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Hullabaloo


Thursday, September 06, 2012

 
Tax collectors for the austerity state

by digby

President Clinton's biggest dud of an applause line last night was when he mentioned Simpson-Bowles. It was stone cold silent in the room. I hope the President noticed and has adjusted this accordingly:
Stephanie Cutter, appearing on CNN’s Starting Point on Thursday, said, “I think you will hear the president layout his plan of balanced deficit reduction where everybody pays their fair share and we cut what we don't need and that includes entitlement reform.”
This won't win any votes outside the Village. (And I don't care what he says about this, the 1%ers are not going to come flocking back. He called them fat cats and they're not going to ever forgive such an insult. I'm guessing it's the fat part that really burns.)

This is such an unpopular and dangerous proposition that the Republicans issued Luntzian talking points on it:
It only took two hours after the Paul Ryan vice presidential announcement for Republican congressional candidates to get their talking points on how to spin the Ryan budget and Medicare attacks.

“Do not say: ‘entitlement reform,’ ‘privatization,’ ‘every option is on the table,’” the National Republican Congressional Committee said in an email memo. “Do say: ‘strengthen,’ ‘secure,’ ‘save,’ ‘preserve, ‘protect.’”

The email read like a warning shot, alerting Republicans that they would soon face a barrage of Medicare-themed attacks and telling them they needed to be ready for the scrutiny that was to come. The internal email, obtained by POLITICO, was a clear and immediate sign that Republicans knew Ryan could create trouble down ballot for GOP candidates in tight congressional races.

“Predictably,” the NRCC wrote, Democrats are “already blasting Mitt Romney’s selection of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Expect your boss to get questions from reporters on how this selection of a fellow House member impacts your race.”

The memo — the first of at least a half-dozen the NRCC has sent out to campaigns since the Ryan pick was made public that have been obtained by POLITICO — sheds light on the lengths Republicans have gone to coach their members and candidates to navigate Democratic efforts to tie them to Ryan and his controversial plan to rewrite entitlement laws.
If they are running from this, I'm really not sure why anyone thinks it benefits the President to embrace it. It makes that Chris Hayes quip sickeningly true: the Democrats really are the tax collecters for the austerity state.

I don't know why he can't use the same talking points about strengthening, preserving and securing the safety net --- and, unlike them,
mean it. Nobody wants "entitlement reform" as a part of deficit reduction. They don't want the poor and disabled to be squeezed either --- they know that anything could happen. They want the programs to be there for them, period, and if any reforms are to be done, they don't want it to involve cutting benefits. If anything, they want them to be more generous. (And, by the way, cutting benefits to fix the deficit isn't necessary.)

I hope he doesn't do this. I think it's a mistake in every possible way.

.