Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Catnip 7/18/12: Tsunami Warning


If you live in a swing state, you may need to put one of these near your television...

Here now some news:

Big guns. The man who whines incessantly about being attacked is pulling out the wallet to assault your ears and eyeballs in a major way - if you live in a swing state, that is. Romney has released four - count 'em four - attack ads in the past week, and has made a huge ad buy to peddle his distorted view of Obama's record to the masses. Check out these numbers: "According to a Republican media buyer he is spending $1,417,645 in Ohio, $1,207,210 in Virginia, $679,465 in North Carolina, $642,417 in Colorado, $551,540 in Iowa, $473,425 in Nevada and $82,750 in New Hampshire over the next week." Is the constant propaganda enough to sway this race? We will find out.

So far, Americans are taking a pass on the Romney campaign. ABC/WaPo finds that most view Mitten's tactics in a negative light, but neither candidate is on anyone's Christmas card list as of now: "46% of Americans viewed Obama's campaign favorably, compared to only 38% who viewed Romney's. On the flip side, 45% viewed Obama's effort as unfavorably and 49% said they had an unfavorable impression of Romney's campaign." Key stat: One in four Republicans dislike the Romney campaign, compared to only 18% of Democrats disliking the Obama campaign.

Is Obama attacking success? Are you high?, asks Jonathan Chait. "It is actually the confluence of a series of delusions. Let’s count them." Chait points out that you cannot find an instance where Obama has "attacked success", unless asking people to pay their fair share to support the society they live in is considered an attack. To the Republicans, it is. Anything short of worshiping our wealthy overlords is heresy in their eyes, and that's their problem. The Bush tax cuts are still in place, the wealthy are doing better than ever, and the only thing Republicans are pissed about is that they can't steal it all as long as Obama's in office.

"The Safety Net Now Supports the Middle Class," reports Taegan Goddard, citing stats from Greg Mankiw. It's complicated, tax paid in as opposed to transfer payments out, but here is the bottom line: "According to the CBO data, this number was +14 percent in 1979 (when the data begin) and remained positive through 2007. It was negative 0.5 percent in 2008, and negative 5 percent in 2009. That is, the middle class, having long been a net contributor to the funding of government, is now a net recipient of government largess." Well, we will take care of that, say the House Republicans...

... as they move to make deep cuts to HHS spending. Once again, they are going to defund Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, slash consumer protections and cost savings programs in Medicaid and Medicare, and whack all sorts of stuff that benefits you, citizen of American society, as they break the budget agreement yet again. Just another day with the House GOP.

John McCain had a really bad day yesterday. Time for Senator Crankypants to take a nap, perhaps? Say, has anyone invited the "better candidate" to the RNC yet? Ha. Has to be a living hell to be one of the few that knows what is in Romney's tax returns, and not be able to come clean about it.

The words "fiscal cliff" are about to become part of the American lexicon. The WaPo has a post that tells you everything you need to know; here is the pertinent fact: "The CBO estimates that the total effect of these provisions is a 3.9 percent reduction in the growth rate of GDP next year — enough to make the year’s total growth rate negative, plunging the country back into recession." Lots of doom and gloom being bandied about, we will see what happens over the next few months, but don't expect Congress to address this with any sort of responsible action.

Department of Energy loans programs a failure? No, they are a "remarkable" success. Politico's Morning Energy reports: "Former DOE loan program Executive Director Jonathan Silver, who stepped down last year, is making a rare public appearance to talk about the program. "While not every investment will succeed, the portfolio is in good shape. The funds represented by investments that have failed represent less than 3 percent of the total portfolio. This is a record the private sector would consider remarkable, but is particularly impressive for a portfolio of technologically innovative projects being built at a commercials scale for the first time anywhere. The expected loss on the Abound transaction, which we are here to discuss today, represents less than four one-thousandths of 1 percent of the total financings." Here is his testimony.

Hope to hear more about this later....