Sunday, August 28, 2011

Betty McCollum Responds to a Marxist Question, Part 1

The articles written nationally about the August 9 Saint Catherine's Townhall have focused on two questions raised by the audience.  Both were from the liberal side of the aisle.  Not a huge surprise there.
In an article from the Pioneer Press, the author wrote:
"This time it was the liberals who were angry about what's happening in Washington.....
On Tuesday night, [Democratic House member Betty] McCollum's fellow Democrats packed a music recital hall at St. Catherine University to give the six-term congresswoman an earful about their disappointment with Obama and his economic and military policies.
The crowd of about 150 was largely friendly and civil, but they were passionate about their opposition to the conservative policies flowing from the Republican-controlled Congress and what they consider an all-too-conciliatory White House."
John from St. Paul wanted to know why Obama has moved to the right. "Whose side is he on?" he asked.

Other articles have commented on the interaction I will discuss below.  They also commented on it as little more than "liberal's getting angry".  However none of them analyzed the content of the question, or on the content of the answer from Rep Betty McCollum.

As you listen to the video, and you really need to experience the increasing crescendo of vehemence in the question, consider what is really being said.  There are two themes he raises.  And look for what is not said in Rep McCollum's response.

Full Text (transcribed as accurately as possible)
Questioner: I too want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your work and your vote against the debt deal.  I think it was a terrible bill.  I have a simple question, the rich and the corporations have tens of trillions of dollars. Corporations are not investing that money in jobs. The rich are not using it in the trickle down way that we hear from the other side from the right wing, from the radical right wing, is the only good way economically. I want to know, and I don't want any qualifications, I don't want any, uh uh you know, I want a very clear answer. When are we going to draw a line in the sand and not strike another deal without a tax increase on that money. Which by the way is mostly our money! Its not the money of the rich, and its not the money of the corporations!

Commenter: They made it, they earned it

Questioner:Its not the money,  its not

Betty: Ok he had the microphone, he has a right to his opinion,  I respect the right of someone who disagrees, but we are not going to have a shouting match in here, we are just not.  I will close it down, OK.  Everybody's opinion is valued everybody opinion is respected, we're not the United States Congress, we're our community.


Betty: So what disturbs me about the tax cuts.  Is all the tax cuts that are part of the Bush tax cut, every single one of them, even the ones that the middle class are getting, We're borrowing the money for the tax cuts.  We are borrowing the money for the tax cuts!  When you borrow money, you pay interest.  So now everybody gets a tax cut. And the discussion is, should some people even get an extra layer on the cake!  And when they do, we borrow that money too.  And there's interest due on it. And so that to me is why I think, and why President Obama, and why the economists and why the grand (Graham?) deal and yes why there are republicans in the senate, and some republicans in  the house even, who think that we need to have a discussion where everything is on the table honestly.  Including tax revenues. Why would we borrow money from China, for all of us to have tax cuts.  And pay the interest and our children will pay the interest on it.  It makes no sense to me.  And so that's where I am, on the, on the tax cuts.  And I think you heard some of that from the, the legislators here about borrowing on the tobacco endowment too.  Am I misspeaking for anybody?
There are several problems evident in this question and answer.  The factual issues and how his, and Rep McCollum's solution to the "problem" would affect jobs and the economy, will have to wait for a later discussion (hopefully the next article).

First lets look at what he says and how Rep McCollum responds.

The Questioner 
He has two themes that appear to be:
1) The money has not been "trickled down" to "the worker", and thus must have a "line drawn in the sand" to force it be taxed away.
2) The rich and corporations have no right to the money that they have earned, it is the property of the "worker".

Perfectly fitting the definition of Marxism:
Marxism views the emergence of a socialist system as a historical inevitability that arises from the obsolescence of capitalism and the corresponding social revolution, where private property in the means of production would be superseded by co-operative ownership. The hypothetical system of socialism would succeed capitalism as the dominant mode of production when the accumulation of capital can no longer sustain itself due to falling rates of profit in real production relative to increasing productivity. A socialist economy would not base production on the accumulation of capital, but would instead base production and economic activity on the criteria of satisfying human needs - that is, production would be carried out directly for use.

"Production for use" is the failed economic model of the Soviet Union, versus our "production for profit" model of capitalism.

Rep Betty McCollum's response
Rep Betty McCollum's response is essentially a completely valid viewpoint, in fact the consensus liberal viewpoint. It is also a viewpoint which many believe would have, and does have, a very chilling effect on our economy (more next time in Part 2).  However of interest here is that her response disappointed because it both completely ignored and failed to correct the unconstitutional theme of his outburst.   The right to property has always been a central theme of constitutional thought and jurisprudence. The founding fathers argued the theme through the federalist and anti-federalist papers, which resulted in the promised addition of the Bill of Rights.  Since this appears to be no longer really taught in schools it is easy to consider it as something abstract, having no more bearing on our modern lives.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Fifth amendment to the Constitution
"No person shall be... nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

As John Adams stated it "Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist."  If they can take whatever they want to away from the currently despised minority of the rich, they can take everything away from anyone.

Less familiar, however, are these lines from the Declaration of Independence:
"He ( King George III ) has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance .... He has combined with others to subject us, ... imposing taxes on us without our consent."

James Madison wrote about this problem extensively in the Federalist Papers #51
It is of great importance in a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.
"In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."
This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other -- that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights. These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the State.
Their solution was to depend on the tension between many different and divergent interest groups, who they hoped could never form stable majorities.  We have however formed such a majority. The fact that a constituency has been formed with nearly half (43-47%) the citizens who pay no federal tax, or in fact receive benefit from the federal government.  Join to that the more socialist wing of liberal ideology, exemplified by self described socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. This coalition is very willing to say "tax the other guy".

Federalist 10 
If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens

There are two quotes that seem a fitting summary for this
Thomas Jefferson "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
"But you must remember, my fellow-citizens, that eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty, and that you must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing. It behooves you, therefore, to be watchful in your States as well as in the Federal Government." -- Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address, March 4, 1837

We must pay attention to those statements that violate the spirit of our constitution, and correct those statements that violate the letter of our constitution.  Should we expect less of our constitutional representatives?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's the Difference Between the Tea Party and the Unions?

I was recently asked "what's the difference between the tea party and the unions"?  I believed he was joking with me, but he believed there was no difference. 

The one and only similarity that comes to mind is that members of both groups are your neighbors, your friends, your relatives, or yourself.  But the similarities end there.  The key difference is the use of force or coercion in membership and activism.  This is especially evident in a closed shop, where unions enjoin employers in collective bargaining. 

The tea party and conservatives have nothing fundamentally against the concept of collective bargaining between free associations of employees and their employers.  People can enter into any associations freely.   The issues arise from the coercive aspects, which is especially true in public unions.   Imposing a legal structure that makes it mandatory to be part of a union to be able work.  Where they go to the government and make laws that enforce a closed shop where an individual cannot work unless they are members of the union.  In "right to work" conditions, the relationship between the union and the employers will still have market disciple.  The employer has the option to say "no I cannot afford your demands", and can go to the market place and find workers who will work for less or without "unreasonable draconian demands".

Coercion of Members in Employment
Unions have a central committee that charges huge mandatory membership dues  for the funding of the union.  Dues  which you, as a union member, are compelled to pay, which are then disbursed to fund things you may or may not support, using those dues for their own agenda (here and here) , Conversely, the Tea Party has no central organization, and no real source of funding other than completely voluntary donations.  But the differences run far deeper than that!  The way they are treated by the media, the reality vs the myth, the essentially unfounded virulent statements made about the tea party by politicians (Rep Doyle, and Maxine Waters,as a sample) and others  all show a dramatic double standard.

The tea party by contrast is a true free association.  They are not linked by occupation, ethnicity, race, or background.  They are neither coerced nor enabled.  No one provides buses to routinely bring them to events.  The Tea Party essentially started as a response to a burst of frustration from Rick Santelli on CNBC over the mortgages and toxic derivatives, though its roots may precede him.  It was a frustration that resonated with many people who felt that our government was making bad decisions and leading us in paths that diminished each citizen.

Rick Santelli did not start the Tea Parties, but he provided the inspirational spark that galvanized people across the country.  People did not come to the tea party rallies because anyone told them to, there is no one in a position to do so.  Possibly many of the union members are also so committed, but coercive pressure from peers, union stewards and bosses is also applied quite liberally.

Coercion in Political Lobbying and Co-Dependants
The Fall of the Midwest Economic Model
In 1970, the future seemed to belong to Michigan's example of big companies and big unions. Not anymore.
"Michigan is an extreme example of what has afflicted the industrial Midwest. Big corporations were replaced by big government as the leading employer, and public-employee unions replaced industrial unions as the chief financiers of the Democratic Party. In effect, public-employee unions have been a mechanism by which taxpayer money, in the form of union dues, permanently finances a lobby with a vested interest in higher spending and less accountability. It's a lobby that's benefited from the Democratic Party loyalties of black voters, of Latinos in Chicago (the only large Hispanic presence in the Midwest) and of culturally liberal suburbanites."

Political Candidates know that speaking in front of tea party is great, good response, polite, etc.  But don't focus your fund raising there, because there really isn't much money available.  I know that the likes of Huffington Post, NYTimes, US News and World Report, continue the usual list on your own, all say that funding for the tea party comes from the Koch Bros, Rupert Murdoch, or "Big Corporate" groups.  Don't they wish!  Both sides, the Tea Party here in Saint Paul, and elsewhere, and the media, eager to portray rich deep pockets of supporters, would like it to be so.  I have gone to the tea party events since they started, and the Tax Cut Rally's before them.  I have talked with the organizers.  The funding is always on a shoe string, and often the volunteer organizers just barely made the payments to allow use of the capital grounds, the audio equipment etc. 

The Union members come to rally's all decked out in brand new identical SEIU, Teamster, and other union emblazoned T Shirts, carrying professionally printed identical signs.  There are no Tea Party uniform T-Shirts, no pre-printed signs.  The organizers were simply people who stepped forward in response to a personal commitment and desire.  But it had many constituency's.  Many also came due to the overreach of the federal government in the Healthcare debates.  In the beginning it was cathartic, like a pep rally, now its actually into the game, and in it to win.  Less rally's and more marching down to the capital,  testifying before legislature, etc. entering into party politics and how it works to accomplish the change in narrative and candidates.  A revival of civics.

As the Tea Party movement grew up, then interest and support began to come nation wide and more organizations started to say they spoke for tea party and started to organize. However, the heavily funded Union lobby still overwhelms the Tea Party like an ocean to a tea cup.  Take for example the donations to the two largest "Tea Party " organizations, the "Tea Party Patriots" and the "Tea Party Express"
"At the news conference today, Meckler took a not-so-indirect swipe at a rival Tea Party organization, the Tea Party Express, which operates a full-fledged political action committee that has reported more than $5 million in donations to the Federal Election Commission."

Contrast with not just the "mandatory donations", aka dues, to the Unions, which account for untold millions of dollars, but to what they actually spent in lobbying/support.
Top 20 PACs by Total Expenditures, 2011-2012
(Estimated split based on donor list, and stated affiliations). Nowhere in here is there a "tea party" organization, unless you wish to make a real stretch and call the Bachmann PAC "tea party", since she organized the Tea Party Caucus in Congress.

PAC Name Total Expenditures Dem % Repub %
ActBlue $11,670,019.00 0.99 0
Service Employees International Union $8,939,456.00 0.77 0.02
EMILY's List $6,099,495.00 0.95 0
Bachmann for Congress $5,931,736.00 0 1 $4,442,305.00 1 0
American Federation of Teachers $3,968,159.00 0.9 0
Free & Strong America PAC $3,530,394.00 0 1
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $3,170,028.00 0.97 0.02
Teamsters Union $2,511,180.00 0.89 0.06
Laborers Union $2,147,525.00 0.89 0.07
American Fedn of St/Cnty/Munic Employees $2,124,978.00 0.94 0.01
Plumbers/Pipefitters Union $2,091,672.00 0.94 0.04
National Assn of Realtors $1,852,996.00 0.47 0.49
Democracy for America $1,841,328.00 1 0
Lyndon LaRouche PAC $1,666,230.00 1 0
Painters & Allied Trades Union $1,601,485.00 0.87 0.11
SarahPAC $1,591,520.00 0 1
National Rifle Assn $1,581,198.00 0.17 0.81
American Assn for Justice $1,577,570.00 0.89 0.08
Communications Workers of America $1,514,745.00 0.95 0

$52,313,300.67 $14,192,861.26

Then even more soft money contributions centered on election activities like that in the recent recall elections in Wisconsin
National unions descended on Wisconsin to fight over collective bargaining because the real line of scrimmage was the political power of the unions. Since the legislation ended government collection of union dues, the ability of unions to strong-arm their members has already begun to wane.
The net effect of more than $30 million spent in Wisconsin's recall elections may seem like an exercise in futility, but the real lesson may be that voters were never as enraged by the policy dispute as the political professionals said they were. Unions made Wisconsin a great battleground to send a message to other states that politicians who challenge union power will pay a price. The real price was paid by the unions themselves, in the national demonstration of their diminishing power.
Intrusive Coercion in Protests
While the tea party protests at city hall, state house, and congressional offices, and Washington Congressional building and the White House, the progressive left and Unions have successfully convinced people that the right to assemble and protest translates to the right to protest at your home, your place of business, block access to your stores, destroy your property, to a fundamental right to disrupt individuals lives.  That's why the Unions get more attention from the media, they cause more pain.

Here in Minnesota the Unions followed Speaker John Boehner to a golf course to mock him

The event was staged by a coalition of union and community groups, along with help from A number of anti-war activists tagged along as well, including former FBI agent and congressional candidate Coleen Rowley. Organizers found themselves briefly playing cat and mouse with [Speaker John] Boehner on Wednesday morning after learning that he had nixed plans to hold the event at nearby Spring Hill Golf Club. Shortly before 11 a.m., they discovered the new location and redirected three busloads of protesters.

And Finally there is the Coercion of the Union in Employer Relations
The recent strike at Verizon has reports of protests at personal homes, possible sabotage of facilities   and many many others.

So the differences between Unions and the tea Party are many, varied, and important.  The Tea Party is all about free associations, while the central theme in Union relations is coercion.  The particular problems endemic in the relations of the public unions were studied in a paper by Daniel Desalvo where he gave an account of FDR

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: "Meticulous attention," the president insisted in 1937, "should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government....The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." The reason? F.D.R. believed that "[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable." Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was "impossible to bargain collectively with the government."

As a final difference, the Tea Party was frequently pointed to as the problem in the debt discussion, with no real factual basis (see Maxine Waters link above).  How much more so should the the Unions be looked at for participation on the debt crisis. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Betty McCollum/NYTimes Tricky Chart "Policy Changes Under Two Presidents"

Defending the Bush administrations penchant for spending is difficult for a conservative, however the injustice of this particular canard is worth the attempt.  This chart (shown below, originally from the inventive mind's at the NYTimes) was what  Rep Betty McCollum kept referring to in her talk at the 8/9/2011 Townhall.  It is an interesting and admittedly ingenious attempt to continue the "blame Bush" syndrome that has grown up amidst the liberal/progressive activists and intelligentsia.  It represents a particularly pointless and strange phenomena that has never been used so prominently, nor for so long, by an administration and their adherents before. I don't remember George W Bush using the Clinton era internet bubble recession, or even the 9/11 attack, as such a consistent scape goat for the very real and significant problems that he faced when he came to office.  I don't believe (though I am sure there are those who will attempt to disabuse me of that belief) that Regan admonished the first Carter administration continuously and frequently for the disaster that he inherited, and which we are now repeating.

First let's see exactly what Rep Betty McCollum said at the Townhall, and the chart she used from the New York Times, then, let's dissect the chart point by point, and show why I believe it is such an egregious canard.

Betty McCollum and the progressive strategists at NYT, and elsewhere, may believe this is "damning evidence" but I'm not so sure its a very good representation of "truth".  So let's dissect this chart point by point. Policies that are in place and actively spending money should show up in that years CBO spending.  So let's see when each policy began, and what the real dollar deficits look like.

"Bush Tax Cuts" were implemented in 2001, and Obama has fortunately chosen to continue them.  During the Bush presidency this accounted for $1.5 trillion, to which Obama has added $1.3 trillion in his 2 years 9 months in office. during his two and a half years in office.  These tax cuts are part of the reason why so many people below $50,000 pay NO federal income taxes.  How much more progressive can you get? Oh, yeah, the earned income credits, etc, redistribution system giving unearned money to lower income people.  The end result that according to the AP, 40% of people "make a profit from the federal income tax".   So why don't they love it?  Beyond all that, the act of letting people keep their own money and calling it a "new cost" is an example of using deceptive propaganda techniques.

National defense is actually one of the few constitutional federal provisions.  The Afghanistan war began in Oct 2001, and the Iraq War began Mar 20, 2003.  So the wars that began as a result of an attack on our soil (lets not get into an argument over the "necessity" of the Iraq War, it's not germane to this discussion) were part of the spending during the Bush years.  The significant portion of the costs of Iraq war essentially occurred during the Bush presidency, who began limited troop reductions in 2008, and left the completion for the next president.  President Obama has further reduced Iraq  spending, but increased Afghanistan, in addition to starting up a third new conflict in Libya  which will reach an additional $1.1 billion by the end of Sept.

The TARP program, like it or hate it (I was personally in the doubtful but hopeful camp on this) was originally envisioned as a short term fix that would be repaid to the taxpayers as the banks recovered.  In fact it apparently achieved that part of the goal and even made some money, but has since been essentially used as a special Obama "slush fund" since, see here,  and here for political gain .  So the net cost to the taxpayers should have been ZERO, unlike what the chart shows, but the continued use by the Obama administration and others has made it a continued liability.

The 2008 Stimulus was called for by President Elect Obama, but is entirely attributed to Bush in this disingenuous chart. At a minimum it should be a shared policy, but Obama went further in demanding it, or he'd do it!
"NYTimes Nov 7, 2008 Mr. Obama called on Congress and the Bush administration to pass an economic stimulus package. If an agreement cannot be reached this month in the lame-duck Congressional session, he said, it will be his chief goal when he takes office on Jan. 20."
So we, Rep McCollum and the activists at the NYTimes, need to accept the fact, Obama really owns this one, as well as the "son of stimulus" that is already in the chart on his rather diminished side.

The Medicare Drug plan was enacted Dec 8, 2003.  First, if it hadn't been enacted by George W Bush, it most certainly would have been part of the Obamacare plan, so one shouldn't be too quick to place it ideologically under Bush alone.  Second, as a conservative, I could never quite understand the progressive's reaction to this plan.  I understand why I and other conservatives thought it was undesirable, but this would seem to be ideologically right in line with progressive thinking.  Regardless of its merits, the costs of the program were baked into George W's budgets from that point on, and should be evident in any chart showing real spending.

The rather ill defined "non-discretionary" spending is simply too vague to analyze at this point.  I will have to let the chart below speak to it.  The 2008, 2009, 2010 sudden rise in the Nondefense curve show the dramatic rise spending, due to the TARP, Stimulus, and Son of Stimulus that Barack Obama is now using as his baseline spending. Each of his budgets, proposed but never passed, has reflected this continued, or rather is exceeding this, level of spending.  [Note Congress, in particular the Democrats and the Budget Committee which Rep Betty McCollum is on, refused to pass a budget, until the Republicans took the House this year and passed a budget that was killed by the Democrat Senate]


So the results of this analysis show that almost any policy that has been attributed to George W Bush should be well reflected in a chart of spending during his presidency 2001-2008.  One can argue that 2009 reflected a Bush budget (especially since we haven't had one since), but I believe the analysis above has shown that Barack Obama inescapably shared and "demanded" the TARP and Stimulus programs, and thus completely owns the 2009 spending as well.  So what is the actual chart of spending deficits and Obama proposed budget projections?  It shows that Bush spent way too much, no surprise there, but Barack Obama has made that spending look like small change!

Thus I am not sure that Rep Betty McCollum's speech really shows the correct analysis of our National debt and deficit crisis and thus would probably never address the real problems.  Remember that!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Debt Deal Cuts, Do They Survive?

We now have a debt "deal" that calls for an increase in the debt ceiling, and yet again "reductions" in the future "out years".  As in my previous blog entry, we are dependent on the trustworthiness of this group of leaders to see to it that the reductions actually happen, rather than end on the cutting room floor, where all such deals have finally reposed.  Given the motivation of Obama, Reid, and many more, to create an ever expanding government and to insist on opposing any Republican plan, it would seem to be against their nature to relinquish a dollar of spending. 

Realclear Politics on Why Obama voted against a debt ceiling increase in 2006

April 14, 2011 President Obama on why he voted against raising the debt ceiling as a Senator in 2006:
"When you’re a Senator, traditionally what’s happened is this is always a lousy vote. Nobody likes to be tagged as having increased the debt limit for the United States by a trillion dollars. As President, you start realizing, 'you know what? We-- we can’t play around with this stuff. This is the full faith in credit of the United States.' And so that was just a example of a new Senator, you know, making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country."

In other words, he states he was lacking in depth and understanding two years before he became president!  Did he learn a lot in the intervening years?  Watch his speeches during this debt debate and see if he is a statesman, or a little less effective.

And then there's Harry Reid also apologizing for his role in politicizing the debt limit in 2006.

He voted against it simply because "the Republicans were in power". Earlier in the video he said he is willing to "work with Republicans" but it seems only as long as he's driving the truck, usually over them.  He claims this was the "one time I tried to make a political issue of it, I wish I hadn't".
"I shouldn't have done that. I'm kinda embarrassed I did. It was a political maneuver by we Democrats. The Republicans were in power -- there were more of them," Reid said. "The president voted when he was in the Senate the same way. I heard him apologize for it. We all should take a look at how we handle these issues, but that doesn't take into consideration the numerous times, the numerous times I voted to raise the debt ceiling. The one time I tried to make a political issue of it, I wish I hadn't."

Is this what we want from our representatives in Washington?  Through out this discussion, it has been the Republicans who put forth the proposals and took the ire from the media. While Harry Reid would not even bring the proposals to the floor to consider. And for that effort they were called:
1) Hobbits by the WSJ,
2) Arsonists with a Satan Sandwich
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) called it a “Satan sandwich,” and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) seemed to enjoy the heat analogy, saying: “the Tea Partiers and the GOP have made their slash and burn lunacy clear, and while I do not love this compromise, my vote is a hose to stop the burning. The arsonists must be stopped.
3) and terrorists by Biden and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) at a two-hour, closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting. 
“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”

Aside from the obvious inaccuracy, and especially that last statement, I believe that sums up the progressive goal succinctly.  Spend more at any cost, and tell the people we're not!