...the Treasury wouldn't have to mint a coin. Seriously, I think in the past 4 years, I have read dozens of stories on DKos saying that Obama is cutting Social Security benefits and that he WANTS to cut Social Security benefits. I read the same about Medicare. It might be true during the negotiating process, which is messy, but, when the final product came out and a bill needed to be signed almost none of it ever came true.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but, I can't think of any Social Security cuts to benefits signed into law so far. And the only Medicare cuts to benefits I know of are in the sequester to the tune of $11 billion.
But that same sequestration bill also cuts from his own Affordable Care Act. Why would he want to cut from his own bill? Why would he "plan" on spending so much political capital to get a healthcare bill passed, and then cut from it afterwards?
Now, don't get me wrong, I think he wants to tamp down on the spending on these programs, and I think he wants to avoid benefits cuts as much as possible, while focusing on waste. I also think that he will only offer the cuts that affect seniors as a concession to the Republicans. But, be clear, it's a CONCESSION. To imply that he wants to give it away is just nonsense.
I think it's totally fair to criticize Obama. And I think added pressure from the left forces him to make fewer concessions. So, to that extent, even I would join you in criticizing him for proposed cuts (for example, the chained CPI). But, to imply that he is deliberately sacrificing the very people who elected him into office, I think is unfair.
The chained CPI for example, is probably the least draconian cut to Social Security. Notice how I phrased that. I'm not happy about these proposed cuts, but a progressive case for it exists. If we have to swallow a bitter pill, which we have to do in a divided government, I would like to swallow the least bitter pill possible.
The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, one of most well-respected liberal think tanks on policy analysis, has endorsed the change. As has the Center for American Progress, Washington’s most powerful liberal think tank, which recommended the chained CPI in its comprehensive Social Security reform plan.I don't want these cuts, but I also know that Republicans are crazy and don't care about governing, and I know that Obama cares about governing. I would rather we make the least damaging concessions while doing our best to govern sanely.
By all means, put pressure on Obama. But, remember that most articles like this are just hype. Don't let it personally upset you.
A good analogy would be the 2010 lame duck session. He extended tax cuts for the rich, in order to pass DADT repeal, extend unemployment benefits, ratify the START treaty among other things. So the tax cut extension for the rich was a concession. Would anyone say he wants tax cuts for the rich? Well, no, he renegotiated them a couple weeks ago. But, that didn't stop the outrage back then did it?
So offering a concession doesn't mean he wants them to happen. It means he wants to get things done. And frankly, the fact that he renegotiated previous concessions to get tax increases on the rich means that he is slowly moving the overton window to the left. I think, we forget to think of Obama's achievement of tax increases on the rich, in the context of what he conceded in 2010. Overall, it's not much of a concession for a lot of achievement.
Update: By the way, feel free to respond and argue against me, but try to do it with evidence. When you say I'm "shilling" for these cuts when I clearly say in the diary that "I don't want these cuts" and that "the chained CPI is probably the least draconian cut"- you are just being dishonest or not reading properly, or reading what you want into it so you can get outraged.
To say that I want you to sit back and not fight for anything, when I clearly say in the diary the that Obama should be pressured about this, is simply dishonest. I said the opposite of what you accused me of saying. You may not like the diary, but don't be dishonest.
Update: Anastasia P succinctly and accurately summarized this diary and I want to repeat it since some people are not reading the intent of my words and are just looking for a fight:
I agree we should be vigilant, but our organizing and work against Social Security and Medicare cuts should be based on a consistent, ongoing and thoughtful template, not on losing our minds every time a new story appears. Many groups are doing fine advocacy work on this issue. We should join them.Update:
I think there is some misunderstanding between me and some of the commenters. I'm not a senior, and I don't know the potential pain that you, as a senior, might face from drastic cuts. And by all means, be passionate about it, argue about it, and fight for your rights, and I will join you in that fight. The only thing I am concerned about is the vitriol and baseless accusations. I think these sort of things divide our community. We should argue and debate but we should also respect each other. We are all on the same side, and fighting for the same things. We are stronger only when we are united.
Again, I am not a senior, but I know what it means to grow up poor, and I know how drastic even a small cut to a pay check can feel when you are living paycheck to paycheck. But my point still stands. Be passionate but not vitriolic. Be proud, but not accusatory.
Some great comments pointed out that there are even better progressive options such as raising the cap on payroll taxes based on income. Someone even pointed out how immigration reform would help. These are great ideas we should fight for, and I'm glad I had that conversation so I can learn. So, thanks!