Inside the Nightmare Launch of HealthCare.Gov - "Unknown to a nation following the fiasco, McDonough's assignment from the President had boiled down to something more dire than how to fix the site. As the chief of staff remembers his mission, it was 'Can it be patched and improved to work, or does it need to be scrapped to start over? He wanted to know if this thing is salvageable.' Yes, on Oct. 17, the President was thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over." (previously) [more inside]
President Barack Obama will tonight give the first State of the Union address of his second term in office. The address will again focus strongly on the issues of jobs and the economy. The Republican response will be delivered by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and will focus on traditional Republican messages of lower taxes and spending. The bilingual Senator plans to give his remarks in both English and Spanish in an attempt to reach out to the Latino community which has proven difficult for Republican politicians to connect with. There will also be a Tea Party response delivered by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Senator Paul will call for reduced spending and debt and for the Republican party to be more welcoming of immigrants. Jill Stein of the Green Party will also give a response. [more inside]
Buying useful things, like roads and universities and health care and solar energy and spaceships, should be better stimulus than fighting wars.
"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs. I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously) on Why Liberalism Works.
"We’re not going to say, 'Give it to me and let my grandchildren suffer.' I think they underestimate seniors when they think that way." But 71-year-old Barbara Sullivan cannot imagine asking people to pay higher taxes. And as she considered making do with less, she started to cry." (slnyt) [more inside]
The Program for Public Consultation carried out a different kind of budget poll -- they asked each of their respondents to generate a package of tax increases and spending cuts sufficient for substantial deficit reduction, then averaged the results. The outcome was not what you might expect. The mean package included twice as much tax increase as spending cut: big deficit-reducing moves included substantial income tax increases for the highest brackets and deep cuts in defense spending. Republicans cut less spending than Democrats, as did people who identified as "very sympathetic to the Tea Party." Hardly anybody likes the reduction of the estate tax. Why is the public consensus so different from the Washington consensus? Read the full report (.pdf) Or try the interactive budget exercise.
Bruce Bartlett, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, speaks out against Republicans - The monumental hypocrisy of the Republican Party is something amazing to behold. And their dimwitted accomplices in the tea-party movement are not much better. They know that Republicans, far more than Democrats, are responsible for our fiscal mess, but they won't say so. And they adamantly refuse to put on the table any meaningful programme that would actually reduce spending. Judging by polls, most of them seem to think that all we have to do is cut foreign aid, which represents well less than 1% of the budget. [more inside]
President Obama's plan for American Recovery and Reinvestment [pdf] might be thought of as TARP round two [1,2] -- instead of hiding the bodies, this one's preparing the ground for a big tent or the economic equivalent of war. There are critics and detractors (cramdown nation ;) left and right, natch, but also conservative supporters and progressive defenders to save or create
three four million jobs; hooray! [more inside]
The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush. "The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup." [Via Firedoglake.]
Political Fratricide: The GOP is reportedly [+] proposing $15 billion of cuts — or is it $25? — in veterans' benefits between now and 2007, and groups like the Veterans Against the Iraq War are hopping mad. Hell, I imagine the pro-war wing is pretty peeved, too. It's part of a plan with delusions of grandeur to deliver massive tax cuts AND kill the deficit ... you know, the one that did not exist before W was elected, as I understand it ... in six years. The original tip is from Stand Down. The actual status of the cuts is nebulous at this point, however, with the SF Chron reporting that they will likely fail in the Senate as the tax cut is halved and others reporting that the die is not yet cast. The House budget resolution, for metafilter accountants who like these things, is here.
The U.S. Army pays for lapdances. "In addition to the inappropriate purchases, the GAO said more than 1,200 Army employees wrote bad checks to pay their government credit card bills. Last year alone, that cost taxpayers $3.8 million in higher fees and lost rebates." You mean, the government practices bad accounting? Ron Paul points out that the Congress commits the worst accounting fraud of all. But the most important issue of all is, with the government paying for Strip Club tips, gambling, and wine, does this mean that God will no longer bless America?
"The sky won't fall, it will probably just trickle down." On whom? (Guess who.) Out here in Washington State voters just approved another in a series of initiatives that, collectively, choke off the state government's primary funding sources. What else are the results of the initiative process around the country? And are The People responsible enough to be trusted with it?