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View Diary: Senate Democrats tighten the screws on middle class tax cuts (69 comments)

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  •  the middle class tax cuts are a distraction (3+ / 0-)
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    draghnfly, smiley7, JerryNA

    intended to divert attention from what's really going on.

    The president and congressional Democrats are open to cutting the SS and Medicare, which they refer to as "entitlements".

    Of course, they don't say they want to "cut" those programs. The euphemism is to "strengthen" those programs to make them more "solvent" in the long term.

    On entitlements, Obama avoided specific commitments, but said he would be “happy” to look at ways to “strengthen” Social Security and Medicare if Republicans agreed to higher rates on the wealthy.
    Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said entitlement benefit cuts already were on the table.

    Hoyer said GOP proposals to raise the Medicare eligibility age, make wealthier seniors pay higher Medicare rates and limit the cost-of-living increases for some federal programs are legitimate ones, even as he warned he might not support them.

    “They were on the table in the Boehner-Obama talks. They’ve been on the table for some period of time. That does not mean that I’d be prepared to adopt them now, but they’re clearly, I think, on the table,” he said.

    It looks like there is a chance that the president will end up trading tax raises on top earners in exchange for program cuts that severely weaken Social Security and Medicare. In which case, this deal may end up being one of the worst the Democratic party has ever made.

    Those tax raises are temporary: the next Republican president will slash taxes on top earners, just like Bush did. And then he will spend hundreds and hundreds of billions on new wars, racking up the debt.

    But those cuts to SS and Medicare will never be restored, ever--the Beltway obsession with deficit reduction will prevent it.

    People will get a small rebate in their taxes, but they will feel a heavy blow when it comes to their medical care and retirement benefits.

    Especially since those who depend most on Medicare/SS generally aren't earning a great deal of income. What does a tax break mean to them, a hundred more a year, if that? Conversely, even seemingly small cuts in Medicare/SS have a huge impact on their lives. It means the difference between life and death, in some cases.

    This is a profoundly unprogressive method of deficit reduction that the Democratic party has committed itself to.

    We shouldn't be focusing on deficit reduction at all right now, and yet here we are about to take an axe to what remains of the New Deal.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:07:43 PM PST

    •  I hope you're wrong. (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think Social Security is on the table.

      Medicare -- maybe. Raising the eligibility age would be a really bad idea. The best ways to strengthen Medicare are ideas the GOP would not buy.

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