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Live video of President Obama's statement (sched: 10:45 AM ET)
President Obama is urging House Republicans to replace the indiscriminate budget cuts of the sequester through the end of 2013 with a compromise proposal offered by Senate Democrats. The compromise would replace the sequester through the end of the year with a package of targeted revenue increases, including the Buffet rule, and spending cuts, including the elimination of subsidies to big agribusiness corporations. Without House Republicans on board, the Senate proposal faces an uncertain future in because Senate Republicans can filibuster it.

Obama is scheduled to deliver a 10:45 AM ET statement from the White House supporting the plan and urging congressional Republicans to take action. He'll be joined by first responders whose jobs will be impacted if the sequester is allowed to take effect. We'll offer live updates throughout his remarks and talking about it in the comments.

7:46 AM PT: Fox's Brett Baier is trying to "frame" Obama's remarks, zeroing in on the fact that the Senate Democratic plan isn't guaranteed to pass the senate. Well, duh! There's this thing called the filibuster, and Senate Republicans can filibuster it if they want to spare the House GOP.

7:50 AM PT: President Obama has just taken the podium, with first responders standing behind him.

7:52 AM PT: "Just ten days from now Congress might let a series of severe automatic budget cuts to take place," the president says, which will harm the economy. He points out that there's already been $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction, more than halfway towards his goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

7:53 AM PT: Obama says the idea of the sequester was to create an unappealing alternative way of filling in the most of the rest of the gap to $4 trillion, but it hasn't worked as intended, he says, because Congress hasn't yet come up with a better way of achieving the $1+ trillion in deficit reductions.

7:55 AM PT: At stake, he says: Military readiness; the efficiency of our air travel system; teachers; flu vaccines. "These cuts are not smart, they are not fair. [...] This is not an abstraction—people will lose their jobs. [...] These cuts, known here in Washington as sequestration are a bad idea."

7:56 AM PT: Sequestration can be avoided, he says, but Congress must act. And, he says, for two years he's been offering plans on how to achieve the same amount of deficit reduction as the sequester and Simpson-Bowles through spending reform and tax reform.

7:58 AM PT: Obama says he wants a big deal, but if Congress can't act by Friday, "at a minimum" they should pass a smaller package to offset the sequester for a period of time. He says Democrats have offered such a plan, and it would be balanced, but all the GOP plans are completely unbalanced. "They'd rather have these cuts go into effect without closing a single tax loophole for the wealthy."

8:00 AM PT: Obama says he will not sign an unbalanced plan. The question, he says, is whether or not Republicans will compromise and accept a deal that has spending cuts and additional revenue through tax reform, or if they want to defend tax loopholes for the wealthy.

8:01 AM PT: "My door is open. I've put tough cuts and reforms on the table. I'm willing to work with anybody to get the job done. But nobody should expect to get 100 percent of what they want." (This is probably the GOP's perverted definition of inflexibility.)

8:03 AM PT: President Obama has concluded his remarks.

8:08 AM PT: My quick take: (a) We're all continuing to pay the price for the disastrous decision to use the debt limit as leverage for long-term deficit reduction in 2011; (b) Obama still really wants the grand bargain-type deal he's been seeking; (c) His framing—that the question is whether the GOP will force the sequester on America or will accept a compromise—is fairly strong and likely poses a political threat to Republicans if they refuse to compromise; (d) the fact that his framing likely poses a political threat to Republicans if the sequester goes forward is probably the only reason there's a chance of avoiding the sequester.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If only Obama was endorsing the progressive (10+ / 0-)

    plan. But still, as someone looking for a job, not having the sequester hanging over America is a Good Thing.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:36:21 AM PST

  •  Unintended consequences (8+ / 0-)

    This was a stupid plan when it was first introduced. Wort part was people believing it could ever actually happen. Who are the numb sculls advising the President?  Can we get some people in charge that can see further than the next news cycle?

    •  Hear, hear, Frank! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg

      Ill-conceived, to say the least.

      The very idea of "leveraging" one's position, by pitting one group of vulnerable folks against another, is unacceptable.

      By that I mean, negotiating the sequester by putting the Chained CPI and/or cuts to Medicare on the table, to bargain against targeting (a few thousand) teachers' jobs, cutting Head Start, etc.

      Mostly the sequester hits the MIC.  Therefore, it should be allowed to go through, if the price of stopping it is cutting Social Security and Medicare.  It is hard to imagine that these cuts will not be part of any final Grand Bargain, or "Big Deal."  I hope they're not.  I'm sure closely watching this unfold.

      But it is unconscionable that a few vulnerable populations should have to take a "hit," in order to achieve cuts to defense spending.

      Hopefully, they have learned their lesson.  Unfortunately, this type of "trigger mechanism" is what the entire Fiscal Commission's proposals are built around.  So, I'm not at all certain that we've seen the last of this type of maneuver.

      Good luck to all!

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:23:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am following this sequester very closely, (10+ / 0-)

    because if there are no other substitutes, I understand something like 125,000 people, possibly myself included, may lose their housing subsidy, and there is about $127 billion dollars in more cuts to Medicare, which I am also on....so I am engaged.

    •  I can't take it any more. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Panbanisha, 3goldens, smiley7, DSPS owl

      Unemployed = 1 year.  Biting my nails last December "fiscal cliff" would end my unemployment benefits.  Biting nails now, "sequester" end what little benefits have left.  Also, on short list for job with government.  No moving ahead til "sequester" resolved.  Autistic kid.  Husband = 64.  Have Ph.D.  Barely hanging on.

      "I reject your reality and substitute my own." Savage.

      by cityvitalsigns on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:44:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing like giving Republicans (6+ / 0-)

    something else to hold hostage, eh?

    •  Pauline is getting bruises from being tied to the (5+ / 0-)

      railroad tracks so many times.

    •  The theory is that because of defense, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OhioNatureMom, ferg, rightiswrong

      Republicans have skin in this game, too. But that only seems to worry old-school Republican hawks, who are laissez-faire enthusiasts six out of seven days of the week, but hardcore Keynesians when it comes to miliatary spending.

      Trouble is, there are all these new Republicans who are quite happy to allow spending to be cut across the board -- as long as it hastens the eventual goal of crippling the government. And this time, we don't have the threat of imminent tax hikes to concentrate their minds. Those somehow got "sequestered" from the spending sequester during the previous round of negotiations.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:19:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just Republicans. (4+ / 0-)

        There are also those on the "left" who are willing to cripple the government. I've always viewed libertarians (to name these anti-governmentalists) as being "1/2 ok 1/2 crazy" regardless of whether you are on the left or right, and here we might see it in play.

        "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 Feb 19, 2013 at 09:20:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wait. Those on the left who wanted to cripple (0+ / 0-)

          the government? I mean, unless you mean "anarcho-syndicalists to the left of Noam Chomsky," I'm not sure that there's too many people here at dKos who have a vested interest in undermining the proper functioning of government -- not on entitlements or economic policy, anyway.

          Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

          by Dale on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 01:44:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Look for those commenters (0+ / 0-)

            who regularly deride almost all Dems and question the value of governmental spending, as well as those who think paying down the deficit is the most important issue Ever.

            "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 Wed Feb 20, 2013 at 06:00:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Well, the "skin in the game" theory doesn't hold (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PorridgeGun, rightiswrong

        true when a Democratic President is the Commander-In-Chief.

        How they missed that one, I'll never know.  (Who were the advisers in this?  And worse, chances are they've already left the Administration, and won't be held accountable for this fiasco.)

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:31:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And the Republicans now double down (5+ / 0-)

    and move even further to the right, as they always have done. And then Obama offers to compromise again.

    The comedy continues.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:48:26 AM PST

    •  Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles (5+ / 0-)

      to the rescue!  They have a new plan!  Specific changes in the tax code and lower the rates!  Deeper cuts to discretionary programs, particularly benefit cuts to Medicare and Social Security!  Privatization!!

      We're f'cked.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:50:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  More territorial claims in Europe! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe

        Peace in our time!

        The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

        by raboof on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:00:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  That's the entire "point of" the Bowles-Simpson (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens, SueDe

        proposal.

        Enter stage left--Erskine and Alan.

        Kabuki Theater 3.0.  :-)

        Here's a link to their proposal, The Moment Of Truth.

        Folks, if you haven't read their recommendations, please do.

        It explains everything that's happening before your eyes.

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:37:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Love the name, don't you? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musiccitymollie

          Fear and dread and an ultimatum.  My last ex-husband gave me an ultimatum.

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 03:54:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hear, hear, SueDe! It's pretty awful, when our (0+ / 0-)

            lawmakers' antics remind us of "an Ex."  :-D

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:10:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Seen this movie before, LOL! Folks, start (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PorridgeGun

        burning up the phone lines to the White House and to Speaker Boehner.

        Regarding Erksine Bowles and Alan Simpson, these two jokers are "held in very high esteem" in D.C.  After all, the Administration appointed them to head the Fiscal Commission.

        So, dismiss them at your own peril!

        And please, push back on their "new proposals."  

        [See justmy2's link below.]

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:29:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Raboof: the alternative to Obama's proposal is ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... is ...?

      It's easy to say he seems to be bargaining against himself, but if the sequester is a bad idea and the House Republicans won't can't move because the Tea Party has the House in paralysis, what's the alternative? (Other than suffering the sequester for a while and waiting for public opinion to build. A strategy, by the way, that I'd personally favor, but I don't have a job at risk. We cannot possibly get military cuts as big as the sequester requires and the 2% hit on SS is a heckuva lot lower than the 8% on domestic programs generally.)

      2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

      by TRPChicago on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:26:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please, don't just consider the actual cuts in (0+ / 0-)

        the sequester package itself.

        The really huge cuts, and adverse impact on our economy, will be the possible or potential cuts that come as a result of "stirking a Grand Bargain."

        Especially the across-the-board cut called the Superlative or Chained CPI, if that is a negotiated part of "saving" the sequester.

        It's a well-known fact that there are approximately 76-79 MILLION Boomers, on the cusp of retirement.

        Here's a link to the Social Security online website, that says that as of 2011, there were almost fifty-five and one half MILLION folks receiving Social Security benefits.

        That's roughly One Hundred and Thirty-Five MILLION folks (not counting VA Disability, and all the other "federal transfer" programs which are included in the Chained CPI).

        Those numbers are far more concerning to me (especially regarding the impact that it would have on the economy if these tens and tens of millions of folks lose some of their purchasing power) than the 750,000 possible lost DOD jobs, that were mentioned on the February 17th Sunday Talk Shows.

        Not that I wouldn't have sympathy for DOD employees.  I am a reitired DOD employee, who went through more RIFs and furloughs than I have fingers, :-).

        And one never wants to see job loses, especially in a "bad economy."

        But again, it is a matter of proportion or scale.  I believe that a "Grand Bargain" to save 3/4 of a million jobs, if the demand is cuts to all the "federal transfer programs," would be far more damaging to the economy, than the job lose itself.

        This entire "sequester" was ill-conceived (or half-baked).  Hopefully, this will never happen again!

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:54:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I see you found the bold and italic buttons. eom. (0+ / 0-)

          "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

          by joey c on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:25:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good one, joey c! Admit that I'm a bit "heavy on" (0+ / 0-)

            the use of bold and italic punctuation, LOL!

            Just taking into consideration the fact that many folks simply "scan" the diaries. :-D

            There's another "bold" for you!

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 11:38:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with you; across the board cuts are ridiculous (3+ / 0-)

          But it's possible - and I think, likely - we can have it both ways.

          The sequester ought to be replaced, as President Obama said today, by a much more strategic approach. Specific programs - military and domestic - can be cut with much less damage than the sequester blunderbuss. And "balance" says include revenue measures which, themselves, meet two goals - tax reform and revenue raising - without the bugaboo of raising rates (which would also be fine with me, but let's be realistic).

          As for the sequester going into effect ... public reaction will be fast, big and harsh, a wake-up call to some in Congress, and it will be soon be replaced in lower amounts and with more sensible cuts.

          (1)  Everyone has warned about the sequester except Boehner. (It was in his 98%, wasn't it? Or was it in the 2% he didn't get, so it was small potatoes to him then.) As we saw today, Obama is not going to let the Republicans get by with "It was the President's proposal." It was a bargain Boehner took credit for at the time. It was Congress's bill and Congress passed it and only Congress can fix it. I'm quite sure our president will hike up his rhetoric to say darn near exactly that in the days to come. (I think he needs to do it in a press conference. There, he'll be baited with inside the beltway questions, but he's good at ripostes and can make his points as frustrated off the cuff responses.)

          (2) It won't last long. When the public sees the across-the-board damages, there will be room for specific, targeted and smaller strategic cuts. And maybe we can convince him that the Republicans had a good chance to take him upon his too-generous offer to chain CPI and do some M&M cuts, so he can now take those off his plate of offerings. Let Republicans raise them next and take the heat ... for a change.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:29:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  TRPC, appreciate your reply. I am certainly in (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TRPChicago

            agreement with you on much of what you say.

            And, I'm definitely not one that wants to see punitive cuts to the most vulnerable citizens.  Actually, I spent my entire professional life fighting for these same folks.  So, I assure you, that is not my goal.

            But I am concerned about the following statement, from the President's remarks earlier today:

            So my door is open.  I’ve put tough cuts and reforms on the table.  I am willing to work with anybody to get this job done. None of us will get 100 percent of what we want.

            Also, during the SOTU speech last week, it sounded as though the President  might be acquiescing to the Repubs on the Superlative (Chained) CPI, and possibly even on "means testing" Medicare.

            Here's a couple of lines from the DKos diary entitled, "Parsing the State of the Union - Plans for Social Security & Medicare?"  The writers of this diary are a very well respected organization, that seeks to protect the integrity of our social insurance programs.

            However, the news wasn’t all good for seniors who depend on Medicare and Social Security as the President, once again, urged increased means-testing for Medicare and left the door open for Social Security benefit cuts by changing the cost of living allowance formula.
            Frankly, this has me very concerned.

            Many of your points are well taken.  I guess I honestly have less faith in any negotiations coming out "evenly or balanced," when it involves a bunch of determined and radically right-wing Repubs, LOL!

            But, I hope that you are right.  

            And I appreciate the fact that you are willing to always discuss issues in a very civil and pleasant manner.  Thanks!

            Mollie

            "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

            "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

            by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:06:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  you propose it yourself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TRPChicago, VirginiaBlue

        and then dismiss it. Outcry over the sequester cuts would be almost immediate. We should let the sequester hit, then use the public outcry to support passage of bills restoring the social spending while leaving the military budget in its winnowed state.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:27:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you addressing moi? I have never been opposed (0+ / 0-)

          to cutting the MIC, and as a former DOD "GS" employee, I would enthusiastically applaud cuts to the military.

          I would "regret" cuts to Head Start, to the 125,000 folks who receive rental vouchers, etc., etc.

          But, as I stated above, it is a matter of proportion.

          How can those cuts, even be compared to (or measured against) the proposed cuts to Social Security and/or Medicare?

          Hoping that TRPC is correct that the President (or Biden) will negotiate a "balanced" deal (which I am very skeptical of, as I expressed above) is not the same as changing my mind, as to my preference.

          But, do you believe, joey c, considering that it was the Administration that pushed for sequestration, that the Administration will allow the sequestration to go through?

          Frankly, I don't.

          I posted here at DKos, a newspaper piece regarding the President's previous issuance of a "veto threat," if the Congress tried to stop the sequestration cuts.  (Check my comments, if you'd like to read it.)

          So, I'd put my house on it, that the Administration will get "a big deal," or maybe even "a Grand Bargain," out of this installment of Kabuki.

          I don't want this to happen, but last time I checked, they didn't care "what Mollie thought, LOL."

          Seriously, for the record, I believe more overall damage would be done if they negotiate cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to "save the Sequester."

          So, if the Administration were to leave it up to me, I'd let the sequestration bill take effect, unless I was able to  negotiate a "deal" with absolutely NO CUTS to any social insurance programs.

          That's what I think.  :-D

          [Thought you'd like those "bolds."]

          Mollie

          "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

          "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

          by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 12:42:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wasn't actually (0+ / 0-)

            That comment was directed at TRPChicago. As such, I never accused tyou of changing your mind but was rather referring to how he wrote,

            "what's the alternative? (Other than..."
            and then laid out the alternative and said he was in favor of it.

            With reference to your comments, though:

            1. I am not in favor of cuts to our social spending of any variety, in terms of funds allotted. I could see rethinking how we spend some of what we spend in terms of the discretionary programs, but the idea that we ought to spend less on them overall is absurd.

            2. I am also not in favor of cuts to social security. I'd like to see just how close they can come to being actuarially  funded if we removed the cap on social security taxes.

            3. With regard to our medical programs, it is clear that the US spends too much on medical care and we need to spend less. However, I don't think this needs to or should entail providing less benefits, and I think we can save money while offering better medical care. (a) Our doctors are paid much more than comparable physicians in other developed countries, though admittedly they have to pay vast sums for their education. (b) Our payment structure and the incentives it entails are both really silly, and reimbursing networks of allied physicians/nurses/facilities for overall patient outcomes rather than individual procedures is clearly the way to go here. (c) Our administrative costs plus the amount siphoned off for profits and management salaries by insurance companies add up to major waste. I'm for single payer, but even if we allow private insurance to exist, they ought to be mandated  use the same forms and procedures as each other (and maybe as CMS too) to minimize time spent on paperwork. All these issues offer possibilities for savings while not impacting the level of service provided.

            4. I am not at all comfortable with the prospect of the administration negotiating a deal because like you I do not trust them to avoid giving away the store.

            5. That said, you keep juxtaposing discretionary spending cuts with cuts to CMS & SS. I take it that you think the latter is more important than the former. I detect self- and cohort-interest in that (you're retired, you mention above). I also wonder if you've considered the implications of (say) youth malnutrition or lack of preschool in terms of lifelong effects on productivity and happiness when comparing the loss of purchasing power for people on fixed benefits with cutting Head Start or the WIC program.

            "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

            by joey c on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 02:07:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I do believe that the cuts to the social insurance (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joey c

              programs are the most pressing.

              But, I'm not receiving Social Security, and sure not Medicare.  I "retired" from federal service--meaning that I left it.  And, when I'm old enough--age 62 for those folks who don't earn a 30 or 35 year retirement--I'll be eligible to draw a retirement.

              Yeah, Mr. Mollie and I are Boomers, but neither of us are old enough to file for "early" Social Security retirement, much less Medicare.  But, if we live long enough, hey--we'd like to see it still there!

              I admit to that.  And, of course, we've paid the "doubled" payroll tax since 1983 (thirty years).  So, definitely, we feel that we should receive our full benefit.  I make no bones about that.

              There is no comparison between legislation that changes the very nature of the social compact between generations for decades, and "a one-time cut" to a program, whether it is WIC or Headstart--that can be immediately (or quickly) remediated or reversed (and would be, IMO).  BTW, this is true of rental voucher programs, which many older folks rely on.  I'm not showing any bias.  But, it's comparing apples to oranges, since one consideration is for the "revamping and evisceration of programs," and the other is simply talking about defunding one, which could and would be done.

              Bear in mind, when major cuts to Social Security or Medicare are enacted, because it is so difficult to do "politically," they are rarely reversed.  I can only think of one--HMO legislation.  And that was a VERY different era than today.  (I'm sure that you know that reform only comes around every several decades.)  

              Also, don't forget that these very drastic cuts to Social Security and Medicare will be also felt by all the younger cohorts, in time.  One of the things that I'm rather amazed by is that some folks seem to overlook just how "difficult" it will be on many adult children, when all the cuts proposed by Bowles-Simpson are passed and enacted (if indeed they are).

              It will drastically increase the numbers of "extended families" who are caring for, and supporting their parents.  That's a given, with the direction of all the proposed cuts.  And all the cuts will result in both a financial and personal burden on many folks.

              I'm in the state that won the "first round" of "The Race To The Top."  The state was awarded 501 Million Dollars.  None of the ten (10) educators in our extended family are pleased with the effects of this award.  That is because it's resulted in largely "privatizing" the public school system.  And destroying teachers' autonomy.  

              So, because that's the direction of our education reform, I'm not as enthusiastic about throwing money at it, as I'd be, if it were actually going into "saving the public education system."

              But I'm all for supporting public education with our tax dollars.

              Hey, I'm very concerned when the ax is taken to ANY social welfare or social insurance programs.

              But, did you know, that as a result of the passage of the "Welfare-To-Work" legislation that only about 26% of folks who are "income eligible" for welfare, receive it?  In my state, the max cash award for a family of three is less than $190.00 month.

              Can you imagine that?

              I've spent years as a professional, and as an activist, trying to undo the damage of this and other bills, that have greatly weakened our social safety net programs.

              No, it's not a matter of vulnerable older persons, being more important than vulnerable young persons or children.  Personally, I do not believe that it should be a "zero-sum game."

              The money needed to provide adequately for both cohorts should come out of the military industrial complex (which gave me over twenty years employment, granted).  Period.  End of story.

              And at all costs, the most vulnerable in our society--the children, the elderly, the poor and the disabled--should be collectively cared for.

              That's what a 'civilized society' does.  :-)

              [p.s.  Thanks for the discussion!]

              Mollie

              "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

              "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

              by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:03:25 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Correction to my Comment Above: "and the other (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joey c

                is simply talking about defunding one, which could and would be done."

                should read:  which could and would be "undone."

                Sorry.  

                Mollie

                "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

                "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

                by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 04:41:59 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  President is better engaged this term. (11+ / 0-)

    Seems to me he's finally gotten a handle of the job. His job is to manage the politics of any particular policy and leave the details to underlings. Shape the debate. As long as he stays out of negotiations he should be ok.

    But he should also demand Biden get tougher in his negotiating.

  •  Bowles-Simpson-Coffman could go big & long (0+ / 0-)

    This Bowles-Simpson II proposal lacks Defense cuts! It is DOA.

    Republican Chairman of the House Balanced Budget Amendment Caucus Mike Coffman has outlined $512 billion in Defense spending cuts over the next decade in his Denver Post editorial posted 2/19/13.  http://www.denverpost.com/...

    Bowles-Simpson-Coffman could propose savings as follows:

    Revenues $600 billion (OR MORE)
    Defense    $512 billion (OR MORE)
    Medicare & Medicaid (?)
    Discretionary (?)

    •  Got to read this one. Thanks for the link. N/T (0+ / 0-)

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:56:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Simpson Bowles at it again (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, orlbucfan, tb mare, 3goldens, PorridgeGun
    Reduce Medicare and Medicaid spending by improving provider and beneficiary incentives throughout the health care system, reducing provider payments, reforming cost-sharing, increasing premiums for higher earners, adjusting benefits to account for population aging, reducing drug costs, and getting better value for our health care dollars (Feb-Dec 2013)

    Enact comprehensive, pro-growth tax reform that eliminates or scales back most tax expenditures, with a portion of the savings dedicated to deficit reduction and the rest used to reduce rates and simplify the tax code (Feb-Dec 2013)

    Strengthen limits on discretionary spending (Feb-Dec 2013)

    Reduce non-health mandatory spending by reforming farm subsidies, modernizing civilian and military health and retirement programs, imposing various user fees, reforming higher education spending, and making other changes (Feb-Dec 2013)

    Adopt chained CPI for indexing and achieve savings from program integrity (Feb-Dec 2013)

     Step 4: Make Social Security and Highway Funding Solvent and Medicare Sustainable

        Require reforms on a separate track to make Social Security sustainably solvent (2013)

        Require a highway bill to bring transportation spending and revenues in line (2014)

        Require additional reforms of federal health care programs if necessary to limit the growth of the per beneficiary federal health commitment to close to GDP growth (2018)

    I wonder if the President will speak to this.  If he does, it makes the attacks on Paul Krugman over the last week by the #fixthedebt crew much more understandable.   Liberal's issue is they don't push back until it is too late.

    If the President doesn't mention this, then that was just the nonsense chorus doing what they do best, spouting nonsense.

    By the way... I am still looking for the sacrifice from the folks making these proposals.

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

    by justmy2 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:55:33 AM PST

    •  Is it just me, (4+ / 0-)

      or does "Simpson-Bowles" have little actual legitimacy, outside of a kind of bizarre Beltway Laurel-and-Hardy roadshow?

      When there was initial discussion of "the Simpson-Bowles recommendations," this implied that somehow the commission they had formed had signed off on their ideas. But the actual Simpson-Bowles "plan" wasn't ratified by that commission, as far as I can recall.

      So what we have are a a pair of aging Beltway hacks who somehow get more airtime among Very Serious People than any one of a number of liberal, pro-stimulus, anti-spending folks.

      I felt bad for Paul Krugman having to go on Morning Joe and face this implacable wall of hostility. I mean, he handled it like a pro -- it wasn't even fair. It reminded me of nothing so much as the fight sequences from a Jackie Chan movie, ass-kicked henchmen being scattered right-and-left.

      But Krugman still shouldn't have to go on there alone. Even his most on-the-ball appearances have the look of a lone wolf crying out in the wilderness of Beltway austerity mania.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:26:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops! I meant, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OhioNatureMom

        "... than any one of a number of liberal, pro-stimulus, PRO-spending folks."

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:27:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  There purpose is to provide cover for the wealthy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens

        which includes senators...

        just like the NRA provides cover for gun manufacturers...

        you have to look a level deeper than there ongoing road show...

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

        by justmy2 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:41:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Respectfully, the President mentioned their (0+ / 0-)

        proposal numerous times during the SOTU.

        Here's a link to the transcript.

        It is this proposal that the entire "Fix The Debt" Campaign, and every campaign to cut the social insurance programs, is using for their "framework."

        You're darn straight that it matters, LOL!

        Mollie

        "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

        "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

        by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:04:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't expect it (0+ / 0-)

      You ARE kidding, right?

    •  We need to be calling the White House and Speaker (0+ / 0-)

      Boehner's office to oppose this newest Bowles-Simpson proposal.

      This "Require reforms on a separate track to make Social Security sustainably solvent (2013)," is meaningless rhetoric.

      Cuts are cuts--who the heck cares about "separate tracks."

       

      Mollie

      "Only he who can see the invisible, can do the impossible." --Frank L. Gaines

      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 09:59:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hate to be a fly in the oitment, (17+ / 0-)

    but I should remind everyone that the only reason we are in this predicament is because the president negotiated over the debt ceiling. So....yeah.

  •  GOP holds gun to Americans (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, OhioNatureMom, VirginiaBlue

    Rethuglicans not only denied the accuracy of their "skewed" polls before the election, they are acting like nothing changed and that President Obama didn't win a resounding landslide mandate last November. Americans voters made it known loud and clear that tax breaks for the rich while forcing draconian cuts on the middle class and working folks will not be the path of our country. THe GOP is ruling with a gun to the heads of the people. This cannot be tolerated. The GOP can either accept this reality, or else they can whine on fox News and slowly drift off into irrelevance as a political player in the United States. -  progressive

  •  Republicans are not willing to compromise. Who (3+ / 0-)

    doesn't get this?  

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

    by livjack on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 07:59:31 AM PST

  •  Unlikely as I thought it'd be, winning the House (5+ / 0-)

    in 2014 may be barely possible, even with gerrymandering, if GOP continues radicalism on economy. Remarkable.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:00:48 AM PST

  •  Sonsabitches never read their job-description (11+ / 0-)

    Congress is supposed to legislate and govern. They weren't hired as a wrecking crew to dismantle the federal government and blow up the country.

  •  Good talk. (9+ / 0-)

    The real end game here is November 2014.  The Republicans are branding themsleves, and President Obama is helping people understand what that brand is.  I like that he called out Republicans in Congress.  

    This may end up being President Obama's greatest achievement: the creation of an enduring Democratic majority.  Young people especially are becoming Democrats.  The Rs will win the Confederate votes, and doing so dooms them to irrelevance over time.

    After the jobs are lost from the sequester, I think more people will understand what spending cuts do.  I like that the President keeps saying that one cannot cut their way to prosperity and that spending cuts ar enot an economic plan.  

    These next two years are teachable moments.          

    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 Feb 19, 2013 at 08:08:35 AM PST

    •  lots of people are going to be hurt (5+ / 0-)

      as we keep teaching...

      not that you are wrong...but we shouldn't be here looking for teachable moments, we should be pressing for action...at the same rate and vigor as the Fix The Debt cabal...

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

      by justmy2 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:18:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This ain't goina happen (0+ / 0-)

      There is no way the Dems pick-up seats in 2014.  Not in the House, anyway.

      Obama may have won two historically easy elections for president, against two historically bad GOP nominees, and their cartoon VP running mates,...but he has lost every other significant electoral campaign he has engaged in.  From special elections to the 2010 midterms, to the WI recalls (which he pretty much stayed out of, I guess), Dems are 0-for.

      The GOP is already working hard on reconstruction.  Yes, it's hard with tea party, but the fact that they are openly saying they need to avoid the Akins and Murdochs, and Angles, and O'Donnells in 2014 is a sign that the people who should know better in the party "get it".  Despite Obama's personal success, the GOP would control the Senate right now, if they had just not gone crazy in the above four elections, plus blowing ND or WI, and not allowing Elizabeth Warren to head the consumer protection agency. That is six or seven seats, right there - all they need.

      Obama will be very lucky to leave the White House in Dem hands (and only if Hillary decides to run), let alone leave an enduring Dem majroity.

  •  GOP: Sequester, you 1st; Immigration, us 1st (10+ / 0-)

    Have we been following this dynamic? The GOP are all bent out of shape because, um, a leaked preliminary immigration reform plan from the White House wasn't done with their "input", as if they hadn't been barking about immigration one way or another since Teabonics was invented.

    But as far as a bargain for the replacement of the sequestration cuts, they're all "oh, we're waiting for the PRESIDENT to come up with a plan" - they did this in 2011, in 2012, and are yammering on about it now.

    I think we should ask Reince Preibus, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell to list all the issues before the nation and designate which ones they will be insulted by if somebody else proposes a solution first and which ones they will be insulted by if the President doesn't propose a solution first. Just so we know.

    Today's GOP: thin-skinned and whiny.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:08:40 AM PST

  •  Obama needs to call republicans terrorists (4+ / 0-)

    He is being to nice, he should come out and say the republicans are trying to blackmail America on the backs of the middle class.

  •  Media are saying the sequester will hurt Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, PorridgeGun

    regardless because he is President( coiffed talking-head historian Michael Becksloss) . GOOPs will take comfort in this prediction therefore we are definitely going over the cliff.
    This is going to be worse than predicted. The protests need
     to be launched before this mistake is made.

    •  the village is rarely right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, VirginiaBlue

      Besides, "hurt Obama" doesn't matter any more. He can't run for election.

      Does it hurt Democrats in 2014 more than Republicans? I don't think so. The Democrats are proposing to ease the sequester.

    •  Sequester will hurt both... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sydneyluv

      ...Obama and the Republicans if it takes effect.

      Over the short run, the Republicans will be hurt because they will take the blame -- and that's appropriate since they do deserve most of the blame.

      Over the long run, the resulting weaker economy will hit the President, since that's who usually gets blamed for a weak economy.

      Overall, I think the Republicans will be hurt worse, but it will effect Obama, as well.

      That's the political analysis, anyway.  In the real world, the folks who will be hurt the worst will be the people who end up unemployed or who lose needed benefits as a result of the sequester.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 10:45:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We aren't avoiding it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, 3goldens
    (d) the fact that his framing likely poses a political threat to Republicans if the sequester goes forward is probably the only reason there's a chance of avoiding the sequester.
    We are about to find out who does a better job of framing the reason for it...

    Congress isn't even here to do anything...

    The question is whether they will do a retroactive fix...

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

    by justmy2 on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:15:32 AM PST

  •  Didn't Boner recently come right out and admit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, raboof

    this was his game plan for the foreseeable future?

    Senate Republicans can filibuster it if they want to spare the House GOP.
    Letting the Senate do the job he's obviously incapable of doing.
    _

    PS: thanks again, Harry.
    _

    If the NRA can't take a bite out of crime with 300 Million guns, why do they think having even more will help?

    by here4tehbeer on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:15:34 AM PST

  •  Frankly, I think he should drop the whole "middle (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, ferg, DSPS owl, sneakers563

    class" meme and start saying "hard-working Americans."

    A lot of people are not in the "middle class," and when you're struggling along at minimum wage, you really don't want to hear how it's all about the "middle class."

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

    by livjack on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:17:36 AM PST

  •  It's the same old to me (10+ / 0-)

    Republicans don't do a thing. Obama gets blamed for being out of touch & not leading. Obama comes out and gently calls out Congress as a whole. Crisis until zero hour. Some minimal deal gets done that does nothing but set up another crisis in 6 months. It's high time someone got angry and started throwing down executive orders, or at the very least executive "statements" that specifically names names of who exactly is fucking over our economy for political gain.

    Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

    by hulibow on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:20:59 AM PST

  •  11D chess not working out so well (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Whatithink, 3goldens

    I guess when you negotiate the possibility of future failure with people with failing beliefs and ideas, your not going to find success.

    The republicans have little incentive to cave, they know their actual policies are failures too, the sequester at least has the "feature" of being something Obama signed the country up for, and it will absolutely mangle ACA implementation. Thanks Mr President.

    He needs to be in DC DOING fucking something, not whining from the bully pulpit that the country will have to eat the shit sandwich he helped bake. His audiences are NOT going to solve the problem for him on this one.

  •  Republican Memory Fail (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OhioNatureMom, joe from Lowell

    If you remember when we were debating whether to let the tax rates go up for the upper 2%, the Republicans were talking about closing tax loopholes as an alternative to raising the rates (of course they never said which loopholes).  Now, President Obama is offering up a proposal to close tax loopholes as a partial alternative to the sequester (only he has spelled out which loopholes).

    Another example of when the Republican's proposed it, it was a good thing, but now that the President is proposing the same concept, its dead in the water as far as Republicans are concerned.

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:25:57 AM PST

  •  Obama calls on wolves to give up hunting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, 3goldens

    take up vegan farming......

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:37:32 AM PST

  •  with you to the end (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg

    Right up until the last part I could agree...

    (d) the fact that his framing likely poses a political threat to Republicans if the sequester goes forward is probably the only reason there's a chance of avoiding the sequester.
    This conclusion relies on Republican's following a thought process to its logical end. That isn't something I can believe they are capable of...
  •  Republicans have dream. (5+ / 0-)

    They dream that the economy plunges back into recession, that any talk of economic recovery vanishes, and that the Obama administration is seen as a failure. That's their long-term vision. They need Obama to fail more than they need America to succeed. Hence the current catastrophe.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 08:45:45 AM PST

  •  Mr. President, seriously (5+ / 0-)

    A cut to Social Security won't affect YOUR retirement. Please stop wanting to do something that will affect OURS!

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