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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

 
Bring out yer dead (Grand Bargain)

by digby

Alex Pareene hits the Village scribblers' obvious depression at the prospect of no Grand Bargain on Social Security this year. They really, really wanted to see "sacrifice" from the losers ... er voters and it's a crushing disappointment that they'll have to settle for long term debt and unemployment and rising numbers of hungry people:
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd has a brief requiem for the seemingly dead grand bargain in this morning’s “First Take.” In just one brief paragraph, it manages to hit just about every single trope of Beltway centrist deficit scold writing, from treating an unpopular and unnecessary plan to cut social insurance programs as a universally acknowledged urgent necessity instead of a highly ideological goal, to bemoaning the fact that politicians who support unpopular things are campaigned against for supporting unpopular things.
Why entitlement reform isn’t going to happen for a long, long time

Want to know why achieving entitlement reform — even on an incremental, bipartisan basis — is so difficult in American politics? Because the political parties are poised to pounce on ANY changes to Social Security or Medicare. The latest example is this recent story from the FL-13 special congressional election: “NRCC Hits Alex Sink on Social Security for Backing Simpson-Bowles.” From the story: “‘Alex Sink supports a plan that raises the retirement age for Social Security recipients, raises Social Security taxes and cuts Medicare, all while making it harder for Pinellas seniors to keep their doctors that they know and love,’ said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC.” For political parties, it’s too tempting to exploit someone wanting to raise the retirement age, raise taxes, or cut benefits. (Folks, it also explains why politicians like President Obama or House Speaker John Boehner never 100% backed Simpson-Bowles.) But that is the only way to truly achieve bipartisan entitlement reform – something that we don’t believe will occur anytime soon.
You can just feel his disappointment, can't you? In all the discussions about this, he's never once revisited his basic assumption that voters are a bunch of silly, selfish assholes who refuse to give up their "goodies" and hamstringing our leaders' genuine desire to do the "right thing."

But as Pareene says:
I might have phrased the first sentences differently: Want to know why achieving entitlement reform — even on an incremental, bipartisan basis — is so difficult in American politics? Because it is deeply unpopular with actual voters who recognize it as a shitty deal for everyone but the rich.
The rich. Like wealthy political TV celebrities ....

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