Lori Montgomery, of the Washinton Post writes In debt talks, Obama offers Social Security cuts. I hope this is an error.
President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.
At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.
As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.
And, it gets worse, Kossacks. The "new revenues" President Obama is asking for in return for this disasterous compromise may turn out to be nothing but the expiration of the Bush Tax cuts which will happen automatically with no action at the end of this year, and the closing of a few corporate tax loopholes.
Montgomery also is reporting that the White House is offering to slash $4 trillon from taxes, not just $2 trillon.
Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing, and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.
That would represent a major legislative achievement, but it would also put Obama and GOP leaders at odds with major factions of their own parties. While Democrats would be asked to cut social-safety-net programs, Republicans would be asked to raise taxes, perhaps by letting tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest households expire on schedule at the end of next year.
Privately, some congressional Democrats were alarmed by the president’s proposal, which could include adjusting the measure of inflation used to determine Social Security payouts. But others described it as primarily a bargaining strategy intended to demonstrate Obama’s willingness to compromise and highlight the Republican refusal to raise taxes.
I haven't been "private" about my alarm at all. When an earlier rumor about President Obama's apparent willingness to but the Social Security, Disability, and Government cost-of-living adjustment on the table, I wrote this
Will Democrats Join GOP in Thelma and Louise Suicide Jump on Social Security Chained CPI Cuts?
If this report turns out to be true, I predict there well be much weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Democratic Party, and even here at Daily Kos very soon.
A reversal of this magnitude has the potential to rip our Party apart. I hope it is not true.
Wed Jul 06, 2011 at 11:00 PM PT: Carl Hulse and Mark Lander confirm the WaPo story here in the NYT President Looks for Broader Deal on Deficit Cuts
The president’s renewed efforts follow what knowledgeable officials said was an overture from Mr. Boehner, who met secretly with Mr. Obama last weekend, to consider as much as $1 trillion in unspecified new revenues as part of an overhaul of tax laws in exchange for an agreement that made substantial spending cuts, including in such social programs as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — programs that had been off the table.
“Depending on what they decide to recommend, they may not have Democrats,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, said in an interview. “I think it is a risky thing for the White House to basically take the bet that we can be presented with something at the last minute and we will go for it.”
One official said some revenue could be generated by allowing Bush-era tax cuts for affluent Americans to expire at the end of 2012, which would produce hundreds of billions of dollars, though those savings would be offset by the costs of retaining lower rates for those below the income threshold. ...
To the degree that any deal wins bipartisan support on slowing the growth of Medicare, for example, it would deprive Democrats of what has been one of their most potent arguments heading into 2012: their assertion that Republicans would gut the traditional Medicare system and leave older Americans vulnerable to rapidly rising health care costs.
White House officials acknowledge the unrest among Democrats. But they argue that Democrats will be in stronger shape politically heading into November 2012 if they help enact a credible deficit reduction deal, allowing them to mount the argument that they protected Medicare from a much more drastic overhaul by Republicans.