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Jul 31 2012

Punting the Pundits

“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”.

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Dean Baker: The CEO Plan to Steal Your Social Security and Medicare

Many people are following the presidential election closely with the idea that the outcome will have a major impact on national policy. However, according to Steven Pearlstein, a veteran Washington Post columnist and reporter, it may not matter who wins the election. In a column last week, Pearlstein told readers that the top executives of some of the country’s largest companies are getting together to craft a budget package that they will try to push through Congress and get the president to sign. [..]

Many of the same folks who brought the economy to ruin just a few years ago are now going to come up with a plan that is supposed to set the budget and the economy on a forward path. At the center of their proposal are big cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

Robert Reich: The Terrible Economy and the Anti-Election of 2012

The worst economy since the Great Depression and you might think at least one of the candidates would come up with a few big ideas for how to get us out of it.

But you’d be wrong. Neither candidate wants to take any chances by offering any large, serious proposals. Both are banking instead on negative campaigns that convince voters the other guy would be worse.

President Obama has apparently decided against advancing any bold ideas for what he’d do in the second term, even if he has a Congress that would cooperate with him.

He’s sticking to a worn script that says George W. Bush caused the lousy economy, congressional Republicans have opposed everything he’s wanted to do to boost it, it’s slowly on the mend anyway, the Bush tax cuts shouldn’t be extended for the rich, and we shouldn’t take a chance electing Romney.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The GOP/Lockheed Martin “Layoff Notice” Hoax – We’ll Need Some “E. Coli Notices” If It Succeeds

The defense fatcats and their Republican kittens in Congress are up in arms – metaphorically speaking,of course – over the possibility that an agreement which the GOP signed might actually take effect as agreed.

They hate when then happens. So they’re cooking something up that could create big problems for your wallet … not to mention your digestive tract.

Republicans routinely express contempt at the thought of using government funds to save jobs. But when it comes to defense spending, they want us to know that government funds should be used to save jobs. For their part, defense contractors just want our money. So, in what appears to be a coordinated plan, Lockheed Martin is threatening to send out fraudulent “layoff notices” to over one hundred thousand employees, while its minions in Congress simultaneously demand that the Pentagon do the same.

David Shuster: Yes, Protecting the Social Safety Net Is a Political Winner

As Republicans target America’s social safety net, a top Democrat is now urging colleagues to join the fight, describing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as “winners.”

Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Co-Chair of the House Task Force on Seniors, spoke with reporters today to mark the 47th anniversary of Medicare. She said, “If everybody took a deep breath and looked at the reality of how this is going to help them and their families, this is a great issue for us to campaign on.” [..]

Congresswoman Schakowsky was a member of the Simpson-Bowles Commission and voted against the co-chairs’ plan. She knows that it would be bad policy to cut Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, and even worse politics. Democrats should follow her lead: Instead of running away from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, they should run toward the programs and vow to protect them. It’s an approach that will win in November and strengthen our society.

Colin A. Carter and Henry I. Miller: Corn for Food, Not Fuel

IT is not often that a stroke of a pen can quickly undo the ravages of nature, but federal regulators now have an opportunity to do just that. Americans’ food budgets will be hit hard by the ongoing Midwestern drought, the worst since 1956. Food bills will rise and many farmers will go bust.

An act of God, right? Well, the drought itself may be, but a human remedy for some of the fallout is at hand – if only the federal authorities would act. By suspending renewable-fuel standards that were unwise from the start, the Environmental Protection Agency could divert vast amounts of corn from inefficient ethanol production back into the food chain, where market forces and common sense dictate it should go.

Robert Fisk: Syrian War of Lies and Hypocrisy

The West’s real target here is not Assad’s brutal regime but his ally, Iran, and its nuclear weapons

Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I’m not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I’m referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion – eastern as well as western – in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare. [..]

And all the while, we forget the “big” truth. That this is an attempt to crush the Syrian dictatorship not because of our love for Syrians or our hatred of our former friend Bashar al-Assad, or because of our outrage at Russia, whose place in the pantheon of hypocrites is clear when we watch its reaction to all the little Stalingrads across Syria. No, this is all about Iran and our desire to crush the Islamic Republic and its infernal nuclear plans – if they exist – and has nothing to do with human rights or the right to life or the death of Syrian babies. Quelle horreur!