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It was the proposal to cut Social Security and Medicare that made the headlines from last Friday's briefing/leaking from the White House. However, there was more information that supports the notion of a comprehensive policy shift for the reduction of retirement  security for American workers. In addition to the Social Security and Medicare reductions there are to be $35B in savings on the cost of federal retirement programs. The briefing did not contain details of how this would be accomplished. However, based on proposals that the White House made in 2011 it seems probable that the figure will be accomplished by a combination of chained CPI to reduce benefit adjustments and raising the required contribution amount for all federal employees. They have already implemented an contribution increase for new hires.

The pension plans for public employees are under fire at all levels of government. What is significant about this proposal in the context of the forthcoming budget proposal is that it fits hand in glove with the proposals to cut Social Security and Medicare. It makes the claim that those are only bargaining chips on the poker table and not really serious proposals even less believable. This appears to be the administration's idea of "reinvigorating the middle class". There is a bipartisan game to keep manufacturing phony fiscal crises and use those as an excuse for the austerity squeeze.

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