I, too, demand that the Senate vote on… Dang, they already did…

Dang it! Like the president, I, too meant to demand that the Senate vote on extending job benefits — knowing, as did the president, that they were going to — so that when they did, I could revel in my power.

But they went ahead and did it before I could set out my ultimatum. I was gonna do it in no uncertain terms, too.

But now I just look foolish. That’s OK, I’ve had lots of practice.

Hey, the president looked pretty silly, too, with his faux partisan showdown talk. From this morning’s AP story:

WASHINGTON – With a new face and a 60th vote for breaking a Republican filibuster, Senate Democrats are preparing to restore jobless checks for 2.5 million people whose benefits ran out during a congressional standoff over deficit spending.

But first, President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are pressing for maximum political advantage, blaming Republicans for an impasse that halted unemployment checks averaging $309 a week for those whose eligibility had expired.

Obama launched a fresh salvo yesterday, demanding that the Senate act on the legislation – after a vote already had been scheduled for today – and blasting Republicans for the holdup.

“The same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans,” Obama said….

Hey, I agree with President Obama on this. We needed to extend those benefits. But that partisan showboating was beneath him — and ridiculous, given that it was so transparently unnecessary.

25 thoughts on “I, too, demand that the Senate vote on… Dang, they already did…

  1. Doug Ross

    I believe the Republicans wanted concessions that would pay for the extended benefits by cutting spending elsewhere. You know, acting responsibly. But since Obama and the Democrats have decided to take the coward’s way out by using the Titanium American Excess card, we’ll just add to the deficit.

    Someday we’ll have to pay the bill… we’ll worry about that later. It’s only trillions of dollars.

  2. Bart

    Republicans wanted the money to come from the already approved TARP funds, well over 400 billion available dollars to fund the unemployment payment extension. They didn’t vote against the extension, just the source of funding. Of course, it will never be reported that way, will it?

    The question is this, why not use the unspent TARP money? Are the banks still in trouble? If BofA made such a huge profit in the last quarter and have paid back their TARP loans, why the hesitancy in using the funds for the unemployed? Why add more to the debt than needed?

    This is the most incompetent administration I can ever remember. GWB was a freaking genius compared to Obama and his leftist ideologues. Hell, at this point, Carter is a better choice – almost.

  3. Doug Ross

    Another source of funds that Obama/Pelosi/Reid chose to ignore was the untapped TARP funds that have not been spent yet. Why take on more deficit spending when there was already a big pot of deficit dollars to tap into?

    Republicans were 100% right to vote no on this bill.

  4. martin

    Doug, I felt the same way you do now when Ronald Reagan nearly drove us into bankruptcy. I guess that’s why I believe we’ll recover from this when the economy improves.

  5. bud

    We could have found the money by eliminating the spending on immoral wars in the middle east. But any other type of cutbacks would have thwarted the already slow economic recovery.

  6. Kathryn Fenner

    I say we stop the Bush tax cuts for the rich and middle class (that was the real Titanium American Excess card–giveaways to those who have plenty!), and stop trying to balance the budget on the backs of the unemployed.

  7. Doug Ross


    How do you balance the budget on the backs of the unemployed when they are the ones receiving the deficit dollars?

    Tax cuts didn’t cause the problem. Spending caused the problem. Spending money that the government doesn’t have and can only get back through increasing taxes or pumping out dollars to drive up inflation.

    Spending money you don’t have is the coward’s way out. Bush did it, the Republicans did it when they were in control and now Obama/Reid/Pelosi are taking it to a new level beyond anything the Republicans ever did. It’s unsustainable. The only solution is spending cuts… as bud said, start with the defense department. Cut the budget in half. Then cut foreign aid… then eliminate the Department of Education… then eliminate farm subsidies…

    It’s no coincidence that the Democrats have the extension of unemployment benefits running through the end of November. They don’t want to have to address increasing the deficit even more right before the elections.

  8. Doug Ross


    And when is allowing people to keep the money they EARNED a giveway??? I guess if you live in a world where the government owns everything that would be the case. Every tax dollar is a TAKEAWAY.

  9. bud

    Well at least George Steinbrener’s heirs can sleep easy knowing they’ll inherit a $billion instead of a measly $500 million given the moritorium on the estate tax. Doesn’t it make you sleep better knowing we’ll have to make up the difference either through additional debt or taxes on working Americans?

  10. Doug Ross


    You mean it bothers you that George Steinbrenner’s family should be able to keep the money Steinbrenner earned over the past few decades by taking risks and , creating thousands of jobs for other people. Think about every person who has relied on the existence of the Yankees in order to earn a living: hot dog vendors, media people, ticket sellers, memorabilia vendors, and on and on and on).

    I’m a Red Sox fan and hated Steinbrenner with a passion – but to think that a man can work his whole life to build something of value (paying millions and millions of taxes directly and indirectly through his employees) and then have the government believe it deserves a huge cut of his wealth is a travesty.

    People need to stop being jealous of the people who create wealth for themselves. If they don’t steal the money, they deserve to keep every single penny they generate.

    Bud — what you want is something very close to communism. Redistribution of the wealth via the government’s ability to tax to whatever degree they choose.

    I’m not rich (not even close) but I don’t spend my time feeling jealous about people who have more than I do when they have earned it through their own initiative.

  11. bud

    Doug, do you really believe in your heart of hearts than the super rich, especially CEOs of the financial companies, actually EARNED all that money? To me it’s preposterous to believe that way.

  12. Kathryn Fenner

    @ Doug–What bud said, and taxes are the price those favored by society’s structure to pay for said structure.

  13. Kathryn Fenner

    and I’m not jealous–I could have had a big chunk of that and simply couldn’t muster the interest in it. I’m saying that it’s only fair!

  14. Doug Ross


    If they didn’t steal it, they earned it. If they stole it, they get prosecuted. (ref: Ken Lay at Enron)

    They were hired (and can be fired) by a board of directors. If the company is publicly traded, they are compensated for trying to maximize the profits of the company for the shareholders. The shareholders are typically large pension funds that return a portion of THEIR profits to regular people like you and me.

    Try to separate what you perceive as unfair salaries from unethical behavior. Smart people who take risks create a lot of jobs and benefit from their efforts. Good for them.

    It’s better than politicians who become millionaires while in office. They take no risk and use public funds to dole out influence that benefits them personally.

  15. Kathryn Fenner

    @Doug–as a young corporate lawyer in the 80s, I helped corporations write their bylaws and restructure themselves to virtually eliminate any input from shareholders/stockholders, and boards of directors are notorious for being inbred, plus they are stocked with CEOs and their ilk.

    CEOs are rewarded based on stock prices (except when they’re rewarded regardless of stock price). Stock prices rise based on things like news of job cuts–because the superstitious traders who influence stock prices like that sort of thing, regardless of whether it’s in the long term best interests of the corporation (and they figure, “Screw society and the workers.”) Decisions are based on the margins, the short term arbitrage, not any glorious good outcome.

  16. Bart

    Query – how many who contribute to this blog would actually turn down a position as a member of a board, earning millions a year? Stock options, travel, best accomodations, and all of the other perks that go along with the position. How many?

    Before you answer, be absolutely sure of your response. Think about it with your family and future in mind. Think about it in the context of being the sole income earner in your family. Think about it in terms of being able to offer your children the chance at attending one of the best universities in the country.

    Not a response based on some ideological fantasy where everyone joins in a circle, singing Kumbaya while living in a commune. The real world. Then, think about how much good you could do if you wanted to with an income in the millions each year.

    Just a thought.

  17. Doug Ross


    Who owns the stock? People like your father. You think he wants the price to go up or down? You think he wants it to go up a lot or just a little bit so he doesn’t feel badly about making too much money?

    Yes, a very small number of CEO’s get very rich. So what? Even if you taxed them 100% of their income it wouldn’t make the slightest dent in the deficits Obama is running up.

  18. Kathryn Fenner

    @Bart–No one is going to offer me or anyone in that position such a position. They go to the already well-compensated executives of other companies.

    Of course I’d take a job as board member in a heartbeat–you are right–I could do a lot of good with that money–but as I said, I have about as much chance of that happening as of being the next Bono.

    @Doug–My dad is really angry that CEOs are taking such ridiculous salaries that are totally unrelated to how the corporation is doing by any measure!

    So let’s wipe out the Bush tax cuts, for one thing. Then, given that the economy was tanking a year before Obama came into office, what do you want him to do? Cut more taxes? Nothing and take a risk of presiding over the next Great Depression?

    One thing for sure, Bush’s tax cuts did not have their intended effect of stimulating investment and creating jobs, except at the luxury purveyors….

  19. bud

    Try to separate what you perceive as unfair salaries from unethical behavior.

    Don’t confuse fairness with EARNED. The CEOs don’t contribute 10s of millions to the company bottom line as their salary suggests that they do. That’s nonsense. There are plenty of folks who could run a company as well as the CEOs who are simply fortunate by virtue of luck or cronyism to be where they are. These guys don’t work and sweat and come up with brilliant inspiration that leads to the betterment of mankind. Perhaps the best CEOs are worthy of a good living, and I’m suggesting $5 million tops, but not the exhorbitant, gaudy incomes that they receive (not EARN). It’s ludicrous to think that these people are contributing anywhere close to what they make.

  20. bud

    You mean it bothers you that George Steinbrenner’s family should be able to keep the money Steinbrenner earned over the past few decades by taking risks and , creating thousands of jobs for other people.

    The family didn’t do all this so-called risk taking that put people to work. George Steinbrenner did. For all I know his children had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of that fortune. Inheritance certainly doesn’t require an heir to be a part of the family business.

    Even so I’m not suggesting the family get nothing. If they get half of his fortune, for doing absolutely nothing, that’s pretty good.

  21. Doug Ross


    How do you think CEO’s attain their position? By magic? They either start the company and grow with it (i.e. Bill Gates – are you going to tell him he can only earn $5 million a year in the company he built from zero?) or else they work their way up the chain over many years. For whatever reason, they have a set of skills that is valued. Putting a cap on salaries just means they will take those skills to jobs that are not capped. Meaning the best people won’t attempt to be CEO’s… which means worse run companies.

    Let the market work. Like I said, honest, smart people who work hard deserve every dollar they can make.

  22. Bart

    @Kathryn – Bono didn’t know he was going to be “Bono” until he went out and placed it all on the line, did he? No one gave him his fame and fortune, he earned it. Now, he uses it for what he wants to use it for. Others who are just as fortunate won’t make an appearance without huge fees and accomodations that the Queen of England would envy.

    We are all different and our social and economic circumstances can be a hindrance or motivation, depending upon what we are taught and what we learn as children by parents, siblings, relatives, friends, and peers.

    I know some who are not well off financially but are willing to give you the very shirt off their back if you need it. Others not so well off wouldn’t give you the time of day or share a morsel of food with you if you were starving. I also know some extremely wealthy people who are exactly the same. One in particular will have 14 suits, tailor made to his size. He will try on all 14 and keep 7 or 8 to wear. He would cut the suits into strips before he would give them to a homeless person. I know this because he made it a point to let me know when I complimented him on his attire. Yet, his partner supported approximately 30 to 40 kids from underpriviledged neighborhoods by paying their entire tuition, housing, food, and clothing while attending one of the better private schools in NYC.

    Circumstances generally do not matter when it comes to the soul of a person. It is who you are inside. Same with rich, poor, black, white, male, female, tall, short, skinny, fat, or whatever.

  23. Kathryn Fenner

    Nice post, Bart–I would add that there are probably plenty of equally musically talented people to Bono, but he had the right skill set and was in the right place to use it. I guess I want us to judge our fellow man/woman less harshly and acknowledge that there are native gifts, developed gifts and pure synchronicity–right place/right time.

  24. Doug Ross


    “right place/right time” normally only works once. To sustain it, you need talent. I ascribe to the “luck is the residue of design” school of thought.

  25. Bob

    I agree with Bart’s belief in the “soul of a person.” I read this blog because I sense so much “soul” from Brad and most of the people who comment regularly. I know Kathryn personally. and I know she is one of the most “soulful” people I’ve met. I have not met Doug Ross, but I sense he has as much soul as Brad and Kathryn. What a person believes is less important to me then a williness to share your beliefs with others.

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