Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Today is Future History


Happy Women's History Month. This is from the Sacramento display from last year on California's suffrage efforts.

The Atlantic has a great photo spread on the 1913 Women's Suffrage March on Washington, with the accompanying description of the day:

Though the parade began late, it appeared to be off to a good start until the route along Pennsylvania Avenue became choked with tens of thousands of spectators -- mostly men in town for the inauguration. Marchers were jostled and ridiculed by many in the crowd. Some were tripped, others assaulted. Policemen appeared to be either indifferent to the struggling paraders, or sympathetic to the mob. Before the day was out, one hundred marchers had been hospitalized. The mistreatment of the marchers amplified the event -- and the cause -- into a major news story and led to congressional hearings, where the D.C. superintendent of police lost his job. What began in 1913 took another seven years to make it through Congress. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment secured the vote for women.

Progress takes time. And sacrifice. A salute to those who are willing to stand up for what's right, no matter the personal cost.

On that note... who will stand up now? The news:

We had an election. We said "no". Republicans aren't listening. New Ryan budget will cut deeper than the last one, and looks to take the country hostage in August:
"Ryan declined to discuss policy changes under consideration, including accelerating measures that would end Medicare’s guarantee of open-ended coverage. Last year’s GOP budget delayed Medicare changes until 2023. And it made no explicit cuts to Social Security benefits, which Republican leaders have since argued should be reduced through a less-generous measure of inflation... If the House approves his budget plan, Ryan has said, it will set the stage for negotiations with Senate Democrats over the debt limit, which will again demand lawmakers’ attention in August. “We are going to have to negotiate on top of [the sequester] for a new debt-ceiling increase . . . and we’re going to have to come out of that with a plan to get spending under control,” Ryan said. “I mean, we’re very serious about this.”

We even have a study that shows our elected officials aren't listening:
"Broockman and Skovron find that legislators consistently believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. This includes Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. But conservative legislators generally overestimate the conservatism of their constituents by 20 points. “This difference is so large that nearly half of conservative politicians appear to believe that they represent a district that is more conservative on these issues than is the most conservative district in the entire country,” Broockman and Skovron write. This finding held up across a range of issues."

The Hill: "GOP centrists balk at Ryan plan." Wait, there are GOP centrists left?
"House Republican centrists are furious that GOP leaders are considering abandoning their pledge not to change Medicare retirement benefits for people 55 years and older. According to several sources, a handful of centrist GOP lawmakers attending a recent Tuesday Group luncheon erupted when Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) broke the news... But this year’s version will be more to the liking of conservatives. The 2012 measure would have balanced the budget by 2040 — this year’s would do it by 2023, meaning there would be greater spending cuts."

But first, the GOP will see to it that its campaign contributors are spared:
"The measure would leave in place automatic cuts of 5 percent to domestic agencies and 7.8 percent to the Pentagon ordered Friday by President Barack Obama after months of battling with Republicans over the budget. But the House Republicans' legislation would award the Defense Department its detailed 2013 budget while other agencies would be frozen in place at 2012 levels."

The title of the future book shall read "How Congress killed the recovery in 2013":
"However, the austerity the federal government has enacted has also been a significant drag on short-term economic growth. In 2011, government austerity slowed GDP growth by 0.7 percentage points — about half of which came from federal spending cuts and half from state/local fiscal consolidation, estimates Dean Maki, chief U.S. economist at Barclays. In 2012, the total drag was 0.3 percentage points, about two-thirds of which came from federal cuts. In 2013, the fiscal drag from government austerity is expected to be between 1.5 and 2.0 percentage points — depending on whether the full sequester stays in place all year — the vast majority of which is because of federal spending cuts and tax hikes."

Lizza dispels the myth that Obama can bend Congress to his will by pointing out the truth about LBJ:
"The boring fact of our system is that congressional math is the best predictor of a President’s success. This idea is not nearly as sexy as the notion that great Presidents are great because they twist arms in backrooms and inspire the American people to rise up and force Congress to bend to their will. But even the Presidents who are remembered for their relentless congressional lobbying and socializing were more often than not successful for more mundane reasons—like arithmetic. Lyndon Johnson’s celebrated legislative achievements were in reality only a function of the congressional election results—not his powers of persuasion. In 1965 and 1966, after the enormous Democratic gains of the 1964 election, Johnson was a towering figure who passed sweeping legislation. In 1967 and 1968, after he lost forty-eight Democrats in the House, he was a midget."

That's it for now. Enjoy the day.