Dear Mr. President, Social Security and Medicare are Not Grand Bargaining Chips

Yes, the grand bargain is coming up before the deadline by December 31st, 2012.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will be on the chopping block like it was last time. This is not a conspiracy theory, and it comes from solid sources involved in all of the deliberations if you read the source material provided. Sure, some can pretend it is CT. They can even cry it out loud from the rooftops while closing their eyes and plugging their ears, but the reality based community is all talking about this because this is confirmed reality, and the prospects are real like they were last time.

It's really up to those that would deny this confirmed reality to prove the actual sources in the Senate are all liars in the WaPo peice. Either that or they have heads their heads in the sand for all of 2011 and this is just too much of a downer to acknowledge but it's time to grow up. These are facts. Denying the factual historical record in 2011 disqualifies anyone writing about these matters at all. Yes, when the entirely self induced entirely avoidable fake fiscal cliff was made real through the stop go that was passed to raise the debt ceiling in Aug 5, 2011 it set this whole pathetic fiscal cliff debacle coming up.

Rick Pearlstein: Author of Nixonland details the Grand Bargain coming up as well.

America didn’t vote for a “grand bargain”

I heard Dick Durbin, the Illinois senator who is close to Obama, on the radio the next morning boasting that he was one of the Democrats on the Simpson-Bowles Commission to vote for its recommendations — recommendations that included, in addition to changes in the tax code meant to increase revenue (while also cutting tax rates), diminishing eligibility and benefits for Medicare and Social Security. Though the commission failed to reach consensus, making its proposals moot, it was aiming at just the sort of “grand bargain” that Obama has consistently and quietly spoken about as his sort of beau ideal for what a successful presidency would look like. Durbin went on to say he hoped a grand bargain might be wrapped up in the next calendar year, before congressmen and senators became preoccupied with reelection.

When you read statements like this from the likes of Senator Dick Durbin safely away from the constituents he secretly disdains, it makes you wonder whether this continuous flirtation with the destruction of the New Deal by the modern third way Democratic leadership wasn't the goal all along. After this debt ceiling debacle and the fallout we will still be dealing with was something I predicted. It was rather easy to predict that once the Obama Bush tax cuts were extended the political game of hostage taking by the Republicans enabled by the Democrats failure on these issues would continue. How did I know that? It was quite simple: President Obama thought it would be a great idea to put the full faith and credit of the United States in John Boehner’s hands by taking his word instead of getting a raise of the debt ceiling in the Bush/Obama tax cut sellout in 2010 as part of the deal.

Transcript Of Obama's Press Conference On Tax Cut Deal

THE PRESIDENT: Look, here’s my expectation — and I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That’s something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower.

That political malfeasance and naivete on display is why we are still dealing with the fallout of this easily predictable and entirely avoidable debt ceiling debacle that this so called fiscal cliff spawned from. The only thing that seems destined to fall off the cliff is any intelligence whatsoever about fiscal issues and our monetary system. It would have been nice had more people not had deluded themselves into thinking the President had some brilliant plan, because after all, if he did, we wouldn't be dealing with any of this by the end of this year in the first place.

Unless we are honest about what happened and put a stop to it, the second term for President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress is going to be an endless cycle of selling out and political failure in the name of budgetary and monetary fairy tales instead of the reality that is national accounting. The only deficit problem is the intelligent deficit on these accounting identities and the dynamics of a country that issues its own currency. This ignorance or corruption, take your pick, might be amusing if seniors' lives weren't at stake like the many other people whom will suffer because of these cuts to appease downright stupidity.

After all, most presidents have secured multiple raises in the debt ceiling from Congress. that's probably because they didn't trust or agree with their political enemies like President Obama did Speaker Boehner. The President is responsible for that and so are the people who made excuses for it. After all, we'll be paying the political and economic price. The President was warned but maybe this was his plan all along.

The Constitution does state that our debt will not be in question. If only our constitutional scholar knew this or assuming he does, acted on it instead of continually dragging out this political disaster which will occur through every raise of the debt ceiling. Neo Chartalist economist James K. Galbraith was correct as usual; the right thing to do was challenging the constitutionality of the debt ceiling because it is frankly unconstitutional. We shouldn't have to go through this or the fallout from it again and again.

“Dangerous Precedent” Being Set in Debt Ceiling Debate, Galbraith Says

I also think kossack Letsgetitdone's 60 trillion coin seigniorage idea has merit which is worth looking into once this never ending debacle rears its heads again. Once the tax cuts expire even for those making under $250,000 a year added to when the 1.2 trillion sequester(cuts across the board. The deal also includes mandatory spending reductions on top of the sequester by putting caps on non-entitlement discretionary spending that will reduce funding by $1 trillion by 2021) kicks in the CBO states it will likely send us back into a recession sometime in 2013. So just imagine if the President got the 4 trillion of cuts that he wanted?

That being said, there need not be any grand bargain because of cuts that should not have been on the table in the first place, and there is plenty of time to legislate away this stupid triggered sequester that should have never existed in the first place even after December 31st. What’s the lesson from all of this, anyway? Austerity is a failure. Look at the Eurozone and the UK double dipping back into recession. It's simple: politicians who embrace austerity are also embracing failure. Therefore the contest on who was the best deficit terrorist during this Presidential and Congressional campaign was a losing proposition for the people.

Income inequality is worse now(93 cents out of every dollar to the 1%) than it was during the Bush administration(64 cents our of every dollar to the 1%), but we didn't hear about it in this campaign, only deficits blah blah blah. Nothing about a private debt jubilee which would be another serious move towards full employment. Even on a practical level, instead of replacing DeMarco(whom still is refusing to write underwater mortgages down) at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (holding roughly half of all these mortgages) during a recess appointment which the POTUS can and has failed to do in past recesses.

Instead we’re going to go through this predictable pathetic recurring debacle that will put our social safety net in danger once again because people in Washington don’t want to study national accounting or what government budget deficits really are and why we need them.

Oh No! Private sector surplus! This is what the players in the grand bargain are so scared of continuing. What will we do if there are more dollars in the private sector during a period of low demand and high income inequality? Shouldn't we put more dollars into private pockets? The answer is yes. You see, this is reality unlike the bond vigilantes and confidence fairy fairy tales that were spun to us during this campaign.

But the Washington consensus either doesn't get it or doesn't want to get it. This grand bargain will hurt people especially seniors. It's just a matter of degree because this entire fiscal cliff debate is over complete nonsense stemming from a failure of leadership and adhering to the principles of the New Deal and Great Society that define the Democratic party platform. Failing to live up to that is all Congress seems to get done anymore. No more.

No more grand bargains, fiscal cliffs, sequesters, gangs of six, eight, or twelve. Demanding that Congress recognizes the truth will stop the abuse and failure of leadership across the board we have seen since this whole debacle started in 2010, but will you? I know many of you will, but I sadly still many of you will follow the six steps. For instance, some of you can hate Glenn Greenwald all you want because of his "awful" concern for civil liberties instead of politicians' personalities, but he has accurately outlined exactly how this is going to play out. He has outlined exactly the excuses many of you will give and I know this because I have already heard many of them already. Here are a few, but you should read them all because they are painfully accurate and prescient.

From Liberal Victory to Disempowerment in Six Easy Steps

STEP THREE: Many progressives – ones who are not persuaded that these cuts are less than draconian or defensible on the merits – will nonetheless begin to view them with resignation and acquiescence on pragmatic grounds. Obama has no real choice, they will insist, because he must reach a deal with the crazy, evil GOP to save the economy from crippling harm, and the only way he can do so is by agreeing to entitlement cuts. It is a pragmatic necessity, they will insist, and anyone who refuses to support it is being a purist, unreasonably blind to political realities, recklessly willing to blow up Obama's second term before it even begins.
 

STEP FOUR: The few liberal holdouts, who continue to vehemently oppose any bill that cuts social security and Medicare, will be isolated and marginalized, excluded from the key meetings where these matters are being negotiated, confined to a few MSNBC appearances where they explain their inconsequential opposition.
 

STEP FIVE: Once a deal is announced, and everyone from Obama to Harry Reid and the DNC are behind it, any progressives still vocally angry about it and insisting on its defeat will be castigated as ideologues and purists, compared to the Tea Party for their refusal to compromise, and scorned (by compliant progressives) as fringe Far Left malcontents.
 

STEP SIX: Once the deal is enacted with bipartisan support and Obama signs it in a ceremony, standing in front of his new Treasury Secretary, the supreme corporatist Erskine Bowles, where he touts the virtues of bipartisanship and making "tough choices", any progressives still complaining will be told that it is time to move on. Any who do not will be constantly reminded that there is an Extremely Important Election coming – the 2014 midterm – where it will be Absolutely Vital that Democrats hold onto the Senate and that they take over the House. Any progressive, still infuriated by cuts to social security and Medicare, who still refuses to get meekly in line behind the Party will be told that they are jeopardizing the Party's chances for winning that Vital Election and – as a result of their opposition - are helping Mitch McConnell take over control of the Senate and John Boehner retain control of the House.

Now surely you will want to prove both of us wrong, won't you? Or maybe you want to prove us right, right now. You should at least know that when politicians are fear mongering over a fake problem like the deficit terror and fiscal cliff they hope you don't understand, they don't have anything qualitatively good planned for your future. You should know that when you accept the unacceptable you are not being pragmatic. You are further lowering any Democratic standards you have left and any left you have left left in the party you blindly follow that is not the party you signed up for.

When you ignore sellouts like these you don't matter and are fodder for a form letter in your email box; an endless cycle of election fundraising but nothing will truly get better. Many of you of course know this, but too many of you want to believe like the President and Harry Reid want to believe in sovereign non pegged currency defaults, bond vigilantes, and confidence faeries. Is this delusional? Very.

These are grim times. Not time for Grimm's political fairy tales. Wake up.

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Comments

The reality is that Social Security simply must be reformed

sartoris's picture

and by reformed I mean that the FICA Tax cap needs to be completely eliminated.  Additionally, ALL income must be subject to the FICA tax.  No form of income should be exempt.  That means dividend income, interest income, passive income, active income and every freaking kind of income that exists.  With these simple changes the program would be sustainable until Jesus comes back to Jerusalem. 

If the president wants to find a few hundred billion of easy budget cuts he might want to take a cab over to the Pentagon..............the DOD's free ride at the taxpayer expense needs to end.

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The contribution determines the benefit ...

BruceMcF's picture

... just uncapping the benefit could mean $100,000 social security checks.

(1) We are a decade away from having to worry about the Social Insurance fund.

(2) If we put a floating levy of on incomes above $1m, starting at 0.1%, +0.1% when the Disability Insurance fund has under 10yrs funding, -0.1% when it has over 20yrs, it wouldn't hit 0.5% before the DI fund was funded 20yrs ahead.

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there are numerous reasonable proposals out there today

sartoris's picture

I have read proposals to cap benefits at a specific dollar amount, or to decrease it dollar for dollar when a person's AGI hits a certain amount.  That would be one way of preventing SS checks from exploding.  I have written that before but neglected to put it in this comment.  The formula that is used to calculate a person's monthly benefit is a little complex.  Anyone that wants more information should go to the SSA website, or you can read this article in AARP. 

http://www.aarp.org/work/social-security/info-06-2012/how-are-social-security-benefits-calculated.html

Eliminate the cap, apply the FICA tax to more forms of income (at a minimum, investment income should be taxed), and cap the maximum monthly benefit that a person can receive.

If deficit reduction is the goal then a financial transaction tax should also be reimplemented.

Capital Gains should be taxed at a higher rate.

Taxes should be paid on inheritances exceeding 1 million dollars in value.

Tax treaties with Switzerland and other countries should be repealed, if they allow U.S. citizens to legally avoid paying taxes by hiding their money in offshore banks.

Raise the marginal rates on higher income earners.

This is not too complicated.

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I fail to see why

Mehitabel's picture

benefits could not be capped even if contributions are not.  I know the Republicans would kick and scream over that but seriously, I don't see why that would be a bad idea.

Cap it at a reasonable amount - say, $100K for the very highest wage earners, who don't need Social Security income anyway - and then provide for COL adjustments.

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Benefits should be capped, contributions should not be capped

sartoris's picture

A rare agreement, Mehitabel.  Currently, medicare beneficiaries pay different Medicare Part B premium rates based on their last two years of reported AGI.  Note: this table is from the Medicare website and is for 2012 premiums.  It references 2010 because tax returns from the last 2 years are used to calculate a beneficiary's Medicare Part B premium

If your yearly income in 2010 was You pay
File individual tax return File joint tax return
$85,000 or less $170,000 or less $99.90
above $85,000 up to $107,000 above $170,000 up to $214,000 $139.90
above $107,000 up to $160,000 above $214,000 up to $320,000 $199.80
above $160,000 up to $214,000 above $320,000 up to $428,000 $259.70

Quite a few people had problems with this 'means tested' approach.  However, I think it is quite fair.  The premium issue is addressed on a yearly basis and the beneficiary can appeal the decision every single year.

I absolutely think that a program such as Social Security should include some sort of means testing.  Cap the monthly benefit, eliminate the cap on contributions.  Expand the amount of income categories that are subject to contributions.

 

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They could be ...

BruceMcF's picture

... but that was not the proposal that was made up top. The proposal that was made up top was just to remove the cap on contributions, to address a Social Security crisis that does not exist.

The difference between a levy on higher income earners and contributions that go beyond a capped benefit is pure semantics ~ the current social security benefit is tied to contributions by formula, in a progressive way (each dollar in the first rungs on the income ladder lead to a higher benefit than each dollar on the top rungs of the income ladder), but each dollar contributed during the qualifying period before retirement adds to the social security benefit on retirement.

I'd rather just call the part that is just a levy on higher incomes a levy.

 

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gotcha arguing boots on today, eh?

sartoris's picture

I'm assuming that when you refer to 'the proposal made up top', you're referring specifically to me, and not any of the other numerous comments 'up top', or even the article itself.  Changing the formula in which benefits are calculated is hardly semantics.  To suggest that such a change is an engagement in semantics is disingenous at best.  The exclusion of income that is not tied to a paycheck is hardly progressive.  I have zero problems with a cap on the monthly benefit that a recipient can earn.  As in the means testing of Medicare Part B and Part D premium payments, I'm not necessarily opposed to re-visiting how the program pays out benefits.  Call the 'part that is just a levy on higher incomes a levy', if it makes you feel better, I can live with that too.  I'm able to live with all sorts of new fangled ideas tonight.  I'm sorry that I did not initially include every single thought that I have on this issue in my initial comment.  Feel free to read my other comments that expand on my ideas regarding Social Security.  It's a fairly complex program and not one that is always able to be answered completely in one comment.  I apologize if my initial comment was not 'complete' enough.  Nice catch.

You're mathematically correct that a Social Security crisis does not exist.  However, you're politically incorrect to suggest that we are not currently facing a Social Security crisis when the people that have the power to change the Social Security program are getting ready to do just that, change the program.  Pointing out  the math to them is probably the ultimate exercise in futility. 

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Yes, shorthand for top comment.

BruceMcF's picture

The DIFFERENCE between changing contributions to that past a certain point they no longer determine your benefit, and adding a levy ON TOP OF the current contribution IS just a matter of semantics.

The current contributions as they actually work set your entitlement. The more you contribute to the retirement income of the current recipients, the more you receive in turn ~ though of course not on a strict proportional basis.

You are NOW proposing to break that connection. To me, that undermines part of what has made Social Security so robust to attack.

I would rather pass a levy in addition.

But all of that is a side issue to the claim that Social Security "must" be reformed. That's just bullshit. A projected shortfall over two decades in the future on entitlements themselves projected to be greater purchasing power than today's social security recipients is no basis for saying that there is any reason to CHANGE Social Security right now.

Indeed, if someone thought that demographics are moving to our side, the LAST thing they would propose would be a change NOW to a system when we are likely to be able to get a far better outcome by waiting until it has some slight degree of urgency.

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ah, Bruce. you never fail to condescend.

sartoris's picture

Well, you sure are on fire tonight.  There is in fact, no mathematical crisis in Social Security.  There is in fact a political crisis brewing.  This is in fact a blog and I'm not in fact making policy.  I am in fact making comments regarding ideas for the Social Security program.  That you don't agree with my comments is more than sufficient.  Condescension is not really conducive to discussions.  I apologize for mistaking this site as one that allows comments that you might disagree with.  You have a great evening and to paraphrase the Carter Sisters: Keep on the I'm Always Right Side of Life..............

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If by condescend you mean ...

BruceMcF's picture

... not agreeing that something you've stated as a fact is actually a fact, yes, under that definition. You said:

The reality is that Social Security simply must be reformed

... and, I disagree that that there is any such "reality". Repeating a lie that has been peddled by the bullshit artists for well over a decade does not convert it into a truth.

The "crisis" is a trumped up thing, and compared to all changes able to get through the current Republican House, "no change" is the superior choice.

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I appreciate your POV, Sartoris

priceman's picture

But I don't agree with you this time. The only reforms I support right now are raising wages and the minimum wage a lot as Galbraith proposes. That's the only thing that needs to happen right now. If all income is subject to the FICA tax that puts SS in political danger and why FDR wanted payroll taxes even if regressive. I want to fund SS without SS taxes someday just out of general revenue because the government working in tandem with its central banks creates money(as do private banks) and is not dependent on tax revenue per-say. What you mention is great for income inequality purposes so that income can be distributed to the 99%, but we really do not need to reform SS at all and none of the reforms you mentioned will be considered.

Modern Monetary Theory is where my views come from and they are not mainstream, but they are correct(except for some disagreements on political realities).For Instance, a brilliant brave MMT economist from the UKMC named Stephanie Kelton outlined the real facts about Social Security in order to protect it from "it's saviors."

Fact #1: Social Security is not “broken.” It is not “going broke.” It will, as Eisner told us more than a decade ago, “be there” as long as we protect it from its so-called saviors.

References:
Eisner, Robert. “Save Social Security from its Saviors”, Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Vol. 21, No. 1, Fall 1998). This is, in my view, the most honest and concise essay on the subject.

Bell and Wray. “Financial Aspects of the Social Security ‘Problem’”, Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 34, No. 2, June 2000.

Fact #2: The balance in the Social Security Trust Fund is absolutely irrelevant when it comes to the government’s ability to make payments, in full and on time – today, tomorrow and forever.

References:
Eisner (again) who said, “Accountants can just as well declare the bottom line of the funds’ accounts negative as positive – and the Treasury can go on making whatever outlays are prescribed by law”.

Bell and Wray again.

Greenspan: “A government cannot become insolvent with respect to obligations in its own currency.” (1997)

Greenspan: “I wouldn’t say that pay-as-you-go benefits are insecure, in the sense that there’s nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to somebody. The question is, how do you set up a system which assures that the real assets are created which those benefits are employed to purchase” (2005)

Social Security isn’t broken. It doesn’t need to be “fixed”. Why on earth would we play along with this charade in order to give cover to the Democrats? Doesn’t anyone remember 1983? For anyone who doesn’t, that was the last time we saw “incremental reforms” of the kind many “progressive” economists support. As a result of those reforms, today’s workers are contributing more and retiring later. And for what? Those reforms were supposed to make the system solvent for 75 years. Now, here we are, less than three decades later and it’s still “broken”? And we’re supposed to defend further, incremental cuts?!

As far as practical reforms I am with BruceMcF with the disability fund(the only fund in trouble right now) etc. We should just mandate that we just fund SS like current law dictates we automatically fund Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Funds in Medicare. We can also decide SS is too big to fail and just fund full benefits like we have decided our military is too big to fail(and must remain strong as the President says spending more than the whole world's defense budgets), which is a shame, because we need cuts to the military and those commitments need to go into the pockets of human beings that can spend as well to gain resources for their well being rather than bombs. Bombs that kill human capacity ie people we can export to, and now sadly even american citizens abroad thanks to the subversion of our laws.

There was no talk of cuts to the military(and no one is worried it is going to go broke), only to social security as we can see from history what "tweaking" means. It's all up there in Stephanie Kelton's piece and her research is solid as a rock like the rest of the UKMC's research which I recommend highly.

This is certainly not an orthodox view but you might have noticed the pattern now. Thank you for commenting, my friend. I hope that explains my views.

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the subject is complex and big enough to support many views

sartoris's picture

Hey, Price.  Disagreement on a subject as complex Social Security is completely fine.  People can and should disagree when discussing ideas.  Just no need to be a complete wiseacre, right? 

My rationale for wanting to include more (if not all) forms of income is simple.  I see it as one of basic equality.  The way the contributions are viewed now, investment income is excluded.  That works out to a substantial tax benefit for the hedge fund manager and a substantial 'penalty' for the mechanic.  How is that fair?  I don't see that as progressive but as regressive.  Always enjoy the discussions with you, Price.

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Indeed.

priceman's picture

Completely understand I understand the rationale an as i said I am for those things as far as income inequality is concerned. I just think we need to just decide SS is too big to fail unlike the big banks and fund it and stop pretending it can go broke or the government for that matter. If so you would see military contractors crying out.

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They'll need to do it

type1error's picture

before the end of the year. They'll need ass holes like Scott Brown, Joementum, and Kent Conrad to vote for it. It will be interesting to see how the potential 2016 presidential nominees vote. Will anybody stand next to Bernie Sanders as a voice of dissent?

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Who are possibles?

BruceMcF's picture

Franken, Merkely and Jay Rockefeller are up for re-election in 2016, they might do it to grandstand.

Among those re-elected, Brown of Ohio might join Sanders in opposing it ~ he'll do enough things to tick off the big money people between now and 2018 that one more won't mean any extra work getting re-elected.

 

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Amy Klobuchar?

BruceMcF's picture

Wouldn't Dick "Deficit Hysteria" Durbin be as plausible an anti-deficit-hysteria champion?

I know nothing about Warner ~ as an ex-VA Governor, I'd assume he spouts deficit hysteria, to make political hay about of being forced to balance the budget as a state governor. However, the Wikipedia machine says he ran in VA as a "moderate" Democrat, which normally spells being among the deficit hysterical.

 

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Merkley has been very good

Shahryar's picture

not great, but very good, which surprises me. I thought he was more middle of the road than he's turned out to be. I was hoping to find something on his website about the economy but no luck there. It's a very polite site, with stuff like this, on Afghanistan:

"Senator Merkley will continue to encourage the President to rethink this
mission and to adopt a counter-terrorism approach that recognizes the
substantial terrorist activities round the world and brings our
nation-building deployment in Afghanistan to an end."

That was good for the first half of the first sentence.

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yup

catnip's picture

Greenwald summed up dkos in a nutshell (without naming it) in that Common Dreams article. We all know how it works by now, no matter what the issue is. I don't know why anyone would expect anything different from Obama in his second term. Spelunker-in-chief.

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You can say that again.

Glinda's picture

all while the largest Caucus in Congress (Progressive) can't even get their phone calls returned, or let in on negotiations.

But don't worry, I did read that Obama plans to call Romney in the next few weeks to discuss a few things (apparently some bullshit).

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nice to find you here too

aliasalias's picture

It's has a lot more freedom than the DK booster club site, still good stuff there (your's included) but I actually think more about HOW I say something there just to avoid a pointless firestorm (with the one exception of the 'what's happenin' diaries) from the Obama can do no wrong club.

That place is not what I joined in 2006, or at least what I thought I was joining , but I really like some of the people there and I see them elswehere on the MANY other sites that I lurk ,including FDL, Glenn Greenwald and HERE.

In a way it's funny to be here because I came via a link in a comment on FDL and when I went to register I found out that (at some time in the past that I'd forgotten about) I had already been registered on this site. 

All that aside this is excellent stuff and I posted it on my Facebook wall.

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Although Cenk is a 'deficit hawk' ...

BruceMcF's picture

... which I take it means he wants the economy to limp along with declining income and persistently high unemployment, but not to feast on the unfortunate, which would be a deficit vulture ...

... and there's this other bozo who "looks into it" and talks glibly about the framing of the cliff and then falls right into the "all or nothing" assumption which is why the cliff framing is such a lie ...

... Cenk does make a clear prediction about the Obama administration bargaining strategy, which seems quite likely to be what will happen, given the Obama administration's fiscal policy "bargaining" history:

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when people listen carefully, like listening

aliasalias's picture

to a lawyer and trying to be wary of every phrase, a lot of what Obama wants is no secret...

"I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I’m not going to do that."
 

With a real Press someone would ask Obama 'if not the ENTIRE deficit', then HOW MUCH of it will seniors, students and middle class pay?

He should be asked to explain why Corporate taxes need to be lower especially when many not only pay no taxes but get massive tax credits and how does that NOT add to the debt borne by seniors, students and middle class? Who takes up that slack, and many more questions a real press might ask but how about at least asking if he supports reinstating Glass Steagal, campaign finance reform and cuts to the biggest military budget in the history of the world?

One other thing is that I think he wants to do these things in the lame duck Congress before any more liberal voices (like Alan Grayson or Elizabeth Warren) are sworn in to give voice to the opposition of his austerity policies. 

 

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if you want to examine word choices...

Shahryar's picture

this is a famous one, on Social Security, from the White House website so it's not rumor, it's approved and official.

"He believes that no current beneficiaries should see their basic
benefits reduced and he will not accept an approach that slashes
benefits for future generations."

Now why would he choose two different words for two different groups of people? Is there any way to read this, other than "he will reduce benefits for future generations"?

This is what he wants, this is what he (and his o-bot friends) will call "strengthening Social Security" when it obviously is going to weaken it.

 

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There is another way to read it ...

BruceMcF's picture

... which is to reduce the projected growth rate of Social Security benefits to future generations ...

{After all, the same projection that says that the trust fund will exhaust and then beneficiaries will be paid 75 cents on the dollar, also says that 75 cents on the dollar of that benefit will be a higher purchasing power than 100 cents on the dollar for today's recipients.}

.... but if it was desired to leave the door open to that without leaving the door open to benefit of future beneficiaries being lower than those of today, there are ways to say that which make the statement sound even more appealing, which make that the less likely reading.

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