Moving your goalposts all the way behind the other team's goal lines
So, between what I'm seeing on TV and reading on my twitter feed, I'm feeling the big cave-o-rama coming on among alleged liberals on the Chained-CPI horror show.(Here's how Greenwald gamed it out last month, and it's sadly coming true.) Luke Russert and his friends on MSNBC could barely contain their hysterical laughter when asked if the Democrats in congress would hold fast and refuse to give the president the support he'd need if it comes to a vote:
(Go to about 3 minutes in to hear "the sage of Capitol Hill's" so-called insights.) This is all very exciting I'm sure, and the nicely comfortable and wealthy celebrities on TV certainly do find the "dealmaking" fascinating. But, let's look at some dollar figures which will impact people who aren't lucky enough to be famous pundits, shall we?
Fifty-four million depend on Social Security – 1 out of every 6 people. About 2 out of 3 seniors depend on Social Security for most of their income, and one-third of seniors rely on it for at least 90% of their income. The average benefit is about $13,000 a year—less than full-time, minimum-wage work.
This isn't going to affect just a few people, and there are enough of them that no amount of "tweaking" the formula for "the most vulnerable" is going to make up for it. If two thirds of seniors depend on Social Security for most of their income then two thirds of seniors are too vulnerable to have their benefits cut. I can guarantee that none of them can afford to lose even a penny.
When the upper 1% is hoarding more and more of the nation's wealth for themselves, and we have a bloated military and police apparatus that is nearly unaccountable --- on what planet does it make sense to do anything but fight to raise social security benefits and oppose anything else. The average benefit is $1200.00 a month!
This "Chained CPI" is exactly what Ezra Klein explained it was --- a devious way to appease a bunch of cruel fiscal conservatives in a phony budget "crisis" that would be easily solved if we gave average people more money to spend and taxed those who are hoarding the nation's wealth. Even seniors! There's no good reason to even think of changing the formula to fix the (projected) shortfall while we are dealing with the insanity of wealth inequality and a black hole of a defense and policing budget.
The president and the Democrats just won a big election and they are in a position to allow taxes to go up and reset this debate. Unfortunately, the leadership seems to want a Grand Bargain instead. If you care about this stuff, at this point start rooting for the Tea Partiers because their lunacy is the only thing standing between us and a terrible deal. Update:
It is conceivable that you could have a package that is so attractive in so many other ways that you might swallow it. But here's the problem: There are going to have to be compromises [by liberals] in other areas," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told reporters at the Capitol. "And what we're saying is this one, for many of us, is a deal-breaker — or close to a deal-breaker — by itself." Frank characterized the inclusion of the chained CPI provision as "a pretty heavy burden" for Democrats that "substantially reduce[s] the chances of an agreement." Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) was even more terse. He warned it is better to go over the cliff on Dec. 31 rather than reach an agreement that includes the Social Security cuts. DeFazio said the current CPI, though imperfect, is better than the chained CPI. He asked what motivation there is for Democrats to fight for what, in their eyes, is the worse deal. "On Jan. 1, if we do nothing, seniors get a full COLA [cost-of-living-allowance] … and Lloyd Blankfein pays more in taxes," DeFazio said, referring to the head of Goldman Sachs. "If we do nothing, seniors don't get stuck with this deal."
And guess what? Liberals wanted everyone who makes offer $250 to pay more in taxes and the president moved it to 400K. They agreed. That's called compromise. Making old people suffer is gratuitous.