Your Daily Jolt: Racing over the cliff

Christmas is over, but Cliffmas is still bearing down. Here’s your morning shot of reality from the good folks at Politico:

Nearly all the major players in the fiscal cliff negotiations are starting to agree on one thing: A deal is virtually impossible before the New Year.

Unlike the bank bailout in 2008, the tax deal in 2010 and the debt ceiling in 2011, the Senate almost certainly won’t swoop in and help sidestep a potential economic calamity, senior officials in both parties predicted on Wednesday.

With the country teetering on this fiscal cliff of deep spending cuts and sharp tax hikes, the philosophical differences, the shortened timetable and the political dynamics appear to be insurmountable hurdles for a bipartisan deal by New Year’s Day.

Lawmakers are starting to emerge from their egg nog break today: President Barack Obama is flying back to D.C. from Hawaii, and lands late this morning. His Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner shot up a flare Wednesday reminding everyone that we officially hit the debt limit Dec. 31, though Treasury can shuffle funds for a couple months until it’s really a problem. Our fine lads in Congress, of course, are blaming each other for the fiscal cliff impasse.

The House has taken its ball and gone home after the Plan B fiasco, and Speaker John Boehner and other House leaders reiterated Wednesday that they will not return until the Senate does something with the fiscal cliff bills the House passed months ago to extend all the Bush tax cuts and shift all the Pentagon cuts to domestic programs. The Senate is back in action this evening on non-cliff business, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just insisted on the floor that a tax bill the Senate passed months ago to extend the tax rates for income under $250,000 is “the only viable escape route.” He added, “We’ve not heard a word from [Republican] Leader [Mitch] McConnell. Nothing has happened.”

Isn’t it crazy that Americans have such a low opinion of Congress?

***

AP/Dinesh Ramde

AP/Dinesh Ramde

You are entering a world of pain: Aside from the fiscal cliff, a couple more economy-stifling presents arrive soon if standoffs continue. Because Congress has been unable to pass a farm bill, we face the “milk cliff.” Bloomberg’s Derek Wallbank explains:

If Congress doesn’t extend the U.S. dairy support program, which is one of the programs covered in the larger farm-policy law, it will revert to the way it was in 1949, roughly doubling wholesale milk prices.

“Fiscal-cliff tax increases would hit middle-class families’ pocketbooks, but so would paying six or seven dollars for a gallon of milk,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.

And down in Savannah, a labor dispute could halt operations at the Port. The longshoremen’s union contract expires midnight Saturday, but at least the Savannah Morning News reports that both sides are talking. The Biz Journals note that a 2002 strike cost $1 billion per day.

***

State Rep.-elect Charles Gregory caused a stir by announcing he would introduce new gun rights measures in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Gregory responded to the criticism with an online commentary in which he explains the timing thusly:

History shows us that we lose more of our freedoms during times of crisis and tragedy than at any other time.  This is how we have allowed government to pass such un-constitutional human rights abuses as The Patriot Act and The National Defense Authorization Act.

Gregory also offers to “dispel a few myths” including:

  • I was not raised in a religious cult.
  • I do not believe the world is going to end any time soon.
  • I do not believe we are in imminent danger of going to war with the federal government.

***

Slate magazine has a lengthy piece up about how Georgia has become “one of the toughest places in the nation to get welfare assistance.”

What’s Georgia’s secret? According to government documents, interviews with poor Georgians, and those who work with them, it’s a simple one: Combine an all-Republican state government out to make a name for itself as tough on freeloaders; a state welfare commissioner so zealous about slashing the rolls that workers say she handed out Zero candy bars to emphasize her goal of zero welfare; and federal rules that, regardless of who’s in the White House, give states the leeway to use the 1996 law’s requirement for “work activities”—the same provision that Republicans have charged President Obama wants to unfairly water down—to slam the door in the face of the state’s neediest.

What this has created is a land that welfare forgot, where a collection of private charities struggle to fill the resulting holes.

***

The Washington Post’s Amy Gardner delved into the controversy involving FreedomWorks — the tea party-driven group that had a messy divorce with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. Apparently it involved a firearm.

Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

FreedomWorks’ offices, in fact, are next door to the Cox DC Bureau where your fill-in Insider is currently sitting. And we were sadly oblivious to the drama.

***

President George H.W. Bush is in intensive care in Houston battling a “persistent fever.”

- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

93 comments Add your comment

Eli

December 27th, 2012
10:42 am

Just repeal the sequestration!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 27th, 2012
10:46 am

Correction – If you want to reach the great unwashed babbling mass of socialism you have to frame things in the proper context, hence it should be called the milk “crisis.” Cliffs just don’t hit it with this generation.

“Fiscal-cliff tax increases would hit middle-class families’ pocketbooks, but so would paying six or seven dollars for a gallon of milk,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat.

Our choices, give the extra two or three dollars to the individual farmers themselves who can then foster competition using that money and lower prices. Or we could borrow the extra two or three dollars from China and run it through the bowels and entrails of our corrupt and ever growing and greedy government, letting them distribute the money to whichever giant corporation gave the most to their campaigns.

hmmmmmmmm.

JD

December 27th, 2012
10:48 am

Charles Gregory is part of the problem. Just another right-wing extremist that is interested in staving off future primary challenges rather than creating good public policy.

As long as excrement like Gregory serve in our governing institutions we will continue to go nowhere as a state or nation.

Eli

December 27th, 2012
11:04 am

It wouldn’t just be milk prices that go up. People like “aesop,” from a couple of posts ago, are not smart…they just ramble off whatever nonsense they hear on the radio. They do not study, they do not try to develop an understanding of the world around them…they just hate and wallow in their stupidity.

If you want a less corrupt government, more capitalism is not the answer. Are you tired of wealthy people and corporations having more say in government action than yourself? More capitalism is not the answer. Capitalism breeds aristocracy.

Tony

December 27th, 2012
11:05 am

I’m lactose intolerant so this doesn’t bother me that much.

Carlos

December 27th, 2012
11:09 am

We’d be more likely to have a budget deal if the President remained playing golf in Hawaii. The closer that he is to a negotiation, the more likely it is to blow up.

Georgia

December 27th, 2012
11:13 am

Dick Armey and his wife Susan with an armed aide? At least when we dealt with Patraeus we only had to get past Geronimo. I think this is an escalation. Walk softly boys………..

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 27th, 2012
11:13 am

Eli, who receives his information not from the scary radio but from the loudspeaker of the community organizer.

Aristocracy?

itsme

December 27th, 2012
11:26 am

Isn’t it crazy that Americans have such a low opinion of Congress?

Isn’t it crazy that Washington has such a low opinion of the American people that they would even consider allowing something this bad to happen?

Georgia

December 27th, 2012
11:30 am

Post Cards From the MilkCliff: So they’re saying that there is a looming milk spill worthy of crying over? So again the Mayans are only ten days off. This is specifically mentioned in the Calendar. I think MilkSpill is the last named month (like our December). The poster child for the Mayan month of Milkspill is an emoticon of a guy nursing from a pin-up-worthy government teet. Food Fight!!!!!!

td

December 27th, 2012
11:40 am

Who is this great commissioner of Welfare that is keeping the rolls down in Georgia?

Voter

December 27th, 2012
11:48 am

Why does the media keeping pushing this “Cliff” ? You guys are the ones who are stirring up this mess! The government is not doing their jobs so they passed a bill to force them to do their job, now that it’s happening, the media is scaring everyone with this “cliff”. Stop causing hysteria and report the news!

Living With Open Eyes

December 27th, 2012
11:55 am

Notice that Congress and the President only take serious action when it concerns THEIR pay-i.e. the 2008 bank & Wall Street bailout.This clearly demonstrates that Congress’ main source of income is NOT their government paycheck (which by itself is nothing to sneeze at) – but their payoffs, “gifts”, and dividends from their peers in the finance industry. In other words, we have elected foxes to watch over the henhouse.

Just Saying..

December 27th, 2012
12:00 pm

“Who is this great commissioner of Welfare that is keeping the rolls down in Georgia?”

You mean the Czar?

woodrow

December 27th, 2012
12:05 pm

Nobody knows what to do. But everyone knows they don’t want to pay more taxes. And all the fraud going on in the social welfare systems are only angering people.

4DaBirds

December 27th, 2012
12:16 pm

Both parties are going to just let this happen, because they are too selfish and egotistical to realize they are public servants. Not to mention none of these people are middle class, and in the end they’ll still have plenty of money. They’re only interested in pointing the finger at the other side, stuffing there own pockets with cash and doing favors for other elitist. PHUCK EM ALL!

Voter

December 27th, 2012
12:19 pm

@woodrow – Fraud is right. This entitlement population being supported by welfare has got to stop.

“Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”
Dr. Adrian Rogers

Steve From Acworth

December 27th, 2012
12:23 pm

Re Carlos @ 11:09

I would take it a step further and just say no Democrats should be involved at all in the negotiations. Let the GOP handle this with no liberal interference anda deal will get done.

WOW

December 27th, 2012
12:26 pm

@ Steve:

You mean those liberals who just gained seats in the House, retained the Senate, and the White House? That sounds like democracy to me…

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:29 pm

the gop is in a bind…and they will get the blame rightfully

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:30 pm

THE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER trumps the pathetically stupid gop once again…,hahahaha

Gunny

December 27th, 2012
12:30 pm

There are many things about congress that needs changing. ThisnObama care is one. If it is such a great and wonderful plan then why not let Congress use it also instead of the private Medical care it has. Look at canada and its Medical issues and you will see where we are heading. As for the taxes and the Cliff, Congress and the President felt in better to take time and work it out. Congress spends more time going back and forth home than they do in session. The budget is the trash and yet they make sure that they have plenty of time at home or kissing up for the wonderful gifts. I think they all need to be replaced by hard working middle-class people and work will get competed…….

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:31 pm

the gop hates the president more than they love the country…

Voter

December 27th, 2012
12:31 pm

@liberallefty – Correction. The White House and the Democrats/Republicans passed the Budget Control Act of 2011. hussein obama signed it. The “blame” is on the government. They are spending to much and cuts HAVE to be made. You can’t tax your way out of spending.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
12:33 pm

“Friend, you cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. And what one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government can’t give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody. And when half of the people get the idea they don’t have to work because the other half’s going to take care of them, and when the other half get the idea it does no good to work because somebody’s going to get what I work for. That, dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”
Dr. Adrian Rogers

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:41 pm

voter

BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA {love his middle name} plays the gop like a fiddle again…after 2 @$$whippings they should be used to it by now…hahaha

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:42 pm

HUSSEIN HUSSEIN HUSSEIN..,.the gop love saying the presidents middle name…lol

honested

December 27th, 2012
12:44 pm

I look forward to ‘post cliff’ America…..
A return to reasonable and adequate revenue…..
A throttle on out-of-control-wasteful-military expenditure.
A return to the conditions that brought prosperity in pre-shrub America.

Maybe there will be a bonus in that apparently some House members will hold their breath and stomp their feet until they pass out in hopes the Country will protect the plutocrats…..

Maybe they will be successful in holding their breath just long enough to need replacing.

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:48 pm

america knows the gop has no leadership..theyre lead by talk radio and faux news…

morons everywhere

December 27th, 2012
12:52 pm

Will someone please tell me what is wrong with a having a goal of zero welfare? Please think before you respond.

liberalefty

December 27th, 2012
12:54 pm

will the gop scarifice the middlre class for the rich…i’m thinking theyre hate for the president says they will.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

December 27th, 2012
12:56 pm

When the libs ban guns only the body guards of the libs will have them. Kinda like how the libs exempted themselves from obozocare.

Aahhh, but we don’t have to worry about it because decency and Constitutional Respect are the watch words of the US House of Representatives.

Go pound sand, diane.

Cherokee

December 27th, 2012
12:57 pm

Steve you’re correct of course. The Repub plan is on the table.

But even you wouldn’t like it much.

Tax increases for you – as the payroll tax goes up – as they protect the very wealthy from any further tax increase.

Draconian cuts to social security, Medicare, and Medicaid, to pay for trillions in new defense spending that the military doesn’t want or need.

And more deficit spending as far as the eye can see.

Thank God the Republicans lost in 2012.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
1:09 pm

@liberallefty – I didn’t see your response to the Budget Control Act of 2011. Did you agree or disagree with the fact that the White House signed this bill after passage in the House & Senate?

Voter

December 27th, 2012
1:11 pm

@Cherokee – Again, the White House signed this bill after passage, The Budget Control Act of 2011. Why do you now blame others,I.E. the GOP, when the president signed this bill.

Auntie Christ

December 27th, 2012
1:11 pm

.Not hearing much from the tea party fools regarding their being bilked out of $8 Million by their savior-in-chief, the dick armey. Just a bunch of rubes being taken for a ride by a carnival huckster. But what can you expect from a group who gets their financial advice from glenn beck, and their salvation from TV preachers who promise to pray for them if they get the right amount of contribution.

And I see the most vociferous of the bible thumpers who regularly contribute are over joyed at the fact that the great state of Jawja, located conveniently in the middle of the bible belt, is first in ensuring children go hungry and the elderly have the choice to turn on the heat or go without supper, As an added bonus, the private agencies that help the poor are so overwhelmed, that their clientele are being turned away. td and some of the other avid tea people must be on the verge of orgasm after hearing this.

It is good to see they are so concerned that a welfare mother might be getting an extra $50 month fraudulently. This must be stopped if we are to survive as a nation. Just be careful to not mention “Google” to these people, else they might do a search on fraud and waste in the DoD, where hammers are bout for the low, low price of $450 each, and coffee pots can be had for $1300. They might find out about the fines that have been paid by the dick, cheney’s company for fraud, or those paid by lockheed and other defense contractors for fraud and over-charging.

Be diligent warriors! I heard that the little old lady down the street just traded some food stamps for dog food. I can only hope that it is actually for her dog

gsmith

December 27th, 2012
1:12 pm

how about this for an idea…. everyone take care of themselves and let everyone keep the money they earn!!!! the money you work for is yours it does not belong to the government and it damn sure doesn’t belong to that lazy ass who lives in a apartment who wakes up at noon every day and plays xbox all day long.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
1:13 pm

@morons everywhere – I agree, welfare is suppose to work like unemployment benefits, temporary and time limit. having a goal of zero welfare is a great goal.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
1:16 pm

@gsmith – Agreed. Our parents must’ve thought the same way. No more allowance,aka. welfare,, how but cutting some yards grass and get a job when you turn 14/15. I no longer received allowance after 14 and have been a tax paying earner since I was 15. Our parents taught us to not look for a handout but to go to work and earn your way.

honested

December 27th, 2012
1:32 pm

gsmith,
That part is fine with me, as long as I don’t ever have to give a penny to the military for any reason.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
1:33 pm

@honested – Our military is vital.

honested

December 27th, 2012
1:42 pm

voter,

Yeah, without wasting the unfunded three trillion in Iraq we would never have gotten back those ‘WMDs’ now would we?

You wrong winger will fall for anything as long as there is a gun involved.

Auntie Christ

December 27th, 2012
1:49 pm

Voter
December 27th, 2012
1:16 pm
@gsmith – Agreed. Our parents must’ve thought the same way. No more allowance,aka. welfare,
*****************************************************************************
Your parents wouldn’t even be here were it not for the New Deal welfare policies of FDR that kept this backward-az region alive during the 1930’s.
—————————–
gsmith
December 27th, 2012
1:12 pm
how about this for an idea…. everyone take care of themselves and let everyone keep the money they earn!!!! the money you work for is yours it does not belong to the government.

Keep your money, just stay off the streets and highways I paid for, dig your own well and get off the public sewer system, call a tea partier to help put out the fire if your house goes up in flames, and by all means get off the internet, which was developed by my government.

Bob Loblaw

December 27th, 2012
1:54 pm

The facts in the Slate article should be an embarrassment to our State. It’s one thing to make sure an applicant meets the qualifications for the a program, but to dissuade its own citizenry from taking such meager assistance using shame and trickery is disgusting.

Auntie Christ

December 27th, 2012
2:03 pm

Bob Loblaw
December 27th, 2012
1:54 pm

The facts in the Slate article should be an embarrassment to our State.
***************************************************

These are people who celebrate their ‘heritage’ of treason, rebellion, lynching murder, rape and enslavement of human beings. They steadfastly fly the flag that symbolizes this ‘heritage.’ Do you actually think they would be embarrassed by something as trivial as letting people go hungry, especially when their stereotype of the typical welfare recipient is erroneously thought to be descendants of the people they lynched, murdered and enslaved. No chance of that.

td

December 27th, 2012
2:08 pm

Bob Loblaw

December 27th, 2012
1:54 pm

The facts in the Slate article should be an embarrassment to our State. It’s one thing to make sure an applicant meets the qualifications for the a program, but to dissuade its own citizenry from taking such meager assistance using shame and trickery is disgusting.

Yes, it so disgusting to tell people it is better for them to work at McDonalds then to accept a welfare check and to save that 5 year lifetime limit to a time when you may not be able to work at all. Work over welfare anytime.

td

December 27th, 2012
2:11 pm

Auntie Christ

December 27th, 2012
2:03 pm

I see the country hating, God hating communist loving slim ball is posting more of his slim. Yes, keep it up so that we can all read the true meaning of the Democratic party.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
2:12 pm

@Auntie Christ – disagree. 1st,My parents were infants when welfare came into being and my grandparents were so poor, they didn’t even feel the effects of the Great Depression. Also, they didn’t use ANY government assistance, as a matter of fact they were part of the rationing books during the war. My father swept out stores for a dollar a week. As a matter of fact, my father at 17, joined the Navy to fight in WW2. Not once did they take the New Deal welfare that FDR offered. They grew vegetables and raised chickens and worked where they could.

Voter

December 27th, 2012
2:13 pm

@honested – the war in Iraq was awhile ago. Get over it. Let’s talk today and stop living in the past.