The White House released its official budget Tuesday, after leaking the news a few weeks ago that it would not include the chained CPI, those not so clandestine cuts to Social Security benefits. Progressives have been celebrating that victory since. But the White House wants all of us hippies to know that they'd be more than happy to punch us sometime in the future, if they could just get the Republicans to play along.
"In last year's Budget, the President included a compromise proposal intended as a show of good faith to spark additional negotiations with Congressional Republicans about the nation’s long-term deficits and debt and to encourage all parties to come together to remove the economically-damaging sequestration cuts," the White House said in a fact sheet that accompanied its budget release. "Although that compromise proposal remains on the table, given Congressional Republicans' unwillingness to negotiate a balanced long-term deficit reduction deal, the President’s 2015 Budget returns to a more traditional Budget presentation that is focused on achieving the President’s vision for the best path to create growth and opportunity for all Americans, and the investments needed to meet that vision."That statement suggests that cutting Social Security benefits is not part of "the President’s vision for the best path to create growth and opportunity for all Americans." So why leave it on the table? It's not coming back. The Grand Bargain has seen the final nail driven into its coffin. Pretending that it's still a possibility does little more than to send the message to Democrats fighting to strengthen Social Security that the White House isn't with them.
That shouldn't be a deterrent to congressional Democrats pushing Social Security expansion, because it's not only smart policy, it's smart politics. Hanging onto the Senate in 2014, and making up ground in the House, would be a lot easier if Democrats fully embraced strengthening Social Security and regained the trust on that issue of the people who vote: seniors.