Village mind reading

Village mind reading

by digby

From Drudgico:

WHAT SPEAKER BOEHNER would like to tell President Obama: You gotta give me something to work with here. My leadership knows they’re going to have to eat it – it’s just a question of how and when. But I need something to push off of if I’m going to sell my rank-and-file guys on higher top rates: BIG concessions on entitlements and spending cuts. I see now that I probably shouldn’t have drawn such a red line on rates. But I can’t move, and don’t want to move, from my position on taxes unless you move on entitlements and spending.

—WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA would like to tell Speaker Boehner: If you want concessions, you need to man up and ask for ’em, which you haven’t done. I want to do something big and I am willing compromise, but I have real leverage and I am not giving away the store. There is an easy deal here, but you have to give on rates and stop painting yourself into corners to get through the news cycle. When you are in a hole, stop digging. We know you need something to move on rates, so you have to say what it is. I won’t negotiate with myself. Rates are going up one way or the other, so let’s do this the easy way.

—WHAT BOEHNER THINKS but won’t tell Obama: We can’t ultimately be against a middle-class tax cut that Dems are for. We get it! But nothing for debt ceiling? You can’t play hardball twice and win. The second debate will sting a lot if you just walk with rates on the first. Either that, or you’re comfortable with walking to the edge of the abyss.

—WHAT OBAMA THINKS but won’t tell Boehner: Your win can be a cut in entitlements, but you don’t consider that a win because you know Republicans can’t boast they cut Medicare.

I just excerpted the pertinent parts. Be sure to read it all (unless you just had lunch.)

This fits with Andrea Mitchell's assertion in this exchange with Debbie Wasserman Shultz (after showing footage of the president saying he's in favor of 'entitlement" reform)

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Mitchell: Are you willing to work with the president to go up against AARP and bring House Democrats along for specific cuts to some of the most popular programs for your constituents? 
Wasserman Shultz: The savings that we already know we can add upon, that we achieved in the affordable care act ... 
Mitchell: Beyond that congresswoman, you've got to go beyond that if you're going to get anything from the other side.
DWS, to her credit, said there was no need to talk about benefits cuts when there was more savings to be wrung out of the health care system. But clearly, Mitchell is channeling the zeitgeist when she says that the Republicans are going to "need" some benefits cuts.

Mitchell, like so many other wealthy, celebrity pundits sees these "popular" programs as something frivolous that Democratic voters are hanging on to out of immature petulance and they just need a stern Daddy to come along and take away their toys for their own good. The fact that these "toys" are equivalent to Andrea Mitchell's yearly dry cleaning bill doesn't change the fact that they represent the entire hand to mouth existence of millions and millions of elderly people who are too sick and too old to go out and become wealthy TV stars.

Update: Looks like Lawrence O'Donnell is an oracle after all.

Ezra Klein says that the shape of a fiscal cliff deal is clear: only a 37 percent rate on top incomes, and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that it’s a VSP fantasy about how we’re going to resolve this in a bipartisan way. Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay. 
First, raising the Medicare age is terrible policy. It would be terrible policy even if the Affordable Care Act were going to be there in full force for 65 and 66 year olds, because it would cost the public $2 for every dollar in federal funds saved. And in case you haven’t noticed, Republican governors are still fighting the ACA tooth and nail; if they block the Medicaid expansion, as some will, lower-income seniors will just be pitched into the abyss. 
Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes won’t do it: a rate rise is the real deal, no questions, and should not be traded away for who knows what.
Why? Because you can't have a Grand Bargain without everybody having skin in the game.