Cut, Baby, Cut!….The big news today will be the launching of the 2012 GOP budget counter-offensive, led by Wisconsin Paul Ryan (R). While it’s generally agreed around Washington that this plan has zero chance of being enacted, the pieces of paper that you see Ryan and other GOP waving around on TV tonight, represent the right wing’s attempt to frame the arguments over where this country is headed during he coming year. Three smaller battles arising from the plan will attempt to convince the public that the GOP knows what’s best for the United States.
First and foremost will be an all-out assault on Medicare and Social Security, with the GOP pushing for privatized revisions of governmental intervention in retirement and healthcare. Look for a frontal; assault on “Obamacare”, particularly if the Supreme Court passes on its opportunity to rule of the constitutionality of various aspects of the plan.
The Republicans have never met a defense budget that they didn’t love. Secondly, the Ryan plan calls for the GOP congressional corps to renege on the promises made last year with regards to cutting defense spending, proposing instead additional cuts in domestic programs.
The September firewall… The GOP’s budget counter offensive will most likely result in another fall stand off on the budget, with the Republicans being willing to risk a government shutdown, particularly if the Presidential candidate selection process leaves the party wounded and unable to conjure up a positive appeal to voters.
DeMath DoN’t Work for DeMaio… Readers of today’s dead tree version of the San Diego Union-Tribune found a story about the so-called Pension Reform Initiative hiding under the fold with a picture of a smiling Peyton Manning riding the headline “Pension Measure Would Save $950M, Report Says.” They’ll need Payton Manning’s legendary abilities as a pitch man to sell this “story”, because, once you get past the misleading headline and into the “meat” of the story, you’ll discover that the savings for converting City employees from a defined benefit pension plan to a 401K style plan equals exactly zero.
It turns out that all the “savings” come from the five year pay freeze that the plan urges the City Council to impose. That’s part of the reason that the City’s Auditor, Eduardo Luna, refused to sign off on the ballot language to describe the initiative. The pay freeze “savings” cannot by law be imposed by a voter initiative, which means that it’s likely that San Diego’s citizenry will vote for yet another “Grand Plan” with no actual results. The KPBS headline “Pension Reform Not What Will Save San Diego Money” is a lot more accurate description of what’s going on here. The switch to the 401(k) style plan will actually cost the city $13 million over that same period. Read the report here.
Issa Gets An Earful in Brooklyn… Our very wealthy north county Congressman was trying to take his show on the road to convince voters that big banks having nothing but the best interests of the consumer at heart. Picking up on the techniques utilized at the recent Congressional hearings on birth control, Issa presented a one sided panel stacked with representatives from CitiMortgage, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, as well as the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Unfortunately for Issa, the road show was met with a boisterous and combative crowd in Brooklyn. Within minutes of opening the hearing, Issa was mic-checked, with activists from New York Communities for Change and other community groups declaring “This hearing is a fraud!” “I am the face of the homeowners you voted against. I am not the only one,” Mimi Pierre-Johnson, a New Yorker facing foreclosure, told the room before she was escorted out.
One Corporation Equals All The Votes You’ll Need… Back in the dark ages here in San Diego corporations and tycoons used their power via the proverbial smoke-filled back room. Bribes were paid, deals were cut and campaign contributions collected. Now that were in this modern, more transparent era, you can take out the smoke filled back rooms. It turns out that, by virtue of the city’s ordinances regarding hotel taxes, one Maryland based corporation could well be in a position to dictate the local tax rate…