20 Dec 2012

Pelosi Says Chained CPI Would Strengthen Social Security

Republican craziness has stopped a deal from happening on the fiscal slope, and really nothing else. Because here’s Nancy Pelosi yesterday on chained CPI, a benefit cut to Social Security recipients that happens to be regressive and more painful as people age: Q: Members of your Caucus are organizing against

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20 Dec 2012

Senate Republicans Nickel and Diming Sandy Relief

While the nonsense continues on the fiscal slope, which increasingly looks like something the nation will have to weather, the Senate has been working on an appropriation for states suffering from the disaster caused by Hurricane Sandy. The parallel has to be understood: in one part of Washington, they’re trying

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20 Dec 2012

Boehner’s Plan B Also Cuts Taxes on Rich, Raises Them on Poor

John Boehner may not even have the votes for today’s “Plan B,” a bill that effectively raises taxes on people making over $1 million a year. He was seen gladhanding on the House floor last night, whipping votes for his side. He can only lose 24 votes to reach 217 (there are a couple vacancies right now), on the expectation that he’ll get no help at all from the other side. It’s probably a heavy lift; even with Grover Norquist’s blessing, Boehner wants his GOP colleagues to walk the plank on a tax increase bill without any hope of it becoming law, just so they can go back and pass another bill that does the same thing.

A look at the bill’s particulars, however, actually inverts expectations.

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20 Dec 2012

Boehner’s Plan B Also Cuts Taxes on Rich, Raises Them on Poor

John Boehner may not even have the votes for today’s “Plan B,” a bill that effectively raises taxes on people making over $1 million a year. He was seen gladhanding on the House floor last night, whipping votes for his side. He can only lose 24 votes to reach 217

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20 Dec 2012

Fatster’s Roundup

? What a moment awaits us: On December 21, the NRA will be saying something about Newtown.

? Two Irving, TX women (an aunt and her niece) are filing a federal lawsuit claiming that Texas State Troopers performed cavity searches (without changing gloves) after they were pulled over for tossing a cigarette butt out the car window. They were eventually charged with littering.

? Good on them! Orleans Parish, LA’s School Board has voted to “ban the teaching of creationism as science” and the “‘revisionist’ history curriculum promoted by the state of Texas.”

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19 Dec 2012

Boehner Delivers Plan B Ultimatum

John Boehner just gave a “press conference” that clocked in at under a minute, where he took no questions and basically said that Democrats could either pass his “Plan B” proposal, which extends Bush-era tax rates on the first $1 million of income and does basically nothing else, or “be

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19 Dec 2012

SEC Report on Credit Ratings Highlights Conflict of Interest Inherent in Issuer-Pays Model

The Securities and Exchange Commission released a report on the method for how credit rating agencies get their business, something mandated by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. And just as expected, it showed a serious conflict of interest in the current business model, where rating agencies are paid by the issuer of securities, and have to compete for their business, adding all sorts of distortions into the kinds of ratings they give. A better model, envisioned by Dodd-Frank at first but then put into this study, would allow an oversight board to dole out to qualified ratings agencies the securities that would get rated, removing the conflict of interest entirely.

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19 Dec 2012

Obama Proud of His Fiscal Slope Offer, For Some Reason

For some reason, liberals are agonized by the fact that a Presidential press conference about gun safety legislation devolved into questions about the fiscal slope. As if this has never happened before, or that reporters are Constitutionally obligated to stay on topic. Or that the fisal policy of the world’s

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19 Dec 2012

Threat of Medicare Eligibility Age Increase Recedes – For Now

Amid all the fiscal slope machinations comes one bit of good news, at least in the near term. House Speaker John Boehner has pulled back on raising the Medicare eligibility age in this deal, although he holds it out as a possibility for the conclusion of the deal next year.

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19 Dec 2012

The Mortgage Scam Against Widows, and Why No Mortgage Lender Should Ever Get Legal Immunity

Dealbook had an item yesterday about the qualified mortgage rule and the bid by mortgage lenders to acquire a “safe harbor,” essentially a shield against consumer lawsuits, in the process. I’ve already gone over this topic and continue to oppose giving banks a safe harbor of any kind on the

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