“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”
Paul Krugman: Fears and Failure
From G.D.P. to private-sector payrolls, from business surveys to new claims for unemployment insurance, key economic indicators suggest that the recovery may be sputtering.
And it wasn’t much of a recovery to start with. Employment has risen from its low point, but it has grown no faster than the adult population. And the plight of the unemployed continues to worsen: more than six million Americans have been out of work for six months or longer, and more than four million have been jobless for more than a year.
It would be nice if someone in Washington actually cared.
That is what people should be asking Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill along with her fellow senators who are advocated strict caps on government spending. The idea being pushed by Senator McCaskill, together with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and several other prominent senators, would limit federal spending to 20.6 percent of GDP. It would require difficult-to-obtain super-majorities to exceed this cap. Spending would be cut across a variety of programs if the cap is not reached.
This proposal is hugely deserving of ridicule for a variety of reasons. First, it operates from a blatantly wrong premise — that government spending has grown out of control.
All but seven House Republicans voted for a budget plan last month that would eliminate Medicare’s guarantee to the elderly. It was always bad policy. But now that the vote has proved to be wildly unpopular, the party is suddenly running in the opposite direction.
On Thursday, Dave Camp, a Republican of Michigan and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he was no longer interested in pushing a plan that could not win support among the Democrats who control the Senate. Speaker John Boehner said Mr. Camp was just being realistic. Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, suggested the proposal would probably not be a part of the debt-limit talks that began Thursday because President Obama “excoriated us” for the Medicare plan.
These Republican leaders are trying to make it sound as if they were shocked by the Democratic opposition. In fact, their real surprise was how much bitter resistance the Medicare idea encountered among voters – the ones they claim share their fervent desire to dismantle much of the federal government.
Katrina vanden Heuvel: Find True Centrism in the People’s Budget
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) People’s Budget ~ the strongest rebuke to the Robin Hood in reverse “Ryan Budget” that was passed by the best Republican House Citizens United can buy ~ is receiving some well deserved national attention as the budget debate now moves to the Senate.
The Nation immediately recognized the sense and sanity of the progressive plan to create a budget surplus in ten years–through tax fairness, bringing troops home, and investing in job creation, and others are now praising its strengths too.
“The Courageous Progressive Caucus Budget,” writes The Economist. “Mr. Ryan has been fulsomely praised for his courage. The Progressive Caucus has not. I’m not really sure what ‘courage’ is supposed to mean here, but this seems precisely backwards.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes the People’s Budget as “the only major budget proposal out there offering a plausible path to balancing the budget… unlike the Ryan plan, which was just right-wing orthodoxy with an added dose of magical thinking-[it] is genuinely courageous because it calls for shared sacrifice.”
George Zornick: The GOP Jobs Plan That Wasn’t
It’s been over three months since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives and strengthened their caucus in the Senate. The central premise of the GOP midterm campaign was that it could create badly needed jobs-the Republican National Committee drove a bus through the lower 48 states emblazoned with the slogan: “Need a Job? Fire Pelosi!”
Now, after focusing its initial legislative efforts on repealing “ObamaCare,” pushing Tea Party-backed dreams like a balanced budget amendment, and fighting to strip regulatory agencies of their authority, the GOP has finally released a job plan…that consists of a balanced budget amendment, the repeal of Obamacare, and several assaults on regulatory authority.
Eugene Robinson: Torture Is Still Torture
It wasn’t torture that revealed Osama bin Laden’s hiding place. Finding and killing the world’s most-wanted terrorist took years of patient intelligence gathering and dogged detective work, plus a little luck.
Once again, it appears, we’re supposed to be having a “debate” about torture-excuse me, I mean the “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, that were authorized and practiced during the Bush administration. In fact, there’s nothing debatable about torture. It’s wrong, it’s illegal, and there’s no way to prove that the evidence it yields could not have been obtained through conventional methods.
Leslie Savan: Torturism, the New Birtherism
Like the death of bin Laden, the death of birtherism was a long time coming, but when it finally came, it was swift and dramatic: President Obama rappelled down to the birther level to release his long-form birth certificate; at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner three days later, Obama and wingman Seth Myers broke down Donald Trump’s extraordinarily well-guarded ego, with jokes; and within hours, simply by announcing that bin Laden was dead, Obama sent Trump’s verkakte ideas to go sleep with the fishes.
If the narcissistic real estate mogul had become a 3-D avatar for the Obama-hating Republican base, you have to wonder where all their resentment and anger, augmented now by humiliation, go now?