Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Budget Deal is Suprisingly Not Terrible

Got the details of the budget deal this AM. It gets rid of the debt ceiling until March of 2017, lifts some of the sequester caps for both defense and non-defense items (which means slight increase in NFI for the future), patches over the Social Security Disability Fund, and a few other assorted items. There's no cuts to Social Security or Medicare that I can tell, but there are some nominal changes in how Social Security Disability is awarded, monitored, and administrated to make it "tougher."

Its clear that Boehner fell on his sword for this one. If he was still trying to be speaker, there's no way this would have come together. It will be interesting to see how many Republicans end up voting for this, but I'd be surprised if its more than just the bare minimum for passage. Crisis averted, for now.


Matt Franko said...

Justin any schedule on its passage?

IOW when does it finally get voted?

"debt Ceiling" is drop dead next Monday... clock is still ticking...

G_R_E_A_T reporting here!!!!!

Random said...

"Social Security Disability is awarded, monitored, and administrated to make it "tougher.""
All that for this. Why does Boehner hate the disabled?

The Just Gatekeeper said...

Floor vote is likely tomorrow. The Social Security Disability thing plays into the whole right wing narrative of "welfare queens cheating the system", etc. These "reforms" just play into their base which loves this stuff, even though its already quite difficult to get SSDI.

Ignacio said...

Too bad Nixon didn't remove this debt ceiling garbage relic too abused politically all the time. Damn, Nixon looks like a communist nowadays, if only he had not been a paranoid...

I was hoping they didn't roll over this farce this time pushing the nuclear option ("the coin" or disclosing it as the farce it is) chances higher.

Tom Hickey said...

The Social Security Disability program is already a mess bureaucratically. They are about three years behind in processing claims because of the need to ensure that applicants are worthy recipients. They need more personnel and a better system for the job, since a lot of people are not being served because of the scammers that need to be filtered out.

Ryan Harris said...

The winds of change are blowing strong. The sweeping victories for liberal governments taking place around the western world have not gone un-noticed by even the insular two-party government in Washington, I'm sure. The RePubs seem to be much less arrogant and bombastic as their base disintegrates and the most unlikely and unlikable candidate, Sanders and Trump, nearly lead with a groundswell of grass roots support that the establishment can't control.

Salsabob said...

Unfortunately, this is good news similiar to the good news that your surgeon has decided you're not yet prepared for removing that brain tumor that's about to metathesize.

I've come to the conclusion that the only way to wake the lazy citizenry to the existential threat posed by the Frankenstein (Freedom) Caucus is to go over the debt ceiling cliff and into hell. Yes, it will result in banks immediately ceasing to lend to each other as in '08 and the increasing cessation of contracting for goods and services - global stock markets collapsing. Yes, that will be followed by bank runs and closings, credit/debit cards no longer being accepted, and electronic transactions ceasing - the official economy flatlining. Yes, only hard cold cash will be accepted for everything from food and gas to airplane tickets to utilities. Yes, reports of food riots and local police/fire service personnel staying home to protect their own families will become increasingly what blare from TV sets for the few whose electricity has not yet been turned off.

One might hope that the Capital Police lead the burning down of the Capitol building with the unintended consequence that Congress can not assemble to vote to resolve the issue. A scenario where even GOP Congressional critters line the streets cheering on Obama's nationally televised horse ride from US Treasury down Constitution Avenue to deliver the $1T platinum coin to the Federal Reserve.

This is what it is going to take to not only excise the brain cancer know at the T-party but to finally get people to grasp the reality of Modern Monetary Theory.

In the words of the Steve Miller Band - "You know you got to go through hell. Before you get to heaven."

I still have my fingers crossed that the morons in the House will bring us this necessary scenario.

Let's just hope Putin doesn't take advantage of the chaos to put the Berlin Wall up again.

Tom Hickey said...

Let's just hope Putin doesn't take advantage of the chaos to put the Berlin Wall up again.

If a Berlin wall goes up again, it will be to keep the US and its cronies and vassals out. :-o

The good news is that Gallup is reporting a reduction in TP influence.

In U.S., Support for Tea Party Drops to New Low

Matt Franko said...

Tom, as I reported yesterday 20' minimum brand spanking new Stars & Bars flying 100'+ above I-95 for all to see smack dab in middle of Brat's district .... they are not going quietly...

Malmo's Ghost said...

I don't live in a bubble and yet I've never met one person who claimed they were Tea Partiers. The notion of its so called influence has been more or less invented out of whole-cloth. It's the Left's much sillier version of the Red Scare.

Dan Lynch said...

Totally disagree with Just Gatekeeper's claim that the deal is not bad. Also disagree that the "reforms" are intended to please the Republican base, which actually loves SS & Medicare. No, the "reforms" are intended to please our 1% owners who control both parties. Both parties want to cut social programs, they're merely playing "good cop/bad cop" so each can blame the other.

The deal projects spending $168 billion less on SS -- how is that not a bad thing for the 99%?

The debt ceiling is only lifted for 2 years, so in 2017 we'll be playing this game all over again, guaranteeing that there will be more cuts to social programs. THAT's A FEATURE NOT A BUG. How is that not a bad thing for the 99%?

Most sources are claiming that the deal will cut Medicare spending, how is that not a bad thing for the 99%?

As Tom pointed out, it's already too difficult to qualify for SSDI -- 2 out of 3 applicants are denied, even after appeals. In some jurisdictions you basically have to be quadriplegic to qualify. It's SOP to have to hire a lawyer and appeal the disability ruling.

Ask yourself why would anyone "scam" SSDI by claiming a false disability? Either because 1) they're unemployable, as many middle aged people are, so SSDI is their only way to survive or 2) they have mental issues. So at worst SSDI functions as a safety net for the unemployable and the mentally impaired. Is that such a bad thing?

I have a middle-aged friend who was turned down for SSDI because she is well enough to sit in a chair. She was told that if she can sit in a chair then she is well enough to work as a prison guard, never mind that she has 2 college degrees. She applies for jobs but no one will hire her in her profession because she is middle aged and has been unemployed for several years after having a bad accident.

Very few employers want to hire middle aged disabled people, why should they when there are plenty of young healthy job seekers?

The SSDI controversy is a reminder that we would be better served by a means-tested BIG that pays the same as the current SSDI ($13,980). No waiting to qualify, no controversy over whether someone is fit to work, and it would function as an automatic stabilizer. As long as the BIG pays less than the minimum wage (if the min were $15 that would be $28,800/year) there would be no significant disincentive to work. Of course that makes too much sense and Minsky would not approve so it'll never happen in this screwed up country.

Random said...

Hmm, disabled people have additional costs. The payments are meant to cover those costs but at least in the UK they don't.
If I would implement BIG I would have it additional to the disability programs.
"it'll never happen in this screwed up country."
I really doubt JG or BIG will be implemented in the US.
However here in the UK, I can see JG for the fit and able, in addition to "basic income" for the sick, disabled and elderly as a possibility.

Random said...

I see a big problem :)
If the BIG is big enough to get everyone out of poverty and then most people have additional income won't it cause inflationary problems?
In the US in practise will suck in imports from "export led" countries probably though.
Far better to offer a job to get everyone out of poverty and let the private sector bid up from that. The bid is fixed so it will allow price stability and act as an auto-stabiliser.
BIG goes to everyone, JG is targeted at current unemployed and bad played, underemployed, etc.
You could combine JG with banning unions and abolishing labour regulations (after JG implemented of course) and it would narrow differences in wages between low-paid unskilled and skilled workers and prevent employment rents.

mike norman said...

I agree with Dan Lynch. The deal cuts SS disability benefits and Medicare by the tune of $168 billion, yet defense contractors are given at least another $57 billion. It screws the Middle Class and poor once again.

Random said...

"She applies for jobs but no one will hire her in her profession because she is middle aged and has been unemployed for several years after having a bad accident.

Very few employers want to hire middle aged disabled people, why should they when there are plenty of young healthy job seekers?"
Let her work for the government.
BIG dosen't solve employment issues
She is better served with JG + targeted disability payments.

Salsabob said...

M. Ghost, let me help you -

Jim Jordan of Ohio, Chair[18]
Justin Amash of Michigan[18]
Brian Babin of Texas[19]
Rod Blum of Iowa[19]
Dave Brat of Virginia[20]
Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma[21]
Mo Brooks of Alabama[22][23]
Ken Buck of Colorado[24]
Curt Clawson of Florida[25]
Ron DeSantis of Florida[18]
Scott Desjarlais of Tennessee[26]
Jeff Duncan of South Carolina[27]
John Fleming of Louisiana[18]
Trent Franks of Arizona[24]
Scott Garrett of New Jersey[18]
Paul Gosar of Arizona[28]
Morgan Griffith of Virginia[3]
Andy Harris of Maryland[19]
Jody Hice of Georgia[29]
Tim Huelskamp of Kansas[30]
Raúl Labrador of Idaho[18]
Barry Loudermilk of Georgia[29]
Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming[24]
Mark Meadows of North Carolina[18]
Alex Mooney of West Virginia[19]
Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina[18]
Gary Palmer of Alabama[21]
Steve Pearce of New Mexico[24]
Scott Perry of Pennsylvania[19]
Ted Poe of Texas[19]
Bill Posey of Florida[19]
Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania[19]
Matt Salmon of Arizona[18]
Mark Sanford of South Carolina[19]
David Schweikert of Arizona[24]
Marlin Stutzman of Indiana[19]
Randy Weber of Texas[31]
Ted Yoho of Florida[31]

Salsabob said...

[i]"If a Berlin wall goes up again, it will be to keep the US and its cronies and vassals out. :-o"[/i]

Yea, and let's see who risks their lives trying to get to the other side of that wall.

Rinse and repeat.

Our 0.1% are mostly bad any way you slice it, but they ain't in Putin's league.

Dan Lynch said...

Thanks for agreeing with me, Mike. The cuts are small and will only affect a small segment of the population, but it's still wrong on principle, and it reeks of an "incremental gradualism" strategy of cutting social programs that we can expect to continue in the coming years.

Random, the friend that I mentioned is a CPA who also has a masters in education. I'm not sure that she is well enough to work if she did get a job offer -- she is in pain, has limited mobility, struggles with simple tasks like dressing herself, etc.. She does not want to work as a prison guard or any other crap job and I don't blame her. The problem with a JG, as I have bitched about many times previously, is that it offers little for skilled workers like my friend. Most skilled workers, particularly older workers, are not interested in doing dead end crap jobs. A make-work job program has its place but it is not for everyone.

In the US the standard for disability is higher for office workers and professionals than for manual laborers. If you have a college degree or if your background is in office work then they may assume you are capable of working if you can sit in a chair, while less skilled people may qualify for disability if they have back pain or some such thing. The process seems quite arbitrary and unfair.

Malmo's Ghost said...


To quote Wiki on the Tea Party:

"The Tea Party does not have a single uniform agenda. The decentralized character of the Tea Party, with its lack of formal structure or hierarchy, allows each autonomous group to set its own priorities and goals. Goals may conflict, and priorities will often differ between groups."

There's no there there. Tea Party is simply a very broad brush term that leftists have given far more meaning and import than it deserves.

Now I've met many a conservative, but, like I stated above, not a single Tea Party member. But if belonging to the Tea Party means advocating such things as the 2nd Amendment or balanced budgets then I know a shitload of Chicagoans who are Democrats through and through who fit the bill to a TEA.

Random said...

Yes, JG is mostly for unskilled workers. Many skilled works have skills no longer in demand however I think expanding regular public sector employment to use these skills could help.
TAs are part of JG. However, you probably need less cuts to education at state level.
The Mosler plan includes rebates to allow hiring of regular employment.
"Most skilled workers, particularly older workers, are not interested in doing dead end crap jobs. A make-work job program has its place but it is not for everyone."
Ideally you cut pension age although I am unsure if the ramifications of this.
I am young and healthy so won't mind :)
Remember JG is combined with generally increased spending to reduce unemployment.
JG "mops up" those left (there is always job matching problems.)

Ryan Harris said...

SSI disability refers to people that don't want to work as malingerers. I think it's unfair. Society offers many possibilities but it also takes away opportunities that people would otherwise have in the absence of it. A subsistence living is illegal and many of the poor have less and have shorter life expectancy than if they were living that way without our modern society, including medical care. Homeless people have life expectancy of only a few years. Minimum wage workers have decades shorter life spans. People that don't want to work should be able to apply for some basic subsistence level of income similar to SSI to force all the people that extract rents from their existence to pony up. The problem is that SSI isn't designed to be a BIG. Yet that is what it does and it is why Repubs hate the program.