Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Democratic "wave" may happen, despite the best efforts of the Democratic leadership

Sam Seder and one of his informed callers took an upbeat tone in talking about the possibility of high Democratic turnout in November, with particular reference to the June primaries in California, Republicans Should Be Terrified Of The Incoming Blue Wave Majority Report 06/12/2018:

But I must admit that the national Democratic establishment's unrepentent conservatism in the 2018 - and conservatism is the right word in this context - makes me dread that they will blow the chance for the much-discussed "blue wave" in November.

the single most discouraging sign to me was this: Pelosi, Hoyer Letter to Budget Committee Conferees on PAYGO 04/28/2018. Trump and his loyal Republicans passed a huge and unnecessary increase in the military budget without any "pay as you go" actions pared with it. And they spent even more on a gigantic tax cut for plutocrats, also without any "pay as you go" actions pared with it. Then the Republicans immediately started talking up cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid ("entitlements" in RepublicanSpeak) in order to deal with the looming budget deficit.

And what do the Democratic leaders in the House who style themselves as part of the "Resistance" to Trump do? They go full Simpson-Bowles and demand an end to deficit spending! from the Pelosi/Hoyer letter:
The House is strongly committed to passing statutory PAYGO. The President asked the Congress “to develop a PAYGO law that would help return the nation to a path of fiscal responsibility.” To achieve this objective, the House will attach statutory PAYGO to each of the four bills mentioned above or follow the House PAYGO rule. The House will not consider any conference reports on these four bills or any of them directly from the Senate unless these conference reports or bills include statutory PAYGO, the bills are fully offset under traditional scorekeeping, or statutory PAYGO has already been enacted into law.
Awesome. Awesomely conservative, that is. And remarkable politically-tone deaf. Because there aren't mobs in the street demanding cutting the deficit by flushing Social Security and Medicare down the toilet. Voters don't care about the deficit! Neither to Republicans politicians, who now only bother to pretend they do when they want to cut some program that doesn't primarily benefit the very wealthiest.

Look, and marvel at the leaders of the "Resistance" (Mike Lillis, Dem leaders embrace pay-go The Hill 06/06/18 06:00 AM EDT):
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other top Democrats are vowing to abide by fiscally hawkish pay-as-you-go rules if they seize the majority next year, rejecting calls from liberals who feel they’d be an impediment to big legislative gains.

Pelosi, who adopted “pay-go” rules when she held the Speaker’s gavel more than a decade ago, says she’ll push to do it again if the Democrats win the House in November’s midterm elections.

“Democrats are committed to pay-as-you-go,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Tuesday, affirming the policy would be a 2019 priority. [my emphasis]
I internally flinch a bit when I hear Cenk Uygar say that the establishment Democrats are "paid to LOSE," paid by major campaign donors, that is. I always think he may be underestimating the fecklessness of the Democratic leaders when he says that.

But I have to admit, "they're paid to lose" fits the Occam's Razor criteria for explaining why the Democrats would choose to emphasize this in the middle of what is potentially a Democratic wave election this year.

Charlie Pierce, as he often does, gets what a bad idea this is (Pelosi's 'Pay-Go' Rule Is Entirely Counter-Productive to Progressive Policy Goals Esquire Politics Blog 06/08/2018):
In fact, it’s a stupid rule. It is entirely counter-productive to progressive policy goals. It puts the Democratic Party in conflict with the blog’s First Law Of Economics – Fck The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money – and it revives Zombie Simpson-Bowles to stalk the halls of Congress again. In case nobody in the Democratic leadership has noticed, the rising energy in the party is not coming out of the budget-hawk cryptkeepers. This takes seriously the laughable fiction that the Republicans care about deficits and will use them as an effective club on the Democrats. Right now, the country is giving serious consideration to things like Medicare-for-all and some sort of free college. This isn’t the time to go all Al From again. It also guarantees a serious intraparty skirmish that’s already underway.
As Jamie Galbraith explained in his 2008 book The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, the Keynesian notion that federal budgets need to be balanced over time, or over a business cycle, became obsolete with the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1973. Aside from the fact that a country borrowing in its own currency can't go bankrupt, US budget deficits are a result of the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency and the surplus recycling mechanisms in the world eocnomic system that developed after the end of Bretton Woods.

But instead of looking at the real world of the last 45 years, "Resistance" leaders Pelosi and Hoyer think Herbert Hoover/Heinrich Brüning economics policies are the way to go.

Even a 2018 wave election won't save a Democratic Party with this kind of leadership.

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