So the infamous Catfood Commission, lead by so-called deficit czars Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles released the chairman’s mark of the proposed outlines to restore fiscal sanity to this country.
Of course, to the surprise of no one outside of the Beltway, their "tough, painful" choices are only so to working Americans, senior citizens, and anyone else who isn’t already rich and powerful.
Among the underpants gnome-like proposals to find "Profit!", are things like making people work longer before they can retire, slashing benefits to important social safety net programs, cutting the everloving shit out of government programs and Cabinet departments, slashing hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs within the federal government, and a ludicrous attempt to cap the spending of the government at 21% of GDP.
Oh yeah, according to some smart people, the proposal is essentially 75% slash-and-burn, while only 25% revenue raising.
In addition, according to your political God and mine, Keith Olbermann, the rich would see their tax rates go down all the way to 23%.
A handful of commission members yesterday reported being "blindsided" by the issuance of this draft. David Axelrod of the White House apparently only knew of its release mere minutes before it was to happen. Jan Schakowsky and Dick Durbin strongly suggested there was no way they could support it. Schakowsky says she would be "virulently opposed" to the cuts in Social Security. Nancy Pelosi called the proposal literally "unacceptable". Even retiring Republican Judd Gregg pointed out that parts of the proposal "disturbed" him.
Now I’m not one to believe that Gregg is as disturbed as the Democrats are, or about the same things Democrats are, but the fact that at least one Republican was able to come out and not immediately jump on the bandwagon of supporting this thing is probably a positive sign. Maybe.
At least, it would be if we didn’t have President Obama telling people to stop shooting the proposal full of holes already. Seriously.
"Before anybody starts shooting down proposals, I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts," Obama told reporters.
He added: "If people are, in fact, concerned about spending, debt, deficits and the future of our country, then they're going to need to be armed with the information about the kinds of choices that are going to be involved, and we can't just engage in political rhetoric."
So standing up for the rights and benefits of millions of senior citizens is "political rhetoric", Mr. President? Fighting to keep people in their supposed golden years out of poverty is "political rhetoric", Mr. President?
Hell, if that’s what Obama thinks is political rhetoric, I’d hate to see what he thinks of real political rhetoric.
Obama said he will await the commission's Dec. 1 formal report before commenting in detail. Members "are trying to round up 14 votes for certain aspects of the recommendations, and I want to make sure that they've got the room and the space to do so," he said.
Translation: Please bow down to the almighty Catfood Commission which I hand-picked to give the farm away to conservatives by destroying popular social programs.
Seriously, Mr. President. How much fuller of a comment would you need to make to make your aims even clearer? If you really wanted to let the commission do whatever work you set them out to do on their own, you would not make a single comment...really, ever.
Instead, your decision to speak out right now shows that you are playing your hand further away from the vest than you probably should be.
Why else would you be telling people to not pooh-pooh every idea in the commission’s draft report already unless you wanted to see them succeed? Why else would you be telling people to shut up and sit down and let them men find 14 people willing to band together in an unholy union to destroy some of the best programs the federal government has to offer?
Unless, of course, that’s exactly what you want.
Mr. President, I have come to believe that your speeches about Social Security "being there for people" or what have you might have just been some good-old fashioned political rhetoric.
Funny how you use it when it suits your needs to pull the wool over our eyes, but decry it when it is spoken contra to the things you appear to desire.
Heckuva Job, Mr. President.