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President Obama's last press conference of his first term

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I watched President Obama's press conference this morning...the last one of his first term. The questions were largely around two themes: 1) the raising of the debt ceiling and 2) what executive actions he might take with respect to gun control.

    With respect to the raising of the debt ceiling, he reiterated quite strongly that he is not going to partake in those discussions with Republicans in Congress as a "ransom" to get their spending cuts made. He said he would gladly take the responsibility of raising the debt ceiling himself IF Congress were to give it to him. He did not take up the suggestion of taking unilateral action of enacting the 14th Amendment himself without Congress's authority. He implied that if Republicans want to default on our debts, that they would do so at their own peril.

    On guns, he is still awaiting Joe Biden's recommendations, but he did say those actions that were within his authority to do himself, that he would act on them.

    AS the press conference just finished, I don't have all the media views yet. Those will follow.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Here's a quick summary of those points from the Huffington Post:

    Obama On Debt Ceiling: 'We Are Not A Deadbeat Nation'

    WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama issued a strong warning to Republicans on Monday that he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling or allow Republicans to use it as a bargaining chip.

    "To even entertain the idea of the United States of America not paying our bills is irresponsible. It's absurd," Obama said in a press conference.

    The president also responded directly to Republicans who continue to argue that increasing the nation's borrowing limit only contributes to Washington's spending problem. He repeatedly emphasized that raising the debt ceiling does not authorize any new spending but simply allows the government to continue to pay for obligations to which Congress has already agreed.


    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next month, but I'll put my money on President Obama.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Oh boy, not paying government workers the wages they are owed is a default on a government obligation. Same thing for not honoring intra-government debt (social security administration held bonds).

    I like the pressure he's putting on Republicans, but the idea that deficit reduction helps the middle class is totally insane Tea Party thinking.

    As the Treasury Secretary has said, in macro terms, a government spending cut is the same thing as a tax increase. What happened to Taxed Enough Already?

    There's nothing unsustainable about real negative Treasury rates. Hello? Non-government savings demands are through the roof!

    Treasury rates reflect expected changes in the Fed Funds rate, which is set by FOMC vote, not markets, and then defended by the FED. The market is subject to government forces, not the other way around, and the FED is in complete control of the Fed Funds rate as it is the monopoly supplier of reserves.

    I have had it with "very serious people." They are very seriously stupid. And all their titles, degrees, accolades, etc. just makes their stupidity official.

    I'm sick of "progressives" who fall hook, line, and sinker for Republican bullshit.

    The president needs allies who can stand up in front of the press corps and Republicans, and show the American people that those folks have no idea what they are talking about.
  • Center Left Democrat
    Democrat
    Flagstaff, AZ
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    Schmidt:


    I watched every minute of the press conference this morning, and thought that Obama did a great job.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Here's the transcript of the press conference compliments of Politico:

    Obama press conference transcript, Jan. 14, 2013

    CBB --

    We've discussed this before...."the idea that deficit reduction helps the middle class is totally insane Tea Party thinking." I agree. However, it's the only game being played in town right now.

    Changing public and Congress perceptions on deficits and debts is a huge undertaking that will take decades...maybe a whole generation. I think some in Congress understand MMT and everything you are saying, but politics has overridden that entire debate. Right now you cannot even have an honest intellectual debate about providing funding for Sandy victims. Everything is polarized, and putting the "MMT way" of fixing things on the table now would be bad politically. That change will come slow.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    They don't even try.

    And politically, Obama has boxed himself in this corner through years of foolish statements, i.e. "we're broke."

    Whatever bullish optimism I had is gone. They are going to destroy this economy, and it will be a bipartisan effort.

    We are going to hit a brick wall in Obama's second term, and this country is going to go absolutely insane.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Meanwhile, I've got to go out and organize a massive coalition of local Dallas activists to protest, and hopefully stop, a well funded astroturf campaign (Compact for America) that's trying to hold an Article V constitutional convention in Dallas on July 4 to proposed a balanced budget constitutional amendment* (it actually sets a hard debt-limit and gives veto power to states over raising it).

    Schmidt, I'm truly scared. With an Article V constitutional convention, they can go around Congress. All they need is for 2/3 of the states to sign on to the convention, and then 3/4 to approve the amendment.

    Many blue states have very slim Democratic majorities, and it's not an outside chance that enough of them could be persuaded.

    Either way, even if they fail, it's enough to create noise damaging to Democrats who hold the line in upcoming midterms and in 2016.

    I'm not the man for this job. I don't have the skills, contacts, or free-time, but I'm going to try.

    All I have right now is about 30 Occupy Dallas activists, and unknown numbers of Dallas MoveOn.org members, but I have pledges from Warren and Stephanie Kelton to come to Dallas to help rally the troops and fight this from a place of reason.

    At the same time, we are fighting off fracking permits in Dallas, which is an ongoing fight.

    I'm gonna try to talk to local Democratic party groups, but I don't expect much from them.

    The front line in the Battle for Public Purpose is coming to my home town. I'll be damned if I don't raise hell.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    CBB--

    Thanks. I read their proposed Balanced Budget Amendment and wow...it's a killer for the American economy. Anyone who would sign that statement needs to have their head examined. It's a back door attempt to kill off the social safety net by forcing cutbacks in social programs and calling for the impeachment of the President for not enacting those draconian cuts. It's Fascism 101. It is idiocy...Idiot America is speaking out in this proposed amendment.

    I wish you luck in your Dallas protest movement. The amendment needs to be squashed.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Getting back to the press conference, I'll make a few personal observations, influenced somewhat by listening to the various moderate Republicans voices of concern about the debt ceiling following the press conference. I think President Obama has now won the debt ceiling debate. Obama has reiterated his position, and there is no backing down now. He drew a line in the wet concrete and the line now cannot be moved. It is "cast in concrete."

    Sane Republicans recognize that trying to force Obama to move on it will kill their party. Ransom to extract their agenda will not poll well with the American public or corporations. So I expect in the coming days that Congress will either extend the debt ceiling by maybe a year or grant that authority to President Obama with provisions to override if they felt so politically inclined.

    The Tea Party will still be allowed to vote against raising the debt ceiling, but a coalition of Democrats and moderate republicans will approve raising the debt ceiling. The debate will now extend to the budget and the approval of the "Continuing Resolution" sometime later in March. That's where the Republicans may indeed try to force a shutdown of the government, but Obama will win that confrontation as well. When Newt Gingrich and the Republicans tried that on Bill Clinton in 1995 and 1996 they lost. And in 2012, Barack Obama will also beat them if they try.

    On the subject of gun control, Joe Biden only released his draft report to President Obama yesterday. Obama has promised to have his proposals out "in a few days." I expect it will be tough and take on the gun cult. He will be backed up in the court of public opinion by the parents of the Sandy Hook victims. If I were Obama, I would invite some of those parents to his State of the Union address on February 12th, and then recognize their efforts to keep the memories of the children alive while simultaneously pushing on his proposed gun legislation. The optics of the Republicans sitting on their hands as the cameras rolled will not score political points for the Republicans who choose to back the NRA.

    Finally on the matter of defense spending, the sequester or defense spending in general was not raised by any of the media people attending the press conference. That's probably because on Friday he held a joint press conference with Karzi announcing an accelerated withdrawal of coalition troops from Afghanistan. And my reading of the sovereignty issues, I expect, like Iraq, the last troops will exit Afghanistan before Christmas 2014. After that we will have zero troops there...not even for training. This withdrawal will trigger cutbacks in military expenditures, but how much? We will find out as the timetable for withdrawal is finalized in the coming months.

    Okay, those are my opinions.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    "schmidt" I only want to reply on your last para related to the defense cuts. Just by withdrawing troops which was anyway in the planning it does not mean defense cuts. The defense (Pentagon) put in a lot of contracts in the last half of 2012. If the fiscal cliff would have taken place they would have had a cut of 600 billion. So what is happening now; the funny thing is they spent that money already, instead of handing it in.
    So I am mistaken, or we are taken for a ride?
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Never underestimate the depravity of the Republican party. A government shutdown is bad enough. If it's long enough, we will still default. Somebody needs to be paid to man the computers at the Treasury to do redemptions.

    Also, a BBA nearly passed in 1995 and 1997, failing in the Senate by one vote each time.

    While I'm not a fan of military spending (it is out of control), it boosts employment and overall spending. What's cut needs to be put back in with other government spending and/or tax cuts (from the bottom-up).

    That's not gonna happen. Obama is in full blown deficit hawk mode. He's proud of his cuts to spending and tax increases.

    Mind you, the tax increases on the wealthy that he won in December won't bring in the amount of revenue that the FICA holiday expiration will. $600 billion vs. over a $ trillion over the 10 year period.

    MMT is the last progressive left standing. This is a fiscal bloodbath. The amount of fiscal drag that's been put in place is going to cause another recession before Obama leaves office. That's not helpful for Democratic chances in 2016.

    In short, we are totally fucked.

    And only the Owls can see in the dark.