The House Passes Bill to avert Fiscal Cliff

From Politico

The House has passed a bill to avert the fiscal cliff, 257-167, sending the bill to President Barack Obama and ending a dramatic New Year’s Day showdown over income taxes and deep federal spending cuts. The bill — which would allow tax rates on upper income Americans to jump, makes permanent middle class tax cuts, extends unemployment benefits and overhauls a variety of other tax and spending measures — passed the Senate early in the morning on New Year’s Day on an 89-8 vote.

The passage of this bill was done with majority support from Democrats and the support of 85 Republicans; including notable Republicans Speaker Boehner and Paul Ryan.

President Obama will sign this bill into law tomorrow!

What’s next???

  • Avoiding the sequestration cuts and coming up with cuts that are responsible and will not hurt the economy and Americans
  • Raising the Debt Ceiling
As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

For the Record, Paul Ryan Mislead When It Comes to Janesville GM Plant Closure

I used to think that Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan was scary but after listening to his speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC), I think I found something even more scarier than his draconian budget.

Paul Ryan without hesitation or pause confidently delivered a speech full of false and misleading information; I posted a fact-check of Ryan’s speech yesterday but apparently there are some people (mainly Republicans) who want to deny what the facts are.  Over the past 24 hours I have engaged in a couple of conversations concerning the closure of the Janesville, WI GM Plant.  It seems folks can’t understand the process that goes into closing a plant down and the timing around it.  Once again Dylan Matthews (@DylanMatt) of The Washington Post breaks down the timeline that lead up to the closure / standby of the plant.  The following is from his article:

February 2008 – At a campaign stop in Janesville, Obama says, ”I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.” As Politifactwrites, “That’s a statement of belief that, with government help, the Janesville plant could remain open — but not a promise to keep it open.”

June 3, 2008 – GM decides to close the Janesville plant, announcing that production will end by 2010, after months of rumors it might close. The press release declares, “Janesville, Wisconsin, will cease production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009, and of the Tahoe, Suburban and Yukon in 2010, or sooner.” Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, both Democrats, and Paul Ryan, whose House district includes Janesville, write the company urging it to reverse the decision.

September 2008 – Paul Ryan flies to Detroit to urge GM to reconsider its decision to close the plant. According to the Los Angeles Times, he pitched “a $224-million proposal that included roughly $50 million in state enterprise zone tax credits, local government grants worth $22 million and major contract concessions from the United Auto Workers union local.” Throughout, Ryan frequently speaks with GM chief Rick Wagoner.

Oct. 11, 2008 – Barack Obama comments on the Janesville closing. He does not promise to prevent the closing-in-progress, but instead declares he will “retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville” (emphasis mine) as president. Regardless of one’s views of the auto bailout, it has saved facilities like the Janesville one, if not the Janesville one in particular.

November/December 2008 – Congress weighs a bailout of GM and other automakers. One proposal, backed by Ryan and 31 other House Republicans, but not Mitt Romney, would have provided $15 billion in bridge loans. The bill passed the house but was not picked up by the Senate. The Bush administration declines to use TARP funds to rescue automakers, but approves a bridge loan on Dec.19, too late to save the Janesville plant.

Dec. 23, 2008– Lacking a bailout, the plant closes. The plant holds a “final goodbye ceremony” as it builds its last SUV. In a statement to MSNBC, GM confirmed that the plant “was idled” in December. But — and this is where it gets confusing — winding down a plant takes time.

April 21, 2009 – The Janesville plant builds its last medium-duty truck and shuts down its last assembly line, completing the shutdown process started in June 2008.  – courtesy Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post

The plant currently remains in a standby mode as there is a possibility GM may re-open the plant for production, but that will depend on what the market looks like.  To be honest if not for the bailout of GM that plant probably would not even be thought about for re-opening.  If that happens I am pretty sure Ryan will not give any credit to Obama or even Bush (Bush signed the Bailout ) for saving the plant.

I also thought it was interesting that Dylan Matthews pointed out in his article that Ryan’s complaint seems like he was looking for Obama to do what Republicans have criticized him for…. “Picking Winners”, imagine if Obama would have went in and gave GM a bunch of money and said, MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THAT ONE PLANT IN JANESVILLE OPEN, THAT WILL MAKE ME LOOK GOOD!

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

Takeover Thursdays – Let’s Fact-Check Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech

Paul Ryan

So Paul Ryan aka Mr Budget had a whole lot to say Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention (RNC).  If you’re a hardcore, Liberal hating Republican you have to be thrilled with what you heard from Ryan.

But….

If you are a common sense person who prefers facts over fiction than Ryan probably pissed you off a lil bit with what he said.  Or maybe you don’t care and the only thing about Ryan that bothered you was the constant grunting/clearing throat noise he was making….  Side note I hate it when Obama constantly thumps the podium during some of his speeches, seriously dude keep your hands on the podium!

 Ok ok ok, I am getting a little off topic here.

When Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney‘s running mate I thought he was the perfect guy to help move the conversation to the economy and start having a serious discussion about long-term debt.  So needless to say I was looking forward to Ryan’s speech last night….

Unfortuantely, I was very much disappointed in what Ryan had to say.  So far in this campaign both sides had done their fair share of stretching of the truth, and for some silly reason I thought this would be the lead into serious debate.

Mannnnnn, was I wrong!!!!

Ryan continued the theme of false and misleading information, instead of elevating the conversation Ryan took on the role of attack dog and ran with it. Best believe the Obama Campaign will be working overtime to launch attack ads on Ryan’s speech.  The following is from  Dylan Matthews(@dylanmatt) article in Ezra Klein‘s (@ezraklein) WONKBLOG in The Washington Post.  He covers ‘The true, the false, and the misleading’ put together a good analysis of the key points of Ryan’s speech:

TRUE

Obama cut Medicare – Ryan blasted the cuts to Medicare reimbursements and Medicare advantage included in the Affordable Care Act. “They just took it all away from Medicare,” Ryan declared. “Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.” That much is correct – the Affordable Care Act contained over $700 billion in cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates and Medicare advantage. The Obama administration insists the cuts will not hurt quality and are necessary to control costs, while the Romney-Ryan campaign disputes this, but the underlying claim is correct.

Obama didn’t fix the housing crisis – Ryan claimed Obama’s presidency, “began with a housing crisis they alone didn’t cause; it ends with a housing crisis they didn’t correct.” It is true that Obama did not cause the financial crisis and true that it has still not fully recovered almost four years later, as Ezra detailed in a recent column.

FALSE

A GM plant in Ryan’s district shut down on Obama’s watch – From Ryan’s speech:

My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

 A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.”  That’s what he said in 2008.

 Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year.  It is locked up and empty to this day.

The decision to close the plant was made in June 2008, when George W. Bush was president. Ryan says that Janesville was “about to” lose the factory at the time of the election, and Obama failed to prevent this. This is false, as Ryan knew in 2008 when he issued a statement bemoaning the plant’s impending closing.

The stimulus was the biggest expenditure in government history – The stimulus, Paul Ryan writes, “cost $831 billion – the largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government.” This is false any way you cut it. By comparison, the Congressional Research Service estimates (pdf) that World War II cost $4.1 trillion in 2011 dollars. That was the biggest one-time expenditure ever, not the stimulus. Ryan is simply incorrect.

The Affordable Care Act increases taxes on millions of small businesses – Paul Ryan declared that the Affordable Care Act would impose “new taxes on nearly a million small businesses.” The Act changes taxes for small businesses in three ways. It provides a tax credit (pdf) to subsidize insurance coverage for which between 1.4 and 4 million small businesses are eligible. It imposes a tax on medical device manufacturers, of which there were only 5,300 (pdf) in the United States in 2007. Finally, it imposes an employer mandate on businesses that do not provide coverage, which will not affect (pdf) businesses with under 50 employees. Most small businesses, then, get a tax cut, and the number of small businesses facing tax increases is about five thousand, far under a million. Ryan’s claim is just false.

The stimulus was full of fraud – “The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare, and cronyism at their worst,” Ryan boomed. No it wasn’t. According to TIME’s Michael Grunwald, whose new book The New New Deal is the definitive history of the stimulus, only 0.0001 percent of stimulus funds were wasted on fraud. Grunwald quotes the stimulus’s head watchdog, Earl Devaney: “We don’t get involved in politics, but whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, communist, whatever, you’ve got to appreciate that the serious fraud just hasn’t happened.” Even in the notorious case of Solyndra, House Republican investigation chair Darrel Issa found no evidence of undue political influence. Ryan is wrong to say that the stimulus was unusually corrupt or devoted to political patronage.

The Affordable Care Act was a government takeover –  ”We got a long, divisive, all-or-nothing attempt to put the federal government in charge of health care,” Ryan stated. Nope. The Affordable Care Act greatly expands private insurance rather than implementing a truly government-run insurance system, like those in Canada and Australia, or a government-run hospital system, like that in the United Kingdom. As Jonathan Oberlander, a health policy expert at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, put it, “The label ‘government takeover’ has no basis in reality, but instead reflects a political dynamic where conservatives label any increase in government authority in health care as a ‘takeover.’”

Obama doesn’t have a debt plan – On the debt, Ryan says, “Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems.  How did the president respond?  By doing nothing – nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.” Wrong again. President Obama has released a comprehensive debt reduction plan (pdf), in response to the brewing debate in Congress. You don’t have to like it but Ryan is incorrect in stating it doesn’t exist.

MISLEADING

Obama didn’t support Bowles-Simpson’s report – “[Obama] created a bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report,” Ryan stated. “He thanked them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing.” But the bipartisan debt commission itself didn’t come back with a report. There were not enough votes to agree upon recommendations, in part due to opposition from committee member, er, Paul Ryan. The statement misleads viewers by implying that Ryan supports the proposal, when he aggressively opposed it, and by using the third person to avoid noting that Ryan was on the commission and voted no.

Obama caused the debt downgrade – Paul Ryan said in his speech that Obama’s presidency “began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.” This implies that Obama was responsible for Standard and Poor’s downgrading of U.S. debt. That is false. In its report announcing the downgrade, S&P was clear that blame rested with House Republicans for making the debt ceiling increase conditional on deficit reduction. “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective,and less predictable than what we previously believed,” the report reads. “The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.” It also faults Congressional Republicans for “continu[ing] to resist any measure that would raise revenues.”

Obama added more to the deficit than any other president – “President Obama has added more debt than any other president before him,” Ryan stated. As Ezra has explained, the vast majority of this debt was due either to the Bush tax cuts or the Iraq war, and only a tiny sliver due to the stimulus and other recovery measures. It is misleading to imply that Obama’s policies are primarily responsible for the size of the deficit.

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

Militant Mondays – Russell Simmons and “Our People”

Since Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his running mate I have seen several tweets from Mediaite on Russell Simmons‘ blog post on GlobalGrind.com

My immediate response was, “WTF is Russell doing?”

The reason why I said WTF is that without reading Simmons’ blog post I thought his posting was about how Romney and Paul will “destroy” Black people.  In this economy it’s not only Black people suffering as Whites and EVERYONE is suffering in this Global Recession.  When you make a story about 1 group of people it takes away from your message; White people struggling could look at that tweet or Mediaite headline and be turned off from Russell Simmons overall message.  I don’t care what you tell me, no White person is going to read that headline and think, “Oh yeah Russell is talking about me!”.

But…..

If you read the blog post from Simmons you would read that he is talking about poor people all together; and how our government is being bought by a few rich people.  Russell views a Romney/Ryan ticket as a gutting of services for the middle-class and poor while lining the pockets of the filthy rich (I agree to a certain extent with that thought).  Unfortunately I am fearful that most will not get that message as the focus seems to be on the last sentence in Simmons blog:

“You are two men who will destroy our people and laugh all the way to the bank with your rich friends.” – Russell Simmons

Breitbart.com also used the “Our People” sentence instead of the true title of the blog post.  Simmons blog post is on point and is not the “vitriol” Breitbart.com tries to make it out to be.  There is no hiding Ryan’s budget plan and Romney’s tax plan; for them to reach their goals the spending they propose for defense and tax cuts for the rich have to come from some where.  That some where is the poor, not just Blacks or Whites but all middle-class and poor people!

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!

Obama Campaign Launches New Ad Against Romney and Paul Ticket

Wow, that was quick!

Soon after Mitt Romney announced Rep Paul Ryan as the “Next President of the United States”….

Wait…  What???

LOL!!!! I mean soon after Romney announced the selection of Paul Ryan as his VP, the Obama Campaign released its latest attack ad.

In one corner we have the tag team of Hope and Change – Obama/Biden and in the other corner we have the tag team of Transformation – Romney/Ryan.  Let The Games Begin!!!!

As always….

If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!