Sometimes, the analogy just appears out of nowhere.

This morning while picking today’s pre-show music, I was thinking that the GOP was stuck.  So I played songs that fit that theme leading up to the start of the show for those who checked in on one of my feeds a little early. (“Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealer’s Wheel, “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” by Dylan, Todd Snider’s “Stuck on the Corner”, and U2’s “Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” all seemed to fit in one way or another.)

As I remembered from my days as a Rock and Roll Disc Jockey,  Bono wrote “Stuck in a Moment” for the late Michael Hutchence of INXS, reportedly about a conversation (or argument) they once had about suicide.    Although his death was ruled as suicide by the coroner, his family and partner believed it was actually the result of auto-erotic asphyxiation.

At the end of the show, the metaphor came together!  Ted Cruz had an idea that propelled him to euphoric highs as the tea baggers rallied around him and fueled his Quixotic presidential aspirations.  But after that brief orgasmic moment, the GOP finds itself with no way out…  

The GOP’s impending doom is just the by-product of Ted Cruz’s attempt at auto-erotic asphyxiation!   

Of course, that doesn’t make dealing with the GOP’s lack of oxygen to the brain any easier to deal with.  One of their absurd demands that seems to be gaining some traction is that we should repeal the Affordable Care Act’s Medical Device Tax that raises $40 Billion in revenue towards the cost of making sure most Americans have access to health insurance.

Dave Johnson, senior fellow at The Campaign for America’s Future, addressed this issue on his blog (that you should bookmark and read regularly) there in a piece called “Medical Device Tax Tricks” in which he lays out the facts:

You might be hearing that some Democrats are “willing to make a deal” involving the “small” ($40 billion) medical device tax. It’s a good idea to know what is going on — especially the “offset” some are talking about.

1) The tax is on the windfall that the ACA is going to give to this industry. GE – notorious non-payer of taxes – will be a prime beneficiary of this break should it occur. The tax amounts to $40 billion, so repealing it is a $40 billion giveaway to a few companies.

2) They have to make up that $40 billion somewhere. The proposed offset is something called “pension smoothing.” Here is how it works.

  • Companies will be allowed to under-contribute to their pension plans for 5 years.
  • This means these companies will have higher profits (pension contributions are tax-deductible) so they will pay more taxes.
  • After 5 years they are supposed to make up for the under-contributing. Which means any revenue gained by the govt in the first 5 years goes away. It also means that these companies will have further underfunded their pensions and will be coming to the government for relief, etc.

I wrote “further underfunded” because pension funds are allowed to use an unrealistically high estimate of future returns on their pension investments, so many pension funds are underfunded already.

See also GOP Senators Revive Fake Offset for Medical Device Tax by Chye-Ching Huang at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities’ Off the Charts blog.

Note – If any “deal” occurs it validates the strategy of hostage-taking. If this ”deal” occurs it shows that an industry was able to get a tax break as a payoff to end the government shutdown, thereby triggering other industries to compete to be beneficiaries future hostage ransoms. As Ezra Klein writes today,

In order to move past the shutdown, the GOP must believe it will get something it actually wants out of the negotiations. This is the thing its members are beginning to believe they actually might get.

But, of course, if they do get something out of this they will, of course, keep doing it. (Note that Democrats have already agreed to give Republicans 100% of the spending cuts they have demanded in the continuing resolution.)

It’s Monday, that means Nicole Belle and her colleagues at Crooks and Liars did the dirty work and watched the Sunday talking head shows yesterday. Nicole and I listen to some of the most shocking/ridiculous/outrageous things that were said in a segment we call Fools on the Hill™.  Here’s what Nicole brought us this morning:

Wendy Walsh

I try to be an optimistic person, really I do.  But it’s so hard to stay optimistic when you are dealing with this kind of level of stupidity…not from politicians even, but the pundits on the news.

Pundits who think that a cogent analysis of the government is to liken it to Obama marrying into a blended family and Boehner as his withholding wife:

WALSH:  I don’t think they are, but I want you to understand a lot of Americans can relate to this, Christine, it’s a blended family metaphor.  Think of Obama as the never-before-married bachelor who marries a single mother with an angry stepchild, that being the tea party of course.  So, and John Boehner, so here I say ‘never married before’ because of course, he’s never been governor, he hasn’t had to have those harmonious relationships with legislators on the other side of the aisle that you know, Reagan had with Tip O’Neill or Clinton had with Newt Gingrich.  He’s not good at the small talk and the chit chats! ‘How was your day, dear’ stuff.  So then you take Boehner, who’s actually having a hard time choosing between his angry stepchild the tea party, who loves confrontation, and his new marriage. At the same time, Boehner’s husband, if you will, Obama, is about to become a star.  I mean, let’s talk about it, the Affordable Care Act is really Obama’s signature legislation.  It’s been law for a few years, it’s been approved by the Supreme Court, and now it stands to really make him a star.  Now Boehner’s jealous and he’s doing what a woman often does, which is she stops sleeping with her husband.  Which is the worst thing you can do.

Or pundits like Peggy Noonan, who shrug off this economic terrorism that the Republicans are committing as no big deal, only to be lectured by Paul Krugman that “nothing like this ever happened before.”

Or pundits like Dana Perino, who has multiple platforms on Fox News to insist that it is we liberals that live in the biggest media bubble ever created.

But that’s not as bad as the Politico reporter who told CNN that fact-checking is not her job.

Speaking of non-factual reporters,  there’s David Gregory, Karl Rove’s back-up dancer.  He proves that the insular Beltway bubble doesn’t allow him to contemplate anything other unsubstantiated GOP memes.   Like how the government showdown is really an issue of both sides digging in and blaming the other side and it’s entitlements that are really cannibalizing the budget.