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Saturday, December 08, 2012

Is Obama screwing us again? Already?

I had hoped Obama would refrain from screwing us over until after the inauguration.

The outcome of the fiscal cliff negotiations will tell us whether we have the new, better Obama we all hoped for, or whether we're stuck with four more years of Mr. Compromise. Ezra Klein tells us to expect the latter: A 37% tax rate for the upper earners (down from 39.6% under Clinton) and a raise in the Medicare eligibility age.

Krugman's response
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.

So this looks crazy to me; it looks like a deal that makes no sense either substantively or in terms of the actual bargaining strength of the parties. And if it does happen, the disillusionment on the Democratic side would be huge. All that effort to reelect Obama, and the first thing he does is give away two years of Medicare? How’s that going to play in future attempts to get out the vote?
I'll tell you how. It'll play right into the Republicans' misleading assertion that Obama "slashed" $700 billion in Medicare funding. He did no such thing, of course, but repetition creates perception, and that perception will be strengthened if Medicare morphs.

If ya asks me, instead of raising the eligibility age, we should lower it -- to birth. Alas, Obama took single payer off the table back in 2009. Instead, he gave us the ACA -- hardly ideal, but better than what we had before -- which will be threatened by the proposed Medicare change.

As David Dayen of Firedoglake notes,
The one thing we know will be a side effect of increasing the Medicare eligibility age is that insurance premiums will skyrocket. It will make Medicare more expensive because they lose relatively healthy 65 and 66 year-olds from their risk pool, and it will make private insurance more expensive because they add relatively sick 65 and 66 year-olds to their risk pool. Insurers hate the idea for just this reason. As a result, everyone’s premiums will rise, and cost-shifting will ensue from the government to its citizens.

People with busy lives don’t differentiate between what provisions in health care can be attributed to the Affordable Care Act and what provisions come from a fiscal deal. They’ll just know that the ACA got implemented in 2014, and as a result their insurance rates jumped.
You want compromise? Here's a better plan for Democrats to lock onto:

1. Hands off Medicare.

2. Let the Republicans raise taxes on the middle class (which we really ought to start calling the working class, because that's the more accurate term). Make sure they've signed their work. Make sure everyone knows who to blame.

3. Return the upper income tax rate to where it was under Clinton. Remember when we had a surplus...?

4. Offer a plan to keep Social Security solvent -- by raising the cap.

Unfortunately, Obama speaks as though the middle class tax cut must always remain inviolate while Medicare is chip-away-able.

Bill Clinton obviously found the right tax rates. That economy worked. Let's go back.
You knew who he was and what he was when you voted for him, Joseph. He is, after all, the one who convened the Catfood Commission in the first place. As if that weren't enough, during the debates he explicitly said that his position on Social Security and Medicare was "substantially the same" as Romney's.

It's a little late in the day for you to be outraged.
Consumer debt, consumer debt, consumer debt.

Too much of what a consumer earns is being lost in the form of interest rate charges on existing consumer debt.
Bill Clinton was a Democrat, Barack Obama is a closet republican.
Mr. Mike, Clinton was among those Democrats who were really Republicans. Moderate, Eisenhower/Rockefeller type Republicans, but Rs nonetheless.

Clinton ruefully and profanely made that point himself to his staff, after taking Greenspan's advice to be far more fiscally stringent than he'd planned to. Result? No middle class tax cut as he had promised he'd put through. No high tech infrastructure program, and no stimulus, as he'd promised.

People now forget that Clinton's negotiation tactics with his crazy GOPrs was similar to Obama's with his, unnecessarily (by Democratic wing of the Democratic party lights) agreeing both to the 7-year balanced budget plan, AND to using the less accurate and more pessimistic CBO numbers.

Joe, while I also oppose raising the MC age, perhaps the ACA may therefore be expanded to allow buy-ins for that cohort, nose under the tent-style to allowing a MC buy-in semi-public option downline?

Quelle surprise!

Who's going to hold his feet to the fire ? Somebody should - right up to the kneecaps!
Of course he's a Republican, and if I had the money I'd be out of here so fast it'd make your head spin.

But I don't have any money, so I just have to hope that when the SOB starts slashing the "entitlements" I don't get hit too hard.

I have cousins in Blighty, supposedly. I think I may try to get hold of them.
We know how this will play out--the water-carriers for Obama will get on the cable round tables and insist this isn't so bad considering how recalcitrant the Republicans are, that we can't let the 'perfect' get in the way of the good [yada, yada]. The messaging will be broadcast, repeated again and again that this is the best the Dems could manage and any and all opposition will be sidelined, attributed to cranks and/or la-la idealists who don't understand how DC operates or the true meaning of governance/compromise.

Same old, same old.

I really want to be wrong about this. But we've been here before. This is Obama unleashed. The man who swore he wouldn't cave. Hah! Accordion Man would be more apt.

Notice, too when this tidbit/rumor was released. On a Friday news dump when most people are not paying attention.

Guys, you must be realistic. Romney would have pushed the upper income tax rate down to 28 percent or lower. Reagan put it down there at the end, leading to exploding debt.

37 percent is not acceptable to me, but it is an improvement.

As I recall, XI, Clinton made that "we're the Eisenhower Republicans" remark rather ruefully. For that matter -- look up my own profile. I come right out and say that I'm an Eisenhower Republican, which, in modern parlance, is tantamount to socialism. And I wrote those words back in 2004.

An argument can be made that the best thing ever to happen to Clinton was being forced to give up his beloved middle class tax cut. As more working people earned better salaries, they creeped into higher brackets. THAT was how we got out of the red.

Nobody likes paying taxes. Believe me, I understand that point very well. But when we all owe so much money, when so large a chunk of the budget goes to paying the interest in money borrowed as long ago as Reagan's time, the piper must needs be paid.

If a country owes money, tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts don't work. While I prefer cutting taxes on workers (as opposed to the wealthy), I don't think we should cut at all until the red ink is a less red.
What PeggySue said.
XI @ 4:02, Bill Clinton never had the Dem majorities Obama had. That and members of his own party routinely stabbed him in the back. We can see Obama become origami as we watch.
The 2nd to last time we relied on his promises, we saw him angle the DEA into harassing local politicos and dispensaries, until he needed our vote, then he cooled his hypocrisy.

Even now he's gearing up Holder to stop the lawlessness in Washington and Colorado.

Now he's caving to republicans, again, with the rumored 37% cap and increasing the age for medicare eligibility.

He's fucking Manchurian.

Romney would have pushed the upper income tax rate down to 28 percent or lower.

Not without the collusion of a Democratic-controlled Senate, he wouldn't.

Surely that would never happen! ;-)
Thank God we have Obama to protect us from those mean, bad, awful Republicans. If it weren't for him, we would have terrible things happening. Oh wait, this is one of those good cop/bad cop scenarios isn't it? And no matter which cop you choose to cooperate with, the net result is that you end up getting screwed.

After the theatre closes, we're going to pay more and get less. Social services will decline and taxes will go up. And the military-industrial complex will get their fair share and more besides. The insane, illegal, and immoral wars will continue and will continue to be expanded. More brown people will be blown up, more foreign villages will be razed, and more profits will be made by the people in the US who really count. The police state in the US will be expanded along with the prisons for profit industry, and we'll continue to lock the dopers away for years for their own good. It's worth having Grandma eat cat food so we can pay for all that.
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