Patt Morrison

<em>Patt Morrison</em> is known for its innovative discussions of local politics and culture, as well as its presentation of the effects of national and world news on Southern California. Hosted by

Patt Morrison for

Patt Morrison for June 27, 2011

Segments From This Episode

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Blasting sacred cows with an Army howitzer: could cuts in military spending go in place of tax increases?

If nothing else this should tell you that there are members of Congress who are getting serious about cutting the $14+ trillion budget deficit: as deficit negotiations move to the White House and President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner get involved in the high level talks, an unexpected compromise deal is emerging. While everyone assumed that cuts in domestic spending would have to come with increases in revenues—mainly tax increases on the richest Americans and changes in the corporate tax code—some Congressional Republicans are pushing for significant cuts in military spending, going against the conservative archetype of protecting the Pentagon’s budget at all costs. The Pentagon’s overall budget in 2010 was estimated to be a little over $700 billion, when taking Iraq and Afghanistan supplemental spending into account, and all-combined military spending probably exceeds $1 trillion annually; all of which represents a dramatic increase in defense spending, having doubled in the last decade. Republicans believe that selling its constituents on cuts in defense spending rather than tax increases, within a larger deficit-reduction compromise deal, will be much easier. Democrats are expected to continue pushing for changes in the tax code and tax increases on the wealthy but there are many liberal members of Congress who have attacked the bloated Pentagon spending for years. Would you support dramatic decreases in military spending as a way to cut the deficit, or would you rather support the spending with tax increases?

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Attacked on the left flank, Barack Obama finds himself fighting his own liberal base

Liberals had high hopes for Barack Obama—portrayed by his Republican opponents as an ultra liberal socialist during the 2008 campaign and after his victory, those on the political left were hoping that at least the liberal slander would come true. Latinos were hoping for comprehensive immigration reform, but while the president has made some noise on the issue recently he’s also overseen a dramatic surge in deportations. Anti-war activists were hoping that President Obama’s opposition to the war in Iraq would carry over to Afghanistan, but they were disappointed in the troop surge last year and further upset that the president isn’t bringing home more soldiers in quicker fashion from the 10-year old Afghan conflict. Gays and lesbians were hopeful that President Obama would come around on gay marriage—which he hasn’t—but were mildly pleased that he pushed through the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” although it still wasn’t quick enough for their liking. Perhaps most disappointed of all, environmentalists were hoping that President Obama would push through a cap-and-trade bill to cut greenhouse gas emissions and that his administration would get behind a strong EPA; he has failed on both accounts. So for this allegedly bleeding heart socialist of a president, he certainly is having a difficult time pleasing his fellow liberals. There’s a lot of grumbling ahead of 2012 and predictions that the overwhelming wave of enthusiasm that lead President Obama to such a decisive victory in 2008 might not be there for him this time, chiefly because he’s paid so little attention to his base. Are liberals right to feel let down by their president or has Barack Obama always been a centrist at heart? Can President Obama count on his left flank during next year’s election or has he sold them out one too many times?

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