Thursday, November 11, 2010

Catfood Commission takes its first scratch

I've been reading a lot of the reaction to the Catfood Commission chair's initial recommendations but my first take was why did they release this at all? It's just two guys' opinions that carry no weight, though it certainly captured the news cycle on all sides. I found myself wondering if it was one of those eleventy chess moves to force the GOP to get specific on how they're going to keep their promise to cut the deficit.

But whatever the reason, the shorter version is these two rich guys want to keep their Bush era tax breaks, cut their taxes even further and balance the books by forcing the poor and the middle class to make up the difference. Of all I've read, Kevin Drum put it best, illustrated with this handy chart. As he said:
To put this more succinctly: any serious long-term deficit plan will spend about 1% of its time on the discretionary budget, 1% on Social Security, and 98% on healthcare. [...]

This document is a paean to cutting the federal government, not cutting the federal deficit.
In other words, just another stab at realizing the conservative pipe dream of destroying our current form of government and restoring a feudal system with themselves as the new aristocrats.

It's a joke of a proposal but Atrios pins down the biggest hazard for the White House. It may well be a bi-partisan commission, but it was established by the president and it will hereby be called Obama's Deficit Commission. Bad optics for 2012 when the President's handpicked guys are calling to cut the most beloved social program in the country.

In any event, I fully expect this commission will turn out to be as effective as any previous ones. Meaning, they'll spend a lot of time and tax dollars to make recommendations that will be officially released long after the issues are decided and everyone will ignore them.

And one last thought. Not proposing changing it's nym, but Catfood Commission isn't really that apt. Catfood isn't all that cheap anymore. I can buy regular chunk light tuna cheaper than pet food, but of course, Ramen Noodle Commission just isn't as catchy.

[Much more commentary at Memeorandum yesterday and today.

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