Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Business economists show liberal bias: "Fewer than one in four top U.S. economists think the Bush administration will succeed in pushing through an overhaul of the Social Security retirement system this year a survey released Tuesday showed. 'Only 24 percent expect the partial privatization of Social Security to be passed by Congress this year,' a panel of 37 forecasters, who are members of the National Association for Business Economics, concluded."

Are you a registered Democrat?

Are you currently employed as a United States Senator?

Are you thinking of cutting a deal with Sen. Lindsey Graham?

If you can answer 'yes' to these three questions, read this.

Strong in support?

North Carolina's junior senator, Richard Burr (R) at a Reagan Day dinner on Monday: "I take the president at his word, as I think the American people should. Ages 55 and over, they don't have anything to worry about. It won't change. So given that, what's wrong with a national debate about whether we change it for everybody else or at least allow them the option of choice?"

Can't we all just get along?

Rep. Kevin Brady (R) of Texas gets an earful in the district: "His two trips in Montgomery County Tuesday encountered many people who aren't in favor of significantly altering the program, especially when it comes to diverting a portion of the current payroll taxes into private accounts."

To his credit, Brady is one of the ones who's actually holding public meetings on Social Security this week. Here's where they're being held.

Says Brady, at the end of the article: "I think there will have to be some sort of compromise. That's why I'm traveling around listening to everyone's plan. Sometimes you have to do what's right even if it's not popular ... I want to hear the president's plan, I want to hear the AARP plan, I want to hear the Democrats' plan. We'll probably all have to get off the cable TV stations for five minutes and talk to each other to work it out."

Can't we all just get along?

AP: "U.S. stocks sank on Tuesday as oil prices jumped above $51 a barrel and the dollar slid on concerns that other central banks would follow South Korea's lead in diversifying reserves out of U.S. assets."

Someone tell me this isn't as worrisome as it looks.

Silly me ...

Recently, I've been referring to James Dobson again as a notorious SpongeBob-basher. But it's now been brought to my attention that there is a subculture of SpongeBob-Dobson-smackdown enthusiasts who are keen on the point that Dobson never directly accused Spongebob of being a homosexual but rather accused him of promoting the gay lifestyle.

I went back through the TPM search engine and found that in my initial post on Dobson's SpongeBob fetish that I did perhaps erroneously claim that Dobson had accused SpongeBob of engaging in homosexual acts.

However, as near as I can tell, we don't know the totality of Dobson's accusations against Spongebob at the black-tie Focus on the Family dinner in Washington last month, the one subsequently reported on by The New York Times.

I would also note that at Spongebob's subsequent meeting with the Rev. John H. Thomas, the general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, Thomas extended "an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob" noting that "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we."

Given the context of the meeting, this would suggest that Spongebob may in fact be gay. And thus even if Dobson didn't level the accusation directly, he may have been trying to bash SpongeBob through indirect accusations. And I for one am not going to stand by while the likes of James Dobson bashes SpongeBob and then hides behind the claim that he was only criticizing him for standing up for gay rights.

In any case, before speculating on this matter further we'll wait to receive a full transcript of Dobson's remarks at said black tie dinner.

Steve Soto suggests some ways to hold USANext accountable for their AARP-gay-bashing outrages.

The question is out there: which Senate Dem might be ready to cut a deal with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina on Social Security?

Pretty much all of them have issued strong statements which appear to place them in opposition.

But entertain this hypothetical.

What if current payroll tax revenues are left in place for now and private accounts are funded in whole or in part from new payroll tax revenues generated by raising or even lifting the payroll tax cap? Even in the medium-term it makes little difference which slice of the payroll tax pie phase-out begins with, for reasons we'll describe. But such a maneuver could allow some straying Dem to argue that what they were signing on to was not in fact a carve-out.

I would judge any Senate Democrats' pledge with this hypothetical -- let's call it the 'Graham hypothetical' -- in mind.

And let's also ask this question: Why the deep-seated urge to cut a deal when support for phase-out is fading, the president is stumbling and we may be on course toward a national consensus and reaffirmation in favor of preserving Social Security rather than going down the incremental phase-out road?

Once that happens, once the door is closed on phase-out, it will then be possible to make sensible changes to ensure the long-term solvency of the program. But there's really no sense in looking for points of compromise with folks whose aim is phase-out.

If the patient is on the table, do you open him up when Kevorkian is still in the room?

Colorado Springs may be home of Spongebob-bashing James Dobson's world headquarters. But they've got Democrats there too. And they've just passed this resolution against phasing out Social Security.