Thursday, April 11, 2013

The one promise Obama kept

During the 2008 campaign, I offered money (not much) to anyone who could name three major issues on which Barack Obama had not "modified" his position. Here's one: Social Security.
While many Democrats are expressing shock and outrage that President Obama, a Democrat, would propose to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the truth is they shouldn’t be surprised. Obama’s desire to make these cuts dates back at least four years – since before his presidency, even — and has been in largely plain view. We just chose to willfully ignore it, and pretend it wasn’t true.
Just four days before his inauguration in January, 2009, a Washington Post headline blared, “Obama Pledges Entitlement Reform,” and detailed “a wide-ranging 70 minute interview with Washington Post reporters and editors,” in which the president-elect endorsed efforts by congressional Republicans, and “the Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats,” to cut Social Security and Medicare. A small group of progressives were disturbed at what their friends in Congress were leaking to them about Obama’s commitment to doing this, and a few blog posts were issued to ring alarm bells publicly about it.

The next day, Paul Rosenberg at the then-influential blog,, wrote a post entitled, “Obama’s ‘Mandate’ To Slash Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security,” and presented polls showing that the public not only didn’t want to cut any of these programs, but that 74% wanted Medicare and Medicare spending increased, and 62% wanted Social Security spending increased. Even 65% of self-declared “conservative” Americans wanted the medical programs increased, and 62% of them wanted Social Security spending increased.
Often during the subsequent years, Obama drove both Pelosi and Reid to fits with his back-door efforts to cut “entitlements,” such as when, in 2010, he appointed the conservative Democrat Erskine Bowles to serve opposite the conservative Republican Alan Simpson as the two co-chairs on the White House’s “bi-partisan” federal debt commission concerning entitlement “reform.” (The Commission heads produced recommendations that congressional Democrats roundly repudiated for slashing entitlements, and that Republicans condemned for increasing taxes).
Sorry for such a lengthy quote; the entire piece is definitely worth your time.

Of course, none of this is necessary. To save Social Security, like, forever, there's an easy fix. Obama need only do what any resident of Dundalk, MD, would do if he happened to pass by someone he truly respects (such as the head of R.J. Reynolds): Raise the cap.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are opportunistically transforming themselves into the party of saving entitlements. (We're supposed to forget all about that stuff Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan said.) GOP bigwig Greg Walden says that Obama is mounting “a shocking attack on seniors.” And damn if the sumbitch ain't right...
Absolutely correct, Joseph. If any of these pols were serious about 'saving' SS, making it fly for the future, the easiest, most reasonable solution would be to raise the cap. Bingo!

And have we heard any politician suggest that in all the hang-wringing? No. Which [for me at least] means this is all stage craft. They're running with Pete Peterson's flag and crying crocodile tears about how everyone must 'sacrifice.'

Right too about POTUS telegraphing his intentions on "entitlement reform." You didn't have to read his lips or bend you ear. The Cat Food Commission was his idea, not something the Repugs foisted on him. The Grand Bargain/Grand Betrayal is something he has lusted for, not the American public. And Barack Obama was the one who cited Ronald Reagan as the Prez he admired most--a transformational president, he said--during the 2008 debates. Even during last year's debate with Romney, he admitted that his ideas on reform and Romney's were not that far apart. I heard it. With my own ears. It came out of his mouth. Clear as a bell.

And people are now shocked? Pul-e-eze.

This is not 11-dimensional chess. This is what he and his handlers want. The vision thing is shoring up the assets of the privileged at the expense of everyone else. Wrap it up with the word LIBERTY and it's all suppose to make sense and go down easy.

Except it doesn't and it won't.

Im not saying Obama is a CIA sleeper dedicated to keeping socialism out of the US. However if he was, this is precisely how he would play it. Discredit the Dems and help the next Republican get in while making the poor even poorer and weaker.

Ya gotta be impressed.
Though his desire to cut Social Security has long been clear, he talked out of both sides of his mouth on this issue too.
2008 Clip in which Obama promises not to cut Social Security cost of living adjustments.
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