Chain of Fools

Even Kevin Drum, who thinks that some kind of compromise is necessary on Social Security, doesn’t like the chained CPI “compromise”:

The only proposal being offered right now is to adopt chained CPI, full stop. As far as I’m concerned, that’s unacceptable, and no Democrat should even think about endorsing it. We can argue all day about whether Social Security needs rescuing in the first place, and if we decide it does, we can then argue about exactly which combination of measures would be fairest and best. But some things should be completely off the table, and passing a package that’s 100% benefit cuts is one of them. It’s ridiculous. This is really a no-brainer.

I’ve refrained from following every twist and turn in the fiscal cliff negotiations, but the dynamics in the House are pretty clear. Boehner’s speakership has one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave, so it’s doubtful whether he can deliver votes on anything he agrees to. I’m sure Hey Pauly hey Pauly hey Pauly lets have a ball Ryan and the Tea Party debasers want to starve America’s grannies, but there are still some sane members of the caucus who realize that the only lobby more scary than the NRA, the AARP, will eat them for breakfast like stewed prunes if they cut Social Security. So, at best, what Boehner is offering is part of his caucus to form a coalition with of Democrats, and the minute that vote goes through, the Republicans who voted no will run to the microphones to remind their constituents that they didn’t vote to cut Social Security. Democrats are stupid, but I doubt they’re that stupid.

Also, too: I thought the point of the fiscal cliff was to force Congress to compromise because the cuts in the fiscal cliff are deep and onerous. Maybe chained CPI isn’t deep, but it’s certainly onerous, compared to the other options for fixing Social Security, chief among which is raising the ceiling on the income subject to the Social Security tax.

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86 replies
  1. 1
    Hawes says:

    I don’t think Hey Paulie Hey Hey Paulie is going to replace Zombie Eyed Granny Starver, but I appreciate your Homeric efforts.

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    The very simple line the Dems should draw is, “no changes to Social Security until the $3 trillion in over payments made and currently held by the US government is paid back in full with interest”.

    Anything else would be theft by fraud. We made those extra payments to avoid this deal. Pay it back.

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    I remind people at every turn that we used to have money to fix bridges, build schools and interstates, and send men to the moon… when rich people AND CORPORATIONS paid their fair share of taxes.

    It was just that simple!

  4. 4
    tjmn says:

    My Grandma and my Mom, ages 101 and almost 70, are dependent on Social Security. Even though they both live in MN, I’m going to give Randy Forbes an earful today. Goddamn Republicans.

  5. 5
    4tehlulz says:

    This is designed to send us over the cliff.

    After all, who’s going to vote for it in the House?

  6. 6
    some guy says:

    How many times were we told during the campaign by Team Obama that SS has NOTHING to do with the fiscal cliff, the debt “crisis” or any other Austerity Programme necessary to save the Republic?

    I’m guessing about 700 times. Cutting SS to appease the Catfood supporters is not just insane, it’s really really bad politics.

  7. 7
    bob h says:

    Why not raise the contribution maximum every year in line with the chained cpi, just to rub it in?

    I’m guessing this is not going to play well with AARP, and would not assume it is a done deal.

  8. 8
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Hey Pauly hey Pauly hey Pauly lets have a ball Ryan and the Tea Party debasers

    I see what you did there. Nice.

  9. 9
    some guy says:

    but don’t worry, I am sure the Balloon Juice Center Right Fight Club will be along shortly to tell us cutting SS benefits is a good thing and we should all just shut up.

  10. 10
    Derelict says:

    How do cuts to future spending that doesn’t come from the general fund–i.e., cutting Social Security benefits in the future–help with current budget deficit?

    And how have we come to a place where the single most successful program ever instituted by either party has now become the one thing that both parties agree needs to be destroyed?

  11. 11
    max says:

    Democrats are stupid, but I doubt they’re that stupid.

    Then I remind ye of 2009 and 2010, and I will say no more.

    max
    [‘Of course, they had an excuse last time.’]

  12. 12
    JPL says:

    @some guy: fu…
    that is all

  13. 13
    Napoleon says:

    I will be so pissed if they cut SS. This is going to cause me for the first time to call my Sen and Rep and bitch in advance.

  14. 14
    SteveinSC says:

    @some guy: Well, Obama is back in the White House, so the most important part of this last election, protect the Supreme Court is accomplished. He needs to deliver on his latest (one more) inspiring speeches about mitigating gun violence (e.g. getting rid of assault rifles) and his promises to protect the social safety net. Otherwise he is fair game.

  15. 15
    some guy says:

    Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), who organized 57 House Democrats to sign a letter last week urging Obama and congressional leaders to protect Social Security, nonetheless argued that adopting chained CPI would result in “serious benefit cuts for recipients, particularly for our seniors and the disabled.” “You can’t tell me it’s balanced when the principal payees are seniors and the disabled,” Edwards said.

    Donna rules.

  16. 16
    Brendan in NC says:

    But, but, but Mistermix…

    chief among which is raising the ceiling on the income subject to the Social Security tax.

    That would involve the 1% paying their fair share, and we can’t have that now, can we??

  17. 17

    I think I’ll wait until we have something other than rumors before I make any judgements. I can’t get too worked up about a report that doesn’t have all the details, especially when all the details have not be worked out and are subject to change.

  18. 18
    Triassic Sands says:

    You need to read Drum more carefully — he doesn’t object to the chained CPI at all, in fact, in past posts he’s rather favored it. What he’s saying is he doesn’t accept the chained CPI as being the only Social Security adjustment.

    In my experience, the current CPI adjustment does not adequately reflect the annual cost of living increases that I face year after year — and I’m living an extremely moderate lifestyle. The chained CPI would be even less responsive to price increases. The reason economists seem to think chained CPI is better is because of “substitution,” that is, if the cost of filet mignon goes up, consumers can substitute hamburger; and if the cost of hamburger goes up then chicken is on the menu. Of course for people who already restrict their diets for health reasons and people at the bottom of the economic ladder, substitution is meaningless.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    @The Ancient Randonneur: Not with the current house of republicans that we have.. The harm done by gerrymandering, can not be fixed until 2020. That’s the sad state of the economy.

  20. 20
    El Caganer says:

    A deal that includes raising both taxes and the debt ceiling? And the Tea Partiers will go for it? That seems a bit of a stretch, even with the SS adjustment.

  21. 21

    I should have read Krugman before commenting on this thread since he actually knows a little more about this than just about anyone:

    I want to see more — and also want to see whether the Republican crazies scuttle the whole thing before it even gets off the ground. If they don’t, there will be some serious agonizing for progressives, yours truly included.

  22. 22

    One thing to be said for agreeing to chained CPI as part of a deal is that it takes quite awhile for it to really make a difference. The Dems could reverse that change in 2017 if they take the House in 2016, and current and future retirees would only be very slightly worse off.

  23. 23
    JPL says:

    Washington Post’s Plum Line has this to say about the deal

    However, according to an official familiar with the talks, the White House continues to insist on various ways of softening the blow of “chained CPI” that are supported by progressive economists, though the details are still unclear. The liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is willing to support “chained CPI” if it is offset with a small increase in Social Security benefits for longtime beneficiaries and an exemption of of Supplemental Security Income, which is geared towards the poor and disabled. And so, a lot will depend on what the final agreement on Social Security looks like.

  24. 24
    Bobby Thomson says:

    There’s no reason to take a deal today that would still be available in January. This deal would still be available in January.

    For that matter, why the fuck is the president even making counteroffers in December?

    We can only hope Boehner’s inability to control his caucus rescues us again.

  25. 25
    Corner Stone says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    For that matter, why the fuck is the president even making counteroffers in December?

    Just as curiously, why is the WH publicly saying this isn’t their “final offer”? Boldly stating there’s more to give ahead.

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @some guy: I don’t believe Martin is awake yet in CA, or he could spend 12 or 13 paragraphs detailing how this benefits seniors.

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    A.B. Stoddard is quite possibly the most well hidden Republican shill in the media.

  28. 28
    askew says:

    For those that are cheering to go over the fiscal cliff, it will not be painless for millions of Americans. Unemployment benefits end 12/29 for millions as well as taxes increasing for the entire middle class.

    If Obama can make sure that the impact of the changes to the chained CPI don’t impact the poor/middle class and he gets an extension of unemployment benefits; middle class tax cuts; and some needed stimulus through infrastructure spending, it would be a better deal than what we would get by going off the cliff.

    Lefties seem to be under the impression that Dems will be able to give nothing away and still get everything they want. That’s not going to happen with the radical GOP-controlled House.

  29. 29
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    The Dems hold all the cards right now. The Repug game is to get the Dems to offer up what the Repugs want because their proposals are not popular. Make the R’s beg for their cuts publicly and loudly.

  30. 30
    askew says:

    If we go off the cliff, there is an excellent chance that all we get is middle class tax cut. The House could vote on a standalone bill and that means no unemployment benefits, no stimulus, etc. What would you trade for unemployment benefits, debt ceiling being resolved, and stimulus money?

  31. 31
    Irony Abounds says:

    I too am reserving judgment. If there are protections built in for lower income seniors, then I don’t have a problem with the chained CPI. Frankly, seniors in this country do absorb too much of the federal spending (and I say that knowing I will be in that boat in less than 8 years) and it is only getting worse. If the most vulnerable seniors are protected, and treating SS as a welfare program is avoided, I think that is a substantial win, particularly if the Medicare eligibility age is not raised.

  32. 32
    Corner Stone says:

    @askew:

    If Obama can make sure that the impact of the changes to the chained CPI don’t impact the poor/middle class

    IMO, there’s simply no practical way to protect the most vulnerable. I just don’t believe in the -idea- effectiveness of carving out exceptions. (edited)
    Secondly, the entire Democratic party will tilt their ear a little as the hear the massive oncoming sound of water as they get flushed down the toilet come election time.

  33. 33
    Corner Stone says:

    @askew:

    What would you trade for unemployment benefits, debt ceiling being resolved, and stimulus money?

    Why would anyone prop these against cuts to SS? In what way are they linked, at all?

  34. 34
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Corner Stone: Yeah, I can’t see the connection here. SS should be a separate discussion. Even bringing into the conversation – linking it to the “fiscal cliff” situation seems silly to me.

  35. 35
    kindness says:

    I really like President Obama except when he is ‘negotiating’. Here he will negotiate things he would get for doing nothing and what does he get in return? Less tax moneys coming in so he has to make deeper cuts in Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.

    Dumb fuck.

  36. 36
    sixthdoctor says:

    @4tehlulz: Since according to Kos’s front page Boehner’s already rejected this offer, I’d agree with you. Boehner can’t bring his caucus to the table and I would hope that Pelosi would instruct the Dems to walk away from a deal if it was too bad.

  37. 37
    General Stuck says:

    Why don’t all you emo prog fools stop wigging out at every bit of drama drivel pumped out of the media by unnamed sources. Maybe go over to Krugman’s place and hover in a quivering mass of angst. So the rest of us can get some fucking peace.

    edit – or better yet, spend your emo on contacting your reps in congress, instead of pants pissing all over the blogs. just an idea

  38. 38
    askew says:

    @Corner Stone:

    It has nothing to do with logic but with what the GOP demands in return for unemployment benefits, debt ceiling being resolved and stimulus. So, if the GOP is demanding entitlement cuts in return for those items, what would you accept? That’s reality. Or do you just give up on all of those items completely?

  39. 39
    askew says:

    @kindness:

    Obama’s going to get exetension of unemployment benefits, resolution of debt ceiling and stimulus for nothing? How does that happen again? And where is he cutting Medicare or Medicaid?

    I would argue that you are the dumb f*ck not Obama.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    i think it sucks

    fuck it. raise the SS cap to 500,000.

  41. 41
    Hoodie says:

    While I’m against monkeying with SS except to raise the cap, until you know the details, you really can’t judge how bad the deal might be. That doesn’t mean the Dems shouldn’t make a stink about it, and I imagine Pelosi will. My guess is Obama made the offer because he wanted to be on record with a tangible “last reasonable offer” that is unlikely to be accepted but not be the immediate end of the world if it is. The media types may buy into that, and it looks like Boehner is already balking because he can’t sell it to the teatards. Chained CPI is an academic concept, but real CPI indexing will likely involve creative accounting, e.g., how do you define substitution? That would have to be done by the executive branch, because I can’t imagine that Congress is going to be deciding whether pork substitutes for chicken, That’s a potential downside, of course, should Republican be elected and ketchup again becomes a vegetable.

    Could be an unnecessary giveaway or it could be exceptioned away, providing another example of Obama giving Boehner something that turns out to be nothing. My guess is that the teatards will balk because they suspect that. As Atrios says, this is all theater because they can’t bind future congresses anyway (Bush illustrates this perfectly; he undid the Clinton tax rates and created Medicare Part D). Tax rates, deductions, unemployment extension and stimulus kick in now and are needed to feed the recovery.

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    @Hoodie:

    My guess is Obama made the offer because he wanted to be on record with a tangible “last reasonable offer”

    As witnessed by Boehner in a presser a few minutes ago. So long as Obama sticks to insistence on more tax increases for revenue, as compared to smaller program cuts, there is no chance of a deal, as Boehner just stated. It is all optics for perceptions of honest effort to compromise, as you state. There are a bunch of moving parts here, some are certain deal killers, others are dubious ones. A curious note to gauge the real state of play, is Boehner announcing a plan b, which is the nutters agree to make the Bush tax cuts permanent for those under one million in income. With no other strings attached. That is a major concession by the House wingnut leader.

  43. 43
    Corner Stone says:

    @askew: I think your argument is a canard. The debt ceiling doesn’t have to be “resolved” here and now. The president has stated he wanted to break this habit. So why allow it as a chip on the table now?
    There should be two simple statements, “Social security is a separate issue. We will not agree to raise the Medicare eligibility age.”
    Those two things effect a significantly bigger pool of vulnerable people than just UI, which is the only significant chip left on your list. And IMO, if Republicans don’t want to extend UI then it should be hung around their necks as hard as we possibly can. I think a deal can and will be done regarding UI, but we should not entertain cutting SS in any way for that temporary tradeoff.
    It’s my opinion that any actual new revenue will resolve itself into a stimulus effect, so I value pure stimulus as lower than other items at this point.

  44. 44
    kindness says:

    @askew: Eliminating chained CPI will reduce the moneys going out to poor people.

    Try not to choke on deep thoughts.

  45. 45
    General Stuck says:

    @kindness:

    Not if protections are carved out for those poor. So if we are going by unsourced information, then there is this one.

    The president is also insisting on some protections for what he has called the “most vulnerable populations,” which Republican aides said they had not been expecting. The new inflation calculations, for instance, would probably not affect wounded veterans and disabled people on Supplemental Security Income.

    And Mr. Obama is sticking by his request for additional upfront spending on infrastructure and an extension of expiring unemployment benefits.

    Even after 4 years, you have no clue of who Obama is, or no willingness to know beyond the right to freak out and belittle. There will be nothing he agrees to that will harm the poor. period.

  46. 46
    Nina says:

    That’s going to be a bitch to code.

  47. 47
    kindness says:

    @General Stuck:

    Even after 4 years, you have no clue of who Obama is, or no willingness to know beyond the right to freak out and belittle. There will be nothing he agrees to that will harm the poor. period.

    I have never called anyone here an Obot. It is my impression that you are not an Obot but it is my impression from the negotiations carried out in Obama’s first term he gave away more than he needed to. In this instance Obama can do absolutely nothing and gain more than bargaining away things he will never be able to get back with this or the next Congress.

    It is not only incorrect but impolite to suggest that those that have opinions other than yours are ‘freaking out’. There is a bunch of wiggle room between firedoglake and Obots. Most of us are in that wiggle room. Maybe your energies would be better spent on trying to get people who don’t occupy that wiggle room to see things from your obviously esteemed point of view. (I am sorry, I could not help the snark even though I know it is counter productive).

  48. 48
    jayackroyd says:

    @Derelict: It doesn’t have any effect on the deficit. It’s about centrist ideology.

  49. 49
    General Stuck says:

    @kindness:

    LOL, you are the one that called Obama a ” dumb fuck” and now are trying to claim some higher debate ground in this thread. And no, Obama has not given up very much the past 4 years, and zero of what republicans are really for, which is slashing benefits or privatizing entitlements. There has been a bunch of hot mouthed bullshit from the media and left blogs, but in the end, Obama has given little away, and gained a whole bunch more. You simply have no clue what you are talking about, and only contribute emo prog “dumb fuck’ Obama rhetoric. I have no problem, and encourage those who freak out easy, to do what Tim F is providing, that is to take your emo worry directly to those who make and sign laws.

    You just claimed adopting the chained CPI would be hurting the poor, based on cheesy press reports, and I showed you from those cheesy press reports that Obama insists on protecting the poor. So therefore, any cut in benefits from such going into law, would be rich people paying more and saving that money to strengthen SS. That is progressive maintenance on entitlements, and is not giving away anything of value to true progressive goals. Though I am certain as can be, there will be no deal other than possibly the wingnuts caving on the low income Bush tax cuts, and making them permanent.

  50. 50
    ezra abrams says:

    well, how about actually doing something, instead of just whining on the internet:
    Call, email, or carrier pigeon your reps in DC and let them know how you feel

  51. 51
    General Stuck says:

    Sometimes, I think some liberals see New Deal entitlements as some kind of immaculate conception, being born in the precise form they exist today, not needing improvements and changes. Which could not be more false. It is not unlike the nutters thinking humans were dolloped down on earth as is 5000 years ago, with dinosaurs to ride into town.

  52. 52
    jayackroyd says:

    @General Stuck: Yes, the goal of the centrist is to convert social insurance programs that cover everyone into welfare programs for the poor. This is terrible public policy, and terrible politics, which is fortunately impeding their attaining this goal.

    Now if you’re on board with this, fine. If you agree with them that the globalized economy makes social insurance programs unsustainable, then say so. And defend that position.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @Bobby Thomson:

    There’s no reason to take a deal today that would still be available in January. This deal would still be available in January.

    People keep saying this, but it is not quite true. They are trying to bundle into the deal an extension of some unemployment benefits which expire on December 29. Sure, you can play catch up with these payments after January, but people would still go without for weeks.

    And there is a chunk of 2012 tax provisions which must be agreed on as well as the 2013 stuff. One of the biggest items here is the AMT patch. You don’t fix this, and up to 30 million people are looking at a $3,000 to $4,000 tax increase for 2012. Not 2013. The IRS is projecting that if an agreement is delayed too long, these people would not even be able to file their tax returns into March. Maybe.

    Congress could have always settled on these issues separately, but what’s the point of being reasonable when you can hold taxpayers hostage while you play a game of fiscal chicken?

    @kindness:

    In this instance Obama can do absolutely nothing and gain more than bargaining away things he will never be able to get back with this or the next Congress.

    For the reasons I’ve outlined above, and more, doing nothing is risky business.

    But I will take it a step further. Neither Obama nor the Democrats in Congress have done squat to significantly re-write tax legislation. Obama seems to want the Democrats and the Republicans to do some consensus dance and come up with a bipartisan solution. But even going back to the Bush years, the Democrats in Congress either simply react to Republican plans or timidly tinker with whatever exists now, and mumble about how they want to help some targeted group.

    Shorter: if you want to start fingerpointing, you are going to need a whole lot more digits.

  54. 54
    jayackroyd says:

    @General Stuck: What idiot would think that? The New Deal programs were evolving through the Nixon administration, when the regulatory reforms of the New Deal went as far as they could.

    The reversals started under Carter.

  55. 55
    liberal says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Yeah, my favorite of Martin’s was a claim that reducing benefits by a harsher inflation measure wasn’t a “cut”.

  56. 56
    kindness says:

    Thankfully it is Republicans who are rejecting the latest ‘offer’ sent up by President Obama. I have many things to be thankful for and I hadn’t expected stubborn dumb republicans to be one of them but in this instance, it does dove tail with my preferred outcome. That is the entire bush43 tax cut be eliminated. Obviously this is not a majority position among any group let alone the herd of cats here at BJ. Whatever. I’ll take what ever victories I can with the current (and next) Congress.

  57. 57
    danimal says:

    I want to get off the firebagger/Obot idiocy and scream at the top of my lungs about something very elemental to the debate: All the government benefits are concentrating on the elderly and other, MORE NEEDY populations are fighting for scraps. I know some of you will call me a granny-starver, but the generational shifting of money and preference from the young to the old has got to slow down.

    It should not be a liberal priority to protect every last scrap of Social Security status quo while watching every other bit of the social safety net get cut to pieces. Elderly Americans deserve the guarantee of a basic standard of living, but the ‘liberal status quo club’ is losing sight of the big picture. If chained CPI is the only change in Social Security, we should oppose it. But if it is part of a bigger reform that adds solvency to the system, protects the elderly poor and increases progressivity in Social Security financing, we should take the deal. From previous negotiations, I have seen that the President is more committed to addressing the needs of the poor (such as Food Stamp funding or UI extensions) than in preserving the status quo of the bureaucracy. I believe that is part of his focus on “balanced” solutions.

    Nobody knows the details of any proposed deals as of yet, so all the bedwetting is a bit premature. Flame away.

  58. 58
    liberal says:

    @kindness:

    It is my impression that you are not an Obot …

    General Stuck? Not an Obot? LOL…

  59. 59
    liberal says:

    @danimal:

    But if it is part of a bigger reform that adds solvency to the system, protects the elderly poor and increases progressivity in Social Security financing, we should take the deal.

    If we were dealing with people of good faith, that’d be reasonable.

    In reality, the teatards and Pete Peterson minions want only one thing: slow the growth of SS outlays so that the trust fund is drawn down more slowly, so that the can make even greater tax cuts for the rich and not have the unified budget deficit optics look terrible.

  60. 60
    General Stuck says:

    @jayackroyd:

    Yes, the goal of the centrist is to convert social insurance programs that cover everyone into welfare programs for the poor. This is terrible public policy, and terrible politics, which is fortunately impeding their attaining this goal.

    Now if you’re on board with this, fine. If you agree with them that the globalized economy makes social insurance programs unsustainable, then say so. And defend that position.

    To conclude this from what I’ve written on this thread, you either have to be dumb as fence post, or a mendacious asshole with a personal agenda. Piss off

  61. 61
    General Stuck says:

    @liberal:

    General Stuck? Not an Obot? LOL…

    I’m a pragmatic progressive liberal. What are you? It sure isn’t a “liberal” nor progressive, nor pragmatic.

  62. 62
    General Stuck says:

    @danimal:

    Believe I can endorse this comment. well stated.

  63. 63
    El Caganer says:

    Amazing how much sound and fury can be generated by a bill that doesn’t exist yet.

  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    @El Caganer:

    Amazing how much sound and fury can be generated by a bill that doesn’t exist yet.

    We prefer to call it Hot Air, hence, Balloon Juice

  65. 65
    kindness says:

    @General Stuck:

    I’m a pragmatic progressive liberal.

    If I had to describe it I’d say you were a funny asshole. Just like most of us. Some more than others obviously.

  66. 66
    Corner Stone says:

    @El Caganer: If this is your idea of either sound or fury then welcome to the internets.

  67. 67
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck:

    I’m a pragmatic progressive liberal.

    Want some mustard with that pretzel?

  68. 68
    General Stuck says:

    @kindness:

    I’d say you were a funny asshole

    You will get no concessions with this kind of shameless flattery. That has made my day, btw.

  69. 69
    General Stuck says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Want some mustard with that pretzel?

    Task Force Ranger. The one and true liberal on Balloon Juice.

    So, what was it like voting for Obama this time? You did vote for him, dint cha’? And not again for the republican, like last time.

  70. 70
    Wily Jalapeño says:

    Lost opportunity, mm – this should have been titled I Bleed, or Gouge Away.

  71. 71
    Brachiator says:

    @El Caganer:

    Amazing how much sound and fury can be generated by a bill that doesn’t exist yet.

    Oh, this is just a light breeze. I’m waiting for someone to accuse Obama of being a total sell-out and corporatist stooge, based purely on a hint of a rumor of a deal.

  72. 72
    Turgidson says:

    I expected there to be some bitter pill to swallow on entitlements in whatever deal emerged.

    What I didn’t expect was for the White House to put specific, unpopular cuts on the table themselves. If there was one thing they should have learned from 2010, it’s to force the GOP to own the entitlement cuts they so desperately want but know are unpopular.

    Offering them yourself gives them what they want now and for the next election. Stupid stupid stupid. I have hope that chained CPI won’t make it into the deal once Pelosi and liberal Senators give Obama a piece of their mind about this, but some damage is already done just by the very fact that Obama is on the record as offering it. If cuts had to happen (itself a bullshit premise), make a public show of how you were dragged kicking and screaming to the least-bad alternative. Don’t do the GOP’s work for them, AND let them turn around and run against the cuts in 2014. Egad.

  73. 73
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Turgidson:

    What I didn’t expect was for the White House to put specific, unpopular cuts on the table themselves.

    Do you have a link? Because so far all I’ve seen is Ezra Klein reporting rumors that he’s been told by Republican legislative aides about what’s on the table, not an actual proposal by the White House.

  74. 74
    askew says:

    I don’t think the WH has gone on record with a deal at all. So, the idea that the WH put specific, unpopular cuts on the table is just rumor. Not that it has stopped the overreaction from the leftie blogs. DailyKos has gone full on firebagger with diary after diary about Obama’s goal to cut social security.

  75. 75
    Turgidson says:

    I got the notion that the White House offered up the Chained CPI from Krugman’s blog, where he notes in his post “The Deal Dilemma” that he’s been in contact with a Senior Administration official. Krugman’s a fierce critic of Obama on fiscal issues, but I don’t think he’s a whining chicken little drama queen who would scream about a sellout until there’s some evidence.

    I’m a pretty staunch Obot, and usually roll my eyes when lefties jump to a predetermined conclusion that Obama’s a sellout, horrible negotiator, or secret Republican. I don’t think he’s any of those things. Like I said, I figured something unpleasant would be in the final deal, simply because the GOP caucus is batshit and the deal has to pass that chamber, like it or not. I was just hoping the White House would do a savvy job of making the Weeping Orange Drunk and his caucus of crazies own whatever unpopular entitlement cuts have to be in there – that’s what they WANT out of this, after all. The way news of this deal is leaking, they’re not doing as good a job of that as I would like.

  76. 76
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Turgidson:

    I dunno — I’m not sure that Krugman is more reliable a rumor-carrier than Klein is. I have no doubt that someone told him that, but without knowing who it was, we have no way to judge if it’s accurate.

    As I said in another thread about this, though, IMO the reaction should be, “Wow, that’s a crappy idea — who’s the idiot who came up with that?” and not “OMG OBAMA SOLD US OUT!” The Villagers’ second-favorite narrative is Even Liberals Hate Obama, so I would prefer us not to feed that narrative if possible.

  77. 77
    Corner Stone says:

    @General Stuck: Oh, registered Independent. Your vow of perpetually pragmatic progressive liberal makes me wonder if you have any actual beliefs beyond “Obama good, so Obama decision good”.
    Actually, I don’t wonder about that at all.

  78. 78
    Rome Again says:

    @General Stuck:

    Even after 4 years, you have no clue of who Obama is, or no willingness to know beyond the right to freak out and belittle. There will be nothing he agrees to that will harm the poor. period.

    Agreed. How many times have we watched this type of thing play out on different issues (DADT/the last debt ceiling fight, etc…) and people still react as if Obama is betraying us. People have such short term memories.

  79. 79
    kindness says:

    So when did Balloon Juice adopt the NRA model of when it is possible to discuss politics?

    I mean, that is what some here are pushing. AmIrite? Seems like we can only kvetch about political deals and their merits (or most likely the lack thereof) after those deals have been sealed.

    Luckily most of us are rebels with causes. Screw the new rules!

  80. 80
    jayackroyd says:

    @General Stuck: I retire, crushed by your superior logic and overwhelming evidence.

  81. 81
    Humble Lurker says:

    @Corner Stone:
    So that’s a no then?

  82. 82
    Lojasmo says:

    Not worried about this.

  83. 83
    Quiddity says:

    All you Obots are fools for not seeing Obama for what he really is: a moderate Republican (old style)

    He’s got the overwhelming advantage in these talks, yet we are hearing about $400K thresholds for top rates. Chained CPI on Social Security without any limit on caps. A weak position on debt ceiling limits. Stuff like that.

    You got played.

  84. 84
    Quiddity says:

    @liberal: General Stuck is an Obot in the same way a young Leninist Pioneer would hail Stalin while being led to the gulag in chains.

  85. 85
    Quiddity says:

    @General Stuck: You say:

    “I’m a pragmatic progressive liberal.”

    No you are not. I’ve read your comments. You are perfect. Never wrong. And all that disagree with you are the lowest of the low. And you do it with some really cool bitchy comments. Lovely acid tone. Everybody here loves it.

    You are the left version of Glenn Reynolds.

  86. 86
    General Stuck says:

    @Quiddity:

    Dude, Why are you down here by yourself playing on a dead thread? All the other prog clowns are up top entertaining us/

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