"Folks such as Nancy Pelosi are like fatsos on a diet who celebrate a week's weight loss with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory."

Nancy Pelosi has announced that there is a 100 percent chance of a government shutdown in December or January, as the deadlines built into the deal that reopened the government approacheth.

Not in so many words per se, but her message about where House Dems and, one assumes, her ideological confreres in the Senate stand on budget negotiations is loud and clear: There's no budget deal without new taxes.

The Hill notes that "President Obama has reportedly signaled an openness to tackle the across-the-board cuts without hiking taxes." Pelosi has other ideas:

“Our position is that we're going to the table in order to reduce the deficit, grow the economy, create jobs, end the sequester — revenue needs to be on the table,” Pelosi said during her weekly news conference in the Capitol.  

“You can't just take a piece here [and] a piece there; it has to be comprehensive,” she added. “And if you're not going to have revenue, who's going to pay? Granny on Medicare? That's not something we can accept.”

More here.

As it happens, forcing Granny - and Pappy too! - on Medicare to pay more and get less would be a great way to drive down current and future spending (having everyone pay less and get less would be even better!).

Medicare, which pays for health care of seniors, and the old-age portion of Social Security already account for 37 percent of annual federal expenditures and are projected to soak up 50 percent of all outlays by 2030. And before we start talking about old people eating cat food and re-using paper towels, remember that households headed by the 65-plus crowd are half as likely to be in poverty as those headed by someone 35 and younger. The reason? Senior households have 47 times the amount of wealth held by 35-and-younger broods.

That's good news in many ways, but it reflects more than a traditional accrual of assets over a lifetime of work and savings. It reflects the whopping share of all entitlement spending directed to retirees - 53 percent, which is far more than the disabled or poor people get. Given that Social Security is already giving most workers who've retired since 2010 negative returns on the payroll taxes they paid into the system, it seems fair that older folks should be taking the haircut this time around. [For more details on the "Generational Warfare" that is already being waged against relatively poor and young people, read this.] The plain truth is that Granny and Pop-pop on Medicare have more pocket change than the rest of us.

But to bring it back to Pelosi's insistence that any sort of budget deal is going to have to include new taxes: Here's hoping the Republicans - and President Obama - hold firm against any such palaver.

Fact is that Obama got tax hikes in the fiscal cliff deal, even as he locked in most of the Bush-era rates. The payroll tax holiday ended and top income earners pay more now than a year ago.

Partly thanks to that and even moreso to a mildly recovering economy, the feds took in a record-high $2.8 trillion in taxes during fiscal 2013, $325 billion more than than they did in 2012.

Because of sequestration and the inability to pass a full-on budget for five years, spending has stayed flat over that time, sorta delivering on the premise of my and Veronique de Rugy's "19 Percent Solution" to balance the budget (that 2011 article essentially argued that keeping spending flat and taxes at then-current rates for 10 years would balance the budget). Indeed, the past two years mark the first time since the mid-1950s that federal spending has dropped two years in a row.

All told, last year's deficit came in at $680 billion - still a huge amount, yes, but the first time in Obama's presidency that it's been less than $1 trillion.

But we've seen this movie before, right? The minute that deficits start to dip and revenues creep up, it's time to celebrate by...going on a spending binge, preferably accompanied by tax hikes. Folks such as Pelosi are like fatsos on a diet who celebrate a week's weight loss with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. They are ready to undo any sort of fiscal discipline the minute they can.

While defense spending can and should be cut massively, just about everybody budget watcher agrees that it's entitlement spending what's bankrupting the country. Under CBO projections, revenue under current rules will rise over the next 25 years to above the historical average of 17.5 percent of GDP, so the tax side of things isn't the issue here (indeed, exactly why the feds need revenues equal to 19.5 percent of GDP is a case that really needs to be made). And most stimulatarians - whether of the Keynesian or monetarist persuasion - would agree that hiking taxes is a great way to stall out an sluggish economy. That leaves spending on the table. And lord knows that after the deficit-busting, debt-boosting bender that has been the Bush-Obama years between 2001-2011, there's more fat to cut now than ever before.

So here's hoping that when December 13 rolls around - and the start of discussions of "a long-term blueprint for tax and spending policies over the next decade" - Obama and Boehner recognize that they are now officially each other's BFFs.

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  • SugarFree||

    If you are considered unfit to vote for the first 18 years of your life, I don't see why it would be unreasonable to say that you are unfit to vote for the last 18 years of your life as well.

  • WTF||

    Hmmm...how do we know when the last 18 years of your life begin?

  • tarran||

    We don't. We should disenfranchise everyone just to be sure... :)

  • WTF||

    Actually, I am in favor of disenfranchising anyone who is not a net taxpayer.

  • SugarFree||

    I am in favor of disenfranchising anyone who is not a net taxpayer.

    Me too. That would take care of most gray panthers right there.

  • Winston||

    So I guess not should felons not vote but so shouldn't teens and a lot of other people?

  • SugarFree||

    Actuaries exist.

  • WTF||

    The net taxpayer rule is easier.

  • Lord Humungus||

    ZOMG, Logan's RUN!

  • SugarFree||

    Jenny Agutter approves.

  • WTF||

    I approve of Jenny Agutter.
    When she was young, anyway.

  • WTF||

    Raising taxes, oh yeah, that'll "grow the economy" and "create jobs". What a mendacious piece of shit Pelosi is.

  • tarran||

    I love how they freak out that reducing state spending will shrink the economy, but deny that reducing the cash balances of private actors (and hence reducing their spending) will have no effect.

  • WTF||

    It's amazing that anyone actually thinks state spending grows the economy. It's like believing that taking water from one end of the pool and putting it in the other end will make the pool fuller.

  • prolefeed||

    It's more like thinking that taking water from one end of the pool and dumping most of it into a toxic waste dump and then letting some of it drip back into the other end of the pool will make the pool fuller.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Yes.

  • WTF||

    Fuller...and BETTER!

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    When you take water out of one end of the pool, it magically multiplies into more water as you pour into the other end of the pool.

  • waffles||

    Paul Krugam goes out to lunch and orders a pizza. The waiter asks if he wants it cut into 8 slices or 12. Paul replies, "12 of course, it's more!"

    something like that

  • waffles||

    Krugman, Kurgistan, Krugabe...

  • SugarFree||

    I think it's the camel's nose for widespread redistribution. They have this fantasy that all this wealth is being horded for some nefarious end (when most of it is trying to keep it out of their grubby little hands.)

    SadBeard had some ludicrous article the other day about allowing people to earn up to 1M per year, but everything over that was taxed at 100% and you could never have more than a million in savings or investments at any given time.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    No, really? You've got to be shitting me.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm trying to find it. Damn you, google.

  • SugarFree||

    Fuck it. It might have been some tardsite I stumbled upon and now I can't find it. SadBeard is off the hook.

  • ||

  • Nazdrakke||

    While occasionally taking a drink of the water that you are moving.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I think a better metaphor is to say that it's like drinking from one end of a pool and then pissing in the other end.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Nice.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. That way you might actually add water to the pool since your body creates water through respiration.

  • Tony||

    Deficit reduction is the Republicans' fucking obsession. That is the context for tax hikes. Are you people doing this on purpose or are you stupid?

  • WTF||

    Derp de derpity derp!

    Fuck off you mendacious little shit.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Deficit reduction is the Republicans' fucking obsession.

    That's a nice fantasy, troll.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The actual subtext of tax hikes is MOAR spending and some perverted evil notion of fairness that only a retard like could subscribe to.

  • Tony||

    If tax hikes are off the table then you don't actually care about reducing the deficit. You care about cutting services for its own sake and are using deficit as an excuse. Taxes are historically low. If they're not part of a deficit cutting conversation then the conversation is not serious.

    It's tiresome pretending like everyone here doesn't know what's going on: you are ideologically opposed to certain government programs, but instead of just saying you want to cut granny off because you think it would be good for her (but mostly you, except mostly billionaires), you couch it in dishonest rhetoric about debt.

    Democrats think slow economic growth and high unemployment are the real problems; Republicans claim debt is the real problem. Democrats are willing to address debt (and have already--hugely), but only if it means Republicans are willing to put revenues on the table, because that's the most effective and least painful of the options available to reduce debt. Why Republicans claim to care about debt above all but only want the most painful and least productive policies to address it is a "mystery."

  • creech||

    If present tax revenues are equal to or more than federal spending in the Clinton era plus inflation then there is no need to raise them instead of or in addition to cutting spending. What are the comparable Clinton numbers and why can't we go back to those halcyon days?

  • Jordan||

    If tax hikes are off the table then you don't actually care about reducing the deficit.

    Not if:

    a). You expect that at best, spending will continue on its current trajectory,
    b). or that spending will increase even more thanks to increased revenues
    c). or a tax increase won't actually bring in more revenue.
    d). or you think that a tax increase will have other determental effects which outweigh a possible deficit reduction.

    But thanks for the false dilemma.

  • Jordan||

    because that's the most effective and least painful of the options available to reduce debt.

    That is, of course, horseshit. I can directly control how much I spend. I have no such control over how much I can bring in, even if I have the power to rob people.

  • some guy||

    I want to cut granny off because granny already had a chance to save for retirement. It's not my problem if she chose to spend irresponsibly when she was young and healthy.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Dudes, it's like totally thursday and stuff. Fuck, it's halloween, too, so be extra careful with rumpleforeskin here.

  • some guy||

    NO! Someone on the internet is wrong and he needs to be informed of that fact!

  • ||

    Damn it, I forgot it was Thursday.

  • ||

    2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS

    Let that sink in a moment you abject fucking retard.

    2.5 Trillion dollars is around what the fedgov took in in income taxes. That should be more than enough to run the fucking government for a goddamn year without cutting off granny and shooting her in the head.

    Nevermind that the hated rich (booo, hiss) are your fucking pals running the whole goddamn show.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The only thing that can possibly fix our spending problem is more revenue. And raising taxes will automatically lead to increased revenue, because the chess pieces always more where they're told to move.

  • WTF||

    ^This is what Tony actually believes!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Why did someone take the time to photoshop Dr. Strangelove into that photo?

  • ||

  • WTF||

    Here's how you can avoid being subjected to fat discrimination - PUT THE FUCKING TWINKIE DOWN.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Our position is that we're going to the table in order to reduce the deficit, grow the economy, create jobs, end the sequester/i

    How can people like her say things like this and not just burst into flames on the spot. It makes me wonder if Cthulu is even real.

  • some guy||

    Cthulhu isn't going to make herself burst into flames... unless she saw some political gain in it.

  • Hoofddorp Haarlemmermeer||

    Pelosi is so evil she might make Cthulhu burst into flames!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Folks such as Pelosi are like fatsos on a diet who celebrate a week's weight loss with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. They are ready to undo any sort of fiscal discipline the minute they can.

    Political incentives are not attuned to thrift.

  • Winston||

    Folks such as Pelosi are like fatsos on a diet who celebrate a week's weight loss with a trip to the Cheesecake Factory. They are ready to undo any sort of fiscal discipline the minute they can.

    At least those fatsos are trying to lose weight whereas all the recent "fiscal discipline" was done against Pelosi's will.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Looking at the Cheesecake Factory menu I see Orange Chicken with 298 grams of carbohydrate. For me that's three to four days of carbs in one dish!

  • JimMelloan||

    Love the Daltrey, and the fact that he's not mentioned in the text or the comments. Happy Halloween to you too, and WTF?

  • dgt224||

    "Fatsos"? In the *headline*? You might want to think about hiring an editor, who could suggest that, regardless of how you feel about overweight people, using an insulting term for them is *not* the way to win hearts and minds among the overweight fraction of the population. Or among those who merely care about civility in discourse.

    I note that in the 11/1 Reason Alert e-mail the title was shortened to "On Spending, Congress Is Like a Fatso on a Diet." This was *not* an improvement!

    And while I'm being critical of the writing, "just about everybody budget watcher agrees that it's entitlement spending what's bankrupting the country"? Perhaps a proofreader would be a good idea, too.

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    I'm a huge fat guy.

    I don't give a shit about the headline.

    Stop being insulted for me.

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