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It’s not about which political party comes out on top, or who wins or loses in Washington. It’s about making smart decisions that will have a real impact on your lives and the lives of Americans all across the country.
Short, simple, direct and sweet: Extend the middle-class tax cuts.

Yes, for the fourth week in a row, President Obama chose to use his weekly address to send just the one over-riding message of how tax cuts for the middle class need to be extended and will not be held hostage to Republican insistence on giving tax breaks to the rich.

The Senate has already done their part. Now we’re just waiting for Republicans in the House to do the same thing. But so far, they’ve put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans.  If we want to protect the middle class, then the math just doesn’t work.
Wait, there's even more, from a president who seems pretty damn sure he just won an election based on his arguments to voters on this very topic:
After all, this was a central question in the election. A clear majority of Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agreed with a balanced approach that asks something from everyone, but a little more from those who can most afford it. It’s the only way to put our economy on a sustainable path without asking even more from the middle class. And it’s the only kind of plan I’m willing to sign.
This really does sound like a showdown he's more than willing to take on with intractable Republicans. And he sounds like a president who's pretty sure he's got a winning hand.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 8, 2012

Hello, everybody. Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about deadlines we’re facing on jobs and taxes and investments. But with so much noise and so many opinions flying around, it can be easy to lose sight of what this debate is really about. It’s not about which political party comes out on top, or who wins or loses in Washington. It’s about making smart decisions that will have a real impact on your lives and the lives of Americans all across the country.

Right now, middle-class tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. Time is running out. And there are two things that can happen.

First, if Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their income taxes automatically go up on January 1st. A typical middle-class family of four would get a $2,200 tax hike. That would be bad for families, it would be bad for businesses, and it would drag down our entire economy.

Now, Congress can avoid all this by passing a law that prevents a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. That means 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up by a single dime. Even the wealthiest Americans would get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income.  And families everywhere would enjoy some peace of mind.

The Senate has already done their part. Now we’re just waiting for Republicans in the House to do the same thing. But so far, they’ve put forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest Americans.  If we want to protect the middle class, then the math just doesn’t work.

We can and should do more than just extend middle class tax cuts. I stand ready to work with Republicans on a plan that spurs economic growth, creates jobs and reduces our deficit – a plan that gives both sides some of what they want. I’m willing to find ways to bring down the cost of health care without hurting seniors and other Americans who depend on it. And I’m willing to make more entitlement spending cuts on top of the $1 trillion dollars in cuts I signed into law last year.

But if we’re serious about reducing our deficit while still investing in things like education and research that are important to growing our economy – and if we’re serious about protecting middle-class families – then we’re also going to have to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay higher tax rates. That’s one principle I won’t compromise on.

After all, this was a central question in the election. A clear majority of Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agreed with a balanced approach that asks something from everyone, but a little more from those who can most afford it. It’s the only way to put our economy on a sustainable path without asking even more from the middle class. And it’s the only kind of plan I’m willing to sign.

Everyone agrees we need to bring down our deficit and strengthen our economy for the long-term. The question is whether we can do it in a responsible way that allows us to keep investing in the things that have always made America strong. I’m convinced we can. And if both sides are willing to compromise, I believe we can give businesses and families a sense of security going into the New Year.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Only 4 days left to act (5+ / 0-)

    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 Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:05:37 AM PST

  •  Entitlement cuts (12+ / 0-)
    I’m willing to find ways to bring down the cost of health care without hurting seniors and other Americans who depend on it. And I’m willing to make more entitlement spending cuts on top of the $1 trillion dollars in cuts I signed into law last year.
    And it looks like raising the Medicare age is one of the cuts in the deal, which is effectively a partial privatization of Medicare.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:05:38 AM PST

    •  He wants to be remembered as the Grand Bargainer (5+ / 0-)

      He has deluded himself into believing in all this beltway Villager nonsense about bipartisanship being the greatest virtue, when in reality it's just a euphemism for bowing down to the established power structure and being grateful for the crumbs they throw down from time to time. I think that Obama either doesn't care, or is in massive, massive denial about what a good deal is. Or simply lacks spine.

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

      by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:29:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  he's not delusional (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jm214, snoopydawg, joanneleon

        The Village will deify him if he succeeds in getting a Grand Bargain that shreds the New Deal.

        We no longer have anything to offer him; his reelection was the last thing he needed from us.

        Pleasing the 1% will ensure that he will be fabulously wealthy and adored for the rest of his life. It's a no-brainer as far as he's concerned.

        He will supplant Reagan's place in the hearts of all the Villagers. David Brooks will be singing praises of Obama the Lion-Hearted, who stood up to his own base, all those wild-eyed, spendthrift out-of-control hippies who were threatening to bankrupt the country with their Social Security and Medicare.

        He always said Reagan was his model, that his goal was to emulate Reagan. Even during the first debate he referred to the "bipartisan" deal between Reagan and O'Neill on Social Security.

        Now's Obama's chance to outdo the master himself in a Grand Bargain to end all Grand Bargains, the ultimate climax of Third Way bipartisanship. You think he'll miss this opportunity?

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:50:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it was ever about the money (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214, Timothy J

          Although of course he'll never want for it, nor will his family long after he's gone. I think it was about ego and vanity, as it was and still is for the Clintons. Politics on the right is about money and power. On the left it's about ego and vanity. Our "best" leaders are easily bought out by appealing to this side of them. I think he's deluded himself into believing that a Beltway Bargain is a real bargain. He bought into the spin and hype and it's all about legacy now.

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

          by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:59:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  This Is No Longer About Taxes! (6+ / 0-)

            Obama wants his tax increase on the rich so he can sell out the poor and middle class with his "Grand Bargain."

            This is about destroying the safety net, and "downsizing" government at all levels in the midst of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression.

            And if you ask the Villagers "why" we desperately need to do this the answer is always: "just because." Because you can't ask the rich to pay more UNLESS sick, poor and elderly people have to suffer. It wouldn't be "fair" or "balanced."

            My only hope is that we can raise such hell with Congress opposing these Medicare cuts that we can defeat the bill. Obama doesn't have to run for reelection, but they do.

            It will be suicidal for ANY Democrat to vote to increase the age of Medicare eligibility. Republicans will just demand more, and then run in 2014 on "Senator X voted to cut Medicare, but Tea-Party opponent Y will save Medicare for America's seniors!"

            Just like in 2010, the attack ads write themselves.

            •  Sometimes I view Obama (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jm214, snoopydawg, limpidglass, Timothy J

              as the Howard Beale character from Network after the "come to Jesus" boardroom meeting in which Ned Beatty scares the living shit out of him and converts him into a pro-corporate libertarian mantra-spewing mouthpiece. I'm not suggesting that Obama's crazy the way that Beale was both before and after this encounter, just that he's been "won over" by forces far greater than him, and has given up, continuing to go through the motions of being a progressive while not actually being one. Those campaign speeches sure were pretty, but they meant nothing.

              And yet some here will continue to claim that we hate him, as if it was ever about him, rather than his policies and politics.

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

              by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:59:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  You guys are delusional. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rsmpdx

          Anyone who believes the GOP will vote to increase tax rates -- tax rates -- by even 0.5% is delusional.  It ain't gonna happen.  Boehner has signed the Tax Pledge.  It would be over for him.

          Also, Boehner has insisted that any bill he brings to the floor must have majority GOP support.  And you believe he will get that with a bill which contains a tax rate increase?

          This is all part of the kabuki theater.  President Obama is happy to appear to be willing to make "tough choices" and put everything on the table.  Remember, he went through this before with Boehner on the debt ceiling. Even with an offer to Boehner that he couldn't refuse, Boehner refused!!

          This is a setup for the GOP to get the blame for any failure to come to an agreement.  

          Grand Bargain?  Yeah, right.  And I also believe in unicorns.  

      •  Obama "simply lacks spine" or "doesn't care" about (6+ / 0-)

        the people who just reelected him, or  perhaps he is in "massive, massive, denial"....

        This is so pitiful and tells me that it has probably been hard all these many many months to drum up anti-Obama fervor on the inter-tubes with so many supporting and getting this great President reelected in such a resounding fashion....

        Your circa 2010 anti-Obama rhetoric is so unbelievably stale and has been (refuted by so many who voted for this President a second time around) that one has to wonder if desperation has forced you to ignore its expiration date....

        •  So when a majority of voters reelected Bush (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joanneleon, Timothy J

          in 2004, did that validate his political and policy agenda too?

          Your comment is so lacking in substance as to not deserve further response. It's basically a regurgitation of "Obama is great because he's great, so shuddup!".

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

          by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:14:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope because Bush and his crowd manufactured the (0+ / 0-)

            election...twice.... Your extreme rhetoric and level of malcontent is obvious.

            But with all your years of Obama is ugly talk, I don't believe you could tell of a single movement on your part to recruit the sort of "fantasy" political figure you support into office.

            It is all ridiculous rhetoric signifying nothing..... Tell me, what you are doing to better the Democratic Party, beyond whining how "spineless" Barack Obama is.... The man has sought and ran and won office twice in convincing fashion.... What have you done lately??????

            •  Blah blah blah (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joanneleon, Timothy J

              Obama's not a weak leader because I didn't run for president against him, and that's just a typical and rather boring ad hom comeback to my criticisms of him. Plus, you're asserting a conspiracy theory, at least about 2004. That's bannable.

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

              by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:48:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nope, Obama is not a weak leader because Obama is (0+ / 0-)

                a strong leader, who has achieved real and tangible accomplishments for the nation and the Democratic Party. And the overwhelming majority of Democrats agree with me, that is why he was reelected to a second term....

                •  Like what? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Timothy J

                  Name one that he led on, rather than allowed himself to be led on. Just ONE.

                  Ledbetter
                  DOMA
                  DADT
                  Obamacare
                  Dodd-Frank
                  Iraq
                  Afghanistan
                  Fiscal deals

                  These were all initiated and led by others (and I don't mean his subordinates, but by congress or other people and orgs), and he just popped in from time to time or for the signing. Which is to his credit, but in a minor way.

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

                  by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:19:12 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So, why didn't we get these pieces of legislation (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    v2aggie2

                    accomplished until Barack Obama came on the scene? How long was DADT on the books again?  

                    And since you mention Obamacare, how many Presidents have tried and how many years have there been before Obamacare was achieved again? If you look up the history of healthcare legislation in this country, you'll find that it had been almost hundred years.  

                    But, as you suggest, Obama had nothing to do with this, it was somebody elses healthcare legislation and "they" just affixed Barack Obama's name to it because they like the sound of his name.... What amazing rhetoric you offer.

                    In closing I just would like to add, the next time you feel compelled to refer to another individual as "spineless" be prepared to show how better you are than said individual.... It is not enough to cry "Oh, I'm not an elected official." Well, it is a free country, no one is stopping you from running, just like no one can stop you from offering the kind of nonsensical rhetoric you've been spouting.....

              •  Bannable? (0+ / 0-)

                Barack Obama for President '12

                by v2aggie2 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 01:55:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  It's Saturday, Ned. (4+ / 0-)

          Now that the election is safely over, DK can return to it's regularly-scheduled vituperation in the commentary on the President's Saturday morning address.  Add in kos' hatemailapalooza, and once again it's a good time find something better to do with your Saturday mornings.  

          I, for one, enjoyed the respite.  

          “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” ~ Yann Martel

          by SottoVoce on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:59:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you for reminding me SottoVoce. It was (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SottoVoce

            probably rough for many of these individuals to hold in their anti-Obama sentiments during the election.... It must be great fun for many of these folk to walk around with their burning resentment and in some cases hatred of this President everyday.... It is amazing.....

            •  But at least they did hold it in. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NedSparks, democrattotheend

              Over the course of the primary and then election season, the bleak prospect of any of the GOP candidates having a chance at the presidency was revealed in stark terms.  Even those who can find no redeeming qualities in President Obama realized the danger to us all should he lose this one.  So eventually, even the dreaded Saturday mornings quieted down around here.

              Today's angry comments accused the President of always wanting to cut the social safety net into ribbons; of having the real goal of becoming monstrously wealthy, and again insisting that there is no measurable difference between the two parties.  I can't buy into these ideas.  How does anybody, least of all a humble blogger, know what the President has always wanted?  How can they look at his history and presume that his goal is personal wealth?  And how, in the face of what, for example, the GOP is ramming through in  Michigan as we speak, and the stupefying GOP votes against the UN's disability provision, can people say there is no difference in the parties?

              The President's Saturday address seems to gather the most bilious commentary.  Now that it's back in full swing, I'm not going to read it.

              “If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams.” ~ Yann Martel

              by SottoVoce on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 02:02:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Well wait till you see our 2014 rhetoric (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashoil, scribeboy, Timothy J

          if the Democratic Party screws us Boomers out of Medicare.  There is absolutely NOTHING the party could do that would make me angrier.  Michele Bachman can't do anything worse to me than screw me out of Medicare.  Heck that Rubio guy or that Christie guy or that Jindahl guy --- none of them can do anything worse to me than screw me out of Medicare.  

    •  What a load of crap it is (10+ / 0-)

      I'm self-employed and have a terrible time finding a policy I can afford, and it isn't going to get any easier as I get closer to retirement age. I started working full time and paying payroll taxes when I was 16--now that I'm in my early 50's I'm supposed to another 2 years for Medicare?

      Personal interest aside, what about the millions of older Americans who have lost their jobs, can't find work, and can't afford an individual policy? Do the Dems really think Obamacare is going to somehow pick up the slack?

      Polls overwhelming show that Americans do NOT want benefit cuts to Medicare. Obama should tell the GOP to shove this up their asses, but he won't, because this is what he wanted all along.

      •  When he's long out of office (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        splashoil, Timothy J

        and historians will finally have at it (and I mean real ones, not adoring journalists like Richard Wolfe), he'll be remembered as a president who underplayed his hand because he didn't want to be disliked by powerful people, who may have pushed the status quo ever so slightly to the left, but basically solidified it. Which is why he was allowed to become president in the first place.

        Everyone, prepare for the latest cave, which was a given from the start.

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:42:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you put it on wanting to be liked? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wishingwell, v2aggie2

          When President Obama doesn't come out the way you like and when he has to deal with an obdurate House and Senate, how are you so sure it's a "cave" that was "a given from the start."?

          I agree he should have been a more realistic strategist and much tougher negotiator in the first two years of his first term. And after thought, I've come to disagree with the notion that the best way to address Medicare funding problems - I hope you accept that there are serious Medicare funding problems - is to raise eligibility ages. There are many ways to address the many reasons why Medicare is so costly.

          But "disliked by powerful people" and "allowed to be President" rhetoric is pretty far out. Your view of what history will write may be turn out to be correct, but not I think, for the "because" part of it.

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:14:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not about what I like or want (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, Timothy J

            It's about good policy & politics vs. weak policy & politics, based on verifiable and objective analysis, as you yourself admit. Serious economists agree that top rates have to go up and that entitlement benefits should not be cut, and every poll I've seen shows that voters agree. A majority of economists AND Americans don't want Obama to cut this deal. So why should he? He can just refuse to accept their terms, walk away, and let them take the heat next year. Which they will.

            They only plausible justification for this is Obama believing that they'll reject even this good a deal, just as they did previous good deals of his (from their point of view), which will only make them look even worse in voters' eyes. But that's 11D Chess nonsense and I don't think he's that clever.

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

            by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:20:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, yes to the election and the polls, but ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... as for "serious" economists agreeing on your two givens, I believe what they'd agree on is that those are some policy choices among many and have consequences. But what these consequences will turn out to be and whether they are the best ones ... on those questions, believing economists is like believing in alchemy.

              Yes, more believable economic data supports Keynes, demand-side solutions and the role of governance in recessions than backs up supply-side theories.

              As for just walking away if the GOP continues to insist on getting something for their grudging acceptance of higher rates for the wealthy ... that wouldn't bother me. It's GOP intransigence on taxes, debt and deficits what got us on that fictional Cliff and they will keep it up as long as they can.

              The majority of the public agrees. And that's what counts. BUT we will be postponing political debacles. Eventually and probably soon, the country's inability to settle these issues politically and move on will hurt us all.

              2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

              by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:45:19 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're wrong about Keynesianism vs. Hayekism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jm214

                The former has been proven on the whole by decades of data to be mostly right, and the latter wrong. It's no longer a matter of legitimate debate except on the margins. Imposing a false equivalence on this debate is not that different from doing that with global warming. The data is in on both "controversies", and reality won in both cases. Keynesianism works, supply side doesn't. Period.

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

                by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:51:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Agreed. Though as we see daily, what's "proven (0+ / 0-)

                  ... on the whole" doesn't necessarily prevail.

                  I'm not equivalenting (!) the two approaches, just observing that economists - particularly academics - don't split neatly into those two poles.

                  I believe you are absolutely correct on the weight of the data. So how do Republicans - some of whom do actually want to be on the side of intelligent and legitimate policy choices - stick with Hayek and Wannisky and the supply-side advocates in the face of compelling data to the contrary? Sure, they are results oriented and that's what satisfies their lobbyists and contributors. Is it solely that they are using selected economic theory in the service of the Right result?

                  2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                  by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:07:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  When was the last time a supply-sider (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Timothy J

                    won the Nobel (and I realize that Nobels are usually won for work done long ago)? Haven't Keynesians been cleaning up since Friedman won it? Surely the opinion of a bunch of Swedish economists counts for something. :-)

                    But seriously, there are no persuasive arguments coming from the other side because none of them square with the evidence.

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

                    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:17:16 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Economists patently don't know shit. Big words, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Timothy J

                    complicated formulae, the kind of diction that would make even a Talcott Parsons sociologist weep with confusion. ZERO ability to predict, lips locked around the nipple of the Cash Cows and Greed Sows.

                    Please do not add to the pukesphere by citing to "economists" as any kind of source of wisdom or policy that might have a prayer of making anything better on the whole for the most of us. "Most economists agree" that whatever is good for them, personally, financially, and careerily, is Received Truth.

                    And since exceptions prove the rule, I will except Paul Krugman, not because I favor his side but because actually he has predicted, by a combination of observation, common sense, and knowledge of various kinds of economist dogma, most of what's going on and most of what might fix the problems.

                    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

                    by jm214 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:42:33 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you, historian (0+ / 0-)

          Barack Obama for President '12

          by v2aggie2 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 01:55:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  And I think those born after 1960 all ready have (0+ / 0-)

        to wait until they are 67 to be eligible right? And that is how things stand now before any of this , correct?

        Follow PA Keystone Liberals on Twitter: @KeystoneLibs

        by wishingwell on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:26:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  shhhhhhh (7+ / 0-)

      you're interrupting the victory celebration.

      Never mind that we shouldn't be doing deficit reduction in the midst of an economic crisis.

      The way it should be viewed is: we deficit spend now to boost the economy, investing in jobs and infrastructure. Once the economy is doing well, then the government can use progressive taxation to recoup that investment and build a budget surplus.

      That's how the Keynesian story is supposed to go. You don't get economic growth by cutting in the middle of a recession.

      Instead we're in some bizarro-land where allowing the return to pre-Bush tax rates on the rich in exchange for taking an axe to the New Deal is considered a good bargain.

      Exchanging a little bit of extra tax revenue for serious cuts in the social safety net is like eating your seed corn just because you don't happen to have any food in the house. Very, very shortsighted.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:39:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bonus image (5+ / 0-)

        White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

        by BOHICA on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:54:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And yet Obama has not only accepted (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jm214, joanneleon, Timothy J

        this false premise, he's championed it. I have literally not seen a more mimetic leader, at least at this level, in my life. Whatever the establishment believes, he believes, or claims to. Either he's not nearly as smart as he's claimed to be, or he's very, very comfortable with dishonesty. Either way, that's scary.

        A smart, strong leader, while attuned to current political realities, also works hard at moving them in a better direction. Instead, Obama has been reinforcing these Reagan era memes, even if he's been tweaking them in ways that to him might seem slightly more progressive. If anything, Obama is the true "compassionate conservative". But he's still a conservative, albeir more Burkean than Reaganean.

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:28:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  And it looks like they may cave (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timothy J

        on the full rate increase too.  This is the sickest joke there is.  We get virtually nothing back from the "temporary" Bush cuts that all he has to do is let expire!!! And in return we give away the New Deal.  We throw millions of Americans off Medicare guaranteeing that many of them will be poor much, much earlier in their retirement years as their meager assets now have to cover 2 more years of extremely costly healthcare.  

        This is another war on the poor deal.  Heck it's a make them poor deal.  They may have middle class assets now, but we'll take care of that!

    •  The devil is in the details (4+ / 0-)

      Obama said nothing about raising the Medicare age.  Until he does, I'll reserve judgement.  This could be no more than a head fake to lure Republicans.  It is they, not Obama nor Democrats, who we want talking about specifics in this regard.  Bad enough that Obama has proactively put entitlement spending cuts on the table in the first place.  But this could mean almost anything at this point.

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

      by winsock on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:44:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. And it IS negotiation. He can't take... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wishingwell, democrattotheend

        ... all the big ticket items off the table at the outset, or he's no better than the Republican'ts.

        Nevertheless, I worry more than you that Medicare age eligibility is an "easy," seemingly relatively painless and futuristic-so-it-can-be-changed way to be seen as addressing Medicare funding issues.

        2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:21:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whether or not raising the age (3+ / 0-)

          is bad policy and/or can be lowered someday well before it actually kicks in is certainly a valid matter. But as politics, it's stupid, and just weakens our position. In a real two-way compromise BOTH sides give up something big, or at least equal. How does raising the age 2 years equal a measly 2% increase in the top rate? Less than $40B extra a year at best in tax revenue is a win?

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

          by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:34:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oh I do worry (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jm214, Janet 707, Timothy J

          Raising the age of Medicare eligibility now would be well-nigh irreversible without significant further reform of healthcare.  

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

          by winsock on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:39:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Irreversible how? Politically? Politics change... (0+ / 0-)

            ... as do Congressional enactments.

            I'm not suggesting that Obama bait-and-switch on this, mind you, but Congress can ... and often does.

            As for compromising on Medicare funding fixes, we need to have proposals. We have them, but eligibility age will look easier and more doable (and it probably is!) unless we start touting alternatives.

            2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

            by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:52:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's always political (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jm214, Janet 707, Timothy J

              Irreversible insofar as lowering the eligibility age of Medicare adds to federal spending.  Personally, I'd like to see the eligibility age lowered to 0 -- at least conceptually -- but I don't see that happening any time soon.

              I certainly agree about proposing alternatives.

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

              by winsock on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:13:37 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yup. Medicare at age Zero - though purists could (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                winsock

                ... and as I recall did find fault with that simple approach - would have been ...

                1. undeniably constitutional,
                2. wise public policy long term, on the whole and on the average, all things considered,
                3. difficult to finance and with short term dislocations while the professions and providers who surround the delivery of health care-related goods and services adjusted their expectations and business models.

                While #3 is not trivial, neither are #1 and #2.

                (As for the eligibility age and Federal spending ... if the changes were gradual - feathered in over time like changes in the SS age - they can be more readily amended. For example, there will be time before it would affect soon-to-be-eligible recipients. There's always time: the Fiscal Cliff was a concocted debacle and the debt ceiling is leverage that works the wrong way. Both can be changed, not easily, but they are not irrevocable. I'm not arguing for raising the Medicare age; it's a lousy concept. Just pointing out that the GOP insisted maintaining the tax cuts for the wealthy was never gonna happen ... and it looks like it will.)

                2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:03:03 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  We are so far past (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Timothy J

                  any concievable level of "purism" that it just makes any comment that follows it unworth reading and the person writing it loses all credibility.


                  "Justice is a commodity"

                  by joanneleon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:06:19 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

                  Note that I did say lowing the eligibility age (after raising it) would be "well-nigh irreversable," meaning almost, not impossible, yet not easy -- so we agree but for perhaps the degree of difficulty.

                  However, I don't agree that the tax cuts for the wealthy -- leastwise in their entirety -- will be maintained.  On the other hand, the increases that are now at stake are pretty damned slight, all things considered.

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

                  by winsock on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:32:06 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I mis-wrote RE tax cuts for the wealthy. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    winsock

                    I should have written: "... the GOP insisted killing tax cuts for the wealthy was never gonna happen ... and it looks like it will."

                    Nevertheless, I think some of the breaks for the wealthy - such as lower LTCG rates - may continue (possibly at higher levels). The President's many references to "rates" may be deliberately vague, so it could mean just the bracket rates ... or more. After all, he's a Constitutional Law prof as well as a politician, so every word can be freighted! Just as Lincoln in Lincoln chose his words carefully and did not say everything to anyone, even his closest allies, so this President is keeping his cards close to his vest.

                    RE purists, some Progressives argued earlier that restructuring of Medicare-as-we-know-it would be necessary rather than simply adopt it as us. True, but since changes other than just doing away with the age requirement were much more complicated (even if they were sensible for administration) and problematical, I termed those advocates "purists."

                    Yes, "well-nigh irreversable" would be closer.

                    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

                    by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 11:29:37 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Trial Balloon (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          winsock, Janet 707

          That was what's called a trial balloon.

          Keep shooting it down, but don't mistake it for a secret plan that he's just been waiting to hatch.

          And as far as freaking out about Medicare going to 67, just remember, a few weeks ago there was a very real chance it was going to be eliminated totally by President Romney.

          So, tell me I'm an Obot. I won't be if he cuts a bad deal, but I'm not going to start saying "I told you so" before anything has even happened.

          GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

          by Attorney at Arms on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:25:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not realistic (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TJ, greenbell, Timothy J, Sarenth

            that Romney could have eliminated Medicare. His own party does not even want that to happen and there is no way in this universe that he could have gotten it through a Dem controlled Senate.

            So let's be realistic about what could and couldn't have happened.

            If a Republican tried to do what Obama is doing now, Democrats would have moved mountains to stop it.  


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:04:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Head fake or not, we can't know for sure (6+ / 0-)

        Which is why it's our job to preemptively slam any such possible deal before it becomes real, rather than just sit back and "trust him". This isn't how it works.

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:30:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Slam the policy. Don't slam the president (0+ / 0-)

          unless/until there is more solid evidence that he is going to make this deal.

          We need to keep up the pressure, not engage in personal attacks on the president that just divide us (since many of us still like him) and distract from the policy goal of making our voices heard on why this is a bad idea.

          If we really want to be effective, we should be reaching out to get people outside of our little bubble here to speak out and working to shape public opinion on it.

          The polls do not all show that people oppose this overwhelmingly (some do; others are more mixed). I have Democratic friends (younger and not very focused on Medicare) who have initially thought this made sense because people were living longer. But I have been able to convince some of them that it is a bad idea.

          There is a strong conservative (as in, pro-business; not reactionary nutcase) case to be made against raising the Medicare age (because it will hurt employers, especially small business) and we ought to find a way to get more people to speak out from that perspective.

          These are the angles we need to work, to make it clear that it's more than just some liberal bloggers who oppose this. Working to shape public opinion and mobilizing to contact members of Congress is far more effective than bashing the president as a sell-out before we even have concrete evidence that he is in fact selling us out.

      •  Yeah, mm-hmm, TRUST him! Forget about the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        limpidglass

        dagger in his hand. He would never thrust it into your innards, or use it to cut your purse-strings to take what little you have put away and depended on.

        Uh, what's that sudden sharp pain between my 6th and 7th ribs?.....

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:45:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Obama is one smart operator. (7+ / 0-)

      And he has the same views on these issues as we do. He'll get us the best deal possible, although I'm sure we will be somewhat disappointed in the result. It is always disappointing when you don't get what you ideally want, especially when you are convinced it is the right thing. But we are a democracy, and we're narrowly divided right now between people like us and people like Karl Rove. So the chances that the GOP is not going to make its imprint on the final deal is zero.

      One thing for sure is that I would rather have Barack Obama fighting for us more than anybody else in the world. We are indeed lucky to have him, and it is a depressing thought that in 4 years we won't anymore.

      •  Nixon goes to China (6+ / 0-)

        Only a Democratic president could get away with this.  If a Republican was trying to do it, the D party would move mountains to stop it.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:53:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And yet I still don't know why he'd want (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timothy J

          to do this. To vainly please the Village, because he's weak and spineless, or because he actually believes it's good policy? None of these speaks well of him.

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

          by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:38:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ideology (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            melpomene1, Timothy J

            and relating to the elites of the world, not the common people.  That is my best guess.  It's not uncommon amongst people who conditioned in private schools and more so, Ivy leagues.


            "Justice is a commodity"

            by joanneleon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:40:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're forgetting something important (0+ / 0-)

              Which is that the president hardly comes from the "elite", at least not originally. He was born to a single teenage mother and grew up lower middle class. I am pretty sure that I read that his mother was on food stamps at some point when he was young.

              His views on health care and his commitment to passing the ACA were shaped in large part by the struggles his mother went through when she was dying of cancer.

              Also, there's this article that explains how growing up overseas and seeing what extreme income inequality looks like shaped the president's world view: http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

              I don't disagree with those who say he is too willing to compromise, but he's certainly not an out of touch elitist who has no concept of what it's like to worry about money.

      •  he is indeed very smart (7+ / 0-)

        and he will get the best deal possible--for him personally, that is.

        I think where you go wrong is in your assumption that his interests coincide with ours.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:54:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps that is because I see Obama (6+ / 0-)

          as a great man. Clearly you do not.

          •  Based on what, though? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snoopydawg, Timothy J

            None of his "great" accomplishments were of his doing, including Obamacare. He had to be pushed or led to do all the things he did, and usually left the hard work to others. Ledbetter was Pelosi's doing, Obamacare was Romney, the Heritage Foundation and Baucus's doing, Dodd-Frank want Dodd, Frank and Wall St.'s doing, the stimulus was way smaller than it should and could have been, and getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan was well underway during Bush.

            Seriously, what makes him great, beyond his speechmaking?

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

            by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:41:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, he's done GREAT! Ask GIs in Afghanistan (0+ / 0-)

            How GREAT he has done, or people who hardly know that the US capital is Washington and suddenly are blown to shreds by a Hellfire warhead.

            On the other hand, this older Vietvet kind of lusts for a faster descent into feudalism. That at least will offer some opportunities in service to a Great Lord, and a different kind of "social security." One that's pretty clearly on the horizon that I, for one, see. Assuming that O's "policies" regarding carbon emissions and all that don't accelerate the other thing, that 7-degree future and an atmosphere of methane, for me to savor in my dotage...

            "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

            by jm214 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:50:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  What do you think is in it for Obama "personally" (3+ / 0-)

          ... as opposed to the public "personally?"

          2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:23:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  he will be deified by the elites (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jm214, greenbell, Timothy J

            if he goes ahead and commits the Democratic party to the destruction of the New Deal.

            After his political career, the giant media machine of the 1% will work to enshrine him as the greatest president America ever had. He will be bigger than Mandela and the pope combined, touring the world giving speeches and being treated like a rock star.

            He'll make Tony Blair's post-political career of lucrative speeches and sinecures look like a busker dancing for pennies. The worship and veneration the Beltway media give to Reagan (even eight years after his death) is but a shadow of what they'll show Obama.

            Remember in '08, when they sold all that campaign merchandise with his face on it? They will start up a whole giant industry of Obama merchandise, not for the campaign, but for personal profit. And this will last for the rest of his life.

            They'll try to carve his face into Rushmore and replace FDR's likeness on the dime with Obama's.

            They'll obliterate the pre-Obama history of the Democratic party and sing praises to Obama, the great Democratic statesman, who turned a disorganized rabble of spendthrift hippies who were threatening to bankrupt America into a lean, mean, modern Wall Street party of deficit reduction, balanced budgets, and drone warfare.

            It doesn't matter that this is all nonsense. The 1% are the ones who create history. They will write this story, and it's the story that will be remembered.

            All this awaits Obama--but only if he turns his back on the American people.

            That kind of praise and glory would tempt anyone; certainly it would tempt any politician, as they tend to be egomaniacal, self-centered people.

            Obama's supporters have said that now the election is over and he will never run for office again, we'll get to see the kind of person he really is. I agree--but I think that most of his supporters (except the ones who believe he can do no wrong) will be shocked and horrified by this revelation.

            "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

            by limpidglass on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:54:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Based on what, your liking of him? (5+ / 0-)

        Over 60% of Americans are for restoring the top tax rates and against raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, and more voters voted for Dems for president, senate and the house in this election than for Repubs, so I don't know where you get your "narrowly divided" information.

        Sure, he's better than Romney. But so's a ham sandwich.

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:37:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Seriously (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Timothy J

        I thought that the whole eleven dimensional chess thing was dead after 2010.


        "Justice is a commodity"

        by joanneleon on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:07:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I didn't realize that the President (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      democrattotheend

      is raising the Medicare age.  He certainly hasn't said that.

      Cable News may have said, but cable news is typically wrong

      Barack Obama for President '12

      by v2aggie2 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 01:53:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'd love for him to really push for a broad (8+ / 0-)

    improvement and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. So many jobs!

    "Say little, do much" (Pirkei Avot 1:15)

    by hester on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:06:11 AM PST

  •  THIS is the Leader I voted twice for. (6+ / 0-)
  •  Mandate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, jm214, v2aggie2
    This was a central question in the election. A clear majority of Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agreed with a balanced approach that asks something from everyone, but a little more from those who can most afford it. It’s the only way to put our economy on a sustainable path without asking even more from the middle class. And it’s the only kind of plan I’m willing to sign.
    The media is still covering this issue as if the Democrats and Republicans were tied.

    The President won in an electoral landslide. He now has 51% of the popular vote--the only President since Eisenhower to win more than 51% twice. His 57% approval rating is his highest since the Osama bin Laden raid.

    This is not a tie. The Republican party's fiscal approach was profoundly rejected.

    The media and the GOP are united in ignoring the clear will of the voters. Just as both groups were out of touch with actual voters during the general election, they are out of touch and are about to be schooled again post-election.

    The choice of our lifetime: Mitt Romney, It Takes A Pillage or President Barack Obama, Forward Together.

    by FiredUpInCA on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:21:16 AM PST

  •  "More from those who can afford it the most" (4+ / 0-)

    Plain and simple.

  •  Yeah, he insisted on a public option too (5+ / 0-)

    With word coming out yesterday that Obama's apparently willing to agree to substantially less than a 4.6% increase in the top tax rate (as low as 2%) AND cuts to entitlement benefits, I don't believe any of this PR hooey.

    He simply does not have the stomach for tough negotiations. He wants to be liked, not respected. Say what you will about the other side but they know how to negotiate, and don't go "wobbly" at the first sign of difficulty.

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

    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:26:58 AM PST

    •  For the same reasons and by the same people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, Sarenth

      the president was dissuaded from putting the public option on the table during health care negotiations, he is now being persuaded that making a deal - even one that negates a previous stand - is preferable to the alternative.  Since the election advisors have been working to convince him that the economic ramifications of pushing the country off the cliff would be worse than compromising.

      Whether that's true or not, the people around him are making the case to him privately that giving up 2.6% of the upper income tax hike is worth it to avoid the chaos that would come from having to address separately each of the other events that falling off the cliff would bring about.

      "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 Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:48:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Be that as it may (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jm214, Timothy J, Sarenth

        But he's still the president, and if he can't see through the lies he's being told by the self-interested Iagos who surround him, or lacks the spine to override their "advice" and do the right thing (and surely he reads Krugman et al and knows what that is), then he's not fit to be president. So sorry, not buying the "bad advice" explanation. He's a grownup and can make up his own damn mind.

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:56:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Also, a majority of Americans DO NOT (9+ / 0-)

    support what he refers to as a "balanced approach", by which he clearly means a combination of an increase in top tax rates and cuts to entitlement programs. That's just flat-out wrong, and I believe dishonest (i.e. he's lying and he knows it). A majority of Americans polled consistently support the former but not the latter. Or by "Americans", does he mean Villagers, i.e. the beltway media?

    He won the damn election and Dems picked up seats in both houses, and still he wants to throw the other side a lifeline, for reasons passing all understanding.

    This man is in need of an intervention.

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

    by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:36:50 AM PST

  •  Folder in Chief (8+ / 0-)

    Losing a winning hand.

    •  Krugman says it best (9+ / 0-)

      Paul Krugman:

      So this looks crazy to me; it looks like a deal that makes no sense either substantively or in terms of the actual bargaining strength of the parties. And if it does happen, the disillusionment on the Democratic side would be huge. All that effort to reelect Obama, and the first thing he does is give away two years of Medicare? How’s that going to play in future attempts to get out the vote?

      If anyone in the White House is seriously thinking along these lines, please stop it right now.

      How low can we go?

      Walmart Obamacare

      •  The ONLY positive way I can view this (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        splashoil, democrattotheend

        (and I actually articulated such a possible view before the election) is that this supposed deal that Obama is willing to cut isn't genuine, and was leaked to force Boehner and the GOP's hand, so that if and when they reject it, and obviously that's what Obama expects them to do, he can walk away and say that he gave them an offer so good his base hated it, and even that wasn't good enough for them, and when we go over the curb on January 1st, an overwhelming majority of Americans will blame Repubs, not Obama, putting him in an even stronger negotiation position than he is in now or would have been otherwise.

        But that's 11D Chess, and I'm not prepared to believe that Obama has it in him to do such a thing by design. It's too risky, and not his style. Much more likely, this is a genuine offer that he genuinely hopes Boehner will accept.

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

        by kovie on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:46:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wait and see if he actually folds (0+ / 0-)

      before calling him names. Speak up now, lobby Congress now, but there is no point to name-calling and personal attacks before you even know if he is actually going to cave.

  •  Go'bama! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA, wishingwell, Janet 707

    All the pressure on the GOP in this lame duck is kabuki.
    What he and the Dems generally, really want is to have this prize waiting for them in the 113th, starting Jan 3.
    But he is making it clear that he's not backing down, positioning himself and the Dems in Congress for the fight.
    Once the BTCs expire and the Sequester takes effect, Obama will be in a vastly more powerful position.
    Vital programs that were cut will have to be restored, pronto. Attaching them to a tax cut for the under $250K crowd makes them irresistible for Republicans.
    As of Jan 1, the leverage reverses and what was a GOP hostage situation becomes a Democratic punt return.
    Let's see if we can make it all the way up the field.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 07:40:41 AM PST

  •  Spending Cuts (9+ / 0-)

    The President has it wrong:
    "A clear majority of Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agreed with a balanced approach that asks something from everyone,,,,,"  Who writes this stuff?  
    The President knows very well how we Americans feel about spending cuts and exactly where, if any,  they might come from.

     A clear majority of Americans do not want cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid!  It's very clear!

    This idea needs to be off the table for now and evermore.  

    •  How do you balance chemo for a 65 year old (0+ / 0-)

      against caviar for Bill Gates?  I don't think the folks understood that they were balancing their mother's life against another elevator in Romney's garage.

      •  That's not what he's proposing (0+ / 0-)

        His budget proposes $25 billion savings through higher Medicare premiums for richer beneficiaries. Which I don't think is the worst thing in the world. Most of those who retired more than 5 years ago were spared the worst of the economic crisis (not that some are not poor, but the financial crisis hit them less hard than those who lost jobs), and those who retired more recently and have lots of investment income (or are still working and earning a high salary) have benefited from the Bush tax cuts for 10 years. Why should they be exempt from paying their share?

        I understand the arguments about social insurance and the danger of means-testing to erode popular support, but I think we are pretty far from that point. I looked at the Medicare premiums listed on the website for higher income seniors and the extra amount they have to pay is not terribly onerous. The premium surcharge could be much higher and Medicare would still be a better deal for those people than buying insurance on the open market.

  •  Tax cuts and spending cuts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, splashoil

    Obama's unleashing his inner Republican.

  •  He has the winning hand except... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    democrattotheend

    He's dealing with complete obstructionists who obviously don't care how politically insane it is to hold up all government business just to protect rich people's low tax rates. I honestly think the Republicans will not cave as most people predict. Sure, there are some who are saying they'd be willing to consider higher rates but they won't dare buck the party line on this and sign the discharge petition and Boehner will never allow a vote on it because he'll be booted out of his Speakership. Forget the "Fiscal Cliff", these idiots will crash the global economy by not raising the debt ceiling unless taxes on the rich stay low. I hate to be a pessimist, but Obama may have no choice but to break his word on tax rates.

    Let's not let 2014 be anything like 2010. Republicans only win when we stay home!

    by Tim D M on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:45:32 AM PST

    •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

      It all really just depends on how the "cliff" plays out politically. None of it really looks like anything that most people will even notice, especially if the tax rates for the 98% are preserved.

      Of course the Villagers will be having a nutty, but people pay attention to them not so much.

      If Obama cuts a deal before 12:01 a.m. 1/1/13, it better be a damn good one.

      GOP: The Party of Acid rain, Abortion of the American Dream, and Amnesty for Wall Street.

      by Attorney at Arms on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 09:31:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Villagers run the show, so it don't matter (0+ / 0-)

        whether people pay attention to them or not. They write the laws and enforce them (or don't.) And send the Troops We Support wherever they fucking care to.  And leave them there to try to stay alive while being given idiot orders to perform impossible idiot weekly-changed "missions," and then talk about how not to have to pay for their care, once their "serviceability" is over and they are busted up in body, mind and soul.

        Hero worship and rose colored glasses are just idiot tools, and the kind of stuff people adorn themselves with as they are being led up the chutes to the killing floor.

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 10:00:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The president has the upper hand in Round 1 (0+ / 0-)

      But he could easily win the battle and lose the war.

      The debt ceiling needs to be raised in February, and there is nothing to stop the GOP from pulling the same crap they pulled in 2011, knowing that as the president, Obama cannot let the US default on our debt. There is no reason they won't have as much leverage as before to force significant cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling.

      I don't like the idea of cuts to entitlements, but if the president can make a deal now that includes taking the debt ceiling away from Republicans as a weapon, it's probably the less bad outcome, depending on how much he has to give. He has learned from experience that regardless of what they tell him, he cannot trust that they will not use the debt ceiling to commit extortion. So he probably figures it's better to make a comprehensive deal now than to do so when his back is up against the wall in February.

      Also, there are significant consequences of going over the so-called cliff. Unemployment will run out for 2 million Americans January 2 if Congress does not act. If there is no Medicare doc fix, providers will see 40% cuts to the reimbursement rates for Medicare, which will cause many of them to stop accepting it. If the AMT is not patched, many middle class families will be hit hard. The sequester includes cuts to LIHEAP, community block grants, housing for the disabled, govt. enforcement agencies, and other important programs. And the economic consequences, even if they stem more from the uncertainty than from the actual cuts, are significant. Lots of companies are waiting to hire until they know what's going to happen, and the market will take a hit if there is no deal. The president has a responsibility to be a steward of the US economy and avoid those consequences if he can make an acceptable deal.

      That said, I do not consider raising the Medicare age an acceptable deal, and going down below 39.5% is only worth considering if he gets the stimulus measures, hurricane relief, and most importantly, the McConnell Rule, to avoid a repeat of the 2011 debt ceiling extortion.

  •  Do Something (0+ / 0-)

    If that's truly what the president wants then he needs to get off his rear end and do something about it.  Speeches from on high will do little to sway Republicans.  Of course, since it looks like the president is reading, willing, and able to cave to Republicans at any moment on things like Social Security and Medicare why should the GOP feel pressured to do anything?

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