The Froomkin piece from Friday on the abject cruelty of the GOP’s slashing of SNAP (foodstamps to you and me) has at the end of it some really interesting tools and facts about budgeting that I have not seen before:
Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy research, has, as he puts it, “long harassed budget reporters and editors over the practice of reporting large budget numbers without any context.”
Baker’s suggestion: “Newspapers could get in the habit of writing budget numbers as shares of the total budget.” (They can even use this nifty calculator.) So, for instance:
“[T]he food stamp piece could have told readers that the proposed cut to the program was 0.086 percent of projected federal spending over the next decade. That may or may not be a big deal for the people losing benefits, but readers would know that it would not matter much for the budget.”
“There are certainly people who want to believe that all of their tax dollars are going to lazy good-for-nothings and they have no intention of letting the evidence change their views. But that does not explain most of the confusion on budget issues. It really is a case where the media has been incredibly irresponsible, treating budget reporting more like a fraternity ritual than an effort to inform their audience about the budget.”
This is really a great idea to give these numbers context. Taking away food from starving people is reprehensible on its own merit, but when you see that this needless austerity only saves about 0.08% of the Federal budget, it just is an act of unprecedented cruelty. We can—and must—do better than this.
Summers has just withdrawn his name for becoming the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve:
“I have reluctantly concluded that any possible confirmation process for me would be acrimonious and would not serve the interest of the Federal Reserve, the Administration or, ultimately, the interests of the nation’s ongoing economic recovery.”
But not to worry, I’m sure that President Carebear will find some other Clinton-era retread to take it on.
We should give a big thank-you to the Democratic members of the banking committee: Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren, and Jon Tester. They announced rather loudly that they would not support Summers, and The Kenyan knows that the Republicans will not help him no matter what, so this shows that when the feckless and spineless Dim-o-Crats focus, they can get good stuff done.
Sweet Baby Jeebus in a shopping cart! Notice how Ingraham goes into a dialect (as if she was reading from Huck Finn) by the end of her rant and says that people who use food stamps will be like “The Roof Squatters” during Katrina.
I guess it is hard for a multi-millionaire media personality like that living scarecrow to have any empathy for people less fortunate. As for saying that there are twice as many people needing food stamps as there were under Bush, well, The Great Recession was his parting gift, and we are still suffering under it.
…that the Confidence Fairy is a con artist:
“… If you look at United States history since World War II, you find that of the 10 presidents who preceded Barack Obama, seven left office with a debt ratio lower than when they came in. Who were the three exceptions? Ronald Reagan and the two George Bushes. So debt increases that didn’t arise either from war or from extraordinary financial crisis are entirely associated with hard-line conservative governments.
And there’s a reason for that association: U.S. conservatives have long followed a strategy of “starving the beast,” slashing taxes so as to deprive the government of the revenue it needs to pay for popular programs.
The funny thing is that right now these same hard-line conservatives declare that we must not run deficits in times of economic crisis. Why? Because, they say, politicians won’t do the right thing and pay down the debt in good times. And who are these irresponsible politicians they’re talking about? Why, themselves.
To me, it sounds like a fiscal version of the classic definition of chutzpah — namely, killing your parents, then demanding sympathy because you’re an orphan. Here we have conservatives telling us that we must tighten our belts despite mass unemployment, because otherwise future conservatives will keep running deficits once times improve.
Put this way, of course, it sounds silly. But it isn’t; it’s tragic. The disastrous turn toward austerity has destroyed millions of jobs and ruined many lives. And it’s time for a U-turn.”
And his column appears the same day that The Guardian is reported a full-scale depression in part of the Eurozone and they will not be in recovery anytime soon, and the German founder of the Euro is calling for its breakup, according to The Telegraph.
“Keep f***ing the chicken, boys.”
Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy is restraining economic growth.
Austerity! Economic growth is not in the political interests of Wingnuttia, so everyone can suck eggs.
…we offer this reprise showing:
UPDATE: Great minds think alike: One of the Internet Blogger Hall-o-Fame greatest stylists and a personal hero of mine, Jurassic Pork also is calling Chimpy’s Lieberry a collection of pop-up books. Also, too: What JP Said.
George W. Bush Library Set to Open at SMU
The Chimpy McStagger reading room…”will preserve for history the important decisions made by President Bush during his presidency and will embody and carry on the values of President and Mrs. Bush.”
I think that’s a long-winded way of saying that there will be an open bar and a pharmacy.
…over at the Rollingstone. He has a drinking game going and everything!
(*sniff* they grow up so fast)