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Jonathan Bernstein has a great piece noting that recent economic data indicates that Medicare might not be facing the type of long-term fiscal challenges as repeatedly advertised.  As Bernstein rightly notes:

"What this really means is that we need an immediate moratorium on “grand bargain” talk. We need a halt to any major reforms undertaken purely for budgetary reasons — either the major cuts that Republicans have pushed for or the search for a deficit reduction deal exchanging spending cuts for new revenues that Barack Obama wants. It means the best replacement for sequestration is probably nothing, at least for now. And, most of all, it means continuing to implement the Affordable Care Act, especially those provisions that are intended to reduce costs."

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Comment Preferences

  •  I think most of us here (5+ / 0-)

    know that this is a completely manufactured crisis - unfortunately those who are not reality based are also extremely stubborn.

  •  Obamacare Has Already Reduced Medicare Spending (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    more than Simpson Bowles called for.

    Maybe we should leave Medicare in the mix but only to point out that its share has already been delivered.

    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 Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:32:18 PM PDT

  •  Everyone who thinks there's a... (5+ / 0-)

    ...deficit problem gets it from a friend who got it from a friend who got it from a friend who got it from a friend who got it from maybe Kevin Bacon who got it from a friend and you go all the way back to the one who came up with it in the first place and you realize it was from some drunk guy in Doolin's Pub, Ireland on St. Patty's Day 1958.

    And nobody can explain it because it was bullshit to begin with.

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:33:10 PM PDT

  •  The deficit is coming down and it doesn't matter (4+ / 0-)

    because the RW wants to destroy any program that helps ordinary people. It will try to continue cuts no matter what. I agree with the idea of giving up on the grand bargain. It would just weaken signature programs.

    •  True. We had a surplus, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      countwebb, ferg, greengemini, Brian B

      and W decided that a big tax cut for his friends was more important than the deficit or debt.  Every time the Dems fix the budget and economy, the GOP just go out and break it again.  The deficit is shrinking.  Giving away important programs to fix something that ain't broken is just nuts.

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:43:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The madness (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ExStr8, luckylizard, greengemini, Val

    1. Democrats are already on the electoral defensive in 2014. The US Senate is very, very much at stake. Chained CPI and raising the Medicare Retirement Age are both bad policy and bad politics. So, of course, they are "on the table".
    2. Democrats, insanely, even begin an open push to put their fingerprints all over Social Security cuts as their policy. Their contribution to chasing Austerity. To get bad faith Republicans to embrace temporary loophole closings and tax reforms that can easily be undone by the next Republican President. Something that will be easier to accomplish if Democrats destroy their brand.
    3. Republicans refuse to budge, and bide their time. What could possibly be next?
    4. Citizen's United, FreedomWorks, AmericanCrossroads all unload on Democrats. "I opposed the Obama/Democrat Party Social Security Cuts".
    5. Republicans, insanely, are able to cast themselves as the defenders of a Social Safety Net they have longed for decades to destroy, Democrats, insanely, are easily cast in the role of attacking Social Security
    6. GOP retakes the US Senate on the back of this gambit. It is very possible. Then what?
    7. The most extreme Republican Senators are given Committee Chair assignments. Ted Cruz with a gavel and the lawyers, investigators, and subpoena power that go with it.
    8. Solyndra, Ben Ghazi, and Fast and the Furious faux scandals are now no longer just talk radio kabuki threatre, but actual beltway scandals and fodder for Arkansas Project style impeachment push.
    9. Obama, who pushed for "Grand Bargain" now faces real risk of, at best, total governing paralysis and, at worst, impeachment over trumped up bullshit.
    10. All of this could have been avoided by Democrats not being stupid enough to embrace being the party of entitlement cuts, while already behind the eight ball going into 2014, to chase the fantasy that you could "take x, y, and z off the table" with a deal with the most bad faith Movement Conservative borg to ever enter the District of Columbia.

    And now we get word that, right after the Democratic leadership embraces Chained CPI, the same sort of instant pie in the face that Harry Reid took on his idiotic handshake filibuster deal with Mitch McConnell comes with this news.

    And it might be the best thing to happen to the Democrats, mere total humilation. Rather than total suicide.


    I belong to a party run by idiots.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 04:36:24 PM PDT

  •  So today Obama gave an Energy speech (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ian S, Val

    But he had to plug "entitlement reform" as if cutting Social Security and Medicare are something to be proud of instead of epic fails.  

    No Democrat should ever be proud of cutting retirement benefits.  Now, if the country is in dire straits, if you have run through every possible other alternative, in national emergency, perhaps if the US was engaged in a world war or some other catastrophe maybe, maybe.... but why on earth would you ever brag about doing something so awful?  

    I guess I have just totally lost the plot...what is the plot?

  •  Truth between--and simple solutions (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greengemini, Val

    First, social security: Two very simple fixes. First, raise the cap on what you pay taxes on with the cost of living.(chained or unchained)

    And second, immigration reform. There are many young workers in this country working for cash, who would love to be in the system and earn the right to collect. Changing the demographic pyramid fixes a lot.

    WRT Medicare, ACA has already saved maybe a trillion. Negotiating drug prices nips the curve even farther. There are many other relatively simple fixes that don't seriously impact public health.

    Beyond those fixes, I agree with the diarist and his source; take a deep breath and watch what these changes do before you go farther.

    •  Simple Solutions/Take A Deep Breath (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, Val

      Agreed.  The funny thing is that Paul Krugman has been right on this and it is a conservative position:  take a deep breath, slow down.  There is no reason to change Medicare now based on problems that may or may not hit for decades.

      •  This! (0+ / 0-)
        There is no reason to change Medicare now based on problems that may or may not hit for decades.
        Cutting Medicare and Social Security now is like saying, "Some diabetics develop circulatory problems and need to have their toes amputated.  I was just recently diagnosed as having diabetes.  Therefore I should have all my toes amputated now, because I might develop circulatory problems in the future."

        Renewable energy brings national global security.     

        by Calamity Jean on Sat Mar 16, 2013 at 08:20:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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