Village consensus is that Americans just don't realize how much they need to suffer for their own good

Villagers: Americans are too dumb to make decisions

by digby

May I present --- The Village, via Hardball today:

Matthews: You poll people about what they want to see cut. They say foreign aid and general government expenses. They want to see more money in education, they don't want any cuts in social security or anything like it. If you ask them they want to see government waste cut, they don't want real cuts.

For example I was just out doing something for Alzheimers this past week out in Las Vegas trying to raise awareness out there with people who are doing research. magine telling people out there who have an Alzheimers victim in their house and they're a caregiver, "oh by the way, we're cutting spending on research." They are going to face another 20 or 30 years of Azheimers hell in this case because they can't solve the problem.

Do people really want those kind of cuts?

First, notice that the idea of raising revenue is never raised by wealthy pundits. Ever. But when you ask the American people, large numbers very much like the idea of raising taxes on the wealthy over cutting programs to close some of this revenue gap. I don't think it's any mystery why these celebrities don't want to bring that up.

But get a load of this:

Jeanne Cummings of Politico: I think in addition to those challenges that you've just outline, there is an additional one for this congress and the white house if they want to do anything. And that is that there are sizeable majorities in the 60 percent in a recent poll by Kaiser who think we can fix Medicare and Social Security by just cutting the other parts of the budget.

So the public, while they may be coming around aren't ready for this debate yet. There's a lot of education that has to take place before Washington can move in a serious and fundamental way.

What struck me with the deficit commission in December was they made recommendations that would change social security for instance, they effect of those changes wouldn't affect anybody until 2050! Ok? That's a long time from now!

And yet they were criticized roundly from both sides of the aisle and nobody's been willing to touch that one. So until they bring the public with them I think this will remain.They've got to educate the public but until they do that I think it's got to be a very tough issue.


The public isn't stupid. They know very well that there are saner ways to deal with a potential shortfall resulting in minor benefit cuts in 2037 than even bigger benefit cuts . We may be dumb, but we're not that dumb.

As for people not being willing to cut Medicare, perhaps some of these villagers ought to talk to the Republicans and their puppet masters who ran millions of dollars worth of ads in the last election demagogueing the cuts in Medicare in the health care reforms. It's funny how that's the one time in history that the Democrats took on one of their base's favored programs and didn't get any credit for it. In fact, they got crucified by the hypocritical GOP and nobody in DC said a peep.

It's not that the Village needs to "bring the public along" it's that the public needs to stop listening to the Villagers altogether. They are a font of misinformation.

Oh, and by the way, the deficit commission didn't issue any recommendations because they couldn't get a consensus. There's a reason for that if the oh-so-smug and secure establishment journalists cared to look into it they'd find it's really not painless for working people after all.

But then, according to GOP hack Susan Molinari, nobody really needs social security anymore:

Matthews: So, if you're 26 years old, this will affect you. That's 39 years. I'm just doing the math.

GOP Hack Susan Molinari: 26 year olds? 52 year olds don't rely on social security for our benefits. We've all grown up with the reality that we don't think it's going to be there for them.

What do you mean "we", rich woman?

I hope they keep up that line. You might be able to persuade some 26 year olds that they can make up for the loss of Social Security by the time they retire, but try telling that to the 50+ crowd and they will have a fight on their hands the likes of which they've never seen. Especially all the middle class workers who are taking care of aging parents, college kids, have lost jobs, housing equity and their 401ks. (And, by the way, even most people who have recovered in this downturn are still counting on social security as part of their retirement income. Only the most well-off can afford to do without it at all.)

She went on to talk about Paul Ryan coming out with an awesome benefits cuts plan in a couple of weeks, and Matthews scoffed saying he will be very, very impressed if he ever sees a politician come out with real benefits cuts that people can read in the newspaper.

I assume they all piled into Chris's limousine after the show and went out and had a lovely four star meal to talk over how very impressive that will be.