume. And when you interview, don’t show that you’re obviously way over qualified. Be a super star, just not a supastar.

    You’re not going to convince me that 99 weeks of unemployment is justified. If you can’t find work inside a year, it’s probably time to move. Detroit, take some notes…

  27. Yes. I meant “lowering.” (commenting from work — divided attention — rising tides. . . rising taxes )

    As for “still don’t understand” — I understood and understand. It ain’t new, R. In fact, I remember an appendage about the “dingies remain on the shore.” I questioned your fascination with it, not its meaning which was already known to me.

    “Are you really telling me millionaires are going to sweat over 3%?”

    Who said anything about millionaires sweating? Obviously you don’t employ anyone and recklessly invoking the terms to “rich” “millionaires” and “billionaires” interchangeably. You sound line Obama in the debates when asked about raising capital gains rates. We get it. “Stick it to the man.” But damn CBO chart G-chin referred to but apparently didn’t look at takes into account the effect of the “tax breaks for the rich.” Buffet’s quip doesn’t address that.

    Yes taxes on “the rich” business owners has an affect on reinvestment, and no it does not “only” affect millionaires’ personal bottom lines.

    Any comment on my link?

  28. Do you guys think President Obama is that much of a fucking moron that he promised to close Gitmo with no plan? Or was he full of shit from the start and figured he could pay off or bully nations into taking these cancers behind the scenes, “justice” be damned.

  29. I don’t give a damn if yachts of the rich have the power to sail the universe on the winds of a cosmic fart from Ishtar, if my people don’t find jobs we’re sunk.

  30. DR @44: Of the two, I choose. . . both. Moron and full of shit.

    @45: that line belongs in a sit-com script with a laugh track to follow. I see Obama wearing his Admiral cap peering through the telescope of a sinking ship with Michelle frantically bailing water.

  31. “They always shared your point of view – no compromise. And they never did.”

    Do the words “I won” ring any bells, champ? How about when they were uttered? The last claim any liberal can make is that they tried to compromise over the last 2 years.

    And I am still waiting for someone to address what I said about California and the effects of handouts on an economy. Talk about denial…..

  32. I’m still not convinced the world economic system isn’t collapsing in front of our eyes.

    If the banks are broke because they leveraged themselves on make believe real estate wealth, various governments are either on unsustainable footings or defaulting out right and all of these institutions are entangled in webs of derivatives and insurance…wtf?

    The dollar doesn’t look that bad because everyone is running from the Euro. But silver? Gold? Its up up up. The middle finger to the world’s funny money.

    For the last couple of years I have been tinkering with a short wave radio. The two repeating messages from those antiquated and creepy bands? The world is ending and buy gold. I’d be rich off of silver options and ready for rapture. Should have taken heed.

  33. It’s really simple….

    If the Democrat economic plans were so great then why does our economy still suck?

    You can snivel all you want about it not being enough, even though it was the same amount Team Obama said would work. You can snivel all you want about nobody knew how bad it was, as if ignorance is an excuse for failure. You can snivel all you want about past attempts at supply-side economics, while ignoring provided links that suggest you might be full of shit.

    None of that matters today. What matters today is that we wasted billions of dollars on an economic plan that has proven to be a complete failure. And now the CBO says anything we got from it is about to end.

    What a waste. So lets try more of the same!

  34. As for the links to the origins of rising tide and the Reagan tax cut poverty connection …. yes I read both. I don’t see what the wiki article on rising tides proves. I already understood the lifts all boats metaphor and still think Buffet’s honesty on this matter is far superior.

    The article on only the rich getting richer under Reagan — NOT — seemed to me anecdotal. I didn’t see proof that tax cutting was the CAUSE of the poverty rate declining in six of Reagan’s eight years and be that as it may, I still find the testimony of a rich dude who knows lots of other rich dudes (Buffet) far more compelling than some egghead who writes an article published in CBS Moneywatch.

  35. Personally, I kinda hope they don’t arrest this wikileaks guy until AFTER he publishes the banking expose early next year. His priorities are f*cked up. Instead of screwing with our international relations, he should have gone after the banks first.

  36. I agree. I heard the rat has a ton of stuff on Bank of America. Its cool to kill rats, but not while they’re doing cute tricks.

  37. Regarding 51, Huck all I can say is let’s watch the next two years and see how the split congress progresses. Better yet, let’s get a nice GOP gov’t in 2013 and see how well they fare.

    I’m telling you, I think we’re in deep manure for the long haul and no party has the solution.

    On a side note, I might warm up to the GOP if more young blood gets in there … I’m talking Ryan, Aaron Schock of IL and maybe even Rubio. Part of what I’m tired of with the current crop of GOP are all the old farts (Boehner, McConnell, McCain, etc.)

  38. Alright, Tex will particularly enjoy this. Am I convinced? A good argument is made, but if this is true, well, where does that leave us?

  39. “I don’t see what the wiki article on rising tides proves.”

    It’s not intended to “prove” anything other than a point of elaboration on the the quote that you are so fond of. It wasn’t obvious to me why you are so enamored with nothing more than a cute a non sequitor. Whatever. Fuck it. The rich get richer no matter what. Real heavy.

    “The article on only the rich getting richer under Reagan — NOT — seemed to me anecdotal.”

    Sorry for responding to your question. I thought you were sincere in posing it. I now see you only wanted an opportunity to say that you like what Buffet said and since he’s a billionaire it’s irrefutable. So what are we to do we do with your opinions on economics around here?

    Next time I’ll work to locate someone that’s wealthier with a different view to engage your point. Of course, all of the rich dudes Buffet hangs with must be in agreement so I’l have to look elsewhere.


  40. G, I have a three word response to the video you posted:

    World Net Daily

    A crackpot web site run by crack pots. Find me a reputable journalist delving into this and I’ll start getting worried.

    P.S. Do you really think China is crazy-ass enough to provoke us like this? China is way more worried about Kim Jong-Il than Barack Obama.

  41. Ohhh, and I left out another major point. China already has us in her cross hairs anyway. Who needs missiles when you’ve got a country totally in debt to you? Heck their economy can run nicely just off the interest from our loans. 😉

  42. Rutherford, why is it that you are the only one around here allowed to badmouth a source without making a single mention of what the source actually says?

    You talk shit when anyone else does that.

  43. “Regarding 51, Huck all I can say is let’s watch the next two years and see how the split congress progresses. Better yet, let’s get a nice GOP gov’t in 2013 and see how well they fare.”

    Same shit we get accused of….”But the other guys do it too!” instead of addressing what I said.

    I suspect Graychin won’t call you out on it like he does the rest of us.

    The hypocrisy around here is getting pretty damn bad.

  44. Huck it’s not so much a matter of “the other guy does it”. It’s a matter of criticizing and saying no is much easier than governing. So when I say, let’s see what a GOP House does … or in 2013 let’s see what a GOP Prez does, I’m simply saying can they solve our problems? I don’t think the GOP has demonstrated any better grasp of solutions than anyone else.

    As for pissing on sources …. I’d even accept a blurb from Fox News before I’d accept a blurb from World Net Daily. If you’re telling me that the journalistic integrity of MSNBC is on a par with WND, then you’re living on another planet.

    I get annoyed when you guys criticize reasonable sources. Heck, I don’t even post from Daily Kos primarily because it is ultra left.

    Next thing you know, you’ll get pissed when I question a story from WeaselZippers. Have you noticed such stories never get referenced anymore once a certain person stopped contributing to these threads?

  45. That’s not really the point, Rutherford.

    Instead of bagging on the source, why don’t you step up and refute the content.

    That is…if you can….

  46. I actually thought I refuted the content in my subsequent statements to G. Granted I’m using logic and not any investigative reporting. I’m not an investigative reporter.

    My logic tells me that the last thing China would do right now is be militarily aggressive towards us when we have a common problem known as North Korea AND they already have our entire economy held hostage. Based on that, a missile “show of force” just makes no sense. Maybe I’m behind on my China knowledge but last time I looked they didn’t have a leader as batsh*t crazy as Il or Ahmadinejad.

    Now, can you tell me why you find the story credible, Huck?

  47. Oh, and thanks for restoring Jimmy Obama. I know secretly you live to please me.

    Absolutely! And you, knowing of my immense support of President Obama’s policies, deserve what you request. It’s the least I could do for you. 🙂 Consider it a sign of our friendship.

    I screwed up. I should have said, “Father-in-law”. No, I’m not paying for a majority of it.

    Did you read of Chen’s latest stunt directed toward LGF? You can’t appreciate it,because you don’t understand what a pompous ass Charles Johnson is, but if you knew him like we do, you would have gotten a hoot out of the General’s latest spectacle.

    I wonder what the deal is of outing General Chen? Completely uncool.

  48. @Rutherford 68 & 63
    You oversimplify but its your blog.
    Its all about hegemony and currently on a daily basis the USA is loosing it and China is gaining it. To think China is pursuing it for nothing but a hobby or an adjunct to its economy is idiocy. To think China isn’t pursuing it at all….well check your pulse because if you believe that you’re not alive.

  49. Also to the post itself I have to say that those that use terms like “regressives” and other childish comments should stfu. That may very well be my not enough coffee yet but it really is so troll-like and given its source well….
    Anyway as someone who actually served and have many friends that are vets or serving now. DADT reversal will have its ups and downs. Those that think it is no big deal though are f@#$ing clueless. I point to the racial and sexual based issues that are constant drags on the daily life of peace and combat time duty. Open homosexuality on the bases and ships of the US military IS NOT GONNA GO OVER WELL.
    Also contrary to the good and noble embodied within many of those that serve and are homosexual and would like to do so without hiding there is something much bigger afoot with the repeal DADT crowd.
    The position is supported by those that would never serve,ever! But very much want homosexual rights agenda points accomplished,so marriage nationwide? Absolutely especially once BAQ’s start going to same sex couples to live together.

  50. Alfie, who would argue that China wants to be a super power? Who would argue they want to be master with us being their bitch? My only point is I don’t see why they need to flex military muscle against us to do so.

    As for DADT, my opinion is better expressed in the post following this one which you have yet to comment upon. I’m curious what you define as “open homosexuality”. I don’t know what that entails other than your interesting comment concerning family sleeping quarters on army bases. Yeah, GI Joe will have to make the same adjustment I have to make having two gay couples living in my neighborhood. So long as they don’t force me to join in at gun point, it’s none of my business. They’re good neighbors.

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