Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The point is simple, the logic unassailable. Republicans say they care about Social Security but claim there won't be enough money to make good on the money (your payroll taxes) borrowed from the Social Security Administration.

Today, however, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to abolish the inheritance tax, a tax that, by definition, only impacts people who inherit money from extremely wealthy forebearers. If passed by the senate this new legislation, which would come into effect in 2012, will cost the Treasury $745 billion dollars during its first ten years. Figure in associated interest on the added debt and the number comes closer to a trillion dollars.

That is about a trillion fewer dollars in the US Treasury over the course of the same decade in which the Social Security Trustees say the SSA will begin (2017) to start drawing on the Treasury notes in the Trust fund to cover scheduled benefits (2020, if you go by CBO estimates.)

There's no hidden complexity here. It's a zero-sum game. They say Social Security is in trouble because we don't have enough dollars to make good on the Trust Fund (which today holds roughly $1.7 trillion in Treasury notes). And here they are voting to take a trillion more dollars off the table.

In other words, they could not care less about Social Security and everything they say on the subject is a joke.

If someone tells you that at least the Republicans have a plan and the Democrats don't, laugh in their faces. The Republican agenda (the actual bills they are passing right now) is to keep weakening Social Security at every opportunity, just like they're doing today. The most constructive thing anyone can do under present circumstances to protect Social Security, the only 'plan' that isn't a joke, is to oppose the Republican agenda in Congress, to stand up and say "do no more harm."

DeLay apologizes for 'inartful' threats against federal judges. "Sometimes I get a little more passionate, and particularly during the moment, and the day that Terri Schiavo was starved to death, emotions were flowing. I probably said — I did, I didn't probably — I said something in an inartful way, and I shouldn't have said it that way, and I apologize for saying it that way."

A reader hits the nail on the head: "Hey -- one wrinkle on this DeLay stuff. Worth exploring on TPM. Remember that, although liberals think of DeLay as a tyrannical conservative who oppresses moderates and centrists and is an #$@*&$% ...most of the GOP's centrists and moderates really like having him as majority leader and appreciate him. Why? Because he is very good at running Congress in such a way as to keep them from having to make tough votes, and thus makes it more tenable for them to remain in office under a conservative GOP prez. Remember -- they are part of his majority and part of his power. He makes an effort to protect them. So those who are weighing whether or not to speak against him have a lot on their minds."

Of course, he also gives the moderates lots of cash.

Ahh, a new blog from the kind of Republican we at TPM can love (basically just the old-fashioned sane kind), Robert George.

He even came to my birthday party a couple months ago. But I don't want to get him in trouble with the Falange. So don't tell anybody.

A thing of beauty: johnson-watch.com. How long will it take DeLay loyalist Nancy Johnson to turn the spray on the bug man?

Reader mail ...


Being born and living my whole life in Connecticut I have to say I am damn proud of Chris Shays. I am liberal, from the 1st district and Chris isn't my Rep. But he is the only northeastern moderate republican to have the backbone (or at least nothing else to lose) to step up and take on DeLay.

Our former Governor John Rowland has started to serve his sentence for corruption at a Federal prison in western Pennsylvania. I look at Tom DeLay and feel his transgressions were far worse then Rowland's. But Tom DeLay is neither under indictment, or in jail, and the GOP is rushing to his defense to keep him in power. The GOP seized control of the Congress in the mid 1990's. Their vow was to "clean up Washington". Fast forward 10 years and we have the majority leader misusing the FAA, he is knee deep in the Indian casino shakedown, his PAC has made 6 figure payments to family members, and threatening federal judges, just for starters. He is far more corrupt then any of the democrats who were in power in the mid 90's. In a sense I hope "The Hammer" stays in power. There will be more scrutiny on DeLay and the people who support him in Congress. And it will become apparent that he and his fellow republicans are far more corrupt and dirty then the democrats ever were. He will single handedly give the democrats the house back in 2006. Right now he represents the best tool the democrats have at their disposal...

Chris Shays is right about DeLay and I have pride that he is a politician from my state, but I hope he is unsuccessful in getting DeLay out...at least until the democrats, hopefully, fully exploit his malfeasance. JC

Bug man of <$NoAd$> Alcatraz?

Reader mail ...

Just an oldish memory of Nancy Johnson--immediately after the first ethics "victory" of DeLay: I recall a televised press conference (I'm guessing I saw it on CNN) with a grinning like a baboon Nancy as part of DeLay's adoring gaggle. I'd love to see that clip used in a campaign commercial should a CT-05 Dem. of consequence run against her. If Nancy does more than hem and haw DeLay is doomed.

Note that the <$NoAd$> reader says this is an "oldish memory." So let's not take this as a certainty that this happened or happened precisely as she remembers it.

But I wanted to ask if anyone knows of the event in question or if and where the video feed might be available.

Perhaps you can help us with our collection. We're keeping tabs on various examples of Republicans lashing out at financier and philanthropist George Soros using anti-Semitic code language. We're calling it The Tony Blankley Project. Your assistance is, of course, appreciated.

Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star editorial: "It been heartening the past few days to hear a few Republicans finally voicing public criticism of Rep. Tom DeLay. More should join the chorus. It's time for Republicans to renounce his leadership and choose a more principled and temperate representative as House Majority Leader."

(ed.note: Thanks to TPM Reader JT for the report from the field.)