Monday, April 01, 2013

Can we stop calling Social Security opponent Barack Obama a liberal now?

President Obama isn't just unenthusiastic about the issues on which he got elected. In the critical cases of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, he's determined to do the work of cutting benefits and putting the programs on the fast track to extinction that the Republicans want him to do. This is not only to the right of his own 2012 platform, it's to the right of what the Romney-Ryan ticket campaigned on.

Joan Walsh writes in Mr. President, you won the election, not them! Salon 04/01/2013 (the title in the mobile version earlier today was "Bad ideas that just won't die"):

White House sources are now telling reporters that the president is “strongly considering” including entitlement cuts in his 2014 budget, to be introduced around April 10. The budget could lay out precise cuts to Social Security and Medicare, as well as Medicaid, that the president has reportedly been offering in futile negotiations with Republicans, but that he’s never officially spelled out.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the budget will likely include the chained CPI for Social Security. “We and all of the groups engaged on this are starting to feel it may well be in the budget,” AARP vice president Nancy LeaMond told the WSJ. The same day the New York Times revealed that Obama and House Republicans are getting close to agreement on a package of Medicare cuts that would restructure Medicare parts A and B – one covers hospitalization, the other doctors’ visits — to raise deductibles for the 80 percent of seniors who see doctors but don’t require hospitalization in any given year. The Times reports that some version of the proposal might also find its way into the 2014 budget.
This can't be explained by some shrewd political calculation. As Joan's piece reminds us, Obama has seen how unpopular such approaches are. It's bad politics and it's bad policy.

But Social Security is the Mississippi River of all cash flows, as Jamie Galbraith once described it. Wall Street wants it, in the form of private insurance and investments of which they can take a substantial cut as profits. And the current Democratic President is happy to help them get it.

The fight to defend benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is a fight by their supporters against President Obama and the Republicans.

And it's looking like we can kiss off any hope of substantial gains or even holding off losses for the Democrats in Senate and House elections of 2014. The President is giving the Democratic base a big kick in the mouth with his proposals to cut benefits on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And bragging that he's making his own supporters angry by doing so!

What kind of Democratic Party leader is this?

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