SocialSecurity_Cuts

“You can’t call yourself a Democrat and support Social Security benefit cuts. The president is proposing to steal thousands of dollars from grandparents and veterans by cutting cost of living adjustments, and any congressional Democrat who votes for such a plan should be ready for a primary challenge. Social Security is the core of the progressive and Democratic legacy. The President has no mandate to cut these benefits, and progressives will do everything possible to stop him.” — Stephanie Taylor, Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder

WHAT TO say about this, other than it was inevitable once President Obama was reelected, which I’ve been writing for a very long time.

President Obama next week will take the political risk of formally proposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare in his annual budget in an effort to demonstrate his willingness to compromise with Republicans and revive prospects for a long-term deficit-reduction deal, administration officials say. – Obama Budget to Include Cuts to Programs in Hopes of Deal

Obama telegraphed his intentions in 2011. It’s just too few Democrats and progressives believed him, while the White House knew these same voters were caught between him and Romney/Ryan, which was no choice at all. Recently, in a private meeting with Republicans, Obama pledged to take on his own party on entitlements. Getting cuts on entitlements done is an accomplishment he would relish, because crossing over to make compromises with others who disagree with him is what his brand has always been about and the thing he prides himself in the most.

President Obama has the support of many elite Democrats, too. That he has no more elections is one reason why he couldn’t care less what progressives and other Democratic activists think or say, because the more the so-called left reacts the better the White House feels about their positioning. It doesn’t matter what the polls say, with 60% against these cuts, because he’s got no reason not to do it.

He is, in his gut, a fiscal conservative. There is a Blue Dog Streak in him.” “” David Plouffe in The Price of Politics, by Bob Woodward

From President Obama’s Second Inaugural Address:

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

What President Obama proves is that he doesn’t care that women will take the hit the most. It’s another craven move on the most vulnerable women at the last juncture of their life. There is no excuse for it.

Research from IWPR has shown the current Social Security program is a mainstay for women, and these findings have been supported by research from other organizations. Adult women are 51 percent (27 million) of all beneficiaries, including retirees, the disabled, and the survivors of deceased workers (52.5 million). Women are more likely to rely on Social Security because they have fewer alternative sources of income, often outlive their husbands, and are more likely to be left to rear children when their husbands die or become permanently disabled. Moreover, due to the recession many women have lost home equity and savings to failing markets. Older women”“and older low income populations in general”“have become more economically vulnerable and dependent on Social Security benefits. “” IWPR [Women Will Be Hit Hardest if Social Security is Cut]

So, progressives are up against it and President Obama is not listening. This is what he believes is needed and any progressive push will simply strengthen his hand in the wider media, because the talking heads and Beltway class will all opine with the obvious, Obama’s taking on his base, hurrah!

Showing his hand, Obama has also teed it up beautifully for Speaker Boehner, who immediately rejected everything, because if Obama wants entitlement cuts and believes they’re needed, there’s obviously no need for tax increases or any other revenue, right?

via Dean Baker

via Dean Baker

Progressives and Democratic activists are on the war path and they’re sending a message to the Senate that’s clear, though it’s a tricky walk. Senate Democrats either hold the line against Obama or expect primary challenges.

What that means for Obama’s agenda is another matter, but then it won’t be long until he’s a lame duck, so maybe the White House will be satisfied with immortalizing the first African American president as the only Democrat in U.S. history to sell out F.D.R.’s New Deal.

The headlines from Democratic central will be unapologetic. Keeping America from crashing into a second depression, health care reform, hoping next for entitlement reform, ending the Iraq war, bringing home troops from Afghanistan, curbing the Pentagon budget, and killing Osama bin Laden, never mind the collateral damage on drones. This is a legacy elite Democrats will be happy to tout, along with some pragmatic progressives who can still say with a straight face that Republicans would have been worse.

American politics, in a nutshell: compromise for the sake of it is good, no matter who has to suck it up.

Let’s also remember that there’s absolutely no reason for President Obama to do this other than he wants to. It’s not like he has to make a deal with Republicans in order to save himself political, or fight off the right wing hordes, like President Bill Clinton had to in the ’90s when he balanced the budget and “reformed” Medicare.

Obama’s laying down the gauntlet. So, we’re about to find out just what progressives and their allies are made of, because they reelected Barack Obama, and don’t owe him anything else.

The 2014 ads from Republicans on how those mean Democrats want to cut your Social Security write themselves, don’t they?

Boy, I bet Hillary Rodham Clinton is glad she’s not still in the Administration for this one.

From Progressive Caucus leaders, Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva

“Republicans have been trying to dismantle Social Security ever since President Roosevelt proposed it during the Great Depression. We should not try to bargain for their good will with policies that hurt our seniors, especially since they’ve been unwilling to reduce tax loopholes for millionaires and wealthy corporations by so much as a dime.

“One hundred seven Members of the House of Representatives, a majority of the Democratic Caucus, have already stated our vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits. Americans all over the country depend on every single dollar they get from Social Security to put food on the table and pay for housing. Using chained CPI will shift more costs onto already struggling American families, seniors, veterans– including our 3.2 million disabled veterans who also depend on the Social Security calculation for their Veterans Affairs benefits– individuals with disabilities, and children on survivors’ benefits.

“This week, a new study from the New America Foundation finds that proposals to cut Social Security benefits could be disastrous for our economy because the recession has led more seniors to rely to Social Security for income. Cutting benefits now, when people are already struggling to make ends meet, will mean unnecessary hardship for millions of people. It is unpopular, unwise and unworkable.”