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View Diary: Treasury: October 17 default deadline (45 comments)

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  •  Occam's Razor (1+ / 0-)
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    alwaysquestion

    It seems to me that if Obama and Boehner wanted to cut SS then they would just do that.  What would stop them?  Obama, Reid and Pelosi could wrangle enough votes in the House and Senate to put such a cut on Obama's desk tomorrow.

    They don't do that because in the game they are playing entitlement cuts are a bargaining chip, not a goal in themselves.

    What is the goal?  Control.

    House Republicans want to dictate terms to the President and the Senate.  They don't want a seat at the negotiation table; they want full capitulation.

    •  No, because Pelosi and Reid (2+ / 0-)
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      limpidglass, alwaysquestion

      would rather look like they were forced into it by the evil Republicans. They are looking to 2014. Obama, of course, doesn't need to worry about any more elections, but Pelosi and Reid are going to have enough problems in 2014 without enraging the people by cutting Social Security (remember that the Repubs, despite their decaying state, still have one of the best propaganda-dissemination networks in the history of history:  Fox News (and these days CNN as well) backed up by a massive web of talk radio, backed up by ten thousand pulpits.) There wouldn't be any sharing of blame for Social Security cuts, you can guarantee that:  the Democrats would own it.

      Equally, Boehner can't be seen to be too cozy with Obama, or he and his will face serious problems from his right flank.

      Entitlement cuts are a goal, but they're also a hot potato, and nobody wants to be left at election time holding the hot potato.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 08:18:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  because whichever party cuts SS (2+ / 0-)

      will become incredibly unpopular, and will be relegated to the political wilderness for the next generation.

      After the 2004 elections, Bush had increased Republican majorities in Congress and was at the peak of his power. Yet when he proposed to privatize SS, he was beaten soundly and then his party lost control of both houses of Congress in the next election.

      It's really, really hard to cut Social Security. Obama has been angling to cut it since the very beginning of his presidency (he called the Catfood Commission in '09 for this very reason) and his efforts began in earnest once the Republicans regained the House and he could start "negotiating" with them.

      For nearly two and a half years, he's sunk tons of his political capital into this project, abetted the Republicans in manufacturing a permanent state of never-ending fiscal crisis in order to provide a pretext for cuts in the New Deal programs, and he still hasn't gotten what he wanted. That's how resilient Social Security is!

      The Republicans are smart enough to realize that they would be destroyed if they got the blame for cutting SS. Their Congressional leadership have not gone on record with any proposals; they have simply waited for Obama to make them an offer. And he has.

      They scored a great victory when Obama formally went on record and wrote the chained CPI into his budget request. You can bet they will run against that in 2014 and 2016.

      There is also tremendous Democratic resistance to cutting SS. There are still some vestiges of the old Democratic party of FDR/Truman/LBJ left, and many Democrats in tough, marginal seats understand the political value of posing as the defenders of the New Deal and Great Society programs. The Democratic base is firmly opposed to cuts in SS. All this is very difficult to overcome.

      But Obama will never face election again, and he can devote himself fully to getting a Grand Bargain. And he is absolutely, totally committed to cutting the New Deal programs, which he sees as spendthrift and wasteful. He sees it as the central aim of his presidency and he won't give up until he's out of office.

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

      by limpidglass on Wed Sep 25, 2013 at 08:25:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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