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Here's the first thing to know about negotiations on the fiscal cliff curb as of Monday.

Carney re-states that President Obama will veto any legislation that extended the Bush era rates for the top two percent.
@samsteinhp via TweetDeck

That's the status quo going into Monday's meeting between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Coming out of it is less encouraging news.

The two men met for about 45 minutes, according to the White House, and neither side is providing any information. However, people in both parties say that Mr. Boehner, for the Republicans, is not pressing any more for an increase in the Medicare eligibility age to 67 from 65, while Mr. Obama has indicated that for the right deal he would support switching to a new inflation formula for federal programs, one that would have the effect of reducing future cost-of-living payments for Social Security beneficiaries.
Chained CPI for leaving the Medicare eligibility age alone is a totally unnecessary concession, if this report is true. Other reports leave the Medicare age change in the mix. But the Social Security change, which Democrats have insisted on keeping out of the negotiations, is getting a second look according to TPM's Brian Beutler.
Amid news reports that President Obama is considering a proposal from House Speaker John Boehner to slow the growth of Social Security payments over time as part of a broader budget deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, senior Democratic congressional aides are portraying the idea as a more palatable alternative to other benefit cuts Republicans have sought.
By the way, it's not just Social Security benefits that would be affected. It's veterans, too. It's also a tax hike on lower- and middle-income workers because income taxes would be indexed to it as well as federal benefits.

It's a bad idea for vulnerable people in a recession, and politically it's kind of insane. Why give Republicans the ammunition of Democrats making Social Security cuts when absolutely no concessions have to be made here. First, we can step off the curb and Democrats can come back in a stronger position to negotiate retroactively how to fix it. Second, Boehner doesn't deserve any reward, any movement in his direction, for saying that maybe he'll be okay with raising tax rates for the really, really rich and putting off a fight on the debt ceiling for a year in exchange for pain. Third, Boehner needs to prove he can bring a long his caucus before there are any handshakes between him and Obama.

3:12 PM PT: Both Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman are reporting that they're hearing this is the framework of a deal. Krugman:

Republicans willing to give up a lot more on tax rates, although not fully undoing the Bush tax cuts in the 250-400 range; additional tax hikes via deduction limits in a form that hits the wealthy, not the upper middle class (28 percent and all that); unemployment extension and infrastructure spending; but “chained CPI” for Social Security, which is a benefit cut.
But what he says, "we shouldn’t be doing benefit cuts at all," and "those benefit cuts are really bad, and you hate to see a Democratic president lending his name to something like that," and "I want to see more—and also want to see whether the Republican crazies scuttle the whole thing before it even gets off the ground."

Going out on a limb by giving up something as harmful and as big as the chained CPI without any real evidence that the Republicans will play along is an iffy, perhaps dangerous, game.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:38 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Musical Budget cuts... (34+ / 0-)

    Wherever it stops, the poor get screwed.

    The Rich have a security guard on their seat.

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:40:44 PM PST

  •  Raising the Medicare age (12+ / 0-)

    was doomed to failure from the start.

    What we ought to be talking about is lowering it.

  •  Look for spin from Dems (and people here) (41+ / 0-)

    claiming that the chained CPI isn't really a cut.

    This is something President Obama and his aides have supported for a while, but it's impossible to square with his pledge that Social Security should be off the table.

    •  Complete contempt (16+ / 0-)

      Democrats who do that have complete contempt for seniors and their voters.  They are trying to trick them into a deal that will steal tens of thousands in benefits and hit them ever more heavily as they grow ever older and less able to do anything about it.  

      I will respond with the same level of contempt at the polls.

      •  Skip the polls (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        George3

        couldn't we just demand they cut their benefits as well.  I really dislike that they have all these benefits and are cutting ours, ours we paid into with years of work, ours we worked for, and they zippo.  Until we have better balance by cutting their salaries and benefits the people will continue to get squeezed.

        I know you get it.  I just the politicians did.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:53:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It will lower payments so it is (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dallasdoc, Seeds, virginislandsguy

      a cut. But there are better measures of true cpi than the ones they use. So it isnt really an unfair cut, as far as cuts go.

      •  Oh yes it is!!! (14+ / 0-)

        The one and only reason they have chosen this new calculation is to produce a result that decreases benefits.  If the calculation had a chance of increasing benefits they wouldn't be including it in a plan to cut spending.  The only purpose is to reduce benefits.  The rest is b.s.  

      •  The better measures of true CPI for seniors (11+ / 0-)

        ... take into account the much higher inflation on health care costs, which they bear disproportionately.  Eighty year olds don't much care about the falling costs of electronic toys, but they sure care about rising copays for doctor visits and their prescriptions and their therapists.

        Social Security already doesn't keep up with inflation as seniors see it.  To cut it further is a deal-breaker for my support of any party that would push it through.  I'm not a Democrat in order to see my party cut Social Security.  If they do that, they're not my party.

        Citizens United defeated by citizens, united.

        by Dallasdoc on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:41:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Also (4+ / 0-)

          not only health care costs, but our gas and electric as well as basic phone service and food costs are rising.  As I said in a comment below, many of the elderly and disabled are trying to cut costs down, but there is only so much one can cut.  And NIPSCO our gas and electric company just raised our electricity rates and then turned around and gave the CEO a 30% salary increased.  Now he can take another vacation in the Cayman Islands while the rest of us sit in colder and darker homes.  This mentality is so wrong for so many reasons and it has to change.

          "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

          by zaka1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:58:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The true cost of living that we experience (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dallasdoc, greenbell, George3, devis1

          is much higher than the butchered CPI which gets contorted every few years so that our real costs aren't reflected.  To distort the CPI to help the rich and  pray on the weakest is sociopath, not Social Security.  Just another stab in the back.  
          Every congressional office in the country could probably attract several hundred recipients who vote regularly and are willing to impress on their congresscritters that recipients will remember!

    •  it was Reid's pledge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, George3

      I believe, not Obama's.

      The people who have to get re-elected should take the lead on opposing this.

      We'll see now who our friends are.

      this is much worse than I had thought--apparently it applies to vets and the disabled as well as to SS.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:38:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  okay, I will bite (0+ / 0-)

      i've asked my questions about chained CPI before, and i've either missed the answers or found them hard to come by. i'm not sure I support or oppose this change yet, so I really do not have a bias one way or the other, I just need to understand the pro/con better. so here goes.

      1. Is chained-CPI a more accurate way of measuring cost of living increases or not? as I understand the premise, the idea is to reflect substitution behavior consumers engage in when certain commodities in the CPI increase in price. for example, if beef increase in price relative to chicken, consumers will eat more chicken, allowing them to maintain their spending in other areas and reducing some of the impact of overall inflation. this will work for some commodities but not others. so again, is the opposition to chained-CPI based on the idea that it is economically inaccurate and does not reflect true impact on consumers?

      2. the impact of chained-CPI is felt the most over time, correct? so though this will reduce the rate of increase for recipients several years from now, in the immediate future it does not represent much of a spending cut that would drag on the overall economy. some critics of chained-CPI propose raising or event eliminating the SocSec wage cap as an alternative. with the economy still weak, is the wage-cap alternative a better option for the near-term economy? are there other alternatives to chained-CPI that maintain the balance between the two better?

      3. regarding the income tax threshold increase and chained-CPI, I admit I find this one confusing, so let me know if I have it straight. under a changed  to chained-CPI, the income thresholds will increase more slowly than they do now, so as a person progresses through their working life (hopefully making more money as they go) they will hit the next marginal threshold more quickly than they otherwise would. since people at high incomes already have most of their income above the highest marginal rate, the impact is regressive over time. but again, in the immediate term, the affect on the middle income thresholds is negligible, while the current plan for upper income rates on upper income thresholds is for them to go up immediately. for the near term economy, is this mix regressive or progressive?

      again, trying to think this through, interested in any and all thoughtful replies that poke holes in my logic.  

      •  Chained CPI is designed to reflect cuts and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devis1, sloopydrew

        substitutions without restrictions.  As an example, if an old person cuts their pills in half against doctor's orders to make them last longer then chained CPI will reflect that.  If seniors switch to cat/dog food rather than human food then chained CPI will reflect that.  If seniors don't turn on the air conditioner even in 115 degree heat and end up dying then chained CPI will reflect that.  There is absolutely no requirement that the "basket of goods" even meet the FDA's daily nutrition requirements.

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:22:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  where are you getting your information? (0+ / 0-)

          i am pretty sure that price indexes are calculated by doing field work at the point of sale. neither regular CPI nor chained-CPI would capture somebody cutting consumption of a good in the index in half if its price went up. both are designed to measure price inflation, not consumption. consumption changes would be captured by other measures of consumer spending design to measure consumer RESPONSE to an increase in inflation.

          a better example would be a switch to generic meds when a branded item went off patent, or in my previous example, a switch to chicken from beef if chicken becomes less expensive. unless you can point me to a basket of substitution goods proposed for chained-CPI that includes cat food as a viable substitute for beef, it sounds like hyperbole to me.  

          •  Can you think of any reason why substituting (0+ / 0-)

            say, 5 pounds of chicken with 2 pounds of chicken because the price of chicken went up is not a viable "substitution"?  And if that applies to chicken then why wouldn't that apply to medicine as well?  Please show me any requirements in the chained cpi that food substitutions (whether actual substitutions or just cutbacks) must meet the FDA's minimum nutritional requirements (100% RDA of all vitamins and minerals).  After all, you can always replace many foods with multivitamins, right?

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 09:18:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, several (0+ / 0-)

              i think it would be helpful to read the BLS's FAQon the CPI and how its calculated. info on the categories and sub-categories that go into the calculation is presented there. wiki also has a pretty good page on how CPI is calculated.

              you will see that for all the categories that go into the CPI, the index corrects for changes in quantity/quality of a particular good. the intent of the index is to measure the price changes of a standard of living over time. to capture those changes accurately, it is looking for all the ways a price change may appear in the market place. for example, the price of a "package" eggs may stay flat, but if sellers cut the amount down to 10 from a dozen while keeping the price flat, the index will adjust for that and show it as an increase in the price of a dozen eggs.

              what is different about chained CPI is that it calculates the weighting within sub-catorgies differently. in our meat example, it will look at the category of meat (e.g. chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, beef) and rather than averaging them to arrive at single unit price per pound for meat, it will adjust the weighting in the average for the highest price item to reflect a shift away from it toward lower cost items. so the sub-category is still based on x-pounds of meat per week, but mix of each type of meat is adjusted on a weighted basis  (i am still digging for details on these sort of calculations, but I believe this is the general premise). by doing this, chained-CPI is making an assumption that consumers shift within a narrow category of goods when they can in response to price, and that discounting these shifts will overstate the consumer experience of inflation in the cost of standard of living.

              it must be said that neither chained-CPI nor CPI-U are designed specifically to measure inflation's impact on seniors living on a fixed income. as its name implies, CPI-U measures consumer inflation in a collection of urban markets to try to arrive at a useful measure of general inflation. since a lot of seniors move out of these areas when they retire, or already live in rural areas outside of the sample markets, their experience of inflation is not directly measured and can be both understated and overstated by CPI-U.

              final thought in response to your reference to FDA minimum requirements. the BLS is looking for the price of what consumers do, not what they should do. the goal is to understand inflation's impact on the consumer, not to proscribe what they should be buying with their money.

    •  YASBO™ (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sloopydrew

      Yet Another Sellout By Obama.

      The Goldstone Report: Still accurate, relevant, and damning.

      by DFH on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:02:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OH PLEASE (0+ / 0-)

        QUIT THE WHINING.

        It is great three-dimensional chess. There is a reason the offer is public, to make sure there is a paper trail. If the Republicans turn this down, he will say: "I moved on Social Security, I moved on Medicare, I moved on 250K, I moved on debt ceiling, and it still wasn't enough." It is genius.

        And the money saved from Social Security
        1) stays in the trust fund.
        2) saves about 13B plus year out of 700B plus. It is actually quite measly is we get past the hyperventilating. Perfect scalp for Republicans, much better then Medicare age which is actually harmful.
        3) would have to be done at one point or another anyway.

        And the debt ceiling was always going to be a 2-year thing. Time to stop wetting your pants, though I do think MoveOn moaning makes it easier to strike a deal.

        Plus he is still at 400B in Medicare savings, which is actually the headline news that was DESIGNED to get lost in this offer.

  •  Ezra seems to have a bit of info....WaPO (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pistolSO, Losty, divineorder
  •  Chained CPI is a benefits cut (24+ / 0-)
    The Full McConnell

    In his interview with the Wall Street Journal, Mitch McConnell finally mentioned a few sort-of specifics about what spending cuts the GOP wants: raising the Medicare age, charging higher premiums to affluent Medicare recipients, and changing the price indexing of Social Security. But how much does all this amount to?

    I’ve already noted that the CBO has estimated the fiscal savings from raising the Medicare age at $113 billion over the next decade. A study of health care options (pdf) from a few years ago put the savings from expanded premiums at $20 billion (Option 91) – that number would be somewhat higher now, but still small.

    I haven’t found a 10-year estimate of the Social Security indexing idea, but we can roll our own. The idea is to replace the CPI with a “chained” measure that typically rises about 0.3 percentage points less per year. Apply this to the CBO projections of Social Security spending under current policy and I get 10-year savings of $186 billion.

    So, if we take all of McConnell’s ideas together, we get a bit more than $300 billion. Getting this would, by the way, impose substantial hardship – seniors would be forced into inferior private insurance, and there are good reasons to believe that the true inflation rate facing seniors is actually higher, not lower, than the CPI. Still, what we’re looking at overall is a saving equal to only about one-fifth of what Obama is proposing to raise by higher taxes.

    - more -

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

    Why on earth would Democrats allow Republicans to drag Social Security into deficit negotiations?

    No Deal, Continued
    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/...

  •  I know Obama will have to weigh what would be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056

    worse: a sequester that could send us back into recession and the pain that would cause the unemployed, the underemployed and the working poor(and that would also increase the deficit) or a regressive concession like Chained CPI that is spread out over 10 years or more in exchange for keeping UI benefits, leaving Medicare alone, increasing taxes on the Top 1%(Democrats would be united in tax increases over a $1M) AND much needed stimulus that would help the economy grow faster which would help everyone.

    Deal or no deal, I will just have to hope that the President makes the right call.

    Washington and Colorado said that you've got to legalize it. Hope the DOJ respects that.

    by pistolSO on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:54:37 PM PST

    •  You left out that the chained CPI... (35+ / 0-)

      ...spread out over many years gets worse and worse with each year, for those least able to afford the deterioration of already-meager SS checks.  Paying for wars and a bloated DoD on the backs of our elderly may be the right call for you, but it isn't for them.

      •  I am not sure what the right decision is. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Seeds

        I don't like Chained CPI or any measure that needs the most vulnerable, but there is a fact that "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of a few".

        Taxes are a small part of the fiscal slope.   There is the sequester and the general spending cuts that come with it.   The economy needs stimulus to grow and reduce unemployment further.   A sequester-caused recession would cut away the hard work that Obama has done over the last 4 years and who knows what we could do to get more spending after January 1st.

        Obama has to ask himself what course would be better for the country as a whole and what would benefit the most people" going over the cliff and a short recession or averting the cliff and avoiding any recession but agree to something immoral to help more people regain full employment.   I can see both sides of this and Obama has a very tough decision in his hands.  

        It would be helpful to know if Reagan or Congressional Democrats ever paid a political price for their bargain on Social Security.   That way history can help us see if this would actually hurt us more in the midterms.

        Washington and Colorado said that you've got to legalize it. Hope the DOJ respects that.

        by pistolSO on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:14:03 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your definition of harm (15+ / 0-)

          seems to go no further than the next election cycle or the "needs of the many" for the very short term.  The devil in this bargain is that it increasingly impacts seniors over time.  Your gutless Congressman and Senator Wimp may pay no price as people don't understand the long term pain in 2014 but this will hugely impact people 10, 20, 30 years from now as their benefits dry up.  

          This is rotten to the core, cheat them in the fine print, and screw them when they are 90 with dementia policy.  

          So I will hold them accountable now while I am healthy enough to get to the polls and make them pay for what they are going to do to me when I am too old to do anything about it.  

          •  Politicians and the general public tend to think (0+ / 0-)

            in the short-term only.   Politicians tend to think to whatever they can do to survive the next election cycle.   If more people were looking at long-term harm, then you'd have a public outcry to do something about climate change.

            I really hate things like Chained CPI for the reasons you state, but when the President has to deal with people souring on his legacy because of a sequester-caused recession, do you really think we'd be able to deal with their debt ceiling hostage-taking and get things done on immigration reform AND gun control?   In three months if we get no additional spending and UI benefits get thrown over the cliff, Obama will own that because the public will forget that the GOP is responsible for all of it.

            Washington and Colorado said that you've got to legalize it. Hope the DOJ respects that.

            by pistolSO on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:27:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Democrats will own cuts to Social Security (12+ / 0-)

              CBS tells me to ease the pain of the grieving nation we're going to cut Social Security and Medicare.  What a sick joke that is.  They killed vulnerable children so let's take it out on old folks with dementia.  Whoa that makes sense.

              If Obama's legacy is cutting Social Security benefits let him own that.

              As to immigration reform, why do I care about that?  Do you think I'm going to be happy he cut Social Security if he allows more immigration?  That may work with Hispanics but if Democrats want anyone else to vote for them they might want to consider who votes in off year elections and who votes in states like Iowa and Minnesota in Presidential elections.  

              Do you think I believe a President who won't defend Social Security and Medicare has the guts to do anything about gun control?  No.  

            •  He cuts SS (3+ / 0-)

              his legacy will be as a faux Democrat.  And 6 months from now when his approval is down to 40% again (like the last time he tried this) he can add failed president to that.

            •  Your only priority, pistolSO, (0+ / 0-)

              seems to be getting Democrats re-elected and preserving some sort of "legacy." That is exactly the thinking that keeps fucking the poor and middle-class over and over and over again. I couldn't give a shit less about Obama's "legacy" in the short-term. If he does what is RIGHT (the opposite of what he is currently doing), his legacy will take care of itself.

              I will not touch Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid - Barack Obama

              by sloopydrew on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:29:41 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Here is the problem Democrats have (13+ / 0-)

    I'm not endorsing Chained CPI, but here is the problem, I believe, Democrats have.

    Obama has the leverage in these negotiations. But he doesnt have enough leverage to get tax rate hikes + a debt ceiling hike + unemployment benefits extend + infrastructure spending without giving the GOP something in return.

    The alternative, I suppose, would mean going over the cliff, but I think many on the left are too nonchalant over that.

    Going over the cliff means everyone's tax rates go,  yes the wealthy, but also the working class. That plus the sharp cuts in spending likely means a recession early next year. That would weaken Obama's approval rating, at a critical time, when many would expect to push for comprehensive immigration reform and gun control legislation. And again, in that scenario, no unemployment benefit extension, no other kind of stimulus either.

  •  Hey senior aides... (18+ / 0-)

    Chained CPI is not palatable, it's unnecessary catfood.

    Enough behind close door democracy. Put bills on he floors of congress, debate them and vote. Oops not time for democracy, then wait until next year.

    Please, for the sake of the people, the Democratic party and your presidency, do not cut a deal with Boehner.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 01:59:11 PM PST

  •  Folks, call the White House and let them know (19+ / 0-)

    what you think. Actually, call and write:

    Comments: 202-456-1111
    Write: http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    And call your senators and reps; see my tag line.

    --No chained CPI (it's a benefit cut)
    --Leave medicare/medicaid ALONE

    ... and whatever else you want to add.

    Best to do this right away!

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:05:34 PM PST

  •  Bush tax cuts expire, a win (4+ / 0-)

    2013, a new deal: you repugs want to cut taxes on the middle class now, we trade you continued unemployment benefits, lifting the debt ceiling for ever and will end the sequestration bill saving your repug sacred military cuts.

    Or in Boehner's words, tax cuts have a price.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:08:50 PM PST

  •  Well that leaves a hole to drive the economy thru (12+ / 0-)
    Carney re-states that President Obama will veto any legislation that extended the Bush era rates for the top two percent.
    It leaves so many other unpalatable other outcomes that he might as well say he would veto any bill that had dog poop on it.  For example, the bill could simply replace the Bush tax cuts with the same tax cuts minus 0.00000001%.

    Remember, take what Obama says exactly - EXACTLY - at face value.  No more no less.  

    Why do I sense a whiff of "bait and switch" on its way again.

    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 17, 2012 at 02:12:34 PM PST

  •  Why does the President persist in trying to talk (13+ / 0-)

    to Boehner, when it's evident that--once again--there is nothing "good faith" about these negotiations?
    It's time for Mr. Obama to simply say

    I'm prepared for sequestration. This is what you must agree to to avoid it. You know where to find me.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 02:17:21 PM PST

  •  Do I get kicked off this site if (20+ / 0-)

    I rant and rave about a Democratic Party that really, really looks like 1950-1979 Republican Party (sans the social issues)?  I guess we will find out how many REAL liberals are in the Senate and House of Representatives before the year is out.  

  •  This is infuriating. Although not surprising. (15+ / 0-)

    If the Democrats agree to this they are agreeing to cuts in Social security, SSI and veterans' benefits and a tax hike for the middle class.  Those cuts will affect people in the near term, not just the long term.

    In 2014 we will hear all about it from the Republicans, who will hang these cuts around the neck of every Democrat running.  See: 2010, redux. We will lose seats and richly deserve it.

    The President doesn't have to run again, so this is no skin off his nose.

  •  Call your Senator and Congressman and tell them (5+ / 0-)

    Funny Stuff at http://www.funnyordie.com/oresmas

    by poopdogcomedy on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:05:47 PM PST

  •  Fiscal Curb? You mean rumble strip, don't you? nt (0+ / 0-)

    There is no hell on earth appropriate enough for those who would promote the killing of another person, in the name of a god.

    by HarryParatestis on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:32:03 PM PST

  •  Social security is the very LAST thing (7+ / 0-)

    our team should make any concessions on.  I'd much rather see some around-the-edges Medicare tinkering than ANY SSI tinkering.  Because Medicare actually IS out of control, and Social Security is NOT.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:32:34 PM PST

  •  But we've revised inflation adjustments before. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, Argyrios, Seeds

    The "correct" adjustments for inflation have always been a matter of dispute and reassessments.  It's just not clear what the "correct" adjustment is, and to say that anything that provides for less increase for inflation is wrong isn't helpful.  We need to justify the present formula versus the proposed one.

    One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

    by Inland on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:34:23 PM PST

    •  Do you know how Chained-CPI works? (9+ / 0-)

      I'll tell you...

      Let's say a family bought 5 pounds of meat a month, but the price of that line item suddenly increased 20%, Y/Y.  And let's say that meat was part of the CPI.

      With a chained-CPI, you would be able to substitute tuna (assuming that the price of tuna was flat) for meat, thereby reflecting a much lower inflation.

      The Chained-CPI assumes that the same family that consumed 5 pounds of meat a month would switch to tuna, b/c of the price differential.

      That's Chained-CPI, the brainchild of the Econ professor whose recommendation helped me get my first job on Wall Street at Lehman Brothers.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:46:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's plain evil, especially in an economic climate (5+ / 0-)

        such as this, where food prices are bound to rise, and probably rise sharply.

        A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:51:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But that's precisely the point: (0+ / 0-)

        Unless you presume that there's something inherently worse about tuna, you're adjusting the benefit upward without any reason.

        What we find in any attempt to measure a CONSUMER inflation is that what a CONSUMER buys from year to year changes.  We can determine a 'basket', and measure the change in price of the the items in the basket, but it's fictitious: people don't buy the same stuff year after year.

        The biggest recent example is  smart phones.  You can say the cost of phones has skyrocketed.  But you could also say that there's a new product.   Either way, the "basket" is mucked.  These are political decisions.  We've done it before, and we'll do it again.

        One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

        by Inland on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:07:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What about cutting pills in half against doctor's (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PatriciaVa, zaka1, devis1, sloopydrew

          orders to make them last longer even though it means only getting half the dose and could end up killing them?  Because that is reflected by chained CPI as well.  Also, what about seniors not turning on the air conditioning even in 115 degree weather and several thousand end up dying from it because that reduction in air conditioner usage will be reflected in the chained CPI even though it's killing them.

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:29:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The ONLY reason they want to adjust it (11+ / 0-)

      is to REDUCE BENEFITS.  The rest is a bunch of wonky b.s. designed to confuse people into not understanding that they've found a tricky calculation that will destroy Social Security in the long run.  

      All this stuff about substituting tuna for meat -- the bottom line is you get less money and every year you get less money and every year after that you get less money so that when you are 85 or 90 you are totally destitute and the entire purpose for Social Security has been utterly gutted.   As it is, the COLA doesn't begin to keep up with real inflation and no way are they introducing anything here that will ever make the benefit more generous.  If the calculation had a prayer of doing that it would not be introduced in a plan to cut spending.

      This is purely, totally, entirely, 100% designed to reduce Social Security benefits.  The entire purpose is to reduce Social Security benefits.  The only new feature is the BIG LIE bafflegab that will be touted to confuse people into not understanding that the Democratic Party has agreed to a token increase in taxes for income earned over $1 million in return for a plan to gut the Social Security benefits for people making $20K.

      •  But will it "reduce the benefit"? (0+ / 0-)

        The adjustment for inflation to keep the purchasing power the same.  If the adjustment provides more, then it's too much.  So sure, it's designed to reduce the adjustment.; but it's not designed to reduce the benefit that was earned. It's not necessarily wrong.

        One piece of free advice to the GOP: Drop the culture wars, explicitly.

        by Inland on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:11:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're ok entrusting (0+ / 0-)

          Republicans with how you spend your money on essentials like food? Yes, tuna is a fine substitute for a lot of folks, but what happens if they decide pork is the best substitute, and you are Jewish? You end up with less food, because even though the government has replaced the more expensive beef on their menu, you cannot. This is but one example among the dozens I can come up with in the next 5 minutes. Eventually, the government's food basket is filled with snouts, entrails, and white cheese, and they will consider them appropriate food substitutes.
          The feds have jerked around behind the scenes with the CPI for decades to ensure that payments remain lower than they could be; this is giving them carte blanche to do it openly.

          "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 18, 2012 at 08:33:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Called It (0+ / 0-)

    This morning, I said to myself "what is the face-saving offer going to be?" And I thought, probably to extend cuts up to $500,000. Then I thought, "I should comment that to kos." Then I got lazy.

  •  Hopefully House will kill any deal... (7+ / 0-)

    GOP won't go for the raising of revenues and hopefully Dems won't go for the entitlement cuts.  Presto!

    The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:35:14 PM PST

    •  can we get the Prog Caucus to refuse to go (3+ / 0-)

      along with a Grand Bargain that includes chained CPI or other earned benefits cuts?

      if they won't take a stand on this, there's not much use in having a Prog Caucus.

      Will they stand against leadership? If so, between them and the far-right teabaggers, there might be a chance of stopping it.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:53:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Boehner realizes that President Obama (0+ / 0-)

    is well thought of by a strong majority of the electorate. The more they try to bring him down, the higher he rises.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:41:28 PM PST

  •  What Digby Said (18+ / 0-)

    What she called Hot Air Trial Ballooning:

    Before everyone gets into another tizzy about how shrill and unreasonable I'm being for taking this rumor seriously, let's have a little discussion of what a "trial balloon" is. It is, simply, a rumor that's purposefully spread during a negotiation in order to gauge the reaction. Therefore, it is important to react, not act all glib and self-assured that it could never happen. They want to know if you think this is a good idea, so if you don't you should say so. And you should say it in a shrill enough fashion that they know it's a very big deal, if you think it's a very big deal.

    [I]t is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! -- Gail Collins

    by mbayrob on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:41:57 PM PST

  •  Its Easy (6+ / 0-)

    If the Democrats agree to Chained CPI or any cut to SS or Medicare I will leave the party and work to defeat everyone of the bastards who vote for it.  

    •  You want to bet you won't? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm don't consider myself a Democrat since the party has failed me 12,583 too many times, but I would never work to defeat it's members seeing that the alternative is completely antithetical to me.

    •  If this is what we get with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sloopydrew

      the Democrats then we haven't save ourselves anything.  We still get screwed.  And the sad truth is that the Republicans were so scary in this last election that I still would never vote for them either.  But, if both parties are going to act similar then something needs to change.  

      I feel very critical of my own party right now because I know they could do better if they were so well taken care of themselves.  It is time to cut benefits that they are getting because they don't understand the normal common person trying to live in the landscape both parties policies are creating.

      America is getting impossible to live in unless you are a millionaire.

      "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

      by zaka1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:25:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Payroll tax cut eliminated according to Klein. (10+ / 0-)

    This is shaping up like a typical Obama deal, namely a bad one.  He gets dealt a royal straight flush and then he's giving up cards for new ones.

    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 17, 2012 at 03:49:39 PM PST

  •  All very sad and very predictable. (4+ / 0-)

    Obama is not the president that he said he was going to be.

  •  Fucking democrats...elections have consequnces (4+ / 0-)

    and the other fuckers lost.

    Why do they continue to do stupid shit???????????????

    The era of procrastination, half-measures, soothing & baffling expedients, & delays, is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences - Churchill

    by PrometheusUnbound on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:52:28 PM PST

  •  Boehner wants to cut benefits to Seniors and (9+ / 0-)

    protect the tax cut for the rich.   What more do you need to frame this "negotiation".

    Mitt Romney rides off into the sunset in his Audi.

    by captainlaser on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:52:34 PM PST

  •  I'll take CPI over increasing Medicare age (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder

    if one has to choose.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:52:56 PM PST

  •  So what concessions are we willing to accept (5+ / 0-)

    either now or in January? The way I see it, we're acting just like Republicans when we draw multiple lines in the sand and say there can be no compromise on any of the major issues here. The House has to pass a bill and we all know that Boehner won't put a bill to the floor that will only pass with primarily Democratic support. Therefore concessions to the Republicans have to be made eventually unless we just decide to do nothing to avert another recession (which in my opinion would be the best move but it's a non-starter in Washington). Were people naive enough to think Republicans would eventually pass Obama's initial proposal in it's entirety or maybe accept just axing the stimulus spending from it? I don't like what I'm hearing here but it could be a lot worse! The way I see it, if this goes through, Republicans won't be able to hold the country hostage all year with the debt ceiling, taxes will go up on the top 1.5 to 2%, UI benefits get extended and the Medicare age won't be raised.

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

    by Tim D M on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:54:26 PM PST

  •  That's what he said... (0+ / 0-)

    “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”
     -Ray Bradbury

  •  as for Jay Carney's claim... (3+ / 0-)

    not extending the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% means any rate less than 39.6% is unacceptable, as a mere rise to 37% or 38% would be extending at least a fraction of the Bush tax cut on the top 2%.

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

    by JackND on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 03:58:20 PM PST

  •  Is any one surprised? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, zaka1

    trial balloon or not... it is just not in this President's interest to do the right thing. Yes, I am glad he was re elected but my opinion that he is horrible @ governing hasn't changed.

    •  This is the Point in the Electoral Cycle When It's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, zaka1

      least in the interest of every politician to serve the people. Some are retiring and the rest don't face a vote for at least 2 years.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:02:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Because SS Has Nothing to Do With the Budget. (12+ / 0-)

    Of course we should cut it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:00:39 PM PST

    •  This whole thing is such Bullshit. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, zaka1, sloopydrew

      I'll never forget Obama saying last year during the debt ceiling crisis that yeah, Social Security doesn't have anything to do with the deficit, but "we should get all the tough votes out of the way at once." In other words, he wants to cut Social Security regardless of the fact that it doesn't impact the deficit.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:02:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes it does thanks to the payroll tax "holiday" (0+ / 0-)

      though as long as that is allowed to expire then you are right, it won't contribute to the budget deficit anymore.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:35:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with Nancy: Just Say No (7+ / 0-)

    Rates go up on everyone on Jan 1st, giving Dems a much better negotiating position and no longer forcing Repubs to vote to raise taxes on anyone.

    I'm hoping that Obama's offering Boehner enough to be able to claim to have been "fair" and "compromising", but not quite enough for Boehner to be able to take it to his caucus, which will make Boehner, not Obama, the one who killed a compromise. Of course, The Village may see it differently.

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

    by kovie on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:03:04 PM PST

  •  Make A Senior Retired Chained CPI (0+ / 0-)

    What people buy in their retirement years are very different than in their 20s and 30s.  Having the same CPI basket of goods does not fit the purpose of using a CPI - to protect Social Security beneficiaries from inflation.

    BLS should come up with a Chained CPI based upon what retired seniors buy for indexing Social Security.  A chained CPI should be used, as over time what people buy changes.  For example with cars having better fuel economy as the years go buy, the basket of items get less gasoline but the cars may cost more.

    This would be what is most fair to those paying into Social Security as well as those collecting benefits.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:03:09 PM PST

    •  This has nothing to do with fairness (4+ / 0-)

      They don't want a fair calculation.  They want a calculation that reduces benefits.  That is the one and only purpose to changing the calculation.   They have to balance Social Security benefits against millionaires.  We will not be able to tax incomes of $999,999.99 because rich folks will have a sad, so we must find a clever way to screw someone getting $20K in Social Security.

    •  BLS has that index. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffersonian Democrat

      It was part of the deal in 1987. If it had been implemented,today's seniors would be receiving more every month.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:40:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and what brilliant ideas are there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, sloopydrew

      for those of us in our 40s who get VA benefits, which are by law connected with Soc Sec?  How do you know what I purchase?  As I get older does that mean that I have to sell my belongings because I have to find a smaller aperment than the modest one I have now?

      I mean, I lose compounding purchasing power as I age, so um, I guess when I hit 67 I'll have already lost 1,500 dollars of my veterans benefits.

      Yea, that sure is fair

      •  Inflation indexes should fit the application (0+ / 0-)

        It is not practical to make an index for each individual person, but it is for age brackets.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 12:07:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They do, it's called CPI-E and is weighted (0+ / 0-)

      more towards food, fuel/energy, and medicine rather than fancy electronics.  That's important because due to "hedonics" that dramatically reduces the inflation rate because cell phones and computers are so much faster than last year's model which means the relative "cost" of buying a new computer or cell phone (of equivalent quality) each year is dropping rapidly.  Just compare a HTC Thunderbolt to a Samsung Galaxy SIII (or Galaxy Note).  Yet most old people don't upgrade their phones to the latest model every year and can easily get away with an old Pentium 3 or 4 with 2GB of RAM.

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:38:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  B.S. Over the cliff, curb, speed-bump (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, dharmafarmer

    whatever! Stop negotiating with Boner he doesn't have the votes to do ANYTHING!

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:04:53 PM PST

  •  would it surprise anyone if (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poopdogcomedy, pistolSO, tardis10

    Boehner reneges on any deal he makes? The house gop will balk and threaten him. Nothing is a done deal.

  •  Call your House Rep and tell them no deal! (6+ / 0-)

    Senate will pass whatever shit is put before them because Pres Obama will tell them to, but the House is a wildcard.  If you have a Dem Rep you should call them up and tell them NO ENTITLEMENT CUTS!  And if you have a GOP Rep call them up and play teabagger and say NO RAISING TAXES OR SS CUTS!

    The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:14:08 PM PST

  •  Disabled people depend on cost of living (8+ / 0-)

    increase in their SSDI. My bet this effects us too.

    many of us...our checks are so small. Having worked for a long time, sometimes we have a retirement account so assets do not let us get subsidized housing

    my rent is cheap for Boston..900 (but I have oil heat and hot water which is not on right now) my check is 1200

    Disabled people very often cannot work to supplement their check (kinda by definition).

    count on that cost of living increase especially because the amount you get is not adjusted to the cost of where you live anyway.

    big bummer

  •  If Obama and the Democrats in Congress agree (13+ / 0-)

    to chained CPI they will be blasted by Republicans in 2014 in 2016 for slashing SS benefits just the same way Romney's campaign claimed that Obama slashed Medicare with the ACA.

    What part of this do the Democrats not understand? All the polls show that the American public is adamantly opposed to cuts to Medicare and SS, even Republicans.

    A cynic might conclude that they are listening to Wall Street rather than to the American people who voted them into office

    Democrats seem hellbent to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again. (But Wall Street demands its due.)

  •  They're not negotiating a financial cliff. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, smiley7, zaka1, sloopydrew

    They're negotiating the terms of how to continue water boarding the American Middle Class and working people.

  •  Reducing the inflation formula is regressive, (5+ / 0-)

    especially for those at the lower end.

  •  Surprise surprise (0+ / 0-)

    who would have ever have guessed we would be sold down the river for the so called "grand bargain"?

    American Television is a vast sea of stupid. -xxdr zombiexx

    by glitterscale on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:28:29 PM PST

  •  Take me over the cliff, and don't let their be any (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, sloopydrew

    "deal" making.  

    These guys are way off track if any of this is true.

  •  Two things here (for me) (11+ / 0-)

    the Chained CPI won't really affect me all that much as I just wont be around all that long; however, this is so unfair that it is astounding.  The poor will be affected, the rich wont even notice.  This is just one more notch in moving money to the top and creating even more unease in the country.  

    The second point is that the Democratic Party will (partially justified) be blamed for creating a "chink" in the Social Security armor.  That has ALREADY happened by lowering payroll tax deductions which must, at some point, go back up to maintain a healthy Social Security.  If the Democratic Party thinks people will forget they have already forgotten 2010.  

  •  Once again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, zaka1, sloopydrew

    Republicans will be rewarded for threatening to destroy the US economy, while Obama betrays the American people, if this deal goes through.

  •  Just Say Geronimo! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dharmafarmer, sloopydrew

    Take a graceful dive off the cliff and fix things from scratch.  Are the Clinton rates really that onerous?

    You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

    by Johnny Q on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:33:33 PM PST

    •  RE: are the Clinton rates so onerous? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sloopydrew

      Only to a fascist.

      A thousand Sharkeys are invading a thousand Shires every day across our country.--James Wells

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:05:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Deduction cap Hurts Blue-Staters Most (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dharmafarmer

      Clinton rates would be better for those who barely eek it out to the 31 percent bracket than the deduction cap that is being substituted.  I'm not complaining that my taxes are going up, we can afford to pay our part,  but if they cap deductions at 28 percent they will go up by thousands more than just a return to the Clinton tax rate (which probably wouldn't hit us as our taxable income is below $250,000).  It's a penalty for living in a blue state with high state income, real estate taxes, and high housing costs.  Red State  residents in the same income bracket won't have any tax increase because they don't have these expenses.  That part seems unfair.  

  •  Obama shouldn't be negotiating. He is horrible at (3+ / 0-)

    it. He wanted that chained CPI crap last time. Write your Senator to say NO. Don't believe this is the best that can be done.

  •  Why in the world would we do this? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zaka1, Matt Z
  •  cpi adjustment (0+ / 0-)

    There is no need to lock in an inflation adjustment years in advance - this can be addressed year by year if desired. A concession on this now could be reversed the next time Democrats control both houses. There is not going to be a "permanent" settlement anyway.

    SS taxation and benefit levels do not have to be set in advance, except for the bulge of the baby boom. They could be set by referendum every couple of years. SS is basically a program which takes money from workers and gives it to retirees immediately.

    •  Exactly! (0+ / 0-)

      This is a POSSIBLE cut on benefits in the far, far future (which, if we play our cards right will never come about) in return for a very real raise in tax rates and closing of loopholes for the 1% right now.  This would be an EPIC win for us.

      And thats only if this is a real offer and not something Obama offered knowing that Bohener doesn't have the votes to get a tax increase through his caucus- which I give 50% odds to.

      Sadly, I think the screamers on the left are going to guarantee we wind up with something worse than this. They are rapidly becoming the Tea Party- nothing is ever good enough for them so no progress will ever be made.

      And then they'll manufacture an "enthusiasm gap"-again, Democrats will lose, and they'll write complaining diaries about how the party is going right- instead of stopping the behavior that is pushing the party right.

      It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

      Good comment- consider yourself tipped, as due to site hypcorisy, I can't currently.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:46:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  agree with all of this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        madmojo

        some of these comments are embarrassing.  People would rather throw a tantrum and demand total orthodoxy than even try to appreciate the complexity of governing.  

      •  Well as I said above (0+ / 0-)

        If in the FUTURE you restore the cuts and return the money you stole from me, in the FUTURE you might get another vote from me.  But NOW you won't.  Because NOW you agreed to screw me and I don't just get mad, I get even, legally of course, at the polls.  

        Why do you think I would care if you tax the 1% if you take more money away from me?  I have got nothing against the wealthy.  I have no interest in taxing them just for the hell of it.  If you have to screw me to get them, I'd prefer you don't screw either of us.  Now, if it were truly fair, truly balanced, truly an equivalent sacrifice we might talk, but there is nothing remotely equivalent to a small increase in the tax on the income earned over $1 million and a significant cut to the income of those making $20K.  Nothing remotely equivalent.

        •  Except of course (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madmojo

          that not voting for Democrats at the polls actually DOESN'T screw politicians. Who it does screw is you, me, and the whole damn country- everybody but your intended target.

          So your course of action actually has the opposite effect of your intent.  Par for the course, sadly.

          People need to learn to think and vote strategically instead of emotionally. We'd see a lot more progress towards progressive goals if that happened.

          If we played it strategically we could trade POSSIBLE cuts (that we could negate) for DEFINITE rate increases.  I see no way that's not a winner if you take emotion out of it.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:27:43 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Obama is going to screw me for the next 30 years (2+ / 0-)

            You don't get how big a cut this is going to be.  The Republicans won't do anything worse.  Sure, they'll be back for more next time they can get a Democratic President to cut benefits.  

            This isn't voting emotionally.  This is voting against the party that said we are going to cut your Social Security benefit every month for the next 30 years.  

            •  As long as you can see the future (0+ / 0-)

              can I have the lottery numbers?

              There is no evidence that this will affect current beneficiaries. The fact that you are ASSUMING it will and the fact that you are ASSUMING the cuts will continue (not counting your planned course of actions which will ENSURE the cuts continue) is proof you are acting emotionally.

              Take the emotion out of it; stop thinking in terms of "screwing me" (and emotional reaction if Ive ever heard one) and it becomes "possible future benefit cuts (that if we play our cards right we can reverse) in return for definite rate increases.

              I see no way that isn't a winning deal unless you're too emotionally invested in a me me me narrative to act strategically.

              "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

              by Whimsical on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:28:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Both politically and policy wise (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, zaka1, PorridgeGun, sloopydrew

        a chained CPI is is a terrible idea for Dems to support. That is why the GOP wants it so badly.  

        "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

        by tardis10 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:42:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, what I have (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, tardis10, zaka1, sloopydrew

        is good enough

        This will just take it away, and make me struggle.  And no, it is not in the far far future: I receive VA benefits right now - some of us have already sacrificed and more than fucking enough

        So when you start fucking with my livelihood, the only thing I have to survive on, then yea, I start screaming.

        •  I have seen NO evidence (0+ / 0-)

          that this change will affect current beneficiaries.  

          That is an even more extreme position than Romney took. To believe that will happen you have to believe that Obama has secretly been more extreme than Romney.

          That is not a rational belief to have, IMO.

          "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

          by Whimsical on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:30:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No I believe (0+ / 0-)

            my experience on how bureaucracy works from 17 years in the military and fighting the VA for another ten just to get benefits I earned.

            Now you are putting beliefs in my head or words in my mouth because one does not have to believe the President is secretly anything.  All it requires is a little life experience to realize that the bureaucracy really does not give a shit about you.  Rational or not that is reality.

            I also believe the US Code
            38 U.S.C. 1104 - COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS, Sun-chanpter 1, Sec. 1104 - Cost-of-living adjustments

            (a) In the computation of cost-of-living adjust- ments for fiscal years 1998 through 2013 in the rates of, and dollar limitations applicable to, compensation payable under this chapter, such adjustments shall be made by a uniform per- centage that is no more than the percentage equal to the social security increase for that fiscal year, with all increased monthly rates and limitations (other than increased rates or limi- tations equal to a whole dollar amount) rounded down to the next lower whole dollar amount.
            If it goes into effect next year of the year after, of course it will affect current beneficiaries, that is the purpose of a general, standardizing law like this.  It cuts across the board to more programs than just social security because all programs are by law tied together.
      •  What do we get to expand economy and when have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zaka1

        we ever undone these give-aways to the GOP? From 1962-64 to today we have given more and more to the economy of finance and to an unhealthy economy.

      •  More like a temporary win.... (0+ / 0-)

        ...paid for by simply  gutting the last social supports of the working poor (Medicaid, food stamps, minimum wage, unemployment benefits), and opening the door for the GOTP to win back the Senate in 2014 and even the Presidency in 2016 by doing their dirty work for them.  Plus, there's no guarantee that the defense sequestration will hold, or even that there will be any real cuts in defense, given the howls from even Democrats...therefore, it will all be dumped on the working poor and the downwardly mobile middle class....and the Tea Party will be waiting with another round of supply-side austerity as the magic bullet solution in 2016.

        But, I guess that simply abandoning the vast majority of working class people is what counts for "pragmatic liberalism" these days, and only those dirty hippies and "emoprogs" would dare defend what used to be core Democratic values. Austerity and corporate liberalism win again. It's as if the DLC never left.

    •  Oh yeah like we got back what Reagan took (4+ / 0-)

      Not.  No way.  Don't believe it for one second.  They already screwed us once.  If they do it again, it will not be the last time.  Nope.  It will just be easier for them to do it next time.  

      But hey, if you are right then in the FUTURE when you restore the cuts and return the money you stole from me THEN I will vote for you again, maybe.   Till then, forget it.

  •  I voted for Obama twice. . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . .I am the fool.

    Money ain't free speech and it won't buy you love.

    by waztec on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 04:49:34 PM PST

    •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

      After his first term, why would any Progressive/Liberal/Democrat vote for Obama? He has done more to further Republican causes than anyone since Ronald Reagan. I voted for Obama the FIRST time and STILL feel depressed and guilty about it.

      I will not touch Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid - Barack Obama

      by sloopydrew on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 01:10:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  my guess? (0+ / 0-)

    A temp fix for 6 months, heated chat in June,and then something more pressing will come up, and then it's mid terms and well rather rinse repeat.

  •  Negotiating Boehner's capitulation (0+ / 0-)

    ETA Dec. 30.

  •  Any Democrat Or President That Supports This (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smiley7, zaka1, sloopydrew

    is no real democrat and is a trader to all us voters who voted for them.  That is the way I feel.  I will not give any more money or support to any democrat who goes along with this. That goes for the POTUS too.  The democrats should just go over the cliff.

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

    by rssrai on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:20:00 PM PST

  •  Not that I want to see any of this CPI stuff (0+ / 0-)

    happen. But, if Republicans insist it is their be all and end all, maybe it should only apply to retirees with incomes above 300-400% of the poverty level. Everyone else would get the same COLA as now. Doing this to everyone, rich and poor alike, is wrong. I'd like to see Republicans explain why they want to squeeze grandma further into poverty when some people are so wealthy they don't even need their SS checks.

    Just doing my part to piss off right wing nuts, one smart ass comment at a time.

    by tekno2600 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:31:42 PM PST

  •  This doesn't make (3+ / 0-)

    sense:

    new inflation formula for federal programs, one that would have the effect of reducing future cost-of-living payments for Social Security beneficiaries
    unless they want to totally screw the disabled and the elderly.

    Because most of us no longer have pensions and many of loss either jobs or savings in 2008.  Add on top of that the phone, gas, electric companies are soaking up profits to pay CEOs bigger salaries.  We just had NIPSCO raise our electricity rates and then turn around and give the CEO a 30% increase in salary which is crazy, we get like a 1.7% cost of living increase on our social security and the CEOs get 30% increases and while we sit in colder and darker homes.  This is why things are so imbalanced and until the politicians rally with the people it will just get more imbalanced financially until people are just living on the streets.

    Please don't punish the elderly and disabled to make the wealthy feel better.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:46:18 PM PST

  •  No deal! (6+ / 0-)

    Any cuts to entitlements is unacceptable.  Let all of the bush tax cuts expire and keep it that way.  Case closed.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 05:54:28 PM PST

  •  Damn (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    I told my wife earlier today that Obama would settle on 400-500k on the income line-

    Now we're in a giant fight - she says she was the one that said 400k

    Still- i'm pissed- go over the cliff

  •  Obama must address the nation (2+ / 0-)

    And honestly tell the American people that he has agreed to an enormous cut in Social Security benefits.  The very rich are going to get an itty bitty tax increase.  So exactly what is the % of the benefit cut over time?  We need the facts.  We need a nice chart.  In prime time.  A nice chart showing the decrease in benefits so Americans really and truly understand that this is not just a hit on your next 3 months of unemployment.  Nope this is a 30 year hit to your income.

    American need to know before this bill is passed that Obama and the Democratic Party have agreed to a HUGE CUT in Social Security benefits that will require Americans to save tens of thousands of dollars to make up for this drastic cut.

    Oh and we're cutting Veterans too!  And the disabled!  Hooray for the balanced approach.   Hooray for your Social Security benefit steadily declining for the next 30 years. What a deal!!

  •  MSNBC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pistolSO

    MSNBC say $400K for top tax, SS/Medicare cuts/changes, debt limit agreed on for 2 years.

    •  Epic capitulation (3+ / 0-)

      What a total absurd sick joke to claim that such a deal is any kind of balance.  You capitulate on almost all of the Bush tax cuts and in return Americans take a 30 year hit on their Social Security income.

      I will be paying for this crap deal for the next 30 years.  Whoopee.  And I will make a note to remember this every 2 years when I go to the polls.

      •  And vote for who? The Republicans forcing this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        madmojo, pistolSO

        to be in the deal?  

        Your temper tantrum isn't making a lick of sense.  

        The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

        by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:31:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think greenbell is advocating staying at home... (0+ / 0-)

          I believe advocating 3rd party is against the rules here, so I hope it's not that.  Advocating voting Republican is just plain sad.

          Some people don't get it.  If we end all the tax cuts by going over the cliff (slope), it means Republicans just use the "they raised taxes on the poor and middle-class" line in 2014.  And it will most likely work, because most people just read headlines and are easily swayed by negative advertising.

        •  Republicans can't force a single thing (6+ / 0-)

          President and Senate are Dems...there is no cliff...

          And you will quickly find out how clear that is when Dems are shown in ads in the midterms cutting SS and taking money out of Seniors pockets...for something that doesn't contribute a dime to the deficit

          "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

          by justmy2 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:39:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How about this - take those tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

            for the $400K and under that are being secured and put it in a savings account and save it until you're 65 years old.  

            Presto.  More money than you'll possibly be out from the chained CPI changes.  

            The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

            by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:51:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  And what, exactly am I and many (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              smiley7, tardis10, sloopydrew, justmy2

              others, some as young as 18, supposed to do until we are 65?

              In case people are wondering, there is still a war going on and people are still getting fucked up and quite a few of those people are 100% permanent and total disabled with the veterans administration.

              People like me

              So, on the one hand, people say all the time here how we need to do something about homelessness and veterans homelessness but then we turn around and advocate cutting by compounding inflation so that vets and the disabled get less and less as rents rise higher and higher and in a few years we end up choosing between food and shelter.

              Swell, and the younger you get fucked up, the poorer you will be in the end because it compounds.

              But, presto, you're going to stick that hypothetical 400k tax cut into a hypothetical savings account in case I hypothetically make it to 65, right?

              •  Let's wait and see if there is a vet exemption (0+ / 0-)

                Has the Obama Administration not done a lot more for Vets than the GOP would ever do?

                Unless you have specifics on this, we're reading the same thing, which is leaks of one or two sentences with basically no details.  

                The NRA is the Gun Manufacturer Lobby. Nothing more. Their pontification about the second amendment is nothing more than their ad jingle. They're the domestic version of the Military Industrial Complex.

                by Jacoby Jonze on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:29:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is no vet (0+ / 0-)

                  or postal worker or federal or railroad pension exemption

                  38 U.S.C. 1104 - COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS, Sub-chapter 1, Sec. 1104 - Cost-of-living adjustments

                  (a) In the computation of cost-of-living adjustments for fiscal years 1998 through 2013 in the rates of, and dollar limitations applicable to, compensation payable under this chapter, such adjustments shall be made by a uniform percentage that is no more than the percentage equal to the social security increase for that fiscal year, with all increased monthly rates and limitations (other than increased rates or limi- tations equal to a whole dollar amount) rounded down to the next lower whole dollar amount.
          •  As opposed to ads about raising taxes on all? (0+ / 0-)

            Right.  Polls show Americans advocating exactly what the President is doing, right or wrong.

        •  30 years of benefit cuts is a voting issue (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zaka1, sloopydrew

          When you are 60+ there's not much worse the party can do to me than cutting my income for the rest of my life.  

          Why would I vote for the party that passes this bill?  I mean you think I'm going to hope they legalize pot?

    •  The Hill reporting the same (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, pistolSO

      http://thehill.com/...

      Obama is now asking to increase the 35 percent rate to 39.6 percent for those making above $400,000.

      Obama is also offering to change the way inflation is calculated in benefit programs, a move opposed by most liberals. T
      Last week, Obama put $250 billion in cuts to “other mandatory” spending like farm programs on the table and offered $350 billion in healthcare cuts, for a total of $600 billion in spending cuts.

      He is now upping that offer to include $200 billion in discretionary cuts to defense and non-defense agency budgets.

      In total, the administration is offering $1.22 trillion in spending cuts, including interest savings, chained CPI, the discretionary cuts, $400 billion in healthcare cuts and $200 billion in other mandatory spending.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:35:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  President Obama you just won the election (5+ / 0-)

    what are you going to do next!

    CUT SOCIAL SECURITY!

    When you wish upon a star...

    Congrats progressives...for your lack of willingness to put up a fight...you are going to get a cut in earned benefits you paid for, to pay for tax cuts to the rich and a few wars.

    ..
    ..
    ..

    Unless you are willing to put up a stink...and not go along to get along....

    And every Dem that loses when they are attacked by Republicans for voting to cut SS, deserves it.

    what a joke...

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:33:09 PM PST

  •  Elections don't count for much any more (9+ / 0-)

    Voters were clear on not cutting Social Security.

    Chained CPI on Social Security serves no purpose related to the fiscal cliff. Social Security did not crash the economy.

  •  It sounds like Boehner rejected it, his spokesman (6+ / 0-)

    says it's still not balanced, hopefully this was just kabuki from Obama to look 'reasonable and willing to compromise' when we go over the cliff.

    •  It's troublesome: The Hill reports that the CPI (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, zaka1, PorridgeGun

      change is from Obama

      Obama is also offering to change the way inflation is calculated in benefit programs, a move opposed by most liberals. The new method, known as chained consumer price index (CPI), would rase $130 billion more in revenue. A source said that provisions are included to protect the most vulnerable.

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 07:15:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mean there is a dog food bone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        zaka1, sloopydrew

        in the bill for the totally destitute?  Or will dog food be replaced by fish food when this is recalculated?  

      •  I have yet (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smiley7, sloopydrew

        to see any of the politicians or their policies do anything to protect the most vulnerable.  Our country should be ashamed of the homeless and poverty rates we have.  The CPI is means testing which will turn social security into a welfare program so they can further destroy it.  What provisions?  They don't explain those, but they explain how they will start to means testing for social security under the guise of a CPI.  

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 08:55:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If SS is harmed at all...and we held all the cards (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scribeboy, zaka1, sloopydrew

    and didn't have to touch it....I will not forgive!  Period!

  •  Two reasons why this is a terrible compromise (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sloopydrew

    1) Tampering with the CPI is deceitful and dishonest.  It's a transparent way of cutting Social Security and trying to say that you didn't.  If Social Security has to be cut, I'd far rather someone come out and plainly state what the dollar amount is of benefits they are cutting and when.  If you're too cowardly to do that then you have no business touching Social Security.

    2) If the outlines of the deal are at all accurate then Obama is implicitly negotiating with with Republicans about the debt limit, which is an appallingly stupid idea. The Republican party is one of two parties in America.  If they want to, they can cast the US economy into the abyss any time they want.   Democrats up to the president, need to let them do that, if that's really what they want, but force them to take ownership of it.  Negotiating it to be another 12 months out, just legitimizes the Republican's hostage taking and obscures their responsibility.  

    Δε φοβάμαι τίποτα.

    by Porphyreos on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 11:26:15 PM PST

  •  If the GOP is not the party of low taxes (0+ / 0-)

    then they are the party of nothing. Getting Republicans to vote affirmatively on a tax increase for the first time in 20 years is an important step towards breaking the Republican fever and making the country governable again. As many Repub commentators have asked, if the GOP renegs on its central plank of opposing any and all tax increases now and forever amen, then what is their purpose for existing if they vote to raise taxes? It will shatter their coalition, I believe, and a "present" vote on the senate middle class tax cuts bill or a "yes" vote on a middle class tax cut post-cliff won't suffice. We need them to vote "yes" to RAISING TAXES, and this concession is worth the price of crippling the conservative coalition for a long time to come.

  •  Lets look at the whole deal (0+ / 0-)

    Hi All,

    First, let me say I am not thrilled with changing to chained CPI. Its biggest impact are those that live the longest on SS. It is also a small stealthy tax increase because it will be used to index tax brackets more slowly.
    Also, no one is talking much about this, but the proposal ends the payroll tax holiday, so we will be getting smaller paychecks.
    That said, we get some things in return.
    1. Continued extended unemployment benefits
    2. It permanently removes the debt ceiling weapon. Here is why. First, we don't have to ask for a debt ceiling increase for two years. After that, the President would be able to extend the debt ceiling by request and the request could only be denied by a 2/3's vote. In other words, no more hostage taking over the debt ceiling.
    3. 50b in stimulus / infrastructure spending.
    While I would prefer no cuts and further stimulus that is not going to happen as long as the GOP/TP can take hostages (and is unlikely to happen until we have majorities in both houses)
    The alternative is going off the curb then facing an immediate debt ceiling fight. Depending on what happens, we would be looking at a new recession within months. We also would have a chance to reverse these changes quickly by taking control of the House in 2014.
    Adding it all up, it might be worth smaller future SS benefits in exchange for some of these benefits, especially the debt ceiling.

  •  This sort of proposal is the inevitable outcome (0+ / 0-)

    of the President's insistence on "bipartisan" faux negotiation.

    It's evident that--once again--there is nothing "good faith" about these discussions.

    It's past time for Mr. Obama to simply say to Boehner

    I'm prepared for sequestration. This is what you must agree to to avoid it. You know where to find me.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:32:05 AM PST

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