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View Diary: Are Democrats abandoning raising the Medicare eligibility age? (202 comments)

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  •  If they really are turning away from raising the (2+ / 0-)
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    ferg, Willa Rogers

    eligibility age, then thank Jeebus.  What a disaster that would be.  That front page post from a couple days ago was right: not only would it be a policy disaster, it would be an epic political disaster too.

    I mean, seriously, a couple percentage points of tax increase for rich people in exchange for screwing millions of seniors permanently?  We'd never be able to reverse that eligibility age, whereas there's always a natural constituency for lowering taxes.  If we were to make that deal, I guarantee that the very next time we have a Republican president, taxes on the wealthy will go back to Bush levels, but that Medicare eligibility age is never going down ever.

    And then there's the fact that nearly everyone in the country will see their health insurance rates go up, which they will blame on Obamacare.  Perfect.

    It may be that Obama is trying to appear as open-minded as possible so as to keep public opinion on his side in the negotiation, but this is not the way to do it.  Four fucking years and he still hasn't figured out that people don't care about how open-minded you are, they care about the results.  Intransigently opposing bad, unpopular policies actually HELPS you in the court of public opinion, dumbass.

    •  And from some of the comments on TV the talks (1+ / 0-)
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      could be for only going for a 37% on taxes for the top 2% and not the 39.5% of Clinton.  What a waste and what do we have to give up?

      •  Better to defer tax brackets--not reduce benefits (1+ / 0-)
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        … if stimulus spending is part of the deal.

        Any benefit cuts will be used to cut up Democrats in future elections.

        The only issue on which it is reasonable to make concessions in order to get a deal passed by the House is on short-term and perhaps medium-term revenue. For example, provide for the top Clinton tax rate to start at the income threshold of $500K in 2013, and for this threshold to be reduced by $50K each subsequent year so that it reaches $250K in 2018, and then stays there.

        Economically, this type of gradual revenue increase:

        (a) would address the only federal budget deficit issue that matters at all, which is the long-term trend, and

        (b) would avoid counteracting the government stimulus (including various spending that would need to be part of the deal) which now appears from economic data to be crucial to maintain and increase for at least the next couple of years.

        Politically, this type of approach:

        (a) would increase economic growth and reduce unemployment, thereby putting a stake through the heart of the Republicans' 2008-2012 attempt to weaken the economy in order to weaken Democrats, and

        (b) would enable Boehner to show his contributors and other anti-tax fanatics that he had done something for them -- i.e., further delaying the full expiry of the temporary Bush tax cuts, with most of the reductions coming after the 2014 and 2016 elections, when, if the Republicans win big, they would have the opportunity to pass legislation replacing this sequence with new tax rates.

        I hope that Obama (consistently with his famous preference for gradualism) secretly intends to make this his final offer to Boehner, and has only been bluffing that an immediate 250K threshold is his most important bottom line.

        Of course the win-wins of this approach could be made even stronger by providing now for:
        zero tax increases during 2013-14, followed by a
        750K threshold during 2015-16, a
        500K threshold during 2017-20, and then a
        250K threshold from 2021.

        But the negatives of an 8-year transition to increasing revenue would include the following:

        (a) It might bring the proverbial bond vigilantes out of hibernation in a few years, and

        (b) It would certainly be perceived by everybody as kicking hard choices too far down the road.

        An 8-year transition to increasing revenue would lend a talking point to the liars who assert that "both parties are fiscally irresponsible" but:

        (a) most of those liars will keep lying whatever the Democrats do, as the transition from Clinton's surpluses to W's deficits proved, and

        (b) 8 years of partial revenue increases would be a year shorter than the 9 years of W's original tax-cuts -- a comparison which lends itself to snappy sound-bites that not only defend the 8-year approach but also remind the audience of who dug the fiscal ditch in the first place.

    •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
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      As you said "Four fucking years and he still hasn't figured out that people don't care about how open-minded you are, they care about the results. ". He still hasn't. He wants to be a "Great President".

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