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View Diary: Maneuvering in the middle on fiscal cliff is still veering too far right (189 comments)

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  •  I think it may be a trial balloon/head fake now (5+ / 0-)

    After the fiasco of HCR and 2010 Obama surely realizes that raising the age will cause massive damage to Dems and give Repubs the opportunity to claim that Dems "voted to cut Medicare" in 2014 (while of course pretending they didn't also). It will also profoundly damage morale on the left and make it harder to defend seats in 2014, and make picking any up all but impossible.

    So I'm starting to suspect that this was a trial balloon to guage (verify, really) reaction on the left, and even rally outrage on the left so he can say to Boehner "Listen, I'm with you on this but my crazy base will absolutely crucify me if I do this, so I'll give you something in exchange for letting tax rates go up, but not this". In the meantime, it encourages Repubs to cave on raising tax rates for the rich, believing that they're about to get something much bigger in exchange.

    It may have already worked, as more and more Repubs have come out publically as being willing to raise tax rates. That they've coupled this to cutting entitlement programs is largely irrelevant, because previously they were against raising tax rates under all circumstances, no matter what they got in return. They can't put that genie back in the bottle, and when they realize (as I hope is Obama's plan and intent) that they're not getting the Medicare ago raised in exchange, they might cry bloody murder, but they're on record as being ok with raising tax rates--as opposed to Obama, who has never said he's willing to raise the age.

    Weakness on Obama's part--or political brilliance? We'll see.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:48:50 AM PST

    •  More likely than raising the eligibility age (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      would be readjusting the CPI, which is a more subtle way of reducing benefits.  This would be more insidious as the impact is not as immediately obvious and could be easier to pull off politically -- yet would affect everyone on SS and Medicare.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:59:07 AM PST

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      •  It would also result in a similarly loud outcry (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        the fan man, winsock, pamelabrown

        from the left. AARP is a very skilled political organizer. Any benefits cuts would result in this. Except, maybe, Medicaid, which doesn't have as organized constituency as Medicare or Social Security. But I bet that one would emerge very quickly if cuts to it were seriously proposed.

        I think that what's going on here is that Obama and Dems are using various methods, including leaks, to get Repubs to PUBLICALLY commit to positions that hurt them politically, be it with their base or the center, and that they can't back away from, while Obama & Dems committ to nothing since these are leaks that can be denied at the right time. That's certainly what I would do.

        Hell, it's so smart, I'm wondering if I should even be discussing it here!

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:15:04 AM PST

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    •  I'm going to disagree. At no point in the last (0+ / 0-)

      4 years did Obama ever do that.  He's going to play this exactly the same as all the other times he "caved."

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:15:03 AM PST

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      •  You may be right (0+ / 0-)

        He would be a massive historical fool if you were. But perhaps he's exploiting his tendency to cave in the past to advantage now, since Repubs, assuming he'll cave again, are therefore more likely to publically agree to what they view as much smaller concessions, while he has publically agreed to nothing yet.

        We'll see.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:17:34 AM PST

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    •  How was health care a fiasco? Obama and the Dems (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jim bow

      got universal health care coverage passed for the first time in our country's history. Every Dem president since FDR has failed at that. No, it isn't single payer, but it is a massive step in the right direction. Only on "progressive" DK, would health care be viewed as a failure.

      President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

      by askew on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:59:28 AM PST

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      •  It took much longer than it needed to (1+ / 0-)
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        Was far less strong than it could have been, and was done in a way that allowed the tea party to dominate the news and led to the 2010 electoral disaster. Please, let's not keep pretending that an improvement on the status quo was anywhere near what it could have should have been and didn't have negative political consequences. It was clearly mishandled. I know you disagree, but most people who follow politics believe this too.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:20:14 PM PST

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        •  Not to pile on (0+ / 0-)

          But also, a central component of the plan was kneecapped by the Supreme Court - the expansion of Medicaid eligibility.  States can now opt out.  Several have indicated they will do so (including mine).  Hopefully they'll reconsider, but we don't know.

          We also don't know what the health care providers who signed onto the secret back room deal for the bill will do in reaction to that.  Many providers apparently agreed to cut reimbursements on the understanding that they'd be getting a boost from more Medicaid patients.  If the deal goes south for them, what then?  

          Also, how can we say mandatory health insurance provided by private companies is a step in the right direction?  Has any state with such a mandate for car insurance gone to universal state provided car insurance?  No.  So there's no past precedent for that belief.  What about right now?  They're talking about changing health care delivery as part of the fiscal cliff - is the White House discussing starting a public option to save money, or lowering the Medicare eligibility age, or doing Medicare buy-in, to make the US health care system more efficient and save money?  No.  They're using the health care exchanges as a way to RAISE Medicare eligibility - that's a step in the wrong direction!

          The ACA is it.  We're likely stuck with it for a generation before any significant changes are made.

        •  But the use of word "fiasco" ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... to describe health care reform?  That's what askew (and yours truly) find offensive.  If the end result was the same as it was in 1994 (absolutely nothing), then the use of the word "fiasco" might be appropriate.  But that's not the case here.  Establishing a community rating -- made possible by the individual mandate -- requiring insurers to a certain level of benefits, and lavishing billions of dollars of subsidies on low and middle income Americans to purchase health insurance is no "fiasco" in this Kossack's opinion. ...

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