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Elderly man with cane
Starting last Friday and over the weekend, a variety of sources (notably Ezra Klein and Jonathon Chait) wrote that the the emerging deal in the fiscal cliff was coming with a little bit of a concession from the right—a few percentage points tax hike for the rich, instead of a larger one—and a much bigger concession from the left—Medicare eligibility age. That seems to be the gathering consensus of how this is going to go. Consider this Bloomberg story.
Lawmakers from both parties are leaving rhetorical room for a split-the-difference agreement with President Barack Obama on a U.S. budget deal. [...]

The top income tax rate could be set at 37 percent or 38 percent, between the current 35 percent and the 39.6 percent rate that will return in 2013 if Congress does nothing. Both parties could accept down payments of revenue and spending cuts in 2013 and overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs next year.

Considering the election results, and how Democrats won that election on the two prongs of doing away with tax cuts for the rich and protecting Medicare, this is pretty weird. Making it even weirder is the fact that by just not negotiating, by stepping off the curb at the end of the year, tax rates would go up to a top rate of 39.6 without any old people getting hurt.

Raising the Medicare eligibility as nothing more than a political gift to Republicans who will repay it with the nothing other than more demands to privatize the program is a bad idea now. It was a bad idea a year ago and hasn't improved with the passage of time. It's also entirely unnecessary.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:27 PM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The debt limit is the modern equivalent of a (9+ / 0-)

    chastity belt.
    Our Uncle Cons are trying to preserve the goodies for themselves.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:32:44 PM PST

  •  Holy crap. Really? (15+ / 0-)

    What part of winning is not being understood here?  This is, like, a perfect hand.  You gotta know when to hold 'em.

      •  Right. That's what I mean. (21+ / 0-)

        A perfect hand is a mandate for raising allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire.  We've got that.  And it's gonna happen if we all just stop negotiating.  What I don't get is why any democrat would consider talking about bargaining away the social safety net at this time.  It's like folding a winning hand.

      •  Not only that (29+ / 0-)

        but it has to be the most fucking stupid idea out there for saving money.  It doesn't.  

        All you're doing is removing the healthiest people off Medicare which means the costs of Medicare will skyrocket.  A majority of those people 65-67 won't be able to afford private insurance because frankly NO insurance company in it's right mind will want to ensure a 65-67 year old unless it's at a ridiculously high premium with some equally ridiculously high deductible.  That means, those 65-67 year olds will very likely end up in Medicaid which of course will drive up the costs of Medicaid as well.



        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:45:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it's not stupid if your goal (17+ / 0-)

          is to destroy Medicare and open it up to total privatization. In fact, it's exactly what you would do, as the opening salvo.

          The Ryan plan is not intended to begin the battle. You reserve that all-out assault for when you've already opened up a breach.

          If this deal goes through, I give Medicare ten years, tops before it's privatized into nothing.

          Cuts to the social safety net will cause a recession because those programs have a huge economic impact. That recession will be used as an excuse for more austerity, to cut further.

          Then we will see the reemergence of the Ryan plan, except this time it'll be passed into law.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:54:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are they going to (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          janinsanfran, barbwires, jm214, whaddaya

          have an age donut hole in health care coverage from say 65 to 67?

          People at that age would simply would live in Hungary or Poland between 65 and 67 where health coverage would be a fraction of the price and where full USA-level Social Security payouts are required by treaty.

        •  Medicare is financially 100% funded until (10+ / 0-)

          about 2019 and Social Security is 100% funded to about 2037.

          The current financial problems lie outside of Social Security and Medicare.

        •  Cost of Medicare will not skyrocket, but the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          per-capita cost will go up.

          The real problem is ACA. Those people who get kicked off of Medicare would be eligible to buy insurance through exchanges and, for most of them, receive huge tax credits (not deductions) to mitigate their costs.

          So -- this is a saving that might actually cost money.

          BTW -- it would be ok if they went on Medicaid instead, as the CBO estimates that Medicaid costs will be substantially less than exchange costs.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:52:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, except the (4+ / 0-)

            Reublican governors are refusing Medicaid money, and refusing to set up exchanges.  So Seniors will have nowhere to go for help from states either.  Does no one remember the very reason WHY we set up Medicare in the first place?!  Retirees losing their employer paid health insurance, and unable to get affordable health insurance on the private market, because they were OLD and expensive.  Can't make a profit off old folks who are guaranteed to get older and sicker.

            •  Governors cannot keep exchanges from being (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              set up.  If the states don't run them, the feds will.

              The exchanges will be an option for those kicked off Medicare, but there is a first year problem as the subsidies come in the form of tax credits.

              There could be some cost savings, depending on the number of seniors who purchase coverage from the exchanges.

              Part of the CBO calculation of ACA savings is an estimate that 3,000,000 Medicaid recipients kicked off of Medicaid will opt to go without insurance instead of purchasing insurance through the exchanges.  The CBO estimates that exchange insurance will cost the federal government $9,000 a head by 2020, as opposed to $6,000 for Medicaid, meaning no money is saved if too many of those abandoned recipients sign up for low-cost insurance on the exchanges.

              I imagine that a similar dynamic would apply to Medicare -- enough people go without insurance, money is saved. Otherwise, more money is spent.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:26:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Bigger problem w/Federal exchange (0+ / 0-)
                but there is a first year problem as the subsidies come in the form of tax credits.
                As was pointed out to me, the PPACA includes a feature to "Provide refundable and advanceable premium credits". I've don't know what form that these will take or how much paperwork this will require but this may not be a big problem.

                A bigger problem with the Federal exchanges is that the PPACA does not actually provide subsidies for those utilizing the Federal exchange, only for those utilizing state exchanges.

                The IRS regulations don't make this distinction (their regulations provide subsidies for clients of the Federal exchange as well) so the IRS is not implementing the letter of the PPACA. This will end up in court unless it is rendered moot by intervening legislation. I think it's likely that the courts will hold that the IRS must implement what the PPACA stated, not what they have specified in the regulations they drafted. However, the legislative history of the PPACA may reveal something that I'm unaware of. Earlier drafts of the PPACA did provide subsidies for clients of both types of exchanges so the omission seems to be intentional rather than just an oversight (IIRC, text was explicitly removed in later versions to limit subsidies to just clients of the state exchanges).

                An employer is only subject to a penalty for not offering health coverage if one of their employees receives a subsidy as a result. Therefore, the party with the best standing to challenge the discrepancy between the IRS regulations and the PPACA is an employer who is assessed a penalty for not offering insurance and whose employee(s) received a subsidy on the Federal exchange.

                Since employers won't be penalized until well after the subsidies have already been paid, if the government successfully fights this based on standing, that would delay the courts' involvement for a while. Hopefully that won't result in the subsidies being "clawed back" if the courts rule against the IRS position.

                Perhaps the IRS can skirt this issue by just not implementing fines on employers whose employees are all in states w/o state exchanges in order to deny these employers standing.

                •  You're making my head hurt. (0+ / 0-)

                  Just when I thought I was starting to understand this mess.

                  It's worse than I thought.

                  Back to reading...reading..reading.

                  Thanks, though, for the clarification.

                  I think.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:41:35 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, because Medicaid is a death sentence for man (6+ / 0-)

            y. Good luck finding, e.g., a urologist or cardiologist that will even see Medicaid patients.

            And for all the Punditpeople who are so happy about shoving the old and weak worker or fellow American of any sort or personal history into Medicaid "nursing homes," I hope and pray that each and every one of them encounters a life change that puts THEM "on Medicaid," so they can enjoy the kindly attentions that for-profit-drive Sad Sack nurses and aides and CNAs in those hellholes will "afford" them. And of course the "drive-by doctors that specialize in Medicaid "patient care." I'm a nurse, and would be happy to hear other nurses' horror stories of what goes on in the way of "care" in UNsurance-land and state-experiment Medicare.

            And why are so many so happy to be excusing Obama and his hit men in advance for "getting the best deal that was available?" It sure looks like a sellout and a good start on the demolition of the New Deal, which is what the shitheads on the Rich Right have been wanting since they failed to kick FDR out with a coup back in 1933.

            He just signed off on $651 billion for "defense," that enormous fraud, and another half a trillion is out there on off-books fun money for the war-gamers to play with. Focus, please?

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:33:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Couldn't have said it better myself, and I'm real (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              sure we come from very different angles politically.

              We've been so busy congratulating the administration for getting ACA pass, we've ignored that the real problem is that American health care is rotten (and expensive) to the core.

              That problem wasn't addressed, which is too bad, because there really is no need for Medicare and Medicaid as special programs if health care is made rational.  

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:01:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Gee, and what do you mean by "rational?" Privat- (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                tsk, whaddaya

                ize everything?

                Maybe I should run my tape about how much of my time I spend, every day, trying to get the people I try to provide actual CARE for past the default "deny coverage" phalanx of gate-keepers in the Private Unsurance business? Formulary games, "stepped therapy," a whole range of "prior authorization" tricks and scams? How about the "donut hole?"

                There's no getting any kind of "rational" actual health care, as opposed to just another money-grubbing, regulatory-capturing, fuck-over-the-weak-and-poor business model, if you "trust the dead hand of the market" to "fix things." It's the core sickness of our culture, especially the "business" culture.

                And yes, Medicare is a leaking tanker, with lots of "business" types unlimbering their power drills to make more holes to siphon the General Welfare out of. But as a caregiver and a participant, I KNOW IT WORKS. And you can never kill off all the corruption in our species, but there are lots of relatively straightforward fixes for the bad incentives and loopholes and scam-perations that are currently part of it. Medicare IS NOT THE PROBLEM. Stealing the last bit of security and comfort and mutual care from most people's lives, to fatten the lives of a very tiny few even further than they already are, is not any kind of an answer. It's a "I got mine and most or nearly all of yours too, so FUUUUCCKKKK-YOU!" to the rest of us.

                "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                by jm214 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:24:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  By rational I mean a number of things: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  1. Moved away from employer-based benefits

                  2. Move to a more collaborative model similar to what you might see at the Mayo clinic or in the military care system.
                  The current insurance-driven "handoff to a specialist" system is terrible medicine and terrible for cost control.

                  3.  Probably a deep dive into something resembling socialized medicine or, at the very least, away from pay per procedure model.

                  4. As to private/public, I am a great believer in free markets, so wherever that can work, I am happy. We have nothing like that in health care, and I'm not optimistic that we could -- certainly not with so much being driven by insurance companies.  Even little things get in the way of that, however.  How many of us are prepared to make good market decisions when told we have cancer?  Even Steve Jobs, a very smart man with all the money in the world, screwed up on that one.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:43:42 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not sure that's a great example ;) (0+ / 0-)
                    Even Steve Jobs, a very smart man with all the money in the world, screwed up on that one.
                    The stupid decisions that Jobs made had nothing to do with cost, availability of care (except, perhaps, to use his vast resources to venue shop to increase availability of a last ditch liver transplant), or "markets" so his situation doesn't seem like a very good example.

                    His personal, and probably fatal, decisions seem to have been driven by a lack of acceptance of standard medical and scientific methods (this failing was consistent with some of his behaviors well before he was diagnosed with cancer as far as anyone knows).

                    I doubt he was reimbursed a penny for his "alternative" care/strategies or that we would implement a system in the US within our lifetimes that would force a mentally competent adult to receive conventional medical care if they refused it.

                    •  Point taken, but not so bad if you think about it. (0+ / 0-)

                      Market theory presumes rational decision making, but we don't always react well to being told our life is in danger.

                      Jobs had the financial resources to do whatever he wanted to, but was unable to make a rational health care decision -- something he admitted near the end of his life.

                      How much worse it must be for somebody who's got to rob Peter to pay Paul, or just rob Peter and hope for the best.

                      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                      by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:45:21 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Cute Peter-Paulism there. "Market theory" is (0+ / 0-)

                        a lot of bullshit, from my perspective as a nurse and as a 66-year-old Vienam vet and father and grandfather who was an attorney for 28 years and has worked in and with a wide variety of businesses and for 14 years in state and federal government.

                        It's the narrowest kind of strait-jacketing of the nature of human interactions, removing all the normative and emotional richness of how we really "deal" with each other. But it's a waste of time to argue the point: You have your beliefs, which I think I can fairly infer from your comments, and I have mine. And the Rich Shits who are riding us working folks into the ground are much enamored of "Market Theory" (with the portentous apotheothetic Initial Caps) to justify their own soulless way of life.

                        I just got off the phone with a person with a slowly terminal disease, who has worked a long hard prudent life and now has to beg, for all kinds of stuff, while trying to dodge a "Market Theory" Juggernaut called the "donut hole." Cat food, or life-prolonging medicines: That's her "Market Theory" choice.

                        Your "Market Theory" ignores, or actually lauds and justifies,  the beatitudinal and horrific realities at the far ends of the power-and-wealth scale, including the continued stripping of the little bits of wealth and security of those in the middle of the scale for the .

                        I get VA health care and now qualify for Medicare, and have worked with all kinds of "health insurance" providers to try to obtain "care" for the patients I work with. Your set has nothing but sectarian contempt for "socialized medicine." I have nothing but contempt, and increasingly active hatred, for "libertarians," and Koch-suckers, and that whole bunch who are saddling us with the current load of long- slow- dying. Upward wealth transfer, a grand Henry Potter theft of all that's good, masquerading behind a film of pure fraud.

                        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                        by jm214 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:28:20 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  "My set?" (0+ / 0-)

                          Goodness, you haven't been reading my posts very well at all, then, have you?

                          I have said, quite explicitly, that I prefer a kind of health care approach like the one I group up with, which was military medicine, a form of socialized medicine.

                          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                          by dinotrac on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:28:53 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

        •  Why doesn't anyone here (0+ / 0-)

          believe these people could use Obamacare?

          Is there some kind of exclusion for people over 65?

          Just trying to understand why the conversation here always seems to ignore Obamacare as the alternative if the age was raised.

          Don't get me wrong, I'm opposed to raising the medicare age - I think it should be lowered to 50, honestly - but I'm confused as to why this doesn't come up.

      •  His compromising helped to lose the house in 2010 (15+ / 0-)

        Now he's working on losing it some more in 2014.  If his big power move looks half-assed here, the Dems will pay for it.  People hate weak and, now that he's finally acting tough, being less than tough will look paper tigerish and that's worst than weak.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:47:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

          Would the tea party have been less popular if Obama had, for example, pushed through single payer?

          If Obama had not been able to say "you can keep your current insurance if you like it", do you think the tea party would have attracted less supporters?

          I really doubt it.

          Sure, Obama "appears" weak to some because he is willing to compromise. But, everyone who was paying attention during the campaign in 2008 knew that and he was still elected. There are no surprises here nor should anyone be surprised when he eventually "compromises" on the fiscal curb.

          Most "moderates" actually want politicians to compromise rather than risk throwing the baby out with the bath water and it is "moderates" (a.k.a. "swing voters", "low information voters", or "voters with little passion for politics") who decide elections.

          In the absence of major catastrophic events (WWIII, an attack on our shores by another powerful country, a fiscal meltdown that makes the last one look like a nursery school play,...), I think we are unlikely to have a POTUS in the US for a very long time that isn't a compromiser at heart. A passionate "take no prisoners" principled approach (such as, perhaps, Ralph Nader or Ron Paul might be expected to take) just doesn't appeal to enough people to get elected by a population as diverse as that in the US. That's why House members are more likely to be such people -- they usually represent a much less diverse population than the POTUS does.

    •  Obama is new at holding. And now it's clear (8+ / 0-)

      he's making side bets against himself.  He talks about standing firm on increasing tax rates for the richest, but he never said he wouldn't compromise on that or that anything else couldn't be given up.  (Although I don't think he sees screwing with entitlement benefits as giving up anything since that's been in his plans since the get go.)

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:44:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We did not win, the only group that ever "wins" (6+ / 0-)

      in an oligarchy is the rich.  The rest is just a show.

    •  I still think there won't be a deal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, RadGal70

      Just like last time, Obama is putting horrible policy "on the table" to make himself look more reasonable when Boehner can't get his caucus together.  The Tea Party isn't going to vote for a package that officially sets the top rate at 37% because this would still constitute a tax increase from Daddy Norquist's point of view.

      Obviously, I could be way off on this, but I don't think that within the next 20 days there will be any deal that includes a raise in the Medicare age.  I think Obama intends to drive over the fiscal cliff and negotiate a new deal with the next Congress on more favorable terms to progressives.  Of course, I also thought it was a good idea to play the Cardinals D/ST in the first round of fantasy playoffs.

      •  President Obama has put nothing on the table (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        v2aggie2, RadGal70, pamelabrown

        except for the tax rates for the top 2% must revert to Clinton era levels. Period. That's it. No entitlements. And Boehner is having his usual hissy fit and whining like a baby. Stop listening to the villager rumor mill :)
        They're gonna keep doing this shit because they have absolutely no new information to share.

        "On this train, dreams will not be thwarted, on this train faith will be rewarded" The Boss

        by mindara on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:19:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  A funny definition of "winning" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      What part of winning is not being understood here?
      Democrats did not win the House.

      "Winning" would have been taking control of the House.

      Although, even if that had happened, I'm pretty sure this thread would have been just as long (albeit on a somewhat different subtopic of tax/budget reform) complaining about how certain Democrats are not sufficiently loyal to Progressive causes. If one questions this, review threads from 2009/2010

  •  Oh, yeah. (15+ / 0-)

    Tax the rich, and tax corporations.  Eisenhower rates would be appropriate.

    Then maybe we can fix the infrastructure (like water mains that break every year or two) and bridges (so that trains and cars don't make them collapse) and sewage systems (so a downpour doesn't dump sewage into our streets)...and so forth.

    Complementary to this:  we need to record and publicize, publicize, publicize all the GOP resistance to anything and everything that is good for the 99 percent.

    To make the argument that the media has a left- or right-wing, or a liberal or a conservative bias, is like asking if the problem with Al-Qaeda is do they use too much oil in their hummus. Al Franken

    by Youffraita on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:39:03 PM PST

    •  The Eisenhower Tax Bill (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I've been saying it for a long time.  

      Where the left has completely fallen down on this is in pulling the President to the left.  Where's the far left proposal that energizes the base and forces the President to not move to the right?  Instead our think tanks largely seem to produce "serious" proposals aimed at deficit reduction and showing how the left can be serious about spending cuts, too.

      So here's my radical proposal: half.  Income over 1,000,000 is taxed at a 50% marginal rate.  That's all income, including capital gains.

      End every deduction, and every credit.  Put in place a universal tax credit per person or per household that acts as a universal safety net, ending the maze of other programs we have.  Everyone except someone filing over the 1,000,000 rate collects the same amount of credit, to reduce adverse marginal effects.  

      Find other rates that produce the revenue we need and keep an effective, progressive tax structure.  Give income inequality a gigantic body blow.  Make America better.  

      I'm end business taxation too, and just try to capture every distribution of income to individuals, but that's just a wild notion in my head I haven't developed yet (maybe have an excess capital holdings tax to make sure businesses don't sit on too much money and keep money velocity up).  

  •  Who's surprised? (27+ / 0-)

    Forget what's on the table. The cuts to entitlements have been on Obama's plate since for a long time.

    Two words: Catfood Commission.  Look who he appointed as chairs.  He's been ready to cave (or, should I say, "enable," "enact" or "implement") since he was elected.

    Yes, he's (finally) making a big push to raise tax rates on the wealthiest, but he never said he wouldn't touch Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid in ways that directly affect benefits.  

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:41:17 PM PST

    •  actually (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, jm214, MPociask, bdop4

      in the debate he said he and Romney agreed on Social Security.  

      He's been pretty clear on this.  

      "I'll hold my nose and vote but I won't hold my nose and canvass or call or donate." Some Dkos Comment

      by onemadson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:53:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Catfood Commission had better sense (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DSPS owl, accumbens, MPociask

      and did not recommend any changes in Medicare.  Instead it said Medicare should be revisited in 4 to 5 years, after the HCA has been fully implemented.

      Raising the eligibility age will cost millions of people thousands more dollars, people who will not have much money to begin with.  Some unknown number will likely die as a result.  The hardship, pain, and suffering they will bear to preserve a slightly greater income for the already wealthiest in society is absolutely perverse.

      Obama has wanted to cut entitlements for at least a decade, much they same way as Bush et al wanted to get rid of Sadam.  And like them, Obama is looking for a reason, and facts don't matter.

      •  Do you think the "entitled" shitheads in the Villa (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ge care about whether the ACA and more private UNsurance will take ever more real wealth out ot the pockets of the poorer and poorest of us for the Kelptocrats to play with?

        Just a rhetorical question.

        And Obama and his bunch are now well and truly among the "entitled," in the REAL sense of the term...

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:37:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  John Boehner got (5+ / 0-)

    98% of what he wanted in 2011 because they won. Splitting the difference would've been laughed at by the GOP then, so the idea that this deal should be the mid-point after a resounding dem victory is a joke.

    What's worse, using that logic the media should be saying the Medicare age goes to 66 but noooo...the republican ask is not watered down. You add in the reality of rates going up anyway and it becomes ridiculous to even talk about beneficieries.

    MAYBE if the Republicans completely caved on taxes and threw in stimulus, a subtle means testing of Medicare could be bargained. Maybe.

  •  This post isn't accurate, Chait said he was writin (19+ / 0-)

    g an opinion piece and has no sources, Ezra Klein admitted that no such deal is on the table and he was mostly just thinking back to 2011 and theorizing what a deal could look like, in his opinion.

  •  Revenue Problem (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dickensgirl, bear83, DSPS owl

    Respond Simply to the R's favorite phrase: "we don't have revenue problem, we have a spending problem." NO in fact "We don't have a spending problem we have a revenue problem" Taxes lowest ever!

  •  The compromise position is the fiscal cliff. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, bear83

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:48:03 PM PST

  •  So, there are no elections in 2014 then? (21+ / 0-)

    Good. Then the Democrats won't have to run on "we helped make you or your parents suffer longer and die earlier" as a rallying point.

    This is infuriating. A Wall Street transaction tax makes the deficit go away. A confiscatory tax on pulling business from the US to elsewhere makes the flight threat of Wall Street to foreign climes go away.

    Why the hell can't any of our political adults [sic] say this in public and insist it be done? Pay-offs? Stupidity?

    What the fuck are they thinking? Piss off the older voters and their kids so we can pretend we're every bit as reasonable as Republicans?

    What's next: selling the every-growing number of poor children off as food as a rational proposal?

    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 03:48:56 PM PST

  •  Well said, Joan. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  It's as if we have to be hypervigilant (15+ / 0-)

    every fucking second of every fucking minute of every fucking hour of every fucking day. If not, we will be offered hemlock by Republicans deigning to wonder why we won't hurry up and drink it because we are a center right nation and if only they had run a true conservative and 47% didn't want gifts, then blah blah fucking blah. Every fucking second.

  •  I really don't think rumors and beltway opinions (13+ / 0-)

    needed to make the FP.

  •  whoever said Obama is a (4+ / 0-)

    Liberal or a a Progressive?
    This (entitlement cuts) is part of his long term agenda.

    Nixon in China

    Obama in Washington

    I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

    by tapu dali on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:26:38 PM PST

  •  only potential old people (0+ / 0-)

    The old people will still have their social security and medicare - raising the age does not hurt them at all as they are already qualified.  It will hurt those moving toward retirement age and will likely cause those people to hold off on retirement if they can.  Still, if social security and medicare are off limits then who is going to get hurt when the cutting starts and it will start.

  •  Maybe its time to end the war on drugs (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, drofx, DSPS owl, MPociask

    that costs about $100 billion/year.

    Perhaps drug reservations could be set up where marijuana and cocaine users could grow their favorites and support themselves by hosting weekend drug tourists by the busload.

  •  Manoeuvring, perchance? nt (0+ / 0-)

    I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

    by tapu dali on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:53:38 PM PST

  •  Can we just stop quoting the stupid rumormongers (11+ / 0-)

    Every actual Obama statement said that the Bush tax cuts on the rich will end, 100%, on Dec 31st and no deal is acceptable without that.

    Everyone who says otherwise is a person just making shit up out of their own wishful thinking.  Yes, I include Ezra Klein and his unnamed "sources".

    Given that both Pelosi and Reed have come out 100% against not touching the Medicare eligibility, they can kill it even if Obama pretends to support it.  But again, Obama has made no actual statement post-election (or really since the 2011 debt ceiling talks) about doing ANYTHING to medicare benefits AT ALL.

    100% of his actual proposed reforms have been on the PROVIDER side, similar to the ACA savings.

    I swear to god, this community freaks out way too easily on rumors.  It isn't quite as bad as the Firedoglake "Obama is a Manchurian Candidate that wants to gut SS and Medicare" meme that is every other comment on that site, but it's bad enough.

    If Obama ACTUALLY proposes lower tax rates IN PUBLIC or ACTUALLY proposes changes to medicare BENEFITS  for real IN PUBLIC, then we can freak out.  And even then Obama doesn't matter unless he gets Pelosi and Reed on board.

    For now can we try to take the man at his word?  Please?

    •  You don't get it (5+ / 0-)

      Ezra isn't making this up. He wouldn't do that. His career would be ruined if he did. He got it from WH sources. Of that I have zero doubt. The real question is whether these are serious offers, or trial balloons/head fakes. You can't assume that every time an administration leaks something, it's sincere about it. Leaks are political tactics that make or may not reflect true intent. See my comment below.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:51:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do not share the confidence you have in Ezra. (4+ / 0-)

        His career would not end if he were wrong.  Hell, he hawked the invasion of Iraq and it paid off for him in a big way.  The plain truth is we don't know.

        In addition, whether this is "on the table or not," there should be loud opposition to it.   Slinkerwink had a good diary yesterday exhorting people to do just that.  

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:56:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which I have been doing too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I got into a bunch of contentious discussions here the other day about this leaked deal, which I said was stupid, unnecessary and self-defeating.

          But I simply don't believe that Ezra is making this up. They may be using him, and he may know this and be letting himself be used, but that he got this from credible sources who were instructed to do this from the very top I have zero doubt on. Obama's running a much tighter ship now and it makes no sense that someone like Ezra would be making this up, or that some unauthorized person was using him to push their unauthorized agenda. He's not stupid and surely verified this before going public with it.

          There's something going on here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

          As for Iraq, it didn't require one to lie to support it at the time, merely to claim that one believed in lies that millions of people believed in at the time. This may have made him foolish, or, if he knew these to be lies at the time, craven, but it's not the same as pretending to have heard something from a trusted WH source. Even the most dishonest beltway hack would have their career ruined if they lied that egregiously because even the most craven politicians could no longer trust them to lie for them when they needed them to.

          Nearly everyone lies in politics, but very few can afford to do it on their own.

          Oh, and btw, if this was a trial balloon/head fake by Obama, for it to work, we have to play our "bad cop" part, whether we believe it to be a sincere offer or a negotiating ruse. Didn't you know that that's how 11D chess works?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:11:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Upping the age of medicare (0+ / 0-)

            does not really save that much money and it likely would shift costs to Obamacare for some.  I do not see the logic in doing that, even as part of a deal.  We'll see.  I will be surprised if it is in any deal, but I've been surprised before.  

            I think there will be no deal.  But as I said, I've been surprised before.  

            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

            by TomP on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:16:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say that Obama WILL do this (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TomP, slinkerwink

              As it would be profoundly stupid on both a policy and politics level. I didn't even say that Obama has SAID that he'll do this, which he has not AFAIK. All we have now is a single leak to a single reporter (even Chait hasn't reported so much as weighed in on it). Which is what makes me suspect it's a ruse.

              I hope Repubs don't read this blog!

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:19:51 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  On some of this, you just never know what (0+ / 0-)

                is really going on.  Ezra could have gotten a WH leak, but people leak for many reasons.  One reason could be to create the very uproar of opposition so as to say, I can't put that in any deal.  Another could be to soften people for it.  We just don't know.   But it does not hurt to raise hell and oppose.  :-)

                Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

                by TomP on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:22:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Or, to guage response to it (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  to help decide whether to do it or not. Or all of the above. But it's hard for me to believe that someone like Ezra could report such a huge thing if he wasn't sure it was coming from credible sources and not some rogue on their way out the door. He almost seemed to be struggling to contain an "I know something you don't but can't tell you what it is" smile when he reported this, like it wasn't to be taken at face value by those who know how leaks work.

                  But whether this was 11DC or yet more stupid politics, our response has to be the same, of course: No freaking way!

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:26:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Since when has being wrong ruined a DC pundit's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RadGal70, pamelabrown, askew

        career? I don't think he's making it up per say but I do think a lot of this is speculation by DC insiders. The whole raising rates but not to 39.5% seems impossible to me since it's the only option that requires Republicans to vote for a tax hike explicitly. I think this option is most likely being pushed for by corporate Democrats.

        Let's not let 2014 be anything like 2010. Republicans only win when we stay home!

        by Tim D M on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:23:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's a difference between being wrong (0+ / 0-)

          in the sense of being a foolish analyst or prognosticator, or letting oneself be unwittingly used by some self-interested player without first checking them out--let alone passing on information that may be "wrong" but which you know for sure was ok'd from on high--and being wrong by making stuff up. Ezra may well have been wrong on all the former counts, but I seriously doubt that he's wrong in the latter sense. That's grounds for having one's career ended.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:30:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Number one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        askew, jim bow

        Pundits are wrong all the fucking time.   Even if you think he's being honest, he's really not shown any better track record of prediction than the average commenter on these boards.

        Number two
        Leaks that Ezra may feel are credible are still not Obama, Reed or Pelosi.   They could have a lot of motivations for leaking this (wishful thinking, desire to pressure Obama, sour grapes, hell or outright lying about things they're ignorant of to make themselves seem "in the know")

        Number three
        without support from Reed, Pelosi and Obama, no deal is going to happen.  A random whitehouse staffer isn't going to speak for all of them, not even a trial baloon.

        Number four
        From all accounts (journalists, staffers, his wife), every major decision Obama has made involves him taking all input and then going off into the quiet of the night to think about it.  Then often coming back with a decision that isn't what everyone thought it was going to be.

        Number five
        Every single discussion after the closed door talks comes back with "the lines of communication are still open" kind of crap.  Which means "both sides talked past each other, and found little if anything to agree on".

        I don't believe it.  It just doesn't have the same feel at all as the talks did in the pre-Occupy days when it seemed like the only possible common ground Obama might have with republicans was deficit reduction.

        Right now, Obama knows he doesn't really have any common ground there anymore.  There hasn't been a single serious Republican proposal yet in public, and he has drawn two lines in the sand in public that have never been refuted in public (only in rumors and speculation)

        1.  The Bush tax cuts over 250k are going to be a memory after 31-Dec-2012.
        2.  The Republicans have to specify what they want to cut....both in spending and in "tax loopholes"

        Absent the R's agreeing to do #1 and proposing something specific on #2, he's going to let the cliff happen.

        •  Please, you're hurting my brain (0+ / 0-)

          You're actually suggesting that Ezra lied, or was lied to by some mid-level WH rogue whose word he took for high-level thinking? Come on, he's not that stupid. You can believe what you want but it's not consistent with how things work in DC.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:22:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's pathetic. Of course, he'd exaggerate what (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jim bow

        a source told him. It's amazing how easily people will buy any anti-Obama story.  The same people who pride themselves on not trusting politicians are the same people who lap up any unsourced rumor pushed in the media.

        President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

        by askew on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:56:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What's amazing (0+ / 0-)

          is how you have consistently, almost without exception, refused to believe any story that casts Obama in a poor light. Such a track record speaks for itself.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:23:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I will take Obama at his word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      For now can we try to take the man at his word?  Please?
      I take him at his word when he said during a debate that his and Mitt's plans for social security did not differ.

      I take him at his word when this was proposed in July, 2011:

      Details of the plan were not yet finalized before the Obama-Boehner talks collapsed on Friday. But in general, the agreement called for very gradually increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67 over about two decades, according to administration and Republican congressional sources.

      One pathway would call for increasing the age by one month per year beginning in 2017 until it reached 66 in 2029. In 2030, it would increase two months per year until it hit 67.
      •  It is not July 2011 anymore (0+ / 0-)

        The debt ceiling isn't in this discussion, except to force votes on eliminating it entirely.

        There is no presidential election to worry about anymore

        The most recent election was a referendum on raising taxes on the rich and not doing the Ryan plan and Obama won it.  (as opposed to 2010, which seemed to be a referendum on wanting to do austerity in this country)

        Obama has seen that his party and himself get zero credit for being "adults in the room" and all the blame for any failures to negotiate.  He's also seen that the Rs can't hold the House caucus together.   Look at how differently he's negotiating the cuts this time...he's making the Rs do the specification instead of proposing any.

        Finally, Obama gets a crapload of revenue by doing nothing at all, as opposed to the July 2011 situation of doing nothing either defaults on our debt or causes a constitutional crisis.  Not to mention weaker R control in the house and stronger D control in the Senate.

        So lets get over what happened in 2011.  The situation is not at all the same, and Obama also isn't the same person he was then.   Lets focus on how he is negotiating TODAY.

        Oh and finally...from your own quote "DETAILS OF THE PLAN WERE NOT YET FINALIZED".  Which means anything that was released was again wishful thinking even then.   There were "pathways" but O never actually signed off on any of it (and for that matter, neither did Pelosi or Reed).     Because the R's can't keep their caucus together, they need Dem votes in the house to pass any deal, and they need Reed to bring it to a vote AND they need Obama to not veto it.

        As for social security?  The most likely path to strengthen it forever would be to just lift the payroll cap.  That action would likely also count as revenue for avoiding the sequester.   I don't see it happening, but if I was Obama I'd keep putting it on the table.

  •  (R)s will repay our Party with much more than... (6+ / 0-)

    simply demanding further privatization. They'll give us the gift of running against Democratic cuts to the Safety Net for at least a couple of decades.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:25:01 PM PST

    •  bingo (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jm214, Williston Barrett, 2020adam

      That's the ultimate friggin' irony: IF we (HE) caves on this, The Dark Party will consume it like a basket of chips at a Mexican restaurant and start pounding their forks on the table for the belly-busters they really want, all the while killing us in every election for the forseeable future about how WE threw Grannie off the cliff...great idea.

  •  We need a tough bargainer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orlbucfan, DSPS owl

    because the poor, the middle class, the elderly, the disabled and the disenfranchised are at a disadvantage when trying to bargain on their own against the privileged and powerful.  President Obama is getting more assertive, but this is no time for courteous capitulation and making a deal for the sake of a deal. We must raise taxes on the rich to the Clinton levels and leave the Medicare age alone. (Hope greblos, above, is right.  In case not, I'm adding my voice to the chorus that's saying hang tough.)

  •  I hope it's inaccurate cuz... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if it is, looks like I won't have to spend any money in 2014 on congressional races...unless Pelosi or Reid rejects the deal.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:36:21 AM PST

  •  It is a complete betrayal (7+ / 0-)

    of what the Democrats stand for and their promises to protect Medicare.  David Cay Johnston used the same word to describe it on Chris Hayes' show.  I expected President Obama to try to do this, but I doubt that many people who donated money and knocked doors to get him reelected had any idea this was coming.  It is infuriating and I will be donating to the primary opponents of Democrats who vote for it.

  •  The unemployment is my main concern (7+ / 0-)

    I would agree that we should just let everything expire, but I worry about the unemployment benefits that are also expiring.

    •  The payroll tax reduction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, the fan man

      expires, too, which is equivalent to a 2% pay cut.  Not as critical as the unemployment benefits expiring, but still factors into the equation.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:49:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That should expire and be replaced by (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, RadGal70, MPociask

        a big fat check for every working American. Same dollars, but far more effective P.R.

        Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

        by bear83 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:04:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's not. It's returning to saving money for (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WattleBreakfast, MPociask, schnecke21

        our old and infirm age. The "tax cut" was a lie: we are robbing ourselves to de-fund the SS fund.  And yeah, complexity and all that, but that's the nub of it: putting less money in savings is not the same as a tax cut, by any stretch. It's a sucker move that leads to the other stuff that looks all too likely to be about to happen. Because deficit, you know?

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:45:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214, MPociask

          It's commonly referred to as a "payroll tax" but you're quite right that it's a different animal altogether.  Now if only the income cap were to be eliminated or raised, we'd see some real benefit to shoring up the SS trust fund.

          Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

          by winsock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:15:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Democratic House doesn't have to vote for it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, slinkerwink

    If this ends up being the deal that Boehner wants
     then let Boehner pass it with his caucus.

    there is no reason for Democratic House to vote for this bill only to have only a small handful of safe Republicans vote for it and then get tagged as the party that cut Medicare.

    "Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative." - John Stuart Mill

    by smartone on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:44:03 AM PST

    •  seriously--they CANNOT be that stupid to be the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Williston Barrett

      party to offer and then CUT Medicare benefits in order to get the Rethugs to accept middling tax hike.  

      If they do it, it will be INTENTIONAL.  Which just boggles the mind.  I'm hoping all of the conjecture is simply that, and Ezra Klein be damned for even blathering about it.

      Additionally, would even the baggers vote for Medicare cuts? They have a lot of poor and old Republican constituents to face, too.  And if it involves a tax "hike"--they may just mutiny Boehner.

      If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

      by livjack on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:05:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good luck with that, sadly. (0+ / 0-)

      How many people will remember a solid Dem House vote, as opposed to Dem Obama signing some crap that passed a Dem-controlled Senate?

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:35:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As much as I disagree with the idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of raising Medicare eligibility (at 56, you had better believe that I object to it!) , my understanding about all the reporting is that the deal under discussion requires not only those elements you discussed, but also the permanent end to the debt ceiling issue.  

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:44:13 AM PST

  •  Ms. McCarter. (5+ / 0-)

    I agree. The election was a clear mandate by modern day standards.
    Furthermore, exit polling overwhelmed the question of 2%'rs getting richer without investing "wealth" back into the country.

    The position is clear and strong, rectify the deficit/ debt on the backs of the filthy rich.

    There is no need to cut anything.
    Make the rich pay for the " free ride" they got under their satanic leader, GW Bush.

    Sharpen the pitchforks and get demonic.

    Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:45:39 AM PST

  •  The country is still too far to the right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Runner, sneakers563

    I know Mitt lost but his margin was nowhere near, say, George McGovern's loss. The admittedly gerrymandered all to hell House is still firmly in Republican hands. If you take blue dogs out of the federal and certain (NY cough) state mixes real Democrats have a tough time of it.

    So if Obama and the Senate don't fold on the budget scam they're doing what they're supposed to do: lead. But there's a lot of work to do before we might make some progress in 2014.

    This is the legacy of the culture war (to me). We're winning the culture war but have lost the economic war (because of the culture war?). Electorally it's time for rearmament. Economically the right wing will never compromise. They must be crushed.

    If you didn't like the news today, go out and make some of your own.

    by jgnyc on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:46:17 AM PST

  •  I think it may be a trial balloon/head fake now (5+ / 0-)

    After the fiasco of HCR and 2010 Obama surely realizes that raising the age will cause massive damage to Dems and give Repubs the opportunity to claim that Dems "voted to cut Medicare" in 2014 (while of course pretending they didn't also). It will also profoundly damage morale on the left and make it harder to defend seats in 2014, and make picking any up all but impossible.

    So I'm starting to suspect that this was a trial balloon to guage (verify, really) reaction on the left, and even rally outrage on the left so he can say to Boehner "Listen, I'm with you on this but my crazy base will absolutely crucify me if I do this, so I'll give you something in exchange for letting tax rates go up, but not this". In the meantime, it encourages Repubs to cave on raising tax rates for the rich, believing that they're about to get something much bigger in exchange.

    It may have already worked, as more and more Repubs have come out publically as being willing to raise tax rates. That they've coupled this to cutting entitlement programs is largely irrelevant, because previously they were against raising tax rates under all circumstances, no matter what they got in return. They can't put that genie back in the bottle, and when they realize (as I hope is Obama's plan and intent) that they're not getting the Medicare ago raised in exchange, they might cry bloody murder, but they're on record as being ok with raising tax rates--as opposed to Obama, who has never said he's willing to raise the age.

    Weakness on Obama's part--or political brilliance? We'll see.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:48:50 AM PST

    •  More likely than raising the eligibility age (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would be readjusting the CPI, which is a more subtle way of reducing benefits.  This would be more insidious as the impact is not as immediately obvious and could be easier to pull off politically -- yet would affect everyone on SS and Medicare.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:59:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would also result in a similarly loud outcry (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man, winsock, pamelabrown

        from the left. AARP is a very skilled political organizer. Any benefits cuts would result in this. Except, maybe, Medicaid, which doesn't have as organized constituency as Medicare or Social Security. But I bet that one would emerge very quickly if cuts to it were seriously proposed.

        I think that what's going on here is that Obama and Dems are using various methods, including leaks, to get Repubs to PUBLICALLY commit to positions that hurt them politically, be it with their base or the center, and that they can't back away from, while Obama & Dems committ to nothing since these are leaks that can be denied at the right time. That's certainly what I would do.

        Hell, it's so smart, I'm wondering if I should even be discussing it here!

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:15:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm going to disagree. At no point in the last (0+ / 0-)

      4 years did Obama ever do that.  He's going to play this exactly the same as all the other times he "caved."

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:15:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You may be right (0+ / 0-)

        He would be a massive historical fool if you were. But perhaps he's exploiting his tendency to cave in the past to advantage now, since Repubs, assuming he'll cave again, are therefore more likely to publically agree to what they view as much smaller concessions, while he has publically agreed to nothing yet.

        We'll see.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:17:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How was health care a fiasco? Obama and the Dems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jim bow

      got universal health care coverage passed for the first time in our country's history. Every Dem president since FDR has failed at that. No, it isn't single payer, but it is a massive step in the right direction. Only on "progressive" DK, would health care be viewed as a failure.

      President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

      by askew on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:59:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It took much longer than it needed to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Was far less strong than it could have been, and was done in a way that allowed the tea party to dominate the news and led to the 2010 electoral disaster. Please, let's not keep pretending that an improvement on the status quo was anywhere near what it could have should have been and didn't have negative political consequences. It was clearly mishandled. I know you disagree, but most people who follow politics believe this too.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:20:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not to pile on (0+ / 0-)

          But also, a central component of the plan was kneecapped by the Supreme Court - the expansion of Medicaid eligibility.  States can now opt out.  Several have indicated they will do so (including mine).  Hopefully they'll reconsider, but we don't know.

          We also don't know what the health care providers who signed onto the secret back room deal for the bill will do in reaction to that.  Many providers apparently agreed to cut reimbursements on the understanding that they'd be getting a boost from more Medicaid patients.  If the deal goes south for them, what then?  

          Also, how can we say mandatory health insurance provided by private companies is a step in the right direction?  Has any state with such a mandate for car insurance gone to universal state provided car insurance?  No.  So there's no past precedent for that belief.  What about right now?  They're talking about changing health care delivery as part of the fiscal cliff - is the White House discussing starting a public option to save money, or lowering the Medicare eligibility age, or doing Medicare buy-in, to make the US health care system more efficient and save money?  No.  They're using the health care exchanges as a way to RAISE Medicare eligibility - that's a step in the wrong direction!

          The ACA is it.  We're likely stuck with it for a generation before any significant changes are made.

        •  But the use of word "fiasco" ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... to describe health care reform?  That's what askew (and yours truly) find offensive.  If the end result was the same as it was in 1994 (absolutely nothing), then the use of the word "fiasco" might be appropriate.  But that's not the case here.  Establishing a community rating -- made possible by the individual mandate -- requiring insurers to a certain level of benefits, and lavishing billions of dollars of subsidies on low and middle income Americans to purchase health insurance is no "fiasco" in this Kossack's opinion. ...

  •  Stay Strong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    The President needs to stay with his principles and not move one inch on the fiscal cliff or debt ceiling. If he does not, he will empower the Republicans and his final four years will be a constant battle on every issue imaginable.

    Let the Republicans get blamed for the mess that occurs. Fine with me.

    •  And what ARE his "principles," again? Can you (0+ / 0-)

      state them, and if so can you and your parents and kids live with them as they become the law of th eland for the vast mass of us (the few are excepted, of course)?

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:48:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  President Obama and Democrats Will Be Better (5+ / 0-)

    off letting the fiscal cliff go off the cliff.  If President Obama does a deal with making the age go up on when you can get medicare the democrats will be punished for it and not republicans.  Again democrats are going to pay for any cuts to medicare or social security.  Also it is not an entitlement when you pay for your retirement and medical care for years.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:54:24 AM PST

  •  Ezra Klein is a weasel. Medicare age is off table. (0+ / 0-)
  •  This one is so's infuriating. (9+ / 0-)

    Go over the damn fiscal cliff and start crafting bills now to fix the important things that get damaged 1 January.

    Write a bill to extend unemployment benefits.  Let the GOP vote against it.  Again and again.

    Write a bill to extend the payroll tax holiday.  Let the GOP vote against it.  Again and again.

    Write a bill to support valuable military programs that are hurt by the sequester.  Let the GOP vote against it.  Again and again.

    Write a bill to give the middle class a tax cut.  Let the GOP vote against it.  Again and again.  

    Write a bill to fund critical, and job-creating, infrastructure projects.  Let the GOP vote against it.   Again and again.  

    When you get what you want by doing nothing: do fucking nothing!  The "fiscal cliff" is our friend.

    To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

    by joesig on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:02:14 AM PST

  •  When ya hear "centrist," y'always gotta ask... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, FutureNow

    Center of what.

    That's really the core of the whole Republican exercise, isn't it?

    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:02:52 AM PST

  •  I burn my Dem registraion card if the Medicare (0+ / 0-)

    reitrement age is increased. No. Fucking. Way.

  •  Lawrence ODonnell talked about this last night (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    v2aggie2, WattleBreakfast, askew

    and he said there is no way the age requirement for medicare is going UP and that the President said entitlements are OFF the table.  ODonnell also said there is no reason for the President to put entitlements ON the table because, despite the media talking heads and the bloviating from the center and hard right the republicans have no leverage to demand anything... not with respect to the 'fiscal cliff' and not with respect to the debt ceiling either.

    it was an interesting discussion between Lawrence, Crystal ball and I am not sure who the other person was but it might have been Ezra Klein but whoever he was ODonnell let him speak and then took him to task like a grad school professor grading a lazy paper by an A student.

    as for me, I see NO UPSIDE in caving to a single demand the hard right wants...  the President has a real mandate and it doesnt include F'in with Medicare or SS and Obama is NEVER going to run for another office in his life and Michelle is never going to run for one either so Obama no longer needs to compromise with hostage takers... and it behooves him to make that clear to the right NOW rather then face this kind of crap again and again and again.

    to paraphrase a line from a republican idiot.... the Bush tax cut fight IS the Republican waterloo.

    "You've got to be an optimist to be a Democrat, and a humorist to stay one" - Will Rogers

    by KnotIookin on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:08:38 AM PST

  •  I agree with Howard Dean. Obama should be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Runner, Williston Barrett, MPociask

    prepared to go over the fiscal cliff. I never understand how no matter what happens, Republicans always have the power. My conclusion is that Democratic politicians give it to them.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:10:43 AM PST

    •  Someone else mentioned Nixon (0+ / 0-)

      Nixon had a secret plan for dealing with the Soviets.  He wanted them to THINK that he was crazy enough to use the bomb.  Supposedly, he would never actually use the bomb, but he figured if the Soviets thought he would, they would treat him as a more formidable figure and this would in turn increase US leverage in any kind of negotiations.  

      This meant he had to SAY he would use the bomb, and ACT like he would use the bomb.  Most importantly, the Soviets had to BELIEVE he would use the bomb.  

      The Republicans have finally figured out how to use that strategy in domestic policies.  Take, for example, the idea of not raising the debt limit.  Yep, we all think the Republicans are crazy enough to do it, they say they would, they act like they would, we sure believe it.  

      The Democrats and Obama in particular are terrible at this strategy.  Take, for example, the idea of minting a trillion dollar coin and telling the Republicans to screw off.  Does anyone think Obama would do this?  Can you imagine him acting or saying he would do such a thing?  If he did, would you believe it?  

      You don't even have to use an out there idea for this.  Look at Social Security.  Does Obama put out the idea that he's just itching to do a huge increase in benefits and soak the rich to pay for it?  Hell no!  He says that him and Romney probably have the same ideas.  

      Alright, though, this isn't just a dig at Obama.  How about the Progressive Caucus?  They might say the right things, and even do the right things, but everyone knows what they will do when push comes to shove and Obama says this is the best deal you're going to get: they'll fold like a wet blanket.  

  •  "Fiscal Cliff" = "Fiscal Crap" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Runner

    Just more scare-mongering tactics by the corporistas and their richly paid dogs known as the MSM.

    Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

    by orlbucfan on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:18:26 AM PST

  •  Given MSM's abysmal track record (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    on anything close to factual reporting, I'm far from ready to see this as cemented in reality.

    Unless of course, reading tea leaves is one's cup of tea. In which case, have at it.

    Also somewhat bemusing is how often the effects of the ACA on lowering Medicare's costs, increasing the program's longevity, and its quality of care are not mentioned in any MSM discussion of the Republican created "fiscal cliff."

    Ah, well. So much for reality. Time to make a phone call or two.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:29:22 AM PST

  •  If it is 37 or 38 in the end I am giving up hope (0+ / 0-)

    of ever getting the fiscal house in order. You simply cannot cut yourself back into balance (unless you decide to cut military spending to somewhere near 1.5% - the rates of many NATO countries - from the current 4.7%). The revenue is crucial. It's not like we're talking 50% top rates of the early 1980's. A little perspective would certainly help. For Republicans these days, rates are never low enough. Maybe they'll be satisfied with 0% for these awesome rich job creators.

    We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

    by minorityusa on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:32:23 AM PST

    •  Taxes are complicated. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, pamelabrown, minorityusa

      The bottom line is revenue raised. If they can get to 1.2 trillion plus,with rates at 37%,along with deductions on high income earners going away,along with capital gains on high earners going up,along with estate taxes on wealthy going up,along with surcharges on top earners going up....then I am fine with it.

      Rates are sexy,and they do have to go up,but the loopholes,deductions,and capital gains are important also.

      They can raise the rates to 39.6% on Mitt Romney and in his last tax year his tax liability would go up from 13% to maybe 13.2%,because of his 22 million in income,he only paid regular rates on about 400k of it,speaking fees income. The other 22 million was taxed at 15%,and if cap gains is not raised,he will continue to pay less than 15%,forever.

      Lets consider the whole package before going doom and gloom on this issue.

      •  ok, well put (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Obviously all of those things in your first paragraph would be a huge surprise (apart from the lower rates), but I'd take it. Have to concede the point about income tax rates not being the only measure to consider. It is complicated. The end effect is what matters.

        We don't inherit the world from the past. We borrow it from the future.

        by minorityusa on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:54:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does anyone here seriously think Boehner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    can sell this to his caucus? They would have to vote for a tax increase! Not going to happen. Many Republicans still think they can pass the Romney tax plan even though they only control the House. This "compromise" could pass if Boehner was willing to being it to the floor, the majority of Democrats would vote for it along with a sizeable minority of Republicans but he would be vilified by the base of his party.

    Let's not let 2014 be anything like 2010. Republicans only win when we stay home!

    by Tim D M on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:48:04 AM PST

  •  Don't Compromise (0+ / 0-)

    Obama and the Democrats might find themselves surprised by the outpouring of public support if they hold firm and tell the Republicans to take a hike on this bogus 'fiscal cliff' issue.  Meeting the R's halfway concedes that there is some legitimacy to their point of view, which there isn't.  Play hardball.

    How can we have a third party when we don't even have a second party?

    by Eagleye on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:55:47 AM PST

  •  Medicare and Social Security Off the Table! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, whaddaya

    First, Obama should say that Social Security is an earned benefit program and so simply irrelevant to any discussion of budget cuts. Period. (It would be nice if he threw in: Fuck you sideways with crooked umbrellas, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, you shameless, self-aggrandizing, committee-chairing failures.)

    More strongly, Obama needs to give voice to the mandate he's been given or he'll seem out of touch, no matter how shrewd he may negotiate. Say that the Bush cuts are expiring and the only thing to discuss is if the Republicans are going to hold back the tax help for the millions of Americans who really need it. People already see this clearly; just hammer it home, give it the strong voice it deserves.

    Above all, declare that Medicare is not a topic for budget cuts; that it's a non-negotiable part of a 21st century social contract the United States is going to reconfirm with its current elders and elders-to-be. Go bold: Use this sham fiscal crisis as an opportunity to present a new vision of what elderhood can mean to the country in the century of the fully mapped human genome, as technology raises the quality of life in the coming decades. We have an unprecedented chance to newly tap the wisdom of our elders and overturn the ugly view of them as a nuisance demographic of the waiting-to-die.

  •  Obama has the cards (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If he does nothing, we win. Taxes sunset. If he gets a separate middle class tax rate, we win. Gets nothing, we win.

    "I've got this pen. I'm ready to do it."

    by mrobinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:10:01 AM PST

  •  Age 57 (0+ / 0-)

    Already uninsurable. If my wife loses her job we are screwed. It's not just 2 extra years, it could be life or death and if the President fucks us on this he has lied and was in collusion all along.

    Fuck the GOP.Let's go off the fucking cliff.

    All I want is the truth. Just gimmie some truth John Lennon

    by gimmie truth on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 09:18:26 AM PST

  •  Because of the ACA raising Medicare age (0+ / 0-)

    is less of a disaster than it would have been four years ago.  The reality is that eventually Medicare eligibility will be synchronized with Social Security eligibility.  But the details of how it is going to b done will be important.  If done in a Republican way it will hurt  but if done in a Democratic way it will eventually benefit workers.   People have to start thinking about this in a post-Obamacare way  because the reality of health care has been forever changed by the ACA.

  •  Debt/Deficit (0+ / 0-)

    If the R's get out of the way, our economy will come roaring back and worries about debt/deficits will be small potatoes.

  •  I just (0+ / 0-)

    sent the White House a message on this and the President really needs to stand his ground on all of it.  How can he in all good faith on what he was just elected on even move to any place of giving these thugs what they want?  I am really  hoping that he doesn't do this.  Please send the White House a message.  I am hoping the stupid MSM is just floating this idea for fodder to the Rethugs and this is just Kabuki Theater.   But I don't know and I am skeptical.

  •  Taxes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why leave the top rate at 38%?  Why not have it at 65, 70, 80%?  Sorry, even the repeal of the Bush tax cuts leaves the debate as too much controlled by the Republicans.

  •  obama won big (0+ / 0-)

    and he will negotiate like the right of center president he is, he will talk tough but give the gop much more than they can demand because that is his agenda, he is a conservative right of center politician, his actions verify this.

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