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Top Story — President Obama Happy to “Own” Chained CPI Cuts in his Budget

President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough walk along the South Lawn Driveway at the White House, April 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough walk along the South Lawn Driveway at the White House, April 9, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Paul Ryan, in the worst budget ever presented in the history of the United States, did not mention Social Security, so of course [President Obama] owns it,” Sanders said as he left a rally outside the White House, where he and a handful of congressional Democrats, Social Security advocates, and labor leaders denounced Social Security cuts on Tuesday. [Huffington Post]

WHAT ISN’T understood by Senator Bernie Sanders, the intrepid hero of Social Security, is that President Obama is all too happy to “own” the chained CPI cuts in his budget.

From Politico:

So they’re back to the budget duel: House Republicans want major cuts. Obama wants big revenues from the rich.
(See full text of Obama’s 2014 budget proposal)

His $3.77 trillion proposal would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion by adding $580 billion in new taxes on the wealthy, according to senior administration officials. It also includes an estimated $230 billion in savings by reducing cost-of-living adjustments for federal entitlement programs.

But all of those cuts – which White House aides say the president is ready to make – depend on whether Republicans agree to new tax revenues, including requiring people who make $1 million or more to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes and limiting deductions for the top 2 percent of earners.

Will Republicans really rebuff Obama on entitlements because of revenue, allowing him the tag line to this debate that starts like this, “I took on my own party on entitlements, but Republicans wouldn’t meet me half way…”? That offers them the mother of all campaign lines in 2014: Democrats cut your Social Security, we’ll protect and make entitlements stronger. Doesn’t anyone remember 2010?

President Obama is daring the right to blow this chance. Unfortunately, the game of chicken the President is playing with people’s only avenue to stay out of poverty in advanced age, which hurts women more than any other group, is actually what he believes should be done.

It’s certain that progressives and their allies will never forget that Barack Obama was the first Democratic president to suggest carving away F.D.R.’s New Deal. That chained CPI cuts are a shadow war on women, from none other than the first African American president in history, who certainly should know what this means.

But that’s not the storyline today.

If you want to know what the conventional media wisdom is on Obama’s chained CPI cuts in the budget, the snippet below reveals the thinking. It doesn’t matter that older women get hit hardest over this cut, or that disabled vets will too, it’s all about if Republicans hate it and liberals do too, the elite political analysis is that Obama’s budget must be good.

Liberals are howling ‘sellout’ over Social Security reform, and Republicans are readying their reflexive ‘tax and spend liberal’ attacks. That’s how you know Obama’s budget is a good one, says John Avlon. [Daily Beast]

Progressive groups and activists delivered a petition against Obama’s chained CPI cuts on Tuesday, organized a wall of calls to the White House and both houses of Congress. They’ve done all they can.

As for President Obama, he’s got his second term, but with the move of the chained CPI cuts, he’s lost a lot of respect. It’s just not what a champion of Democratic Party values would do.

That’s not Obama’s objective, to be a Democratic Party hero. This is about his legacy. It’s about him, which is why it’s so revealing, but also very predictable.

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17 Responses to Top Story — President Obama Happy to “Own” Chained CPI Cuts in his Budget

  1. PeggySue April 10, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    It is revealing. And revolting when you’re willing to play political and legacy games with the lives of real people. My in-laws are in their mid-80s. They depend on SS and yes, even those incremental SS increases in order to maintain a decent living standard. They’ve paid their dues, lived up to their obligations and held up their end of the deal. The fact that Obama and his witless advisors are willing to play games with their financial security and that of millions of other seniors and disabled Americans is nothing short of repellent. Picking up the Pete Peterson flag on entitlements is something only a Dem could do with any reasonable chance of success. Barack Obama is that Democrat and if successful his name will live in infamy.

    Btw, this is revealing only to people who were not paying attention or who were too busy making excuses–the 11-dimensional chess ploy. POTUS clearly made his opinion on the matter public during last year’s debate when he stated that his ideas and Romney’s on entitlement reform weren’t that far apart. Earlier still was the first round of Grand Bargain discussions in 2011, which Republicans shot down because their craziness has made them blind even to open gifts.

    We need to get real. Austerity is just another name for cruelty to a large swath of the American people. And it doesn’t work. We have the evidence with what’s been going on in Europe. We need jobs now. And a return to the Rule of Law, rather than the Whims of Men.

    • angels81 April 10, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Couldn’t agree with you more. To have a democratic President go after SS and throw seniors under the bus, just so he can give the right wing rethugs a bone is a disgrace. I’ve written both my Senators, and in so many words told them that if they support this BS they will not get my vote again, and I will work to make sure they don’t return to Washington.

    • jinbaltimore April 10, 2013 at 9:43 am #

      Indeed. Even it is meant as a bluff (and given Obama’s record on the issue, that is being generous), it is a cruelty to stress Seniors with the mere suggestion of CPI, an unnecessary cruelty.

      • jjamele April 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

        It’s also a very ineffective bluff. A caller to Ed Schultz’s show made me see red by telling the host that “Obama proposed this because he knew the Republicans wouldnt accept it.”

        First, that’s no one’s definition of leadership.

        Second, if Obama offers 90% of what the GOP wants and the GOP rejects it, the President will follow his regular pattern and simply offer 95%. When you start negotiations like that, you aren’t going to end up with anything remotely tolerable to progressives. Playing chicken with our future doesn’t strike me as being very noble or praiseworthy.

    • jjamele April 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

      One caller to Mark Thompson’s Sirius/XM show last night said “I voted for this guy twice, but if he goes through with slashing Social Security, that’s it man, I’m done.” Thompson laughed and agreed.

      Obama is done running for office. He doesn’t need our votes anymore. He doesn’t give a damn about Democratic Party control of Congress, because he’d probably have an easier time finishing off Social Security working with Republicans. The Left has no more cards to play. The game is over; we lost.

  2. LiberalJoe April 10, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Simply put Pres Obama can shove this where the sun don’t shine.

    If the Democrats think they have a winning hand here for the 2014 then they are dumber than we give them credit for-but then again they are Democrats in DC. Time for true defenders of the big three to stand up and start the push back and fight.

    I’ve already called my congress critters to tell them to shove it (they are all Dems), I suggest everyone do the same-our voices need to be heard regardless of if you believe it will help or not.

    Primary every single Dem who votes for this crap sandwich of a budget that takes more from the middle class and poor but leaves everything else ok.

    Lets see if gets rolled.-I betting they will. So far AARP, Unions, PCCC, DFA are all on the warpath. They need to keep it up.. Lets see if our DC media types who profess liberalism take The Pres to the woodshed on this or try to explain this is good in an “intellectual way-I’m looking at Rachel, Chris, And Lawrence. I know where Big Ed is and its not with the President. Lets see if they go after him daily on this the way the right does when they have an issue that’s important.

    This Pres actually thinks this would be a good thing, and then to have the utmost stupidity to say he really doesn’t want to this but the Repubs made him do it is beyond comprehension.
    he deserves to be villified for this from every single core Dem. he needs to be out there by himself on this.

    • jjamele April 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

      You’ll notice Schultz has been demoted on MSNBC, following Olbermann and Cenck Uyger out the door because he was not a 100 percent water-carrier for the White House.

      I fully expect the hosts at MSNBC to find a way to praise Obama’s sellout as political genius that saves us from a much worse fate– or leave.

      • angels81 April 10, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

        From what I’ve seen of MSNBC hosts, excluding Morning Joe they have been ripping Obama over this. Bernie Sanders has almost become a regular on their shows as of late, and so far I haven’t seen anyone praising Obama.

        • PeggySue April 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

          I haven’t heard any Dem or MSNBC pundit praising POTUS on his abysmal ‘negotiation’ tactic either. I’m stunned that so many bloggers [not here] have feigned ‘shock’ on this move. The President has been beating this so-called bipartisan, Grand Bargain deal from the very start.

          Austerity hurts vulnerable people in all sorts of ways and will only inflict pain while crippling the economy. People need jobs, decent paying jobs. Lord knows there’s plenty of work to do with school building repairs, infrastructure, refitting buildings to be energy efficient, climate change preparations, etc., etc. And what are we doing? Arguing over who we kick in the teeth first–senior citizens, children or the disabled. While the rich and famous get to hide their ill-gotten gains [anywhere from 20-32 trillion] in off-shore tax havens. All in the name of LIBERTY!

          SS is not bankrupt. If these pols were serious they would shore the program up forever, simply by raising the cap.

          But no, they’re dickering with the welfare of the vulnerable, And frankly, that’s immoral.

          BTW, the deficit has and continues to fall. But the facts don’t seem to matter anymore. Suicide seems to be far more popular.

          I need an aspirin!

          • angels81 April 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

            Once again I agree with everything you said, and by the way….Very well said.

    • ladywalker68 April 10, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

      Agree with every word, LiberalJoe.

  3. fangio April 10, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Bluff? You mean like the sequester. Yeah, that worked out real well. The only thing surprising here is that the little coward showed his true colors so early. Now his supporters don’t have to make excuses for him anymore.

    • angels81 April 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      Seeing as Obama is happy to own the horrible CPI cuts in his budget, I don’t think you can call him a coward. A coward would have left that out, and then give it away behind closed doors.

  4. DocP April 10, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    What else is predictable is this: “Quotes of the Day: Republicans accusing Democrats of balancing the budget on the backs of seniors” from Digby.

    Just what I expected the Republicans to do, and it’ll work, even though the old stuff about cuts to Medicare was a distortion. Cuts to Social Security are real, and this case the Republicans are not distorting anything. Next, the Republicans will say that they are forced to vote for this in order to end the sequestration.

    How can Democrats be so dumb? Yes, I know, Obama’s no Democrat, but what about the lemmings who’ll be forced to follow him to their own demise.

  5. ladywalker68 April 10, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    What is especially sickening is Obamabots praising him as if he is playing some sort of 3-dimensional chess game. This is very one-dimensional and Boehner is already praising Obamaiwan CPIKenobi:

    Which brings me to quote a part of Russell Brand’s brilliant essay on the Iron Lady:
    ““I hope I’m not being reductive, but it seems Thatcher’s time in power was solely spent diminishing the resources of those who had least for the advancement of those who had most. I know from my own indulgence in selfish behavior that it’s much easier to get what you want if you remove from consideration the effect your actions will have on others.”

    The entire awesome blog is here:

    Funny that Obama’s budget coincided with Thatcher’s death. Because what Thatcher did to Great Britain is exactly what BOTH PARTIES are doing to the U.S. right now. It is sad. We The People have no one on our side, especially seniors.

  6. jjamele April 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    A caller to Mark Thompson tonight expressed anger at progressives who dared to question the President’s policies, using the word “faith” at least five times in a minute and a half and practically pleading people to ignore their heads and eyes and follow their hearts- “look at this man, this is a real man, look at his wife, look at his kids, he’s a real man, he’s not George Bush, stop picking on him…” he even brought out the “he’s playing chess” crap. Sickening.

    • fangio April 10, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

      Sounds just like something right wing conservatives would say about their former ” Dear Leader. ” Must be just a coincidence.

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