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Hullabaloo


Friday, March 29, 2013

 
The White House is still chasing its White Whale

by digby

Here we go again:
WASHINGTON—The White House is strongly considering including limits on entitlement benefits in its fiscal 2014 budget—a proposal it first offered Republicans in December. The move would be aimed in part at keeping alive bipartisan talks on a major budget deal.

Such a proposal could include steps that make many Democrats queasy, such as reductions in future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments, but also items resisted by Republicans, such as higher taxes through limits on tax breaks, people close to the White House said.

These measures would come as President Barack Obama continues his courtship of the Senate GOP in an effort to thaw tax-and-spending talks. The White House's delayed annual budget is scheduled to be released April 10, the same day Mr. Obama plans to dine with a group of Senate Republicans to discuss the budget and other issues.

President Obama's inclusion of the proposal would be aimed at breathing new life into bipartisan talks on reaching a deficit-reduction deal...

Including entitlement curbs would be notable, as Republicans often have criticized the White House for offering such steps in private negotiations but never fully embracing them as part of an official budget plan.

People close to the White House believe a proposal to slow the growth rate of such benefits would use a variant of the Consumer Price Index to measure inflation. The new inflation indicator would cut overall spending by $130 billion, according to White House projections, and raise $100 billion in tax revenue by slowing the growth of tax brackets. The White House earlier called for an additional $800 billion or so in cuts on top of those resulting from the inflation adjustments.

"We and all of the groups engaged on this are starting to feel it may well be in the budget," said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP, an advocacy group for seniors that opposes such changes.

Remember, SS doesn't contribute a dime to the deficit. There is no reason to include this in the budget except to sneak in tax increases on the middle class via the Chained CPI. Let's be clear:  this is deficit reduction on the backs of middle class workers, the elderly, the disabled and Veterans.Oh, and by the way, cutting vital programs in exchange for increasing taxes on the middle class and getting some temporary chump change from millionaires as a cover is not a balanced approach.

And for those Democrats like me who backed the health care reform because of the Medicaid expansion, well we really are a bunch of suckers. I assumed the president would protect that legacy above all others. But if he's looking to cut Medicaid now, I guess we can assume that the only part of that legacy he cares about is the one that benefits the private insurers.

I just have to ask once again:  why are these people so obsessed with cutting these programs? What real benefit does it bring to them?  They're already so rich they can't find enough ways to spend their money? If they want cheap labor they can always move their business to China.

Well, maybe I've answered my own question:  Obama wants to "go to China" by being the Democratic president who forced the Democratic Party to swallow the destruction of their ideological foundation.
Why anyone would model their presidency on Richard Nixon's is a question for the historians to ask.

Make some calls folks:

The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414, the comments line is 202-456-1111 (be prepared to hold) or you can email here.




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