Nary a month goes by that we don’t have yet another story about charter school execs stealing big chunks of cash.
And people wonder why we think teabaggers are crazy.
What was supposed to be a routine vote in the House — to knock down an amendment authored by conservative Republicans — turned into pandemonium on the House floor Friday, as Democrats tried to jam the plan through, and hang it around the GOP’s necks.
The vote was on the Republican Study Committee’s alternative budget — a radical plan that annihilates the social contract in America by putting the GOP budget on steroids. Deeper tax cuts for the wealthy, more severe entitlement rollbacks.
Normally something like that would fail by a large bipartisan margin in either the House or the Senate. Conservative Republicans would vote for it, but it would be defeated by a coalition of Democrats and more moderate Republicans. But today that formula didn’t hold. In an attempt to highlight deep divides in the Republican caucus. Dems switched their votes — from “no” to “present.”
Panic ensued. In the House, legislation passes by a simple majority of members voting. The Dems took themselves out of the equation, leaving Republicans to decide whether the House should adopt the more-conservative RSC budget instead of the one authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. As Dems flipped to present, Republicans realized that a majority of their members had indeed gone on the record in support of the RSC plan — and if the vote closed, it would pass. That would be a slap in the face to Ryan, and a politically toxic outcome for the Republican party.
So they started flipping their votes from “yes” to “no.”
In the end, the plan went down by a small margin, 119-136. A full 172 Democrats voted “present.”
The suicide rate increased 3 percent in the 2001 recession and has generally ridden the tide of the economy since the Great Depression, rising in bad times and falling in good ones, according to a comprehensive government analysis released Thursday.
Experts said the new study may help clarify a long-clouded relationship between suicide and economic trends.
While many researchers have argued that economic hardship can raise the likelihood of suicide in people who are already vulnerable — like those with depression or other mental illnesses — research has been mixed. Some studies have supported such a link, but others have found the opposite: that rates drop in periods of high unemployment, as if people exhibit resilience when they need it most.
Using more comprehensive data to nail down economic trends, the new study found a clear correlation between suicide rates and the business cycle among young and middle-age adults. That correlation vanished when researchers looked only at children and the elderly. It may not be the case that economic troubles cause suicide attempts, but they can be factors.
“They did a nice job of adding a piece to a very complex puzzle,” said Eve Moscicki, a researcher at the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education who was not involved in the study. “It may be that when people who are more vulnerable to suicide to begin with lose a job or get a pay cut, it adds one more stressor.”
This administration doesn’t seem to like representative democracy much, does it. Lots of back-door deals and grand master plans that don’t include the people we elected to represent us….
In a tense moment that may well have encapsulated the frustrations of three-plus months in the minority, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi snapped at a top presidential economic adviser, Gene Sperling, during a closed-door meeting between White House aides and House Democratic leaders Wednesday.
“Maybe you could consult with us just once,” Pelosi said, according to one source’s account. Others confirmed the basic content of the stand-out barb from the former speaker in the midst of an active but largely cordial meeting.
At the time, Sperling was discussing the form and mission of a new bipartisan congressional working group the president wants to charge with establishing a deficit-reduction plan. In the president’s view, it would consist of 16 members, plus the vice president as chairman, and finish up by the end of June.
House Democratic leaders didn’t like the size of it, the reporting date, which falls very close to the deadline for raising the debt ceiling, or the perception that a White House plan had been baked without input from the president’s allies on Capitol Hill.
WASHINGTON — A bold but politically risky plan to cut trillions of dollars from the federal budget steamed toward a party-line House vote Friday, as insurgent Republicans rallied behind the idea of fundamentally reshaping the government’s role in health care for the elderly and the poor.
The GOP plan, expected to be voted on Friday, promises more than $6 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade compared with the budget that President Barack Obama offered in February, relying on stiff cuts to domestic agency accounts, food stamps and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled.
The GOP’s solution to unsustainable deficits that presently require the government to borrow more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends is to relentlessly attack the spending side of the ledger while leaving Bush-era revenue levels intact. It calls for tax reform that would lower the top income tax rates for corporations and individuals by cleaning out a tax code cluttered with tax breaks and preferences, but parts company with Obama and the findings of a bipartisan deficit commission, who propose devoting about $100 billion a year in new revenues to easing the deficit.
The Republican plan “disavows the relentless government spending, taxing and borrowing that are leading America, right at this moment, toward a debt-fueled economic crisis,” according to the document.
Democrats and many budget experts say this spending-cuts-only approach is fundamentally unfair, targeting social safety net programs like Medicaid and food stamps while leaving in place a tax system they say bestows too many benefits on the wealthy.
Republicans shied away from tackling Social Security shortfalls, steering clear of a political minefield.