Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Livin' the Dream


Gondola ride on Lake Merritt. Living for the weekends.

Here now the news. Pay special attention to the last item:

It's officially the "Tea Party Sequester": Spending cuts represent moment of truth for tea party
Deep reductions in domestic and defense spending are set to begin Friday in a process known as sequestration, which will make progress toward the tea party’s goal of shrinking the government. What unfolds over the following months will be a high-stakes test of whether significant cuts in spending will help or hurt the economy — and the Republican Party’s brand.

Too Stupid to Steal: Will Florida’s GOP Legislature Thwart Rick Scott’s Medicaid Expansion?
Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement last week that he supports the Medicaid expansion in Florida may not be enough to seal the deal. That’s because it still needs budget approval from the overwhelmingly Republican legislature, which has majorities of 28-12 in the Senate and 74-46 in the House, and is wary of going along with one of the key provisions of “Obamacare.”

Too Stubborn to Win: Popular Chris Christie ‘Not Being Invited’ to CPAC
There are almost 40 featured speakers at next month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, but one of the most popular Republican governors in the country has yet to receive an invite. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is “not being invited” to CPAC, according to a source close to the event who was not authorized to speak publicly. The source would not answer why Christie, who is widely thought to be interested in the 2016 presidential race, would not be invited to the confab of conservative activists.

Karma's a Bitch: Sequester's Red-State Payback
Liberals shouldn’t take any solace in the fact that a conservative state, represented largely by anti-tax, pro-austerity fundamentalists, might suffer disproportionately from the sequester. But it will be clarifying and useful for those who have been frustrated by the right’s refusal to recognize reality. The conventional wisdom holds that elected Republican officials can engage in the type of irresponsible brinksmanship that hurts economic growth without consequences since so many are in safe districts. But the sequester is going to cause a great deal of pain to governments, consumers, and, especially, to businesses back home – in Republican precincts as well as Democratic ones.

But It's All About the Spin: The GOP Rage Machine and Its Mainstream Apologists
The Republicans in Congress aren’t “stubborn.” They are completely implacable. Obama can’t lead them anywhere. They will not play... This is not a negotiating posture. It is carved into stone with them, an edict. Their agitprop media has spread the diktat, and any Republican who even thought about breaking ranks would be guaranteeing himself a primary. No serious person can call that governing in any way, shape, or form. I marvel at how the Republicans can have the stones to say something like this. But I spend a lot more time marveling at how the panjandrums of Beltway-think decide that they should be allowed to take such a position and that it should be treated respectfully.

Where's the GOP Plan? Pelosi To Boehner: Bills You Passed Last Congress Don’t Count
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters Tuesday that "sequestration equals employment" and labeled the House GOP leadership "irresponsible" for "avoidance behavior" on addressing the sequester. She addressed Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) contention Tuesday that the Senate get up off their "ass" and act because House Republicans voted twice to avoid the sequester last year. "The Republican leadership says we passed bills last year," Pelosi said. "I remind them, that was a different Congress. That doesn't count in this Congress. The Republican leadership says let the Senate begin. I remind them that the Constitution says that appropriations and revenue bills must begin in the House."

Bad Precedent: States Can Cut Back on Medicaid Payments, Administration Says
The Obama administration said Monday that states could cut Medicaid payments to many doctors and other health care providers to hold down costs in the program, which insures 60 million low-income people and will soon cover many more under the new health care law... The statement of federal policy infuriated health care providers and advocates for low-income people. But it may encourage wavering Republican governors to go along with the expansion because it gives them a tool to help control costs.

Look to Oregon: Gov. John Kitzhaber: ‘No one thinks fee for service is working’
Oregon is at work on an ambitious Medicaid experiment one that, if it works, could save the federal government $10 billion over the course of a decade. The idea — which you can read more about here — is to change the way doctors and hospitals get paid, incentivizing them to provide more cost-efficient care.

Breaking as I Type: CQEnergy ‏@CQEnergy
Stabenow to chair Senate Finance Subcommittee on Energy; Wyden will continue chairing trade subcommittee. Congrats, Senator.

The Ghost of Mike Bishop Cries Alone: Michigan Republicans ARE Open to Service Taxes - Six Years Later
Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, on Monday said he is urging House members talking about taxing services to proceed with caution after the 2007 "cluster mess." (Refresher on who created the "cluster mess" here.)... House Republican Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, is open to a tax on services but has not committed to passing any of the various road funding proposals, spokesman Ari Adler said Monday. (Is he now? How interesting.) Taxing services is the latest idea to emerge in Lansing as lawmakers search for alternatives to Gov. Rick Snyder's proposal to hike the 19-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax and 15-cent diesel tax to the equivalent of 33 cents per gallon using a percentage formula based on wholesale fuel prices.

One thing is for sure - Michigan Republicans absolutely LOVE to raise taxes on citizens - when they are in power. Anyone have a total figure of proposed and/or passed tax increases/loss of deductions since '10? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I may have to stay in low-tax California at this rate.

Have a deja vu day...