In an interview last week on MSNBC, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) rejected the notion that he is the Democratic Party’s version of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In fact, Grayson is so disgusted at the suggestion that said Cruz is “trying to hasten the apocalypse” and compared him to Jim Jones, a religious cult leader responsible for the deaths of 909 people.
“Ted Cruz represents the element of the Republican Party that’s trying to hasten the apocalypse,” Grayston told MSNBC host Richard Lui. “These are people who think that Obamcare is helping to save lives, and they want to destroy it anyway. These are people who understand a government shutdown causes chaos to the economy, and they want to do it anyway. These are people who understand defaulting on the national debt would drive unemployment sky high, and they want to do it anyway.”
Lui noted that Cruz was recently given the “Statesman of the Year” award by the Sarasota County (FL) Republican Party, despite criticism from prominent Republicans. The host asked how Grayson dealt with criticism from his own party.
“Well, I haven’t gotten that kind of criticism from my own party. But, in any event, calling [Cruz] the ‘Statesman of the Year’ would be like calling Jim Jones the ‘Religious Leader of the Year,’ for much the same reason,” Grayson said. “He’s trying to create sort of a mass suicide cult called the Tea Party and lead it. I don’t think I can be accused of anything similar to that.”
Even the those who are beholden to President Barack Obama and Democrats have occasional moments of clarity, right? That’s the only possible explanation for Chris Matthews comments this weekend on Meet the Press, when he acknowledged that Democrats could lose as many as 10 seats in the Senate.
“To the Democrats this election, a rosy scenario is to lose five Senate seats, not six,” Matthews said. “They could lose 10, and what they’ve said is if we’re going to lose 10 seats potentially, and they could well do that, a big sweep, they’re going to their battle stations,” pointing to the minimum wage as the big issue for Democrats in 2014.
It’s the smartest thing Matthews has said since knocked President Obama for his lack of leadership when the IRS targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups first came to light. But even then he loathed the notion that the leadership failure could help Republicans in the 2014 mid-term election.
Sorry, RINO hunters, it looks like you’re going home empty handed this time.
There aren’t many state election polls, but in Texas elections the Tribune is a big one, and their poll results out Monday for statewide races show no big surprises.
Senator John Cornyn, who according to the media narrative is pitched in a tough battle for his seat against insurgent conservatives, secures a solid 62% of Republican primary likely voters. Since all he needs to avoid a runoff is 50% in the primary, he looks comfortably poised to cruise to victory in November.
In the general election, Cornyn looks in no more peril against Democrats, who are likely headed to a runoff, with LaRouche acolyte and perpetual candidate, Kesha Rogers, holding the early plurality. The Tribune provides no direct matchup between Cornyn and Rogers or any other Democrat candidate for Senate, but with a +1 approval rating in a +10 Republican state in an off-year election, Cornyn should be representing the great state of Texas in Washington for another 6 years.
The Tribune poll also gages several other high profile Texas races this year, including governor and lieutenant governor. In the former, current attorney-general Greg Abbott’s lead over state senator Wendy Davis has expanded from 8 points last October to 11 points. In the October poll, when few knew who either candidate was, Abbott had only 29% support to Davis’ 21%. Now that both campaigns are ramping up, Abbott has a strong 47% support and Davis 36%.
The White House didn’t take too kindly to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s report showing that the $10.10 minimum wage being pushed by President Barack Obama would lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs.
In response to the report, two White House economists wrote a lengthy rebuttal to the report, touting the findings that they felt bolstered the case for a minimum wage hike while, at the same time, dismissing its findings on the negative impact to the labor market. Call it a case study in “having their cake and eating it too.”
Betsey Stevenson, one of the White House economists who wrote the rebuttal, even insulted the CBO, comparing its report to what’s taught in introductory economics.
“[A] new burgeoning literature has really pointed out that how much you pay people actually affects how they perform, what they do, and how much they produce,” Stevenson told reporters on Tuesday. “You don’t get the loss of employment that that, you know, supply-demand that you saw on the chalk board if you took introductory economics would have demonstrated.”
CBO Director Doug Elmendorf defended his agency’s report on the labor market effects of the minimum wage at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday:
Edward Lazear, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, has written an interesting op-ed at Politico Magazine on some of the healthcare reforms developed by President George W. Bush’s administration mid-way into his second term.
Lazear presents these reforms as an alternative to Obamacare, pointing to the recent findings in the Congressional Budget Office report showing that employment will drop by 2.5 million full-time workers because of the disincentives created by health insurance subsidies in the law. He explains that the 2007 reforms would have made healthcare more cost-effective and efficient. What’s more, it would have made health insurance more accessible to Americans who couldn’t afford coverage.
“The Bush 2007 plan achieves these goals,” Lazear wrote. “The basic structure is to offer all Americans a standard tax deduction, in 2007 set at $15,000 for families and $7,500 for individuals. The deduction would apply to payroll tax — both employee and employer contribution — as well as to income tax.”
“Importantly, the size of the deduction would be independent of the amount spent on the plan. Any taxpayer who has a plan that includes catastrophic coverage gets the full deduction, irrespective of the plan’s cost,” he continued. “That is important because it creates the incentives to choose efficiently.
Lazear explains that the problem with the current system is that it’s tied to employment. Instead, he argues, that offering tax credits to individuals would create “appropriate incentives to shop around.”
Political insiders from both parties blame the rise in primary challenges for the gridlock we’re seeing in Congress. You’ve heard it before. Talking heads will that Republicans, for example, have to appeal to their base to avoid an insurgent conservative primary challenger.
Though it’s true that some incumbents have been knocked off by primary challengers in recent election cycles, Robert Boatright, a political science professor at Clark University and author of Getting Primaried: The Changing Politics of Congressional Primary Challenges, challenges the conventional wisdom that primary challenges are responsible for gridlock in Washington:
There’s just one problem with the idea that primaries have become more common and more important: It’s dead wrong. By my count, there’s nothing unique about the number of competitive primary challenges occurring today. In fact, there were more competitive primary races run in the House during the 1970s (an average of 49 per election) than there have been in the last decade (the average has been 45 each election). Today’s primaries only look competitive because the late 1990s had so few of them. The pattern in the Senate is similar.
While most Democrats seem to be hailing the news that Obamacare will reduce the incentive to work, Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seems to be in complete denial.
At a stop in Orlando on Monday, Sebelius told reports that there is no evidence that Obamacare will reduce employment.
“There is absolutely no evidence, and every economist will tell you this, that there is any job-loss related to the Affordable Care Act,” Sebelius said. “Part-time physicians are actually down since 2010, not up. The number of full-time workers continues to increase. I know that’s a popular myth that continues to be repeated, but it just is not accurate.”
Well, there is evidence.
The Congressional Budget Office recently determined that Obamacare would reduce employment by 2 million full-time workers by 2017, up from an earlier projection of 800,000, rising to 2.5 million by 2024. The reason for the decline in workers is because the subsidies, which are tied to income, would encourage people to work less.
Believe it or not, folks, it’s been five years since President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2009 stimulus measure spent $831 billion on infrastructure, tax credits, and other policies that largely served as taxpayer-funded giveaways to core leftist constituencies
Passed in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the stimulus bill was based on the Keynesian notion that the government, through spending on “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects and other purported economic multipliers, could drive aggregate demand and create jobs.
Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein, the economic advisors who developed the stimulus plan, argued that these policies would help bring the United States back from the brink of economic depression. In their January 2009 policy paper, the two economists claimed that the unemployment rate would not exceed 7.9% with the stimulus bill, while it would reach 8.8% without it. Because, you know, counterfactual.
They were wrong.
Even with the $831 billion stimulus bill, the unemployment rate rose from 7.8% in January 2009 to 10% in October of that same year, at which point Romer declared that the measure had already had its greatest impact. In fact, unemployment didn’t fall below 9% until October 2011.
The infamous Romer-Bernstein chart shows the unemployment rate falling to 5% in December 2013. In reality, the December 2013 unemployment rate was 6.7%, nearly 2 points higher.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) blasted Republicans who backed the debt ceiling increase this week, telling conservative talk show host Mark Levin on Thursday that the Washington political establishment “think the American people are a bunch of rubes” who “don’t remember what they say.”
“In the 13 months I’ve been in the Senate, it has become apparent to me the single thing that Republican politicians hate and fear the most, and that is when they’re forced to tell the truth,” Cruz told Levin. “It makes their heads explode.”
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” — George Orwell
— Internet-wide protest against government surveillance: Some of the most well-known tech firms and civil liberties organizations will participate tomorrow in “The Day We Fight Back,” an Internet-wide protest against government surveillance, hoping to replicate the success of protests two years ago against SOPA and PIPA. Organizers are also dedicating the event to Aaron Swartz, an online activist who committed suicide last year. He was facing federal charges at the time of his death. More than 4,500 websites are expected to participate in the protest, according to The Hill.
— Hardly any Democrat wants to campaign with Obama: Politico reports this morning that only a handful of Democrats running in races across the country gave an “unequivocal ‘yes’” when asked if they would campaign with President Obama.