A Gang of Deficit Fairy Phantoms

Over the weekend, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s GA politics section published an article claiming that Saxby Chambliss’ Gang of Six has become a Gang of 38.

Saxby Chambliss’ Gang of Six has grown to 38 U.S. senators from both parties, who on Thursday urged the debt reduction “supercommittee” to aim high and secure $4 trillion in budget savings.

The Georgia Republican was joined by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and a group too large to fit on the news conference stage to send a message to the 12-member joint committee created in the summer’s deal to raise the debt ceiling.

It’s nice of Chambliss’ home paper to present this unquestioningly.

But your first tip-off that something’s wrong is the quote of their other home Senator, Johnny Isakson, talking about just pulling the trigger on deficit cuts, to know something’s not right here.

“Nobody needs to really look too far for what we need to do,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. “They just need to be willing to pull the trigger.”

After all, one of the tax reforms the Catfood Commission and the Gang of Six pushed was to cut the mortgage deduction. And, as a former realtor, Isakson is the real estate industry’s biggest friend in Congress. I’m guessing it would take a great deal to get Isakson to vote for cuts to the deduction.

Mind you, Chambliss did get 17 Democrats plus Lieberman and 18 Republicans to sign to … something. That something is an agreement in principle.

As a bipartisan group of Senators, we will encourage and support the Super Committee in fulfilling its mission. We are here to support a deficit reduction package consistent with the following principles that should:

  • Include enough deficit reduction to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy, and put the debt on a downward path, and provide fiscal certainty. We believe a reasonable target is at least $4 trillion, including previously enacted deficit measures. This will send the right message to the financial markets.
  • Use the established, bipartisan debt and deficit reduction frameworks as a starting point for discussions.
  • Focus on the major parts of the budget and include long-term entitlement reforms and pro-growth tax reform.
  • Be structured to grow the economy in the short, medium and long-term.
  • Work to include the American public and the business community in a broader discussion about the breadth of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing us. [my emphasis]

It does point to “existing frameworks,” aka, the Catfood Commission/Gang of Six. But using that as a “starting point” for discussions does not equate to an agreement from 36 Senators to cut the home mortgage deduction. Nor does it reflect broad support for further DOD cuts, which was also in the Catfood recommendations.

Nevertheless, if you happen to be a constituent of the following Democratic Senators, you might want to ask them why they are aiming to cut our social safety net:

  • Begich
  • Bennet
  • Carper
  • Conrad
  • Coons
  • Hagan
  • Klobuchar
  • Landrieu
  • McCaskill
  • Manchin
  • Nelson
  • Pryor
  • Shaheed
  • Tester
  • Mark Udall
  • Warner
  • Wyden

Interestingly, Klobuchar seems to have been added at a late minute. Also note that Dick Durbin is not on this list, even while he voted for the Catfood recommendations.

9 replies
  1. der says:

    Jeesh, it doesn’t take a lot of deep thinking to see the results of 30 years of financial deregulation, it’s what the world is living with today. These band-aid approaches just do one thing and that’s push the problem off past the next election. In the mean time the Feds bail out of the wealthiest and back stopping their portfolio losses give the members of the World’s Most Deliberative Body a false sense of “all’s well in the heartland” but gives the rest of us heartburn and a feeling of hopelessness. Change, that’s all that’s left as a down payment on the American Dream for many. Blah, blah, blah, morans. God help us.

  2. rugger9 says:

    Keep in mind that most of the Congresscritters only see what the Villagers want them to see, it’s part of why the GOP had such a hard time at the town halls they did do, because they are clueless about what the people really feel.

    Poll after poll shows things like “regulations aren’t the problem for small business”, “jobs are more important than deficits” [echoed forcefully by the Nobel prizewinning economists walled out by Obama, so the deep thinkers say so too], and so on.

    For them to fix what’s broken could be political suicide, especially post-Citizens United, since their opponent has unlimited cash to draw from for attack ads filled with falsehoods. It’s what happened to Feingold in WI.

  3. Bob Schacht says:

    The Eurozone economic troubles parallel our own: The prescription for debt problems is austerity. Which, of course, sends us further into debt as more people get laid off, and fewer people have any money to spend.

    And notice who austerity hurts the most: those who can least afford it. And who is hurt the least? Why, its the same banksters who got us into this mess.

    I was reminded by NPR this morning that the current stage of European unity is primarily an agreement among the biggest banks. And who is pushing the austerity plans in Europe? The banks. The banks are in a tizy because bad loans that they made in years past are now coming due. Nevermind that the loans were made by under-regulated banks with insufficient capital reserves who were encouraged to take risks to make MORE MONEY. Will they be forced to pay anything for their bad risk management? Probably not.

    Bob in AZ

  4. rugger9 says:

    @Bob Schacht:
    Which is also why the Iceland turnaround is not being mentioned at all in the corporate media. Iceland basically told the banks (after trying austerity, briefly) to go bleep themselves, devalued the currency, and spent on infrastructure. They are in much better shape than austerity-hobbled Ireland even though a year ago the finances were indistinguishable.

    However, the catfood 38 are still not willing to sign off on their political death warrants since C-U still is the law voted on by 5 “Justices”.

  5. joberly says:

    EW–Correct that Sen. Klobuchar, who represents me as a Minnesotan, appears to have been one of four senators added to an original list of 34. So, too, was Sen. Durbin, who was added to the add-on list. I’ll take you up on your challenge to ask Sen. K. what she understands “long-term entitlement reforms” to mean on Sen. Chambliss’s list.

  6. rugger9 says:

    Make ‘Em Squirm!

    Especially since Senator Sanders’ plan solves the issue without any more complications. Why have a cap in the first place, and is anyone really saying these self-proclaimed hotshot business types really run such close margins that they can’t afford this? Puhleeze.

  7. orionATL says:

    well, well,

    the miscreants, aka distinguished u.s. senators’, names are reported here,

    uno por uno.

    what a quaint idea of reportage – putting politicians’ names associated with an issue in full public view.

  8. orionATL says:

    inflation – it’s a worry.

    a couple of weeks ago i seem to recall senator mark warner (va) was claiming a herd of 26 senators in his corner.

    now we have warner’s senatorial partner, the hard-faced, mean-faced senator saxby chambliss (ga)
    claiming that his and his pal’s (senator warner) group has grown to 38 senators.

    so how many senators does it take to block legislation?

    maybe the gang of six cluster-study should pay some attention.

  9. prostratedragon says:

    Also note that Dick Durbin is not on this list, even while he voted for the Catfood recommendations.

    Subtle bit of strategery there.

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