Super Cat Food Commission may have reached a Deal

There are nine days left until November 23rd and automatic spending cuts that are supposed to punish deadlock.  Our economy is weak.  Exactly how much recessionary pressure will the austerity pogrom inflict on the country?  Exactly how much will the unemployment rate go up and the economic growth go down when we do the exact opposite thing that all accepted and proven economic theory would have us do?  Well, there’s hints at a deal.  Get ready for a double dipper!

The panel needs seven votes on a deal to force at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. Sen. Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania last week broke with his party’s anti-tax pledge to propose some $300 billion in new tax revenues. Democrats are said to be on the verge of a counterproposal, as early as today, to include new cuts in entitlement spending likely to offend their party’s base.

Tax increases and entitlement spending cuts = decreases in aggregate demand = decreases in prices and wages and decrease in economic growth/GDP/Income = more unemployment.  Exactly who are they pleasing with this policy? Themselves?  Their Wall Street Overlords?  The Grinch?

There’s a lot of ignorance built in to this group.

Based on what we do know, however, both sides are playing big time budget baseline games. When they talk taxes, Republicans start by assuming the 2001/2003/2010 tax cuts will all be extended indefinitely. From there, they talk about cutting rates across the board and reducing tax preferences (perhaps with some cap on these breaks). All of this, it is reported, would boost revenue by a few hundred billion dollars over 10 years.

Sounds promising. But by starting by extending the Bush era tax cuts, the Rs would reduce revenues by $4 trillion compared to what would happen if Congress simply lets them expire as scheduled a year from now. So, Republicans would add $4 trillion to the deficit before cutting a paltry $200-$300 billion. In anyplace but Washington this would add up to another $3.7 or $3.8 trillion in red ink. Here, it counts as deficit reduction. Worse, even those dollars appear to result from presumed economic growth rather than policy changes. The wonders of dynamic scoring!

Democrats are playing their own games. While Politico reports this morning that they are proposing $400 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts (most of which would come out of the hides of doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers), the Dems also start by assuming a fix to the ongoing battle over Medicare reimbursements to physicians.  Straightening out this mess could cost as much as $300 billion over the next 10 years. The Ds do say they’d pay for the fix—but with money from the drawdown of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. This money is fiscal pixie dust, since the troops are already coming home and those funds were never going to be spent.

If the built-in assumption is indefinite extension of those reckless Bush tax cuts, we might as write the nation off as a banana republic right now. This is especially true when you consider what will be downsized in response to rewarding the rich for moving jobs overseas, gambling in the Wall Street Casino, and not expanding business here because the economic outlook will continue to be glum.  There are a few hints on what has to go in order to extend these indefensible tax cuts. What will the Dems trade in order to get some tax revenues placed on the table?

Democrats aren’t offering to simply take the GOP at their word. Their plan is to make any cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security part of a trigger that would only be pulled if and when Congress passes hundreds of billions of dollars in new revenue.

Multiple Democratic aides confirm their strategy hasn’t changed: Dems will only support this sort of two-step tax reform process if there are serious revenue guarantees and the deal includes a trigger to make sure the revenue materializes.

If that sounds a little Rube Goldbergish to you, it is. But both parties have basically agreed that the Super Committee wouldn’t have enough time between its launch and its deadline to write a full overhaul of the tax code. So Dems are privately insisting that any future promised revenue come with more than a promise. If the GOP can’t deliver the votes for it, then the safety net cuts they want disappear. That’s not to predict that they’ll stick with this demand until the bitter end — for liberal groups, vigilance is key.

Ever heard of out of sight, out of mind?  If the Repubs delay the tax details and the Dems still try to eek something out, how will this work?  Follow that link to a bunch of other links with this short intro.

As the panel’s Nov. 23 deadline approaches and doubts about its ability for success persist, a new approach is emerging in which the panel may opt to postpone politically difficult decisions by deciding the amount of new revenue their deficit-reduction plan would require, but leaving specifics to Congress’ tax-writing committees to fill in next year.

So is this a deal or a punt?

It seems that K Street isn’t giving up on keeping all the lights lit on the tree for their special interests.  This doesn’t bode well.  The meat may get thrown out while the fat and grizzle are still on the plate.

And 125 companies and groups made another pitch to the super committee on the importance of setting aside additional unlicensed spectrum for new technologies like ultra-fast Wi-Fi.

Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft and others said they worry that if the panel gives the Federal Communications Commission authority to conduct incentive auctions, that the FCC’s move last year to open up the spaces between television channels for unlicensed use could be derailed.

“We urge Congress to give the FCC the flexibility to preserve TV band spectrum for unlicensed super Wi-Fi devices and deliver innovation to American consumers and economic growth to our nation,” they wrote in the letter to the co-chairs of the super committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Yup.  That’s so much more important than feeding hungry children, creating jobs, and fulfilling our obligations to seniors.  It seems that most people will have to search out the bags of dry food while a whole lot of businesses that don’t seem to be able to function without subsidies will still be dining on fancy feast.

47 Comments on “Super Cat Food Commission may have reached a Deal”

  1. I think we need to get the guillotines out of the warehouse, that’s what I think.

  2. Kat, the problem I have with this thesis is that it seems to have at it’s basis the idea that humanity is nothing, can be nothing, but for the grace of the almighty state. If people had not been weaned off of familial support, voluntary community, and self-reliance in deference to the state, the Cat Food Commission would hold no meaning for The People… much like the opium supply has no meaning for the non-addicted.

    With human volition diminished, the state alone is empowered to bestow bounty or ruin, reward friends and deprive enemies. The once vibrant human economy is in shackles to Cat Food Commissioners, unable to act on our own in our, or our community’s rational self interest due to the foot of bureaucracy on our collective necks.

    • dakinikat says:

      Oh for pete’s sake …where do you get these ideas?

      There are things that the government can do better and cheaper than any one else and there are things that are best left to the market. The idea is to sort out which is which based on efficiency, cost curves, risk, market type, etc. These decisions shouldn’t be part and parcel of any strict ideological interpretation. We should not be in the business of privatizing obvious public goods and subsidizing private enterprises that can’t make it any other way and that’s all we’ve been doing for about 30 years now. I spent over a decade in the consulting business and found out the best producers of goods and services were less likely to be private industry. Federal and state workers care about their jobs because they’ll be there for their entire careers. The managers there get their promotions because they know what they’re doing. Corporations are run by political whim, baboon ethics, and raping and pillaging and moving on before you get caught. Promotions are given for being politically skilled and knowing nothing. There’s nothing sacred about the friggin profit motive when it costs society scads of money to maintain it for the few. There is no one market that looks like any other for the most part. All you have to do is go to some place where government doesn’t mind businesses and you see the results. Slavery. Ruined ecology. Rampant stealing of resources. It’s like opening the gates to Attila the Hun and saying have at it.

      Our once “vibrant” economy is in shackles because businesses work hard to become powerful monopolies so they can steal everything that’s not nailed down.. They don’t like competition. They don’t like functional markets. They don’t like being price takers. They don’t want normal market profits, they exist to extract extraordinary ones and they get them by cheating, stealing, and rent seeking. They also like to be granted the legal right to pillage pubic assets and destroy functional markets. The worst bureaucracy is the corporate bureaucracy. Businesses that actually run like they are supposed to are usually private owned (not held by a vast number disinterested stock holders) family run things. It’s big business not big government that’s the problem. Government changes course when elections tell it to. Businesses NEVER change course because they are perpetually coddled to be inefficient. They just move from one rampage to the next. If they lose funds on one thing, they declare bankruptcy. Then, they show up in another form and repeat the same mess. They leave the taxpayers, employees, communities and customers holding the bag while the perpetrators get protected by law since the “corporation” is its own entity.

      Most US corporations would not know how to compete their way out of a box based on producing a quality good or service at a market price. I’ve been in charge of process improvement for Fortune 10 firms, US and State agencies, and small businesses. The government agencies and the small to medium businesses are by far the superior performers. The bigger and the less focused a business gets, the worse it performs on all levels. Any of the corporate finance literature on focus will show you that. If my very life and those of my children depended on an organization to get something done, I’d want government employees doing it. I’ve seen the processes and the measurable results of the processes in terms of quality and efficiency. US corporations spend more resources on making their management feel rich and powerful than anything ever having to do with their core business.

      • mjames says:

        I don’t know where you get your patience, Dak. It’s a thing to behold.

      • dakinikat says:

        mjames: 30+ years dealing with students, senior managers/clients, and children and the same as a dharma practitioner

      • Outis says:

        EVERYONE should read this well-reasoned argument. Reading your comments over the years has not only educated me but changed my opinions. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

        I’ve been reading so many weird comments elsewhere where people are saying they don’t support OWS because they believe in hard work. I’m ready to shoot myself. I wish I could just send them your post.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        Whoosh! Slam dunk, Dak. No room for rebuttal. Nice.

      • BxDemFem says:

        Dak…..your best rant ever……..

    • bostonboomer says:

      Weaned off familial support? That’s about all most of us have left! Please put down your dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged and read something more realistic–before we have to call the men in white coats and tell them to be sure to bring a straight jacket.

      • mjames says:

        Now, now, BB. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and stop your whining.

        P.S. I don’t even understand what that guy is saying. If we hadn’t been weaned off familial support, then what? We’d be happy our health insurance is sky high? We’d be happy we have no jobs? I’d say there’s plenty of self-reliance going on in homes all over the country as people work their guts out to avoid foreclosure or to find the money for dinner.

        I’m ready for the revolution.

      • dakinikat says:

        He reads Hayek and Von Mises. Von Mises admired Mussolini and Hayek and Milton Friedman worked with Pinochet and were equally admiring. Von Mises wrote on the merits of Facism and then moved on to as an economic advisor to the authoritarian regime of Engelbert Dollfuss. For some one who has problems with being shacked by the state that’s an odd reading list. Here’s an adoring missive of facism at the von mises institute written by the old fascist himself. He thought the fascist were the saviors of Europe from the communists and socialists and ‘collectivists’.

      • bostonboomer says:


        If we were really self-reliant, we wouldn’t need health insurance. In fact, we wouldn’t need doctors, we’d just do our own surgeries…

      • bostonboomer says:

        And, BTW, the opium supply affects all of us, because we are not islands unto ourselves. We’re all interconnected. If large numbers of people are stealing to get their heroin, they’re doing that to someone. Not to mention all the “legal” addict killing people with their cars, beating their wives and kids, and raising our health care costs with their smoking-caused diseases.

        • dakinikat says:

          That’s the social costs of what individuals and organizations do when they’re not monitored and punished or rewarded by something. It costs every one else for their problems. It’s like defending against the many rogue corporations is like a community that has to put up the great wall to stop the huns from attacking and stealing things all the time. We have societies because it’s beneficial to cooperate and specialize and defend a group. It’s basic civilization.

      • mjames says:

        Oh, I get it now. If I want to drive, I build myself a car and roads to travel on. If I need clothes, I what? Have a sheep farm? What about water? Plumbing? Hope my neighbor or relative (I’m speaking to) has a mountain lake? WTF?

    • Beata says:

      I think Rick Reynolds has him a hankerin’ fer them good ol’ days.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, there’s nothing like a poor house or an orphanage for protecting the community’s rational self interest.

      The goo old days…

  3. mjames says:

    We’re going under. Period. They know it, and they’re wildly grabbing whatever they can from us before the middle class collapses. Of course, they’re going under too, no matter how desperately they try to postpone the inevitable. They are so stupid they do not realize that in order to keep their wealth they have to share just a teensy little piece. Otherwise, there will be total mayhem sooner rather than later. The greed is staggering.

    Hedges has a worthwhile piece over at Truthdig, basically saying that the 99% are actually witnessing how lawless our society is and how the weapons allegedly amassed to slay the “terrorists” are essentially now being used to keep us in line. Ian Welsh is saying pretty much the same thing. This Occupy movement has certainly exposed TPTB in all their corrupt rotten souls, every last stinking one of them, like the “liberal” Mayor of Oakland. It is my understanding that the Dep’t of Homeland Security coordinated all the attacks on Occupy sites. Yes, we are all Muslims now.

    • Peggy Sue says:

      The Occupy Zuccotti group reoccupied the park tonight, held their general assembly and encouraged all citizens to hit the streets on Thursday, the 2-month anniversary. There were a good 3-4000 people in attendance this evening, defying Bloomberg, the court order and the hardline police that seemed to get a kick out of roughing protesters up this afternoon. There’s a call for a major march and action in all Occupy cities. I watched the live stream earlier. It was powerful. And moving. The powers-that-be can bulldoze the tents and roust the crowd. But they can’t bulldoze the idea or the energy. This has only just begun!

    • Susan says:

      There’s absolutely no evidence that DHS had anything to do with the decision to vacate the OWS sites.

  4. quixote says:

    What are they thinking? Or smoking? Do they really think they can do this and keep their jobs?

    Admittedly, they’re the politicians. Not me. Maybe they can just throw a few ads at the voters and get re-elected. Is that what they’re counting on? Or don’t they care about that at all? Is this all just an elaborate way to get a multi-million post-Congress job for themselves?

    I mean, what are they thinking? Honestly. I don’t get it.

  5. The Rock says:

    Sorry to be off topic, but can anyone explain this net neutrality law that goes into effect on 11/20? I vaguely remember when it was voted upon, but its ramifications elude me…

    Hillary 2012

  6. mjames says:

    Dak, I tried to read that Von Mises link. I failed. Sooooo boring and long-winded. Luckily I have your brief description. But, pray tell, how come you think “Rick Reynolds” reads Von Mises?

  7. ralphb says:

    Sorry for being OT but I believe this could be called confirmation of conspiracy against the Occupiers.

    Update: ‘Occupy’ crackdowns coordinated with federal law enforcement officials

    Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.

    The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies had received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Occupy protests ultimately rests with local law enforcement.

    According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    It is so depressing…

    Thanks for putting all this together Dak, I honestly don’t know what is going to happen to the non-rich people in this country.

    • Beata says:

      Don’t give in to despair, Minx. We’ve only just begun to fight!

      Remember what Ma Joad said: “Rich fellas come up an’ they die, an’ their kids ain’t no good an’ they die out. But we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live. They can’t wipe us out; they can’t lick us. We’ll go on forever, Pa, ’cause we’re the people.”

  9. dakinikat says:

    You almost have to be an economist to get this, but if you want some laughs go to: . It’s a send up of Faux Austrian Economics. Check out their contributor list and their ‘think tank”.

    Here’s an example … it’s really tongue in cheek

  10. I love tilting at windmills, and if nothing I guess I can at least inform you of what deluded opinions are floating in the ethers. 😛

    Government isn’t the only way people get together collectively to create or restore a commons such as roads.

    It used to be that local governments were a community effort. They were created by the community, sustained by community, and were fully accountable to community. At some point in the mid 60s, the federal government got involved and supplanted community, and we lost much of our local power. For instance schools used to be able to count on the amount of money allocated to them. The sources were local, and the accountability was local.

    A typical example how government destroys the community’s ability to accomplish a common good, with recent legislation to provide more teachers for schools, the federal government gives money to local schools on the condition that a community hires 20 more teachers. Fine, but the funding is for a five year period, and when congress doesn’t past another bill to renew that funding before the five years is up, the local schools have 20 teachers that aren’t in their budget. This is a typical example of how the federal government creates unhealthy dependencies, and creates helpless communities.

    More germane to this topic, business depends on government to grant certain subsidies and protections. Politicians in turn receive funding and perks for having granted such boons. After a couple of generations of concentrating the power of community and commerce in the political class, and the power of business and production in their symbiotic benefactors, we just can’t imagine what life would be like without either. But once upon a time, we had the proper restraints on state and corporation, and people could dream, work, and make as good a life as they were willing to fashion. Not because of the state and it’s corporate symbiot, or the corporation and it’s government symbiot…. but because both were held in check. So the state can’t save us from this mess that we’re in, because it’s power is keeping us in it, and preserving it’s benefactors.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah. Great. Jim Crow laws. Laws saying men can’t rape their wives because wives are property. Slavery. Segregation and unequal application of tax laws to schools. Blue laws telling people when they can and can’t drink or operate businesses. Laws forcing people to pray in public schools and say silly pledges to inanimate objects. Laws forcing health care providers to enact religious bias and not make decisions based on medical science. Want me to continue? Just look at the restrictions placed on collective bargaining and on voting rights that have been coming out of the states recently. Plus, look at the attempt to redefine women and children as property. Want to beat your kid to a pulp? Want to hold up in a compound and marry dozens of underage girls? Nothing to see here folks! Just all the wonderful workings of the local state fascists!

      Say goodbye to your civil liberties!

      Right now all of our schools are being turned into charter schools despite overwhelming evidence that the ones they created after Katrina are failing or their succeeding because the for profit administrators are cheating. It appears only to be a movement to bust up teacher unions and enrich political donors. They serve Jindal’s donors and his political ambitions and the only redress we have to stop having the yahoos in the crazy rural parts of the state force it on us is to take the complaints to the Justice Department and hope they’ll act. Same with horrible violations of constitutional rights practiced by police down here. We’re getting privatized prisons, schools, and all kinds of things that are now costing more, serving fewer people, and inadequate to the task. AND we live in a one party state. Our state and local governments are rife with corruption. So’s the police. If it wasn’t for the federal attorney routing all this stuff out, it would be worse.

      The federal government serves to check capricious state and local laws that violate individual civil liberties and rights. I thought the civil war should’ve put this kind’ve thinking to bed. The country IS a community. There are way too many examples of the worst of the worst abuses down around here. Just visit Mississippi some time or Arkansas or now, with Jindal, come down here to Louisiana. You can just check your rights at the state border. The redder the state, the worse the abuses.

  11. I think your point is that federal government is best when it holds oppressive local laws in check. I have to agree with that. Anything that holds the power of any mob in check is good!

    • dakinikat says:

      I think there’s a balance for all things in a community/society. Part of how our system was designed is for there to be checks and balances on excesses of any sort. I think the Fed’s gone way over board on our role in the world as world police, but I think it can serve a lot of good keeping the excesses of individuals, businesses, and state governments in control. And, all those other entities can keep in check the federal government. I guess I don’t single the federal government as being the only unit in our country that can get out of control or that can benefit society when it acts properly.

      • A agree on the balance bit. As I see it, government is only good insofar as it can be accountable. George Washington’s simile that government is “like fire” is pretty much on target. Fire must be contained in a stove, fireplace, or lamp to be useful. When fire gets outside such restraints, disaster. I believe that’s the problem for us today. The fire is beyond accountability, and is burning down our homes, and may consume us

        . I should add here that financial power is also force, and has historically held folks in shackles, using corrupt local and state governments back when the federal government didn’t have the power to attract their tentacles. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance indeed!

  12. And rape laws? I am all for any ban on the use of force against individuals by individuals. That is a legitimate use of force by any government.

  13. Speaking of rape, our government has allowed that to be part of any criminal sentence which calls for incarceration. If the federal government could stop atrocities, when can we expect for atrocities to stop?