Well, well, Speaker Boehner left the Sears Toy Catalog out and dog-eared the pages for the stuff he really, really wants.
He is also writing to Santa and President Obama and the Democrats using the New York Times "Give Santa Your Wish List" leak line. He knows he has been a little naughty with the shutdown and all but he promises to do much, much better next year if we could only all just get along and give him everything on his list.
While he is looking for exciting new cookie recipes to bake and leave out on Grand Bargain Eve, let's check out the list below the festive orange squiggle.
Here's his actual list, according to the New York Times:
Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican close to Mr. Boehner, said he believed that the speaker would like to see a deal that included a new way of calculating inflation that would slow the growth of federal benefits; a means testing for Medicare, as well as some other Medicare savings; and at least some slight changes to the Affordable Care Act, like a repeal of a medical device tax unpopular with some Democrats.Ok, in order:
Mr. Cole said that Mr. Boehner wanted a broader negotiation that would involve current federal spending and the debt limit, one that “would move us towards some sort of — if not grand bargain — then big down payment on our fiscal problems,” Mr. Cole said.
1. Chained CPI,
referred to very obliquely by the NYT.
Jeez, as if we don't all know what a "new way of calculating inflation that would slow down the growth of federal benefits" is. It's like the NYT is spelling out B-I-K-E so as not to spoil the surprise under the tree. Hey! New York Times! We know all about this new way. We also all know that it is a C-U-T in benefits.
Sorry Mr. Boehner, but this one is a No-Go.But, we do have a nice can of Poppycock, the tasty candied popcorn treat for you.
2.Means testing for Medicare
which turns Medicare into Welfare as we all know.
So, sorry Mr. Boehner, but that one doesn't fly either. I think Santa has a nice vintage Rock-Em Sock-Em Robot set around here. Just pretend that one of the Robots is you and the other one is an old person needing healthcare and just beat the crap out of them. It'll have to do for now.
3. Other Medicare Savings
or, just some more non-specific gutting.
This one must be Santa's choice. We'll have to see if there isn't some major medical center serving seniors in your District that could be shut down to save money. Is that the kind of thing you were thinking of? I'm sure your voters are totally in sync with you and won't mind a bit. Thanks for offering!
4. Some "slight" change in the ACA
like the medical device tax?
Oh, dear, Santa is going to have to tell Mr. Boehner that any cuts to the ACA will have to come legislatively, passed by the House and the Senate and then signed by the President. Good luck with that, Johnny. But we do have a lovely engraved gavel for you to hit yourself in the head with because it will feel so good when you stop. Kind of a gag gift Nancy and Harry thought of.
Looks like the Boehner Wish List is a wash-out or should be a wash-out.
IF President Obama and the Democrats were foolish enough to even consider anything on the list, they need to insist that it will have to come very publicly and very clearly from the Republican side as a REPUBLICAN idea before it can even be discussed (and then rejected).
President Obama simply cannot allow Speaker Boehner to give him a pre-wrapped package to give back to him (Boehner) with the CPI inside of it and a gift tag that says: To: Speaker Boehner From: President Obama
I know that in the past, the President was self-sacrificing and diplomatic enough and bi-partisany enough to do this, but I have to believe he won't do it again because
a) We don't want to have all Democrats in 2014 being forced to run as Social Security and Medicare Cutters, do we?
b) We don't want to disgust and demotivate the Democratic base when they are as high and as unified as they have been since the Presidential election, do we?
c) We don't want a repeat of 2010, do we?