This is not what the people want

Posted in Had Enough Yet? at 10:34 am by wcnews

In the wake of President Barack Obama releasing his bad budget proposal we need to seriously look at why. Why is he proposing a budget with cuts to programs that large majorities of Americans don’t want cut? It mostly has to do with this, Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans.. And this.

Basically Obama is doing what the wealthy in this country want and not what the people want. But that’s the way our country works now. (See above).

More, Why Wouldn’t Obama Cut Social Security and Medicare?

Bad Policy

Nevertheless, both cuts are bad ideas. The Medicare change is based on a model of health economics which fails to understand how health care decisions are made in the real world and relies on old (and challenged) studies, including one from the RAND Corporation, which claim such cuts reduce the use of unneeded services without reducing the use of necessary care.

As for the “chained CPI,” it’s already been dissected at length (we included a small compendium of critiqueshere).

Seniors and near-seniors today are facing a retirement crisis of tragic proportions, which a New YorkTimes’ editorial outlines. That underscores the fact that these changes are both unwise and unkind.

Bad Politics

The politics are equally disastrous. The President’s early flirtations with these kinds of cuts contributed to a25-point plunge in support for Democrats on the question of who has better ability to handle Social Security. Polls in 2010 showed that President Obama was even less trusted than George W. Bush on the topic - even after Bush tried to privatize the program, which would have been disastrous after the 2008 financial crisis.

Polls continue to show that voters across the political spectrum oppose these kinds of cuts - “hate” isn’t too strong a word - and would even be willing to pay more in taxes to protect Social Security. These cuts might become be the most unpopular domestic policy decision in modern history.

How would that affect Democrats? When Obama and Boehner agreed on the “chained CPI” last December,CNBC ran an article headlined “How You Could Be Affected by Obama’s Social Security Plan.” Not “Obama and Boehner’s plan” - Obama’s.

Does anybody doubt how these cuts will be presented to the public - or how they’ll be remembered?

Josh Marshall does his best to try and explain.

But there’s the third point that I think is most important to understanding what’s going on here. This isn’t only about President Obama’s negotiating acumen. In conversations with the president’s key advisors and the President himself over the last three years one point that has always come out to me very clearly is that the President really believes in the importance of the Grand Bargain. He thinks it’s an important goal purely on its own terms. That’s something I don’t think a lot of his diehard supporters fully grasp. He thinks it’s important in longrange fiscal terms (and there’s some reality to that). But he always believes it’s important for the country and even for the Democratic party to have a big global agreement that settles the big fiscal policy for a generation and let’s the country get on to other issues — social and cultural issues, the environment, building the economy etc.

This has always struck me as a very questionable analysis of the where the country is politically and what it needs. But I put it forward because I don’t think these moves can really be understood outside of this context.

Still More from Crooks and Liars, The Grand Bargain Is Here. Time to Call Your Senators!

It’s official, folks. The Grand Bargain is here.

Time to take action. If we don’t unleash holy hell, this will go through.

Even though we’ve been warning you for a long time, it’s still hard to believe that a Democratic president is offering up the crown jewels of Democratic policy — and for a mere pittance. We need to fight back. You can call or write your congressperson or the White House if you want, but it’s most useful to start with your senators. Tell them you’re not willing to starve Granny to make the Republicans happy.

We’re going to concentrate on the Senate, because they’ll probably send a bipartisan bill to the House in order to bypass Boehner’s Hastert rule. Even if you called last week, call today. Be prepared to call every day for the next week. (Here’s the link.) Please leave a note in comments telling us how your call went.


FDR Obama.jpg


President Obama will release a budget next week that proposes significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security and fewer tax hikes than in the past, a conciliatory approach that he hopes will convince Republicans to sign onto a grand bargain that would curb government borrowing and replace deep spending cuts that took effect March 1.

Obama will break with the tradition of providing a sweeping vision of his ideal spending priorities, untethered from political realities. Instead, the document will incorporate the compromise offer Obama made to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last December in the discussions over the “fiscal cliff” – which included $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and tax increases.

(Editor’s note: Krugman calls it “desperately seeking approval from the Serious People.” He’s right. Dean Baker says Obama is asking for a bigger hit to seniors than to the rich.)

“The president has made clear that he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficit,” a senior administration official said, “but only in the context of a package like this one that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans and that is designed to promote economic growth.”

All the forces were marshaled to stop Bush from cutting Social Security, those same forces need to come together again to stop Obama from doing this. The way to fix Social Security is to take the cap off. This is wrong in so many ways, and sad too. Brains and Eggs has more.

[UPDATE:] Some good news, Congressional progressives: Social Security cuts hurt our economy.

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