There is talk of negotiations in the air.
Apparently the deficit is now a problem that it never used to be. It wasn't a problem when first Ronald Reagan introduced America to regular deficit spending, and it wasn't a problem when GW Bush exploded the quaint notion that we should not spend more than we earned. ... little correction here ... we do not spend more than we earn, government chooses to spend more than it chooses to collect. There is a difference!
So the issue needs to be addressed, and it's high on the list of GOP obstructionism.
The Catfood Commission did not provide a solution. They actually did not agree on anything, didn't vote, and didn't submit a report because they couldn't agree on a solution.
What did happen is that a minority of DC Insiders, purveyors of the usual Beltway Drivel, made their usual noises about the poor having to pay the bill.
Well the poor just voted.
Before the great unwashed had their say, the right was busy making predictions many of which are visible in other Diaries on this site. I linked and excellent one by hotdamn. Even in their wildest dreams, the right were not predicting a Romney majority as big as the actual majority won by President Obama.
They were predicting anything up to 325 Electoral College Votes for Mitt Romney, and they were calling that a mandate. They were also predicting that the GOP would retake the Senate, and increase their dominance in the House. The conclusion was a result that would remove the need for "President Romney" to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats.
Did you hear that? They were not even considering talking with Democrats!!!
They would have a majority sufficient to move America in any direction they chose, regardless of the feeling or needs of most of the people, including many of the people who voted for them. They considered 325 EV to be a landslide. Well Barack Obama won 332 Votes, that's an avalanche and, by the Right's own definition, a clear and unambiguous mandate.
First thing to go would have been the filibuster rule, thus removing the only chance Democrats would have to do what they have done for the last four years .... everything in their power to obstruct progress.
Well they lost. Tough shit!
My concern is that I hear worrying noises about how the plans might unfold in our attempt to move the budget back towards balance. Scary noises are made about China owning our debt. Well China doesn't own our debt. They hold about one trillion dollars of US Government Securities, out of a debt of sixteen trillion dollars.
That is right, they hold about one sixteenth of the debt which they cannot afford to attempt to leverage without crashing their own economy.
By contrast, the Social Security fund holds more than twice that amount. The reality of the debt is that we owe the money not to foreign, therefore scary, countries and institutions; we borrowed the money from ourselves. Us, we, Americans hold the debt.
Social Security is solvent. It has never contributed to the deficit other than as a handy piggy bank to raid by successive governments when they needed some ready cash. Any attempts to include Social Security in a "Grand Bargain" is a betrayal of that fund, and a betrayal of the people who rely upon it.
Medicare is too expensive! Not because it provides too much for too many, but because far too many people make exorbitant profits from the mis-fortune of their fellow citizens. Medicare costs need to be controlled, of that there is little doubt. The President made an excellent start by saving the now famous $716 Billion from providors and re-directing those funds to benefits. That is Change I Can Believe In, and we need more of it. Much more of it.
So I am all for those two funds being included in budget talks. The starting point for Dems is a simple one. Those two programs are so valuable, so efficient that we should be expanding them. Social Security is quite able to become a Defined Benefit Pension Scheme for all Americans. Medicare is more than capable of being Universal Healthcare, and we have the resources to make it happen.
Barack Obama should be going in to those negotiations with THAT blueprint. A massive increase in Social Security benefits and Medicare For All. No ifs, buts or maybes. The only question is "how far, how fast and how do we pay for it?".
The wealth exists in this country to pay for it all. Indeed, Americans are already paying for more than that, but much of that contribution is being wasted. Syphoned off into massive corporate profits, which are then used in part to fund elections ... against the interests of those who are paying.
Medicare For All, Mr President, and Social Security as an expanded, guaranteed pension.
The louder the Right squeals and bleats about such a suggestion, the happier I will be and the better chance there is of saving what we have and maybe improving it a little.
I wonder .... Does the President want to be seen as the greatest reformer of all time, or the guy who sold the New Deal down the river?