In his attempt to sway Republicans to reach some "grand bargain" the President has made a few mistakes. First, you cannot compromise with the unwilling and Republicans have shown no matter what the President does to "reach out" to them they are going to hate him nonetheless. Also, no matter what "compromise" is offered one thing Republicans will never do willingly. Allow themselves or those they truly represent to sacrifice one red cent towards the problems they caused with their own idiocy and greed. That is why Obama has been so disappointing for so many of us. Instead of realizing the truth of the modern Republican Party like so many of us do and fighting them with all his might for every inch of ground he makes another huge mistake. Throws those of us who fought for him along with the most vulnerable in our society under the bus to placate the unmovable greed of the Republicans.
The bottom line? It has not worked in over four years of trying and will never work. Republicans are going to hate Obama and refuse to not only work with him but offer any balance in deficit reduction because they quite simply are not going to allow themselves and their ilk any sacrifice whatsoever.
So instead of fighting like he should and using the bully pulpit to inform the American people and let them decide the right and wrong of it in 2014 the President is not only waving a white flag, he is also sacrificing those who have nothing to sacrifice. Hence the "chained CPI" proposal in his budget. This "proposal" offers up way too much and receives absolutely nothing but a bloody nub in return. It seems the President could learn sooner or later.
Fortunately although the President is all too willing to throw all the wrong people under the bus in an attempt at some "grand bargain" and seems determined to tarnish his legacy as yet another President who simply did not care about the working class some within his party seem determined not to follow him down this path of Republican idiocy. At least we hope so.
That is why today the White House has sent an "expert" to capital hill to try and sway House Democrats to give up the fight and fall in line behind President Obama and the Republicans in once again asking the wrong people for sacrifice:
Senior White House economic adviser Gene Sperling defended the budget eloquently, according to several Democrats in the room, but did little to convince critics of chained CPI of its merits.
However, even as we once again received a stab in the back from the President we fought so hard to reelect it seems hopefully that at least some Democrats may refuse to throw us under the bus, for now:
"For me, there's no question. If this is a negotiation on budget issues, trying to deal with deficits, then Social Security has never added a single penny to the deficits of this country or to the national debt," Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said immediately after the meeting.
"So if you're talking about making cuts to seniors, to disabled folks, to children, to widows [and] widowers, to help take care of deficits, please don't tell me to consider Social Security. The chained CPI is a cut to benefits - earned benefits - to all those folks who paid into the system.
"I don't see the value of including it in the budget," he added.
And of course he is right. Social Security has never added one penny to the deficit and in fact are earned benefits paid for by the people the President would follow Republicans in stealing from. The very folks who have sacrificed over and over and have nothing left to give. The very folks who hoped Obama would fight for them.
Besides the fact that Obama and the Republicans are determined to squeeze blood from a turnip for Obama one fact remains. A "grand bargain" which includes the "chained CPI" is not going to save his legacy. It will create a legacy in which many folks who admired him initially will see him as weak, uncaring, and idiotic. I mean honestly what President was ever remembered favorably for stealing from hard-working Americans all while being one of the most weak and ineffective negotiators in American history?:
"I'm not interested in negotiating with myself," Becerra said. "So the last thing I'd want to do is be putting on the table for cuts the benefits that my parents earned when they worked all their lives."
President Obama is right in the sense that his legacy is definitely at stake. What he needs to realize and soon is that legacy is never going to be made by Republicans who would hate him no matter what he offered them. That legacy will be made by those of us who really need him to fight for us and while Mitt Romney scared us more many of us are beginning to see that he is just as determined not to fight for us as we were not to elect a man like Mitt Romney to the White House.
Obama should bear in mind that his legacy is quickly becoming the lesser of two evils and that being the lesser of two evils will indeed make many of us see him for what he fought for. Evil.
President Obama just will not learn. The more he tries to "reach out" to the modern Republican Party the worse he looks. These folks are simply never going to accept anything that includes any sacrifice from themselves or their selfish ilk to cure the ills their policies of greed and trickle-down have caused this country. They simply do not care how many people suffer as long as they do not contribute one red cent to anything. In fact, they take his need for a "grand bargain" as nothing but a weakness for them to exploit to steal more from the very folks who have already made all the sacrifices. Even after Obama made the huge mistake of offering Social Security cuts to the Republicans to bring them to the table what do they do? Folks like Paul Ryan mocked him and called for him to steal even more Social Security from hard-working Americans who earned it and desperately need it:
But Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the president's request shattered hopes for a grand bargain. "I think we should rationalize our expectations to getting a down payment on that problem."
Ryan said, "Fixing the [deficit] problem requires fundamental entitlement reform, and the president and Senate Democrats have shown absolutely no indication of being willing to do so."
When in fact President Obama has already cut the debt by close to $2.7 trillion and those cuts have been far from "balanced":
Where does the $2.5 trillion come from? Several sources: savings from the 2011 Budget Control Act, lower spending levels enacted in temporary government funding resolutions since 2010, and the fiscal cliff deal passed at the start of this year.
In fact, the latest savings estimate is actually closer to $2.7 trillion, according to Marc Goldwein, CRFB's senior policy director.
Of that amount, $1.57 trillion comes from spending cuts, $690 billion from increased tax revenue and $430 billion from interest savings.
And of course the Prince of Orange John Boehner now seems to be suggesting that they should just go ahead and steal the Social Security millions of people that do actual work have earned off the top without any tax increases to balance them out, and Paul Ryan has dismissed these huge sacrifices from folks who simply cannot afford it as a "symbolic step":
Ryan called Obama's offer of the "chained CPI" formula, which would change the way benefits are adjusted for inflation, a "symbolic step."
"I don't see it so much as fundamental entitlement reform as clarification of a statistic," he said.
Symbolic of what? The greed and uncaring idiocy of people like Ryan and Boehner that got our country to this point in the first place? Or symbolic of the fact that the modern Republican does not give a damn about anything except figuring out how to bankrupt the whole country because of course their sorry, greedy asses are covered?
Once again we call for President Obama to end this madness. Do not offer these Republicans one damn thing except a fight for our country and a fight to defend people who need a champion not a "grand bargainer". Rescind this foolish offer made to petty, selfish people who were never going to compromise in the first place and let them know in no uncertain terms that you will not allow them to continue raping this country with their greed and callous idiocy.
If nothing gets done and no "bargain" is accomplished let the American people decide in 2014 who really is to blame. In the end if this President continues down his current path he is in danger of becoming one of the weakest, most disastrous Presidents in history. I hope for the sake of America he wakes up soon and realizes he is bargaining with the devil.
For a long time we have been telling the President and all Democrats one thing. There is no need to try and compromise or "reach out" to the modern Republican Party led by such "people" as John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Indeed reaching out to these folks only leads to one thing. Pulling back a bloody nub. And now for a President that seems all to willing to sell his base and his beliefs down the river for some "grand bargain" to create some sort of legacy to be "proud" of we can only ask this. Ready to fight yet? Indeed, instead of fighting the Republicans in the court of public opinion over policies that have destroyed the middle-class and asking the wealthy to pay more Obama seems determined to do what Republicans do best, call for sacrifice once again from the most vulnerable Americans:
Obama's plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 calls for slower growth in government benefits programs for the poor, veterans and the elderly, as well as higher taxes, primarily from the wealthy.
Obama proposes spending cuts and revenue increases that would result in $1.8 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years, replacing $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that are otherwise poised to take effect over the next 10 years.
Obama's plan includes $580 billion in new taxes that Republicans oppose. There's also a new inflation formula, rejected by many liberals, that would reduce the annual cost of living adjustments for a range of government programs, including Social Security and benefits for veterans.
Obama made no mention of the effect his budget would have on Social Security and other social safety net programs. That idea drew a hostile reaction from some of his most ardent political backers.
And indeed as always with Obama it seems as if he is much more willing to alienate his base and those who really need him to fight for them in a failed attempt to reach some "grand bargain" with those who care nothing about anyone but themselves:
The AFL-CIO, the nation's largest coalition of unions and a staunch supporter of President Barack Obama, blasted Obama's budget proposal on Saturday in an email to supporters that urges them to sign a petition opposing cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Liberals have made known their opposition to Obama's proposal since reports started emerging on Friday. At highest issue is the proposal known as Chained CPI, a means of cutting Social Security and other entitlement programs by using a different inflation measure that won't rise as much. It would have its biggest effect on Social Security.
The AARP also ripped into Obama's Chained CPI and informed it's members exactly what that meant to them:
The acronym is easy: CPI stands for consumer price index, a formula that looks at how the prices of stuff we need (food, for example) change over time. It's used to make cost-of-living adjustments in programs such as Social Security, veterans benefits and food stamps.
How much could payments change? Estimates show that under the chained CPI, your cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be about .3 percentage point below the plain old CPI. That works out to $3 less on every $1,000, which doesn't sound like much - except that it keeps compounding over time.
Look at it this way: The COLA for this year was 1.7 percent. If your monthly Social Security check was $1,250 last year, it increased to $1,271.25 this year.
With the chained CPI, you would be getting $1,267.50 - or $3.75 less a month and $45 less a year. Again, that might not seem like a big reduction, but if the COLA is the same next year, the difference increases to $7.61 a month and $91.32 for the year.
Paul Krugman has explained why this is quite simply a stupid idea:
Does it make sense in policy terms? No. First of all, there is no reason to believe that the chained index is a better measure of inflation facing seniors than the standard CPI. It's true that the standard measure arguably understates inflation for the typical household - but seniors have a different consumption basket from the young, one that includes more medical expenses, and probably face true inflation that's higher, not lower, than the official measure.
Anyway, it's not as if the current level of real benefits has any sacred significance. The truth - although you'll never hear this in Serious circles - is that we really should be increasing SS benefits. Why? Because the shift from defined-benefit pensions to defined contribution, the rise of the 401(k), has been a bust, and many older Americans will soon find themselves in dire straits. SS is the last defined-benefit pension still standing - thank you, Nancy Pelosi, for standing up to Bush - and should be strengthened, not weakened.
So what's this about? The answer, I fear, is that Obama is still trying to win over the Serious People, by showing that he's willing to do what they consider Serious - which just about always means sticking it to the poor and the middle class. The idea is that they will finally drop the false equivalence, and admit that he's reasonable while the GOP is mean-spirited and crazy.
Oh, and wanna bet that Republicans soon start running ads saying that Obama wants to cut your Social Security?
Bernie Sanders has long been a fighter for working people and Progressive ideals in the Senate. Needless to say he was less than impressed with the Obama "compromise":
Millions of working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, and women will be extremely disappointed if President Obama caves into the long standing Republican effort to cut Social Security and benefits for disabled veterans and their survivors through a so-called chained CPI. In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the American people that he would not cut Social Security. Having him go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism that our country is experiencing today.
If Obama is serious about dealing with our deficit he would not cut Social Security - which has not added one penny to the deficit. Instead, he would support legislation that ends the absurdity of one out of four profitable corporations paying nothing in federal income taxes. He would also help us close the offshore tax haven loopholes that enable large corporations and the wealthy to avoid paying $100 billion a year in federal taxes.
And after all this alienating of his base, after asking seniors, disabled veterans, the poor and their children to sacrifice yet again what did Obama achieve with all this "reaching out"? He is pulling back a bloody nub just as we predicted. The Prince of Orange John Boehner came out with gnashing of teeth:
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Friday that President Obama was holding needed entitlement reforms "hostage" after the White House said that its budget, to be released next week, will propose cuts to Social Security and other programs.
"If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes," Boehner said in a statement. "That's no way to lead and move the country forward."
Boehner said Friday that Obama should not "make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax increases."
"At some point we need to solve our spending problem, and what the president has offered would leave us with a budget that never balances," Boehner said. "In reality, he's moved in the wrong direction, routinely taking off the table entitlement reforms he's previously told me he could support."
The Prince of Orange is not alone. It does not matter how much sacrifice Obama offers up for the most vulnerable in our society the modern Republican Party is still determined to ensure one thing. They will not sacrifice one penny to the debt they ran up and the economy they crashed. Obama's bloody nub is the fact that Republicans simply insist on the fact that the budget will be balanced on everyone's backs but their own:
On the budget, Mr. Obama has tried both strategies - negotiating personally with Speaker John A. Boehner on a "grand bargain" for taxes and entitlement-program reductions, and when that failed, letting Congress try, which also failed. Now, with the bipartisan effort moribund, the president has decided he has no option but to publicly take the lead to revive negotiations with hopes of drawing some Republican support.
So the budget he is sending to Congress will embody his last compromise offer to Mr. Boehner in December. For the first time, Mr. Obama is formally proposing to reduce future Social Security benefits, if Republicans will agree to higher taxes on the wealthy and some corporations.
Republican leaders already have rejected the overture, based on early reports about it. But Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Mr. Obama is "showing some signs of leadership that's been lacking. I'm encouraged."
Sadly the grand total of one Republican, Lindsey Graham has even said one positive thing about the President's offer. And of course that is all dependent upon the President throwing millions of the most vulnerable Americans under the bus for his "grand bargain".
That is why we are encouraging the President once again to do what he has needed to do all along. Stop trying to compromise with the most selfish, unpatriotic folks in America who care nothing of anyone but themselves. They have shown they will crash our economy with their greed and block recovery in a shameless attempt to win elections. An attempt that by the way failed miserably. They care nothing of anything except padding their pockets at the expense of the rest of us.
If Obama is really concerned about creating a legacy he should give up making it the President who achieved a "grand bargain". Instead he should make his legacy the President who finally stood up the the greediest and least patriotic among us and fought for those who really, desperately needed someone in power on their side for once.
President Obama needs to stand up and fight these Republicans tooth and nail for every inch of America. They have no interest in compromise, they just want to pad their pockets with the destruction of America. The President should use all his power to defend all of us for once, not be complicit in the further destruction of the middle-class and the raping of the poor that Republicans enjoy so much.
So my message to the President is this. Quit "reaching out" and pulling back a bloody nub. A majority of the country voted for you and need you to fight, not compromise. Millions of Americans including your base would stand behind you proudly as you embarked upon a campaign to fight those that destroyed our livelihoods. Our only question to you is, are you ready to fight yet?
President Obama is at it again. In "reaching out" to Republicans he is simply giving them too much power and too much say in deficit negotiations. These are after all the same Republicans who have lost the last two elections on their "ideals" and offer nothing of substance to millions of working Americans. Their only solution is to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, veterans, the working poor, and children. Their goal is to destroy our social safety net and take billions of dollars out of our pockets. Now, not only is President Obama helping them do it he is actually trying to convince Democrats who oppose such measures to back him up. He was on Capital Hill trying to convince Democrats today to give up their opposition to helping Republicans steal benefits millions of Americans depend on and have earned all in some sickening attempt to come to a "grand bargain" with Republican greed:
"What he basically said was that there's got to be a balanced deal," Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said just after the meeting. "And that if there's going to be revenues, then obviously there's going to be, in a Republican-controlled House, the need for us to consider some of the things we don't like. That was more or less it."
Wrapping up his congressional outreach tour Thursday, Obama asked House Democrats to consider cuts they oppose for the sake of a bipartisan budget deal. He openly discussed his proposal to adopt a less generous formula for calculating inflation growth for entitlements, known as chained CPI, in exchange for more tax revenue from Republicans.
Sadly for our party at least some of them are considering it:
"We're open to talking about how we can find other ways to save, whether that's somebody like me paying more for a co-pay or a deductible," Pelosi said after the meeting. "But we have to be careful when we means-test because most of the beneficiaries on Medicare make $40,000 or below."
Pelosi said Obama's proposition to move to the chained CPI is also "something to put on the table."
"The president is very clear about this," Pelosi said. "No revenue, no change in entitlements."
However, the simple fact of the matter is that revenues should be raised without ANY changes to Social Security. Social Security has never added a penny to the national deficit and instead of trying to compromise with the economic terrorists in the Republican Party Democrats should be fighting them tooth and nail to do the right thing.
Nothing is "grand" about a bargain that once again sells the wrong people down the river. If this is the best that the President can come up with we are better with no deal whatsoever. Lets let things continue the way they are now and let the elections in 2014 and 2016 decide things when we may have real leaders with courage stand up and do what has needed to be done in Washington for a long time. Fight the Republican Party and their plans to make everyone sacrifice but themselves.
Fortunately not everyone is Washington is willing to let Republicans balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently explained his opposition to the "chained CPI" treachery Obama and some Democrats are floating:
The so-called "chained CPI" is Washington shorthand for one of the most-talked-about cuts favored by Republicans and some Democrats.
Wall Street billionaires and other supporters claim that changing the consumer price index is a "minor tweak." Tell that to the millions of senior citizens trying to survive on just $14,000 a year whose Social Security benefits would be cut overall by $112 billion during the next decade.
Average 65-year-olds would get $650 a year less in benefits when they turn 75 and see a $1,000 a year cut when they turn 85.
Permanently disabled veterans who started receiving disability benefits from the Veterans Administration at age 30 would see their benefits cut by more than $1,400 a year at age 45, $2,300 a year at age 55 and $3,200 a year at age 65.
According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, switching to a chained CPI would increase taxes by more than $59 billion over the next decade.
More than three-quarters of the new revenue raised by the year 2021 would come from Americans making less than $200,000 a year. Those making between $30,000 and $40,000 would be hit the hardest, while those making more than $1 million would see virtually no change. What about President Obama's promise that there would be no income tax increases for people making less than $250,000 a year?
Sanders goes on to state real ideas on deficit reduction:
Deficit reduction is important, but we must not balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the veterans, the children, the sick and the most vulnerable people in America. There are fair ways to reduce the deficit. Instead of cutting cost-of-living adjustments for senior citizens and disabled veterans, let's stop offshore tax haven abuses that allow the wealthy and large corporations to avoid paying $100 billion a year in U.S. income taxes. Instead of raising taxes on struggling working families, let's demand that the one 1 of 4 profitable corporations in America that pay nothing in federal income taxes start paying their fair share.
And indeed President Obama and any Democrat who would support him on this should quite simply be ashamed. How many times are they going to concede to the Republicans and let them control the debate? How many times will they allow the most vulnerable in society to be made scapegoats of and be saddled with all the sacrifices for the excesses of the last thirty years, excesses they have not taken part in?
Once again I must say emphatically that no deal is a good deal. President Obama simply does not have the will to fight the Republicans in the public forum and fight for those who desperately need him to. The best thing that can happen for our country now is that this horrible "grand capitulation" falls through.
Mr. President those who you are calling upon to sacrifice simply have nothing left to give and it is quite insulting that the only thing you can come up with is making them do that once again while the Mitch McConnell's and John Boehner's of the world are making all of us, yourself included look like fools.
For a long time in America one thing for Progressives has rung true. In elections and the public discourse it seems to always be heads they win and tails we lose. I mean, what else must happen before Progressive vision is enacted to deal with the problems that have beset our nation? That is the one thing that is needed and never tried. True Progressive vision. Just look at what has happened over the last thirty years in this country. Our two-party system has become completely dysfunctional. That is because we truly do not have a two party system anymore. We have one far-right lunatic fringe party and one center-right party that proclaims to represent working Americans but because of cowardice and more likely complicity have just become a watered down version of right-wing lunacy.
No matter how many times trickle-down idiocy is tried and fails we can never seem to get beyond it. Sadly, it is just as much the fault of Democrats as Republicans. While Republicans preach this failed system as gospel and we expect them to because that is just what they are, Democrats can be more infuriating. You see, these Democrats know better. They do not believe in trickle-down but unfortunately for America they have been bought and paid for too, and have learned it is much more lucrative to go along and preach against it while behind closed doors they continue it and profit off a system Republicans believe in.
One need only look at the current political environment and the "solutions" offered by politicians of both stripes. While it is evident by the last election that America has simply moved beyond trickle-down and realized it is a failure that should not be repeated we simply cannot get Washington to do our bidding by asking Corporate America and the very folks who have profited off of trickle-down to do one simple thing. Give a little back to the system they have picked clean and the problems their greed has caused this country.
America has voted for a different way. Poll after poll show America believes the direction of our country should be changed. We want someone who will actually fight for better lives for all Americans and do the bidding of the American people over the 1% for a change. We want someone to save us from once again sacrificing as a whole to the betterment of just a few people.
Now it seems as the real problems faced by everyday Americans namely jobs, wages, a slow economy and rising income inequality are taking a backseat to deficit reduction and fiscal "responsibility". In other words they fully plan on slashing social programs and raiding the Social Security trust of millions of Americans. President Obama seems to have already signed onto being party to stealing some benefits from many of us with his "chained CPI" as part of some kind of "grand bargain" with the devil that is the Party of McConnell and Boehner:
President Obama's willingness to reduce cost of living increases for Social Security and other benefit programs as part of a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan has excited Republicans and moderate Democrats, but has liberal Democrats and seniors' groups gnashing their teeth.
Talk of adjusting the Labor Department's consumer price index to more accurately measure real inflation in the economy has become a bargaining chip in a renewed effort by the White House and key members of Congress to negotiate a "grand bargain" of spending cuts, entitlement reform and additional tax revenue to bring down the deficit.
Known as chained CPI, this alternative formula reflects how consumers change their purchasing habits when prices rise or fall for a broad range of services, including food, housing, clothing and medical expenses. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that government spending on Social Security, Medicare and other benefits would decline by about $216 billion over the ten years if this less generous index were in place.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said recently that Obama would consider chained CPI "as part of a big deal, part of a comprehensive package that reduces our deficit and achieves that $4 trillion goal [of spending cuts] that was set out by so many people in and outside of government a number of years ago."
Worse yet, soon you will have a new Paul Ryan budget for Conservatives to drool over. Of course it calls for all sacrifice to be made of working folks and calls for nothing from the Republican "base", the top 2%:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said on Monday he can balance the federal budget in 10 years without raising taxes any further by achieving $4.6 trillion in additional government spending cuts.
The Wisconsin Republican and 2012 vice presidential candidate said his budget will grant approval to the northern portion of the controversial Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline, which he contends will create 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 indirect jobs.
As in past years, Ryan's budget will seek to convert Medicare health care for the elderly into a voucher-like system under which seniors receive a subsidy to purchase private insurance or traditional Medicare. But he said there will be no changes for those 55 or older, so the plan does contribute savings to achieve balance in the 10-year window.
Ryan said his budget will again seek to turn control and funding for Medicaid health care for the poor and food stamps over to states, and "paves the way" for comprehensive tax reform, with a goal of just two tax brackets: 10 percent and 25 percent.
Which means now the right-wing will have an even more zealous, maniacal set of demands to push Obama towards and unfortunately it seems as if he is already caving into Republican "Austerity economics" as part of any deal. The Christian Science Monitor has explained why this is simply the worst approach possible to solve America's problems:
Austerity economics - of which Ryan's upcoming budget is the most extreme version - is a cruel hoax. Cruel because it hurts most those who are already hurting; a hoax because it doesn't work.
The entire framework is based on the false analogy that the federal budget is akin to a family's budget.
Families do have to balance their budgets. But that's precisely why the federal government has to be the spender of last resort when consumer spending falls short of boosting the economy toward full employment.
And as long as income and wealth continue to concentrate at the very top, the broad middle class and those aspiring to join it won't have the purchasing power to boost the economy.
So why even try for a "grand bargain" that won't deal with these fundamentals but only further legitimize the GOP mythology and further mislead the public about what's really at stake?
And indeed that is truly the question. What the hell good is some "grand bargain" going to be if that bargain includes so much of the very things that would be so harmful to our country right now. What is so "grand" about doing something over and over and expecting a different result? That is the very definition of insanity!
As the Christian Science Monitor points out the very problem right now is that so few people have enough extra money to contribute to the economy. As long as huge swaths of the population have so little money to do more than maybe just pay the bills and slide by our economy will never fully recover. How in the hell are politicians now going to convince us that taking even more money out of our pockets will help anything. If our wages weren't stagnate and non-existent many of us would not even need many of the government programs these very folks blame for their crashing of our economy.
My simple question to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and yes Barack Obama is this. If these trickle-down policies, these tax cuts and allowing the redistribution of wealth up to the very few really works and creates so much prosperity then where the hell is it? If all this is going to "trickle-down" then why isn't it? The very state of our economy and jobs market right now proves that this "Conservative" vision simply is a FAILURE!!
It should be insulting to America that these folks are even talking about digging into Social Security. It did not cause one penny of our debt and was actually picked clean to pay for some of it. And while it seems as if we have asked for a different way in polls and elections it appears as if one thing is still lacking. Leaders in Washington with courage and the will to do what is best for the American people as a whole.
It is probably the best thing that has happened in the whole "fiscal cliff" fiasco. The Prince of Orange John Boehner suffered a humiliating defeat to his own radical caucus and left Washington without doing his job in disgrace. And while the Republican "Plan B" was shot down in flames the President and his post re-election ideas are just about as bad. And of course since its best for America that both Boehner and Obama's latest "compromises" are rejected the Senator for Communist China Mitch McConnell is calling for something he hasn't wanted for four years. For the Senate to pass a bill. After obstructing anything to help the American people recover for four years. After being all for bailing out the banks and not the American people. After not allowing a jobs bill to put Americans back to work in a shameless, self-admitted attempt to defeat Barack Obama now Mitch McConnell wants "action":
McConnell said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) should bring a bill to the floor that addresses the year-end expiration of lower tax rates and the deep spending cuts set to begin in January. He said the legislation should be subject to full debate and a series of amendments.
"If Sen. Reid has a plan that can get 60 votes in the Senate, break through the disarray in his own caucus and build bipartisan support, offer that as an amendment and then let's vote," McConnell said. "Let's vote on amendments from all sides."0
"It's called legislating, folks. It's what Congress used to do," he said.
Which is a ridiculous statement coming from an idiot that was forced to filibuster his own legislation.
And speaking of idiocy the Prince of Orange agreed, fresh after being made an idiot by his own caucus:
"We do have a House bill that sits in the Senate that extended tax rates for all Americans. And we've been waiting since August the 1st for the Senate to act. If the Senate wants to act on that bill, we'll certainly take a look at it," Boehner told reporters.
Of course they want action on that bill. It is the bill that resumes the idiocy and policies of greed that crashed our economy and left millions of Americans behind. It is a bill that asked working-class and retired or disabled Americans to bail out folks like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner for destroying our economy yet again. It is the vision for America that was voted upon just a few weeks ago and widely rejected by America.
Not that the vision President Obama is offering is the vision for America we did vote for. That is the one good thing about the Republicans being themselves, completely selfish and uncaring about their country. This time it may actually help America. President Obama lost his Progressive streak after the election faster than Mitch McConnell can outsource a job to China. His "compromise" to let Republicans steal just a little of our Social Security was one of the worst moves he ever made and after his first term makes me doubt that he will ever really fight Republicans very hard on anything.
The Republicans are going to refuse to compromise anything. Their disgraceful "Plan B" which was insulting enough to America could not even get past the lunatic zealots in their caucus. What Boehner and McConnell are counting on is just not letting anything pass until finally President Obama will just completely cave in and let them have everything they want. And with the track record who can blame them?
The President is already doing so now. For his part he was just as shameless offering up Social Security cuts to Republicans as a concession when he knows damn good and well as we all do that Social Security never has added a dime to the budget deficit. He was just as shameless looking those who voted for him because they trusted him to fight for their interests in the eye and telling them they were expendable.
So the best thing for America is to just go cliff-diving. Anything the Republicans propose is going to be more of the same trickle-down idiocy that caused all the problems to begin with. President Obama has shown he will play along and make the wrong concessions while getting little or nothing in return.
Personally I do not see what would be so bad about going back to all the Clinton era rates. I seem to remember the economy doing pretty good back then. Many economists believe that while the economy might take a short-term hit in the long run going off the cliff would actually be good for it. I would rather pay higher tax rates myself than see the budget balanced on the backs of those even less fortunate than me and all the while giving a free pass yet again to folks like John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and yes Barack Obama.
The news today if true about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations is not only quite disturbing, but equally as much perplexing. I guess it should not be. The modern Democratic Party with a few exceptions has long been very good at this. Through cowardice or complicity or whatever reason you might believe the Democratic Party always seems to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. No wonder they can never keep power for too long and can never enact an agenda to stop decades of trickle-down economics. Americans believe they talk a good game but are too cowardly to do anything about it. And you know something? They are for the most part spot on. It does not matter what issue. It does not matter which way the political winds are blowing or how the public feels about anything. No matter how extreme or completely idiotic the Republican stance is all men like Boehner and McConnell have to do when they are not in power is throw a temper tantrum when they do not get there way. Eventually they will get most of what they want and will give very little or nothing in return.
And now it is happening again. I am not singling out President Obama because plenty of other Democrats have been guilty of it. However, he is the leader of the party who has just been given a second term by a massive effort which produced close to another landslide. If not a mandate he was given a definite upper hand by the American people in negotiations and polls show his argument still wins the day.
He has made concessions aplenty in his time in Washington. He extended these tax cuts once. He axed a public option in healthcare. Time and again he reached out to the other side and pulled back a bloody nub. Yes, after being a very moderate first-time President who tried his best not to rattle cages he saw the fruits of those labors. He faced possibly more hate, vitriol, propaganda and downright lies than just about anyone I can remember in my lifetime.
In this last Presidential election two competing visions were presented to America. A return to full-blown trickle-down economics or a more Progressive version of Obama than we saw in the first term. These debates included visions on how we would get over the "fiscal cliff" and what was best to do about our debts and deficit. And no matter what anyone says about the Republicans winning the House the American people made a clear distinction and choice on what they wanted done about that.
Now Obama is once again giving too many concessions while negotiating from a position of strength and too many Democrats are too willing to fall right in line:
House Democratic leaders have softened their blanket opposition to Social Security cuts in a "fiscal-cliff" package despite an outpouring of anger from rank-and-file members.
Democratic leaders are keeping an open mind after President Obama proposed to cut inflationary increases in Social Security payments in his latest offer to Republicans, with some saying they'd support such reductions if the most vulnerable beneficiaries are protected.
Which brought about a comment I found particularly distasteful from Nancy Pelosi:
"The Democrats will stick with the president," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday when asked about the Social Security provisions on MSNBC.
I find that distasteful because we are not the Republicans. We should not be falling in line with anyone just because they are in our party if they are wrong. And the fact of the matter is President Obama was wrong for even putting Social Security on the table for any reason. We did not fight for that and the American people did not vote for it.
Luckily Senate Democrats may be a much harder sell on toying with Social Security:
Several Senate Democrats also hammered Obama's chained CPI proposal Tuesday, with Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) saying the provision would be "a problem for Democrats"; Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) warning that he'll "fight hard" to keep Social Security out of the fiscal-cliff package; and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) saying the White House move "doesn't warm my heart."
This legislation should be opposed. It should be opposed by every single Democrat and anyone who ever wants to draw their Social Security funds. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare explains why:
"Too many Washington politicians clearly hope middle-class Americans simply won't notice billions of dollars in Social Security benefit cuts included in proposals changing the current cost of living allowance formula to a stingier chained CPI. I promise you, seniors and their families will notice.
If news reports are correct and the White House is considering this benefit cut, then President Obama has broken faith with seniors and his commitment to keep Social Security out of the deficit debate. The chained CPI would mean an immediate benefit cut of $130 per year for the typical 65-year old retiree and would grow exponentially to a $1,400 cut after 30 years of retirement.
Contrary to the political spin, this chained CPI proposal isn't a "tweak" or an "adjustment," it's designed to cut benefits and raises taxes, largely on the poor and middle class, totaling $208 billion over ten years. $112 billion of those benefits cuts come from Social Security alone with up to $24 billion coming from VA benefits and civilian and military retirement pay cuts.
Seniors will have received an average COLA of 1.3% over 4 years with no increases in two of those years. Arguing that is too generous shows how out of touch some our political leaders have become with the real-world economic realities facing average Americans. Adopting the chained CPI is nothing more than a political slight of hand targeting our nation's middle class and poor and should be rejected by the President." Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
Which brings me back to the title question to Barack Obama and the Democrats who would follow him down this path. Again? Are they really going to throw the people this chained Consumer Price Index is going to hurt under the bus for men like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner? All this sounds like pocket change to them because they are so out of touch but to real Americans that legitimately need and deserve these benefits it is a lot. Are Democratic leaders really lining up with the zealots in the Republican Party against them??
Is it really easier just to give in than to fight? Does it really make you look better? What is wrong with drawing a line in the sand, telling the American people and let them decide in 2014 who was to blame for "going over the cliff". Why do we have to concede?
Which really makes me begin to wonder. Maybe some Democrats do these things because while they talk a good game deep down inside they agree with men like Boehner and McConnell more than they agree with us. Maybe they are not fighting for and against things because deep down inside they don't really believe in them.
I want to make one thing clear. I know that we are going to have to cut spending. I know too, that we already have. However, Social Security is indeed solvent, has never contributed a penny to the national debt and has had it's surplus raided over and over. It is not and never will be the problem. It is too important to too many people from all generations to be gambled away at the dice table.
I hope all Americans will rise up like they did against the privatization scheme of George W. Bush and make short work of this latest capitulation, or whatever it was.
No matter what party controls the White House or Congress one thing is ringing true time and time again. The politicians in Washington care little about the will of the American people and instead hope to impose their own elitist will upon the rest of us. These "fiscal cliff" negotiations are becoming the latest example of the "screw you" attitudes of politicians in both parties. Because although the American people have spoken, and continue to speak loud and clear on this issue Washington politicians simply refuse to listen. Unfortunately President Obama is becoming as much of a culprit as anyone. After a first term when he continually compromised Democratic ideals and adopted failed Republican policies it appears as if the President is setting up a second term when he will do much the same. Refuse to fight for the ideals of his party and the will of the American people.
While his rhetoric seemed to indicate otherwise at the onset of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations recently with his new "counter offer" the President seems to be joining Republicans in flashing a big middle finger to the American people.
With his election victory and the will of the American people on his side the President still cannot seem to fight Republicans and continually concedes to much. His latest "compromise" does just that again:
The new Obama offer lowers the president's demands for tax increases and includes additional spending cuts, but it falls short of the healthcare savings the GOP wants from reforming entitlement programs like Medicare.
Obama originally proposed a deal seeking $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue, but on Monday his offer called for $1.2 trillion, which the White House noted was midway toward the Speaker's initial offer of $800 billion.
The president also moved in the Speaker's direction on spending cuts, offering an equal amount - $1.2 trillion - as new revenue, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. But Republican aides disputed that characterization. Under their calculations, the White House offer contains $1.3 trillion in new taxes and about $930 billion in net spending cuts, because of a difference in how changes to the future debt interest payments are treated. Once new proposed spending for infrastructure and extended unemployment benefits that the White House wants are included, the net spending cut is $850 billion, GOP aides said.
On entitlements, Obama is offering to change the way inflation is calculated in benefit programs, including in Social Security, a move opposed by many liberals. The new method, known as chained consumer price index (CPI), would cut $130 billion more in spending. A source said that provisions are included to protect the most vulnerable.
This move is "opposed by liberals" because we know full well that Social Security has not and will not ever add one cent to the deficit. Also, we know full well that working folks and the middle-class have sacrificed much in the last few decades as the wealthy and corporations have run roughshod over them. It is time the other side sacrificed and working Americans are given a free pass for once. With public opinion on his side, the President has decided to negotiate away too much.
Worse yet, even the sacrifices that should not be made by the President are not enough for Republicans in Congress:
Boehner's office on Monday night said the proposal was "a step in the right direction," but senior Republican congressional aides sought to downplay talk that an agreement was close. Aides said significant differences remained across a range of areas, including taxes, entitlement reforms and the timing for the implementation of an agreement over the next two years. But they insisted that an agreement was still possible in the coming days and that negotiations are ongoing.
"Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the president has made previously is a step in the right direction, but a proposal that includes $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $930 billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. "We hope to continue discussions with the president so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem.
And of course with all this bluster and "compromise" what is the one thing that continually gets left out of policy? The will of the American people. You see, huge majorities of Americans favor asking the wealthy to sacrifice for the first time in decades and oppose asking the most vulnerable of society to do so:
Most Americans oppose slashing spending on Medicaid and the military, as well as raising the age for Medicare eligibility and slowing the increase of Social Security benefits, all of which appear to be on the table in negotiations. Majorities call each of these items "unacceptable."
A clear majority of Americans, 74 percent, say they would tolerate Obama's proposal to raise taxes on those with incomes over $250,000, but neither side in the talks thinks that alone would generate enough revenue to bridge the budget gap. A smaller majority backs limits to tax deductions.
It is also clear that Americans want Obama to do the one thing he seems to be backing away from. Picking a fight with Republicans and fighting for the will of the American people:
While there is a desire for both sides to reach across the aisle in the fiscal-cliff talks, the public is particularly critical of congressional Republicans. That puts Obama in a relatively strong negotiating position with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), at least in the court of public opinion.
And it appears as if the public knows that Obama's ideas are more in line with their own but since he has shown little tendency to fight Republicans tooth and nail for them Americans are losing faith in him. Still, they give him higher marks than the Republicans, whom they see as somewhere between dog feces and dirt:
While only 45 percent of Americans give Obama positive marks, far fewer - 26 percent - approve of the way Republicans are handling the budget issue. Among Republicans, barely more than half approve of their party leaders' handling of the budget negotiations, while three-quarters of Democrats see Obama as doing a good job.
Should the talks break down, 47 percent say they would blame Republicans; 31 percent say they are more likely to point the finger at Obama. Some 18 percent, a growing number, volunteer that they would hold both sides equally culpable.
We have long known that Republicans do not care about the will of the American people. They will fight to protect the greediest and least patriotic among us no matter what because that is just what they are and what they do. They care nothing for 98% of Americans and in the last few years that fact has become painfully clear. They will not change no matter what.
However, what is really perplexing and disappointing is that the President, with such numbers behind him will not stand firm and fight for Americans as a whole. He will compromise the will of the American people yet again to compromise with zealots. If the President will not fight Republicans tooth and nail with the public so firmly entrenched behind him, when will he ever fight them and over what?
It is becoming increasingly clear what is best. No deal is much better than a bad deal which is what even the President has moved towards. All Americans should hope that we just go over this "fiscal cliff" and start all over. Sadly it is obvious that the only thing that is going to be lost in any "compromise" is what has been lost in this country for the last thirty years. Changes that benefit our country as a whole.
We should be tired of getting screwed by Democrats and Republicans.
Across America a funny thing appears to be happening. Far-Right wing zealots who for decades have been telling us all how much they love their country and have constantly lectured us about their own patriotism are having their true feelings and hypocrisy shown to all. Was it some Pulitzer winning expose' that did this? Did Geraldo Rivera open a vault of knowledge that had something in it this time? No, it was the words and actions of these un-American zealots that exposed them. You see, these folks only love their country when it represents the narrow, outdated, selfish vision they suscribe to. Far from believing in the America our forefathers envisioned these folks believe America should be a place where only the elites are represented and have a real voice in government.
Why do I say this? Because now that the election is over and a majority of our country has determined what leadership they want these right-wing zealots are showing their complete disdain for the American system if they cannot have their way and continue to outsource the middle-class to China and redistribute wealth from the working-class to the top 1%. Thousands of them all over the country are exposing themselves for what they are:
In the wake of last week's presidential election, thousands of Americans have signed petitions seeking permission for their states to peacefully secede from the United States. The petitions were filed on We the People, a government website.
States with citizens filing include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Oddly, folks from Georgia have filed twice. Even stranger, several of the petitions come from states that went for President Barack Obama.
Their case was summed up quite nicely by one of their idiot/zealot "leaders" in Texas Hardin County Republican Party treasurer Peter Morrison:
"We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity. But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity... Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years."
The text of the Texas secession petition:
The U.S. continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the U.S. suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens' standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.
Really? Now the last I remember right-wing voters in Texas and states like mine in Kentucky have been sending right-wing, Corporate stooges to Washington for decades now. They have been voting for Corporate Stooges in Presidential elections for a while. They brought us trickle-down economics in the 80s and early 90s and then elected us a Texan, via the Conservative Supreme Court in 2000.
This Texan then proceeded to culiminate three decades of trickle-down economics by redistributing more wealth upwards, outsourcing more of the middle-class, allowing the largest attack on American soil in it's history, and then putting two wars on the American credit card because of that incompetence.
This Texan elected by Texas and Conservatives everywhere then proceeded to really take rights away from the American people. Once again, to cover his own incompetence he gave us the Patriot Act and the FISA law which took real freedoms right out from under us.
Then Conservatives, far-right zealots and yes Texas combined once again to re-elect this Texan. As a result we got a failed attempt to steal our Social Security by "privitization". As we all have seen, that Social Security would now be gone for one reason. That is because this Texan crashed our economy just months later. The policies of greed, inequality, deregulation and trickle-down economics he championed and Conservative voters rubber-stamped finally took their toll and with no contributions from a middle-class it all came crashing down.
Being lectured by far-right zealots in Texas, Kentucky or any other state about patriotism, fiscal responsibility or freedom is akin to being lectured by a turd on stinking too much. For years they have not minded government as long as they got their way and have never minded government spending as long as they were the only ones slopping at the trough benefitting from it. Their way and their votes have gotten to where we are now and unfortunately for them the American people have realized it.
So you know what I say? We should grant these secessionists their wish. If they do not want to be Americans anymore then that is their god-given right. But why should we give them the state of Texas? There are many Texans of both stripes and work hard and really do care about their nation. These right-wing zealots do not deserve Texas.
What we really should do is take their little petitions and gather up the folks that signed it. We could then deport them to a place that they really believe in, that really represents their view of the world and a place they really belong. A place where government dictates your religious practices. A place where workers are slaves and have no rights to the profits they make possible. A place where you truly have no say whatsoever and no vote to change the direction of your country.
Yes, we should ship these folks to Communist China. I mean, they have been using their votes to enrich the Chinese Communists for decades and clearly believe in that form of government more than they believe in America. I think it is only fitting for them to settle there, where their vision of the world is displayed so prominently. Besides, they already would have their own Senator, the Senator for Communist China Mitch McConnell.
And frankly to these folks the truth of the matter is this. You are tired of America and many of us here are tired of you. We are tired of progress for our country as a whole being stopped by a few zealous, ignorant radicals who care nothing of their country or fellow countrymen.
So to all these secessionist I have one simple message. "Go on then". One thing I can promise is our forefathers did not envision the type of America you represent and our country would be better off without you.