… In the same vein, when a politician asserts that social security is going bankrupt and that there will not be anything left for her children or grandchildren, serious reporters would ridicule her for being ignorant of the social security trustees projections. These projections show that even if nothing is ever done to change the programme, future beneficiaries will always be able to collect a higher benefit than current retirees. The “nothing there for our children” would be treated as a serious gaffe, sort of like then Senator Obama’s comment before the Pennsylvania primary about working-class people being bitter and clinging to guns and religion. The difference is that the social security comment has direct relevance for policies that affect people’s lives. When a politician complains about President Obama’s taxes strangling the economy, reporters should ask them whether they know that taxes are less of a burden on the economy now than at any point since the second world war. A politician who is concerned about tax burdens should be expected to know this. – Dean Baker
Sam Stein’s reporting on yesterday’s explosive meeting is terrific.
To show you how ignorant Eric Cantor is on economics, he balked at unemployment insurance extension in the midst of an economic crisis that has real unemployment in double digits. At least Pres. Obama gets the numbers on this one.
The really sad part of all this, however, is what Pres. Obama is willing to “bring down my presidency” over.
Unhappy that negotiators remained at approximately $1.7 trillion in cuts, Cantor pressed again for a shorter deal or for negotiators to find their way to $2.5 trillion. The president, growing more agitated, argued that attendees were simply looking for ways to say no.
“Talk about arbitrary,” he said of Cantor’s figure, according to a Democratic attendee. “I am totally willing to do the hard stuff to get well above what you need and you won’t do it because you can’t put one penny of revenue on the table.”
“At least Mitch McConnell, to his credit, was willing to work for a solution,” the president added, acknowledging the proposal by the Senate Minority Leader to, essentially, give him the authority to lift the debt ceiling without passing commensurate cuts.
“I have reached the point where I say enough,” Obama concluded, according to Reuters. “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”
Barack Obama’s leadership in a nutshell. He’ll fight for numbers, but not for the people impacted by the numbers he wants to manipulate. Raising the Medicare age or changing Social Security when it’s not needed is not arbitrary for Mr. Obama, it’s an underpinning of his personal ideology, which is too far Right for the good of progressive Democratic principles and for the average American’s plight.
Stu Rothenberg reveals this even if he didn’t mean to:
Fundamentally, most Democrats believe that only government can bring fairness and justice to the free market, which tends to be selfish and subject to abuse. They believe government should take care of people who have problems taking care of themselves or for whom the free market simply doesn’t work.
Whether it’s health care or retirement income for seniors, Democrats are committed to protecting entitlements, which they believe the government can deliver more cheaply because it, unlike the private sector, isn’t trying to make a profit.
So when Republicans meet resistance trying to shrink government by rolling back entitlements, they are meeting the same kind of resistance from Democrats that Democrats meet when they advocate higher taxes to prevent cuts in what they see as core government functions.
Of course, President Barack Obama has offered to put entitlements on the table.
What Pres. Obama has never been able to feel is the people at the heart of his politics.
It makes his compromises and capitulations to his Republicanism a breeze. Once again invoking Ronald Reagan, the man whose inaction decimated a generation of gays 3 decades ago by ignoring a health crisis, this weakness is part of Pres. Obama’s morally bankrupt politics.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Mr. Obama’s presidency does deserve to be brought down, but not because of the numbers being bandied about in a macho ego battle between Eric Cantor and himself.