Who Will Save Social Security And Medicare?

Before Social Security and Medicare existed, the elderly were either completely dependent on their children or were left to beg in the streets. These programs thus remain sacred to the vast majority of Americans. They allow the elderly dignity and independence instead of poverty and insecurity.

Attacking these programs has always been political suicide for the assailant; not even the smoothest talking politician would squirm into an aggressive stance.

But now the gloves are off. Obama and the Democrats are aligning with Republicans to strike the first major blows against Social Security and Medicare. This long hidden agenda is finally in full view of the public. The decades-long political agreement to save these programs is dead, and the foundation of American politics is shifting beneath everyone’s feet.

The New York Times reports:

“President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget…”

Many liberals are scratching their heads in astonishment, asking “How could this happen?”

The truth is that every liberal and labor leader knew this was in the works for years; they just kept their mouths shut in the hope that Obama could successfully push the blame entirely on the Republicans.

Throughout the summer of 2011 Obama worked with Republicans in the first attempt at a ‘Grand Bargain’ that included cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The Washington Post published an article entitled “Obama’sEvolution” about that summer:

“…the major elements of a [Grand] bargain seemed to be falling into place: $1.2 trillion in [national programs] agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases [cuts] for Social Security recipients [cuts by dollar inflation], nearly $250 billion in Medicare savings [cuts] achieved in part by raising the eligibility age [of Medicare]. And $800 billion in new taxes.”

Labor and liberal leaders kept quiet about this so they could push their members to vote for Obama in 2012. They also kept quite in the fall of 2011 when Obama released his budget proposal that included hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

But hiding the most recent betrayal was next to impossible, and every liberal group is now suddenly “shocked” to see Obama officially and publicly on record to pursue the cuts.

The most craven of the liberal groups will continue to spew rotten rhetoric that only blames Republicans for the cuts while making excuses for Obama’s behavior, claiming that he merely buckled under intense Republican pressure and felt the need to “compromise.”

But it’s all nonsense. No working person who votes Republican wants to cut Medicare and Social Security. Obama could have shattered the Republican Party at its kneecaps by broadly exposing their plans to cut Social Security and Medicare. Instead he insisted on co-leading the attack.

These cuts have nothing to do with Obama’s courage or backbone. It’s a matter of political and economic ideology, and the policy that flows from it



 Job creation slowed to just 88,000 in March, signaling a sluggish economy. And President Obama, with unerring timing, picked this moment to put out an authorized leak that he is willing to put Social Security and Medicare on the block as part of a grand budget bargain that will only slow the economy further.

The deterioration in economic performance was all too predictable, given the combined lead weights of the March 1 $85 billion of budget cuts in the sequester and the January deal to raise payroll taxes by about $120 billion. (The tax hike on working people was almost double the much-hyped tax increase on the top one percent, which totaled a little over $60 billion.)

Taken together, these twin deflationary deals cut the deficit by around $270 billion dollars this year. That’s close to two percent of GDP. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, this combined contractionary pressure will cut the 2013 year’s growth rate in half. So the slowdown in job creation is just what you’d expect.

The grand bargain that, for the moment, is mercifully eluding President Obama and the Republicans, would apply the same sort of medicine for nine more years, and with the same results—a prolonged slowdown growth and jobs. Obama and the Republicans are talking of a decade of cuts in the 3 to 4 trillion-dollar range. 

Has everyone lost their minds? No, but the entire elite has been influenced by the economic myths of the Robert Rubin-Pete Peterson-Fix the Debt propagandists.

You can understand Republicans wanting to crush government and hoping to slow the recovery in a way that harms the Democrat in the 2014 midterm elections. But what is the president thinking?

Listen to a “senior economic official,” as quoted in today’s New York Times’s authoritative story revealing that the administration will offer to cut Social Security (by the backdoor method of reducing the cost of living adjustment via the “chained” Consumer Price Index) and Medicare if the Republicans will reciprocate with tax increases. “[T]he things like C.P.I. that Republican leaders have pushed hard for will only be accepted if Congressional Republicans are willing to do more on revenues.”

According to the Times story, the president has decided to pick up where he left off with Speaker John Boehner and put the final deal on the table, opening with big cuts in the two most popular programs that voters count on Democrats to defend. Reporter Jackie Calmes tells us, “In a significant shift in fiscal strategy, Mr. Obama on Wednesday will send a budget plan to Capitol Hill that departs from the usual presidential wish list that Republicans typically declare dead on arrival. Instead it will embody the final compromise offer that he made to Speaker John A. Boehner late last year.”

What could possibly go wrong with this bold, new strategy? (Actually the same strategy that has failed Obama since January 2009). Just about everything.

First, even if works, the ten-year grand bargain that results will condemn the economy to a decade of low level depression.

Second, the Republicans have a well-established history of taking the White House final offer as the starting point. As any smart negotiator knows, you don’t offer your final position in the opening bid.

Last, the strategy gives away the Democrats’ crown jewels—their defense of Social Security and Medicare, which should not be part of a budget deal in the first place. Now voters can conclude that they can’t trust either party


Still believe that there’s a difference between the parties? Listen to Bush, er, Biden call for a New World Order:

Thanks to Dr. Detroit for the above link.

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