The New Payroll Tax Strategy

December 12th, 2011 at 2:29 pm | 84 Comments |

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House Republicans have made a bid to boldly reverse their public relations disadvantage as gridlock over the extension of the payroll tax holiday and other legislation vital to the economy continues.

For the past month or more, ask Republicans had been scolded as the bastion of the rich and privileged. Democrats wanted to increase taxes on the successful, click using those new taxes to continue long-term unemployment insurance, see a broadened payroll tax holiday, and to insure that health care providers under Medicare don’t take an overnight 27 per cent cut in payment for services.

Republicans seemed unable to find a formula that voters could relate to, especially with media focus on the “Occupy” movement and the 1% versus 99% rhetoric of President Obama and other Democrats.

Now, the House GOP has published its plan to reform unemployment insurance, continue the present payroll tax holiday, and prevent the cuts for doctors and hospitals under Medicare: and it has begun to change the dynamic of the issue.

Key to the Jiu jitsu is the Keystone XL Pipeline. That project promises not only to make the United States less dependent on imported oil from hostile nations, but to employ as many as 20,000 workers. That jobs number has activated labor unions whose members would find employment at excellent wages on the pipeline. But the professional environmental community has rushed to condemn the pipeline on any number of rationales, but for only one real reason: they want to put pressure on the President to move further in their direction. Obama, to his credit, has not been as malleable as the environmental community in Washington, D.C., hoped for, even going as far as nixing an emissions regulation timeline that his Environmental Protection Agency promulgated.

While it is true that the President threw a sop to the environmentalists with his decision to delay the Keystone XL decision until after next year’s Presidential election, he also made an accurate political assessment. Most of the states impacted by the actual construction of Keystone XL are likely to be Republican states in November, 2012. Those states who depend upon coal as a critical source of jobs are essential for the President (Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and others). So, make the coal folks and environmentalists happy, and let the central Midwest states go. While the Teamsters Union has endorsed a decision on Keystone XL as soon as possible, the President knows that the union’s political clout will be dependably in his corner next November.

But by making the dynamic jobs versus tax increases, Republicans may re-gain some ground. Certainly, the bill produced by the House GOP allows deficit hawks, who also must show concern for unemployment, a way to change the conversation.

House Speaker John Boehner and his team will pass the bill and watch as the Senate struggles to come up with an alternative. This could mean that it would be the Democrats who scuttle a jobs and tax cut bill, not Republicans.

Not bad for a week’s work.

Recent Posts by Steve Bell

84 Comments so far ↓

  • Secessionist

    While it is true that the President threw a sop to the environmentalists with his decision to delay the Keystone XL decision until after next year’s Presidential election, he also made an accurate political assessment. Most of the states impacted by the actual construction of Keystone XL are likely to be Republican states in November, 2012. Those states who depend upon coal as a critical source of jobs are essential for the President (Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and others). So, make the coal folks and environmentalists happy, and let the central Midwest states go. While the Teamsters Union has endorsed a decision on Keystone XL as soon as possible, the President knows that the union’s political clout will be dependably in his corner next November.

    Geez, and people wonder why I hardly ever have anything good to say about Barack Obama. The man is a liar, disingenuous, a faux progressive and as phony as a $3.00 bill.

    As Barack Obama’s approach to that land-based Deep Water Horizon platform presently known as the Keystone pipeline shows, he has no principles. He does not care about the real environmental threat this pipeline poses. He delayed the pipeline purely as a matter of political expediency.

    The rank-and-file liberals and progressives who put their faith in this man are determined to learn the hard way about whose interests he really serves, and they will.

    • jrd555

      But what alternative is there? Certainly not the GOP. Until a third party candidate is viable Obama is the only option.

    • D Furlano

      I have to disagree about Obama. I think he is just incompetent. It may look like something else but I am fairly sure he just doesn’t know what he is doing.

      • Fart Carbuncle


        The mainstream media outlets were so focused on getting a black progressive elected that they let him pass through their sights unfettered.

        Lesson learned.

        • sweatyb

          their sights? lol!

        • valkayec

          It’s hard to respond to you, let alone take you seriously as a result of your ODS. Your empty-headed, vicious, vacuous, hatred of this President goes beyond the bounds of sanity and reason. I’m sure that if he chose to enact every GOP policy measure advocated by the GOP over the last 30 years, including those you dislike, you’d still hate him. Why, I cannot comprehend, unless it’s because he’s not a Republican or white. Your attacks make absolutely no sense regarding policy or even the subject at hand. They are just random smears with no value…kind of like Fox & Friends as I understand Ailes’ political views.

        • Ray_Harwick

          This is the guy who called Native Americans “feral” right here on this forum.

        • valkayec


          Great Gods, “feral”? That’s just intellectually and emotionally sick.

          A couple of decades ago, I decided I wanted to write a story about American Indians so I began doing some research on Indian culture prior to Federal and Army policies. In other words, pure native American culture among the various tribes.

          What our infamous hate-filled spammer probably does not know is that the Six Tribes (in the North East) developed a written language, a common set of judicial rules based on equality, and may have helped influence the Constitution (this assertion is argued, but it’s no less a fact that some of the Constitution’s Amendments are consistent with the Six Tribes laws).

          In the West, the tribes had a secure social safety net – widows and orphans never went hungry or were abandoned to their own means by the tribe – as well as a system of social laws that accepted sexual differences that provided social stability. Moreover, while they were the proto-typical “rugged individualists”, they also recognized their close reliance upon the community of the tribe. Without that community, they each might die during some hardship or accident. With that community support, they and theirs might live. Adoption from other tribes and races was common, particularly as a result of depopulation caused by disease. Children were prized and appreciated to the extent that they were never left on their own or on charity to survive if their parents died. They were adopted and given the same opportunities as anyone else in the tribe. In many ways, Native American culture ranked higher on the values list than European culture.

          Thus, FC’s comment about Native Americans are not just bloody stupid, they’re ignorant and malicious. FC, and any other pseudonym he may choose to use, should be banned from polite society…or to use an ancient Jewish term for people who broke the common law, shunned.

        • Ray_Harwick

          I was born and raised in the Choctaw Nation. My family moved there in 1893. When my father died my mother married a Choctaw who had three ancestors who were principal chiefs of the Choctaw Nation. I attended elementary, junior high and high school in a community school that was 80% Choctaw. My grandmother’s maiden name is Adair and here’s the book that one of our ancestors wrote that was read by most of the founding fathers of our country.

          The author is my uncle, James Adair, who arrived in this country from Northern Ireland around 1670 (I’m guessing from memory) along with his father, Thomas and brother, Joseph. I’m a direct descendant of Joseph Adair. My author uncle knew Benjamin Franklin and John Adams personally so I wouldn’t be surprised that his book may very well have been influential in shaping the constitution because James Adair was the anthopologist of his time by virture of having lived and traded with indians and being highly literate. It was published in 1775.

          I corresponded with Dr. Braund who was then a professor of history at the Univ. of Alabama because I had done most of the genealogy research on the Adair family. I completely get the point you’re making about American indians. They are a part of my heritage.

      • antron

        he brokered and signed into law the biggest bill for the Democrats in the past 65 years, the PPACA.

      • ottovbvs

        Would you like give us an iota of evidence for the opinion Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing other than just making an assertion.

    • balconesfault

      . Most of the states impacted by the actual construction of Keystone XL are likely to be Republican states in November, 2012. Those states who depend upon coal as a critical source of jobs are essential for the President (Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, and others). So, make the coal folks and environmentalists happy, and let the central Midwest states go.

      Obama supported carbon change legislation that would have directly affected the coal belt states. The Pelosi-led House of Representatives passed it.

      It died in the Senate because virtually the entire GOP caucus, plus a handful of Dem Senators from West Virginia and Louisiana promised to filibuster.

      If someone is going to make an “Obama the Villain” argument, can it least not be this transparent a piece of ignorant hackery?

      I mean, people like Fart who hate all Democrats, and DSP who wakes up each morning looking forward to trying to find new reasons to hate Obama, might fall for it, but the average person, once informed, won’t … and will think less of you for making it.

      • Secessionist

        You are very adept at making excuses for Obama. There is plenty of other evidence besides these comments from Bell that Obama temporarily put the breaks on Keystone solely because of politics. He has no intention of permanently blocking that pipeline.

        • balconesfault

          There is plenty of other evidence besides these comments from Bell that Obama temporarily put the breaks on Keystone solely because of politics. He has no intention of permanently blocking that pipeline.

          The good thing about a suspension of the process, in a case like this, is that it gives time for people affected to get involved, get more information about what’s happening, and to mount appropriate responses … and to give leverage to regulators to force modifications of the project that would make it more environmentally benign. I personally don’t see how our national interest is better served by rushing to facilitate the movement of Canadian crude to Gulf Coast refineries for export, than by giving the process take a bit more time to let issues sort themselves out.

        • Ray_Harwick

          I have to agree with that. The first time I even heard of Keystone was when the GOP was haranging the President to support it, as if they’d already prepared the bill without the public being in on the details. I listen pretty closely to the issue coming out of Washington and I didn’t even know what Keystone was. I mean, it’s not like Obama said “No” like the GOP has been doing with everything. The first thing that hit me between the eyes was the how emminent domain will be deployed for a big land grap. And I’d really like to know how the figure of 20,000 jobs was arrived at, among other things.

        • Secessionist

          The right decision for the country (IMO) would be to kill this Keystone abomination for good. A real conservationist progressive like Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t think twice about killing Keystone permanently. No, Obama wants this pipeline to go through so he can help Trans Canada and the multi-national that will refine the product on the Texas coast. He just can’t admit to it in an election year.

        • balconesfault

          Working with federal agencies such as the Department of Transportation, the General Services Administration, the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, and the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of State determines whether a proposed border-crossing project is in the U.S. national interest. The Department coordinates closely with concerned state and local agencies, and invites public comment in arriving at this determination. Within the context of appropriate border security, safety, health, and environmental requirements, the Department believes that it is generally in the national interest to facilitate the efficient movement of legitimate goods and travelers across U.S. borders.

          Obama cannot just approve or deny the application on purely political grounds. Either action will be subject to legal challenge.

        • valkayec

          I may not be up to date on all the facts, but as I understand it one of the big concerns was the materials chosen for the pipeline was not as environmentally safe as it should have been. Some sort of cheaper metal that would have degraded too fast, thereby allowing spills too easily. Given, too, the reports that someone in the State Dept. had financial interests in allowing the pipeline to proceed, it’s well worth re-analyzing the project.

          It seems to me a couple of GOP governors protested the project on environmental, safety, and economic terms. The safety and environmental concerns I’ve already mentioned. The economic terms have to do with public domain issues in which farmers, etc., would have to give up their land and access to other parts of their land too cheaply and without their permission. In other words, private property rights came into the issue.

          Obama may very well have chosen to put off this project until the 2012 election was over for political reasons, but there are also other reasons having to do with environmental, safety, and public policy (private property rights) to cause it to be reconsidered and re-evaluated. Those GOP governors would not have protested its completion if they were following the Congressional and pundit GOP line. They actually have to answer to their voters when the rubber meets the road.

        • SinTax

          I think this is an example of Obama’s competence. Even if he fully plans to kill it, letting it wait until after the election is the best move. As evidenced in this thread, everyone is allowed to believe that he’ll go the way they’re envisioning. What more could you ask for?

        • ottovbvs

          And you’re very adept at blaming him for the weather and whining because he hasn’t yet cured cancer.

  • jamesj

    “Not bad for a week’s work.”

    Are you being serious? I marvel at the ability of the modern Republican cheerleading squad to celebrate devastating gridlock-inducing political posturing over issues that should be no-brainers. But every single issue must be twisted through the ringer and used for political ends no matter the cost to the country.

    What do most Republicans believe this week, that tax cuts don’t need to be paid for (“that’s common sense”) or that tax cuts absolutely must be paid for lest the deficit get out of control (“that’s common sense”)? Why, when the Democratic party and the president finally come around to fully supporting one of the many revenue-minimizing tax cuts that Republicans have vigorously supported over the last 3 years, did Republicans suddenly have a complete 180% change of heart? Folks like me (lifelong registered Republican, former Republican voter, business owner) are getting sick of this behavior.

    • margoharris1

      I can understand why you feel this way. Face it the gotp don’t do anything that is not short term political gain for them. Whatever polls are they taking that makes them think this terrible obstruction is a good thing for the country or that people want to be stuck in this morass?
      They love to say that Obama is unqualified or over his head, (gee what did they think of bush?) But I do think that where Obama got it wrong is when he believed that they loved their country more than they hated him. And that even if they hated him they would have respect the office.

  • Reflection Ephemeral

    the 1% versus 99% rhetoric of President Obama and other Democrats.

    I frankly don’t understand what could motivate you to have such contempt for your readers and, by lying about matters of public policy, such contempt for America.

    Here’s an example of what the president has said on federal marginal income tax rates:

    Now, we’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying this is just “class warfare.” I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare. I think it’s just the right the thing to do. I believe the American middle class, who’ve been pressured relentlessly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations. [paragraph break] Nobody wants to punish success in America. What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it and everybody should be able to try -– the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea and make us millionaires or billionaires. This is the land of opportunity. That’s great. All I’m saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible. We shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get. And I think most wealthy Americans would agree if they knew this would help us grow the economy and deal with the debt that threatens our future. [paragraph break] It comes down to this: We have to prioritize. Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.

    The last thing that Republican operatives like Steve Bell can do is to point to examples from any society that has ever existed on the planet Earth to explain why reverting to surplus-era marginal rates on upper income levels is bad for the economy. So he has to lie that the president is demonizing wealthy folks– when in reality, the president includes himself in that class. It’s a shame that Bell resorts to lying about rhetoric rather than engaging in a reasoned debate about policy, but he is, unfortunately, among many who value partisanship over patriotism.

  • greg_barton

    And yet…

    Fox News says it, so it must be true…

    • Fart Carbuncle

      Without Fox News there would be the same unchallenged liberal social engineering present from 1948-1996.

      • sweatyb

        I don’t understand why you posted this reply. What does that (apparently random) range of years have to do with the clip greg_barton posted of the Fox News lady flipping out?

      • Bohemian_Idol_Smasher

        Fart, surely you realize (well, then again, and as so often, you probably haven’t a clue) that in the timespan you’ve mentioned above American policy was largely shaped by the center-right. If you tally up the presidential terms of all the GOP presidents of that period, then add anti-Communist Harry Truman, pro-market and anti-Communist JFK, anti-Communist LBJ and New Democrat Bill Clinton, then the left ends up with a grand sum of FOUR years in the White House, courtesy of Jimmy Carter. (And a few posters here may point out that Carter’s liberal credentials have largely been accrued in his post-presidential years, and not so much during his arguably centrist presidency.)

        And yes, you would be correct if you pointed out that Democrats, and for the large part LIBERAL Democrats, controlled the U.S. House for all but four years between ’48 and ’96, and the U.S. Senate for all but ten years. But that hardly qualifies congress as some sort of vehichle for “unchallenged liberal social engineering.” Controlling one of two elected branches of government does not comprise an oligarchy.

        • sweatyb

          You misunderstand, Fart believes that the liberal media is the one doing the “social engineering”. I’m not sure where he thinks the liberal media originated from. Probably a secret lab or maybe from a cabal of draft-dodging hippies or something equally pernicious.

          It doesn’t matter anyways because history before the existence of Fox News is a hazy morass of uncertainty and doubt. Really the whole concept of history is very questionable. Best to avoid it altogether.

      • valkayec

        Gee, I don’t remember a liberal social engineering project going on when I was raising my daughters on my income alone – because their father decided he needed his money for himself and the courts allowed it as well as telling me I owed him money because I got our household furnishings – or when I received a far lesser income than my male counterparts doing the same exact job or when I was told that men deserved higher salaries than women because they had families to support (never mind that I did too!) or when a boss of mine told me I should get married again just to let that husband support me or when I was told I would never be allowed to obtain the career position I wanted just because I was a female, or when I really needed financial help I couldn’t get it because my car was worth too much money (imagine a 4-cyl. Datsun – now Nissan Motors – hatchback being worth too much!).

        Yeah, great social engineering! I wish I’d enjoyed it when my kids were small and I had to tell them I couldn’t afford Christmas presents or when they went to work to help pay the family bills.

        You’re so bloody ignorant, it makes my blood steam and my heart race in anger.

  • mikewaz

    For the past month or more, Republicans had been scolded as the bastion of the rich and privileged. Democrats wanted to increase taxes on the successful, using those new taxes to continue long-term unemployment insurance, a broadened payroll tax holiday, and to insure that health care providers under Medicare don’t take an overnight 27 per cent cut in payment for services.

    You’re trying to equate making a lot of money and being wealthy with being successful. That’s quite the false equivalence you built there. That’s why I stopped reading the article right there.

  • sweatyb

    Lol. Do we really have to talk about the Keystone XL pipeline some more?

    1) It’s not adding 20K jobs. That number is a complete fiction. There might be some 2500 temporary construction jobs while the pipeline is built. The dozens of permanent jobs it will add are mostly in Canada.

    2) It’s not making the US less reliant on foreign fuel sources. The pipeline is going to the gulf coast so that the oil can be refined and sold globally.

    3) The pipeline itself presents a significant environmental concern, which is why the Obama administration blocked it.

    4) The tar sand extraction that the Keystone XL would serve, is pretty awful in terms of carbon pollution.

    Even if you completely dismiss the danger of global climate change, it’s unclear that Keystone XL will be all that beneficial to anyone but TransCanada.

    So Boehner is holding up assistance to middle class Americans in order to appease a Canadian oil company. This is the winning strategy?

    I think it’s also important to point out that Keystone XL is perhaps the least foul of element of the House’s funding proposal. Means testing medicare, cutting the federal workforce by 10% (um, what happened to creating jobs), cuts to worker pay and benefits.

    • zaybu


      Kudo for Obama who is willing to veto this hybrid bill. Since the payroll tax cut is due to expire at the end of this month, it should come in on one bill, and the Keystone in a later bill as it needs further study, and there’s plenty of time to make a firm decision on that.

    • Frumplestiltskin

      lets also remember to get it passed means ramming eminent domain down the throats of untold landowners. Republicans are for property rights except when it is to take land from Americans for the Canadians?

      I had a piece of property where the millenium pipeline bisected it and I accepted the cash payment that they gave me but I had no choice.

      For the record I am agnostic about the pipeline, but to tie together such disparite items in a single bill is pretty disgraceful, whatever happened to voting for things on its merits.

      For Bell, selling your soul is just par for the course (although I pretty much doubt Republicans have any at this point)

    • paul_gs

      Wrong on all counts sweatyb. You’re simply regurgitating the fake talking points peddled by dishonest grrens.

      • Traveler

        Okay Paul_bs,

        Please enlighten us, Omniscient One, on what exactly is a “talking point”, as opposed to what is factual. So far your “facts” have been thoroughly dismantled in previous threads. Are there some new “facts” that have suddenly emerged?

        Talk about talking “heads”, yours talk sounds suspiciously like a sphincter.

        • paul_gs

          sweatyb is simply repeating the fake talking points the left made up in opposition to Keystone.

          Benchmarked to previous pipeline projects of this size, 20,000 jobs is a good solid number.

          Keystone does make the US less reliant on hostile oil sources.

          Keystone oil IS for US domestic use. What the green crazies have stated are lies.

          The pipeline is very safe and state of the art.

          Tarsands oil is good oil from an ethical supplier with a solid commitment to environmenatal integrity.

          Seriously, why are some people so gullible in believing green lies and liars like the NRDC?

  • Oldskool

    “…and prevent the cuts for doctors and hospitals under Medicare”

    When will it occur to Rs and their base that as a party, they’re always bringing up the rear. They fought hard against things like Medicare, SS, etc, and years later, act like it was their idea all along.

    So we can safely assume that if they’re against something from day one, it must be a pretty good idea.

  • Watusie

    By all means please, Republicans, embrace Keystone with both arms and make it your own. Because everyone in Nebraska is talking about the fact that if it goes through not only will their environment be threatened but also their gas prices will go UP, because oil that would otherwise go to Midwestern refineries will head to the Gulf for overseas export instead.

    Maybe you don’t care about Nebraska’s electoral votes…but this is perfect campaign commercial fodder in Indiana and Ohio as well.


  • Nanotek

    “Most of the states impacted by the actual construction of Keystone XL are likely to be Republican states in November, 2012″

    what happened to the free-market advocates in the GOP? If the financial backers of the Keystone pipeline can make a go of it by buying the land they need to lay their pipe from Canada to Houston refineries (what an idiotic use of capital) more power to them … using government to force land owners to see their land so these people can lay their pipe is unadulterated socialism

    what hypocrites comprise the conservative movement … but then this is the collective that supports “character counts” “family values” Newt and Limbaugh

    • paul_gs

      Oh give your nonsensical ranting a rest. It’s a pipeline, not much different (well actually better) then the 1,000′s of miles of pipeline safely crisscrossing the acquifier already.

      • balconesfault

        That’s not the point.

        Are you an adherent of the “unregulated free market”, or do you believe the heavy hand of government has a role?

        • paul_gs

          Scientifically and environmentally Keystone XL makes sense. Instead of basing their decision on the best evidence, Democrats succumbed to hysterical green posturing by 1%ers like Robert Redford and Gore.

        • Ray_Harwick

          So this pipeline is worth sabotaging the payroll tax cut?

        • balconesfault

          Scientifically and environmentally Keystone XL makes sense.

          That may be true.

          The question here is – do you support Government being able to order the take of private property to transfer over to a private business, when the private business will not pay the landowner what he thinks his land is worth?

  • JohnnyB

    No matter which side of the isle, how can it seem like a good idea to piggy-back one issue into a bill on a completely separate issue? It is an asinine political equivalent of hostage negotiation.

  • Demosthenes

    Actually, the new Republican “strategy” is the same old garbage of tying poison pills to legislation to sink it. Previously, this worked quite well, when President Obama tried to work with them. Since his awakening after the debt ceiling debacle, President Obama has figured out the nihilist Republicans’ strategy. I suspect he will veto this bill and then blame the Republicans for raising taxes on the middle classes because they want to protect the rich. Just wait and see.

    • valkayec

      It’s gotta be voted on in the Senate first, and it never will pass the Senate. The Dems are stating that Keystone should be part of an energy policy debate and legislation…and there’s a good case to be made for creating a comprehensive energy strategy rather than one-off hits and misses.

      • Demosthenes

        Your point is logical, thoughtful and possible in a rational world. Wouldn’t that exclude the Senate? (A body where an intransigent minority refuses to allow anyone to be appointed to a lawfully created body because they don’t like the law?)

        • valkayec

          Of course, you’re correct. We’d have to have a thoughtful, “deliberative” body in the Senate to get a comprehensive energy policy that actually did address the energy needs – and environmental impact – of the future. I keep forgetting, silly me, that anything the Dems or Obama proposes is immediately anathema to GOP politicians and pundits.

    • Demosthenes

      Technically I changed my handle from Raskolnik but I have been commenting under this name for a while now, please take another name!

      • Demosthenes

        I address this to the other Demosthenes. I can’t change my name. This isn’t a “handle”. It’s my name. Really. Sorry.

        • Traveler

          You mean they let both of “you” take the same handle? I liked Raskolnik better. Your comments never suggested any marbles in your mouth, albeit your philosophy can be elusive on occasion.

  • valkayec

    Frankly, Mr. Bell, I’m disappointed in you. For a guy who works at the BPC, you’re showing a lot of partisan stripes in this post.

    First, of all, the Keystone pipeline has a lot of opponents in the Mid-West who threatened legal action to stop it, including if I recall correctly a couple of GOP governors. And yes, the job number you quoted are way off the mark.

    Second, you’re praising the GOP for cutting extended unemployment benefits to 58 weeks at a time when there are still over 4 workers for every job opening? You’re saying it’s okay for states to demand that anyone applying for unemployment benefits take a drug test?

    Third, you’re saying it’s perfectly acceptable to reduce middle income families’ gross income during a demand-deficit economy? Norquist has already said that not passing an extension of the payroll tax is not considered a tax increase. So, Norquist is on record saying it’s okay to increase middle income workers taxes…and, thereby, given cover to his zombie politician followers. Now, you hail the GOP’s moves as strategic wonders. What?

    Mr. Bell, maybe it’s time you got out of DC and tried working in a middle income job for awhile to learn what’s it’s really like out here in the hinterland. Most of us, I’m guessing, don’t really care about GOP vs Dem political wins. What we care about is surviving and having a chance at thriving. Maybe you forgot about that.

    • zaybu

      ” What we care about is surviving and having a chance at thriving. Maybe you forgot about that.”

      Forgot?!?… more like, they don’t care.

  • bdtex

    “Not bad for a week’s work.”

    Your concern for the workers impacted by the payroll tax cut is touching. You’re every bit the political animal that House GOPs are.

  • LFC

    So Bell cheers tying a pipeline to tax policy, cites a bogus jobs number, ignores the fact that much of the opposition to the pipeline are from Republicans who live in the states that will be taking the risk for no new jobs, projects motivations onto Obama for which he has no evidence, and ignores the uglier parts of the Republican proposal like dumping more people onto the unemployment roles. Did I miss much?

    “Not bad for an hour’s work.”

    • Traveler

      +1, cut to the bone. Another BS FF poster. What is it with these supposed humans?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    Democrats wanted to increase taxes on the successful
    Let them eat cake

    Steve Bell meet Marie Antoinette, Marie Antoinette meet Steve Bell. You two are perfect together (and yes I know that Antoinette’s quote is apocryphal but the sentiment of the French aristocracy to the sufferings of the masses is about the same as Bell)

    • valkayec

      Frumple, although your Marie Antoinette quote is probably inaccurate, I do appreciate your using mentioning the pre-French Revolution era to exemplify what happens when all economic gains, i.e. wealth, accrue to the most wealthy and powerful while everyone else in society pays the bill.

      When economic hardship hit France as a result of bad weather and economic gain (“corn” rotting in the field, vines freezing, animal stock killed and stolen by the nobility, remaining commodities exported for higher prices & financial gain), the French people en masse rose up to fight back against an aristocracy that took all the gains – no taxes, plenty of land and unopposed rule – while everyone else paid the growing taxes to support the monarchy and nobility. Unfortunately, France permitted the economic situation to go on for so long that even when it did decide to reform, it was too late. Essentially, the same thing happened in Russia. Just as the Duma and monarchy began considering reforming government to allow for more economic and social freedom, the people, having had enough, rose up in violence.

      In both cases, the results of their revolutions led to governments that were even worse and far more radical. Both TR and FDR understood that history lesson and sought to prevent it from occurring in the US. Both wished to save capitalism but realized that if ordinary people were continually being offered the short end of the stick they too might rise up en masse which could lead to even worse outcomes.

      Unfortunately, Republicans today have forgotten – or chosen to ignore – the lessons of history, perhaps believing the American people are too cowed or lazy or ignorant to rise up against the powerful, wealthy powers that be. But it’s also those history lessons which caused GOP wordsmith Luntz to state that the OWS movement scared him so much and why the GOP needed to change their vocabulary. Not their policy positions, just their vocabulary.

      Nevertheless, if the masses (average, ordinary working people) believe their interests are being ignored in favor of the powerful, wealthy few, they people will rise up in revolt. That is the common denominator of every populace revolution…and the GOP is blindly ignorant to ignore it.

      • Ray_Harwick

        So this is basicly what David Frum wrote in his recent manifesto except he didn’t mention the French or Russian Revolution. He said that if the ruling class of this country doesn’t take their foot off the necks of the middle and lower economic classes, OWS will look like a street fair by comparison to what will happen.

        He took the words right out of my mouth and I don’t think the Republicans can be reminded too much about the way they are playing with the economic lives of the American people. I saw a protest sign yesterday that said, “When the poor have nothing left to eat, they will then eat the rich.” That was the French Revolution in nutshell form. The eerie parallel in this country is that the Religious Right is aligned with the aristocracy, just as the Catholic Church was aligned with the French monarchy. If I remember correctly, after the storming of the Bastille, 1,200 priests got their throats cut over the course of the following week. Maybe we could pass out copies of Les Miserables at Tea Party meetings so they can’t say history didn’t warn them. (Don’t say it. I know. “American Fries, commie!”)

  • ottovbvs

    When even Republican senators like Graham are saying the pipeline gambit is a bit of a joke we can be reasonably sure this little bit of theater is going nowhere. And at least Bell has shown his hand. As if there was any doubt about where his sympathies lay. As to the politics of it I suspect he’s being a bit optimistic. I think most people know why this bill isn’t being actioned and he forgets this arcane maneuvering means zippo to most people while the president has the bully pulpit if it doesn’t ultimately make it through. Not that it won’t of course.

    • valkayec

      The problem of course, Otto, is the Fox GOP sound machine and the fact that the rest of the media are not likely to differentiate between the GOP partisan noise and the real arguments. I’ve already seen some of it on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown, with Chuck Todd explaining that Obama will probably go along with the GOP plan because he’d lose the spin war.

  • paul_gs

    Keystone XL is a great project environmentally, economically and security-wise and it is good to see someone standing up for it.

    Sadly, elements of the enviro movement are masterful liars and it will take some time to counter outrageous fabrications.

  • SFTor1

    Isn’t it enough to note that Mr. Bell applauds his party for inserting a poison pill into legislation that without question and without a doubt would help ordinary Americans?

    Let it permeate your mind, and you recognize that you are dealing with a cynical, shallow individual who lost his moral compass a long time ago.

  • indy

    As I have said before, I find it hilarious that TransCanada has been so politically incompetent and nakedly aggressive that they managed to unite the reddest of the red and the bluest of the blue in common cause and get the whole thing scuttled out from underneath themselves. What morons.

    Of course, they have the steadfast lapdogs like Mr. Bell who blame it all on political calculations. It’s a three stooges skit come to life.

  • paul_gs

    Keystone XL has been delayed. It will go ahead because it’s a good project.

    Trying to counter the lies and manufactured hysteria of the green crazies is a tough job for any company.

    • LFC

      Frumplestiltskin said 10:41 am… “paul_gs will simply say you are wrong, offer zero by way of rebuttal.”

      paul_gs posted this at 2:30 pm.

      Less than 4 hours. Good call, Frump.

      • paul_gs

        One can’t present facts to partisan fools who are only going to parrot pre-determined talking points anyways.

        If one wants to determine how many jobs would be created by a project of this size, looking at previous projects provides excellent data and 20,000 jobs is right in the ballpark.

        • Traveler


          Present some facts would ya? So far not one that denies what Balcones just posted. And then lets factor in a bunch of other facts that the nobody seems to care about. Like loss of habitat, loss of property values, and landscape fragmentation. This is taking place front and center here in PA. I know most of you political types here don’t understand (or care) about the right types of bugs and bunnies, but this is a real deal. So all this destruction for a couple thousand temporary jobs? Paul, if the oil ain’t for us, why should we bend over for this wholesale rape?

          Balcones, I cannot fathom why you even accept this as some sort of sensible and inevitable occurrence. I agree with inevitable, but only when its worth it. To us. Not to Transcanada. Did you ever check into why they couldn’t use the existing alignment and build the last stretch only? This enquiring mind wants to know.

        • paul_gs

          “Wholesale rape” about a run of the mill pipeline?

          Is it any wonder much of the environmental movement is looked upon so poorly?

  • Rocketship7

    Keystone needs to be built! As Prime Minister Stephen Harper says, its a no brainer.

    Republicans are on to something.

    • paul_gs

      Let Iran shut down the Straits of Hormuz and you’ll see quickly what a no brainer Keystone really is.

    • valkayec

      It undoubtedly will be built, and I hope it will be done in a way that is environmentally and structurally safe and satisfies the residents of the affected states.

      What I found interesting…and more than a little depressing…was a statement my House GOP Rep Jordan. When told by Boehner about including the pipeline approval in the tax bill package, Jordan apparently crowed that he liked it because it would be toxic to Obama. (I wish I could find the audio of the news report.) What I mean is, shouldn’t the pipeline be approved because it’s a good idea economically and for jobs, not because it will upset Obama?

      After all, this is our economy and the future of our nation. Not a bloody basketball game.

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