On the budget call. Seriously, when you want to get into the weeds of something like the budget, David Dayen’s the guy you want to read. The SG Seal of Approval!
Nothing will happen to BP because we believe in looking forward!
A former official with BP’s drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico resigned just months before last year’s oil spill because of disagreements with the oil giant over its commitment to safety, according to a class-action federal lawsuit related to the spill.
Documents filed Monday night in Houston claim Kevin Lacy, BP’s former senior vice president for drilling operations for the Gulf of Mexico, reached a mutual agreement with the company to resign in December 2009 because he believed the company was not adequately committed to improving safety protocols in offshore drilling operations to the level of its industry peers. The Deepwater Horizon rig explosion occurred on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The claims come in an amended version of the lawsuit, originally filed last year, that alleges BP inflated its stock price by hiding information and making false and misleading statements about its safety practices before the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP’s stock value dropped roughly in half following the oil rig explosion and spill.
BP spokesman Daren Beaudo declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Congress creature Mean Jean Schmidt? Looks like she’s in trouble.
Eric Alterman points out the working pieces of the Obama budget strategy and what they accomplish: Namely, backing Republicans into a corner where they basically have to attack widows and orphans.
Of course, the drawbacks of this approach, as he points out, is that it doesn’t adequately address pressing issues like climate change and clean energy development; doesn’t address a runaway Pentagon budget propped by defense-friendly congressmen; and does not a thing to counter the narrative that in a time of enormous and prolonged economic pain, deficit-cutting should be at the top of the presidential agenda.
But other than that, it’s just fine!
Whether liberals wish to defend Obama or give up on him pretty much depends on whether they have already decided to give up or keep defending him. It’s the same argument as always, which is “yes it stinks, but have you seen what those other guys want?” True, but other guys always manage to get more of what they want in the end. For instance, Obama proposes to cut oil and gas tax incentives: by $46 billion over 10 years and use that money for research and development into greener and more efficient means of energy production. Atlantic Monthly writers suggest this should “please progressives.” But where in the document does Obama explain how he is going to get one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington to lie down and die for the sake of plowing the money back into research and development support? And even if they did—which, I repeat, IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN—a measly $4 billion a year is nowhere near enough to make clean energy available the quantities needed to prevent dangerous climate chaos from taking place.
Obama also accepts Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ proposed $78 billion in defense cuts and wants to use that money to invest in a $50 billion infrastructure “bank” for improved transportation. Again, yes, but $78 billion over a 10-year period is a rounding error, given the size of the military budget, which is so large the Pentagon insists it isliterally un-auditable, despite myriad congressional mandates to do so. As Ezra Klein points out, compared with the $400 billion Obama plans “to cut from domestic discretionary spending—that’s education, income security, food safety, environmental protection, etc.—over the next 10 years,” an allocation that turns out to be barely half the size of the military’s budget is yet another bum deal for liberals: a forfeit before both teams even take the field.
Yes, it could surely be much worse, and perhaps it will be. Bob Greenstein of the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities makes the case for what in Washington is considered “adulthood.” He approves of the “expansions in refundable tax credits for the working poor, major expansion of student financial aid for low-income students so that more of them can go to and complete college, and of course, major health-care reform that will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured people,” and the kicker: “Obama’s spending request looks even better when you consider what the Republicans would do if left to their own devices.” And yes, politically, it’s quite savvy. Tea Party types forced their leaders in the House to demand $100 billion in cuts, rather than the $35 billion or so they had originally planned. That will force a bunch of congressmen to vote against a whole host of popular programs, including food inspection, home heating assistance and aid to education—which could cost some of them their seats in 2012. Americans, after all, are awfully fond of spending cuts except when the spending affects them directly. (Just try, for instance, to eliminate the mortgage deduction…).
Bill Clinton’s ability to box Gingrich’s Republicans into a politically untenable “throw the widows and the orphans to the wolves” position was predicated, we should all recall, on his willingness to embrace, at least in theory, their demand for a balanced budget over a definable (but never actually reachable) period of time. Obama is taking the same tack. By agreeing to a whole host of Republican-inspired “fiscal austerity” measures, he hopes to be able to strengthen the programs he really cares about, particularly investment in infrastructure, broadband, and education for the middle and lower-middle classes. It’s a gamble that could work, particularly given the favorable reception his 2011 State of the Union speech enjoyed, which made exactly this case in the wake of the November 2010 “shellacking” the Democrats earned themselves.
What’s the alternative? A full-throated rejection of the conventional wisdom that puts deficit-reduction at the top of the agenda at a moment when the jobs crisis remains as recalcitrant as ever and the base is yearning for some of that old-time Rooseveltian religion.
But if you expected that, well, you haven’t been paying attention. That fellow played some mean ball back in 2007-2008, but retired from the court with a swish on Election Day.
Matt Yglesias says if there are going to be cuts to Social Security, they should happen right away to everyone, including current recipients. And I have to admit, he has a point.
Because the “of course we’ll exempt everyone 55 and older” from getting their promised benefits is just how the politicians on both sides of the aisle are covering their asses as they toil away for the banker class, and maybe it’s time those shiny pink butts should be exposed to the light.
Not to mention, this is classic “divide and conquer” strategy. We should stick together. We should present a united front. You want to cut Social Security? Then you need to face the universal wrath of the voters in the next election, instead of putting some of us in a protected class. (Of course, it’s a rather desirable side effect that if we do present a united front, the chances of actual Social Security cuts drop precipitously.)
This could be our Egypt moment. Just as Christians surrounded the Muslims at prayer, we should surround the younger generation with our promise that if they try to take their future Social Security, they’ll have to go through us.
You cut one, you cut us all. How about it?