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Paul Krugman writes: "But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out - a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you're not willing to say that, you're helping make that problem worse."

Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)
Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)


The Centrist Cop-Out

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

29 July 11

The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren't complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats - who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether - have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands.

As I said, it's not complicated. Yet many people in the news media apparently can't bring themselves to acknowledge this simple reality. News reports portray the parties as equally intransigent; pundits fantasize about some kind of "centrist" uprising, as if the problem was too much partisanship on both sides.

Some of us have long complained about the cult of "balance," the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read "Views Differ on Shape of Planet." But would that cult still rule in a situation as stark as the one we now face, in which one party is clearly engaged in blackmail and the other is dickering over the size of the ransom?

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+73 # camus11 2011-07-29 10:24
The reactionary gop'ers (essentially all of them) need to be called out (over and over) for being the ignorant/evil thugs that they are. The gop must be ridiculed, rejected, and ultimately forgotten; it is a party that is beyond saving. And if the democrats, largely a bunch of chronic enablers with "kick me" signs on their butts, are not up to that task, then they no longer deserve support either.
 
 
+44 # Linda Edwards 2011-07-29 11:19
I agree totally, I am sick of working for and electing democrats, who, when elected become republicans, or better yet cowards. When the democrats were in power, they were to cowardly to do their jobs and now all you hear are a bunch of complaints from them. How do they think they are going to make the republicans do what they are too cowardly to do. I am sick, sick, sick of democrats and that includes Obama.
 
 
+4 # ABen 2011-07-29 13:44
Linda,
Would you instead like to see more Republicans? What is the alternative?
 
 
+9 # rf 2011-07-29 15:49
What the hell is the difference between them??? Wake the hell up! As long as you vote for them because they are the least of the worst, there is no reason for them to change this abhorrent behavior.
 
 
+13 # Don Parker 2011-07-29 18:23
There is no alternative because the complacent voting population of this country refuses to adequately support a third party. The fact that most attempts at forming a "third party" were intended to draw votes from the stronger of the two major contenders hasn't helped. The truth, as I now see it is that major components of our nations power structure are so badly damaged by corruption, at all levels, that it is beyond repair.
Time to prepare for...!
 
 
+1 # AML 2011-07-30 12:30
Every time I start feeling this way I remind myself that even though this gargantuan government we have, or that has us, is far from perfect, underhanded machinations got us an appointed president in 2000, and then voting machine fraud reelected him, not us. Look for it happening again.
 
 
+5 # futhark 2011-07-30 06:53
We live in a single-party state, much like the old Soviet Union. There were elections in the Soviet Union, but all the candidates were either Communist Party members or Communist Party approved. It's the same here, just not quite as formalized. Success in an election demands either overt or covert support of the Plutocratic Party platform of endless warfare, constant surveillance, concentration of control of resources, etc. So we end up with choices that are really no choices at all. Support only "fringe" candidates and some more opportunities for recovering the democratic process may develop.
 
 
+5 # John Stuart 2011-07-29 13:12
Paul Krugman is hurling the brand of centrist co-op out? If he's radical I don't now how we'll make it through the 2010's. The energy it would take to do what the above suggested might be better spent by the Left in remembering who the fuck we are and why it is absurd to call anything in the discourse today as actually an alternative.
 
 
+7 # Don Parker 2011-07-29 18:16
Ignorance is optional by the definition in my thesaurus and so is evil. So what we have is a pack of bullies who have chosen to commit treason. The fact that Obama has no testes, and is aiding and abetting in the overthrow of the federal government leads me to believe that we will soon see, not only the economic collapse of this country but also the end of what was as close to a democracy as any since the nation state of Athens more than a thousand years ago. The military also bankrupted their economy.
 
 
+56 # kschmitt 2011-07-29 10:40
I keep waiting and waiting for Obama to grow some ...spine - and to exert some leadership that reflects his stated (not hidden agenda of continual compromise) values. Backbone, standing for principles for which he was elected, are needed to show the right wing idiots off for what they are: greedy, owned by corporate right wingnuts, half-educated, inable to comprehend governance vs politics. Only forthright leadership from the President can overcome this - and he needs to lead NOW.
 
 
+6 # rf 2011-07-29 15:50
Obama is getting just what he and his economics team want. He is a Republican if you haven't noticed.
 
 
+2 # Don Parker 2011-07-29 18:27
Obama is either gutless or complicit. Being a product of the Chicago machine I would tend to conclude the latter.
 
 
0 # Emily 2011-07-30 15:35
The President doesn't have a "Fox News" and Rupert Murdoch to alter the minds of the populace on his behalf as they do for the corporations and GOP. He's walking a tightrope held at both ends by corporate money in order to be reelected. If he succeeds, perhaps then we will see what he is capable of doing as our leader.
 
 
+3 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:11
Some people thought the same thing about Clinton, that he was only pandering to the conservatives to get re-elected, and then he'd show his true self. He became even more conservative, and the conservatives attacked him even more.

Don't let your hopes fool you. Anyone who would do the wrong things in order to get re-elected does not deserve to be re-elected.
 
 
+57 # eaglew 2011-07-29 10:45
They are, indeed ignorant evil thugs. Eric Cantor has invested in a hedge fund that will pay off if our nation fails. Isn't that a conflict of interest? Isn't that treason?
 
 
+34 # Duane C. Stroh 2011-07-29 12:30
Quoting eaglew:
They are, indeed ignorant evil thugs. Eric Cantor has invested in a hedge fund that will pay off if our nation fails. Isn't that a conflict of interest? Isn't that treason?

Wasn't outing Valerie Plame treason?
 
 
+3 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:13
Wasn't lying in order to invade another country a war crime? Apparently it doesn't matter how high the crimes you commit, as long as you are a Republican. Democrats protect the criminals as fervently as the criminals protect themselves.
 
 
+15 # Don Parker 2011-07-29 18:40
Cantor, Boner(sic) and Mconnell are traitors. But they have A LOT of company or should I say companies supporting them. Fascism is a corporate run government, ergo they are by definition FASCISTS! The supremely corrupt court doomed this nation to fascist rule with their decision to allow unlimited campaign contributions by "personified corporations." Corporate personhood is an oxymoronic concept of the first order.
 
 
+47 # kschmitt 2011-07-29 10:54
Why is it that the President believes that the first thing he should do in any negotiation is to throw every liberal value under the bus? The right wing will not negotiate honestly - and they know Obama will give them all they want by just looking intransigent. Where is the anchor to our values that the President should represent?
 
 
+3 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:16
He can't possibly be so stupid that he isn't aware of what he's doing. The first time, I could understand that he might expect the Republicans to meet him halfway. But he does this every time. I can only conclude Obama is exactly where his actions show he is - halfway between moderate and rabidly right-wing. In other words, he's about the same as Nixon.
 
 
+21 # kschmitt 2011-07-29 10:58
I seriously think it is time for a real Democrat/Progre ssive/LIBERAL to get in the race for 2012. I would vote for that person. I have had it with the Obama team's constant spineless compromise and failure to lead.
 
 
+9 # Richard Spisak 2011-07-29 20:08
Elizabeth Warren in 2012
 
 
+26 # DPM 2011-07-29 10:59
I am afraid of heights. In my worst nightmare, I am on top of a water tower, slowly sliding off and unable to stop. That is how I feel about this economy. The only ones that can do something about it don't really care because they are secure with their pensions, health care and business connections. No matter what happens, they will be just fine. No consequences. Perhaps there should be consequences for them, too!
 
 
+9 # Don Parker 2011-07-29 18:47
There will be. Many who are currently secure in their minds are about to find out they are not far enough up the food chain to avoid the next "bite" to be taken soon by the pathological predators who have bushwhacked the global economy.
 
 
+1 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:17
That's how I feel about life on earth.
 
 
-3 # Still_Standing 2011-07-29 11:04
Having the most incompetent president in our history at the helm at a time when fascist brown shirts and criminals populate the halls of Congress has brought us to this moment. Obama's ruinous presidency and the Naziesque tactics of the Repugs signal the end of the American republic, I think.

They're all a bunch of sociopaths — Democrats and Republicans alike — and the American people have no one but themselves to blame for having voted for such scum.
 
 
+39 # cprim72 2011-07-29 11:44
How can ANYONE say that Obama is the most incompetent President in History when we just got done with Bush?
 
 
+3 # pbbrodie 2011-07-29 12:44
I do. Bush had an excuse. This man does not. His incompetence, BO's, is willful, which makes it much, much worse.
 
 
+3 # Still_Standing 2011-07-29 13:49
I stick by what I said. He's weak, spineless, folds his hand before the cards are even dealt, talks eloquently out of both sides of his mouth, and stands for nothing. Bush was a blithering moron who couldn't help his stupidity; Obama is a highly intelligent who knowingly stabs his supporters in the back and bends and spreads for his corporate pimps. The man is a disgrace to his party, his race, and his country.
 
 
+6 # Don Parker 2011-07-29 18:52
Bush was just dumb to the point of criminal incompetence, BO is either a coward or complicit, but I already said that. Either way the tent is about to come down on this circus.
 
 
+2 # rf 2011-07-29 15:52
Bush was better at realizing the values of his party. Obama just moved the values of his party to be the same as the values of the Republican.
 
 
+4 # Martintfre 2011-07-29 13:40
One problem is how the republicans and democrats have teamed up to screw the common man and any alternative party at the ballot box. They grant them selves millions of tax payer dollars in subsidies and they use government to squash any new party from rising.
 
 
+6 # boudreaux 2011-07-29 11:07
I just wonder out of the 19 pizza's that the repug's ordered last night, who ordered what??? Enquiring minds want to know just what these young guns want on their pizza....well mine anyway.....and who paid for them too....
 
 
+7 # AndreM5 2011-07-29 11:34
Maybe the x-ray inspection system mutated the mozzarella into a halucinogenic goo that makes them all resign.
 
 
+5 # green genius 2011-07-29 12:36
We can only hope, or they have a heart attack from all the fat and salt.
 
 
+6 # rf 2011-07-29 15:53
I know what I would be leaving on their pizzas if I was making them!
 
 
+43 # sandy miley 2011-07-29 11:21
Krugman is so right. We have to stop accepting that the Flat Earth Society deserves to be taken seriously. The Republicans are wrong. Someone suggested the Dems withdraw ALL concessions and put a simple vote on raising the debt ceiling be raised. Brilliant! Just brilliant!
 
 
+11 # green genius 2011-07-29 12:32
We aren't accepting that. It's the corporations who own the media and they haven't changed who they are supporting yet. It is obvious that Wall Street is in turmoil. It's a fight between Tea Party Koch Bros and other elitists who don't want to crash our economy. Until they settle their fight the debt ceiling won't be raised. This truth is why you see Obama sitting on his hands. He knows who is in control, the plutocrats. The media elects our president, it was obvious when they got behind Obama or he wouldn't of had a chance.
 
 
+17 # James Marcus 2011-07-29 11:24
Both Parties ARE, indeed responsible for this mess. The Drivel that we have for 'Peoples' Representatives ' both work for the same Masters. The differences are a controlled charade that feign empowerment of the people.
The Money Masters control a majority of both Parties and are ready to continue Serving Themselves, no matter the outcome of deals and elections.
 
 
+5 # chompers 2011-07-29 13:17
Right on! "Two parties" is a charade designed to make us think we are on one side or the other when there are no sides. Both parties are run from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms. And we are duped into continuing to vote for one or the other as though there was a contest. The only way to get control of the government back in hands of the people where it belongs (read the Constitution)an d away from the corporatists is to never ever vote for an incumbent.
 
 
+15 # Savvylady 2011-07-29 11:31
The issue is that unless and until we have a primary challenger to the President, we will be ignored and the media won't change.
 
 
0 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:24
That's why we have to get a good, liberal Democrat to run. Only this will put any focus on the things that matter most. Then if Obama wins, Sanders can still run as an independent. Again, that will shift the debate at least a little bit away from the insanity it has become.
 
 
+12 # Barbara K 2011-07-29 11:49
Obama has had to face situations and abuses that no other president has ever had to face. The economy was in free fall before he ever entered the White House. He did his best to stop the free fall. He is blasted daily by the rightwing idiots, and according to some, no matter what he does, it isn't right or good enough. People are just so impatient that they think he can perform miracles. I wish he could just kick out the tbaggers and be done with it, then maybe we can get some functionality back to the government. But, of course, he cannot do those things. I hope he enforces the 14th Amendment, but the Rs already threatened to impeach him if he does. I'd hope that he does do it, and tells them to bring it on. At least the economy would be saved and they can fight it out in court. But I can see his side of that too. There are so many important things to do that he'd be tied up with that the rest of the term. Of course, that is what the Rs want, to just tie his hands so he can do nothing, and so far, they've been successful. He needs our encouragement not our criticizing. He has much potential and that is why the Rs are so afraid of him that they stated as their only goal is to bring him down. If his name were John Brown and he were a white man, they wouldn't be thinking of trying to bring him down. It tells more about them, than about him.
 
 
+11 # Texan 4 Peace 2011-07-29 13:46
If he had "done his best", we'd be supporting him, successful or not. But he obviously HASN'T. He put the same crooks in charge of the treasury, bailed out the criminal banks who trashed our economy with NO conditions whatsoever, took the public option off the table before the debate even started even though a majority of the public supported it, and wimped out on pushing a real economic stimulus. That's only a partial list of his failure to stand up for progressive principles. If this is the best he can do, that's reason enough not to vote for him.
 
 
+7 # rf 2011-07-29 15:56
He had to get the economy going when he came in and how did he do that? By installing trickle down theorist into every single economics post of his administration. Doesn't sound too embattled to me. Sounds like he is getting exactly what he asked for...he is either complicit or a moron.
 
 
+4 # CTPatriot 2011-07-29 22:55
Oh right. Like the Republicans didn't spend 8 years trying to bring Clinton down in any way they could. I must have dreamt that they impeached him over BJ. Can we stop with the poor, impotent, defenseless Obama routine. Please?!
 
 
0 # Observer 47 2011-08-01 09:34
More apologies for Obama, huh? If he hadn't caved on every single one of his campaign promises---cave d WITHOUT A FIGHT---I might be willing to cut him some slack. But he has the spine of a jellyfish, and has "compromised" this country nearly into ruin. PLEASE stop the "poor Obama" routine and wake up to what's going on!
 
 
0 # rtrues54 2011-08-06 16:46
Barbara.....

This has NOTHING to do with race. I CAMPAIGNED 2 YEARS for Obama. I was ecstatic when he won.

Obama will NOT stand up to republicans because he is ONLY worried about re-election. He assumes he has ALL progressives in his corner NO MATTER WHAT. So he has given in on ALL things Progressive even when he had ALL 3 BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT. He has not been a leader. He has sold out ALL progressive ideas. He doesn't even fight for the middle class. We MUST have a NEW LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT in 2012!!!
 
 
+20 # cprim72 2011-07-29 11:50
Listen people. You want Obama to do what you expect him to do. Then SUPPORT him when he tries to do it.

I think he does the best with the hand that was handed to him. If you are a Democrat who stayed at home in 2010 because you were de-energized, I respectfully ask you to be quiet.

YOU handed Congress to these people and now we are paying the price. I VOTED in 2010.

What was the warning that Obama give us all before November 2010: Elections have Consequences

They sure as hell do. We are paying the price now because reasonable people stayed @ home.
 
 
+20 # Lakshmi 2011-07-29 12:30
Agreed, cprim72. I voted too. If Obama had put single payer up front as a priority, though, and fought for it (even if it did end up being watered down), I think a lot, lot, lot more people would have supported him in 2010. His negotiation "tactics" have been stunningly pathetic and inadequate.
 
 
+5 # rf 2011-07-29 16:00
If Obama would have saved the banks and liquidated the stock, if he had limited the banks executive salaries,if he would have stopped NSC's domestic spying, if he would of held on to the public option, if he would not have cut taxes for the rich...when the hell do you start thinking he is a turn coat???
 
 
0 # Observer 47 2011-08-01 09:31
Do you think you're the only one who voted in 2010, cprim72? If you think Obama has done his best with the hand that was dealt him, then, to quote Texan 4 Peace above, that's reason enough NOT to re-elect him! All of you apologists for Obama are simply enabling more disasters at his hands!
 
 
0 # rtrues54 2011-08-07 14:26
If "elections have consequences", then what about the election of 2008?!?! The DEMS had ALL 3 BRANCHES OF GOVT. for 2 YEARS and Obama didn't even fight then. WHY? Because he knew he had all progressives in his corner NO MATTER WHAT HE DID. He has been basing ALL his actiions on RE-ELECTION rather than FIGHTING for the middle class. We CANNOT reward him with another term!!! We need an ACTUAL LIBERAL to get the DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION in 2012!!!
 
 
-41 # greywolf75 2011-07-29 11:55
Seriously....al l you liberals blaming the Republicans! The 'free with MY money' Dumbocrats got us into this mess. If all you bozos are willing to give up your hard earned $$$$ to the free spending liberals, then give up your own and leave mine alone. While you all quote how Reagan and Bush raised the debt ceiling while in office, our counrtry wasn't in the shambles it is in now... THANKS TO THE DUMBOCRATS. We didn't vote the in Republicans in November for no reason.
 
 
+16 # vortexer 2011-07-29 12:21
you know, we are all in this together, if you do not want to contribute, well, then get the h-ll out.
 
 
-5 # Martintfre 2011-07-29 13:41
Go Galt and quit supporting your oppressor.
 
 
+12 # Guangzhou 2011-07-29 12:32
All the Repugnicans can do is call the Democrats silly names, because the Repugs refuse to come up with a concrete plan.
 
 
+21 # pbbrodie 2011-07-29 12:50
What fantasy world do you live in??? The Republicans created this mess while they had control of both houses of Congress and the White House, under Bush. They took the Clinton budget surplus and squandered it, while creating this mess. How do you get that the Democrats did this? It is people of your ilk that are the problem now, supporting the very people who created the mess and denying they did so!
 
 
+14 # ABen 2011-07-29 13:50
Wolf; were you on another planet during the eight years of baby Bush, or do you simply not let facts get in the way of your partisan ranting?
 
 
+8 # Ken Hall 2011-07-29 23:50
The mess we are in now is the result of three decades of "free market", Friedmanite economics, and "smaller gov't" deregulation. Almost any moron can see that.
 
 
+5 # myungbluth 2011-07-30 10:10
This "wolf" must be running with a pack - of lemmings. He has nothing but anger, no facts or details, an alternate universe of history, and speaks like a third grade name caller - eg bozos, dumbocrats, etc. This is what you get for political discourse on the right these days. There was an indeed a reason to vote in Republicans - anger and misinformation from the well funded corporate think tanks and FOX. And now is the time for middle class buyers remorse.
 
 
+3 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:42
Why are you willing to give up your hard-earned money to the free-spending Republicans? They only spend it on destructive things like wars, illegal invasions, a police state, and tax breaks for the rich and large corporations. They spend and spend while cutting taxes and regulations, then get us into a horrible economic situation, and then blame Democrats. They are doing it again now. You must be absolutely insane to support them. On top of all that, they are doing their best to turn the world into a living hell by claiming the results of burning fossil fuels is a hoax. Anyone who supports Republicans must not only be crazy but must also hate life.
 
 
0 # motamanx 2011-08-01 09:56
GreyWolf: You are exactly 180 degrees from the truth and from reality.
 
 
+17 # Frank Ettenberg 2011-07-29 11:58
The problem underlying the legislative process is that, despite stated ideogical differences, at this point both the dems and the repubs are effectively owned by the lobbyists who they dealings with. Obama is also not exempt from this disgusting reality. In other words the entire system of checks and balances has been subverted by the influence of the influence peddlars. Until that changes, there'll be gridlock on Capitol Hill.
 
 
+8 # Todd Williams 2011-07-29 12:09
Hey, lets throw Obama under the bus and elect Bachmann! Briliant idea folks. Just brilliant. Listen up people: there will NOT be a primary challenger for Obama. So forget your fantasy election. Obama will win 4 more years. The Dems will take back control of the House and add a few more seats in the Senate. Then there will be 4 more years of a Democratic administration. That is the reality. Live with it ( or don't) for all I care. Life will go on in some fashion. Hopefully some more progressive legislation will be passed. Maybe the Health Reform Act will be tweeked. Maybe the rich will be taxed at a fair rate. Maybe the wars will end. Hopefully, will get a real energy policy. But one thing is for sure, we are stuck with what we've got now, so let's make the best of our situation.
 
 
+11 # davidhp 2011-07-29 12:27
Unfortunately if we accept this vision, then more will die in the wars, more will have their economic security shattered and lives ruined. If we accept the premise that we are stuck with what we got, then we have lost. Just turn your property over to the nearist billionaire voluntarily, just give up your rights to free speech, and become a good little serf without fighting.
 
 
+3 # Bob Griffin 2011-07-29 13:19
For some strange reason I haven't heard the billionaires rejoicing in a two term Obama presidency or a strong Democratic congress. The most persistant cheers from the more-than-milli onaires seem to be for the Republicans and the Libertarians.
 
 
+8 # CTPatriot 2011-07-29 23:05
Not rejoicing in an Obama presidency? Who extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich? Whose health care reform plan morphed into a for-profit insurance industry bail-out plan? Who bailed out the banks rather than the homeowners who got screwed by the banks? Who continued Bush's wars, rendition and secret prisons? Who extended the PATRIOT Act? Who put together a fiscal deficit commission made up mostly of right wing Pete Peterson acolytes who want to turn Social Security over to Wall Street? Who chose to surround himself with Wall Street friendly economists and ignore liberal economists like Krugman and Stiglitz?

If you think the Plutocrats aren't cheering for Obama too, then you either are blind or willfully ignorant. Both political parties are subsidiaries of the plutocracy, one fully owned and the other one a subsidiary. It's a win-win more for them and a lose-lose more for us.
 
 
0 # brianf 2011-07-31 10:50
Maybe the reason we are "stuck" with him is that people like you are too afraid or lazy to push him to do the right things. So he gets pushed around by the Republicans and the conservative media. He himself said he wants us to make him do things. He is a pushover, and by not pushing, you are letting the evil Republicans push him ever rightward.
 
 
+15 # green genius 2011-07-29 12:09
I think the main point is the media are in owned by the corptocracy. So how can we fight against lies if we can't get our message out?
 
 
+22 # davidhp 2011-07-29 12:22
Welcome to the Corporate States of America, where the clock is being set back to destroy the New Deal, Voting Rights protections,Civ il Rigers,and Worker Rights in order to feed the profits of the 1% at the top of the capitalist greed chain. Centrists are appeasers, willing to bend over backwards to keep their corporate masters happy and willing to sell out any moral principals they once might have held about the people's rights over corporate demands.
 
 
+11 # WarrenM 2011-07-29 12:26
The Democrats somehow need to put forth a candidate that has the same political stance as Bernie Sanders to oppose Obama in the primaries. He is NOT going to change.
 
 
+6 # Peter Attwood 2011-07-29 12:28
If Obama differed with Bush and Cheney on anything really, he would not have adopted all their policies, beginning before his term even began by coercing his own party to bail out the banksters at everyone else's expense. He would not endorse torture, kidnapping, and all the other assaults on the Constitution in which he has gone even beyond Bush and Cheney. He would not be expanding the endless wars. He would not have sold out to the insurance companies and pharma, which any politician can run against profitably if he wants to. You liberal suckers that keep making whiny excuses for him - how much longer is the bastqard going to keep beating you and screwing around with other women before you figure out that he's really not into you?
 
 
+7 # pbbrodie 2011-07-29 12:57
Amen, brother! DavidHP had it right, too. If we stop complaining and simply roll over and accept all of this as a fait accompli, then we really would have no room to complain at all. But, it is not a done deal and we all need to speak out and speak out loudly. The best thing that could happen is for a progressive candidate to challenge Obama and at least try to pull him back toward the center a little bit because as of now, he is way to the right of center. Everyone needs to quit making excuses for him! He is the first Democratic President who has ever even mentioned cutting Social Security benefits and that is unforgivable, especially since the Republicans hadn't even asked for it, yet.
 
 
-10 # MidwestTom 2011-07-29 12:44
Why is Obama always talking about Social Security, and not a peep about the Military, or shrinking several huge federal department by even 5%; or making Congressional staffers pay for their kids college education like the rest of us. Probably less than 0.0001% of Republicans fly around in corporate jets, probably a bunch of Democrats do also, but by constantly doing so he is playing class warfare, which is really bad for this country.We need a leader in Washington. I disagree with the Tea Party crowd, but I must admit that in a way a respect them for actually having a spine, and standing up for what they believe, and acting out what they promised their constituents, right or wrong.
 
 
+4 # Bob Griffin 2011-07-29 13:26
I've spent decades hearing from those who respect the extremists (KKK, American Nazi Party, etc) for having a spine and standing up for their beliefs.

I note your interesting word choices: "probably less than 0.0001% of Repulicans fly around in corporate jets, probably a bunch of Democrats do also". It suggests an interesting bias. However the choice of groups, namely the corporate jet users, is not to feed class warfare but to point out the equivalent of the Welfare Queen Lincoln Continental.
 
 
0 # motamanx 2011-08-01 09:52
This comment in nonsense.
 
 
+2 # billy bob 2011-07-30 21:13
If you don't want a class war, stop engaging in one. Stop expecting that the rest of us won't fight back.
 
 
+13 # martin maudal 2011-07-29 12:51
It's a "let's you and him fight" con-game set up by corporate entities which have no human concerns. Human millionaires never asked for the Junior tax cuts, they don't need them and the vast majority of them don't *want* them. It's the billionaire corporations with their record profits that somehow so desperately need every last penny and will crawl over your starving children to keep it who are behind this con game.

I truly think that not one single elected representative of the people has the freedom of action to change their undies without corporate approval.

Mussolini said (and he should have known) that Fascism should more correctly be called corporatism. Well America, here it comes!
 
 
+4 # MattFerg 2011-07-29 13:08
Though I largely agree with PK, this very article is a clear example of how he is a part of the problem. To write all of the straightforward criticisms of this mainstear-media -transmitted disease and then cap the article off with the sentence "The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse"; well, this is in effect, just one more centrist cop-out because it requires the belief that democrats are merely bumbling idiots with absolutely no political savvy and no sense of where one's starting position must be in order to reach an acceptable compromise. (Something which has been shown to be false again and again over many years--from the Clinton era to the present...but especially during the last few years: viz. the weak stimulus which did nearly nothing to prevent our slide into what is properly called a depression, the healthcare law which is a huge boon to the private-insurer s, the weak, still-leaderles s CFPB, the continued assault on whistleblowers and due process, and on and on and on.)

Krugman's cop-out: the insistence that Democrats are too easily abandoning their core principles. The facts on the ground show that they have no principles which to abandon.
 
 
-24 # Martintfre 2011-07-29 13:35
Thank God the people are note being held hostage to the leftist notion that no amount of some one elses money is too much for my cause!
 
 
+1 # billy bob 2011-07-30 21:14
Feel free to give us a detailed list of what parts of the government need to be cut.
 
 
0 # billy bob 2011-07-31 15:25
Still waiting for that list.
 
 
+7 # Cynthia 2011-07-29 13:36
Martin's saying is apt: it is clear that those to whom any social safety net is anathema have long wanted to drive a wedge between the middle and lower classes. Although What better method than to remove all tax benefits from the middle class, who will later be more likely to vote to get rid of them all? Pell Grant, for goodness' sake. Always cheering to know that Krugman is here, plugging away for reason.
 
 
0 # motamanx 2011-08-01 09:49
Not cheering enough. if people do not heed him.
 
 
+6 # DLT888 2011-07-29 14:37
People are getting elected as "Democrats" in name only when they are really Republicans because they are owned by the corporations. BE CAREFUL WHO YOU VOTE FOR. MAKE SURE THEY DON'T TAKE ONE RED CENT IN CORPORATE DONATIONS. If everyone had heeded that advice, Cynthia McKinney would have been elected and THAT would have thrown the Fascist government completely on its head.
 
 
+1 # ruthee 2011-07-29 15:21
Can you say these comments and observations display a united front within this small sampling of Americans speaking?
Me? I'm with those who think our Bush inheritance was so disintigrative that we are now awash with debt, and friction that it will take YEARS to get our country back ontrack!Obama seems to me to be as strong a leader as we can hope for AT THIS TIME! yES, I FULLY REALIZE HE HAS BEEN CONTROVERSIAL IN MANY OF HIS TACTICS, but still, he is more FOR the people than any of his own party or the ignorance now reigning supreme in the HOUSE! Of course, govt. is bigger. Look at us! Are we more populous? Look at the blasted, unchanged legal immigration laws? Our borders have little meaning! We need to bring our armied forces HERE until we can recover from the onslought. NO more friggin wars for Big Oil and cheerleaders and sharpshooters! AT least we seem united n that score. WRITE TO OBAMA AND HIS WIFE AND CABINET AND EXPRESS OURSELVES. AND DONT THINK ONCE OR TWICE WILL GET OUR WORK DONE!!! WE CAN DO BETTER! WE, YES WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE OUR POLICIES. RUTH MCKENNEY 65804
 
 
-4 # KittatinyHawk 2011-07-29 17:25
Mr K sorry the both parties are equally wrong. I do not care in which circumstance if you take all the sins of the present and past, they should all be sent to the Gallows.

Time to clear the air, clean up the USA
 
 
+6 # Kathie mcquarrie 2011-07-29 20:02
the point is that the news media seem to forget who got us into all his financial. They treat both parties equally, rather than calling out these absurd republicans!
 
 
-7 # Martintfre 2011-07-29 23:34
//And Democrats - who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether //

Humm a reversal - the parasites think they have a right to squeeze more from their host.

So what do you morally call increasing the burden that is taken at the end of a tax collectors gun other then additional extortion?
 
 
+4 # billy bob 2011-07-30 21:16
Do you believe in taxes at all? Do you believe in roads, or libraries, or schools, or bridges? Do tax breaks put out fires?

Distort reality all you want, but living in a country with 300,000,000 people costs money. If you don't want to pay your fair share, then stop driving to work on MY ROADS.
 
 
+4 # brianf 2011-07-31 11:08
The parasites are the big corporations who use more government services than anyone yet pay little to no taxes, and who get corporate welfare on top of that! They push for increased war spending, so they can make more profit by selling weapons, using the tax money that WE pay and using OUR lives to get cheap oil and increase their profits. The real parasites are the rich who pay a smaller percentage of income tax than working people and then get bailed out when they ruin the economy, then take the same types of risks again because they know they will get bailed out again WITH OUR MONEY.
 
 
+1 # Alfrieda Daly 2011-07-30 01:46
Since I am an avid listner of MS-NBC I rarely am exposed yo this kind of tirage seen here in response from listeners. So I thought about this. I think too many take in information then respond emotionally; and, then do not stop to analyze. Thus we get these angry tirades applying only negative perceptions to both parties. I think we need to realize that we need to analyze what we read and hear as responsible citizens rather than sharing only our anger so freely.
 
 
0 # Still_Standing 2011-07-31 15:53
MSNBC!? Corporatist news?! Carefully laundered and censored so that nothing terribly disturbing ever emerges? Please don't insult the participants on this board with pleas for milquetoast journalism and opinions. If that's all you want from your fellow citizens, don't come here. Just stay within the safe, brainwashed confines of the mainstream media.
 
 
+6 # elmont 2011-07-30 08:31
Krugman, is, as always, correct. The comments are interesting, too, as always. I like to tell my friends that we are in the third year of W. Bush's third term One commenter noted that we will never support a third party. Perhaps. But the real problem, which cannot be fixed short of a Constitutional amendment, is our winner-take-all election system. A European-style proportional representation system would go a long way toward fixing this mess. Yeah, I know. Dream on.
 
 
+3 # cynthia 2011-07-30 12:23
Quoting elmont:
Krugman, is, as always, correct. The comments are interesting, too, as always. I like to tell my friends that we are in the third year of W. Bush's third term One commenter noted that we will never support a third party. Perhaps. But the real problem, which cannot be fixed short of a Constitutional amendment, is our winner-take-all election system. A European-style proportional representation system would go a long way toward fixing this mess. Yeah, I know. Dream on.

As John Lennon wrote, Imagine all the people living for today....also, as someone once said...action without vision is a nightmare; vision without action is a daydream. We need involved, concerned citizens who both dream of a better country/world and who are also prepared to take action, in whatever way they can, when they can.
 
 
-1 # Chris sircello 2011-07-30 11:29
One fish costs $7. Let's say we create more money to bail me out of my upside down home. OK, so now I have a lower mortgage so I free up money so that I can buy more fish. Problem is, fsh are dissappearing. This is a problem of dimnishing resources. Human population reductin is the only anser to our problems. Look at the chart for population. The chart will correct on it's own even f we don't do something to correct it. Google " jubilee". It's a very wise notion that the earth will demand rest frm our plundering.
 
 
+2 # Emily 2011-07-30 16:00
Chris, don't you understand that one of the objectives of the corporatocracy is to reduce the population of middle and low-income Americans (as well as others throughout the world) by depriving them of jobs, shelter and food? That way, the former can have all the loot.
 
 
+2 # futhark 2011-07-30 18:15
Without a sustained, humane, and rationally administered reduction in human population over the next several centuries, all our problems with climate change, pollution, chronic "brush-fire" wars over resources, biodiversity, etc., will resolve themselves in an unpleasant manner for most and with sustained environmental damage. Of course, there will be some that will reap short-term profits.

It's interesting that at the end of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth movie, limiting family size was not mentioned as one of the means by which global warming could be alleviated.

Me? I've got 2 kids and am too old to have any more.
 
 
+3 # brianf 2011-07-31 11:20
I am so glad I never had kids. After reading more than 3 dozen books on climate science and summaries of the latest studies for the past couple of years, I fully expect worldwide famine to begin in the next few decades, leading to economic collapse and even more environmental degradation, migrations, wars. Unfortunately, that is the best we can hope for, short of some miracle scientific discovery and a miraculous turnaround of people's attitudes. Most likely we will be the cause of the sixth mass extinction event, and it takes tens of millions of years for life to recover from one of those. We may still be able to prevent that, or at least save a lot of species, but only if we drastically change our energy system and start reducing the human population very soon.
 
 
0 # Observer 47 2011-08-01 09:49
So glad to see someone mentioning the "third rail" of population reduction, Chris. It's a hard fact that we simply CANNOT keep increasing the population and maintain life on earth. Every resource we have is finite, and is rapidly decreasing. If we don't stop having multiple children per family---which is the ultimate in selfishness, anyway---mass starvation and then extinction is the inevitable result.
 
 
0 # motamanx 2011-08-01 09:47
All that love he generated at the onset of his term, squandered.
Obliterated. I just don't get it.
 

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