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The Morning Grumpy – 1/9/13

9 Jan

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.


1. Yesterday, I recorded another podcast with Brad Riter for TrendingBuffalo. I probably insulted you or someone you know. It’s worth a listen, I think.

2. Everything that is wrong with Congress in one article.

A PowerPoint presentation to incoming freshmen by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, obtained by The Huffington Post, lays out the dreary existence awaiting these new back-benchers. The daily schedule prescribed by the Democratic leadership contemplates a nine or 10-hour day while in Washington. Of that, four hours are to be spent in “call time” and another hour is blocked off for “strategic outreach,” which includes fundraisers and press work. An hour is walled off to “recharge,” and three to four hours are designated for the actual work of being a member of Congress — hearings, votes, and meetings with constituents. If the constituents are donors, all the better.

No matter what you think THE problem is in this country, it’s not the real problem. The influence of money in our politics is the core problem.

3. 8% of voters say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010 just after passage of the national health care law.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party. Half (49%) of voters have an unfavorable view of the movement. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided.

Good, now let’s stop catering to them and get back to discussing policy at the big boy table.

4. Everything you need to know about the plan to save the economy with a trillion dollar coin, but were afraid to ask.

Ah, the debt ceiling. It’s the ludicrous credit limit Congress has given itself, which could force us into default.

As this terrifying report from the Bipartisan Policy Center shows, the consequences of going over the debt ceiling are unthinkable and unpredictable. At best, it will mean immediate 40 percent austerity; at worst, it will mean an outright default on our debt.

Enter the trillion-dollar coin. It sounds nuts. But there’s a loophole that actually lets the Treasury create coins in whatever value it wants, even $1 trillion. It’s all straightforward enough. The Treasury would create one of these coins, deposit it at the Federal Reserve, and use the new money in its account to pay our bills if the debt ceiling isn’t increased.

If the southern tea party ignoramuses of Congress aren’t willing to raise the debt ceiling to pay for legislation they already passed, it’s time to explore other options. Even the bizarre ones.

5. Paul Krugman for Treasury Secretary. Let’s do the strawman thing…

That headline has all the DC insider types rolling their eyes right now, since they know it is absurd to imagine that President Obama would pick Krugman to be Timothy Geithner’s replacement as Treasury Secretary. They aren’t wrong, it is absurd. There is no way on earth that Obama would select Krugman. This fact tells us a great deal about what is wrong with the shape of the economic policy being debated in the nation’s capital.

If Krugman were Treasury Secretary we could envision a policy that was focused on creating jobs rather than reducing a deficit that exists almost entirely because of the downturn in the economy.We could also envision a policy that sought to tame the bloated financial sector with a speculation tax that would make much of the creative finance on Wall Street unprofitable.

Also, linking to this is really just an excuse to post one of my favorite Internet videos.

Fact Of The Day: Elvis Presley only ever failed one class, music.

Quote Of The Day: “99% of all life that has ever existed is now extinct” – Christopher Hitchens

Video Of The Day: Fucking Cruise Ship

Song Of The Day: “Mirror In The Bathroom” – The English Beat

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