Monday, November 12, 2012

Obama and the Grand Bargain to cut benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, 2011 "debt celing" version

Gaius Publius at America Blog discusses some of the grim details in Leaked deal memo for last year’s Grand Bargain: "Obama willing to go quite far" 11/12/2012.

Taylor Marsh has more in Obama’s 2011 Grand Bargain Detailed in Documents Obtained by Bob Woodward 11/12/2012:

Many people think of it [the Grand Bargain to cut benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid] as a “Nixon to China” moment, but it’s not.

Obama has always been fixated on Ronald Reagan and what he did, because that’s the president that impacted, impressed and embedded most in his mind when he was coming up. So, the grand bargain is about a Ronald Reagan – Tip O’Neill moment. An “I saved Social Security” for future generations deal, which will likely include a nod to the business community, whose “fiscal cliff” is the bookend meant to push the “grand bargain” to manifestation, in the mother of all Obama – Wall Street make-up sessions imprinted for history.
It's not a Nixon-to-China moment because for one thing, Nixon's normalizing relations with China was a good idea. Cutting benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is a terrible idea.

Taylor suggests that a victory on the Grand Bargain could actually establish the Democratic Party as the dominant party for the long term. But I don't quite follow her thinking there. On the contrary, if Obama gets his cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits passed, it's likely to be a huge political inflection point that will work against the Democrats. What more could the One Percenters hope to get from backing the Democrats as distinct from Republicans? And there's a good chance it would set off a Democratic Party split of a kind not seen since 1968-72.

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