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Super committee co-chair Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) speaks to reporters as she arrives for a meeting in the Capitol in Washington November 18, 2011. The special congressional committee is tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings over
Lawmakers are gearing up for the budget conference committee that was agreed to in this week's deal, a committee that is supposed to come up with the sequester replacement plan that will please enough in the House and Senate to avoid a repeat shutdown next January. This story from The New York Times lays out the ground work, but contains a big fallacy.
After approval late Wednesday of the agreement ending the standoff, the deal-making mantle shifted overnight from the leaders of the Senate to the Budget Committee leaders, Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, and Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, two less senior lawmakers who nonetheless could make very effective salespeople since they command loyal followings in their parties. The political pressure lifted as well, for now. [...]

Republicans enter these new talks with one advantage: if the negotiations fail, the next round of across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration will hit automatically, even deeper than the first. Democrats want to avoid that far more than Republicans do.

The idea that Democrats have a bigger problem with the next round of sequestration cuts than Republicans is coventional wisdom that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already poked a big hole in. The current cuts were and are a problem for Democrats. The next round hits defense much harder, making them far more problematic for Republicans.

Reid knows that, and he's not going to allow trades, particularly in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid, to prevent it. Coming out of this disastrous government shutdown and flirtation with default, Republicans are damaged. There's no need for Democrats to be throwing them any lifesavers by trading away programs which the public deeply cherishes. Reid understands that, and it's not going to happen on his watch.

The article does suggest that no one is thinking about a grand bargain that increases taxes and makes structural changes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. But it's not the structural changes that we need to worry about. It's the "small" changes that have been on the negotiating table for months and months and months that will still be kicking around: chained CPI, more Medicare means testing and cost-sharing. Those are threats that still exist and that are unnecessary, and that's what Reid has to remain standing against.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Money and Public Purpose, Pushing back at the Grand Bargain, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yep. (29+ / 0-)

    The sequester doesn't do anything to Medicare or Social Security, so Democrats can do nothing and the military-industrial complex... I mean defense budget will be slashed.

    29, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:11:02 AM PDT

    •  And President Obama made sure (39+ / 0-)

      that Social Security and Medicare were outside of the sequester, but you'd never know that around here.  I think there were many errors by the President and our side in 2011, and one was believing the sequester would have an in terroem effect and lead to a deal, but one good decision was protecting the Big Three from Republicans in the sequester.

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

      by TomP on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:16:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, lest it fall down the memory-hole (12+ / 0-)

        the sequester plan was put forth thinking it would force agreement to a Grand Bargain, which had SS & Medicare on the table.

        Even in the President's post-agreement comments, 'reform Social Security and Medicare to keep them viable' were at the top of his list of things to accomplish.

        Of course, the 'reform' we need to protect the safety net is simply Jobs, and then Jobs, and then Jobs, and after that Jobs. Throw in raising the cap on SS and a transaction tax on Wall Street gambling, and everything is paid for.

        Can't do it now?, run on that, put it in place in 2015.

        Ending the Eternal War, which has a boot abroad and a boot at home, and which is in fact the sum of our debt and deficits -- ain't nobody in Conventional DC talking about that.


        Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

        by Jim P on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:36:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's a simple solution (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maryabein, Jim P, HappyinNM

          one that would be easy for Obama & Reid to pursue.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:51:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  and (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          madgranny, Jim P, trumpeter, fleisch, solliges

          Love this;

          Throw in raising the cap on SS and a transaction tax on Wall Street gambling, and everything is paid for.
          And would add means testing--- for farm subsidies.

          Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

          by melvynny on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:57:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, Gooserock, sc kitty
          Throw in raising the cap on SS and a transaction tax on Wall Street gambling, and everything is paid for.
          Unfortunately those are both unspeakable solutions inside the beltway.  Running on them would presumably be immensely popular, but also unthinkable.  

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:15:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Regardless, they are necessary. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            trumpeter, fleisch, solliges, sc kitty

            The Beltway needs its bubble popped. And Democratic rank-and-file are just the ones to do it, instead of nodding agreement to whatever the heck the Centrist fools are thinking.

            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 01:57:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's why we need (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StellaRay, fleisch, Gooserock, Jim P

              to nominate Elizabeth Warren for president.

              "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

              by Subterranean on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:10:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ms. Warren Vs. Ms. Clinton (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fleisch, Gooserock, KayCeSF, gustynpip

                would make for a very interesting primary, and the opposite of a clown car primary.

                While I'll certainly vote for Hillary if she decides to run and becomes the candidate, I'm not comfortable with the idea that this is all pre-ordained. I'd like to look at more choices, and Elizabeth Warren would be at the top of my list.

                I know many Democrats might say she's too "left" but when did that ever stop the republicans when someone's too "right?" Progressives should actively promote and encourage their flank to run for the presidency. The primaries are a great platform to get our ideas across, and I'd like to see a voice to the left of Hillary have that platform. I think Elizabeth Warren would be a stunning run to watch. And well, you never know...Hillary was supposedly pre-ordained once before.  

                "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

                by StellaRay on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:19:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Warren isn't running for president, and never will (0+ / 0-)

                Brian Schweitzer, who pushed for single payer, IS running for president in 2016, or is signalling he will:

                Add another name to the short list of Democrats seriously considering a run for president in 2016.

                In an interview with RealClearPolitics, former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer indicated that he may launch a White House bid, even if front-runner Hillary Clinton also enters the race.

                “I still hold the people of Iowa and New Hampshire in high regard,” Schweitzer said of the nation’s first caucus and primary states. “The people of Iowa are a whole lot like the people of Montana. And, of course, New Hampshire’s a lot like Montana. We don’t have a sales tax. ‘Live Free or Die’ -- we understand that notion in Montana.”

                A popular two-term governor who once used a red-hot branding iron to veto several bills passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature, Schweitzer would offer a hefty dose of rural folksiness against the East Coast urbanites in the potential Democratic field, including Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

          •  Then we need to get (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Subterranean, fleisch, Gooserock

            someone more interested in getting things done than in kowtowing to the beltway mentality to propose it.

            I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

            by trumpeter on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 02:47:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if the professional politician said so... (0+ / 0-)

          the we should probably just assume he was being up front with us, and not just posturing for effect.

          Art is the handmaid of human good.

          by joe from Lowell on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:12:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That it's repeatedly on the table is what matters. (0+ / 0-)

            That it's on the table opens the Overton Window, and in a rightwing direction. It makes hollow the Democratic notion that the safety net is untouchable. It simultaneously discomforts and discourages Democratic voters, and those who should be such in their own interests.

            That it's more about intent than optics is proven by the President's Erskine-Bowles Commission; that he created it when even Congress refused to do so; he then appointed people who had been saying -- loudly and often -- for decades that we need to cut the safety net.

            He could have as easily appointed people who wanted to cut back corporate giveaways, tax breaks, useless military programs, etc., while favoring higher benefits for Social Security. But he chose notorious enemies of the Safety Net. The Republicans did not make him do that.

            Those he choose: What? By accident? Threw darts at names on the wall?

            Then, when the Commission would not endorse the recommendations of the Chairs, the President still touted, repeatedly, their work.

            This is what a politician has done. In this case, it's in complete harmony with what he says, and says repeatedly.

            Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

            by Jim P on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 07:11:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you have any evidence that's happened? (0+ / 0-)

              I've been hearing this theory for years. Surely, if there is anything to it, then there should be some public polling data to indicate that such a shift is happening.

              I notice that your evidence for your theory about President Obama's intend includes not a single substantive policy change Obama has made, but rather, a Blue Ribbon Commission. Most people understand that the creation of a Blue Ribbon Commission to Study the Issue is what political leaders do when they want to appear to be taking an issue seriously without actually doing anything about it.

              When it comes to substantive acts taken in the area of entitlement cuts, there have been three that stand out:

              The expansion of Medicaid under the ACA;

              The elimination of the Medicare Advantage Subsidies under the ACA;

              The protection of Social Security and Medicare benefits from the sequester cuts.

              The massive import for Blue Ribbon Commissions aside, that is not the record of someone acting with the intent to cut entitlement benefits.

              Rule of thumb: when you're trying to understand a political figure, or anyone else for that matter, look past the symbolic public posturing, and focus on what they've actually done. Otherwise, you're liable to end up being conned.

              Art is the handmaid of human good.

              by joe from Lowell on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 06:32:20 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Link? (4+ / 0-)

        We've yet to hear Obama claim SS & Medicare cuts are "off the table".  

        If what you say is true, why hasn't he made a public statement confirming it?

        "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

        by Betty Pinson on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:49:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And the Republicans should have no trouble (5+ / 0-)

      agreeing to raise revenue to maintain that complex which they ran off the credit card for years.

      Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

      by 88kathy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:31:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  SS amd Medicare aren't hurt by the sequester, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, HappyinNM, madgranny

      that doesn't mean that they won't be in play in the budget talks.

  •  Excellent points! (18+ / 0-)

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

    by TomP on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:14:19 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Joan! Made my weekend. (13+ / 0-)

    No wonder the President was so cool during the economic hostage crisis. The terrorists are disarmed and we have the advantage at the table now.  Sweet.

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:21:40 AM PDT

    •  terrorists should always be disarmed, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah, HappyinNM, Matt Z

      by opponents with up-hands.

      Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes. @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution.

      by greenbird on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:56:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, I believe we do (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah, Terri

      have the advantage now. And for those who might doubt it, reverse the facts and imagine that it was the Democrats who just got delivered a humiliating blow, and to do that all you have to do is think about 2010.

      I don't think it's lost on the president or Reid that they are now operating from a position of a big win. It's really just politics 101. Sure, there will continue to be talk about how "everything's on the table." Why not say that? It just makes the Democrats appear more open to compromise, which is what wicks the hearts of independents.

      But for now, my take is that TO THE GOP, paltry cuts in entitlements, like the chained CPI, offered up in exchange for raising taxes on the rich, ain't gonna fly. And that THIS TIME, the president and the Democrats are holding a more winning hand, in so many ways, and that sure as hell is going to play into things.

      Don't often go out on a limb, but I'm going to say there will be NO cuts to Medicare or SS, because the world is different than 2011 for the Democrats, even if the delusional ones from across the aisle think nothing has changed a lick since then

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:35:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Social Security is so tasty to Republicans. You (13+ / 0-)

    know what, people worked for Social Security.

    Nobody worked for their tax free inheritances. They got around the monopoly board rolling 6 dice at a time and collecting $2,000 for passing go.

    Social Security contributors rolled one dice and got to collect $2 every time they passed go. Republicans want to blow that money.


    Only gun owners can control their guns and they say oopsie way too much. I lost it, I forgot it, it just went off. Support Gun Kill Speed Limits and Gun Ownership Speed Limits.

    by 88kathy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:29:32 AM PDT

  •  agreed (4+ / 0-)

    I don't expect much, if anything, to come out of these new budget talks, and quite frankly that suits me better than any agreement that I can see Paul Ryan consenting to.

  •  Tea Wees don't mind deep-dixing defense budget (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, koosah, highacidity, fleisch

    in the least. They full expect to have to fight that army someday.

  •  The sequester was designed to be (6+ / 0-)

    really painful for both sides. Slate had an interesting take on this.

    Add in the fact that some of the "domestic" budget is actually spent on guns-and-badges activities that liberals aren't necessarily enthusiastic about (deporting immigrants, cracking down on California marijuana dispensaries) and it's profoundly unclear what kind of leverage Republicans are supposed to have here. Republicans want to use this to persuade Democrats to agree to cuts in programs they like (Social Security, Medicaid, etc.) but why would Democrats agree to $2 of Social Security cuts for at best $1 of increases in domestic discretionary spending?
    Now if we could only get some assurance that the chained CPI idea will get scrapped. The approach for extending the solvency of SS several decades out should be lifting the caps, at least from our side. The R's can argue for reducing benefits if that's the sword they want to die on, it shouldn't come from our side.

    "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:32:03 AM PDT

    •  Obama has proposed chained CPI (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Letsgetitdone

      for over two years now. He even went on record and put it into his budget request this year.

      That is his negotiating position, it has been his negotiating position the entire time, and his whole beef with the Republicans was that they wouldn't accept it--not that he himself didn't like it.

      Now that beef has been settled in his favor, and presumably the Republicans will be much more conciliatory and willing to accept chained CPI. Which is not a good thing, because he's going to make the offer yet again.

      Next budget negotiations, Obama is going to whip the Democratic caucus like crazy to try to force Congressional Dems to go along (and a lot of them will). If a sufficiently large rump faction of the so-called "moderate" Republicans is allowed to "reluctantly" vote for it, then the Grand Bargain will be consummated at long last.

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

      by limpidglass on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:24:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Chained CPI? (0+ / 0-)

        It's dangerous for anyone running in 2014 to vote for chained CPI. Surveys show that 40% of the tea baggers are 55 or over. Nor do they appear to be anti-Medicare. It's the corporate Republicans who oppose these things. So, I don't think the corporate Republicans would get much love from the tea baggers for supporting it or entitlement cuts apart from Medicaid, which I think they view as welfare for the poor. Certainly any credit they'd gain from base tea party people would not outweigh their having given in on the CR and rise in the debt ceiling they just passed.

        So what do the corporate Republicans in Congress gain from voting for chained CPI. Very little, I think, unless the Democrats get behind it and then they can run against the Dems as having sold out SS, as long as not many Republicans vote for it. In that case, however the Dems won't have enough cover to vote for it, so they are unlikely to do so.

        So, then we have to ask, what can induce the Ds to vote for it knowing it will hurt them in the elections? Will Obama be a big factor in the Congressional elections? Can he deliver votes by campaigning for other Democrats? Does it matter if he gets annoyed at most of the Democrats? I doubt all these things.

        So, why will Patty Murray and Harry Reid, who may want to run again in 2016 vote for chained CPI? To end the sequester? As Joan says, this round of the sequester hurts the Republicans more than the Democrats. So, where's the incentive for Democrats to go along with the President? I don't think it's there.

        So, if the President wants chained CPI in the Spring, then he needs to assemble a corporate coalition from both parties and that has to be large enough for a majority in the House. Since many Republicans would see passing the Chained CPI as a victory for the President if he proposes it, and the Democrats in Congress don't, then we're talking about a situation where the TPs and their allies would be called upon to pull the President's chestnut out of the fire. How many votes do you suppose he'd get from the TPs and other Republicans for this? Maybe 40, or 50. Even that many given that they'll want to run against the Dems on SS in 2014?

        And how many Democrats would he get to play along? 150? more? 100? I think if he can't get 200, then this dog won't hunt, because the more he's likely to fall short, the more likely it is that Democrats will see themselves as walking the plank for nothing, and will just run away from the proposal.

        Now you may see this scenario as far-fetched, because you're thinking there'd be some big omnibus deal that chained CPI would just get tucked into. But what do the Republicans have to give? They certainly won't offer any taxes on the wealthy. That's poison to them. And they certainly won't offer any increased spending because that would weaken the deficit/debt play they plan to run in the election.

        So what can they offer? Only concessions on the sequester. But here, if Pelosi, Murray and Reid, play tough, then as Joan explained, the Republicans either have to shoot themselves in the foot again by keeping in place the sequester, or they would have to come to agreement. Then, if the Democrats know what's good for them, they won't accept anything less than full lifting of the sequester. It's harmed the economy for long enough, and we need them to get rid of it.

        The Republicans will then play games proposing lifting the parts of the sequester they want lifted, while giving the Dems nothing or only very little. At this point the Democrats need to take an all or nothing position on the sequester rejecting the salami tactics and calling on the public for an end to the sequester nonsense which has hurt the economy so grievously already. The Rs will respond either by agreeing to lift it, or they will refuse. If they refuse, then the Democrats get to blame them for the down economy we will see in the run up to the election, and the Dems can run against the Republican shutdown, debt ceiling crisis, sequester, and blocking of any efforts to lower unemployment with jobs programs.

        Given that CBO projections will probably show the deficit going down to $400 B which is about 2.5% of GDP, the Republican emphasis on "teh debt" and the deficit will not trump a Democratic campaign based on these themes. Add to those the Republican War on women, and suppression of voting rights of seniors, blacks, hispanics, and urbanites, and we have a Democratic victory in 2014 large enough to get back the House and keep the Senate.

    •  I wrote this the other day, and no one rec'd it. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      310helix, cactusgal, solliges

      But I'm persistent. The chained CPI is awful. However, I've been on Social Security for 8 years. During that time, there were two consecutive years where the COLA was 0%. This year it's anticipated to be 1.5%. If the Repukes hadn't screwed up the economy so badly (and continue to do whatever they can to keep it down), I would be receiving a much larger monthly stipend. So, under the circumstances, I'd probably be better off if we had chained CPI in exchange for a huge stimulus package. Does that make sense to anybody else? Not only would current Social Security recipients being doing better, but everyone else would as well. Yes?

      •  Right! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HappyinNM, solliges

        This is so obvious.  The CPI is really of minor importance.  Obama has used it hoping the Repubs would be satisfied with it in exchange for large revenue increases.  The response of this site to this trivial increase reminds of some things the other side has done and said in last few weeks.

        •  A Lot of People On This Site Are On or Near SS (0+ / 0-)

          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 Oct 18, 2013 at 04:30:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It would be a "trivial" decrease, not a trivial (0+ / 0-)

          increase.  I'm afraid that if you're just managing to make ends meet now by cutting every corner you can, it wouldn't seem so trivial to you.  Nor will it be trivial to anyone over time.

          See, each time they calculate a chained CPI, they always figure you're substituting something cheaper.  They assume you're eating steak, so you can switch to chicken.  Then the next time, they once again assume you're buying steak and can switch to chicken.  Only if you've already switched, you'll now have to go to hotdogs.  And then they'll again assume you're buying steak and can switch to chicken.  Where do you have to go from hotdogs?  So you just quit buying meat.  You maybe rely on eggs for your protein.  And then they again assume you're buying steak and can switch to chicken.  

          A chained CPI can only make sense for those who can still afford options, aren't already buying the cheapest available, and will only work for a limited period of time.

      •  How would you be doing better under a chained (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        CPI?  The difference between that and what it now is consists simply of assuming you have the option of making different choices and thereby reducing any increase in expenses.  You can buy chicken rather than beef.  Or hotdogs rather than a steak.  So any increases would always be less than they would currently be.

        •  gustynpip, nothing is less than zero. (0+ / 0-)

          We're talking about annual increases. The amount I receive now will never be less unless a reduction in Social Security happens. If those congresscritters want to live, that will never happen. The amount of the COLA is a percentage increase. As I said, because the economy hasn't been growing, there were two consecutive years where the COLA was 0%. The annual increases are based on economic growth. If the economy doesn't grow, which it hasn't been doing much lately, the COLA will be 0%. This year it's predicted to be 1.5%. If I can't afford steak now, that increase isn't going to allow me to buy steak either.

          So, what I said was, if we had to trade the chained CPI for stimulative spending (like infrastructure), I would be better off because of the expected economic growth. High economic growth = higher COLA percentage.

          When this was discussed before, ad nauseum, people were talking about the compounding that happens over time. But, Social Security now begins at age 66+ or maybe 67. The average person will only collect for 10 to 20 years. Even with compounding, how much does that come out to be? Unless the economy really starts moving, probably not very much.

          Frankly, I'd rather the economy moves, so all those struggling to get a foothold can have a good, productive life. And COLA's will be higher than they are now, even with chained CPI.

          Does that help?

          •  I'm afraid there's a misunderstanding of how (0+ / 0-)

            it all falls together.  COLA doesn't increase because of economic growth.  It increases because of inflation (and other things which increases the cost of living - which can happen with or without economic growth.  So economic growth does not assure you of any more than zero in increases.  However, when cost of living does occur, so your expenses are going up, you will not be getting an increase that will meet that actual increase.  And since you can't afford steak now, you will not be able to afford even chicken then.

            And this chained CPI will be for everyone forever.  So those people who are now 40 years old and won't be collecting for at least 25 years?  They'll start out receiving tremendously less than they would currently.  In that 25 year period, the increases will be so reduced, they'll start out with very little.  Then those smaller increases will continue during the 10 to 30 years they receive SS.  By the time they die, their payments will be perhaps 70% of what they'd otherwise be.  And those that are 20 now?  They can hope they'll be about 50%.  If you think you're having a tough time now, imagine what it's going to be like for those who have to survive on half that.

            •  Okay. I was wrong. CPI is based on inflation, (0+ / 0-)

              not economic growth, per se. Typically there's a connection between the two. Except in the late '70's when we had this weird "stagflation" (prices were rising without much economic growth). The Fed is responsible for keeping inflation down. However, without demand, prices stay low anyway. The amount of a first Social Security check is based on a person's earnings over a lifetime. It isn't impacted by CPI, chained or otherwise. Every year's earnings is indexed to today's dollars.

              My point above: If the economy had full employment (which is 3 to 4% unemployment), with wages comparable to the current cost of living, there would be more demand, and there would be some inflation. I don't like the idea of chained CPI. I would prefer the cap on SS taxes be raised. However, if the only way we can get another large stimulus package is to institute chained CPI, I am willing to do it. I believe with a regular inflation rate, the COLA would be the same, if not more, than it is now.

              •  See the links (0+ / 0-)

                I give below in reply to your other comment. I think that's a false choice, because it's not the only way to get stimulus and full employment, and won't work to get very much of it anyway.

                Specifically, how much additional deficit spending do you think the Rs will go along with to get chained CPI? I think not very much. If you could get $50 B for it and avoid tax cuts you'd be doing well. The way the Republicans want to get that is through hostage taking and agreement to a few months of delay before the next hostage-taking episode.

                Besides all that, we don't need another "stimulus" that will disappear in a year or two. What we need is a comprehensive program that will maintain full employment for good. That program should include full payroll tax cuts with replacement of FICA contributions to "the trust fund" by the Treasury until full employment is reached, State Revenue Sharing of $1,000 per person, and a Federal Job Guarantee at a regionally adjusted living wage with full fringe benefits, and Medicare for All with comprehensive coverage and no co-pays (HR 676), all done with deficit spending to close the output gap in our economy completely.

                A program like that will provide an initial stimulus, the 28 million full time jobs needed to create full employment, and also permanent full employment thereafter. The JG program jobs would be temporary jobs defined at the local level, but paid for by Federal funds. Its living wage would be a new and much higher minimum wage than we have now. And, most importantly as the private economy expands in response to the massive stimulus, the JG program would actually get much smaller, until, in prosperous times it would employ a relatively small number of people, but would expand in size again each time there was an economic downturn. The JG program provides a "buffer stock" of employed people, rather than the buffer stock of unemployed people we have now. Also, the JG would not replace programs we have in place such as UI or disability. Those would continue to work, since the JG is in no way formulated as a "workfare" program of the sort they have in the UK.

                •  According to the Keynes economic theory, when (0+ / 0-)

                  no one is spending, the government must spend (stimulus). Those infrastructure jobs were supposed to jump start the economy, much as you jump start a car. It succeeded with the auto industry. The stimulus package fizzled because it wasn't large enough. It wasn't large enough because 1) it was enacted prior to knowing high really deep a hole we were in, and 2) it was diluted by changes made by some Repukes in order to get their votes to pass it (they exchanged spending with tax cuts).

                  What you describe in your wish list sounds vaguely familiar, like  a system used by some European country, or a combination of countries. It probably wouldn't fly in our capitalistic country. I'm going to assume you didn't dream all that stuff up by yourself. What is considered "full-employment" in this country is 3 - 4% unemployment. I don't know where you think all the money to pay for all your wishes is supposed to come from. State revenue sharing? State revenue comes from taxes. Perhaps you have a link to that information from the original source, or at least a name for it I can google. I researched your original links, and that was helpful in understanding what you were saying.

                  Have you ever taken an economics class? You just need one---macro economics. It's typically the first class in economics, so doesn't have prerequisites. If that doesn't fit into your schedule, you can probably just purchase a macro-economics textbook.

              •  The chained CPI WOULD affect the beginning (0+ / 0-)

                checks of anyone receiving SS in the future.  Whenever you get a COLA increase in your payment, that same increase is made to all SS payments, now and in the future.  It's not a stagnant number.  So a chained CPI will have a larger and larger impact over time, until over the years it has a very serious impact.

                In addition, the reason for the COLA is because the cost of living has increased.  So if there's no inflation, you get no increase.  But that shouldn't harm you because your costs haven't gone up.  If there is inflation, you get an increase.  But it doesn't improve your situation; you (in theory) would simply stay in the same place because your increase is the same amount as the cost of living has been.  If it's a CPI, however, it will not go up the full amount of inflation because there's an assumption you'll be able to simply make cheaper choices and therefore still get by.  So your cost of living goes up 3% but your increase only goes up 2% because they figure you'll simply buy cheaper items.  The result is, you've been injured.  You're better off if there's no inflation and you get no increase than to get an increase than is less than inflation.

                •  I agree completely with everything you said. (0+ / 0-)

                  However, it only partially addresses my argument. I'm presently frustrated by the limitations of a blog. This would be a much more useful conversation if done verbally. Perhaps sometime we'll have that opportunity.

          •  You hunch (0+ / 0-)

            about being better off under chained CPI rather than the current COLA is mistaken and far too qualitative. People have calculated what chained CPI will cost people at various ages compared to projected COLAs. The amount you lose with chained CPI varies with one's present age, of course. But, over time given normal operations of the economy, one is much better off with the COLA by, eventually, thousands of dollars per year than under chained CPI.

            In addition, the issue here is whether we give way on SS at all, when the COLA itself is an unfair method of calculating cost of living adjustments. Our efforts should be focused on getting acceptance of the CPI-E accepted since that takes account of the increased proportion of senior income expended on health and other aging-related expenses.

            Also, chained CPI affects much more than just your pension. It affects a range of Federal programs. See here. It's unjust for a wide range of people effected by it. And mind-boggling that any REAL Democrat would be caught dead placing it on the bargaining table, much less proposing it.

            •  President Obama and his economic advisors (0+ / 0-)

              want another large stimulus package. That's the only thing that will perk up the economy. The Repukes want to destroy our social safety net. I think that's the only reason chained CPI was included in the President's proposed budget. Now that a conference committee has convened to come up with a budget, the "grand bargain" is no longer in play. Harry Reid said Social Security will not be considered. All the committee has to do is determine how to split up the total budget.

              Note: I posted a comment above yours that you might want to read.

              •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

                I'll check your other comment.

                But as for chained CPI appearing in the President's budget and his offering of entitlement reforms, really since at least January 2010, when he constituted the B-S "Catfood" commission within the Executive Branch after Congress had declined to create one, I think you don't put one of your basic values, i.e. the social safety net  up for negotiation, if you really believe in them. It's  clear to me at least that the President values austerity much more than he does the integrity of the social safety net.

                I don't know whether  this is a product of mistaken fiscal theories or just a desire to please his corporate funders. But I do know that his commitment to it shaped the inadequate stimulus of 2009, the taking of Medicare for All off the table in 2009 and the passage of the ACA, and every budget the President has proposed since then. This President has done more since the Summer of 2009 to strengthen the mythology of austerity and faux "fiscal responsibility," without ever really defining that phrase, btw, than any President since Jimmy Carter.

  •  Harry (weak) Reid has a proven record (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson

    of weak kneed capitulation, this is not reassuring.

    May you live in interesting times--Chinese curse

    by oldcrow on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:42:24 AM PDT

  •  Wait. Why can't they just reconcile their budgets (0+ / 0-)

    Just like civilized Congresses do?

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:47:58 AM PDT

  •  Massive cuts in military spending? (10+ / 0-)

    Sounds perfect, let's let it happen.

    Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

    by sleipner on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 09:56:11 AM PDT

  •  Agree. Obama's bargaining position is far stronger (7+ / 0-)

    He's shown that he's capable and willing to go toe-to-toe in a high-stakes showdown, and leave the Republicans with a bloody nose. If the GOP tries the shutdown/debt-default stunt again, they can expect the same result.

    So Obama can now wave his veto pen, and the Senate Democrats can demand far more from the GOP in the next round. The GOP now knows they can't always expect to win with the hostage-taking game, and they could conceivably flush their power down the toilet if they tried that again.

  •  Prosperity & Jobs far away in austerity economy... (4+ / 0-)

    Dismal GDP of 2% growth rate is stalling the economy.

    Sequester is stalling the economy.

    Taking time to listen to the voices of the GOP is stalling the economy.

    We will not see prosperity, jobs and growth until we rid ourselves of the yoke of austerity.

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:09:35 AM PDT

    •  Tragedy Of Obama Presidency (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Progressive solution to economic downturns is creating demand. Didn't seem to embrace it with a weaker stimulus and then carried the deficit hawks water while the economy was still struggling to recover. Has proposed job plans over the last couple of years but really has not created a great narrative for government spending as a counter cyclical measure. I was really hoping that the same kind of pushback that we saw with the Bush tax cuts expiring and recently with the debt ceiling would have been there when the sequester hit. The sluggishness of this recovery is due to government cutbacks while the private sector has recovered decently. Lot of work lately quantifying the cost of this austerity. Still it is implied that in the next few months will be trying to deal with a debt crisis that here in the short term does not exist. A Democrat President dealing with a historic economic downturn and government payrolls are shrinking. People are OK with this it seems.

  •  What we need to change is the misperception (7+ / 0-)

    of how the dollars flow. Fact is that dollars originate in the Treasury, the Congress spends them into the economy and then federal taxes make them flow back to be counted and assess where they've been before they get sent out again.
    If dollars get hoarded or used for non-productive endeavors, that's what the MMT people call "leakage," necessitating that they be replaced.
    Evidence that the flow is not vigorous can be found in this graph from the Federal Reserve.

    The velocity of our dollars has been reduced from a trickle to a drip, while the shutdown tried to turn off the faucet entirely.

    •  Nobody ever talks about the velocity of our (6+ / 0-)

      dollars! Thank you.  I hear less about that than the multiplier, which is about as popular to many idjits as socialism.  God forbid we ever discuss the real reasons why our economy sucks, and the real engine of our sustained economy.

      Ayn sucks. Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer.

      by Floyd Blue on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:24:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  exactly. So they're in a worse position (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, cybrestrike, Gooserock

    to refuse Obama's offer of chained CPI and "adjustments" to Medicare--the same offer he has been making to them for two and a half years now without success.

    Weakening Republican resistance isn't necessarily a desirable thing, if all it means is that it's easier for Obama to start slashing SS and Medicare.

    When Paul Ryan says "Grand Bargain", what he means is Vouchercare and private retirement accounts in lieu of SS. That's different from Obama's notion of a "Grand Bargain," which consists of more modest cuts to those programs.

    When Ryan says he's willing to forgo a "Grand Bargain", it means he's willing to accept Obama's proposals of modest cuts as a step towards his own notion of a Grand Bargain (i.e., wholesale privatization). And that spells trouble, because it means that Obama's program of modest cuts is much closer to becoming a reality.

    It's true that Obama has won a political victory and is in a stronger position to get what he wants. Problem is, what he wants is austerity (just a different, lesser kind of austerity than the GOP).

    I'm not sure what people think the Democrats are fighting for here. Perhaps they think that this battle really was about the ACA (it never was), or perhaps they haven't thought about it at all, and only care about their team having stomped the red team.

    The Democrats are fighting for austerity. Their best counteroffer to Republican demands was a temporary extension of the sequester budget. They haven't proposed a constructive anti-austerity program: new spending on government programs to stimulate the economy, create jobs, prepare us for climate change, or fix our infrastructure or our educational system or anything of that kind. What they want is cuts.

    They are not offering anything positive (i.e., government programs to help people), just saying that the Republicans are too negative (i.e., they want to cut more than the Democrats, who want to make smaller cuts). That's the ground on which this battle has been fought and won, and that's the ground on which Obama and the Democrats will proceed.

    At this point, we have merely jumped out of the fire and into the frying pan. All that means is that we'll be cooked a little later, is all.

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

    by limpidglass on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:18:29 AM PDT

    •  You're jumping from A to D here. Just (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highacidity, IM

      because the Dems are in a stronger position doesn't mean the Repubs will be agreeing to anything.  

      I think the situation is really that progressives are stronger now, and can hopefully have some influence with Obama.  Up until now, he's been so concerned about being "bipartisan" and earning the rethugs' love, that progressives were meaningless to him.  I'm hopeful he's finally learned who his friends are this time around.

      •  then what does it mean? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybrestrike, PorridgeGun, zinger99

        So if the Republicans aren't more conciliatory in the future, what exactly has been "won" here, beyond the agreement that we won't crash the world economy?

        If the Republicans breaking ranks and voting against the teabaggers means nothing, then what just happened?

        How are progressives stronger? Did the Democrats put progressive proposals on the table at any point during this shutdown? Is Obama starting to sound more progressive? All the time during the shutdown he was saying "Guys, once you reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, let's get back to talking about the budget and deficit reduction." That sounds like the same old, same old to me.

        People continue to labor under the illusion that Obama acts conservative because he needs to negotiate with the far more extreme Republicans. That's not the case: he acts conservative because he is conservative. He is not reacting to a genuine threat posed by the Republicans; has used the spurious threat of the Republicans as political cover to enact his particular brand of conservatism, which, though less extreme than the Republicans', is still very harmful.

        He doesn't need progressives. The last time he ever needed them was in November of last year. After that, he had no use for them whatsoever. He can do what he likes now. And by all indications, what he wants is to slash SS and Medicare.

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

        by limpidglass on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:45:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You have legitimate points. Obama is indeed (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fleisch, Gooserock, zinger99

          conservative.  I do have worries about what his goals are and who he's actually aligned with.  However, I think he started his presidency with a dream of being the truly beloved "bipartisan" president who was going to bring this country together.  

          Remember high school?  There were always the "popular" crowd who held the pretense of being popular because they were so mean to other people and people were afraid of them.  But if you were one of the kids who tried and tried to get in with them, and they kept making fun of you, you'd finally give up and decide they weren't so great after all - and go find other friends who'd actually want you.  Well, I'm hoping that's the point Obama has finally reached.  I don't know if he has.  But for once he stood firm, and I'm hoping it means he's decided to quit groveling for the mean clique's approval and will be looking for new friends - the progressives.

          I'm not going to pretend I believe he'll actually BE a progressive.  But if he just quits caving to the extreme Repubicans, I'll take that for now.

          •  The Popular Kids Weren't Being Sponsored By (0+ / 0-)

            the yacht club to behave that way.

            Such as the US Chamber, Focus on the Family and the Kochs are Obama's opposition, and his tactics toward Republicans are meaningless to them.

            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 Oct 18, 2013 at 04:35:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Obama's budget was prepared in response to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gmats, cactusgal, gustynpip

      the cut-happy Repukes. Times change. There isn't a reason for a grand bargain anymore, and the committee has indicated they're not going that route. They're just using the regular budget process----figuring out how much each piece of the government needs based on a pre-determined total. The new agreement they passed Wed night has projected totals through 2023. The Repukes have been taken down a peg, so they have to act more rational (except for a few senators and that bunch in the House). I'm going to assume all involved will be serious about this, without looking for any more stunts. It's okay if you call me a pollyanna if it all falls apart.

      •  There seems to be some goalposts being moved here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Obama never talked about structural changes to SS and other programs but proposed small changes to guarentee solvency. He would go no further than chained CPI and means testing. So why has the former suddenly become the benchmark for a grand bargain?

        "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

        by conspiracy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:25:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats have the upper hand. Surprise, GOP lies. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Be patient Democrats in congress... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we have an election to win.

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

    by smiley7 on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 10:35:01 AM PDT

  •  The problem is both the House plus the White House (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybrestrike, limpidglass, PorridgeGun

    Both want "entitlement reform," e.g., chained CPI, increased eligibility age, and means testing.

    I consider the White House to be the more dangerous opponent on these matters.

    •  Obama has offered it in exchange for revenue (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And the House won't go for that. I was under the impression this was exactly what constituted a grand bargain and the reports today indicate nothing on that scale is on the cards.

      "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

      by conspiracy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:20:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  that's my feeling, but for additional reasons... (0+ / 0-) seems to me that the next round(s) of "negotiations" (when did the Senate and House doing their job turn into "negotiations" anyway...haggling back and forth is what Congress has always done?)...may, in fact, favor Democrats, not only for the reasons you cited, but for another important reason: timing.

    It's one thing for the Republicans to act like a bunch of temper-tantrum-throwing two-year-olds more than a year before the next Congressional elections. However, it's quite something else to deliberately try to shut down the government or cause a debt ceiling crisis just a few months before those elections. It seems to me that Republicans will be a little more skittish...or at least not quite as February. If they create another crisis then (the third one in the period of just a little over a year, if you include sequestration and the Oct. 2013 manufactured crisis/crises) in February of 2014, it seems highly unlikely that they can rely on everyone forgetting about it by the time November 2014 comes around.

  •  What I just wrote to John Barrow (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fleisch, zinger99, IM

    Name: Dr. The Geogre

    Address: A small crackshack
    In his district

    Message Subject: "Our Lesson?" No, sir. You have not learned a lesson at all, it seems.
    Message Text:

    After voting in favor of the government shutdown (voting against a clean CR) and voting to strip medical device taxes for the ACA -- which has only been ESTABLISHED LAW SINCE 2010 -- you now write to your district:

    " If we’re really going to address the federal budget and our national debt, we’ve got to have a serious discussion about reducing our long-term debt. That’s the root of all of our problems, and this bipartisan bill that Congress passed gives us the chance to face those budget challenges head on. We can’t miss this opportunity, and we can’t let partisanship and gridlock get in the way of our country’s success."
    The platitudes and vacuities in this are stacked so thick as to be an insult to any reader, but what they mask is a clear indication that you have neither learned nor intend to vote any differently in the future. "The long-term debt" is a problem we need to address for "national debt?" I understand that jobless people like jobs, too, and drowning people wish for air.

    In fact, for those of us who are engaged even slightly, we know that the U.S. "long term debt" has been FALLING, that the current deficit, which is different, has fallen even more, and that this has been accomplished, amazingly, with only half of the capacities of government. Thanks to people like you, we are governing on one foot. If you want to fix debt, indebtedness, and deficits, then RAISE REVENUE.

    Government is neither a business nor beholden to business nor existing to cater to business. That's what the Republican Party is for. It is also what House members who think campaign contributions are more important than constituents are for. The Democratic Party in the house is conservative. The Republican Party in the house is hooligan, when it is not madcap.

    Representative Barrow, consider this: every one of these votes that you make that harm the party that supported you do not win Republican voters. Look at your polling. Look at PPP's breakdown of your district's votes. Look at how polarized the electorate is. Republican voters will not vote for a Democratic Party representative under any circumstances. If Democrats turn out, Democrats win. We outnumber Republicans in the 12th as well as the state. (Democrats nationally got 15,000,000 more votes for the House in 2012 than Republicans, but gerrymandered districts ensured the zany group you have around you.) You are in office thanks to Democratic Party voters. All it takes is a loss of confidence or loss of enthusiasm for a representative who has shown himself to be contemptuous of our values for you to lose the next time out. A 50/50 district is not served by a representative whose head is on a swivel, but by one who can communicate clearly and honestly and make the case. Right now, you make the case that you want Augusta contributors, not that you want Democratic Party voters. You have permanently lost this one.

    I did not have the ability to use HTML, and I'm not as positive about the precise breakdown of the new 12th v. the last 12th or the one before. The general rule of our numbers holds true generally, and slicing numbers is likely irrelevant except for people who like to see numbers conform to reality, so I might be off there.

    I did request a response, so we'll see. I have a feeling I'll get a mass mailer explaining how John Barrow is a fiscal conservative and not spend what you don't have and don't burden small businesses etc.

    I share this here so that it might be evidence that at least this one Blue Dog is hearing from at least one voter. Of course, it also means that whatever shabby use whichever intelligence service might have now has a connection between the screen name and the person, but I never figured that was much of a challenge for anyone anyway.

    Everyone's innocent of some crime.

    by The Geogre on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:26:19 AM PDT

  •  The article clearly states that negotiations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Are much narrower than the grand bargain ideas that have been floated previously like chained CPI.

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:39:59 AM PDT

  •  I'm excited for the next round of sequestration. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gustynpip, PorridgeGun

    This is a unique historical opportunity to cut Defense down to size, which is a necessary precondition for funding actual societal needs at least as much as raising taxes on the wealthy.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:07:17 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, thanks (0+ / 0-)

    Shut down due to Republican intransigence.

    by blueoregon on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:09:54 PM PDT

  •  ADD $24 Billion to the base no compromise offer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They (both the R-Ts and the R-zeros) need to repay the American voters for the $24 Billion they wasted as a bare minimum before individual program expansions.

    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty (Antonin Scalia, John Boner, or Scotty Walker (pick your favorite) said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

    by Eman on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:11:01 PM PDT

  •  GOP will try same stunt they did during shutdown (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fleisch, gustynpip

    Try to undo sequester cuts just for the military.  However the teaparty caucus might balk hard at that as well unless that spending was off-set with cuts elsewhere.  

    Dems stayed firm during the shutdown for the most part in saying "we want to open all of the government" when the GOP was trying to pass it's peicemeal bills and then claiming "Dems blocking cancer funding!" "Dems hate the troops".   It would have to be the same again as Dems would have to stay strong in saying "We want to fund the DOD and all the important domestic programs and want to close loopholes on billionaires and companies to do it, while GOP wants to spend on DOD but to further gut domestic spending".  

    Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers -

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:15:57 PM PDT

  •  I heard an AARP radio ad today (0+ / 0-)

    in Delaware, asking people to call Carney and tell him not to cut SS or Medicare.

  •  Start with abolishing oil/coal subsidies and outso (0+ / 0-)

    ourcing tax giveaways and the like.  That's as much revenue over 10 years as any 'small entitlement cuts'.

  •  Patty Murray is nobody's fool, too. (0+ / 0-)

    She's a no-nonsense senator with a very well organized mind. I like her in this role.

    Whenever Ryan gets pseudo-wonky and starts spewing fake numbers, she'll reel him back to reality like a startled little fish.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . UID: 8519

    by Bob Love on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 04:42:30 PM PDT

  •  Budget Talks and Compromise (0+ / 0-)

    The notion that the referenced "small changes" in Medicare and Social Security should be "off the table," is, alas, almost as silly as the notion, the Republican talking point, that "revenue enchancements" (however defined, to include new taxes or greater progressivity of taxes, or reform of tax exclusions and deductions) are off the table. Ain't going to happen, except at the price of no budget agreement at all, and, if not another government shutdown (the Republicans seeming to have traded that tactic away) at least a new round of sequestration cuts. That the Republicans have more to lose by the new round of sequestration cuts is a good point, but not ultimately persuasive as a reason for resisting at all costs the "small changes" at issue.  That is because a new round will keep  in effect the old stupid cuts to programs progressives old dear and institute a new round of such cuts in such programs.

    Yes, the small changes at issue are offensive and a bad idea on several levels, and it is galling, among other things, to give anything up to the right wing slime balls who populate the Republican Party. Progressives should nonetheless be willing to do so, because the alternative is much worse.

    Of the "small changes" at issue, means testing Medicare and Social Security  (though not in a way so that anyone's benefits would be terminated; we are talking about  reducing or capping the benefits paid to persons whose alternative sources of income are very high, I suspect no more than 10 or 20 percent, of, for example, social security beneficiaries) is the most palatable.


  •  stay away from the grand bargain (0+ / 0-)

    there is no justification for chained cpi.  the social security increases people get today are paltry.  It's a disgrace that anyone wants to make them smaller.

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

    by noofsh on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 03:02:54 AM PDT

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