As anyone who is even semi-conscious knows, the Cliff standoff, besides making for political theater that keeps the punditocracy well fueled on cappuccino, creates the very unnerving opportunity for a "compromise" that could deal a huge blow to Medicare and safety net programs.
The midday lineup on MSNBC, for example, is all about the Obama-Boehner chess match. Our guys have already made very clear: no increase in the top marginal rate, no deal.
But there is much buzz that the Kabuki theater is almost done. Politico believes a deal is imminent, and now it's just cleaning up the details:
Washington (CNN) -- Both sides agree the wealthy will pay more, so now fiscal cliff talks come down to how much Republicans can wring out of the White House in return for giving in on taxes.But WHAT DETAILS? What's "On The Table"?
To President Barack Obama, it's all about first locking in additional revenue from raising taxes on high-income owners, an outcome the GOP has long rejected.
Republicans led by House Speaker John Boehner want to secure commitments on entitlement reforms and spending cuts opposed by Democrats as part of a broader agreement to reduce the nation's chronic federal deficits and debt...
Medicare, of course. As part of a hastily negotiated deal, will we agree to an increase in the eligibility age -- a potentially devastating blow to millions of seniors in their 50s or early 60s, now or later? Will other benefits be cut? Will traditional Medicare be poisoned by cuts that force eventual privatization?
And Medicaid. Will we agree to gut funding, and/or block grants to states? This would cut the heart out of the ACA, likely ensuring that millions lose access to care.
But also food stamps. Republicans are clearly betting that few Americans really care what happen to the poor, and that the poor don't have much clout at the voting booth, so they can extract their pound of flesh by taking a meat cleaver to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.
So this is all more than a little unnerving. It occurs to me, not only don't we really know how far Obama and Congressional Dems will bend, but I'm not even sure we know where our community stands -- and what we'll go to the wall for.
Because a decision to end the year without a deal and start up again in January -- when we will have even more leverage -- is largely a matter of optics, it can only help if Obama knows we really have his back. The Village reads the Great Orange.
So, the main raison d'être of this diary is a poll with only two answers. I'm hoping this will also stimulate a good discussion.
The videos below the croissant are fun -- but if you only have patience or time for one, I think you'll really enjoy the last of the three. It seems to epitomize where we are.
Thanks for taking the poll and discussing!
So, my darling -- please surrender? (I know, Boehner as Elvis REALLY requires some painful mental gymnastics.)
Or, do we "just go"?
For anyone still scratching their head over the "67" in the title -- that's the proposed increase in the Medicare eligibility age Boehner & Co. are pushing. Perhaps we can think of Medicare as Schrödinger's Cat -- we have a dual reality here, and it's time for us to decide. We are in fact being observed! (The video below explains all!) So, for Medicare's sake, can I haz answer PLEEZ?