Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Second term


Photo by dbb on bikearlingtonforum.
Obama inaugurated: President Obama gave an inspiring speech about working together, though Marion Barry was disappointed he didn't mention DC voting rights. Attendees generally had fun. Obama drove along the cycletrack. A disabled Orange Line train snarled Metro, and tickets directed too many people to Federal Center SW. (WBJ, Post, DCist)

VA GOP tries a coup: While one Virginia Senate Democrat and civil rights leader was at the inauguration, the Republicans rushed through a redistricting plan that will likely help them win one more seat this fall. (Examiner)

Georgetown waterfront isn't NPS?: The owner of Jack's Boathouse thinks the National Park Service might not even own the land the boathouse sits on. If his legal interpretation holds, then DC would also get back control of the Georgetown Waterfront Park, which it transferred to the federal government in 1985. (City Paper)

Will Arlington shrink? : Arlington disputes a state contractor's forecast that the county will lose population by 2040. The contractor may be basing its algorithm on the 1970s, before Metro and the county's high-density areas. (Post)

Hot for ToT: The Titan of Trinidad blog, which started out as satire, has now broken and doggedly followed 2 big stories, about Vincent Orange personally intervening to stop health officials from shutting down a rodent-infested food wholesaler, and Kathy Henderson allegedly breaking electioneering laws on Election Day.

No more booze for 14th and U?: Some residents around 14th and U Streets NW formally propose a liquor license moratorium for a circular area from 15th to 8th, R to Clifton. There are 5 moratoria in DC today. (Borderstan)

LEED flaws: The US Green Building Council bestowed its highest rating of LEED Platinum on a large house in the desert far from transit. That means any environmental gains in construction will be negated by its location and size. (Atlantic Cities)

Why people give up on transit: Researchers found that transit riders value consistency more than average travel time. More than half of riders who abandoned transit did so because of reliability problems. (Governing, jnb)

And...: Think your place is small? Check out this 17 sq. ft. Paris apartment, rented out for $442 a month. (NPR, Steve S.) ... One Seattle website wants users to redesign the light rail map. Sound familiar? (Crosscut) ... One Michigan group has (jokingly) found the answer to all the state's ills: more parking. (Streetsblog)

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David Alpert is the founder and editor-in-chief of Greater Greater Washington. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and daughter in Dupont Circle. 

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Personally, I think Aneesh Chopra should be given major props for inviting that senator to Washington. He blew open the major reason to vote for Notham -- which was it would be a balanced senate -- and shows the need for real leadership in the D party.

by charlie on Jan 22, 2013 8:39 am • linkreport

VA GOP tries a coup

Classy: Working on a federal holiday.
Classy: Trampling civil rights on a federal holiday dedicated to a civil rights leader.

Researchers found that transit riders value consistency more than average travel time.

Source: Journal of Unsurprising Results.

by Jasper on Jan 22, 2013 9:18 am • linkreport

Welcome back from the idiotic pomp known as the inauguration, the Nancy Grace of events.

While you were gone Virginia, our state was political hijacked so that Richmond gets even more of NOVAs wallet in its pockets. It's as if some of these southern Virginia folk have had generations of knowledge in how to disenfranchise or something...

by Tysons Engineer on Jan 22, 2013 9:19 am • linkreport

I was surprised to see such a prominent mention given to global warming. Its clearly not going to be on the backburner for the next four years.

My guess is that what will be proposed will be a carbon tax (much easier to explain than cap and trade) with revenues to go largely towards deficit reduction, as a proposed part of a deficit deal.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 22, 2013 9:27 am • linkreport

"Classy: Trampling civil rights on a federal holiday dedicated to a civil rights leader."

From my reading of the new districts, we are likely to have a new black senator from creigh deeds old district. Bad ugly partisan gerrymandering -- yes. Incredbly stupid for the DPV to let this happen -- yes. But civil rights -- no.

by charlie on Jan 22, 2013 9:38 am • linkreport

@Tysons Engineer

"It's as if some of these southern Virginia folk have had generations of knowledge in how to disenfranchise or something..."

Zing!

by Nick on Jan 22, 2013 9:55 am • linkreport

charlie, creating majority-minority districts can also be viewed as diluting the power of minorities by concentrating them in one district rather then spreading out voting power among several. Rather than having an influence on two districts they essentially get control over one. I don't really see how this is a win for civil rights.

by Alan B. on Jan 22, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

If I recall correctly USGBC once awarded a LEED rating to a parking garage.

by DAJ on Jan 22, 2013 9:56 am • linkreport

I think LEED theoretically provides a good model for how voluntary rating can be used to encourage greener building. In reality, it's just embarassing. In general a lot of green building is based on misrepresentation or misunderstanding about how buildings will actually be used. The only really "green" indicators are energy/resource usage per person and area footprint per person (ie square ground level footage/ # of occupants). Last time I read them the transit/bike requirements were incredibly lax and didnt take into account frequency/span/capacity of service. No building built on a green field should qualify for Platinum ever. It's really too bad it's been implemented in such a dishonest way.

by Alan B. on Jan 22, 2013 10:05 am • linkreport

"...gave an inspiring speech about working together..."

Less inspiring if addressing our nation's suicidal fiscal trajectory is high on one's concern list.

Just saying.

by JFMAMJJASON on Jan 22, 2013 10:18 am • linkreport

our fiscal trajectory is not as bad as the deficit scolds make out. Its a long term problem, that can be addressed with some modest changes to entitlements combined with some further revenue increases.

by IAmNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

@ charlie: From my reading of the new districts, we are likely to have a new black senator

Districts should not be made to have a certain person elected. D, R, black, white, purple, none whatsoever. Districts should be drawn based on population information only. Computers could do that easily.

And aside from goals, passing a bill on the day you know your opponent is gone is pretty undemocratic.

by Jasper on Jan 22, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

The Titan of Trinidad blog, which started out as satire, has now broken and doggedly followed 2 big stories, about of Vincent Orange personally intervening to stop health officials from shutting down a rodent-infested food wholesaler, and Kathy Henderson allegedly breaking electioneering laws on Election Day.

In fairness, Kathy Henderson breaking electioneering laws isn't a story, it's a constant. If it's not reported on elsewhere, it is because it's taken as a given.

by Dizzy on Jan 22, 2013 10:35 am • linkreport

@JFMAM

Its tough to be serious about deficit when the other side is completely unwilling to solve the problem. Simply gutting education and grandma's social security is not the answer, nor is it a viable option (nor are the republicans actually willing to do it, despite the lip-service they pay to debt reduction)

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 10:40 am • linkreport

our fiscal trajectory is not as bad as the deficit scolds make out.

Sincerely hope you're correct. But please admit neither of your quick fixes will come easy--if ever. At minimum, both will require deft leadership & laser-focused attention. An otherwise inspiring speech was disturbingly silent on this.

/scold

by JFMAMJJASON on Jan 22, 2013 10:46 am • linkreport

This speech was not the place for it. And, since its long term, it may not happen in this term.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/larry-summers-americas-many-deficits/2013/01/21/195c1a4a-6334-11e2-9e1b-07db1d2ccd5b_story.html?wprss=rss_opinions

by IAmNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 10:56 am • linkreport

@Jasper; you make not like it, but the Voting Right Act mandates it.

And it is the job of the democratic leadership to make sure their flock doesn't go astray.

by charlie on Jan 22, 2013 11:05 am • linkreport

DC spent $342,000 for that enclosed reviewing stand?

http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-gives-d.c.-hosts-a-cold-shoulder/article/2519307#.UP64UifnM1I

by Tom Coumaris on Jan 22, 2013 11:07 am • linkreport

Thought the swearing-in was absolutely PHENOMENAL! Security and Metro worked like a charm. Yes, the inaugural committee screwed up big time w/its wrong info. I looked at it and instantly knew it was going to be a disaster. Didn't think the address was particularly inspirational. Not sure if anyone really notices the bike lanes much.

Is anyone surprised that a constituent was able to get his/her CM involved in a matter that should be left up to the appropriate agency? Depending on the responsiveness of the CM's office, it doesn't take a lot of effort.

Simply gutting education and grandma's social security is not the answer, nor is it a viable option (nor are the republicans actually willing to do it, despite the lip-service they pay to debt reduction)

True, to an extent. While it's nice and partisan to throw grandma over the cliff, it's also not an honest way to have a debate. All grandma's ain't the same. Either way, our fiscal trajectory is headed over a cliff. We need to deal w/it and stop thinking that the other side should give everything while it gives nothing. Entitlement cuts must happen.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 11:12 am • linkreport

Less inspiring if addressing our nation's suicidal fiscal trajectory is high on one's concern list.

Actually, I think that unemployment is a bigger concern. People not having jobs: really important. Deficits that may cause problems 20 years down the road: less important. Cutting social security: a scam.

by JustMe on Jan 22, 2013 11:13 am • linkreport

Is anyone surprised that a constituent was able to get his/her CM involved in a matter that should be left up to the appropriate agency? Depending on the responsiveness of the CM's office, it doesn't take a lot of effort.

I don't think people are surprised, it's par for the course with the DC Council. What makes it newsworthy is the fact that it's extremely inappropriate and we shouldn't accept an unhealthy rat-infested food provider being allowed to remain open/reopen due to a CM's influence.

by MLD on Jan 22, 2013 11:21 am • linkreport

@ charlie:the Voting Right Act mandates it.

That is a rather narrow interpretation of the Voting Rights Act. But we'll see, after gov McDonald carefully evaluates the law and signs it.

And it is the job of the democratic leadership to make sure their flock doesn't go astray.

Celebrating a federal holiday is going astray?
I thought republicans were for taking responsibility and not blaming others?

by Jasper on Jan 22, 2013 11:21 am • linkreport

So is the TOT that guy in the pictures of the website? What is his name?

by TM on Jan 22, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

@charlie

Fair representation in the general assembly and having your vote count is a civil right that applies to all people regardless of their color. The newly gerrymandered districts rob people of that fundamental civil right.

by Falls Church on Jan 22, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

@JFMAMJJASON, don't want to turn this into too much of a om-my-god we are running a big deficit discussion, but Ezra Klein's column in the Sunday Post presents a more nuanced view of the financial situation. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/20/the-case-for-deficit-optimism/) It really all comes down to if the economy has a few years of solid growth, unemployment drops, and the big one, several decades of steep escalation in health care costs can be brought under control, the decifit problem pretty much goes away for the next decade.

With regards to projected population growth for Arlington county, it looks that the UVA center is using a overly simplistic model taking census data going back 60 years and projecting the dips forward. The UVA center approach would probably have DC losing population 10 or 20 years from now. If the state is going to use the population projections for long term planning, they should make an effort to use a more sophisticated model.

by AlanF on Jan 22, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

it's par for the course with the DC Council.

No, it's par for the course with politics. Ask any person whose had their Congressperson intervene on their behalf and I'm sure they'll say the same thing. In many of those instances, the Rep (nor the staff) are as intimately involved in the details as they should be.

BTW, does anyone know how the city fared after installing the bike "parking lot" which was supposed to hold 700? I noticed the "lanes" being mentioned and not the historic "parking lot" which I imagine is more interesting.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 11:35 am • linkreport

our fiscal trajectory is not as bad as the deficit scolds make out. Its a long term problem, that can be addressed with some modest changes to entitlements combined with some further revenue increases.

I think you greatly underestimate the difficulty of doing either of those things -- entitlement reductions or revenue increases. And, while it's a long term problem, there's not a long time to do things like reducing entitlements because any entitlement reduction wouldn't apply for 10-15 years (since they wouldn't apply to anyone currently older than 50-55).

by Falls Church on Jan 22, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

It really all comes down to if the economy has a few years of solid growth, unemployment drops, and the big one, several decades of steep escalation in health care costs can be brought under control, the decifit problem pretty much goes away for the next decade

As a really big fan of Ezra, I recognized the article for what it was...his liberal view of the deficit. That is, do all the aforementioned things, continue unabated entitlement spending and things will change.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

And, while it's a long term problem, there's not a long time to do things like reducing entitlements because any entitlement reduction wouldn't apply for 10-15 years (since they wouldn't apply to anyone currently older than 50-55).

My personal litmus test for any reform is if it isn't acceptable to be applied to today's seniors then why should we think it's going to be any better 10-15 years from now?

by JeffB on Jan 22, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

Man, "entitlements" sure is the dirtiest word in politics today.

by andrew on Jan 22, 2013 11:57 am • linkreport

@hogwash -- "BTW, does anyone know how the city fared after installing the bike "parking lot" which was supposed to hold 700? I noticed the "lanes" being mentioned and not the historic "parking lot" which I imagine is more interesting."

I didn't ride down to the inauguration, but hearing from some who did, it sounds like about 250 or so folks used the designated parking zone, while others realized they could get closer to the security gates and rode/parked at existing bike racks in those spots.

by Jacques on Jan 22, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

Agree, there are going to have to be changes on both sides of the ledger. Your point is that entitlement reform needs to happen, I agree. However, to get meaningful entitlement reform, the republicans are going to have to look at serious revenue (probably another 1.5 trillion over 10 years) to get this done. Hence my previous statement of:

Its tough to be serious about deficit when the other side is completely unwilling to solve the problem.

Mitch Mcconnell and the entire tea party caucus has completely ruled out new revenue. If this stands true, then the discussion is over, and Obama is wasting his time to even mention the deficit. Why should the dems give up 1 trillion in more cuts if they don't get an extra 300-500 billion in additional revenue? When reform actually happens (it will have too, at some point) it will have to go both ways. Isn't that how compromise is supposed to work?

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

@hogwash

Tea party friend this morning was complaining about taxes, and how Phil Michelson (sp?) is paying 52% whn you include fed, CA state, and medicare (both sides). The thinking is, the US has decided it wants a government at the current level it is at... Safety new, SS, Medicare etc, and since the majority has made that decision, it needs to get paid for, and that means new revenue.

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

"VA GOP tries a coup:"

That's not what a coup is, but whatever.

by Kolohe on Jan 22, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Get takedown of Mickelson:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2013/01/who-the-hell-is-phil-mickelsons-financial-advisor/

by Juanita de Talmas on Jan 22, 2013 1:16 pm • linkreport

Hogwash, if you mean the bike parking on 16th and I, it was pretty full when I walked by both times.

by Alan B. on Jan 22, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

@Juanita

The guy is an idiot. My buddy originally was lamenting that Phil paid 63%, of which I had to let him know that there was no possibly way his marginal rate was 63%, and that his effective rate was likely down in the 30's somewhere.

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 1:27 pm • linkreport

When I walked by, it looked maybe a third full, Alan B.. (If I have a picture, I'll post it later although of course that's just a snapshot of that moment...) I can't imagine it was convenient for most who ride and were familiar with DC.

by selxic on Jan 22, 2013 1:44 pm • linkreport

However, to get meaningful entitlement reform, the republicans are going to have to look at serious revenue (probably another 1.5 trillion over 10 years) to get this done.

Possibly. So the democratic strategy of getting the country behind the belief (erroneous) that the way to solve our fiscal problem is to raise taxes on the rich accounts for what? We already have the raised taxes but you're suggesting that in order to get serious about things, republicans need to give in on MORE taxes...all done BEFORE we talk about entitlement reform? Do you see how disingenuous that offer is?

Mitch Mcconnell and the entire tea party caucus has completely ruled out new revenue. If this stands true, then the discussion is over, and Obama is wasting his time to even mention the deficit.

McConnell ruled out more revenue beyond what they've already conceded to. Democrats argued that they wouldn't move on entitlement reform until the republicans caved...which they7 did. But you think they should hold off of any entitlement discussion until they get republicans to concede on taxes...again? Kyle...that's not the definition of a democracy.

Jacques..Thanks! I figured it must not have been as successful considering it's lack of mention.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 1:46 pm • linkreport

My personal litmus test for any reform is if it isn't acceptable to be applied to today's seniors then why should we think it's going to be any better 10-15 years from now?

People who are 10-15 years away from retirement have fair warning to plan accordingly to incorporate future changes. It would be pretty unfair to pull the rug out from under people who are close to retirement and have geared their savings plan accordingly (for example, reducing the level of risk in their 401K savings as they get closer to planned retirement age).

by Falls Church on Jan 22, 2013 2:01 pm • linkreport

"We already have the raised taxes"

and we already cut spending - in 2011.

So we are even.

next round will be entitlement cuts in return for further revenue increases, that is correct.

And both should be deferred until the economy is stronger and UE is lower.

by IAmNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

Hogwash

The GOP gave up on tax increases on the 450K plus, in order to keep the Bush tax rates on the under 450k. Had they not done, all the bush tax cuts would have expired.

They were NOT done as part of an exchange for entitlement cuts. To get that much more revenue would have had to have been on the table - the so called grand bargain. There was not time to negotiate a grand bargain, so a SMALL revenue increase was passed. The full grand bargain - entitlements for more revenue, awaits.

No one outside the GOP thinks that the Dems will give on entitlements without more revenue.

by IAmNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 2:10 pm • linkreport


@AWalkerInTheCity My guess is that what will be proposed will be a carbon tax (much easier to explain than cap and trade) with revenues to go largely towards deficit reduction, as a proposed part of a deficit deal.

My guess is that the President, who has a duty to faithfully execute the law, will encourage EPA to accelerate regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as required by the Clean Air Act.

@Hogwash: I figured it [bike parking] must not have been as successful considering it's lack of mention . Another possible measure of success is that ample parking was provided and few if any bikes were stolen; sometimes there is no story because things work.

@JeffB: My personal litmus test for any reform is if it isn't acceptable to be applied to today's seniors then why should we think it's going to be any better 10-15 years from now?

Three reasons: First, people need time to plan their affairs for matters like retirement. Second, reductions in retirement scheduled to take effect 20 years hence are far enough in the future that their importance is small compared to other decisions people make like job changes and spending. Third, people are living longer, so the need to raise the retirement age will be greater in a few decades than it is today.

by JimT on Jan 22, 2013 2:27 pm • linkreport

"My guess is that the President, who has a duty to faithfully execute the law, will encourage EPA to accelerate regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as required by the Clean Air Act."

Which likely will end up creating a suboptimal approach, vs a carbon pricing scheme. So as part of a grand bargain, the carbon tax would take the place of most of the EPA regs (this would be done by statute, so would be completely legal)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 22, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

The GOP gave up on tax increases on the 450K plus, in order to keep the Bush tax rates on the under 450k. Had they not done, all the bush tax cuts would have expired.

I agree and don't see how that negates the fact that they conceded on tax rates.

There was not time to negotiate a grand bargain, so a SMALL revenue increase was passed. The full grand bargain - entitlements for more revenue, awaits. No one outside the GOP thinks that the Dems will give on entitlements without more revenue.

Actually you're wrong. There was ample time to negotiate a grand bargain, Both sides were at a standstill and were more interested in seeing the outcome of the election before moving forward. Republicans wanted to take it down to the wire because they objected to tax increases but were in favor of entitlement cuts. Dems wanted to do the same but didn't want to see entitlement cuts on the table. They simply had the better hand. And after caving on tax rates and not using the debt ceiling as negotiation for entitlement cuts, Republicans have a stronger hand in dealing w/entitlement reform.

Another possible measure of success is that ample parking was provided and few if any bikes were stolen; sometimes there is no story because things work.

Well sure. They could've erected a parking lot that went largely unused and I imagine that story would be spinned as a waste of gov't money.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

"My guess is that the President, who has a duty to faithfully execute the law, will encourage EPA to accelerate regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as required by the Clean Air Act.

The last time EPA proposed similar regs, the President personally knocked 'em down.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 2:43 pm • linkreport

"And after caving on tax rates and not using the debt ceiling as negotiation for entitlement cuts, Republicans have a stronger hand in dealing w/entitlement reform."

They caved because they had no choice. They gave in on the debt ceiling cause Obama refused to negotiate, and pulling the trigger would have been very, very, bad for the GOP.

I do not see how that gives them a stronger hand.

Though I can imagine thats the spin they would like to spread.

by IAmNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 2:47 pm • linkreport

"The last time EPA proposed similar regs, the President personally knocked 'em down."

And this time I would envision him using them as leverage. Otherwise I don't know what the point of mentioning GW in the speech was.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 22, 2013 2:49 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

The belief is not erroneous. There is no way to cut and get us to a 3% of GDP annual deficit without gutting entitlements, without more revenue. The election just happened, and the American people spoke, saying they do not want entitlements gutted.

Yes, moving forward, if we are to see needed entitlement reform, we need more revenue. This is just a fact. I don't care to debate this with you. It is simply a fact, and the only way anything is going to get done on entitlements.

The republicans have had chances on entitlement. If they wanted, chained CPI would be in effect today. Their stubborn insistence on no new revenue took out this easy step towards progress from becoming a reality.

No, they do not have the upper hand. The only hand they have is taking down the entire economy so they can get their way.

The compromise is going to be in their favor (1 trillion in cuts for 500 bil in rev) even though the president ran (and won decisively) as did the Dems in the Senate (and the public voted for a Dem House, see the popular vote) but gerrymandering caused them to still have the majority.

Republicans do not have a hand. Their only card to play was to let the country default, at which point, they would have been crushed in 2014, and would have had absolutely no say in policy for a long time.

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

<<I can't imagine it was convenient for most who ride and were familiar with DC.>>

How so? It was close to parade entrances and as close to the mall as buses coming from the north and some metro stops. Clearly people were using it. I definitely saw several hundred bikes there around 10:30 and 12:30 or so. I'm sure it wasn't the intention to provide the only bike parking in the area, but rather a reasonably assured that they would be able to find a guaranteed spot.

by Alan B. on Jan 22, 2013 3:12 pm • linkreport

The election just happened, and the American people spoke, saying they do not want entitlements gutted.

The American people will forever say this. Even the Tea Party doesn't want the gov't touching their medicare..as they parade around the country knocking Obama for his wasteful spending on entitlement. So the American people are hardly ever a great barometer for how legislation should proceed.

Yes, moving forward, if we are to see needed entitlement reform, we need more revenue.

Sure, what sort of revenue generating idea do you have in mind.

Their stubborn insistence on no new revenue took out this easy step towards progress from becoming a reality.

Yet, the democrats stubborn insistence that they will not move on entitlements is somehow noble? You give me what I want before I give you want you want isn't a way to govern.

No, they do not have the upper hand. The only hand they have is taking down the entire economy so they can get their way.

Hyperbole aside. The past "tax" debate was about raising taxes on people make over xyz amount that would do very little to address the deficit. If my memory is correct, the number in savings amounted to the cost of the gov't doing business for 3 or so days. Yet, both sides were willing to send us over the cliff over a proposal whose savings were marginal. Again BOTH sides felt the marginal savings were enough to send us over.

Republicans do not have a hand

I'm not so partisan where I can't acknowledge the americans voted for a republican house.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

@ Kyle-W:There is no way to cut and get us to a 3% of GDP annual deficit without gutting entitlements, without more revenue.

Of course there is. There is this other item in the budget, called defense. If you just bring that back to what the next biggest spender spends, or double, or triple that, you're saving hundreds of billions.

by Jasper on Jan 22, 2013 3:26 pm • linkreport

Earlier, Jasper said:

And aside from goals, passing a bill on the day you know your opponent is gone is pretty undemocratic.

I mentioned as much in my email to the Governor yesterday.

by Froggie on Jan 22, 2013 3:33 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

You are agreeing with me. No one (even the Tea Party) actually wants to cut Medicare. All they will say is cut waste, fraud, abuse, and welfare. Not truly willing to make the tough calls. With that said, and an inability to actually truly cut anything, further revenue is needed to pay for the things we are going to spend money on anyways.

Sure, what sort of revenue generating idea do you have in mind.

I have plenty of ideas, would be happy to elaborate, but I doubt you are truly interested.

Yet, the democrats stubborn insistence that they will not move on entitlements is somehow noble? You give me what I want before I give you want you want isn't a way to govern.

It is in all practicality their only option. We need further revenue, the only way they are going to get it is with entitlement reform.

@Jasper

I agree. Happy to cut it. Even if you cut it in half, we are still at 4.6% of GDP. Need to get the deficit down another 200 billion. To just think we are going to cut defense spending in half, sure it sounds nice, is it ever going to happen? No. Hence why we need further revenue.

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 3:41 pm • linkreport

I'm not so partisan where I can't acknowledge the americans voted for a republican house.

"Democrats failed to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives even though they won 1 million more votes than Republicans."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-16/republicans-can-t-declare-mandate-with-more-democrat-house-votes.html

by Vinh An Nguyen on Jan 22, 2013 3:59 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash

It covers all federal spending for about a week. That is irrelevant though. What we need to do is cover all deficit spending. There, that 60 billion a year does a better job. It covers the deficit for about 22 days. Is that enough? No. Is it a start? Yes.

by Kyle-W on Jan 22, 2013 4:19 pm • linkreport

I have plenty of ideas, would be happy to elaborate, but I doubt you are truly interested.

Well sure. If we all took the approach and answered questions based on our assumptions about someone else's disinterest, then our discussions would be quite limited in scope.

It covers all federal spending for about a week. That is irrelevant though

I'm not sure you can convince most americans, led by the notion that "taxing the rich" as answers our deficit, that it's irrelevant. It was relevant enough for people to construct a campaign around the general premise.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 4:25 pm • linkreport

"I'm not sure you can convince most americans, led by the notion that "taxing the rich" as answers our deficit, that it's irrelevant"

If anyone takes the trouble to actually read the comment by Kyle, they will see that he was not referring to the tax increase as irrelevant, but to the statement that it only covers total govt spending for a few days as irrelevant.

I would go further - not only is that tax increase a larger share of the DEFICIT spending, but even that is not completely relevant. What matters is getting from our current "fiscal trajectory" to one where the deficit is low enough to keep our debt to GDP ration within bounds. The tax increase was an even larger step toward that, though of course we aren't all the way there.

And what was the GOP substance on the deficit issue in the campaign? Excluding tax increases, excluding defense cuts, promising cuts in domestic spending, which, when asked for clarification, amounted to cutting PBS, and the absurd claim that they cut entitlements without actually impacting anyone's benefits.

by I'mNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

@Hogwash The last time EPA proposed similar regs, the President personally knocked 'em down.

That is not correct. This President has not personally knocked down EPA-proposed regulations of greenhouse gases (though he has reversed EPA decisions on other pollutants). Or are you referring to the previous President?

@AWalkerintheCity: Your prediction of EPA regulations being reversed as part of a carbon tax bill is a plausible scenario. Because it assumes rationality, however, I'd say the odds are less than 50/50--and even then only if coupled with a significant reduction in income tax rates.

by JimT on Jan 22, 2013 5:06 pm • linkreport

Excluding tax increases, excluding defense cuts, promising cuts in domestic spending, which, when asked for clarification, amounted to cutting PBS, and the absurd claim that they cut entitlements without actually impacting anyone's benefits.

I agree..and which of the Democrats' proposal to cut entitlements did you agree with?

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 5:09 pm • linkreport

This President has not personally knocked down EPA-proposed regulations of greenhouse gases (though he has reversed EPA decisions on other pollutants). Or are you referring to the previous President?

No, I'm referring to time where he put a stop to the EPA's proposal to reduce smog.

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 5:12 pm • linkreport

the one where they agree in principle to examine entitlements, and the GOP agrees in principle to examine more revenue, and details are hammered out in negotiations.

Certainly not a process where the GOP sits back, waits for Obama to present cuts to entitlements, and then they pocket them and later blame him for them, without giving up anything on taxes.

Obama is over this "negotiating with himself" thing - where he guesses what will work for the GOP, puts out a reasonable deal, which they reject. Its a loser strategy.

by ImNotKrugman on Jan 22, 2013 5:14 pm • linkreport

the one where they agree in principle to examine entitlements, and the GOP agrees in principle to examine more revenue, and details are hammered out in negotiations.

So you don't have a problem with the republican party not coming forward w/their own plan based on their own "principle" to examine sources of revenue?

Certainly not a process where the GOP sits back, waits for Obama to present cuts to entitlements, and then they pocket them and later blame him for them, without giving up anything on taxes.

Is it better for republicans to present their own cuts while the Dems sit back and later blame the GOP for them?

by HogWash on Jan 22, 2013 5:20 pm • linkreport

Vince Gray treated the Inaugural Parade like a neighborhood 4th of July event by holding a political sign while marching, then retreated into his $342,000 box to watch the rest of the events.

And with that Barack Obama will never think about DC voting rights again during his presidency.

But hey, we got the license plates!

by thethinker on Jan 22, 2013 5:35 pm • linkreport

@Kyle-W et al. While gerrymandering helped the GOP, people who have studied the matter conclude that the GOP would have taken the House even without gerrymandering. Democrats tend to be concentrated more than Republicans.

Put another way, Democrats will generally have to draw much weirder looking districts than Republicans, if they want to achieve parity (e.g. reliably take 80% of house seats in states where they have a 60-40 advantage in the popular vote).

Nonpartisan commissions will tend to leave the Republicans with more than a proportionate share of Congressmen. The reason to favor an alternative to partisan gerrymandering is not that our favorite political party will get a better shake, but rather that we will have more competitive districts, and more moderates and pragmatists, and thus a more productive House of Representatives. THe Senate has other problems.

by JimT on Jan 22, 2013 9:19 pm • linkreport

@JimT

I tend to agree with this. There are a lot of 85% democratic areas, and then a lot of 55% republican districts. The Dem districts clearly outweigh in state and national elections, but to get the dems a majority would require wierd districts in a place like VA, with four long skinny districts reaching into Arlington, and then picking up the conservative areas to the far west and south. I agree, not completely realistic :)

@Hogwash

Fair enough. A couple of ideas that go a long ways. Raise the federal gas tax .10c a year for 10 years. This ensures that gas taxes would be a net positive to the treasury, instead of a subsidy the other way. With the negative externalities of increased miles driven, this would seem reasonable to me. This is the only tax I would propose that hits the middle class.

I would then phase out the mortgage interest deduction completely over the next 6 years. This policy skews heavily towards the top 10%, and simply isn't needed. Do my parents need a deduction on their river home/vacation home in Tappahannock, while they get a deduction on their home in Oakton as well? They would indicate quickly that they certainly do not.

On the entitlement side, I would freeze defense spending for the next 10 years at current spending levels, letting deflation slowly eat away at the amount we spend. I would certainly used Chained CPI for SS, as well as income tax brackets, slowly decreasing SS expense, and slowly increasing income tax revenue. I would raise the medicare age from 65 to 67, slowly increasing to match increases in expected lifespan. I would also increase co-pays on medicare. If you have a headache, and go to a doctor at first wiff of a headache, you should pay $25 or whatever, just like I do. Would help a lot to slow down medical costs.

I would also institute means testing on Medicare and Medicaid. At the top, they pay much larger co-pays and co-insurance.

There you have it. Long term deficit problem gone :)

by Kyle-W on Jan 23, 2013 9:21 am • linkreport

Kyle, thanks. I can't find much to disagree w/since your proposals combine both democrat and republican ideas. So why can't we get any movement? Because both sides (well actually democrats this past election cycle) have politicized the issue of entitlement reforms to the point where they want to "throw grandma off the cliff." Paul Ryan proposed raising the eligibility age and was roundly villified.

I don't know what the current copays on medicare are but believe there should be a sliding scale rather than everybody who receives it should pay our equal copay.

by HogWash on Jan 23, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

HogwashEntitlement cuts must happen.

Not true. We could raise taxes to end the deficit.

I figured it [bike parking] must not have been as successful considering it's lack of mention .

JimT has it dead on. You wouldn't call a first aid tent a failure because no one uses it. It was there in case it was needed. It wasn't needed, but plenty of people biked on Monday. If the parking area were overflowing it would be called a fail. Now, since it was only 30-50% full - it's also a fail? If exactly matching peak demand, with no under supply or oversupply, is the only measure of success, then who can possibly succeed? The cost of creating parking for 700 bikes as oppossed to 200 bikes is probably marginal. So the erred on the right side, wouldn't you agree.

by David C on Jan 26, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

Re: gerrymandering.

It's a tough nut to crack. In the end someone has to draw the lines (or write the code that draws the lines). [And they have to follow the Voting Rights Act]. And so the market, whose power we frequently try to tap, pushes people to try and draw the lines in ways that benefit themselves. You really can't away from that. Not entirely. I

When I was in Cameroon, I remember a guy made a map of the country based on tribe. He and his researches travelled around asking people what tribe they were part of, plotted that a created a map. Pretty simple. I always wondered if a similar system could be used to let people choose their own congressional district. Ask people which area they most considered themselves a part of (maybe with some choices) and then map that out. Of course, you won't get even districts but you could balance them by removing areas that have the lowest level of "identification" from districs that are too large and adding them to other areas with nearly equal identification.

by David C on Jan 26, 2013 4:46 pm • linkreport

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