The good folks in the Obama administration used this holiday to unload a story that they hope no one will read. Obama is serious about cutting Social Security and Medicare.
Susie Madrak of Crooks and Liars wrote the piece at the other end of that link; she quotes from The Wall Street Journal
. You have to subscribe to the Journal to read the original piece; fortunately, Madrak reprints the important stuff, as will I:
The White House is strongly considering including limits on entitlement benefits in its fiscal 2014 budget—a proposal it first offered Republicans in December. The move would be aimed in part at keeping alive bipartisan talks on a major budget deal.
Such a proposal could include steps that make many Democrats queasy, such as reductions in future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments, but also items resisted by Republicans, such as higher taxes through limits on tax breaks, people close to the White House said.
These measures would come as President Barack Obama continues his courtship of the Senate GOP in an effort to thaw tax-and-spending talks. The White House's delayed annual budget is scheduled to be released April 10, the same day Mr. Obama plans to dine with a group of Senate Republicans to discuss the budget and other issues.
President Obama's inclusion of the proposal would be aimed at breathing new life into bipartisan talks on reaching a deficit-reduction deal.
Including entitlement curbs would be notable, as Republicans often have criticized the White House for offering such steps in private negotiations but never fully embracing them as part of an official budget plan.
People close to the White House believe a proposal to slow the growth rate of such benefits would use a variant of the Consumer Price Index to measure inflation. The new inflation indicator would cut overall spending by $130 billion, according to White House projections, and raise $100 billion in tax revenue by slowing the growth of tax brackets. The White House earlier called for an additional $800 billion or so in cuts on top of those resulting from the inflation adjustments.
"We and all of the groups engaged on this are starting to feel it may well be in the budget," said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP, an advocacy group for seniors that opposes such changes.
C&L's closing comment:
Cutting Social Security and Medicare in exchange for small tax increases on the wealthy is like taking a bag of groceries from poor people in exchange for a cookie from a rich person. No, not even a cookie -- a crumb from a cookie. Good Lord, these people are insane.
I'll repeat the most important info given in that article: The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414. The comments line is 202-456-1111. You can email the White House by clicking here.
Please don't tell yourself that complaining does no good. Right-wing leaders mobilize their minions all the time -- and they get things done
. You know what does no good? Defeatism.
I like lambert's line:
$15 trillion to the banksters, no questions asked, no strings attached, and now the Powers That Be are trying to screw $1000.00 out of some 85-five-year'old lady's $12,000 a year Social Security check with Chained CPI. Do they think old people years have only eleven months, or what?
I mean, why should she be eating catfood made from Genuine Chicken Parts when she could so easily substitute catfood made from Genuine Offal From Floor Scraping?
Meanwhile, Paul Krugman
-- as is his wont -- has been fighting tirelessly against the presupposition that austerity is necessary or beneficial. There is no danger of a deficit crisis:
Basically, the numbers refuse to cooperate: Interest rates remain stubbornly low, deficits are declining and even 10-year budget projections basically show a stable fiscal outlook rather than exploding debt.
So talk of a fiscal crisis has subsided. Yet the deficit scolds haven’t given up on their determination to bully the nation into slashing Social Security and Medicare. So they have a new line: We must bring down the deficit right away because it’s “generational warfare,” imposing a crippling burden on the next generation.
Krugman goes on to make the classic argument that the debt is, in essence, money we owe to ourselves.
Trade deficits are down, not up, while business investment has actually recovered fairly strongly from the slump. And the main reason businesses aren’t investing more is inadequate demand. They’re sitting on lots of cash, despite soaring profits, because there’s no reason to expand capacity when you aren’t selling enough to use the capacity you have.
You don’t have to be a civil engineer to realize that America needs more and better infrastructure, but the latest “report card” from the American Society of Civil Engineers — with its tally of deficient dams, bridges, and more, and its overall grade of D+ — still makes startling and depressing reading. And right now — with vast numbers of unemployed construction workers and vast amounts of cash sitting idle — would be a great time to rebuild our infrastructure. Yet public investment has actually plunged since the slump began.
How long before we decide, finally, to take the obvious course of action -- the course that got us out of the Great Depression? This is not the time to rob Grandma. This is the time to invest in jobs. If we need to borrow money, we can pay it back when things are going well again.