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The sources mentioned in the following pieces are anonymous so you should take all of this with a grain of salt, but it appears administration officials are hinting that Social Security cuts will not be mentioned in the State of the Union.

Marc Ambinder has a SOTU preview piece based on what administration officials, one a “senior adviser,” are telling him to expect, and he writes:

Liberals are worried that Obama will call for Social Security benefit cuts (which is unlikely) or that he will ask Congress to subject more income to Social Security taxes (which is possible).

In addition the New York Times also has a SOTU preview article that provides more good news in line with what Ambinder has reported:

Mr. Obama is unlikely, they said, to embrace the recommendations of a bipartisan majority on the debt-reduction commission he created, which proposed slashing projected annual deficits through 2020 with deep cuts in domestic and military spending, changes to Social Security and Medicare, and an overhaul of the individual and corporate tax codes to simplify them and to raise additional revenues.

Of course, it’s possible that the administration’s definition of “benefit cuts” might be very different from how most of us would define it, for instance they might not see increasing the retirement age as a “benefit cut.”  I guess we’ll see.  But Ambinder seems to be stating that Liberals’ worries are unlikely to come true.

It's still not going to be a speech that will make disaffected liberals fall in love with President Obama all over again.  Apparently he will continue to talk about bipartisanship.  He may talk about lowering corporate tax rates in exchange for ending some current tax breaks, which gives some cause for anxiety.  President Obama will still make the deficit and cutting spending a major theme in his speech.

But if the reports by Ambinder and by the New York Times are correct, at least President Obama won’t be talking about slashing Social Security and he won’t be adopting the Bowles-Simpson commission’s recommendations, which would be very welcome news.  Along with today's news that President Obama will also be asking for more spending on infrastructure and education, it's possible that Tuesday night may not be as shitty as I had expected.  

Originally posted to puakev on Sat Jan 22, 2011 at 09:40 PM PST.

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