We Shouldn't Negotiate with Economic Terrorists

Are Republicans really going to blow up the economy in the debt-limit fight? All signs point to yes. On Sunday, Republican Congressman Matt Salmon called on his colleagues to shut down the government unless President Obama agrees to significant spending cuts to Social Security and Medicare Insurance. Also – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to say whether or not his party will shut down the government if they don’t get what they want in upcoming budget battles.

Unlike government shutdowns in the 1990’s, allowing the United States to default on its debt, by not raising the debt-ceiling. would be catastrophic to the global economy. Just playing with the idea back in 2011 led markets to tumble and our national credit rating to be downgraded. But Republican hostage takers are undeterred – and the cable news media is giving them cover, by not calling our just how dangerous their brinksmanship is.

President Obama must listen to Democrats in the House like Nancy Pelosi and Jerrold Nadler, who are pushing him to not negotiate with Republicans on the debt limit, and instead take executive action to raise the debt-limit on his own: either through invoking the 14th Amendment or by printing platinum coins at the Treasury.

The United States has long had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Today – Republicans are acting like economic terrorists – and could do far more harm to our economy by defaulting on our debt, than al Qaeda could have dreamed of. They are not to be negotiated with.


ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 23 weeks ago

Reprint from Jan. 6 Did any of you that voted for Obama and supported his Health Insurance Bill, I believe it is called the Affordable Health Care Act, happen to see the L.A. Times article today. If you’re not from Southern Cal you probably missed the front page. Well, it now appears that this Act to make healthcare more affordable has some serious LOOP HOLES. It appears there is a loop hole that will affect small businesses and those who are buying their first healthcare insurance here in California. Here in So. Cal. the major insurance companies are going to be able to rise or I should say they are petitioning for an increase of between 20% and 32% in the cost of providing health care insurance to these groups. I have to assume Cal. will be a testing ground to increase rates all over the U.S. Right, who would have guessed? Obama admitted there needed to be changes in the initial bill and he would take care of it in his second term. Talk about ego, his must be as high as Mt. Wilson, that is high ground here in So. Cal., it is where many towers are located for TV. and various communications towers. Any way it appears he did not bother to address these problems when he had the House and the Senate. So now those who will get either higher costs for healthcare insurance or pay a yearly tax or penalty are screwed once again by this President. Once again this President and I hate addressing him with that title has either purposely allowed these loop holes to increase the ability of the insurance corporations or it is another of his screw ups. This President I believe has conspired with the Insurance Industry to allow them to increase their revenue, just like the loop holes for the big pharma corporations that handle Medicare Part D. This guy is a frigging Repub in a blue suit. So I guess the Repub's might have seen this coming or they just opposed any bill that would help the poor or the middle class with their healthcare costs. I believe they were not aware of these loop holes or they would have nailed Obama a great deal sooner on this Health Care Act. They just wanted to make sure the Americans that needed healthcare would not get it because it might cost them through their taxes. Now we have a Republican like President and a Republican House and partial Senate that is anti-middleclass.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 23 weeks ago

If anyone still thinks the President and his policies are for the good of the American Public, just read the comments posted on the Affordable Health Care Act. Obama caved in by only raising the Capital Gains Tax by 5% and allowed the 2% payroll tax cut to expire. This guy is more interested in his Legacy he will leave behind than he is in creating legislation with the Democrats that is actually good for the American People and to me more precise the middleclass working class, poor working class and the downright poor Americans. I am just a simple American with an average intellect, but it was not hard to see he would sell us out and allow the wealthy Americans to skate away almost entirely clean of any real tax increase. His touting that he will make sure the wealthy pay their fair share and no increases in the taxes we pay was just another lie from his lips to our ears. He gave away the only bargaining card he held, so of course the Republicans will hold the economy hostage in order to cut out the Social Security and Medicare our retirees and sick depend on for their very life. The Billionaires and Millionaires probably will, “laugh all the way to the bank with the cash they will not have to pay out they should have been made to pay," the 38.5% that would have gone into effect on Jan.1, 2013. And, please do not tell me how many jobs they, the RICH have created, I have already heard enough of that lie last year! So I do believe Obama, who I believe is a Republican in a blue suit, will sell the American Public on his so called compromises he will make with the Repub's. Just remember he said that Social Security and Medicare was not on the bargaining table and he would make sure our elderly, sick and retired Americans who depend on these two very important programs. And as far as I have read Social Security is SOLVENT for many years to come and the Presidents health bill already cut 700 billion from Medicare. The frigging Republican CONservatives will not be happy until Wall St. gets its dirty hands on the Trillions in the Social Security Fund and everyone else on S.S. ends up in a soup and bread line at the nearest mission!

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 23 weeks ago

Kend - I do not watch Fox entertainment channel or MSNBC the left wing channel for my news. I suggest you try the PBS News Hour. They are truly fair and balanced in their reporting. They have BOTH sides represent the views of the left and right. The show usually airs at 6p.m. and 7p.m. on public TV. Just a suggestion for news viewing.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 23 weeks ago

Reprint from comment on Jan 6th. I wanted to make sure you read my apology - johngutta - Golly gee whiz; I am so honored to be in the presence of such a great mind and thinker. I cannot even begin to put into words how blessed we are, the simple Americans that comment here, to receive such enlightenment from such an esteemed and self-important scholastic as yourself. Man, and to think we had the answer to all our fiscal problems right here in the good ole' U.S. of A. and did not realize it. I guess the lazy and penny scrimping sloths that we are just did not have the capacity to understand your wisdom you have been sharing here on this Blog! I cannot believe all the economists and politicians haven't gotten together and adopt everything you have said! I guess that just shows how a whole nation could be so stupid as not to have realized your genius and the simpletons that we are had the answer to our problems all this time. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and opinions on this insolvable fiscal dilemma that has pitted the ignorant Dems and Repubs against each other. With great haste I will copy and e-mail your wisdom and answers to the President, Senate and House and hopefully they will have the insight to recognize your infallible economic plan to solve all or our debts. Thank you from a sincerely humbled heart and next time I will make sure I am addressing your comments with the proper respect. How foolish of me to use the word analogy, when addressing your comments on how to solve America's fiscal crisis and possibly the answer to World's present economic woes. I should have stated your, Economic Theory or your Hypothesis on resolving the fiscal problems facing America. I guess that will teach me to be more accurate when addressing, a person so well versed in economics! Sincerely and Humbly Yours, Ken.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 11 years 23 weeks ago

I apologize for those of you that have had to endure my mug shot for the last four comments today. Normally I try not to comment on one comment after another, but I wanted to share the article in the L.A. Times from Jan. 6, 2013.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 11 years 23 weeks ago

Ken Ware - Unfortuately, you are right. Obama's oppositon to the public option in the healthcare bill, his support for free trade deals with slave wage nations, and his recent brokering of a $4 trillion dollar gift to the ultra-rich proved that just like Bill Clinton, he is a flat-taxing, free trading traitor to his class and to his country.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 11 years 23 weeks ago

Ken Ware,

I believe that it is our responsibility as citizens to propose and discuss solutions to national problems, not complain endlessly about their symptoms; - so what, if anything, did you disagree with in my proposed solutions, and Why?

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 23 weeks ago

Thanks I will try I don't know if I get US PBS up here but I will look. I was in Scottsdale AZ when I saw it. Did you check out the "Alberta boom" piece?

I have to say I watched MSNBC and Fox News well I was down there I though they where talking about two different countries. They couldn't be further apart talking about the same thing. I guess there is three sides to the news Fox, MSNBC and the truth.

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 11 years 23 weeks ago

Déjà Vu Strategy, Tactics...

or, reading the tea leaves this picture of what's going on:

1. The "Rush to Austerity" is being pushed onto the American agenda in similar manner as was "The Rush to War". Lots of lies, disinformation, a duplicitous corporate media trying to box our policy choices into a place where we can only either choose Austerity or Die.

2. The republican tactics are all aimed towards their most important objective of seizing power. Expect their behavior, actions and inactions are only towards taking control of the senate in 2014. That was the real reason for the Susan Rice controversy, the result of putting Kerry's seat in play now. That's what's going on now with their obssession with The Budget and preserviing high unemployment: try to create enough dissatisfaction with Obama that the 2014 election will give them a senate majority.

3. If the republicans do seize the senate in 2014, expect a no-prisoners approach towards the Impeachment of Obama. Also expect the senate to only approve Supreme Courtesan appointments that meet their ideological and political agendas. A frenzy towards a constitutional convention is also not out of the realm of possibility.

bobbler's picture
bobbler 11 years 23 weeks ago


Anytime someone says they don't watch MSNBC, because it doesn't represent both sides. It sounds to my ears they want to have both lies and truth.. Because this would truly represent both sides. If you don't know which side is lying, I'm sure no amount if discussion would change that.

And I agree, if Obama can act like a democrat, then he should do whatever it takes (executive order, etc). He should challenge the GOP.

It looks to me the GOP, screws people and the economy, because democrats don't have enough seats.. But somehow successfully transfers the blame to obama.

Perfect example, all our taxes just went up. When the super rich should have footed the bill (since trickling money up to the top is what caused this mess in the first place). But Obama will take the blame for a generation for raising taxes (no matter the GOP forced it to be necessary. I funded wars for one thing.

jmanstro's picture
jmanstro 11 years 23 weeks ago

I think the American public understands this issue quite clearly. Anyone who votes to default on our debt obligations has motives that are not consistent with those of a responsible member of the house or senate. I think there is about zero political risk in taking it down to the very last minute broadcasting that simple message louder and longer as the day approaches. I believe those who wish to use the debt ceiling as leverage will blink first.

That said, always have a mitigation strategy to reduce risk, and a contingency plan in the event it occurs anyway.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 11 years 23 weeks ago

I'm just thankful I could make my orthodontist payment today. Next goal is paying December's rent.

Michael Gray 11 years 23 weeks ago

Lets talk about the PTC extension! what did it really do? who cares anymore?

We need to force the Republicons to play their hand .... WE SHOULD NOT NEGOTIATE! and we should make sure that the Teaparty takes responsibility for their actions too.

What the hell has happened to America?

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 23 weeks ago

..."another" credit down grade coming up!

johngutta's picture
johngutta 11 years 23 weeks ago

Let's be honest here. The "Democrat" Obama signed a tax bill written by a "Democrat" controlled Senate that made 75% of Bush's estate tax cut permanent - giving the ultra-rich at least a three trillion dollar tax cut over the next 10 years - and increased payroll taxes on the working poor by 50%. Do we really need any more proof that lawmakers from both parties have been bought by the ultra-rich?

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 23 weeks ago

"what the hell has happened to America" the bills are coming in and goverment is trying to find out how they are going to pay for them. 16.5 trillion, $52,152.00 per person doesn't that scare the hell out you guys.

Robindell's picture
Robindell 11 years 23 weeks ago

In the first place, the U.S. Senate has a Democratic majority, and the incoming senate is probably slightly more progressive-minded than was the outgoing one. Second, Mr. Thom Hartmann is well-intentioned, but he is too quick to jump on the theme, as he did the other day after his regular Friday segment with Senator Bernie Sanders, of the Republicans wanting to privatize Social Security. As I just said, the Democrats hold the senate as well as the White House. And polls indicate that they blame the Republicans for the fiscal cliff delays, and that they wanted somewhat higher taxes on the wealthy as opposed to cuts in Social Security and Medicare.

Having said that, the conversation with Senator Sanders omitted what solutions Senator Sanders would be willing to consider when it comes to cutting the deficit, although I think we already know that both Thom and Bernie are in favor of making some cuts in defense spending. Also, these sessions with the senator seem to skirt the question, what can be done that won't hurt seniors and the disabled to address the retirement of the baby boom generation with respect to the two programs. If more revenue is the solution, then does Thom support raising the payroll (FICA) tax taken out of everyone's paycheck, or does he and Senator Sanders only support the idea, often discussed on the show, of raising the earnings cap on the income that is subject to the FICA tax. On the Sunday morning talk shows, mosts of the guests go on about the unsustainable situation regarding entitlements. A few of the guests mention their preferred solutions. The idea of raising the retirement age is mentioned on these shows, but is never disputed as being both ineffective and harmful. Some mention means-testing benefits, particularly Medicare, for higher-income people. This may be a necessary change to help the medical payments continue. These conservative-oriented guests never talk about other items that have increased the deficit, but only talk about the future of retirement benefits, ignoring the current deficit. They don't talk about raising the cap on earnings for the payroll tax. There are a lot of demagogues in America, but I think the problem is the confusing of the deficit, created previously while Bush was president, with the increased number of people who will receive benefits in the future, benefits which they have contributed toward. These are issues that need to be addressed. Even if the House of Representatives was not so right-wing, the problems would still be there.

If people are harmed by poor decisions, I don't think they will remain silent or inactive. But there needs to be more mention of what can and should be done to strengthen the government's finances and to beat down the Republican efforts at extremism, based on their prejudice, not on economic reality.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 11 years 23 weeks ago

Kend - The solution to our national debt "problem" one more time:

Because the richest 1% have accumulated a total net worth of about 20 trillion dollars since 1980 ( most of it already existing wealth 'redistributed' upward from the working majority by Reagan's flatter, 'fairer' tax rates because his economic policies did not increase the inflation adjusted GDP growth rate ), an effective 
( loophole free ) top estate tax rate of 90% on marginal wealth over 50 million dollars would generate enough revenue within a generation to eliminate our national debt.

And the families of the richest 1%, with about 4 trillion left, would still be the richest 1%.

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 23 weeks ago

According to Tony Robbins, "Americas national debt reconstructed" your math is wrong.

I think if you remove the gift tax the kids and grandchildren would spend though.

johngutta's picture
johngutta 11 years 23 weeks ago

And I'm sure that my math is also wrong according to Mitt Romney and Rush Limbaugh. Try checking it for yourself against the raw data in the Statistical Abstract of the United States.

Kids like the Koch brothers?

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 23 weeks ago

Funny how no one ever mentions the fact that the U.S. is by far the richest country on the planet. We have a GDP of $15,290,000,000,000. The obsession with the dept-limit and all of the austerity economics crap is a distraction fomented by the Billionaire Party so we don't notice the continuation of a massive concentration of wealth by a handful of lost and out of control souls. The real fight is about unregulated capitalism and the economic hardship it's causing the vast majority of us. Without a strong national labor union movement we're all pretty much screwed. Germany has it right in this regard, workers there get the respect and support they deserve.

The Teabaggers, I'm guessing Salmon is one, and their shrink govt. and cut entitlements agenda is all part of this manipulation and distraction away from the real issue of economic inequality and continued wealth concentration. Social Security is proof that non profit social progams are immensely popular and it's the non profit part that explodes the heads of the piggish few out to loot this last frontier of citizen wealth by privatizing.

George II and his administration used SS funds to hide loss of revenue from his tax cuts to billionaires. These stolen funds got redesignated as revenue to hide the theft. This is our hard earned money, the billionaires win if guys like Ryan and the Tea Party get their proposed program cuts, then the theft becomes nothing more than a transfer of our hard earned money into the pockets of the richest among us.

Regarding the debt-limit fight, President Obama needs to stick to his statement....." If congress in any way suggests they are going to tie negotiations to the debt ceiling and take us to the brink of default once again as part of budget neogotiation...I will not play that game because we've got to break that habit before it starts."

johngutta's picture
johngutta 11 years 23 weeks ago

I mentioned that America is a resource and asset rich country that can easily afford a living wage for all of her workers when I entered this discussion about law buying and tax policy a few days ago.

Your comment is primarily a rant listing symptoms and lamenting effects of law buying and low marginal tax rates in detail. Other than disrupting a discussion of remedies, it accomplished nothing. ( Actually, judged by Kend's last contribution, the discussion had already ended.)

Robindell's picture
Robindell 11 years 23 weeks ago

The wealth largely resides in private hands, whereas the political issue pertains to the federal deficit and future obligations.

mycharley 11 years 23 weeks ago

The democrats and the president should hold firm. They should not negotiate. We should push them and we should push the people who voted for the republicans.

I wonder why anyone cares what the rating companies do to the USA credit rating. Look at how accurate they were with AIG and all the other companies that we had to bail out. It's just a political ploy.

The president makes me sad: he signed the "Patriot Act." He still has Gitmo. He still actively pursues American citizens and has them kidnapped, tortued and killed, all without abiding by the constitution. He used Drones more than ever, killing innocents, causing terrible injuries and never admitting it. He has made deals with multinational corporations and now the worse trade pact in the history of our country is being negotiated in secret.

Thom, when you say, "Tag, you're it," I don't want to be it anymore. Maybe I need a break.

No Fraud's picture
No Fraud 11 years 23 weeks ago

And yet he still won the election! Why because of a bunch of fear votes against Romney, by those that didn't consider voting on what they truely value.
I actually have a greater respect for those - Democrat or Republican - that voted third party. Maybe in 2016 people will finally stop being cowards and "Rock the Vote" by casting a Courage Vote rather than a lesser of two evils fear vote. Going by the last 12 elections...I doubt it.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 11 years 23 weeks ago

The Twain Report

All The News That Mark Twain Says He Would Report If He Was Alive Today


Usually the Twain Report tries to steer clear of any story that does not involve putting big red rubber noses on republicans and poking them with licorice sticks. But every once in a while, just to keep things properly jumbled-up, we like to do some factual reporting. The following was written by The Twain Report's editor:

I just noticed a corollary between republicans and some victims of toxic chemical exposure.

My toxicology clients usually call me when they are sick and not responding to conventional or alternative medical treatment. When I point to a specific chemical in their house and say, "This chemical is known to cause or trigger the medical condtion that you have," some of them respond by using the chemical in front of me.

This phenomenon puzzled me. I mean, the chemical is toxic, it's poisonous, it's not safe, it hurts people, pets, and wildlife. Why in the world would people knowingly do that to themselves and to the world around them? It took about fifteen years for me to find the answer: those people are obeying the chemicals. Looking at their body language, their facial expression, and most importantly looking in their eyes while they used the chemical, they always have a far-off look in their eyes, they appear to be in a hypnotic trance- on mental autopilot.

Here's my explanation. Everything in this universe has an innate intelligence. In general people are at the top of the scale in intelligence. But as many meditators and shamans agree, animals, plants, and even rocks have at least a rudimentary form of intelligence. And they have the will to survive.

So, if everything has the will to survive, do toxic chemicals have the will to survive, even if their survival is at the expense of every life form on this planet? My experience indicates that clearly toxic chemicals do have the will to survive on those destructive terms. The "mind" of a toxic chemical doesn't work like our human minds work. It doesn't reason things out or engage in discussions. It's much more simple and basic. But nonetheless its will to survive is very strong and as occurs often in the human, animal, plant, and mineral realms, that will reaches out in an attempt to create an environment favorable to its survival. So, what needs to happen in order for toxic chemicals to "survive?" Only one thing: the cooperation of people. Because people make and use toxic chemicals.

Once I became aware of this phenomenon, I also saw it occurring with mold infestations. I saw people repetitively doing things that increased their exposure- and other peoples' exposure- to mold. And I saw some of those people actively resisting anyone's efforts to convince them to get rid of the toxins. They were obeying the mold.

Now, does this "survival at all costs" attitude of chemical and biological toxins and their ability to cause some people to help them, remind you of anything that's happening in our world today? It reminds me of the republican party. I mean, republicans reflexively choose the anti-human position on virtually every issue- women's rights, childrens' rights, education, civil rights, consumers rights, fiscal responsibility, social responsibility, control of corporations, war, etc.. Their eyes have the same far-off, hypnotic trance, mental autopilot look as the people who obey the chemicals and mold, and their only arguments are sound bytes; there is no logic, no sequential thought, none of the characteristics you have the right to expect in a dialog between human beings. I wonder what the republicans are obeying.

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