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President Barack Obama and House Republican Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) gesture while Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) look on during a meeting of bipartisan leaders of the House and Senate to d
Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen report that "top officials" involved in negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff and grand bargain are saying "the countours of a deal" are beginning to emerge. VandeHei and Allen say these anonymous insiders are telling them that there are three big elements to the deal:
  • $1.2 trillion in tax hikes—halfway between the $1.6 trillion sought by the president and the $800 billion that "Republicans say they could stomach."
  • $1.2 trillion in spending cuts to replace the sequester's automatic cuts
  • At least $400 billion in entitlement cuts, primarily to Medicare—including means testing and raising the retirement age starting in 10 to 20 years. (The report doesn't say whether these would be part of the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.)

Broadly speaking, it isn't surprising that a fiscal deal would revolve around revenue and spending. If it didn't, then it wouldn't be a fiscal deal. And while most of the article appears to be the result of background conversations, the few detailed quotes VandeHei and Allen were able to report seem to undercut the notion that specific elements of the framework have been settled.

For example, based on the following quote from a Democratic official, it's hard to imagine an issue like raising the Medicare retirement age has been settled:

A top Democratic official said talks have stalled on this question since Obama and congressional leaders had their friendly looking post-election session at the White House. “Republicans want the president to own the whole offer upfront, on both the entitlement and the revenue side, and that’s not going to happen because the president is not going to negotiate with himself,” the official said. “There’s a standoff, and the staff hasn’t gotten anywhere. Rob Nabors [the White House negotiator], has been saying: ‘This is what we want on revenues on the down payment. What’s you guys’ ask on the entitlement side?’ And they keep looking back at us and saying: ‘We want you to come up with that and pitch us.’ That’s not going to happen.”
Assuming that's accurate, then (a) the Obama team is taking the right negotiating posture and (b) it seems like putting a number on Medicare cuts or describing the form in which those cuts would come is pure speculation (or, perhaps, wishful thinking, given the Beltway's preoccupation with cutting Medicare).

The other area where Republicans haven't shown forward progress is on taxes and according to the report, the president isn't willing to simply take John Boehner's word when it comes to raising revenue: at a minimum, he wants to see the upper-income tax cuts expire, thereby locking in one of his key priorities.

Officials familiar with the White House position say Obama plans zero flexibility on his insistence on a higher tax rate for top earners. He plans to take what one aide called a “trust but verify” position: He will insist on a higher rate in the year-end deal. Then next year, during tax-reform negotiations, “the onus will be on Republicans to propose something that raises the same amount of revenue,” the aide said. “He’s going to pocket their rate hike on the top two brackets at first, and then he’s going to say to them in the 2013 process that we set up: If you think you can realize these same revenues in a different way, prove it to me.”

The thing that VandeHei and Allen don't explicitly mention is that a key part of the deal here is that middle-class tax cuts would need to be extended. Boehner may be bluffing, but yesterday he unambiguously rejected extending tax cuts on income below $250,000 without also extending tax cuts on income above $250,000. Unless he's willing to let enough Republicans join with Democrats in passing the middle-class tax cut extension, no fiscal deal will be possible. And no matter what he says in private, until Boehner relents in public—and backs up his words with legislative action—it's hard to say that any sort of deal is imminent or emerging.

VandeHei and Allen also repeatedly say that whatever deal is ultimately made, the only two people that will matter will be President Obama and John Boehner. (For example: "Everyone has an opinion on the grand bargain. But only two matter: Obama’s and Boehner’s.")

The president doesn't seem to agree with that, however. Yesterday, for example, he asked the public to weigh in and put pressure on the GOP to extend middle-class tax cuts. Clearly, the president understands that he cannot simply sit down in a room with Boehner and sweet talk the GOP out of holding those tax cuts hostage. For that to happen, Boehner's caucus is going to need to feel some heat from voters. So while Obama and Boehner might be the last two individuals to sign off on whatever deal ultimately emerges, this isn't simply an inside game. Obama already knows that and if Boehner hasn't yet figured it out, it won't be long before he does.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Your leaders have contempt for you, liberals (38+ / 0-)
    There is only one way to make the medicine of tax hikes go down easier for Republicans: specific cuts to entitlement spending. Democrats involved in the process said the chest-pounding by liberals is just that — they know they will ultimately cave and trim entitlements to get a deal done.
    •  The fix is in (29+ / 0-)

      The time to push back is RIGHT NOW.  We should demand that our legislators refuse to sign any bill that raises the age for Medicare eligibility.  And we should be prepared to primary anyone that will not take that pledge, and follow through on it.  

      More and better Democrats.

      •  Raising the Medicare age is a terrible idea but if (10+ / 0-)

        it doesn't happen for 10-20 years it can be undone with sufficient Dem victories and with sufficient pressure from the people it would hit, those now under 55 or maybe under 45.  Besides, by then we may have single payer.

        Medicare does need to cut costs; it is simple-minded to refuse to recognize that.  But it needs to cut payments to providers, not services to beneficiaries.  The incentives and payment system need to be changed to reduce excessive and ineffective treatments, particularly at the end of life.  The gold-plated plans with gym memberships need to be trimmed for the affluent.  Medicare needs to be able to bargain with drug companies.  These are all "Medicare savings" as are the reforms in Obamacare.  We need to distinguish between where the line really needs to be held to protect the most vulnerable (no raising the age requirements)  and where here are reasonable savings to be had.  Otherwise we are like GOPers who refuse to cut defense one iota.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:05:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Single Payer isn't happening any time soon. (5+ / 0-)

          We couldn't get it done, so we gave the insurance companies 50% more cash with which to buy even more Senators.

          We settled that one for a generation.

          "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

          by JesseCW on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:18:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  They already cut payments to providers (6+ / 0-)

          as part of the ACA. I think there are cost savings to be achieved in Medicare, but further cuts to providers are not the answer, because you don't want to drive too many good providers away from taking Medicare.

        •  makes sense to me and I agree. Plus keep going (0+ / 0-)

          the billions of dollars in waste too.

        •  Sure. (7+ / 0-)

          Just like the Greenspan Commission got the age raised to 67 and that was taken back 20 years later.  Oh, wait...

        •  Serious question... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mollyd, Bruorton, sebastianguy99

          With the Affordable Care Act fully in place by then, isn't the practical harm of raising the Medicare eligibility age by a year or two in 10 to 20 years mitigated quite a bit?

        •  With a cavil, right on, Mimikatz. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bruorton, FDR in 08

          Much as I don't favor kicking cans down the road, Congress excels at it, as do many state legislatures, particularly about funding Social Security, Medicare and government employee wages, pensions and benefits.

          So ...

          Get now what we must: an increase in the top Federal income tax brackets and maintaining the cuts on the middle class brackets and payroll taxes. If we can also address the "Cliff" issues - by which I'd include domestic and military spending (let's vow to stop calling it "defense spending") and the every-six-month-crisis of the debt ceiling - great. If not, shuffle on closer to whatever Cliff congress wants to create next. So far, Barack Obama is ahead and the Congress gets better for us in 2013.

          Medicare is in financial trouble. Obamacare will help with it and it'll take a multitude of measures. If the Medicare age is raised slowly and over a long period, then it - like much other into-the-future legislation - can be re-legislated down the road if that's sensible.

          This is the time to sensible and strategic. We can get a high proportion of what we need.

          (My only cavil: Medicare isn't "gold-plated" and it doesn't pay for "gym memberships.")

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

          by TRPChicago on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:03:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hell NO (5+ / 0-)

            You do not offer up the elderly for an itty bitty tax increase and pretend that you might help them out down the road.  If you are willing to screw them now you will be even more willing to screw them later.  (See 80's deal for reference.  This game will be played again and the ones who lose will not be the rich.  Who is better off now?  The people sacrificed in the 80's deal or the rich?)

            To me this is the ultimate worst of all possible betrayals.  You take people who vote for you for 40, 50, 60, even 70 years like my very old mother and you screw them when they are way too old to do anything about it.

            Rotten to the core.  Rotten through and through.  

            •  Hey greenbell, I'm a Medicare recipient. (5+ / 0-)

              Easy on the blast.

              If you equate putting the funding of a vital safety net on a more secure basis with screwing Gramma or betraying her now or later, you really do believe in the tooth fairy.

              I'm all for increasing the contribution made toward Medicare above the current caps, for example. The wealthiest can afford it and helping make a more solid societal base helps them as much as us. As for being "too old to do anything about it," I don't see likely changes in Medicare that will do that. In any event, I'm 71 and I can do what you do: vote, write letters and blogs, call my Congressman and Senators, poll watch, march (although that, I admit is getting a little harder on cold winter days).

              So please, easy on the invective.

              2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

              by TRPChicago on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:47:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's Okay To Increase Medicare Payments - As Long (0+ / 0-)

                as Medicare is not turned into a "welfare" program. Because if it is turned into a "welfare" program, this allows the GOP to demonize it (and ultimately get rid of it). Why do you think Social Security and Medicare are such popular government programs? Answer: because everyone pays in, and everyone gets something back in retirement - in other words, they are NOT perceived as "welfare" programs by the American public.

                •  I don't think they're welfare, but ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... that doesn't stop today's GOP from trying very hard to change their characteristics into a dole for corporate interests. (I'm thinking here of proposals to privatize SS and voucherize Medicare.)

                  After what elements of the GOP are doing to smear Ambassador Rice - and with the blatant obstructionism in the US Senate and the House lack-of-leadership in appointing self-certified idiots to important committees and failing to move important legislation forward - I'm not going to worry what the GOP calls anything Democrats and the public wants.

                  Moreover, I won't believe polls or the media who purport to reflect the public's attitudes on important issues without putting forth enough details to make a reasoned judgment.

                  Now ... Yes, you make a very good point. It is broad-based public acceptance that is most important to maintaining our vital safety nets.

                  2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

                  by TRPChicago on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:40:33 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Medicare advantage plans (the subsidized ones) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tailspinterry

            do pay for gym memberships in some cases.  I am on Medicare and am barraged every fall at open enrollment time by these plans and have seen gym memberships touted on TV ads as part of such plans.  Obamacare does cut back on the subsidies.

            Yes it is true that too much cuts will turn away some providers, but there are others who readily do expensive and invasive procedures on dying patients with no family to say no because Medicare pays for it.  There is room to cut out unnecessary and even harmful treatments by changing the incentives.  But it is complicated.

            The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

            by Mimikatz on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:13:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  A gym membership (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sebastianguy99, jfdunphy

              Would reduce health care spending.  What, you think health insurance companies are giving away gold for free?  They want grandma on the elliptical, so that they don't have to pay a cardio surgeon down the line.

              In today's sedentary society, it's surprising that gym time (or other "health" time) hasn't become as important as lunch breaks for office workers and other people that don't earn their bread by the sweat of their brow.  

            •  It's insurance providers, not Medicare advertising (0+ / 0-)

              ... those plans. You can bet that particular confusion is intentional and I'm surprised you fell for it.

              If when you write "in some cases", you're talking about rehab, that's as misleading as saying Medicare pays for "gym memberships."

              2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

              by TRPChicago on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:39:27 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The gym memberships are not just for rehab (0+ / 0-)

                The Medicare Advantage programs offer the "Silver Sneakers" program in many states.  This is free gym membership to selected facilities.

                Also, depending on the plan, a Medicare Advantage program can be free ... and include similar coverage to Medicare A&B, a Medigap policy and Medicare Part D.  

                Obviously, our tax dollars are still significantly subsidizing these programs, for the benefit of US Healthcare, Humana, Aetna, AARP, etc.

                My 83 yo mother is very healthy and in a Medicare Advantage PPO.  I wanted to switch her to "regular" old Medicare this year, but the cost for just Medicare is $104/month.  Plus ... she would need a medigap plan.  I just couldn't justify the additional expense for her.

                •  Medicare Advantage plans are private insurance. (0+ / 0-)

                  Yes, they get government support because they relieve the government of Medicare obligations. You could say "our tax dollars are subsidizing these programs" but it's a fur' stretch to say, "Medicare pays for gym memberships".

                  Why ever would someone sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, when they can get the same thing from the government's Medicare program? Because it's not the same thing.

                  Health care insurers do what other businesses in many others walks of business do to make what they provide attractive. They bundle their offerings. To various flavors of Medicare - for qualified beneficiaries - they add bennies. If you have a gym nearby and it's a good place to work out and you want to work out as part of your continuing health care, go for it. And in many other ways, Medicare Advantage Plans offers customization for special needs.

                  I'm not opposed to this. Who can knock this combination of government mandated benefits and creative free enterprise? (Hint: see earlier commenters.) "Silver Sneakers" programs focussing on wellness programs that go beyond standard recommended visits to doctors are a great idea. HMO's, I hear, also venture into this area, some reportedly to good effect. It may well be that Obamacare can stimulate some very sensible and valuable combinations of health care Writ Broadly. Full speed ahead!

                  But personally, I'll draw the line at Medicare-provided gym memberships!

                  2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House.

                  by TRPChicago on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 04:28:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  The time to push back was months ago, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        slinkerwink, vernon nackulus

        before the election, when candidates might have cared a little bit what we said.

      •  No, I can't do it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence, Bruorton, sebastianguy99

        If the raising of the age for Medicare is limited to high income earners, that would be a good thing.

        It's a terrible idea to try to get Democrats to sign blanket pledges. That's Grover Norquist style stupidity and look what it's done to the Republicans.

        •  See My Reply Above To TRPChicago Regarding (0+ / 0-)

          increasing Medicare premiums on the wealthy. It can be done up to a point. However, means testing Medicare or making it into a welfare program, will NOT insure the long term solvency of the program. In fact, it will do the opposite - welfare programs are easily demonized by the Republicans as helping "lazy" people. The GOP will not hesitate to demonize Medicare if it evolves into something perceived as a "welfare" program. I suspect the GOP has proposed means testing Medicare in the past for that very reason. The best bet is to NOT do any means testing, and perhaps raise premiums slightly on wealthier older Americans.

    •  Well, I left the party a while ago... (21+ / 0-)

      ...so the party leadership can sit on it and spin.

      Fuck these guys. They have no respect for the people that elected them, and appear to be going full bore for this austerity program.

      They literally have no problem with hurting people to make themselves look good in the DC Beltway Bubble Universe. They have no problem with it because they're getting their palms greased by wealthy sociopaths. When enough money is involved...everyone's got a price.

      Let's cut to the chase here. Cuts to the Social Safety Net will hurt a lot of people. Straight up. But they seem to have no problem with that.

      And that's fucking sick.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:42:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What's included in those tax cuts? (15+ / 0-)

      Ending tax give-aways to dirty and highly profitable energy companies?

      Ending special rates for unearned income?

      Ending the carried interest ripoff?

      I want to see the details.

      “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

      by RJDixon74135 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:43:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm shocked to discover that (9+ / 0-)

      Politico is your new bible. Or is it that you believe anything negative that is said about the President and/or Democratic leaders.

      Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

      by OIL GUY on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:43:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh spare me (14+ / 0-)

        This is just the latest snowflake on a mountain of evidence that many in the Democratic leadership, including the president, want to Grand Bargain that would cut social insurance programs. Hell, the president tried to pass just such a deal last year. I could show you the mountain, but you'd find a way not to see it.

        But keep operating if you want under the delusion that they have no intention of cutting social insurance programs; the rest of us have some speaking out to do.

      •  The president has made his views clear all along (14+ / 0-)

        As I noted several times, including here, his Des Moines Register interiview could not be plainer:

        So when you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester in place, the commitment of both myself and my opponent -- at least Governor Romney claims that he wants to reduce the deficit -- but we’re going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business.
        It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.

        And we can easily meet -- “easily” is the wrong word -- we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table.

        It's far from the first time that the president cited the Cat Food Commission (CFC) w/ approval.  The last 2 Dem presidents both cited the CFC as a budgetary framework in their DNC speeches.  "Entitlement reform" is the sine qua non of the CFC.  Simpson utterly despises SS and Medicare, while Bowles merely wants to hack away at them.

        Any deal will involve entitlements cuts--you can bank on it.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:53:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, RFK lives, although (10+ / 0-)

          there's nothing we could post to convince some people here that social insurance programs really are in danger.

          This won't do it:

          Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the debate about the path to fiscal responsibility "really began with Bowles-Simpson and that's where it's going to end."
          Nor will this:
          Essentially, what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.”
          Liberals in Congress may be showing more backbone, and Social Security may have been taken off the table, but to believe that some don't seek a deal that would cut social insurance programs requires willful blindness.
          •  I knew what I was getting when I voted to re-elect (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            david mizner, blue armadillo, 2laneIA

            the president.  I live in FL, and I didn't want President Romney and VP Ryan on my conscience.  Anyone who didn't hear both WJC and Obama extol the glories of the CFC in their DNC speeches weren't paying attention.

            This Politico piece confirms all of my prior expectations.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:25:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  The only part of Simpson Bowles (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FDR in 08, sebastianguy99, jfdunphy

          the President approved of was the $4 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, with most of that reduction coming in the future.

          I am about to turn 58 and I take a keen interest in SocSec and Medicare, but I really don't believe the President plans to gut these programs.

          I think he understands, as I do, that Medicare needs some work. Even though the President extended Medicare's fiscal soundness through the ACA, there is still a need to put the program on a stronger footing. I think needs testing is likely to happen, along with more cuts to doctors and hospitals for expensive procedures of dubious medical benefit.

          I think that negotiating drug prices will be necessary, as well.

          The President spent an enormous amount of political capital to improve our health care system. I don't think he plans to compromise the health of America's seniors.

          Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

          by OIL GUY on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:38:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! Vandehei declared Romney the President (7+ / 0-)

        the day after the first debate. His wife was a Tom Delay's aide

        "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

        by LaurenMonica on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:53:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So just to be clear, you'll (3+ / 0-)

          oppose any deal that includes Medicare cuts?

          •  Maybe she's saying that we should not oppose (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quagmiremonkey

            the President on Medicare cuts because he needed to get elected in this past election?  

            Shaking head.

          •  Even cuts to providers? (4+ / 0-)

            Excessive Medicare payments to doctors for unnecessary treatments do not help the people you profess to want to help; they help rich doctors who own the facilities at which they order the unnecessary treatments.  

            You need to distinguish what are acceptable and unacceptable cuts to really have any constructive contribution to the debate.  Otherwise it is just like GOPers who refuse to cut one dime from defense.

            The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

            by Mimikatz on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:10:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  pretty sure that issue is (0+ / 0-)

              Covered in the ACA.  Further cuts to providers, however targeted, are most likely going to result in fewer providers being willing to accept Medicare patients.  I live in the suburbs of Denver, and there is not ONE doctor within a half hour drive who will accept Medicare.  You can get care if you go all the way downtown, but if you can't get there ( because you don't drive, for instance) you're SOL.

              •  Another way to Kill Medicare by deceit (3+ / 0-)

                Once the middle class can no longer find providers, they will no longer support the program.  It's just another way to kill Medicare but to do so in a more dishonest way.  It leaves people unprepared for the reality they will face.  They assume Medicare will be there because Democrats crow that they have "strengthened" Medicare and that they have saved the "program".  But when it becomes impossible to get quality care without private insurance then Medicare becomes Medicaid no matter what Democrats call it.

        •  Thank you for that info (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sebastianguy99

          Vandehei declared Romney the President the day after the first debate. His wife was a Tom Delay's aide

          Incredible, these people, not journalists, flaks and shills

          "I pledge you, I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people. This is more than a political campaign. It is a call to arms" FDR, 1932

          by FDR in 08 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:54:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  My thoughts on this is President Obama (8+ / 0-)

        successfully campaigned on not balancing the debt on the backs of the middle class.  I believe that.  Right now he holds all the cards. What is his incentive for caving? Most of those 1.2 trillion dollar cuts were on the provider side of things NOT the benefit side of things.  As long as those cuts to Medicare/Medicaid are not benefit cuts....I'm cool with it.  You can't tell me there isn't waste, fraud, & abuse in those systems.  The President doesn't have a gun to his head like he did the last time.  So, I'm not nervous AT ALL.

        •  He isn't balancing the debt on the middle class (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, ferg

          He is balancing the debt on the backs of the poor.   You know the poor, they're the ones who have to stand in line for 8 hours to vote in Cleveland and Miami.

          •  I don't buy it. Not going to happen. President (8+ / 0-)

            Obama is not consumed with power he genuinely wants to do the right thing for everybody.  I'm from Chicago and have followed his career from the beginning.  Like I said in a previous post the gun is not aimed at his head like last time.  If he does absolutely NOTHING our side still comes out ahead.  All those "cuts" everybody was screaming about not 1 cent is on the benefit side.  The public option everybody was screaming about is in the ACA just called by another name...President O has outwitted the republicans at every turn.  Is he perfect no.  Do I think he is fighting for me? Yes.

            •  Ok. Good luck with that. (0+ / 0-)

              Although how anybody could believe that the ACA is just the public option under a different name eludes me.

              •  The entire ACA is not he public option (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OIL GUY, Lawrence, sebastianguy99

                but there will be an option in the exchange that will be run like one.  I have a friend that is already using it (those with pre-existing conditions & have gone without insurance for more than 6 mo.) and as I understand it they are paying way less than HALF the cost of their previous insurance.  She and her husband were paying 1600/mo now they pay $576/mo with BETTER benefits. So..you be mad all you want I know folks who the ACA has directly impacted their lives.  Yea..President O is alright with me.

          •  Ah yes, right.... (11+ / 0-)

            Obama as the evil Wizard of Oz, lurking behind the curtain, just waiting to screw the poor.

            I guess that's why he raised Pell Grants...

            Sheesh, if I wanted to read the kind of CT nonsense that you're posting here, I'd be at FDL and not at DailyKos.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:20:08 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  lol...right!! That is why big business (6+ / 0-)

              threw everything they had at this President thank God to no avail.  The success of President Obama 1st term and the middle/poor was riding on this election.  The last piece of the puzzle for the trifecta is to uncouple the upper class tax cuts from the middle class tax cuts.  That is what this is really all about.  The republicans have been holding the middle class hostage for YEARS.  I believe that end in 2012. Wow..who would ever thunk it.  Again, this President isn't perfect by any means but his long game vision is incredible.  His ability to take risks even more so.

            •  It was obvious that he hated the poor (0+ / 0-)

              from the day that he left Harvard (Magna Cum Laude and President of the Law Review) in order to take a $20,000 a year job organizing for some Alinsky community group on Chicago's south-side.

              I hope some day to meet one of his critics who has ever done one thousandth of what he has done for real people on the bottom rungs of society.

              Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

              by OIL GUY on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:47:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  don't expect too much money from cutting fraud (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think that there is that much money floating around in MC fraud currently. I think that it is really going to largely come down to charging more or providing less. I'm a big gubmint liberal, so sign me up for charging more. My taxes are shamefully low compared with what I'd pay in the rest of the developed world. (I'm only willing to pay more if everyone in my position is paying more, however. In the meantime, I'm taking my deductions.)

          You will lose providers if you cut payments. Geriatricians already spend an extra 1-2 years in training, yet tend to make less than hospital-based primary care providers (hospitalists) with fewer years of training.

          Some of the Medicare "fraud" isn't really fraud at all in any real sense.

          For example, assume I admit someone to the hospital who is having a heart attack. I do a thorough history and physical exam as well as order the appropriate testing. I arrange for the appropriate consultant (cardiologist) to see the patient. For doing this admission day work, (and handling all the orders, as well as the follow up phone calls), my department will get paid $194.

          That is assuming that I document the case appropriately to a byzantine set of guidelines. Someone with no medical training will be judging this. These documentation guidelines were last revised in 1997. Regionally, private companies administer the program, and they have some leeway in interpreting the rules.  (Shockingly enough, these private companies often refuse to answer questions or share their auditing templates. They sometimes enforce rules that are directly in contradiction to the published general Medicare documentation guidelines as well.)

          In the heart attack case, I have to document family history in my note. Now the family history in this case is likely to be pretty irrelevant. Right now, the patient is either having a heart attack or they aren't. If the case is clear (classic symptoms, classic findings on electrocardiography, and classic findings on laboratory), then the family history means bubkis.

          If I write in my note:

          "Family History: noncontributory"

          Then the auditor will downcode my whole encounter. Now my department will get paid $97 instead.

          If I submitted a charge for the work that I really did and made this small slip-up in my note, I will have overbilled by $97. Welcome to Medicare fraud.

          Auditors can look back at my old notes and downcode THEM too. The difference between the level they think I've documented to and what I submitted is "Medicare fraud". They will collect the overages. Sometimes these overages reflect bad practices on the part of doctors, who are actually overcharging for visits. Usually they don't. Usually they reflect a "gestalt" method of a doctor judging the amount of work they put in on the case and picking a billing level that seems to match it, without playing a tedious check-box game to make sure that their note matches the auditor's template.

          So far, the companies trying to go back and recover these dollars haven't been very efficient. It is expensive to do. If these audits become more prevalent, it isn't going to result in doctors submitting lower level charges. It will instead result in them learning the documentation hoops to jump through.  

          The plural of anecdote is not data.

          by Skipbidder on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 02:43:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well, what's your super-authoritative source (0+ / 0-)

        that you're relying upon? The White House press releases?

        If you have better quality inside info, we're all ears.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:09:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You can't possibly be shocked by that. (5+ / 0-)

        There are posters here who are drooling over the idea of Obama "selling them out" and have been waiting for that to happen for 4 years now. They'll seize any rumor to do just that.

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

        by askew on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:30:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. The problem is the chest-pounding is being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile

      done by those who have the most to lose, not by so-called Democratic politicians who are making the deals with Republicans.  Those pols are happy to cave.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:44:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why should we believe anything out of Allen & (10+ / 0-)

      Vandehei ? Do I need to remind people that those two wrote just a month ago that Obama didnt have mandate because he lost the White men votes?

      "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

      by LaurenMonica on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:52:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So if they start cutting up midicare does that (6+ / 0-)

      mean those of us looking to retire in the near future and beyond are going to have to expect to pay for health care for the rest of our lives? That we'll be expected to dole out what little money we can afford to private insurance companies till we die?

      Vampire capitalism looking to suck the last drops of blood-money from frail and elderly.

      Nice country we have here.

      Vote Tea Party Taliban! Bring the Burqa to America.

      by Pescadero Bill on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:53:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Time to voice a little outrage, no? (4+ / 0-)

        I'm thinking calling the White HOuse and your Senators with a little "Hell no you don't!"

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:11:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The medicare age is now going to be set (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, Pescadero Bill

        based on what is profitable for for-profit insurers.

        This has clearly been in the works since the PPACA passed.

        They just want to make sure they dump the expensive last year of life entirely on the tax payer, at least most the time.  That's the only reason they don't want to actually force everyone into private insurance schemes.

        Raising the Medicare age 2 years now means millions of more little profit centers for Humana.

        "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

        by JesseCW on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:24:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't the ACA provide subsidies for those who (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sebastianguy99

        can't afford HC premiums?  I know Romneycare does, that's how I have health insurance.

    •  Well, without a liberal filibuster (6+ / 0-)

      of a medicare cuts led deal, they'd be right to.

      If the liberals in the senate revolted and threatened to exert the veto THEY have, just like Obama and Boehner, then there'd be a third opinion that matters, wouldn't there?

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:05:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  WHAT ABOUT MILITARY SPENDING?! (6+ / 0-)

      Yes, I'm screaming.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:16:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  About "cave and trim entitlements"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sebastianguy99

      The entitlements budget can be trimmed without cutting benefits for the middle class and low income. This post cites a figure of $400 billion reduction in entitlements, doesn't state if that's over a ten year period.

      Yesterday's Wonkblog included this post, What Kind of Entitlement Changes Would Democrats Accept?

      Some examples are increased Medicare payments by the wealthy (that's already done, could be increased), and changes on prescription drug payments:

      Medicare drug payments: This is one area where Democrats are more enthusiastic about reform than their Republican counterparts. Obama’s budget finds $137 billion in savings by requiring drug companies “to give Medicare the same rebates for medicines for low-income recipients that are allowed for Medicaid’s purchase of prescription drugs,” Bloomberg notes. House Progressives also want to allow the government to negotiate directly with drug companies on prices for Medicare Part D, which would raise about $156 billion over 10 years.
      Remember the $700 billion in Medicare cuts that didn't affect benefits?

      The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

      by SoCalSal on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:31:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I may be wrong (0+ / 0-)

      But I have yet to see you post anything positive about the Obama administration.

      It is always hair on fire - or nothing.

  •  Keep your filthy fucking paws off medicare (22+ / 0-)

    you craven, soulless motherfuckers. That goes for you Republican assholes, too! ; )

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:35:07 AM PST

  •  I think President Obama should send Hillary in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sethtriggs

    to talk to the Republicans.  "Don't cry, John...she's only here to help negotiate."

    Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

    by darthstar on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:37:12 AM PST

    •  The last time she went on to vote for the Iraq (6+ / 0-)

      war. Its a fantasy for people to believe that she is not a hawk.

      "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

      by LaurenMonica on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:49:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Darn her! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xsonogall

        What was she thinking, going along with 2/3rds of the American electorate? Women should always vote against military action so they can be stereotyped during the campaign season.

        The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

        by Pacifist on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:55:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Am I hearing you correctly? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell, askew, MPociask, sebastianguy99

          You're saying that Senators -- faced with a hostile, unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation -- should not vote on principle? That they should just hold their finger up to see which way the wind is blowing?

          You realize that this website you're typing comments into was pretty much founded on the notion that it was unacceptable for Democrats to cave on Bush's security and military agenda out of political expediency?

          When Markos founded Daily Kos, he was pretty much a lone voice in the wilderness. Now, the position that he held on the war has pretty much become conventional wisdom. How many lives could have been saved if a few senators had similar conviction, a similar commitment to doing what was right?

          Being stereotyped as a woman senator is a valid political consideration... on everything short of the decision to vote to initiate a war that will result in hundreds of thousands of lost lives. For nothing.

          Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

          by Dale on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:16:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Imhotepsings

            While it might be more rewarding for you to have me answer your question as it was worded, my point is that it's only rarely that politicians are leaders. For the most part, it's in their interest to reflect the will of their electorate.

            Had Hillary Clinton voted against a prospective military action enjoying 2/3rds American support, any future runs wouldn't have been characterized by charges of her being pro-war, it would have been characterized by 'women don't ever vote for military action, no matter what.'

            Had she voted against AUMF, many here (including me) would have applauded her willingness to stand on principle, but it would have been a fatal vote (especially for a woman), politically.

            The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

            by Pacifist on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:22:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, that all comes across a little differently (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Pacifist

              than your sarcastic earlier comment, which effectively rushed to the Senator's defense. There's nothing in that comment about her vote being a necessary but lamentable evil. It really seemed to come across as a sneery defense of political expediency and cynicism.

              So you'll forgive me if I got a bit huffy about it.

              Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

              by Dale on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:31:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  No worries. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Imhotepsings

                I get huffy about people not recognizing the political realities for her at the time.

                The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

                by Pacifist on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:36:35 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  They're saying that people with vaginas (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MPociask

            should vote for war, right or wrong, so they don't get called weak or soft or feminine.
             

            "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

            by JesseCW on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:26:39 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Barely half the country wanted to launch the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hooper, MPociask

          war of aggression she supported at the time she voted for it.

          The rest isn't really worthy of response.  

          "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

          by JesseCW on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:26:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Well, would you? (17+ / 0-)
    At least $400 billion in entitlement cuts, primarily to Medicare—including means testing and raising the retirement age starting in 10 to 20 years.
    If you paid 40+ years of premiums for a health insurance policy without ever using it once, would you then accept a reduction to the benefit you were promised?

    “Social Security has nothing to do with balancing a budget or erasing or lowering the deficit.” -- Ronald Reagan, 1984 debate with Walter Mondale

    by RJDixon74135 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:38:11 AM PST

  •  No deals. (11+ / 0-)

    I'm of the view that the Republicans in the House and Senate cannot be simply "trusted" to do something that they "say" will get done. So President Obama needs to start with a "show me the money" approach. If Boehner and McConnell don't allow passage of a bill with the revenues from the top 2% and a Middle Class Tax cut then there is no need to talk any further.

    No quibbling.
    No halvsies.
    No promises.

    You either put those cards on the table, Mr. Boehner or we wait till next Congress.

    No Obamacare cuts.
    No Medicare cuts.

    I'm done going to the Conservatives looking for them to actually make a decent deal. It's time we just let them hang for it.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:39:38 AM PST

  •  Most of this is beltway filler... (20+ / 0-)

    The only thing i'd say is noteworthy is that the president isn't going to negotiate with himself...which is a vast improvement over his previous posture.

    His bid is 1.6 trillion in tax increases, with hints he might be able to settle for 1.2.

    You're turn GOP.

  •  Changes in Medicare eligibility will NOT be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shrike, Lawrence, Bruorton, sebastianguy99

    important if we can move the bar on the ACA. The president made it clear that creating Obamacare was only the first step and that he expected the public to push for  more comprehensive  coverage in years to come. If somebody is covered under something very close to medicare up until eligibility age, why is that age important?  I wonder if progressives need to USE that to make the case for expanding the ACA.
    We will accept changes in the age requirement if we can begin the process of creating medicare for all.

    •  Oh don't start that spin!!! Do not go there!! (7+ / 0-)

      Don't tell me you TRICKED Americans into the ACA so you could KILL Medicare.  Don't go there.  IF, IF, IF -- come back to me 20 years from now and IF your insurance reform works then we can start discussing whether to evolve it into Medicare but to preemptively screw the elderly now in the hope that the program is going to work is just vile.

    •  There is no process for... (7+ / 0-)

      ...creating Medicare for All. The ACA put the kibosh on that.

      Once that passed, the political will for going single payer disappeared. Once anyone brings up Medicare for All, the party leadership will respond with, "We addressed health care with Obamacare. Next!"

      The smothering of the Public Option behind closed doors by the corporatist cabal in charge of the Democratic Party killed any chance for Medicare for All for at least one generation.

      And raising the eligiblity age is a non-starter for me. It's a horrible idea.

      The Grand Bargain must be stopped at all costs to protect the 99%.

      by cybrestrike on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:50:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And I always feared ACA was a Trojan Horse (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        to use as an excuse to kill Medicare.  Oh, we have theoretically provided healthcare to people by ordering them to pay for it and allowed the insurance companies to charge 3 times as much if you are old, on a fixed income and have no money to pay the premiums.  Meanwhile, we'll cut Medicaid.   I mean how long will it be before we are calling it the Unaffordable Care Act?  

        At least the Republicans are honestly cruel.  The Democrats want to pretty a paint a smiley face on their cruelty.

        •  This is way too cynical, and wrong. You're (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bruorton, sebastianguy99

          ignoring the subsidies for those without enough income.

          Why?

          •  Ryan's plan is premium support too (0+ / 0-)

            Did you believe his spin on the vouchers and premium support for the needy?  I didn't.

            It's way too early to know if the subsidies are going to be sufficient.  It's just way, way too early to know if ACA is going to work.   Will it really bring down costs?  Will it really provide affordable insurance?  If it costs more than expected will it be fully funded?    

            To use an totally unproven program as an excuse to gut a tried and true essential program is just unacceptable.  I am willing to be proved wrong but I insist on being proved wrong.  

            •  For me personally, I know it'll work because I use (0+ / 0-)

              it now.  Romneycare, the less-developed version with the same basic mechanism.  It saved my life financially and medically.  My premiums are very low and I've never been turned down for anything or by any medical person.

    •  Why expand the ACA which is going to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, JesseCW, Brooke In Seattle

      show some pretty hefty flaws once it is really up and running - INCLUDING the fact that the mandate and the government subsidies for premiums are not inextricably linked and therefore the mandates can remain in place even when a Congress decides to cut the funding of the subsidies...

      So, please explain to me why we have to cut a good program to expand one that has far more flaws and is arguably more expensive because it is a for-profit approach.

    •  To play devil's advocate, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, JesseCW, winsock

      I would suspect that whatever coverage one has under the ACA is more porous than Medicare coverage. Are there deductibles or other loopholes in Medicare -- restrictions on use in and out of network -- similar to the ones under private HMOs and health care plans? I'm asking; I honestly don't know.

      Because if you're asking a 65-year old with a history of health problems to relinquish solid coverage (Medicare) for something that is more porous and contingent and full of caveats (the HMOs), don't you think that might be a source of anxiety for said 65-year old?

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:24:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  why isn't military spending cuts being considered (17+ / 0-)

    the fact that it is never mentioned is glaring that rich people are pulling the strings on both sides.  Corporate welfare is a massive entitlement.

    •  Thanks for the good laugh! (4+ / 0-)
      why isn't military spending cuts being considered
      that's some funny, funny stuff right there!
    •  Military and war spending cuts are already (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shrike, LordMike, tytalus, CwV, askew, Imhotepsings

      included in the cuts proposed by the Obama Admin.

      War spending has already dropped by 100 billion/year since 2008 and there's room for it to go down more.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:52:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those are not real cuts (8+ / 0-)

        Those cuts reflect the drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq, for extraordinary war spending above and beyond the ordinary budget.  

        The ordinary budget has continued to increase every year.  That doesn't even count things like the Department of Homeland Security.  If the Department of Defense doesn't provide security to our homeland, why the hell do we have it?  

        •  Yes, as described in (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, MPociask

          this "stopped clock" type article from the Washington Post:

          A hidden world, growing beyond control

        •  Shaving 100 billion from yearly govt. spending (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tytalus, shrike, askew, Bruorton

          seems plenty real to me.

          But I bet that the Republicans will also be saying that those "aren't real cuts".

          And then they'll turn around and demand "real" cuts in the form of "entitlement reform."  

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:09:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the US is building a 12th aircraft carrier (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bruorton

            why would the US be buying what would a new car to a regular person if we are having so much trouble financially?  Is it even being considered to be cut?  Nope.  Should it?  Absolutely, along with dozens of other big ticket military programs.

        •  Those are real cuts (0+ / 0-)

          Tricare is affected immediately (veterans health benefits).

          "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

          by shrike on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:10:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's clarify what we're taking about here (0+ / 0-)

            A claim was made that war spending had dropped 100 billion a year since 2008.

            Let's look at actual spending since 2008.

            http://nationalpriorities.org/...

            There's a nice chart.  Note: it's gone up since 2008!

            Also note, that doesn't include full spending on our war machine, which (that we know of) tops a trillion dollars a year.  http://www.tomdispatch.com/...

            •  Your link doesn't state what you think it does... (0+ / 0-)

              ... you need to look at the defense spending 1976 to 2017 chart.

              It very clearly shows that defense spending is going down.

              War spending has dropped considerably since 2008.  It was 186 billion at its peak, in FY 2008, and is at 89 billion in FY 2013.

              "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

              by Lawrence on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:04:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You keep making a distinction without a difference (0+ / 0-)

                Every dollar spent on the Department of Defense is war spending.  Period.  

                It's cute that they try to say the subs they build in Virginia are defense spending, and only the gasoline and bullets they spend in Afghanistan are war spending, but we don't need to fall for it.

                In any event, look at the very first chart on that very first link.

                DoD spending has gone up dramatically since 2000, with or without "war" spending.  A momentary dip that did not include "war" spending in roughly 2005-2006 has long been erased.  Outlays including "war" spending are now approaching a level unseen since 1945, the end of World War II, which involved building the most powerful army, air force, and navy in history, to win a war on two fronts on opposite sides of the globe against two military super-powers.

                •  The first chart only goes until FY 2010. (0+ / 0-)

                  You do understand that the FY 2010 budget was the first budget signed by President Obama, right?

                  Unlike Republicans and some on the left, I'm not willing to rag on President Obama for the Bush Administration's failings.

                  The fact is that defense and war spending are both dropping now and will continue to drop in the coming years.

                  If you think that they should be dropping faster, that's a valid point.  But saying that defense spending and war spending is currently on the rise is just not factually correct.

                  "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                  by Lawrence on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:27:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's just not true (0+ / 0-)

                    Even the Pentagon doesn't say that, and they're the most likely people to show a lower number.

                    http://comptroller.defense.gov/...

                    Here's the FY13 budget request overview.  Page 1-2 shows the military base budget historically - note the only decrease shown at all is in the FY13 request - Congress always gives more money than the Pentagon requests.  The only decrease comes from spending less money in Afghanistan and Iraq.  

                    Page 1-3 shows the Pentagon's projected topline military spending through 2017 - and it keeps going UP.

                    And all of that ignores the substantial military costs that are not reflected in these tables.
                     

    •  Just DoD's budget... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, Bruorton

      Not counting all spending that is defense related, is now over 700 billion dollars a year.  The Government Accounting Office has stated that due to poor controls, the Pentagon's budget cannot be audited.  And yet we are expected to shovel ever more money toward the Pentagon, ever year, when we are the world's lone super power, and completely dominate the globe militarily.  

      Before the Civil War, we had a tiny military.  At the end of the war, we had the largest army in the world.  We disbanded it.  

      Before World War I, we had a tiny military.  At the end of our involvement in the war, we had built up a decisive military force.  We disbanded it.

      Before World War II, we had a relatively tiny military.  We built the largest army and navy in world history.  We shrunk it as rapidly as possible - Eisenhower knew one nuclear missile was worth a lot of troops.

      The Cold War is over.  Why does the military keep getting bigger?

      We could cut DoD spending in HALF.  If we put a quarter of the savings into jobs programs to put Americans to work, that'd still be savings of at least $175 billion a year.  That's 1.75 trillion over ten years - significantly more than what is being proposed.  But the consensus is bipartisan - poor and middle class Americans must feel PAIN.

      •  Clarifying (0+ / 0-)

        The savings I calculated were using 700 billion as a base.  Cut the budget in half, that's still 350 billion a year.*  In order to pay for jobs programs to boost the economy and help soften the blow of base closings (jobs programs by another name), spend 175 billion a year on infrastructure programs.  Take the remaining 175 billion and put toward paying down the deficit.  

        Important: this is only on the direct spending expenditure.  We actually spend over a trillion a year on "defense."  Using a trillion as a base, we're talking 500 billion in cuts, putting 250 of that toward reducing the deficit (2.5 trillion in 10 years), and 250 of that toward jobs programs (as a reference point, the stimulus bill spent 66 billion between infrastructure and transportation).

        Still more than double what China spends annually, or for another comparison, more than what China, Russia, France and the UK spend combined.

    •  Call them up and tell them! (0+ / 0-)

      A lot of good ideas in the comments.

      Time to push them on to Washington!

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:14:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I view anything reported by VandeHei and Allen (12+ / 0-)

    with a lot of skepticism.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:41:03 AM PST

    •  Given your nom du Kos ... (2+ / 0-)

      Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

      by blue aardvark on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:43:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit everywhere... (3+ / 0-)

      I'm a simpleton longing for debate upon the floors of congress before bread and butter recipes are shoved into the oven; having been pre-cooked behind closed doors.

      I don't recall electing Erskine Bowles to represent us, nor Grover Norquist for that matter, they are self-appointed 'marionettors.'

      I really would appreciate seeing and hearing each of our elected officials standing on the floor and explaining their positions in detail, (filibuster reform is a step in the right direction).

      We've had a long-standing legislative process of committees stacked upon sub-committees. Now, we have matriculated beyond new-found super-committees to closeted negotiations leaving us dependent upon previously concocted sound bites slipped under the door, which in turn feed a 24/7 cacophony of talking head interpretations like the article referenced in this diary.

      I resent the truth. Bowles and Norquist and others like them plying their trades--backed by millions of special interest money--have the ears of a special few we elected to represent us. The press isn't invited and hundreds of elected congress people aren't included either, having been relegated to the back bench. Maybe that's a reason many representatives scream utter bullshit into the microphones on the front steps. They don't know what's going on.

      We are intentionally kept in the dark; grasping too often at straw men from a daily enterprise that taxes the intelligence of the best of us to find parity in what's evolving...

      We can do and demand better than this 'obfuscationist dreck.'

      "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

      by smiley7 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:08:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  There will be cuts to Medicare if Obama has (7+ / 0-)

    anything to do with it.  Plouffe is signaling it - hell, more than signaling, he's saying it's inevitable - and Bowles is out there reiterating it.  These are Obama guys.

    So, yes, tax rates on incomes over $250k might go up, but you can bet Obama will cave on what should to any half-baked liberal Democrat untouchable entitlement programs.  But then Obama is no half-baked liberal Democrat.  He's a fully baked old fashioned moderate Republican.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:42:12 AM PST

  •  "top officials" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Apost8, PorridgeGun

    Is that anything like

    "Top Men"

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:42:26 AM PST

  •  Hope Politico is blowing smoke on Medicare (11+ / 0-)

    because if this idea of means-testing and raising the age is truly being discussed,  it is the beginning of the end of earned right benefits, and Social Security will be the next to go.  Means testing is such a silly idea for both programs - it saves next to no money, and would be a nightmare to administer.  It's important to Rethugs because it strikes at the heart of the New Deal concept that if you work for a wage, you are earning the right to a modest level of economic security and, with Medicare in the 1960's, health care in your old age.  There is absolutely no conceivable budgetary reason to do this - any Democrat who entertains this idea simply doesn't understand what Social Security and Medicare are all about.  Raising the age is simply a slap at working people whose life expectancies are NOT increasing and in fact are dropping over the last 2 decades.

    If the White House is truly entertaining these ideas, it's a betrayal of many of us who voted for the President in the belief he would at a minimum protect these programs better than Romney.

  •  I dont trust anything out of Politico. Vandehei is (7+ / 0-)

    the same clown who said only White men votes counted.

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:47:54 AM PST

  •  My only objection to phased-in raising... (9+ / 0-)

    ...of the retirement age is that it creates a drag on employment, and employment is the overarching structural problem in our economy.  Why would we do anything that limited hiring of people entering the job market by keeping people tied to jobs they'd rather retire from?  It's insanity to structure an economy to suit benefits programs rather than the other way around.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:50:59 AM PST

    •  I agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rich in PA, Imhotepsings

      It's a really bad idea to lower the retirement age in an era where rapidly proceeding automation and computerization are already cutting into the job growth rate in industrialized and developing nations.

      We're going to end up having to make some big adjustments because of this, anyway, and raising the retirement age sure wouldn't be helpful.

      That being said, Politico is postulating that it's about raising the medicare entry age, not the retirement age.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:59:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a cruel and stupid idea (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JesseCW, MPociask, Brooke In Seattle

      There's no justification for raising the Medicare retirement age.  I don't care if they will postpone changes for 10-20 years.  It's still wrong.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:22:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's seriously your *only* objection? (0+ / 0-)

      You don't work in the trades, do you?

      "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

      by JesseCW on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:31:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He just sees "D" and supports it, no matter (0+ / 0-)

        what.

      •  Yes, that's my only objection. (0+ / 0-)

        I have some sympathy for the argument that people are healthier longer and what worked in 1935 isn't something we should be wedded to now.  Differential exertion levels have always been with us and they need to be addressed through salary and benefits, so we're not making policy for the 100% because of the specific issues of the 20 or 30%.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:57:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I can foresee a solution. . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    President Obama proposes the Medicare cuts and the Republicans propose increasing taxes.

    It's called the Poisoned Pawn strategy, in chess.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

    by Pacifist on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 07:52:17 AM PST

    •  I don't follow (0+ / 0-)

      chess analogies are interesting, as long as they stay with the two dimensional version

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:16:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The point. . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mindful Nature, Imhotepsings

        Republicans won't propose raising taxes, period. They're looking for political cover on "entitlements" while also looking for political cover on raising taxes.

        The  point of an unacceptable counterproposal (particularly in the context of the formal end of all the Bush Tax Cuts in just over a month) is that it's perceived as a willingness to compromise on one hand while illustrating negotiating strength.

        The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

        by Pacifist on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:27:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Taxby Chambliss welcomes tax increases. (0+ / 0-)

      Brand new favorite RSS feed of Daily Kos Radio Podcasts http://kagrox.libsyn.com/rss
      Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

      by We Won on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:31:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There have been a couple others, too. (0+ / 0-)

        That's different from the Republican reality from Norquist's appearances (NPR a couple mornings ago) in the press to Boehner's public rhetoric.

        The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.

        by Pacifist on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:41:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Basically since rich white people are living (4+ / 0-)

    longer, we have to raise the retirement age for EVERYBODY.

    Obviously, Tiger Beat on the Potomac (as Charlie Pierce wonderfully calls Politico) is pushing basic narrative.  At the same time, Obama has sort of hinted at this sort of thing ever since he was inaugurated - thank god he was reelected but no need to have rosier coloured glasses than that.  

    This deal hurts the middle class - not as much as other frameworks, but it is not painless.  I hope there is no double dip recession, but bipartisanship seems to be desperately wanting to tempt it.

  •  WRONG! (5+ / 0-)
    Yesterday, for example, he asked the public to weigh in and put pressure on the GOP to extend middle-class tax cuts.
    I think the pressure should be put on the Obama administration to explain:
    "At least $400 billion in entitlement cuts, primarily to Medicare—including means testing and raising the retirement age starting in 10 to 20 years.
    We have a revenue problem and not a spending problem.  I say raise the revenue via tax hikes on the rich and worry about the spending cuts down the line.  

    I realize the GOP would never go for it.  Screw 'em.  Elections have consequences.  Let the GOP shut down the government.  It's loser for them.  

    Clearly, the president understands that he cannot simply sit down in a room with Boehner and sweet talk the GOP out of holding those tax cuts hostage.
    Huh?  Sweet talk?  That should have been kicked to the curb in 2009.  No sweet talk is needed.  What's needed is an Obama brass set willing to call the GOP's bluff by standing firm on why people voted for a 2nd Obama term.  
  •  my problem with all of this (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, LordMike, greenbell, PorridgeGun

    Is that Obama seems to be asking us to buy a pig in a poke.  He wants us to write/call/tweet our congresses critters and demand that they support his plan.  And I'm happy to do so on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire.  But only on that single issue.  Another single issue I'm happy to support is extension of unemployment benefits.  But that's it.  The entire Washington gang, both sides, have made me extremely suspicious of complex deals.  I think that if boner wants to put Medicare on the table that it should be a stand alone table.  I'm fed to the teeth with the entire country being held hostage, being forced to swallow crap that the Republicans would NEVER be able to get passed, if it weren't attached to something we all really need.
    I don't trust Obamas team, and Democratic leadership to look out for and defend Democratic interests.  It would be the worst disaster imaginable for Democrats to be the ones to slice away at safety net programs, a serious betrayal.

    •  Well, then let them know (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell, conniptionfit

      When the senators comes back to Obama saying "the public is screaming about this nonsense.  Knock it off before you get us another shellacking!'  He'll come around.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:17:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  why doesn't anyone... (7+ / 0-)

    ....just say the truth.  The leadership is willing to sacrifice the well being and health of the populace on the altar of military spending and corporate welfare.

    We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

    by delver rootnose on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:07:20 AM PST

  •  Raising the Medicare age saves no money (4+ / 0-)

    It just shifts costs to the middle class and delays retirement plans for them, creating a further drag on emplyment as 65-year olds cling to their jobs with benefits.

    The Medicare eligibility age needs to be lowered to 62, not raised to 67 or higher.

    Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

    by bear83 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:08:54 AM PST

  •  If Democrats cave and increase the (0+ / 0-)

    retirement age for Medicare or "means testing" hits ordinary middle class retirees, I'll be really pissed.

    A middle class individual really shouldn't get punished for sacrificing for many years to build up a retirement account of a million or two.

    Also, if you are going to raise the retirement age, I don't think it is fair to do it on anyone over the age of 30 which means it should go into effect for 35 years.    I don't think it should be raised at all, but if it is going to be done, it really shouldn't effect anyone who doesn't have decades to plan for it.

  •  all that will come from cutting medicare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle

    to satisfy Republicans is years of campaign ads by them calling out Dems for cutting medicare. Bad policy and bad politics. A twofer self-inflicted wound. Also undercuts the victory of the election.

    Fuck the republicans and their cuts. Raise the taxes and the income cutoff on contributions. Let the rich who suffer from that howl and try to win elections running against policy that fixed the fiscal holes. They can scream and lose for all time if we hold firm.

  •  When have Republicans said (0+ / 0-)

    they can stomach $800 billion in tax hikes?  I haven't heard that.  All I've heard is bullshit about closing loopholes of capping deductions.

    I'm reduced to praying that the Republicans will remain so intransigent that even our capitulator-in-chief can't "stomach" what they're serving.

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:11:23 AM PST

  •  Cuts (0+ / 0-)

    If there are SS, Medicare and Medicaid cuts then I will be done. I donated money to Obama and worked for him in two campaigns, but that will be it.

    There is no fiscal cliff that can't be worked out reasonably. The Republicans just want to hurt middle class and poor people and they have little power at this time.

    If Obama gives in, it will be very sad and hurtful for our country.

    I lived in Chicago for years, and know that many of these people that Obama surrounds himself with (Plouffe et al) are a bunch of morons.

  •  Paul Ryan in Donkey Face (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    So we leave in place almost all of the Bush tax cuts validating the Republicans in their tax policy.  In return we cut the heart out of a signature Democratic Program in such a way that it will be even easier for Republicans to come after it again, and again, and again.  

    Democrats may crow that they got a teeny tax concession from Republicans but do not kid yourself.  The Democrats will be doing the equivalent of vouchercare.  If you are low income we give you Medicare and we'll call it by a new name: Medicaid.  If you are barely middle class you will be priced out of Medicare (now Medicaid) and be thrown on the insurance market.  This is just Paul Ryan in donkey face.

  •  So about a month after Romney (0+ / 0-)

    accused the president of cutting Medicare, his party is demanding cuts to Medicare?

  •  But is POLITICO after all. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    So believe what you will of it.

    "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

    by gritsngumbo on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:16:35 AM PST

  •  We don't need tax cuts. We need jobs. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, MPociask

    Reagans response to economic crisis isn't actually correct.

    The middle class is massively under-taxed.  The rich basically aren't taxed at all.  The poor are massively underserved.

    When we tax people making 150k and use it to provide food aid and medical care and jobs to people making nothing, we stimulate the economy far more than when we give those same greedy white collar workers a tax cut.

    This used to be a party comprised of people who almost all understood that.

    "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

    by JesseCW on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:17:00 AM PST

  •  slash defense! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun

    slash the defense budget by 1/3d. end of problem

  •  Just walk away from the table dammit! (4+ / 0-)

    Dems hold ALL THE FUCKING CARDS!  We don't have to negotiate a damned thing!  

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:18:19 AM PST

  •  Total bullshit! (3+ / 0-)

    If they cut Medicare I won't support the deal!

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:19:53 AM PST

  •  CALL NOW!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    Call your senators, reps, and the WH to oppose raising the medicare age.  That's the one ultimate dealbreaker in this shitty bill. It is morally wrong and doesn't save any money!!!

    CALL NOW!!!

    GODSPEED TO THE WISCONSIN FOURTEEN!

    by LordMike on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:20:32 AM PST

  •  Why is space on DK being wasted on something (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, tytalus

    from that POS, CW, right-pimping, burlesque imitation of journalism, "Politico"?  Does anybody here really believe that what it's reporting is anything more that the fantasies of the Village right wing?  

  •  i TOLD you he was going (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    to do this.

  •  So as Gen-X, I'm getting screwed out of Medicare (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LordMike

    Means testing? So I pay into this system for 50 years, and get nothing. Yep, that's what we always thought would happen to us.

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 08:22:12 AM PST

    •  They would have define means testing (0+ / 0-)

      The stupidest way to do it would be a binary decision that says you are qualified for medicare based on retirement income.  A smarter way to do it would be to base medicare premiums on your retirement income.  If it's done in a progressive manner then it could work.  But the devil is in the details.

      "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

      by noofsh on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 09:01:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Doesn't that depend entirely on the details? (0+ / 0-)

      Mitt Romney qualifies for Medicare right now on the same terms as his maid.

      I'm not terribly concerned if we make him and people like him pay more for medical services. They can well afford it.

      •  Oh yeah him and every else making what (0+ / 0-)

        $20K or $30K.  Means testing sounds lovely until you are a senior with Social Security and a very small pension and they tell you that you just exceeded the cap but hey spend down your assets and you'll qualify for a lower premiums after you do - oh, you were saving those assets for the nursing home you might need in future years.  Sorry sucker!! You are "rich" now.  Too bad if that nursing home costs you $500K in your last 5 years of life.

  •  I don't believe that Boehner's opinion is (0+ / 0-)

    that sacrosanct.  He could easily cut a deal he's unable to deliver the votes for.

  •  Has anyone read CAP's plan to save almost $400 bil (0+ / 0-)

    from Medicare without raising the retirement age or substantially increasing cost-sharing? I just found it this morning and have not read the whole thing, but so far I think it contains some cost-savings ideas that we could find acceptable, like increased use of competitive bidding:

    http://www.americanprogress.org/...

  •  Increased taxes on the rich now (0+ / 0-)

    and reductions in Medicare 10 or so years from now, maybe. We would have lots of time to apply remedies. Besides, who knows what the situation will be then?

    Promise them anything but give us higher taxes on the higher income folks now.

    And yes, I'll apply pressure to get the tax breaks for the first 250 g for everyone.

    In the meantime, maybe some of you guys could relax.

  •  Yet another example of Beltway conventional (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, Lawrence, MPociask

    wisdom that is completely wrong:

    Everyone has an opinion on the grand bargain. But only two matter: Obama’s and Boehner’s.
    If there's one thing that should be obvious from the last round of Grand Bargain talks, it should be the fact that Boehner's opinion plus a dollar won't even get you a cheap cup of coffee. Boehner can't deliver his caucus, and he is either unwilling or unable to twist arms.
  •  Patty Murray (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    librarisingnsf

    has it right.  No deal unless tax rates go up over 250,000

    one month of tax hikes on all will certainly put GOP feet to the fire to agree to restore 2012 tax rates on 98%.

  •  Something I don't get. (0+ / 0-)

    What's with that link to the Politico article using a ridiculously long URL with "uuid=391D2852-991E-49C9-93C9-EAAB1A39B56D" in it, instead of the direct link to the piece?

  •  One military issue that seems to (0+ / 0-)

    be slipping under the radar is the likelihood of more substantial cuts in the military force. Something like 20,000 front line combat troops are already on their way home. If you have 9 or 10 people supporting them, that means maybe 180,000 to 200,000 support troops are likely to follow on the cutbacks, although these seem as yet unannounced. See Army Times for troop cut numbers--8 combat brigades or so.

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