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John Nichols at The Nation writes Obama's Chained-CPI Social Security Cut is Smart Politics... For the GOP:

But Walden is no newcomer to the House, or to high-stakes political campaigning.

He’s one of the savviest political players in Congress. A veteran state legislator who managed congressional campaigns before his own election to the House in 1999, he “gets” how to win elections in competitive regions and states. And his fellow Republicans recognize this reality: He chaired the House Republican Leadership through 2010 and, when Republicans retook the chamber that year, he chaired the House Majority Transition Committee.

Walden is now the head of the National Republican Campaign Committee, meaning that he is responsible for making sure that Republicans hold their House majority in 2014. That explains why Walden is ripping the president’s decision to go with “Chained-CPI.” And it explains why austerity opponents are ripping Walden – they fear any tears in the fabric of fantasy that suggests only a cuts agenda (as opposed to a growth agenda) can balance budget.

Tim Carpenter and Mike Hersh at In These Times conclude that  Cutting Social Security is a recipe for social insecurity:
Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl Grijalva  and Keith Ellison issued a statement explaining, “One hundred seven Members of the House of Representatives, a majority of the Democratic Caucus, have already stated our vigorous opposition to cutting Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits.” Progressives in Congress could block the cuts, but it’s going to take a movement to turn back austerity hysteria.
Jill Filipovic: at The Guardian writes Why I wish Huma Abedin had left Anthony Weiner in the dust:
But, like feminist writer Katha Pollitt said ,when commenting on a different political sex scandal, just once, I'd like to see a publicly humiliated political wife give both her man and Tammy Wynette the finger and walk away. Even better if she goes full flame-thrower on her husband. Air the dirty laundry. Don't just refuse to do the smiling couple photo ops; as Pollitt suggests, "skip the press conference and fly off to Paris instead". Put the trip on his credit card.

It sounds ugly and uncouth and unladylike, I know. And it is. All the more the reason to do it.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Erika Eichelberger at Mother Jones writes about the The Liberal Civil War Over Social Security Cuts:

Liberals have been fighting the administration on chained CPI before it was ever included in the budget. Last year, 107 House Democrats signed a letter saying, "Social Security has not contributed to our current fiscal problems and it should not be on the bargaining table." Another 30 Democrats in the House signed a similar letter. In November, over 250 economists and social-insurance experts signed a statement opposing the proposal, saying there was "no empirical basis for reducing…Social Security" with the chained CPI inflation adjustment because the elderly experience a higher rate of inflation than the rest of the population.
Derek Thompson at The Atlantic writes Reality Check: Obama Cuts Social Security and Medicare by Much More Than the GOP:
Have I forgotten about Ryan's Medicare reforms after 2023? Nope. But I don't understand why, in 2013, it's considered reasonable, brave, or admirable to propose a dramatic and radical Medicare change that won't take effect for another ten years. That's seven years after Obama has left office. It's not for another two presidential election cycles plus another midterm. I'd rather talk about what these budget plans for this year, and this decade.

And here's the bottom line: Obama preserves federal Medicaid spending, he doesn't unwind Obamacare, and he spends much more on mandatory and non-defense discretionary programs than Ryan proposed. But his cuts to Social Security and Medicare combined are somewhere between $200 billion and $380 billion deeper than the GOP budget. On these programs there is no room to "compromise." The president is already to the right of the right.

Larry Kudlow at NRO writes Obama’s Growth-Busting Budget:
No matter how you slice the Obama budget pie, the inescapable fact is that the president wants to get rid of the roughly $1 trillion budget-cutting sequester and substitute in a $1 trillion-plus tax hike. In other words, more spending, more taxing. Growth-busting. The GOP should just say no.

And let me provide some counsel to my Republican friends in Washington, in particular in the House. Balanced budgets don't create growth. This mantra is wrong. It's growth that creates balanced budgets.

Paul Krugman at The New York Times writes about bitcoin and goldbugs in The Antisocial Network:
The practical misconception here — and it’s a big one — is the notion that we live in an era of wildly irresponsible money printing, with runaway inflation just around the corner. It’s true that the Federal Reserve and other central banks have greatly expanded their balance sheets — but they’ve done that explicitly as a temporary measure in response to economic crisis. I know, government officials are not to be trusted and all that, but the truth is that Ben Bernanke’s promises that his actions wouldn’t be inflationary have been vindicated year after year, while goldbugs’ dire warnings of inflation keep not coming true.
Owen Jones: at the Independent writes that Our hate figures and heroes are mere surfers on the tide of history:
“We of the older generation may not live to see the decisive battles of this coming revolution,” declared Vladimir Lenin in January 1917; a month later, the Russian Tsar was deposed, and by the end of the year the Bolshevik leader would be ruling revolutionary Russia. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand may have been the immediate trigger for the First World War; but a Europe divided into two hostile camps was a tinderbox that was always going to explode. Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela became the figureheads of the Indian and South African causes of freedom; but it was the involvement of millions in sometimes violent struggles that ensured victory.
E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post writes Newtown’s call to reason:
The truth is that the Newtown slaughter has finally moved the gun debate away from irrational emotions, ridiculous assumptions, manipulative rhetoric — and, on the part of politicians, debilitating terror at the alleged electoral reach of those who see any new gun regulations as a step into totalitarianism. These bills are being taken seriously precisely because we are finally putting emotion aside. We are riding a wave of reason.

Reason tells us that those who embrace the old slogan that “guns don’t kill people, people do” should support background checks because their very purpose is to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people, including criminals and those with deep psychological disturbances. Reason tells us that mass killers will kill fewer people if they cannot buy large magazines and have to keep reloading their weapons. Reason tells us that our freedom as Americans does not rest on the existence of an armed citizenry.

Adam Winkler at the New York Daily News writes :
In the 1990s, when the first background check law was passed, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre warned that it was the first step to gun confiscation. A statement from the group claimed the feds would “go house to house, kicking in the law-abiding gun owners’ doors.”

There are 300 million pieces of evidence to prove this prediction wrong.
Today, LaPierre says background checks will lead to a national registry of guns, which will be used to confiscate our weapons. Federal law, however, explicitly bans the creation of a national gun registry.

Jose Miguel Leyva, at The Progressive writes Immigration reform can’t come soon enough:
Fortunately, the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have managed to work out at least the trappings of an agreement on a new guest worker program. What remains to be seen is if our political leaders can do the same, especially while ensuring the guest worker program truly provides equal treatment, decent conditions and fair pay for workers.
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