Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on November 27, 2012 by Allahpundit

Congressional Democrats are starting to draw a much tougher line on entitlements in the increasingly messy fiscal cliff talks, warning Republicans to keep their hands off Social Security and Medicare benefits…

For many Democrats, these entitlement programs are part of their core identity — aggressively protecting the social safety net programs created by the New Deal and the Great Society is as much a part of the progressive worldview as tax cuts and smaller government are for conservatives. And if President Barack Obama reaches a bipartisan deal with GOP leaders that cuts entitlements, he can expect a rebellion from his allies on the Hill — that is, unless he wins what they consider major concessions from Republicans on taxes.

“Let them put revenue on the table first,” veteran Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) told POLITICO. “I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh well, we’ll close loopholes.’ What the hell does that mean? That’s nothing.”


Durbin frequently deviated from his script but the message was clear: Democrats should engage in debate over how to revamp Medicare and Medicaid, but not right now.

His effort to siphon off changes to entitlement programs from the fiscal cliff debate that must be resolved by Dec. 31 outraged Republicans, who feel like they’ve gone out on a limb by embracing changes to the Tax Code that would net more revenue.

“By ruling out any meaningful changes to our entitlement programs, Sen. Durbin and like-minded Democrats are threatening a nose dive off the fiscal cliff that our economy cannot afford,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio…

“If they are backing off entitlements, this is going to be a very difficult 30 days,” Chambliss said.


Two staunch liberals, Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, said in a letter to Mr. Obama that he should “reject changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security that would cut benefits, shift costs to states, alter the structure of these critical programs, or force vulnerable populations to bear the burden of deficit reduction.”

More than 40 House members, led by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, declare in a resolution that any deal on taxes and spending “should not cut Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security benefits.”

Republicans say the revenue to be gained from Mr. Obama’s tax proposals would be dwarfed by the growing costs of the benefit programs.


Elections do have consequences, and Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be “balanced,” including spending cuts as well as tax increases. Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs.

This could be accomplished in a progressive manner, shielding the poorest beneficiaries from cuts. But that seems less likely to be achieved if progressives boycott serious negotiations by pretending that Social Security and Medicare are sustainable with no reform at all.

Mr. Obama has understood this since at least 2009, when he told The Post’s editorial board that he would tackle entitlement reform…

Four years later, has the moment arrived? Since his reelection, Mr. Obama has fueled a campaign-style effort to pressure Republicans to give ground on taxes. That’s fine, but it won’t be enough. At some point, he has to prepare the American people — and his own supporters most of all — for the “hard decisions” required to put the country on a sound financial footing. That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution that will please neither House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Only one person is in a position to make it happen.


Obama senior adviser David Plouffe predicted that the fiscal cliff negotiations are “going to get hairy” in the coming weeks, saying President Barack Obama is committed to achieving the elusive “big deal” on taxes and spending he and Speaker of the House John Boehner have tried to strike for more than 18 months…

“The only way that gets done is for Republicans again to step back and get mercilessly criticized by Grover Norquist and the Right, and it means that Democrats are going to have to do some tough things on spending and entitlements that means that they’ll criticized on by their left,” Plouffe said at his alma mater in conversation with former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt…

Plouffe added that while the White House wants to engage in comprehensive tax reform, they know they must also “carefully” address the “chief drivers of our deficit”: Medicare and Medicaid.


Cavuto reassured McCain that Norquist is aware of such an anti-earmarks record, but noted that “what concerns him is that Republicans seem to be running around with the tail between their leg after the election and acquiescing on revenues and letting the Democrats stream roll them and he says they’re going to pay for that two years from now.” He asked the senator: “Do you feel threatened?”

McCain’s response:

Republicans have to be for some things and we need to be for things and we need to be for spending cuts. We need to be for entitlement reform. That has to be done if we are ever going to be serious about this debt issue. I don’t think we should disrespect Grover Norquist any more than I believe we should disrespect the Heritage Foundation or, AEI, or any others. I respect them. We just don’t always agree.


[T]hree powerful unions — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union, and the National Education Association — are sending 200 local labor leaders to the Senate on Wednesday to lobby Democrats on “creating good jobs, protecting Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Education, and not cutting vital services that millions of Americans rely on” during the lame-duck session.

Nonetheless, several key aides to Republican leaders told RCP in separate conversations that “the only Democrat who matters is President Obama.” They reason that enough Democratic legislators will fall in line after the White House announces its stance on any potential deal. One Republican source privy to some of the talks between Obama and congressional Republicans told RCP that the president has shown “some willingness to talk Medicare as long as it doesn’t affect his health-care bill.”

RCP asked a handful of those leadership aides whether Senate Republicans would consider raising tax rates on the top 2 percent of earners — as Democrats are pushing — if the White House and Democratic leaders promised to move forward with entitlement reform next year. Responses were muddled: The consensus was that they might begrudgingly go along, but that it would be extremely difficult for such a concession to pass muster with House Republicans, even if Speaker John Boehner tried hard to sell it.


1. If there is no bill, the U.S. economy will probably dip into recession for much/most/all of 2013, and it’s impossible to predict whether such a recession would be short-lived.

2. A 2013 recession would be terrible for the country and terrible for the Obama Presidency. It would limit the President’s options across his entire policy agenda, economic and non-economic. And it could define and dominate his entire second term.

3. President Obama believes #1 and #2, and therefore avoiding the risk of triggering a recession with his veto is an even higher policy priority than his fiscal policy goal.

4. The President wants to get things done. He cares more about his own chances for policy success (across the entire breadth of his agenda, whenever he figures out what it is) than he cares about relative political blame. A scenario in which Republicans get most of the blame for a veto-triggered recession is still a loser for him if it means he can’t accomplish his second term goals.

If my assumptions are correct, then the President cannot afford to veto a bill and have no compromise enacted.


Matthews sure got former Wyoming Sen. Simpson excited over the GOP’s recent war on Grover’s decades-old pledge to not raise taxes. “So how do you deal with guys who came to stop government, or Grover wandering the earth in his white robe saying he wants to drown government in the bathtub?,” Simpson asked to no one in particular. “I hope he slips in there with it. We’ll put some soap in the tub.”

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Comment pages: 1 2 3

all i have to say is that this country has to sober up

It is symptomatic of America’s national condition that the worst humiliation ever suffered by America as a nation, and by an American president personally, passed almost uncommented last week. I refer to the Nov. 20 announcement at the Asian summit meeting in Phnom Penh that fifteen Asian nations comprising half the world’s population would form a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership excluding the United States. President Barack Obama attended the summit to sell an American-based Trans-Pacific Partnership excluding China. He didn’t. The American led-partnership became a party to which no-one came.

Instead, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, will form a club and leave out the United States. As 3 billion Asians become prosperous, interest fades in the prospective contribution of 300 million Americans—especially when those Americans decline to take risks on new technologies. America’s great economic strength, namely its capacity to innovate, exists mainly in memory four years after the 2008 economic crisis.

A minor issue in the election campaign, the Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative was the object of enormous hype on the policy circuit. Salon.com enthused Oct. 23, “This agreement is a core part of the “Asia pivot” that has occupied the activities of think tanks and policymakers in Washington but remained hidden by the tinsel and confetti of the election. But more than any other policy, the trends the TPP represents could restructure American foreign relations, and potentially the economy itself.”


these little signs, like the student loan delinquencies won’t be in any ‘news’ stories on the TV….but they a bright warning flags

Maybe an R can screw up enough courage to interupt the R bashing on TV and talk real stuff

r keller on November 28, 2012 at 5:24 AM

I am so amazed at the stupid people in this country! My husband lost his job making 27.00 an hr and is now making 10.30 an hr. in Obamas economy. We do not get any Gov. support, nor would we! We are in our 50s and took on the responsibility of our 2 yr. old grandson after the death of my son and his mother trying to kill herself. We could get on alot of Gov. programs but that is not how we were raised. But now i am starting to change my mind, What is it getting us when we can’t buy groceries? My husband works 7 days a wk. Children Services can’t understand why we aren’t getting welfare. I just don’t know what to do?

lisa fox on November 28, 2012 at 5:25 AM

or force vulnerable populations to bear the burden of deficit reduction

We’re all EFFing vulnerable doofuses!

racquetballer on November 28, 2012 at 5:40 AM


dems want gop to cave while not doing a dang thing about spending

lucy and the football gop…

wake up for cripe sakes

all dem talking points come with expiration dates…

cmsinaz on November 28, 2012 at 5:50 AM

In conclusion, a politician’s duty is to figure out how to spend other peoples money, United States Constitution be damned. We have an activist SCOTUS and a WH Admin that tramples all over the Constitution. Therefore we only have one branch of government — a government that only knows how to tax and spend.

racquetballer on November 28, 2012 at 5:54 AM

but hey the president is going to campaign on his ‘policies’ instead of actually doing his job….

its all good

cmsinaz on November 28, 2012 at 5:55 AM

I have some entitlements for you.

People are entitled to keep the money they earn. To control the property they own. To live their lives as they freely chose free from government abuse.

People should be freaking entitled to live out their Christian faith without government infringing on that faith! They should be entitled to choose the doctor they want! To acquire the health care services they want without a government bureaucrat stepping in and saying “NO.. you can’t have that operation. You’re too old and worthless. Here’s a pain pill instead. We’ll be pulling the plug soon anyway!”

There are a lot of entitlements out there that our Grand Old Party could be fighting for if they got their heads out of the rears!
One thing I would like to know though is how they can warm their chairs so well with their heads up their rears like that. It has got to be freaking uncomfortable. But somehow they do it.

JellyToast on November 28, 2012 at 6:30 AM

We need a new Speaker of the House.

kingsjester on November 28, 2012 at 6:47 AM

RCP asked a handful of those leadership aides whether Senate Republicans would consider raising tax rates on the top 2 percent of earners — as Democrats are pushing — if the White House and Democratic leaders promised to move forward with entitlement reform next year. Responses were muddled: The consensus was that they might begrudgingly go along, but that it would be extremely difficult for such a concession to pass muster with House Republicans, even if Speaker John Boehner tried hard to sell it.

The Republicans can not stop these tax increases…only Obama can. They go up automatically unless he says otherwise and I do not think that is going to happen…so the whole argument about getting Republicans to agree to this seems a bit off to me…the truth is if there is no deal there will be cuts to medicare and tax increases for everyone. So how does either side win?

The whole thing is just getting ridiculous. I have to admit, after I read that 8 out of 10 of the richest counties in America went for Obama I thought screw em, raise their taxes…after all, we can not stop it and why try to protect the morons?

Terrye on November 28, 2012 at 6:52 AM

dems want gop to cave while not doing a dang thing about spending

lucy and the football gop…

wake up for cripe sakes

all dem talking points come with expiration dates…

cmsinaz on November 28, 2012 at 5:50 AM

I am not sure it is that simple. The GOP is a minority. If the GOP does not go along with a deal then Patty Murray gets her way and we go over the cliff. Everyone sees a tax increase.

And there are cuts in medicare already to fund Obamacare. I think there will be tax increases and cuts in spending anyway…the question is whose taxes and what spending and it if it will lead to recession and a decrease or an increase in the deficit. If you see what I mean. It is all so confusing.

Terrye on November 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM

Terrye on November 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM

from what i’m hearing on the lsm…its all about the gop needs to cut taxes and the dems don’t have to do squat…everything that needs to be cut is OFF the table according to them…

cmsinaz on November 28, 2012 at 7:08 AM

Elections do have consequences, and Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy.

That is a lie.

Here are some things he did run on:
– Big Bird
– Binders
– Bayonets

Remember those? Just three of the shiny objects deployed by Obama. He ran on nothing in particular, threw the kitchen sink of stuff out and would never stay on any of them. His ‘fair share’ stuff got mentioned so little and his tax ideas so rarely because he didn’t want to get into any venue where he would actually have to talk about them where any audience with a recording device would capture him so he had to own up to his own ideas.

There was no ‘there’ with his campaign and it can only be said to run on shiny objects.

As to the ‘fiscal cliff’: a deal is a deal.

Obama and the Democrats wanted one more year of the tax cuts in exchange for a one-time debt ceiling raise that would last for one year. They got it. Now they get their ‘revenue’ and no more debt ceiling raises. Everyone should be damn HAPPY with that as it was what everyone AGREED to and SIGNED OFF ON. If you don’t like it: tough. Sucks that you made such a bad deal. Live with it. Or your word is worth nothing and you have put politics ahead of the Nation when you specifically said that the deal was good for the Nation and above politics. You can have one or the other, but not both.

Republicans can get blamed for soaking everyone.

The counter is that Democrats now have to live with a set debt ceiling, a bit more revenue and balance the budget. You can’t balance the budget without restructuring the ‘entitlements’ which is their hobby horse they love to ride to victory. Sucks that they have to go after their great pet like the Republicans went after theirs, but there it is.

Stick to the deal.

Even a 5 year old does that better than these so-called adult politicians in two branches of government from both political parties. Some of these elites need to go to kindergarten and get a massive ‘time out’ with a dunce cap on their heads sitting in the corner. For one branch it will be the first time that has ever happened to them, and for the other there are plenty of good corners in their lovely Capitol Building to sit in so the public can point and laugh at them.

They all deserve the pain they all agreed to as necessary.

Suck it up.

Do the right thing.

Yeah, you’ll kill your political parties. So? They have proven to be untrustworthy and useless and capable of only generating spineless spendthrifts. For once you can get your deal by doing NOTHING and letting the flames toast you up to a crisp. Just sit there. Like you’ve done on the border issues for decades. Like you’ve done on encroach regulations. Like you’ve done allowing the Nation to fracture with cities and counties making their own foreign policy. You idiots could have done anything on these topics that are also lethal to the Nation and did NOTHING to stop them from harming the country. So sit again, be slugs, delay the process, stick to the agreement and finish the job on yourselves. Maybe pick up a copy of Seppuku For Idiots, The DIY Kit while you’re at it so as to save us all the 2 year old antics that you dole out on a daily basis.

The country can get along fine without your parties, so do us the favor of self-destructing them, wouldya? That is cheap to do. Just sit there and do nothing. And out of the flames some actual adults who realize that this is self-destructive behavior just might emerge and say, ‘you know, all this spending really does have to stop’. And then act like adults and STOP THE SPENDING because we are TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY. You got a last bite on taxes, no prove you are adults and STOP THE SPENDING. I DARE YOU TO ACT LIKE ADULTS.

ajacksonian on November 28, 2012 at 7:15 AM

If the GOP does not go along with a deal then Patty Murray gets her way and we go over the cliff. Everyone (who benefitted from the Bush tax cuts) sees a tax increase.

Terrye on November 28, 2012 at 7:01 AM

So, be it. The Dems are definitely Lucy pulling away the entitlements again and Republicans are Charlie making a false-hope attempt to “compromise.” As long as we are going with Peanuts…

Sen Peppermint Patty: “Let them put revenue on the table first.”

Speaker Charlie Brown: “You can’t explain anything to Peppermint Patty because you never get to say anything. I’m doomed.”

We have a spending problem. Entitlements first.

Fallon on November 28, 2012 at 7:52 AM

If there is no entitlement reform then I’d rather go over the Fiscal Cliff. Yesterday I saw that scumbag Congressman Grijalva say he wouldn’t even support raising the retirement age.

I wish we could deport him and his district to Mexico.

WannabeAnglican on November 28, 2012 at 8:37 AM

the sooner it crashes and burns …
the sooner we can start to build
and get some things fixed .

conservative tarheel on November 28, 2012 at 9:08 AM


Taking a cue from the martial arts, you don’t always have to be on the attack to win a fight. Learning from war, sometimes a strategic retreat will lead to a victory.

There is going to be a fiscal disaster no matter what the Republicans do. If they obstruct what the Democrats do, they’ll be blamed for what happens. If they negotiate with the Democrats, they’ll be blamed for what happens.

So vote Present and let the Democrats negotiate with themselves and own the problem. Obama is bluffing, call his bluff.

rokemronnie on November 28, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Incredibly successful ineptitude.

It’s proof at how stupid the land has become.

Starve the Looters (as in bad characters of Rand).

Schadenfreude on November 28, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Sen Peppermint Patty: “Let them put revenue on the table first.”

Speaker Charlie Brown: “You can’t explain anything to Peppermint Patty because you never get to say anything. I’m doomed.”

May her head split apart every time she says “revenue” instead of “taxes”. May all the heads who allow this to also spontaneously combust, turkeys.

Schadenfreude on November 28, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I just spent time reading back through the thread… and wanted to hilight some comments for their validity from the respective commenters, they, each one, in their own way, are important… So, let’s take a moment and re-read them and digest them.

I always knew we have some of the smartest people on HA!!!

And uncommonsense, my prayers to you and your family for your Father.

God Bless

All camps believe it is burning anyway. That’s critical. The economy is floating in the air like a cartoon character and it’s going to plunge because anything that could have been done wasn’t. So move, brace as best you can, and let the people of America who made the choice get what they wanted — the consequences of their own choices.

Multiple camps go from there. From Objectivists that want to get on with rebuilding, to people who want to get on with dissociating themselves from the people they consider to be utterly dead weight who are never going to have any virtue, to people who just want to pull the band-aid and shorten the pain.

You are like Jackie and INC and AZ and all — you think the fire can be tamped out and the situation is still salvageable.

I am in the camp of “going my own way.” :) I don’t know if it’s salvageable or not. I suspect it’s a tar-like pit that we can get out of after we give up some skin, and a fire we can put out after a whole lot has been burned up. It’s almost a worst-case scenario: I don’t think we get a clean restart. Some evil changes are here to stay. For a while. So I’ve resigned my patriotism and am now paying attention to order: God, the guideposts he put in me to accomplish (my assignment; otherwise life’s wasted), my family (and other people I can help along their paths) — eventually wandering back to Country, to America — but with uncertainty, because I don’t know who she wants to be anymore. This puts me at odds with my Sarah. Probably you too.

But, please don’t yell at me for not “loving my country” or something. :) My position doesn’t involve moving to France. I’m just saying that I’m watching her pack, and if she’s leaving me, I have to let her go. I am hoarse from my previous pleading and I’m sort of done with it. Maybe she wants to join a commune. K. I’m not. If she wants to stand for something I can still believe in, I’ll stand with her until I die.

Axe on November 28, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Sorry, but I’m kind of tired lately of the “Let-it-burn” crowd or the “Going-my-own-way” stuff. Imagine where we would be if the founders of our country had such defeatist leanings. And they fought a tyranny that makes the current one look like a day at the beach. They were out-armed, out-manned, and certainly had no recently-lost (and narrowly, I might add) election to bring them down.

They fought for freedom, they died for freedom, and in so doing gave birth to freedom. Those men and women who put their lives and families and property on the line back then would have loved to be in our position now, having just a chance to elect their leader instead of having one imposed on them by virtue of their birth.

If you believe that this fight is over, that all is lost, that there’s nothing that can be done, please step aside (as many colonialists did back then) and stay out of our way. We have a war to win.

TXUS on November 28, 2012 at 1:42 AM

Politicians are rotten to the core, as they use some form of “free stuff” to get elected. Politicians are the problem, as they are more than willing to spend others money to garner the vote. This isn’t a R vs. D problem. It is the nature of the beast. As long as we allow the politicians to make money, and receive money from any interest group, this is the inevitable outcome of society. Tourquemada stated it best, “when the populace realizes they can vote themselves the treasury, democracy is lost.”

uncommon sense on November 28, 2012 at 1:42 AM

What is sad, is that my parents came to the US from a socialist country before I was born. My father went into the hospital on Nov 6th. I truly think his heart was broken based on the outcome of the election. He left Europe for this country based on our freedom, and chance to succeed, I think he saw that die on election day.

uncommon sense on November 28, 2012 at 1:48 AM

It didn’t die. It can’t.

People keep thinking they get to decide these things for other people, and they don’t. If America wants to be about EBT cards and the finest national healthcare system ever to fall from Utopia, nothing will stop it. If it wants to be about the ridiculous idea that people can govern themselves — nothing will stop that either. TXUS is tired of my calculating and philosophising, and I’m tired of the flag waving — and after a good rest, we’ll both be less tired, and I’ll still be calculating and turning my head sideways, and TXUS will still be pulling the flag all the way up the pole.

. . . I’m trying to say, America, that America, is inside your dad. It’s his choice. It’s that America that binds us into something, regardless of who’s drawing the new maps.

I hope he’s gaining ground. :) My prayers, too.

Axe on November 28, 2012 at 2:11 AM

We can either get to work and see that what we believe in get’s CONSERVED, or we can roll over and let the progressives destroy everything our antecedents built. I’ve never stopped writing my congressmen, calling regularly to demand they stand up for our principles, and writing and calling any congressman whom I believe a little pressure might sway in our cause.

The progressives, including the White House, are mobilizing their campaign personnel to do that very thing for their side. It’s imperative that we fight back now… not later.

As for me, I’ve had it with the defeatism on these threads. I’m not coming back until people get a grip and realize that they can either wallow in misery for four years, relying on the rest of us to fight this battle for them, or they can pitch in and make an effort to help out, pressuring their congressmen, talking to their friends and neighbors, and see that our First Principles are protected and secure. As you say, TXUS, they can either help out, or get out of the way.

I wish you well, TXUS, and all the others who want to get to work and help preserve this nation and defend our principles.

thatsafactjack on November 28, 2012 at 2:19 AM

That’s something else that is bugging me. Generally, it seems like the insolvent welfare policies will hit the people that actually want them last. I mean, the very people that one might want to feel the pain and change their minds about what they are doing will be the last people to feel any actual pain. The general environment itself would have to be so sour that they felt it, even though their bills are all being paid.

Apologies for eves-dropping.

Axe on November 28, 2012 at 2:58 AM

We all have valid points and opinions, who can say who is right or wrong for their various reasons eh? You all know I am from the UK, I am in my late 50’s, when I was 8 or so Kennedy was assassinated, and me a child, cried my eyes out, even then as a small child I KNEW what America meant to the world, what this one man meant…

My Aunt (God rest her soul) so believed in this country, I so believe in this country…she worked with many american servicemen in the 40’s and she awed me with stories of how americans are and what they feel about their country…people need to wake up and how.

To me it has come down to a matter of GREED and ENVY and boy, are our politicians good at playing THAT game eh!

Not a one of us no matter from whence we came, is a defeatist, not a one of us wants to see the greatest country on earth just turn into another nameless place… God Dammit, AMERICA stands for SOMTHING!! We all STAND for somthing…

We have lost sight of the dream… oh it still lives, but how to pursuade the others of what we believe in?

How do you make a nation come to their senses eh?

That is a daunting task isn’t it… thats why I said before it starts in the HOME!!!!

Scrumpy on November 28, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I, like Jackie and so many others, write and email, all it gets me is a standardized response… and sore fingers… and nowhere.

Nothing damn well changes, nothing has changed… what is it gonna take?

Will we have to do as our forefathers did? Fight literally for this country?

Or, as a Phoenix, can we arise from the ashes…

I wish I had the answers, I really do… I don’t…

God Bless us all and America!!

Scrumpy on November 28, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I just don’t know what to do?

lisa fox on November 28, 2012 at 5:25 AM

…W H Y
D I D N ‘ T
H E R…!!!

KOOLAID2 on November 29, 2012 at 1:46 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3