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Buzzfeed previews the fight that is likely to be consuming a big chunk of the political conversation in the next 60 days: the place Social Security and Medicare will have in the grand bargaining President Barack Obama seems doggedly committed to.
The White House has repeatedly expressed a willingness – even an interest–in reducing the deficit through cuts to these programs. In his recent negotiations with Republican House Speaker John Boehner, the President floated cutting benefits to Social Security through a new cost of living index called “chained CPI” that would essentially revise down the government’s estimates of how much seniors need to cover their expenses. The result, of course, would be reduced benefits.

Moreover, last night the President was clear in his openness to discussing changes to Medicare. “As I've demonstrated throughout the past several weeks, I am very open to compromise. I agree with Democrats and Republicans that the aging population and the rising cost of health care makes Medicare the biggest contributor to our deficit,” he told the nation, adding vaguely, “I believe we've got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors who count on it to survive. And I believe that there’s further unnecessary spending in government that we can eliminate.”

But coming on the heels of a campaign that explicitly litigated the twin issues of tax fairness and protecting benefits for those in need, Obama finds himself with a growing, emboldened liberal wing of his party. And it’s as dead set against balancing the deficit on the backs of the neediest Americans, as House conservatives are to raising taxes.

Will there be a "Democratic civil war" over Social Security and Medicare, if President Obama pushes proposals that would cut benefits or otherwise endanger those programs? There damned well better be.

What every elected Democrat other than President Obama needs to remember is that they have to run for reelection, and he doesn't. Obama doesn't have to worry about Republicans running against him (again) for cutting Medicare and Social Security. He can secure his grand bargain, his legacy, without putting any of his own political skin in the game. Every other Democrat who wants to stay in office isn't in such an enviable position. What's more, they don't have to worry about providing cover for him anymore; he's a lame duck.

Republicans want these cuts, but more than that, they want Democrats to own them. If anyone thinks that a "bipartisan" agreement that results in benefits cuts to those programs won't hold the starring role in Republican campaigns for the next umpteen elections, then they haven't been paying attention. Remember the "$716 billion in Medicare cuts" that dominated the 2010 and 2012 campaigns? That those cuts had absolutely nothing to do with benefits didn't stop them. And it worked in 2010.

Preserving the nation's social insurance promise to its citizens, the common good, is the core of what the Democratic Party has embodied in the modern era. It worked for FDR, for LBJ, and more importantly, for generations of Americans. Congressional Democrats need to protect that legacy, and perhaps even protect President Obama's legacy, even if it's against his own efforts.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, The Rebel Alliance, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (132+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    magnetics, annieli, ferg, marking time, quill, puakev, kevinpdx, Melanie in IA, tardis10, Andrew C White, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, smiley7, 2laneIA, Shockwave, MPociask, john07801, Progressive Pen, maryabein, divineorder, HoundDog, Jbearlaw, newpioneer, claude, chuckvw, bobswern, thomask, Desolations Angel, SpecialKinFlag, Wendys Wink, 714day, badger, Burned, TheMomCat, uniongal, Comanchegyrl, hwy70scientist, vigilant meerkat, emal, peregrine kate, praenomen, splashoil, SoulCatcher, TracieLynn, MO Blue, NoisyGong, shaharazade, HarpboyAK, Spiny, porchdog1961, Lysis, kharma, expatjourno, greenbastard, michael1104, SteveLCo, greenbell, TomP, Phoebe Loosinhouse, tb mare, Dobber, splintersawry, RebeccaG, temptxan, Nicci August, AmericanAnt, apimomfan2, TKO333, Mr MadAsHell, SethRightmer, geordie, sayitaintso, RuralLiberal, wdrath, ponderer, Teiresias70, ratcityreprobate, cardboardurinal, Gentle Giant, Mr Robert, cassandraX, sunny skies, Paper Cup, Jason Hackman, Kim from Pgh PA, yoduuuh do or do not, susanthe, Dem Beans, Aspe4, DJ Rix, oysterface, tikkun, Jim R, StateofEuphoria, jstrick, getagrip already, Jim P, MikePhoenix, realwischeese, ratador, bdop4, riverlover, migo, rbird, andersr, jennylind, zaka1, pundit, Timothy J, Einsteinia, Over the Edge, big mouth, mithra, luckylizard, poligirl, leonard145b, oceanspray, FogCityJohn, Old Iowa Liberal, Just Bob, Colorado is the Shiznit, shigeru, lippythelion69, FindingMyVoice, 1Nic Ven, NanaoKnows, Mary Mike, historys mysteries, DSPS owl, jnhobbs, priceman, greenearth, daeros

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:34:15 PM PST

  •  You have to wonder, don't you. (35+ / 0-)

    I am starting to think that the ongoing crises are part of a chess game, and that what we pawns are defending is the legacy of social justice from the New Deal and Great Society.  

    In my view, the attack is essentially a false flag operation.  The manufactured crises will therefore continue.  The party leadership wants us screwed.  It is no mistake that leverage was not applied on debt ceiling and sequestration.

    Just sayin'.

    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

    by magnetics on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:40:20 PM PST

    •  It's actually beginning to look like a war on (37+ / 0-)

      LBJ's 'War on Poverty.'

      When Chris Christie tore into the Republicans for failing to vote on the aid for Sandy victims, he said this:

      "Last night the House of Representatives failed that most basic test of public service, and they did so with callous indifference to the suffering of the people of my state," said Christie.
      He should be reminded that there has been 'callous indifference to the suffering of the people of' the United States displayed from both sides of the aisle.

      I never thought I would see the day that a Democratic president would be the one to begin unraveling one of the greatest social programs ever passed by Democrats.

      Will there be a "Democratic civil war" over Social Security and Medicare, if President Obama pushes proposals that would cut benefits or otherwise endanger those programs? There damned well better be.
      You can count on it.
        •  Because folks who share McJoan's viewpoint (11+ / 0-)

          are a minority hereabouts.

          The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

          by magnetics on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:49:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Because it's on the front page n/t (7+ / 0-)

          "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

          by La Gitane on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:05:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And rightfully so. The money quote: (19+ / 0-)
            Will there be a "Democratic civil war" over Social Security and Medicare, if President Obama pushes proposals that would cut benefits or otherwise endanger those programs? There damned well better be.
            I wish I could rec that a million times.

            If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

            by MikePhoenix on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:31:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think we're already seeing a microcosm (10+ / 0-)

              of the Dem civil war on this website.

              It starts out slowly, with support for a stealth SS cut like chained CPI accounting, with applause for drones and the war machine, with a blind eye to torture, with the branding of whistleblowers as "traitors..."

              but ultimately, I doubt there's anything at all a substantial number of Kossacks wouldn't support, as long as they took their lead from Team D.

              Anyone opting for principle over Party is already derided as a "purist" or red-baited as the "hard left."

              When I first started posting here, I truly believed that almost all of us were ultimately on the same side, that differences were over tactics far more than policy. Now though, it seems the war's already begun.

              When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

              by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:48:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  We should try to slow it, though (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PhilJD, DSPS owl

                I understand the dynamic you are talking about, but what I believe it is is a disagreement about approach.

                There are those who are more invested emotionally in the party who defend it come hell or high water, right or wrong, who view attacks as disloyalty.  I think this is not an unreasonable view when the party is under siege as it has been.

                There are those who feel that it's the principles that are under siege and so defend those come hell or high water.

                I know you have a view as to which is correct, but the reality i think is that there's a difference in the gamble one wants to take.  Do you bet on the strongest (if imperfect) champion you have readily available, or do you try to draw a better one down the road?  There's no way to know ahead of time which path is going to turn out to be the correct one.

                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 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:15:28 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It gets frustrating. Not saying you do it, (6+ / 0-)

                  but a lot of the ardent Kossack supporters of the President and this administration do seem to view any criticism as a sort of treason... their frequent disclaimers that "I criticize too" notwithstanding.

                  Many of us acceded to the reasonable request to hold off on voicing our differences till after the election. There was a tacit promise made in return though: that after Mr. Obama was safely reelected, criticism of the critics would also be tempered.

                  That promise has mostly not been kept.

                  I'm at a point where it's hard to hold onto the belief that Mr. Obama is any sort of champion--flawed or not--of progressive ideas or of working Americans. That's not where I want to be. The Democratic Party has never been the progressive bastion I'd like it to be, but as long as it mostly respected the principles of its own party platform, it clearly was worth supporting.

                  Now though, party loyalty seems not just pointless but actively counter-productive.

                  When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                  by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:29:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Indeed it does get frustrating (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PhilJD

                    and I'm trying to find a way forward on that.  It has seemed pretty tough to know which way to jump.  Sadly, my sense is that triangulation is very fashionable, so that part of the strategy on the part of some politicians is to gain stature by putting down people on the left to show they can "take on their base."  Leaves one feeling somewht hard done by for sure.

                    this is the first time I may have been taken for an Obamaroxer, though.  i think a number of people would be shocked!  :D

                    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 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:38:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  It wasn't on the frontpage last night when I (0+ / 0-)

            wrote that comment.

            •  Yeah, but it was written (0+ / 0-)

              by a front pager for the front page.  All the front page diaries park in the recents before hitting the front page.

              And Kos himself referenced this diary in his diary on the front page right now.  I just didn't like the incorrect insinuation that dKos is "ignoring" the obamasuxers....

              I get really sick of the melodramatic hyperbole from that side. I don't believe that Obama has it in for poor people, or is intentionally lying to us, or is some kind of machiavellian evil corporate plant.  He is a politician; we can criticize his policies but he is no republican, or Mitt Romney, or George Bush - he is better.  Not a liberal wet dream by any means, but better than the alternative.

              So this just irked me - there is no secret conspiracy here at dKos to rid the site of "obamasuxers".  I think Kos himself has been fairly critical of Obama since the election, so let's keep it real.  Okay?

              "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

              by La Gitane on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:57:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Because it is speculation and hyperbole! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cherish0708, zizi
          •  Actually, it's track record. (11+ / 0-)

            You can state now that you are absolutely certain Social Security and the safety-net at large are not going to be offered as part of a deal in two months.

            And then again in 2014, 2015, or 2016.

            You can state that, but would even you believe it?


            The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

            by Jim P on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:31:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can state that here and now because (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GoGoGoEverton, zizi

              I have 4 years of data backing me up.  If Obama gutted SS and Medicare every time the blogosphere erupted into fits, all earned benefits programs and the whole social contract would have been gone by Dec 2009.  

              How many times can we travel the same tired road before we admit it hasn't happened yet, despite great wailing and gnashing of teeth every time the Republicans puff their guts up and look fierce.   Medicare is stronger, it wasn't sacrificed to Obama's something ego something health care reform.  Social Security wasn't bankrupted and pushed down the slippery slope to oblivion by the payroll tax cut.  Medicaid, properly implemented, will reach far more people.  

              Reality is what I count on when judging possible future battles.  Reality is that Obama gets far more than he gives away, every time, and anyone with the wit to discover if that's true has the Internet at his disposal.  Or just keep on repeating what someone told you as you light your hair on fire for the umpteenth time.

              I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

              by I love OCD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:13:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And if there were no "wailing and gnashing" (11+ / 0-)

                On the left (or whatever term one would like to use for vigorous objection to cutting SS and Medicare) do you think the safety net would be left intact?

                •  Progressives and the left have no power (9+ / 0-)

                  to influence anything at all.

                  Everyone knows that... except of course when we're single-handedly costing the Dems elections.

                  The old story of impotent all-powerful progressives.

                  s/

                  When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                  by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:36:58 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Power only exists with the will to use it. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    PhilJD, lippythelion69

                    And without the will to use its power, the Progressive movement doesn't exist.

                    In fact, refusing to use its power has deservedly made Progressives something of a laughingstock among the neoliberals who rule the party and an object of anxiety and derision among their patsies here and elsewhere.  Nothing will change until Progressives use their power.  Not ruthlessly, but coldly and strategically to promote the public good.

                    Then, maybe, Progressives will begin to achieve the goals they say they stand for.  Until then, Progressives are comic book ghosts.

                    •  It's a conundrum. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MrJayTee, lippythelion69

                      In 21st century America, the power of ordinary citizens is largely the power of the voting booth.

                      As long as we settle for the lesser of two evils, the Dems have no motivation to move to the left or accommodate progressives at all. Yet withholding our votes can only aid the victory of far greater evil.

                      and round we spin.

                      I'll say it, at risk of my everlasting DKos soul: The only way to cut the Gordian Knot is by formation of a truly viable third party of the left. Realistically, a fourth party too, of the teabagger right. I think the country is ready for that, if it could only be funded. That's the only explanation of the sort of alternating mandates we've been seeing. A pox on the house of whomever is in power.

                      Funding is an enormous if though. Insurmountable.

                      And round we spin... trying to pressure our Democratic "friends" into not dismantling the signature historic achievements of the Democratic Party.

                      But hey! the good news is that sooner rather than later climate change will reshuffle all the decks anyway.

                      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                      by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:12:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  It's hard and painful, but (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        PhilJD, DSPS owl

                        I don't agree that it's a conundrum.  

                        To me, the question is where to draw the line.  At what point does supporting the lesser of two evils become an evil itself?  That strategy can only be temporary.  Otherwise, it's simply an excuse for avoiding the difficult but necessary action of taking a new path.  Refuse to draw that line and we're nothing but credulous punks abetting the neoliberals and their looting.

                        I'm absolutely willing to respect differences of opinion on where that line should be drawn, but not to respect a refusal to draw that line, and to do so explicitly.

                        For the record, I am not willing to ride the lesser of two evils down to the destruction of the New Deal.  That is my line.  Any significant cut to SS, Medicare, or Medicaid ends my support of the Democrats.  At that point, the negatives outweigh the positives, and it's time for open political war against the Democrats.  It is an incontrovertible fact that cuts in those programs are not necessary in the wealthiest, most powerful society that ever existed.

                        Of course, the neoliberals, their clients, and the true believers will scream that you're ruining the society whose ruin they themselves abetted.  With typically faulty logic, you will be either a nobody whose absence will be a blessing, or the cause of national disaster because you are necessary to the coalition--despite the fact that the basic humane values you were fighting for didn't matter enough to keep you in the coalition.

                        Let them rage.  Without a vigorous left to defend the New Deal, their path leads to a dead end.  

                        As to climate change leading to a fundamental rearrangement, I'd like to hope so, but with the world's governments so utterly captured by the plutocracy, a Shock Doctrine scenario seems far more likely to me.  Has there been a fundamental change in political and economic power to prevent it?

                        I'm not willing to bet the world on climate change bringing on a social democratic rearrangement, nor to bet the future of the country on generational change.  And I will not ride the lesser of two evils to the end of the New Deal.

                        What's left but to leave behind the abject failure of the Democratic party and take a new path?  

                        When the Democrats fail to stand for the basic values of social justice as reflected in the New Deal, I refuse to stand for the Democrats.  That is my line.

                        •  The safety net is my line too... (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          MrJayTee, magnetics

                          or so I think now.

                          After the safety net is cut by the Dems, via chained CPI or whatever new stealth mechanism they concoct... when 2016 rolls around, and we face a choice between, say, Hillary Clinton and Paul Ryan, all the same "lesser" arguments will still apply.

                          I don't know what choice I'll make then.

                          Now is the time when--maybe--something can still be done to avoid the worst. That's why the arguments we hear on this site to stop rocking the boat, to accept whatever accidental crumbs fall from the neo-feudalists' table, are so deeply misguided.

                          When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

                          by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:12:30 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  Actually I think the wailing emboldens (0+ / 0-)

                  Republicans to demand more because "the base" is angry.  They're scared of their angry base, they assume Obama is, so they up the ante.  The angry base, in Obama's case, turns on him before he does anything so their anger isn't really a huge issue.  The real base is giving him high approval ratings.  He needs those people to harrass the Reps in Congress, while we spend our energy chasing bogeymen and signing petitions blasting Democrats for being weak.  Who would you listen to?  

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:00:24 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  This reminds me of FOX News...it has (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lippythelion69

                absolutely nothing to do with reality...while claiming it is based on reality.

              •  The efforts have been there. That they've (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MrJayTee

                failed isn't testimony to lack of trying, but that voters -- and this isn't just the left in this country -- are behind Social Security and Medicare by 60-70% majorities.

                That's just reality.

                What, you think Simpson-Bowles Cardboard Commission (Catfood is too expensive these days) was pushed by Obama, and staffed with known Social Security-haters -- and this even after Congress had rejected such a commission, he just had to have it -- you think that came about by accident?

                And even after the Commission couldn't get a formal vote in their favor, what S-B recommended keeps getting revived at every possible opportunity.

                That's the actual history.

                It doesn't matter how many bizarre characterizations you come up with, the Safety Net WILL be offered again, and in two months, and in 2014, '15, and '16. When we go through the fake fiscal cliff/debt ceiling shit again.

                It'll keep getting offered until it happens. And we all know it.

                PS: Politics isn't a team sport. It's about power and resources and who gets them. Notice anything about the conditions of the People for the last 8 years?


                The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

                by Jim P on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:53:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm more interested in the last 40 years. The (0+ / 0-)

                  Republicans have undermined the middle class, destroyed manufacturing, enriched idiots, crashed the economy, blocked all manner of progress, and all the Progressive Movement seems to do is yell at the people who are brave enough to fight them because something centrist something evil negotiating something.  You guys wanted a Bush Blue, a bully who would slap the shit out of the meanies for you.  I wanted a President who changes the narrative, who governs responsibly, who gets it that he's President of everyone and needs to behave respectfully, even to assholes.  I'm tired of WATBs on teevee, in Congress, in statehouses, on blogs, on Twitter or Facebook or the daily news.  I'm sick to death of toddlers running the country, the economy, religion, society.  

                  It's time to grow the fuck up.

                  I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                  by I love OCD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:19:26 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What planet have you been on these last 40 years? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    MrJayTee

                    I voted for McGovern in '72; I don't think I qualify as a toddler.

                    I want a president who will proudly own the party's legacy of social justice and social insurance, and not keep putting it on the chopping block.  If offering to cut social insurance is supposed to be some brilliant strategy for not cutting (somewhere in the 11th dimension) then I guess my infinite dimensional Hilbert space quantum calculating brain is not up to the task of comprehending it.  I think the 'looks walks and quacks like a duck' test is adequate to identify proposed cuts.

                    Your invitation to 'grow the fuck up' invites a response; maybe you can figure it out.

                    The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

                    by magnetics on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 11:36:09 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  which time, during which frenzy was SS gutted? (0+ / 0-)

                      Which time was Medicare weakened?  At what point did Medicaid become smaller and weaker?  

                      I repeat, we have 4 years of data here, and the safety net is stronger.  Government spending is less wasteful, government agencies more responsive.  

                      You live in a fantasy world where tough talk equals strength.  Tough talk generally means weakness.  Remember Bush?  I do.  Coward and bully with no respect for his office or his country.  We don't need the leftie version of Bush, we need a President who models a better approach to governing while he gets much of what he wants.  I'm grateful that's what we have.  It may save us.

                      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

                      by I love OCD on Fri Jan 04, 2013 at 07:27:50 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I'm afraid Jim has a point (6+ / 0-)

            Obama and administration have floated cutting entitlements repeatedly.  Given that record, there's no basis for placing strong faith that it won't happen again.

            Will the cuts occur because Obama's using them as some kind of gambit?  maybe, but I still think that's terrible poltiics, since it means he's trying to protect these programs by telling people they can be safely cut.  That's really playing with fire.

            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 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:17:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Temporary Tax Hike Was Supposed to SUNSET (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD
        that was the deal.

        Can ANYONE tell me how that temporary deal turned into EVERYONE having to sacrifice their Social Security and Medicare -- that has NOTHING to do with the deficit -- into an equation that reads:

        To achieve scheduled sunset for the wealthiest MUST cut paid for benefits for the rest of us.

        Rightfully ELECTED President Gore said we need to LOCKBOX Social Security.

        If anyone needs to cut costs, then cut the Pentagon by the 2 Trillion they claim they "lost."  

        Seriously!

        Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

        by Einsteinia on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:04:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Spot on. Obama is smart, he didn't get bowled (14+ / 0-)

      over by the GOP in 2010. That was just an excuse for weak and craven behaviour by our President.

      The Congress, WH, Senate, and 1% are all in collusion and it ain't in our favor!

      Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

      by Lucy2009 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:19:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Democrats don't fight for anything anymore. (8+ / 0-)

      They bipartisan it all away. They've got warehouses full of dry powder.

      •  What if they are fighting for something, but... (7+ / 0-)

        ... it is not what you want them to be fighting for? I'm beginning to think that the claim that the President is just a centrist is harder and harder to disprove. I don't think he's a RINO, but it's clear that despite the occasional move like DADT he's basically on the side of the moneyed interests rather than a populist.

        •  I do think he's a Rino . . . (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RainyDay, Timothy J

          very much in the business republican mold, which is much less concerned w/ social issues that keep the reactionaries voting for actual R's a the polls.

          Don't ask me nothin' about nothin'. I just might tell ya the truth -- B. Dylan

          by ponderer on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:07:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  He claims to be a centrist. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          big mouth, Mindful Nature

          His college adviser thought he was a Republican when they first met. Obama has never claimed to be progressive, or a leftist of any sort. Why are people confused about this? Obama has been completely honest all along, yet some people act surprised when he does exactly what he has always claimed he would do.

          It is as though he has been standing there, saying "This is me! This is who I am!" and NO ONE, from the right or the left, has heard a word he has been saying. The entire country sees that they want to see in him, despite the fact that he has always been honest and forthright about what he is.

          Does anyone honestly believe that our first black president could have been a liberal and also manage to survive his first term?

          •  Maybe that's because he used progressive (4+ / 0-)

            talking points and values to sell himself...that's why he ended up receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, which turned out to be a joke.  He's a hawk in sheep's clothing, and everyone knows he will say anything on the campaign trail to get elected, but the minute he is in office, he reverts back to supporting Republican policies.

            And he's no centrist: his cabinet is made up of more republicans than progressives...

            •  Yep. I like the Democratic Party platfrom but... (3+ / 0-)

              I have serious questions about the intentions of the Democratic Party.

              Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

              by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:28:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  When did he wear sheep's clothing? (0+ / 0-)

              He was crystal clear about his hawkish nature from the very beginning. I do not believe he has been dishonest about that, or anything else. You, like most people, appear to have seen exactly what you wanted to see, not what was there. That is hardly his fault.

              He is not really a Republican, not by today's standards, not by a long shot. He is a centrist. Just as centrist as Bill Clinton was. Carter was the last real liberal president.

        •  A Neoliberal. Which is a kinder type conservative. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timothy J, MrJayTee, Just Bob, Glenn45, PhilJD

          Heard economist Michael Hudson (one of those who gets things right and so is never asked for counsel) saying the Neo-Liberal agenda is to get us "competitive in the Global Market Place."

          That means wage-decreases, pitting us against slave and one-hop-from-slave labor in China, etc.

          And you can only drive down wages here if unemployment is high. Since 2005, unemployment has been high, and wages have gone down. (If not since 2001.)

          To my mind, Hudson's point explains why we have seen nothing - nothing - nothing on the order of an Apollo Program or whatever to create jobs. Instead we get debt/budget "crises" (which aren't) as the main Beltway Interest.

          Neo-liberals and Conservatives are agreed, though for different reasons, that the destruction of our living standards is good. Though they won't say that in beautiful speeches for some reason.


          The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

          by Jim P on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:38:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Do we need to incorporate (3+ / 0-)

        a Marxist analysis that understands the Democratic Party is a ruling class party that doesn't care about the working class?

        •  And you don't even need to be a Marxist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lippythelion69

          To understand it.  It's the simple logic of empire, with or without socialism.

        •  No and that remark isn't helpful. n/t (0+ / 0-)

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:30:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

            •  To democracy (0+ / 0-)

              Marx was 6 years old when Jefferson wrote these words:

              "Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all." --Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824.
              Introducing Marxism just leads to more red baiting.

              Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

              by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:53:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sorry, I'm having trouble following you. (0+ / 0-)

                What do Marx and Jefferson's relative ages have to do with the price of tea in China?

                Is the Jefferson quote supposed to support the notion that it's the Dems who trust the people despite their pro-corporate record, or that both are of the "distrust and fear" type?

                Most of all, are you saying the possibility that some fool will point a finger and yell "RED!!!" is really a reason not to suggest a Marxist analysis?

                I can't reply substantively until those questions are cleared up.  Thanks.

                •  Let me see if I can do this... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  MrJayTee

                  As to the relative ages of Jefferson and Marx, the point is that Jefferson wasn't influenced by Marx. I don't know if Jefferson influenced Marx and that is immaterial.

                  I am pro democracy in my outlook. Although Jefferson used upper case in his letter, I'm encouraging lower case democracy. I wish the Democratic Party would do the same.

                  I'm not a purist in that regard. There were once aristocrats who had a sense of noblesse oblige. I haven't seen any lately.

                  Yes, I am saying that bringing Marxism into the discussion is not helpful. We don't need that justification to make our point and it adds an unnecessary burden.

                  Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                  by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:20:41 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

                    My request wasn't a rhetorical nya-nya, so thanks for being nice about it.

                    Obviously I don't agree that bringing up a Marxist analysis is any serious danger--and one doesn't have to be a Marxist to understand or appreciate a Marxist analysis, BTW--but at least I get you now.

                    If you have time (again, not a rhetorical nya-nya) why is the mere mention of Marxist thought such a burden?  Is DK or the Dem party in danger of being discredited if there are more than x-number Marxist references?

                    I'll lay my cards on the table: I can't imagine being intimidated by red baiters, being a fairly orthodox Marxist myself (and M was mostly about analyzing capitalism) but maybe there's something I'm missing?  I don't feel the danger.  Honestly, what you're talking about feels like a superstition.

                    If you're bored and feel like answering.

                    •  I'm not THAT bored! ;-) (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MrJayTee

                      If we go into the full blown depression, I might change my mind. I'm a bit disappointed there's so little left from the last red scare of the '30's.

                      I remember a Grange Hall in the area where I was raised. The Grange movement seems to have been taken over by the right wing. Oh well... there's still the Bank of North Dakota.

                      I do hear that co-ops and employee owned businesses are on the rise. That's good. I like it.

                      Have a good night, you dirty commie.
                      /snark

                      Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

                      by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 07:18:31 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a permanent state of crisis (16+ / 0-)

      produced to legitimize austerity measures and other tremendously unpopular policies.

      In that sense, the current state of government is nothing less than an episode of '24' writ large.

      In the same way that the show peppers each hour with multiple extreme crises, leading Jack Bauer to call for (or scream for, more like) the use of extreme measures to address each "ticking bomb" scenario, the constant sequence of budget crises -- precipitated by a form of spreadsheet terrorism, mastered by the Tea Party -- creates a situation where policymakers are never looking further forward than the next month and a half, hoping to stave off whatever fictitious calamity has been scheduled for them next.

      The important thing is that progressive activists -- and ordinary stakeholders -- must never be allowed to regain their footing, must never be permitted to engage in anything like a leisurely discussion of a policy on its own merits. Everything that is floated as an idea must be immediately thrown up against the unforgiving timeline of constant crisis management.

      Against this backdrop, is there any solution other than to simply say 'no' to the very idea of a timeline? It may ultimately be necessary to raise the debt ceiling, stave off bond market panic, etc. etc. ad nauseum. But do we need to start there, rhetorically speaking?

      In other words, at this point, should President Obama be saying anything other than, "the raising of the debt ceiling is not an appropriate moment to hold substantial, patiently and carefully developed government programs for ransom. We will not make Soc. Security or Medicare subject to debt ceiling negotiations." ?

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

      by Dale on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:06:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Obama jammed the Dems on the fiscal cliff (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      and he will have republicans help him get the votes to harm these programs. The Third Way and people like Ed Rendell and Joe Sestak are pushing this very hard. I believe there are Democrats that will go along with the BS about SS and Medicare.

      •  Only Time will tell (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        historys mysteries, DSPS owl

        In the meantime, we push back and hope to dissuade such actions.  Rinse repeat.

        If those who think Pbama wants to make cuts are right, we are working to prevent them.   If the folks who think Obama wants to protect them are right, we are supporting our President.   Either way, voicing support for the policies and programs loudly works to our advantage

        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 Jan 03, 2013 at 02:23:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Anyone know who is running Ed Rendell (3+ / 0-)

        I mean the guy is on a mission to cut Social Security and Medicare.  He about had them speechless on The Cycle today he was so zealous.  I mean you'd think the entire purpose of the Democratic Party was to cut Social Security and Medicare.

    •  Call it what it is, the fiscal BLUFF (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell

      Most Dems do want to protect the safety net.  The ones who don't are the Fix the Debt people, including ubiquitous talking head Ed Rendell, and what they are defending is the bloated defense budget.  With taxes as low as they are, defense is in real trouble unless SS and Medicare are cut because that's where the big money is.

      This constant cliff hanging is deliberate, and is consciously or unconsciously aided and abetted by the media.  The idea that the GOP would torpedo the world economy is crazy.  In the end they won't.  It is just like what we just went through.  This is why we should call it the FISCAL BLUFF.  

      The more people talk about how intransigent the GOP is, the more power it gives them.  The obverse is also true.  Also, the more we accept irrationality as the new normal, the likelier it is to happen.  In the end the business and financial community won't let the GOP tank the world economy.  It will end with a deal that a majority of Dems support, even if a majority of GOPsters don't.  Just like with the cliff.  Boehner knows this, which is why he is refusing to negotiate.  

      The Pres should pivot to gun safety, immigration, all the other problems and let McConnell and the GOP specify the cuts they want.  Don't let them force the Dems to come up with a plan.  All their reforms are very unpopular, so let them sell them.

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

      by Mimikatz on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:01:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  reform could happen without RW cuts and looting (10+ / 0-)
    Will there be a "Democratic civil war" over Social Security and Medicare, if President Obama pushes proposals that would cut benefits or otherwise endanger those programs? There damned well better be.
    reforming social security without Republic party proposals like "individual accounts(sic)" could happen in expansion and integration with other social programs rather than capitalist austerity proposals fronted by the GOP

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:42:57 PM PST

  •  Hate to say it, but (28+ / 0-)

    we're getting the catfood commission recs.  The prez wants them.  Worse, we'll get them without cuts to the military.

    Looks like we'll have to hit bottom with the austerity thing before we raise ourselves back up.  I'm just not seeing any other way at point, unfortunately.

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:52:55 PM PST

  •  Definitions. (49+ / 0-)
    I believe we've got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors who count on it to survive.
    If $449,000 can be redefined as "middle-class" in a deal, I start to worry about how "seniors" will be redefined in future deals.

    it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

    by Addison on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:53:41 PM PST

  •  depends on what you mean by "fight" (29+ / 0-)

    If you mean:

    Sternly worded speeches, and angry pounding of podiums about how heartless and mean the Republicans are.

    Hair on fire fundraising spam to constituents, with repeated pledges to never give an inch.

    Meaningless symbolic votes, followed ultimately by abject caving in to whatever plan the Admin and the Republicans work out behind closed doors with no Democratic input.

    Then yes, I expect one hell of a fight!

    "I don't cry over milk spilled under bridges. I go make lemonade" - Bucky Katt

    by quill on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:54:13 PM PST

    •  Actually, I don't mean that. And I thank you for (7+ / 0-)

      pointing out how useless that "kind of fight" is.

      No.  Politicians of both parties MUST BE made aware that their very jobs are on the line.

      Anything short of this, is a waste of time.

      “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

      by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:32:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But who ya gonna vote for then??? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dem Beans, Aspe4

        Given that you only have two choices and they are both in favor of the same sorts of cuts, you're sort of out of options. You could consider voting 3rd party, but I've been told that only idiots and children do that.

        •  Only idiots vote for a party (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          liberaldemdave, Dem Beans, Aspe4

          after they have been totally screwed.   I can write in my cat since we'll be sharing meals.

          •  Let me be clear - I am not pushing blind loyalty (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greenbell, PhilJD

            My comment was intended to be tongue-in-cheek. I personally think that voting for a 3rd party candidate is a good idea if the two major candidates are both unacceptable. Even if the 3rd party has no hope in the current election, we never get to a point where there is an alternative if we don't start somewhere. If the Greens (for example) get 5% in this election, they might get 10% in the next one, and start to get real coverage, eventually leading to winning a seat.

            Bernie Sanders, anybody???

        •  and that's exactly (0+ / 0-)

          how they keep you toein' the party line.

          “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” ~ John Steinbeck

          by susanthe on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:17:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Their Jobs aren't on the line (0+ / 0-)

        if voters only have two choices-repug or Dem.  

        "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

        by Aspe4 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:37:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What Christie did is the kind of fight I (0+ / 0-)

      wouldn't mind seeing Obama doing every now and then when Republicans have really bad ideas they want to put to a vote.  Obama calls news conference in front of the media taking whatever issue the Republicans bring forth and have a conversation in front of the media and educate the public at the same time why their idea is wrong.

      Do not adjust your mind, there is a flaw in reality.

      by Shrew in Shrewsbury on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:55:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to make a choice (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, HarpboyAK, slinkerwink, tikkun

    I have a fear that because the WH is actually serious about getting close to even tax increases-spending cuts in the next deal, they're willing to give up a lot for those tax increases. Because there is NO WAY that after what happened yesterday, Republicans will just accept tax increases without drawing real blood. They feel like they're done giving in on tax increases, regardless of how irrational that sounds.

    So while we should obviously push for the best possible deal, we also need to decide where to draw the line for the WH and democrats, entitlement benefits or tax increases, for me the latter needs to be sacrificed should it come to that (which imo it will).

    So with that in mind, I think the best hope is maybe getting a smaller deficit package that doesn't touch the big 3, but with only spending cuts. That would sting, but the truth of the matter is, with these republicans controlling a chamber, the idea that we can get a deal that progressives would moderately be ok with is impossible. Especially after they're been convinced by their leaders that the debt ceiling is where they'll make their stand, it just won't happen.

    .

    •  What I don't understand is why anyone thinks the (9+ / 0-)

      Republicans will support any additional tax revenue when they have categorically and consistent promised not to.

      What many seem to be misunderstanding is that the original "plan" many of us were operating under is that our support of the tax cuts for those earning under $250,000 was not a repudiation of Clinton era tax cuts, or an endorsement of the Republican's starve the beast" 18% of GDP tax rates (while we spend 23% now.)

      But, rather was a plan to trade the threat of the expiration of the entire amount which represented 2% of GDP for a "slightly" smaller amount of more progressive taxation, simultaneously with the $800 billion.  President Obama used to say his $1.6 trillion was just part of such a first step, but was also supposed to include solutions for the yearly debt-ceiling battle.

      We need to get a solid foundation of well documented numbers, and totally master them intellectually to raise the level of these discussions, but my rough understanding is that if we more aggressively wind down these wars (which mean stopping the spending on them not just cutting our troop levels) we could limp by on government spending at 21% of GDP.

      So it should not be sufficient for politicians just to claim they are committed to protecting our social programs -- they need to tell us their plans to raise the revenues to sustain them.

      It is not going to be possible to find "efficiency" improvements to Medicare of this magnitude.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:28:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well said Joan (11+ / 0-)

    Will the "Party" rise to the occasion and support the wishes of most Americans or follow Fix the Debters into Wall Street hell; with the U.S. mirroring third countries more?

    OWS was and is right in so many ways; guess we will find out in 60 days.

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

    by smiley7 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:59:57 PM PST

  •  We'll fight for CNBC to love us. nt. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, apimomfan2, Aspe4

    Got keep those defense stocks stable and got to keep the health care industry fat.

  •  No - the Democratic Party is dead. (18+ / 0-)

    What the hell else do they have to do before we can quit lying to ourselves?   Been one sell out after another.  They're doing everything but punching themselves in their own face.  Now filibuster reform is going to get water down to pee water.   Hmm, another coincidence.

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:12:19 PM PST

  •  It's too late. (34+ / 0-)

    The Grand Bargain is coming. You will like it. If you don't like it you will be called immature, shrill, non-pragmatic.

    Of course, when it passes, the Centrists will celebrate, the Conservatives will arm themselves with endless campaign ads that will destroy the Democrats in 2014 and well beyond, and the Progressives (and Liberals who haven't been co-opted by the neoliberal pod people) will shake their heads in disbelief.

    The Social Safety Net will be cut. By a Democratic president. And the Democratic Party will take a lifetime to live it down. It was a fun party while it lasted.

    We were all right till the DLC, Rubinites, Centrists, Neoliberals, No Labels, Third Way corporate robot gestalt came along and took to taking a giant steaming shit in the Democratic Party's big tent with their fucking shittily destructive, greedy, and market-as-god ideology.

    I left the Democratic Party a while ago. But when the debt ceiling passes with cuts to the Social Safety Net, they'll have to worry about a lot more people leaving the party in droves or just throwing their hands up and staying home on any future election day.

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

    by cybrestrike on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:13:01 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this excellent and courageous post Joan (45+ / 0-)

    It is time for all good Democrats and progressive to stand and and fight for our social spending. This is going to be painful but necessary and many may have to do some soul searching to clarify where their personal priorities are.

    Republished to Social Security Defenders.  

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:14:20 PM PST

  •  If only this were true (20+ / 0-)

    "Obama finds himself with a growing, emboldened liberal wing of his party. And it’s as dead set against balancing the deficit on the backs of the neediest Americans, as House conservatives are to raising taxes."

    I truly don't see the above sentiment expressed here very often.  Indeed, there seems to be a very deep-seated almost "fear" of criticizing this Administration's policies.

    And I don't understand this, except to figure that maybe it comes from folks who have not yet come to understand that you not only can, but must separate the officeholder and his policies, from the 'political personal or personality.'

    Couldn't have said the following better:  

    "Preserving the nation's social insurance promise to its citizens, the common good, is the core of what the Democratic Party has embodied in the modern era. It worked for FDR, for LBJ, and more importantly, for generations of Americans. Congressional Democrats need to protect that legacy, and perhaps even protect President Obama's legacy, even if it's against his own efforts."
    From what I hear on the POTUS (Politics Of The United States) Channel on XM satellite radio, "even if it's against his own efforts," this IS the operative phrase.

    Numerous reporters interviewed on Julie Mason's show, The Press Pool, say that this Administration actually wants cuts to the social safety net to be part of President Obama's legacy.  

    If this is true, it is probably partly due to Treasury Secretary Geithner's close ties with the Peterson Foundation and Wall Street.

    Let us hope that all progressives can put aside the minutia of their policy differences, and FIGHT this push to make draconian cuts to the Social Safety Net.

    In-fighting, intergenerational and otherwise, is just what the PtB hope the progressive community will descend into.  

    We must prove them wrong, by standing united.
     

    “If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

    by musiccitymollie on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:14:53 PM PST

  •  If anyone doubted Obama's plan to cut... (38+ / 0-)

    the social safety net, Obama's appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday should have removed all doubt.

    On national television, Obama openly touted his plan to cut Social Security benefits via chained CPI. Obama even had the gall to characterize his proposed benefit cuts as "strengthening" Social Security.

    This marks the second time in less than two years that Obama has tried to cut SS.

    There is no ambiguity: Obama wants to cut the social safety net.

    •  His policies aren't even "moderate" Republican (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilK, HarpboyAK, apimomfan2, MPociask, Aspe4

      They're right in the Pubbie roundhouse.

      But...But... think how much worse a Real Republican would screw you!!  You'll wish you were only getting screwed this much!!

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:26:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And Nancy Pelosi Selling The Same Line. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD

      So once again the Republicans set the agenda and Democrats try to fit within that framework.

      When's the last time we saw A Democrat stand up and declare here are the Democratic Party principles and values and here is our agenda to preserve, protect, and enhance our programs?

      It was decades ago.

      Now the Democrats wait for Republicans to set the agenda.

      Even the "Obamacare" was from the framework set by the Republicans and then amended by the Republicans, so that the result was so watered down it barely holds together a cobbled safety net.

      When will the Democrats lead with some unique legislation?

      Democrats are bankrupt of any original ideas that are then developed into policy.

      It is always wait for the Republicans to set the agenda.

      The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

      by kerplunk on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:35:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mmacdDE
      Obama openly touted his plan to cut Social Security benefits via chained CPI.
      I read the transcript and I don't see anything about chained CPI in it.
    •  Newspeak. (0+ / 0-)

      "Under the spreading chestnut tree
      I sold you and you sold me.
      There lie they, and here lie we
      Under the spreading chestnut tree."

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 10:51:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  no (6+ / 0-)

    this has been another installment of simple answers to simple questions.

  •  This is a Democratic Party website. (50+ / 0-)

    Social Security, and MediCare/aid,  are bedrock Democratic Party principles, the very hallmarks of what Democrats are all about.

    Just as there is no support of third party possibilities and candidates allowed here,  there will be no wavering allowed on the very foundation of the modern (New Deal etc) Democratic Party principles.

    I am a senior dependent on Social Security, for which I paid in my working years.  I will make it a personal mission to hound, harass and hide rate anyone who fails to stand up for these bedrock  principles.  

    Come after Social Security,  and it is war.  You have been warned. Waver on SS, and you are simply not a Democrat,   and have no business on this site.

    The ONLY acceptable tinkering with SS is to simply raise the income cap;  that is all that is needed.

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:40:57 PM PST

    •  Thank you! I'm with you 100%. This bizarre (16+ / 0-)

      loyalty to Obama and Dems makes no sense.

      Sure they are better than the GOP Congress and Romney. Nobody is disputing that. However, that's setting the bar excruciatingly low!

      We need to hold them accountable for real. They only understand two things in D.C. One is money, and the other is votes. We have no chance of winning in the money arena, but we can ALL sit home in 2014, and damn well should if Obama/Dems decide to chop away at SS/Medicare.

      Nothing else, and I mean NOTHING will register in Dems heads. It's tough medicine of the most painful kind for all involved, but it is what will be necessary.

      In the meantime, everyone must call their Reps/Senators/WH and let them know how they feel about this and what the electoral outcome in 2014/2016, etc, etc... will be as a result if they should go down this dark path.  If enough of us call/write and make it clear, it will get through. But folks have got to stop defending indefensible positions when Dems take them. It's not OK to cut SS if you are Bush, Romney, OR Obama.

      Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

      by Lucy2009 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:34:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, better at... (7+ / 0-)

        destroying Democratic Party legacies.  Look at what Bill Clinton did...he "reformed" welfare.  Republicans never would have been able to do that, it took a (so-called) Democrat.  The same goes with SS.  A Republican will not start the dismantling of SS, it will be a "Democrat."  

        "[I]n the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone...They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."

        by cardboardurinal on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:59:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sitting home in 2010 worked out so well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lippythelion69, Brit

        Voting for Nader worked out so well in 2000 too.

        You want more progressive policies? Elect more progressives. That's the only thing that works. The problem is, you have a House full of Republicans elected by a minority of the population.

        •  If Democrats vote to cut SS and Medicare (8+ / 0-)

          There will be no progressives on my ballot to elect.  Progressive isn't just a label.  You have to deliver and you have to deliver when it counts on the very most important issues when it is toughest and when you have to fight the hardest.  

          Al Franken better stop having fund raising galas and get to work stopping this devil's bargain.  

          Cutting Social Security and Medicare is not funny.  And I don't care how much you support the troops if you can't support the safety net.  

          •  Define "cuts" (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mmacdDE, Brit

            Chained CPI is the weakest "cut" of all. In fact, it's only a small cut against a hypothetical extrapolation.

            Do I advocate it? No.
            Do I consider it a sacrificial lamb? Yes.

            What you still don't realize is that we have a Republican House. If you want to get something, you're going to have to give something up.

            Conservatism, i.e., arguing that nothing changes ever, is a losing political philosophy. Just look at conservatives.

            •  I don't vote for people to give something up (5+ / 0-)

              But hey, they can give up Defense.  I don't need that.

            •  Is it such a small cut (8+ / 0-)

              for those seniors having to choose between medications and food? People on social security generally don't have discretionary income.

            •  Chained CPI is a demonstration of the power (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Lucy2009, priceman, shigeru

              of compound interest as the effect is additive. While it may barely be noticeable the first year, it does severe damage decades from now.

              Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

              by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:06:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  I guess I look at compromising differently than (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Just Bob, priceman, PhilK

              you, Obama, and the Dem Congress.

              I'm willing to compromise on on not taxing every Wall Street transaction at 90% in exchange for not touching SS/Medicare.

              I'm willing to compromise on not taxing income over 5 million in a year at 90% in exchange for not touching SS/Medicare/Medicaid/Pell Grants, SNAP, etc....

              I'm willing to compromise on all sorts of things, but only when it's a real compromise on both sides of the aisle. I'm not willing to compromise and make suriving even harder on the elderly and infirm in exchange for taxing the richest of the rich in this country a tiny bit more that won't effect their security or standard of living in any way, shape or form.

              See the difference? That's what you call compromise. Not this weasel, namby pamby bullshit that Obama the self confessed Blue Dog President calls compromise. Fuck the GOP they just got their butts handed to them on a platter. The American public hate them and their policies. Obama and the Dems don't have to cut SS/Medicare/Medicaid for those bastards. And if they do, they absolutely should pay the highest price possible in 2014 and 2016.  

              The Chained CPI will take money every single month out of the pockets of the elderly and infirm. SS is already extremely stingy in it's monthly payments. Nobody can live off of it as it stands, and yet you, a supposed Dem are willing to cut more so that the richest of the rich can pay 20% on capital gains instead of 15%.

              What's the point in a Party if it doesn't have any core values, and won't fight for them tooth and nail after they won a clear mandate in a national election?

              Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

              by Lucy2009 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:06:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  blaming the voters is looking at it wrong (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD, Lucy2009, priceman

          voters make a lot of bad decisions.

          still have to win their votes.

          instead of being snide about what you see as bad decisions (which does not advance us toward our goal, D majorities), why not consider why they voted as they did, and what can be done about it?

          Rather than make fun of voters, why not try and actually win their votes?

          Neither in 2010 (mid-terms) nor in 2000 (president) did the D's offer a compelling campaign.

          Will there be a compelling campaign in 2014? Or will we be listening to this year's version of Tim Kaine smarmily going on about not giving the keys back?

          This is what I want to know. That campaign needs to begin right now - or should have already begun.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:43:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Better yet, how about the assholes deliver on (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mightymouse, priceman

            their campaign promises just made!!! That's why we voted those shits into office is because they said they stood for something.  

            Actions are louder than words. Lets see what they DO, not the drivel that spills out of their deceitful mouths.

            Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

            by Lucy2009 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:08:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Why would you say anything like that? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lucy2009

          Progressives did sit out the 2010 election and I doubt many here have ever voted for Nader. That is nothing but a smear.

          Others have simply gotten old. I prefer to think I've been tempered by time.

          by Just Bob on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:02:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Zactly! I voted in 2010 for Dems, and I didn't (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Just Bob, priceman

            vote for Nader.

            If the Dems want loyalty, then deliver on what you promise.

            Nothing pisses people off like deceit and lies. Absolutely nothings....  except maybe injustices and those are occuring as well.

            Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

            by Lucy2009 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 06:10:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not opposed to chained CPI... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winsock, Hawkjt

      At least not in principle.

      Do we need Chained CPI? No. SS is fine, and does not contribute to the debt. What we need to do is raise the limit.

      Would I gladly accept Chained CPI as the least damaging social program cut if it meant protecting those more vulnerable in our society in a deal? Yes.

      Go ahead and HR me.

      •  Agree that (0+ / 0-)

        chained-CPI is the wrong approach and raising the FICA tax cap is the obvious solution that at one time Obama advocated.

        In principle?  Well, insofar as chained-CPI reduces benefits instead of raising revenues, I'm opposed -- in principle.

        Will I fight to the death to prevent chained-CPI?  Probably not, but I don't support it and we'd better get something pretty spectacular in return -- I don't see that happening.

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

        by winsock on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:22:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And why ever say you'll accept it if you (4+ / 0-)

          don't know what if anything you would get in return.  That's not the way to negotiate.  I won't give up anything until I see what we're getting in return and, no, an increase in the debt ceiling in return for slashing Social Security and Medicare is NO DEAL.  

          Seniors are not hostages.  

          •  This is what kills me.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lippythelion69

            So many seniors vote Republican and continue voting against their own interests.  The debt ceiling?  Again, the hostages are as much Republicans as Democrats.  It's not a threat to hurt just Democrats, it's a threat to hurt everyone -- especially themselves.

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

            by winsock on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:42:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Perhaps seniors have sensed a certain lack of (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gooderservice, priceman

              commitment by the Democratic Party.   George Bush didn't cut Social Security.  If Republicans get Democrats to do their dirty work, they only prove seniors were right all along.  

              You know "vote for me, I cut your Social Security and Medicare but I extended unemployment benefits" isn't exactly a winning argument with seniors and we do vote.  Democrats have become a bit smug about their new found demographics but if they think they can lose the votes of everyone over 50, they are delusional.

      •  cuts (0+ / 0-)

        should be to elimante ss for any household with a net worth over a million  or something along this line
        exclude primary home .

        In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

        by lippythelion69 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:58:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm Sending More Letters (15+ / 0-)

    To my Rep and Senators threatening to walk away from them if they support any cut to Social Security. I will make good on that promise and I will discourage people in my network from voting for them again.

    Not sure what else I can do.

    Apparently, people like me and the vast majority of other Americans who don't want to see this program cut don't make up a meaningful constituency to these people.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:55:16 PM PST

  •  2010 Will Look Like a Dem Sweep Compared to (18+ / 0-)

    2014.

    Will the Democratic Party fight for the liberal legacy? Not enough.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:57:38 PM PST

    •  Unfortunately (6+ / 0-)

      anything to the left of "1980s Republican" is now considered "Far Left" and for some reason(although there is nothing approximating reason in the suggestion) we'd be better off going to Red State, wherever that is.

      Am I missing something with conservadems suggesting liberals would be more comfortable at a right wing site?

      You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

      by Johnny Q on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:06:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some are ass backward (5+ / 0-)

        and don't know up from down. Their perception of reality has been twisted and the truth is defined by whatever they believe Obama choses or says.  It's a sure sign of double think. Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Right is Left. Upside down and ass backwards. Lot's of centrists here who actually are moderate Democrat's but many are just clueless about what democracy is about let alone being a Democrat. Scary part is they attack, insult and vilify liberals who are truth tellers. Even when it's not about Obama but direction and policy. CPI it's a great idea, those old folks don't need meat cat food is tasty. Whistleblower's hang them high, their traitors.      

  •  When Obama mentioned in the 1st debate that (19+ / 0-)

    he and Romney were not too far off on reform for Social Security, I had the sickening feeling he might have been being candid.
    I get sick of hearing these insurance programs paid into by every working American get blamed for the waste of tax treasury. This is not where the serious problems lie. Even so, these are the first programs - those that actually work for the people - that get threatened with the buzz saw.

  •  The Democratic Party is terrified of the liberal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy2009, TracieLynn, Aspe4

    legacy . . . there's no [campaign / special interest/ after-I-leave-office] money in it.

    So, no war.  They'll just keep ignoring the progressives and we'll keep being co-opted into voting for them because of the Two Party Trap.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:33:36 PM PST

    •  Sorry, but that's an apathetic attitude. (3+ / 0-)

      You absolutely do not have to vote for them.

      If they really thought that the majority of us won't vote for them, they'd stop this bullshit immediately.

      Even better yet, make your voice heard now in writing, online, on the phone. This is our big chance to get them to understand we don't like what they are doing and there will be electoral repercussions. Not voting for them after the fact and punishing them, and getting them to reverse course will be considerably more difficult than just getting them to act right NOW!!!!

      Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

      by Lucy2009 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:38:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You can continue to vote for them as the lesser of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      limpidglass

      two evils and simultaneously work for reform of the electoral system toward two ends:

      1) proportional representation
      2) modification of how votes are tabulated and ballots are issued: e.g. condorcet voting, or even just IRV voting (though IRV isn't significantly different from FPTP in terms of end results it's movement in the correct direction)

      If one chooses to vote based on the presumption that one of the two major parties is the only "realistic" vote, then it's almost always the case that the Democrat is the better choice than the Republican.

      I'd add, however, that "less bad" doesn't imply "good." Obama is a bad person to represent center-left politics; Romney would have been more bad. They are both representatives of right-wing politics, but Romney very likely would have been much, much further right.

      •  Voting for the lesser of evils is how we got (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bdop4

        in this fix.  We just keep getting more and more evil. At some point you have to draw a line, and I am drawing my line here.

        •  I don't disagree with you at all. Not everybody is (0+ / 0-)

          comfortable leaving the fold, though, if you'll allow the metaphor, and casting their options in this light--to still vote D, holding one's nose, but working for real change (that D's will be unlikely to ever bring) is better than withdrawal from the process and preserves them from having to "traitorously" vote for a non-D candidate (or abstain).

  •  Thanks Joan. (13+ / 0-)

    Obama has been nothing but clear as to his wishes to cut these social safety nets.
    Even during the grandfiscalcliffcrap he came out and telegraphed it.

    Said obviously many weren't ready to go for a full on Grand Bargain, so that they will have to deal with the fiscal problems in steps. Mentioned shared sacrifice and balance all his buzzwords for shitsandwiches for the underclass.

    We just went through the first step, with the fiscal bullshit and  we got AusterityLite...., but no budget cuts yet.....next up 60 days from and the next step. Already hearing how we need to go for cuts because we just increased deficit by 4T. And at that time in 60, Obama will once again call for cuts to these safety nets.

    We need FDR and we got two corporate choices of Obama or Rmoney. One is just a bit more patient in bleeding the underclass dry...a slow painful death. The other just wanting to do it in one quick blow.

    The Plutocratic States of America, the best government the top 1% and corporations can buy. We are the 99%-OWS.

    by emal on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:17:06 PM PST

  •  Your answer Joan, No. They will put on a good (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HarpboyAK, greenbell, Dem Beans, Mr Robert

    show on the telly and in writing, but when push comes to shove they'll do the wrong thing and vote against the wishes of the American public.

    UNLESS........ we unite like never before and make it clear that the electoral consequences will be severe in 2014 and 2016. We must enmasse call/write the WH/Congress and let them know how we feel and get them to understand that the pain we will bring to bear will be worse than the pain the special interests will bring to bear.

    It's us against the Corps, Special Interests, 1% via our elected officials that we campaign for and donate money to.

    Corporations before people.... it's the American way!

    by Lucy2009 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:41:47 PM PST

  •  Yes there will be friction if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HarpboyAK, Aspe4

    Cuts to these programs are backed by the Democratic Party.

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

    by noofsh on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 07:07:31 PM PST

  •  WHICH Democratic Party? The Sell Outs Who've P (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, RebeccaG

    PROVEN, decade after decade, that as long as enough chumps swallow LOTE LOTE LOTE hook line and sinker, they'll keep selling us out?

    someday there will be accountability ???

    the First Step will be signing a pledge to your Federal reps that you will:

    1. do NOTHING which costs time to help them get re-elected,
    2. spend NO money to help them get re-elected,
    3. NOT vote to help them get re-elected ...

    then we need the Online Great Pledge Database - so some part time sell out, consistent enabler of the evil with her lack of filibusters on the evil bastards, such as Patty Murray - where people pledge time, money or a mix of each for each shitty vote!

    sure would help people interested in running against her!

    sure would prompt her to get off her ass and STOP the goddamn kents and joes and ... !

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:46:12 PM PST

  •  I came from (14+ / 0-)

    a link at digby's. She is singing McJoan's praises. Me too. thanks.

  •  Where exactly did President Obama say (6+ / 0-)

    that he wants to cut Medicare in a way that would reduce benefits or endanger the program? What we need to do is cut Medicare in a way that does not reduce benefits or endanger the program. For example, we need to reduce the high cost of drugs, hospital stays, and medical equipment. We need to reduce unnecessary procedures. We need to change the way doctors bill. Put more of them on salary instead of incentivizing them to order every test in the book for no reason.

    And if we don't figure out how to do those things, then the only thing progressives are going to be able to suggest is raising payroll taxes, which fall heavily on working people, or raising income taxes, which will endanger support for the program if it is allowed to become more of a welfare program.

    If we're not part of the solution, we're going to be part of the problem.

    •  He didn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hawkjt, zizi

      But remember, this is the same front pager who argued for austerity and referred to the fiscal cliff as just a curb.

    •  Progressives can suggest OTHER cuts (7+ / 0-)

      to address the deficit: defense, oil companies, frigging NASCAR got tax relief in the fiscal cliff bill for cripes sake. Let's not start discussing what can be cut from M'care; let's start discussing the trillions available elsewhere.

    •  It is like (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winsock, glynis, zizi

      many in this thread actually believe propaganda put out like the GOP ad that implied that Obama cut 760 billion in benefits in the last cycle.

      That ad was totally misleading,and extended the life of the medicare trust by 8 years.

      Many on here seem to be lapping up this type of propaganda.

      It is incredible how under the President the ''Welfare'' portion of the budget has gone from around 250 billion under Bush to over 450 billion under this President,but if he suggests cutting 12 billion out of an 800 billion program,he is a viscious traitor.

      That welfare portion of the budget is given to poor and needy americans...and he adds 250 billion/yr to it,and yet if he suggests cutting 12 billion from another program,he is a brutal neo-con?

      This is simply unnecessary pre-emptive venting.

  •  Tiresome (6+ / 0-)

    I have to confess that I really find Obama's willingness to inflict pain on the poor, sick and old to show the Washington beltway class that he's negotiating in earnest, has become tiresome.  

    Firstly from a practical perspective because there is no money in tweaking social security and secondly of all the programs run by the US government, with the exception of the IRS, Social security is in the best financial shape.  It has built up massive reserves and still runs a surplus.

    Secondly, attacking safty-net programs, especially social security and Medicare, poisons the relationship between party members, progressives and the Democratic leadership and the parties institutions.  It leads to conspiracy thinking and pervasive cynicism.  This at a time when such cynicism has hollowed out Americans faith in US government and its democracy.

    Δε φοβάμαι τίποτα.

    by Porphyreos on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:33:44 AM PST

  •  Obama's number one objective has been to blur... (10+ / 0-)

    ...the distinctions between the parties. You can count on Social Security cuts and you can count on Democrats' owning them because that is what Obama wants.

    Obama has had EVERY chance to draw sharp distinctions between the parties. On torture. On war. On Wall street bail-outs. On civil liberties. On Social Security. On Medicare. On equal marriage rights.

    Yet he has done everything possible to ratify every Bush-Cheney policy, every abuse of the Constitution. He didn't move on DADT until a majority of self-described conservatives said it should be repealed. And even his much-touted health insurance reform is a plan straight out of the 1990s Republican Party mainstream.

    This approach puts maximum power in the hands of people who have money because when the distinctions between the parties are blurred, advertising makes the difference.

    In two years, he led the GOP from oblivion to near parity in the Senate, a majority in the House and a majority of governorships.

  •  Mrs. O's Healthy Eating Initiative (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    apimomfan2, Dem Beans
    Hidden by:
    zizi

    is her way of saying "I feel bad for y'all because my obstinate husband is going to make you wait till age 70 to get Medicare and 72 to get Social Security.  You'll have to be fit as a fiddle just to get to those ages and maybe enjoy a few of the golden years.  All because of the deficit "problem" that's not a real problem."

  •  Why on earth would the Democratic Party fight (5+ / 0-)

    for a Democratic legacy if it meant going up against the very Democrat who put the non deficit contributing entitlements on the table, President Obama?

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." Edward R. Murrow

    by temptxan on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:50:56 PM PST

  •  Sometimes elected Dems, especially in the Senate, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, Aspe4

    need to save Obama from himself.

  •  If there are more Democrats like Ed Rendell, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, greenbell, Mr Robert

    We're toast.

    We're done.

    It's over.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:51:38 PM PST

  •  LOL DailyKos is so much smarter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi

    than Barack Obama. I bet he never even thought of this stuff written here. How lucky we are.

    "I am no longer a candidate. I'm The President" - Barack Obama 2012 DNC Convention

    by AAMOM on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:54:58 PM PST

  •  Medicare ≠ Social Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Loge, Hawkjt

    We do need to "cut" Medicare.  Heathcare costs continue to rise much faster than inflation.  Social Security, on the other hand, is more-or-less fine.

    I put "cut" in quotes, though, because the goal should be cost control, not decreased benefits.  Many cost controls are already in place due to Obamacare, but could not be credited by the CBO.  An obvious compromise would be to solidify those cuts through (yet another) automatic sequester if the savings don't materialize.  The law could also allow further experimentation and control in cost savings.

    Also, we need negotiated drug prices firmly on the table.  I think that is a Medicare "cut" all progressives can get behind.  It will also be fun to watch Republicans squirm to protect drug companies while simultaneously demanding cuts to entitlements.

    •  Actually Medicare is quite efficient (0+ / 0-)

      considering the much greater health needs of those enrolled. We need to take those healthy people paying billions in premiums to private health insurance companies, and add them to the pool of insured. Currently, most of the money is going to line of the pockets of investors and executives.

      •  Not about efficiency (0+ / 0-)

        Medicare is very efficient.  That isn't the point, as it still relies mostly on the overall cost of healthcare in this country, which is still rising.  As I said, Obamacare goes a way in fixing that, but more can be done.  

        The drug price example makes this clear.  Medicare is just as "efficient" regardless of the price of drugs, but cheaper drugs obviously save money over more expensive drugs.  If fact, since efficiency is calculated as a percentage, cheaper drugs would make the efficiency slightly worse while reducing the overall cost.  (Overhead would be the same but overall cost would less, leading to overhead being a higher percentage of the cost.)

  •  Short answer: No (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave, tatere

    Oh, there will be a "fight" in that there will be strong words and earnest demeanors.  But, there is no way that they're going to put the economy at risk, particularly where Republicans have successfully convinced everyone that they're crazy enough to do so.

    If 2013 was an election year, fear of the wrath of seniors (and I'm not talking "Maaaatlock!") could give Democrats sufficient backbone.  But it's not, so seniors will have to develop a taste for catfood.

  •  Joan, it's over. We lost already... (7+ / 0-)

    Ed Rendell was on MSNBC earlier and announced that it will take both the chaining of CPI & increase in Medicare eligibility age to extract any more revenue from Republicans. I guarantee you that there will be the needed handful of Democratic Senators and a President that will go along. It's a done deal.

    "Morality is never upheld by a legalized murder." - Coretta Scott King

    by Sarge in Seattle on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:57:18 PM PST

  •  I predict that the following will happen: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hawkjt, glynis, zizi

    1. Social Security and Medicare benefits will be "put on the table" but not really.

    2. Joan McCarter will freak out and start calling Obama a traitor.

    3. People will try to point out that Obama is bluffing.

    4. Joan McCarter will tell us that, no, this time he's absolutely as deadly serious as a heart attack, and the cuts will be in the deal.

    5. Once again, the cuts won't be in the deal.

    6. John will tell us that we got lucky, and the cuts will be in the deal next time.

    Call me crazy.  I must have dreamed up the scenario in an opium haze.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 12:59:43 PM PST

    •  No one will put something on the table (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Code Monkey

      they aren't willing to give up...

      eleventy-dimensional poker notwithstanding.

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:48:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's kinda the point of the table, really. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhilJD

        What could we possibly mean by “on the table” if not that something is within the parameters of an acceptable deal?

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:12:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I want to play poker with you. (0+ / 0-)

        No one will put something on the table (1+ / 0-)
        they aren't willing to give up...

        I desperately, desperately want to play poker with you.

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:14:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How do you mean “not really”? (0+ / 0-)

      Obama on MTP endorsed the chained CPI calculation for SS, which is a benefit cut. He didn't say he was thinking about it or that it's something he might accept in a deal, he said it was something “we” proposed. Even bragged it was unpopular with Democrats.

      At this point, the proposition that this is a big head fake is the extraordinary claim that requires evidence. How many times does he have to say that he is willing to cut SS benefits before you believe him?

      Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
      Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
      Code Monkey like you!

      Formerly known as Jyrinx.

      by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:11:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He can say it all he wants... (0+ / 0-)

        I'm not going to believe him until he actually takes substantive action to make it happen.  Not get big puppy-dog eyes and say things on MTP, but actually work towards a deal that includes it.

        Money talks, bullshit walks.

        How many times do you have to watch this happen before you catch onto what's going on?  Why do trust the public pronouncements of politicians, especially when they are in the midst of negotiations?

        Art is the handmaid of human good.

        by joe from Lowell on Sat Jan 05, 2013 at 09:17:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Will Obama undue the legacies of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4

    Roosevelt and Johnson to placate the uber-wealthy? I don't understand why American's, both Democrats and Republicans, who will rely on Medicare and SSI to whatever extent, don't start yelling to thier elected officials. Granted Obama is a lame duck, so why should he care if the Rebups wine and bitch? He should at least be remembered as a staunch advocate of the programs that have lifted up millions of Americans. He's been a mister nice guy to the wrong crowd. Like the skit in the movie Animal House. Bend over and get whacked and a thank you sir, may I have another. They've been doing this to the guy since 2008.

  •  Yes, given Reid threw Obama's offer in the fire (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aspe4, irmaly, Willa Rogers

    that contained the Chained CPI proposal.

  •  Talk about cut in Defense - Every Day (7+ / 0-)

    We NEED to remind everyone, every single day that our outrageously bloated Defense budget is where we can cut the most money (or better, exchange much of it for infrastructure spending).
    If we do it correctly, blindered Rs won't be able to swivel to entitlement talk during every interview opportunity.
    Please people! Help us slash that horrific expenditure. If we continuously talk about it, pols will know they can't get away with biz as usual.

  •  Civil War? There'd Better Be One! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave, Mr Robert, Dem Beans

    "Will there be a "Democratic civil war" over Social Security and Medicare, if President Obama pushes proposals that would cut benefits or otherwise endanger those programs? There damned well better be"

    You bet there'd better be a civil war!  I don't know how much of a part we seniors can play, but there are some of us who want to be a part of it!

    "What every elected Democrat other than President Obama needs to remember is that they have to run for reelection, and he doesn't."

    And that, I think is the REAL crux to the problem.  Obama can take whatever position he wants on any issue without fear of ever facing the voters again.  That means no one will ever again hold him accountable if he pulls a Mitt Romney and throws us non-rich people under the bus.  But who we CAN hold accountable are the Democrats in the House and Senate.  They DO have to faqce the voters again unless they choose to retire, and we can show our wrath against THEM instead of Obama.  That is, if they swallow Obama's line hook, line, and sinker.

    However, we CAN get to Obama indirectly through the next presidential cycle.  If Obama and the rest of the Democrats choose to act like Republican wannabes, I will show my spleen by voting Republican.  Because, in my book, a Republican wannabe is far worse than the real thing.  

  •  Rep. Nancy Pelosi Already Threw Social Security (11+ / 0-)

    and seniors under the bus just a few weeks ago when she declared.

    "Cutting benefits from social security is not the same as cutting benefits from social security".

    "It strengthens social security".

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/...

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:03:55 PM PST

  •  The leadership of today's Democratic Party (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, liberaldemdave, Aspe4

    would prefer to put the "Democratic legacy" under glass in a museum.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:04:35 PM PST

  •  not only will they not fight, (5+ / 0-)

    they're deliberately provoking a perpetual state of budgetary crisis in order to provide an excuse to cut Social Security and Medicare.

    In two months, Obama will once again put the New Deal on the chopping block in exchange for being allowed another temporary raise of the debt ceiling and/or another temporary deferral of the sequestered cuts. This time he won't have as much leverage over the GOP (having given much of it away in the most recent negotiations).

    The White House claim that this was all about balancing the budget was shown to be utterly hollow by the readiness with which the administration capitulated on their campaign promise to raise taxes on income over $250,000, thereby giving up a nice chunk of revenue they could easily have gotten. They don't give a shit about deficit reduction. They give a shit about making cuts to things that have nothing to do with the deficit.

    You have to wonder when the GOP will realize they can torpedo the Democrats for a generation, simply by accepting the White House's offer of a Grand Bargain. Next time they won't have to agree to any tax raises so it will be an easier sell to the Republican caucus.

    And if it doesn't work that time, the WH will simply keep putting the New Deal on the table again, and again, and again, until the Republicans finally take them up on the offer and the Democratic base is too battered down to resist.

    It's gonna be a long four years, and the best outcome is to hope that Democratic leaders are too politically incompetent to achieve their goals of slashing the social safety net or that the Republicans are too intransigent to ever agree to a Grand Bargain--but all indications are that that won't be the case.

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

    by limpidglass on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:05:20 PM PST

  •  SSI is insurance, paid into by working (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paper Cup, bluegrass50, NanaoKnows

    citizens.
    Dipping into the funds is unethical if not illegal. The federal government should restore the funds that have been "borrowed" from SSI over the years.

    That is our money and is not theirs to use, misuse or abuse. Hands off SSI.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:06:20 PM PST

    •  That is the problem (0+ / 0-)

      Instead of putting the money aside in a separate fund electied politicians have appropriated it over the years for other purposes. Morally speaking, you are absolutely correct, the money is owed (and ironically that's the source of W's comment a few years ago that it's all IOUs).

      The problem is today's elected Washington pols have to find sources of cash to backfill the misappropriation of those funds in the past. The worst of the bunch resent that and would rather the problem just go away.

      •  Every single (0+ / 0-)

        penny is accounted for. That is why the SS Trust Fund has a 2+ trillion balance,and is 100% solvent thru 2033.

        Lets not start to invent myths to fit our narrative.
        The only way that SS earns any income is to invest in govt. bonds.  Investing in govt bonds is not like giving the money to the general fund....it helps the SS Fund build thru investment revenue.

        If you look at the USGov Treasury site,all the facts are there.
        US Debt to outside debtors is around 13.5 trillion.
        US intra-governmental debt is around 2.6 trillion...this is SS.
        Total debt 16.4 trillion.

  •  the following changes to Social Security (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock, Hawkjt, bluegrass50, NanaoKnows

    and Medicare would be just fine with me, because they will strengthen both programs and sustain them both well into the next century:

    Social Security:
    a) Raising or eliminating the cap on the income that Social Security is taken out from (currently a little more than $106,000, if memory serves correctly)...
    b) Means testing Social Security even more, by reducing Social Security benefits for individuals with incomes of more than $1 million a year.

    Medicare:

    a) Allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to get group costs;
    b) Means test Medicare even more, by reducing benefits for individuals for individuals with incomes of more than $1 million.

    Republicans are insisting on what they call "entitlement reform" as part of any debt ceiling/budget negotations.

    Okay...if they insist...lets do the above, which will reform both programs, reduce longterm Medicare costs and strengthen both programs well into the next century, without hurting those people who need those programs the most to survive.

    •  Except (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, NanaoKnows

      If you means test medicare enough you just eliminate participants/contributors and weaken the program.  Maybe it would work ... not sure about this.  But you're absolutely right -- there are good ways to approach "reform" without cutting benefits.  It's not even reform, really, it's just some decent tweaking.

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

      by winsock on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:33:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Look out.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath, winsock

      you are breaking the ''progressive rules'' by suggesting pragmatic solutions.

      Means testing is supposed to be off limits, yet taxing those same people up to 90% is fine,and somehow different. I understand the fear that it could blur the line between Medicare and Medicare or SS and welfare,but as long as any of us have a pulse,that will never happen.
      Hell,folks on here go crazy when the President merely suggests strengthening medicare by efficiencies...

      I find it interesting how seniors voted strongly for Romney,who would have really gutted these programs,but now if Obama suggests tiny adjustments around the edges and they go ballistic.

      The reality is the senior citizens have paid in about 1/3rd of what will recieve in benefits from medicare. Something does have to give.

      •  Oh, bullshit. (0+ / 0-)

        Lots of the same people irritated with Obama over his negotiating style are the same ones that talk all the time about lifting the cap and negotiating drug prices. Those are “pragmatic” solutions, too.

        And there aren't a lot of “efficiencies” left in Medicare. The reason Medicare fund is inadequate is that health care costs are out of control. It does not follow that what “has to give” is the quality of care; that is only one option.

        And yes, means testing is different from progressive taxation. Means testing particular programs (in the absolute sense, i.e. no SS for you, you made too much) would make those programs weak, as they begin to be seen as welfare moocher programs rather than things that everyone pays into and benefits from. It is (brace yourself) a pragmatic concern, not an ideological one. There's nothing morally wrong with means testing SS and Medicare, it's politically dangerous.

        Code Monkey like freedom / Code Monkey like peace and justice too
        Code Monkey very nerdy man / With big warm fuzzy bleeding heart
        Code Monkey like you!

        Formerly known as Jyrinx.

        by Code Monkey on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:19:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Politicians of every stripe should consider SSI (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, RebeccaG, Aspe4, irmaly

    radioactive. Touching it will mean political death.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:10:05 PM PST

  •  Sounds Like You Aren't Happy With Obama!?! (0+ / 0-)

    Just like all those "others" around here who aren't completely happy with the fiscal cliff deal.

    The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

    by Deadicated Marxist on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:10:23 PM PST

  •  It's all on Democrats in Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    No changes can be made without the backing of Dems, especially in the Senate.  Fortunately we have a pretty good corps of Liberals but they'll no doubt be asked to compromise "for the team".  Each time Obama has raised the specter of changes to Social Security the response from our base has been loud and focused and that's something that seems to be working.  
    We have some good people in Congress but they need to know that we expect them to uphold the Democratic Legacy.

  •  If Democrats want to pick up House seats (3+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, mightymouse, irmaly
    Hidden by:
    zizi

    If Democrats want to pick up seats in the House in 2014 and retain control of the Senate, they have to hit the ground running in the new Congress. They need to make the President understand that the Democratic party will not stand for cuts to Social Security and Medicare. They all need to be on the same page for the next couple of years. All of them: Representatives, Senators and the President. Speak with a unified voice on the subject while pointing out how the nation's deficit problem really isn't Social Security's problem. Make the Republicans own ANY AND ALL discussion about cuts.

    Realizing this will never happen, I'd settle for the Democrats who want to protect Social Security reading the Presidnt the Riot Act on the tarmac at Andrews the day the he returns from Hawaii.

    •  If they go to the mat defending SS and Medicare (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert

      they might actually win a few more seats in 2014.  They think they have a chance of winning the House or holding the Senate if they raise Medicare eligibility age or cut Social Security?  

      My Dad always told me, "You have to stand for something".  Well, Democrats it is time for you to take a stand.

    •  Reading the President the riot act? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zizi

      Upon returning from Hawaii? On the tarmac?

      Maybe they should just skip right to the impeachment trial?
      I mean,afterall, he has done what exactly?
      Since he has been president, he has added over 300 billion annually to provide for the poor and unemployed....send him to the brig,immediately!

      What are the cuts he has suggested,exactly?
      At most, 11 billion a year from SS in the out years...slightly slowing the acceleration of benefits...oh yes,he needs to be lectured to on the tarmac.

  •  and here we go again . . . . . . (0+ / 0-)

    I'm so tired of seeing this movie . . .

  •  1.7% increase (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave

    in S.S. benefits for 2013.  That's not small enough? For some recipients it won't cover the rise in the price of peanut butter.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:17:25 PM PST

  •  I personally will not hestitate for a moment to (5+ / 0-)

    sit at home on election day if SS is ever put on the table  again by any democrat.  I mean that with all my heart.

  •  Medicare: How about this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave

    Make the Medicare tax on income progressive, and assess it on ALL forms of income.  That would solve any funding issue right there.

  •  Social Security (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave

    Eliminate the earnings cap on the FICA tax - problem solved.

  •  Obama's top donors want SS cuts (7+ / 1-)

    The board of directors of Third Way donated nearly $3 million to Obama, Dem Party PACS, DCCC, DSCC and a long list of Dem Senators.

    Here's a list, most of whom helped raise the $3 million:

        John L. Vogelstein
        Chairman
        Bernard L. Schwartz
        Chairman Emeritus
        David Heller
        Vice-Chairman
        Georgette Bennett
        William D. Budinger
        David A. Coulter
        Jonathan Cowan
        Lewis Cullman
        William M. Daley
        John Dyson

        Robert Dyson
        Andrew Feldstein
        Brian Frank
        Michael B. Goldberg
        Peter A. Joseph
        Derek Kaufman
        Derek Kirkland
        Ronald A. Klain
        Peter B. Lewis
        Thurgood Marshall, Jr.

        Susan McCue
        Herbert Miller
        Michael Novogratz
        Andrew Parmentier
        Kirk Radke
        Howard Rossman
        Tim Sweeney
        Ted Trimpa
        Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein
        Joseph Zimlich

    They think Social Security needs to be "rescued".  Their pathetic site uses over the top demagoguery and outright lies about Social Security and its solvency.  

    They're offering the same tired, old lies about how cutting SS will help Wall Street and the economy.

    Link

    Yes,

    they want to enact the Chained CPI,
    they want to raise the retirement age to 70
    and yes,
    they want to divert future SS payroll deductions to "private" savings accounts.  

    Cuz we all know the stock market is such a great place to put your retirement funds.

    It would be easy to laugh off these idiots and their transparently greedy plans to gut SS for their own private profit, except for the fact that they've donated so much to re-elect Dems in the last election.

    It's time to shed some light on this vermin and let the WH and Dem leaders in Congress know that we won't stand for them selling SS & Medicare for some campaign contributions.

    Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

    by Betty Pinson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:21:42 PM PST

    •  The President raised (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zizi

      over a billion dollars in this last cycle....so .3% from these folks are going to carrry the day?

      I am sure that the President will be bribed for .3% of his total fundraising....how much did he get from the U. of California this time? They led his donations last cycle.

      •  That's the amount that's been reported (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Code Monkey

        Thanks to Citizens United, the probably donated much more in funds that didn't require reporting, not to mention more that has been promised for the 2014 mid-terms.

        Most of these people are corporate titans and investment bankers.  They have a huge monetary stake in influencing WH and Congressional public policy decisions.

        They want to privatize SS by having some of the FICA deductions diverted into "private savings accounts".  They have investments in health care, insurance, nursing homes - they want to control what happens with Medicare and Medicaid to gain the maximum amount of profit possible from taxpayer funded programs.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:45:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  zizi can you explain the HR? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PhilJD

      I went into detail to document my claims.  Is there something you think is missing or in error?

      Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

      by Betty Pinson on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:34:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not the first time that user has issued (0+ / 0-)

        an "unusual" HR, apparently following a secret ratings algorithm known only to himself.

        Wear it as a badge of honor.

        When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

        by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:36:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Uprated to counter bizarre, abusive HR. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

      by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:33:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A rhetorical question I suppose..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell
    Will the Democratic Party fight for the Democratic legacy?
  •  You malcontents may just be "disappeared." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    We've got the NDAA now. Buh-bye.
    /snark

    .
    Operation Northwoods: The 9/11 You Never Knew

  •  More than protecting what we have (0+ / 0-)

    All but the starve-the-gov TeaPartiers sense that the nation is in a globally defined new state that may not be comprehensively understood but seems to require an adapted vision and functional governance to avoid slipping into a stale broken has been. People left behind are the largest growing demographic.

    Fighting for SS/Medicare/Medicaid is an absolute and an uphill battle with our current team. But Democrats need to win in 2014 and won't by promising to not lose what we have. The clamor for change couldn't be louder - everywhere but DC and in news studios.

    Somewhere short of radical transformational reform, people do want to hear ideas more than merely preservation of industrial era Democratic legacy. A strong argument needs to be made for a spate of undivided government so that this clearly nonthreatening President can be handed legislation from a Democratic Congress able to use the processes of gov't to get some important decisions made before "Obama voters" become the new lost generation.

  •  Now that the Culture Wars are over . . . (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave, Mr Robert

    the real battle will be within the Democratic party between progressives and Neoliberals.  Since Jimmy Carter we've had Neoliberal Presidents who repeatedly betray the base.  Perhaps the day of when Progressives and not the DLC call the shots is soon at hand.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:25:45 PM PST

  •  There are two points (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hawkjt, glynis

    Medicare should be treated differently from Social Security -- there will have to be ways to find cost controls or else nothing else matters.  The Republicans will play games and run against cost savings as if they're cuts, even if they're not taken from patient care, or even if they are taken from patient care when that care is cost effective.

    Secondly, if chained-CPI is the price to stave off those aspects of the sequester taking a hatchet to domestic discretionary funds, the question of whether it's worth doing is empirical, not philosophical.  Framing something as a question of the soul of the party, or discussing places to cut that the Republicans simply won't, doesn't really help to triage, and assumes without foundation that an extra dollar spent on social security benefits has greater utility than an extra dollar spent on food stamps.  Chained-CPI isn't a voucher program, and the proposals still leave open various offsets.  Offsets are of course an admission it's a bad idea in a vacuum, but the question is what is one least willing to give up -- a cut that is phased in slowly over time threatens, by contrast, the least damage to economic recovery in the short-run, which should be the priority of anyone resisting the debt hysteria.  (More people employed also shores up Social Security the most - and results in higher benefits for those people.) By the same token, as long as job creation rates highest, there should have been zero opposition to the cliff deal, cutting taxes.

    Either way, Democratic principles point in multiple directions, and can't be about one program or another but doing the least amount of damage to the objectives for which the programs were initially created.  Also, less than zero interest in projecting motives onto various players to make them easier to oppose, thus ducking the actual questions with which those principals are faced.

    Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

    by Loge on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:28:46 PM PST

  •  Republicans enjoy shredding the safety net. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave, bink

    Democrats will shred it with heartfelt regret.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:29:39 PM PST

  •  Why use word "entitlement"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalmoth

    That word can easily be spun into something negative. We need to call them what they are: safety nets, social safety nets, etc....

  •  I will not vote (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    liberaldemdave, bink

    ever again, for any Democratic representative of mine who votes to cut SS in any way including means testing.

    I have informed my congresswoman and Senators of this in no uncertain terms.

    Obama already lost my vote with his debt ceiling antics in 2011.

    nothin' to see here folks, just a massive labor uprising.

    by WesEverest on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:33:53 PM PST

  •  No, the Democrats will not fight (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, Dem Beans, greenbell, PhilJD

    They will follow our President into a bi-partisany "compromise" with the discredited insane party that we just trounced in the last election. They will ignore the will and the welfare of the American people and insist that they have to make the "tough choices" and the  "shared sacrifices" that their austerity monger monied interests insist on.

    The Federal Reserve can bail out the banks on the sly to the tune of trillions, but when it comes to the policies that benefit the elderly, the poor, the ill, the working class, the middle class, the lower class,  - the 99 %-  these corrupted, lying duplicitous !@#$s will tell us that the cupboard is bare.

    I have voted for the Dem (with one exception) for every position in every race, local state and national since 1980. If they enact destructive, misguided, immoral, legislation that reduces the safety net for any citizen after funding wars unlimited on the credit card as an example of what they consider a "tough choice" I am done with them for good forever.

    I will forgo the make-work -keep-the- little- people -occupied suggestion of  finding and electing "better" Democrats if the Party is revealed to be the RINO entity it appears to be. I will simply find another party, group or movement that represents my interests and I will say "Thanks for the memories" for what the Democratic Party once stood for.

    I am very fortunate in that almost all of my friends and family are old-school Dems. My viewpoint and my vow to head for the exits is shared by almost all of them.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:36:09 PM PST

  •  Squaeaky wheels get the grease (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dem Beans

    IOW call your congressman and Senators to say "H*** no" to any cuts to SS.

    The results of my own calls were

    FRANKEN-NO chained cpi
    Klobuchar-I'll tell the senator.

    Walz-Passed the information along.

    My own take is that I can count on Sen Franken, Rep Walz but Klobuchar needs the heat. I like Amy Klobuchar but I have always had the feeling that she needs consistent pressure to be a reliable progressive voice.

    Progresssives need to push real policy alternatives that fix the problems and lower costs. (Eg Medicare for all at age 55. (Employers can buy their employees in..) (SS tax surcharge at 250-400 k) The latter gives the president an opportunity to fulfill his pledge to raise taxes on those most able to pay and also protects SS from attack.......

    •  Klobuchar is anything but progressive (0+ / 0-)

      Amy has been for "strengthening" Social Security and Medicare for quite some time and as you found you can NEVER get a straight answer if you contact her.  

      Franken needs your vote in 2014.  I've told him I'm also holding him responsible for getting Amy's vote.  

      And Walz is in a swing district with a lot of old white people.  He can't afford to vote against Social Security and Medicare.

      •  Have had the same general reaction about Amy.... (0+ / 0-)

        She did get the endorsement of a used car dealer in her reelection bid. :)

        A mini chained CPI (say .01 vs .03) would probably be ok as it would translate into a 3% reduction after 30 years

        BUT ONLY if it includes a SS tax surcharge for those who currently earn above the earnings limit as part of the deal AND medicare premiums are frozen for beneficiaries. The current system allows premium increases which are direct immediate benefit cuts for SS recipients.

        I don't like the CPI proposal in general but if it is used to stabilize funding for the system through increased revenues and freezing medicare premiums it is a win for the middle class. I think we need to offer "cuts" that really turn into benefit increases.

        I really really like Tim Walz. He just needs a bit of reminding to do the right thing.

        Franken you can count on as a senator.

        •  Franken needs to step up and lead (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PhilJD

          If they were actually trying to get a fair comprehensive deal I wouldn't be so angry about this.   I just see them offering Social Security and Medicare as chips for nothing related to the health of the programs.   If they care about the deficit they'll slash Defense.  Until they do that I don't believe the deficit has anything to do with it.   It's just capitulation to the long term Republican agenda to kill both programs and that I can never support.

          •  I agree he needs to lead (0+ / 0-)

            My point remains that we as constituents need to tell our MCs and senators what we want to have happen.

            Franken was a Harvard trained mathematician. If you give him good ideas as ways to advance the debate he has shown a willingness to carry the proverbial water.

            Personally I believe that both Senators from MN can be counted on to do the right thing to protect social insurance programs. But we need to give them the tools to do their jobs by providing reasonable and solid alternatives to bring forth to their colleagues in the Senate.

  •  The solution is simple (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr Robert, Dem Beans

    and the irony is monumental.

    The answer to rising health care costs is a no-brainer:

    Obamacare.  Actually, what would have been Obamacare in its original form:  Single-payer health care.

    Note that's health care, not health insurance.

    The real solution is NHS America.

    Take the money people now spend on health insurance and health care, and turn it into taxes.  Use those taxes to pay for a health care system that actually provides health care.

    How is this a better deal?  One word:  Profits.  If the profit-taking and price-gouging are removed from the system, the cost of health care will plummet.

    Added benefits:  Paying medical professionals a salary instead of on a fee-for-service basis eliminates many unnecessary and costly services and procedures.  Listen to doctors complain about the finances of our health system, and you will see, even if they themselves don't see it, that  fee-for-service is a big part of the problem.  Even better:  the government pays for doctors' education, as part of a general improvement in the finances of the education system along the same lines.  Ironically, the doctors will be better off financially than many are now; only they are taught not to believe that.  Of course, banks won't like losing the money they now skim off the student loan system, but that's another problem (they're all connected, surprise).

    Health care, like education, like many other networked, public-benefit systems, should not be a for-profit-only enterprise.  Short term, our current system makes massive profits for a few lucky people.  Long term, it has and will crash the economy and leave everyone, even the privileged who pay Republicans' salaries (uh, bribes, uh, I mean campaign contributions).

    O, and the other lie the corporate shills tell:  if government takes over health care, that will end innovation and progress.  In fact, the only changes corporations ever come up with is pills and treatments people often don't need.  Real research and innovation comes, as it always has, from academic and government programs.

    But as long as Southern Republicans and Objectivists are treated as if their opinions have any validity at all, because they serve the immediate interests of corporations, we will continue to struggle with an economy almost as broken as our politics.

    And Republicans will continue to blame Democrats for implementing failed Republican ideas like the Individual Mandate.

    In Washington, whenever anyone does something wrong, everyone else gets punished.

    by Noziglia on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:38:19 PM PST

  •  Seeing how many on this site roll over (5+ / 0-)

    for Obama's conservative policies, even cheerlead for them, I doubt there will be anything resembling a "Democratic civil war" happening in the near future.

    Progressives are powerless, the corporations won.   We now have a political dynamic of an insanely toxic party and a corporate party.  We have no other parties to turn to bring anything like balance to the system, so Democrats are safe in justifying the death of the New Deal because: "Why else you gonna vote for?"

    That strategy worked just fine for Obama.

    Obama: self-described moderate Republican

    by The Dead Man on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:38:55 PM PST

  •  Prescription drugs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zaka1
    “I believe we've got to find ways to reform that program without hurting seniors who count on it to survive."
    One very good way to do that is to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.  That one thing would cut a lot of waste; a quick google suggests $150 to 200 Billion over ten years.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 01:48:57 PM PST

  •  70 Billion to Nascar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Over the Edge, greenbell, shigeru

    and cuts to social security and medicare.  I couldn't understand why Nascar got 70 billion in subsidies, but it is considered part of the military budget since they advertise for the military on the cars, at least that is what is being stated.  Tax breaks and corporate giveaways with our money.  

    We've already let the domestic violence against women program die, the middle is still going to be paying higher taxes than the wealthy, and now they are going after a program that 56 million Americans depend and social security is all the income they have which means it isn't just about healthcare and cat food, it is also going to mean not heating their homes, that is if they don't lose their homes in the process as well.  Keeping a roof over your head means paying bills and taxes if you own a home.

    For those of us who are disabled this could mean a slow death and homelessness.  I don't know what has happened to our country and at this point one could point to a hundred different things that is bringing us down to third world status.  But, I know this I haven't got anymore and it is difficult to keep myself going at this point.  I really don't know if I can take another battle and the fear of possibly not being able to survive and keep a roof over my head.  This is more than about going hungry, this is about taking the quality of life away from sick and elderly people.  

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:07:39 PM PST

    •  Agree. If we want to save money stop corp (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zaka1

      tax breaks, stop subsidies to things like NASCAR, NCAA, oil companies (except for exploration), stupid repug wars, and reduce defense spending.

      Why NASCAR? It is the repug base.

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:38:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This whole (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shigeru

        country is being run like Enron and I really sick of it.  I hate the corporate mentality, always have, always will, be it has always been about the very people at the top and no one else.

        "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

        by zaka1 on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 04:17:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  In my experience corps exist mainly to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          zaka1

          maximize the use of capital. Any other use is illusory. They are certainly not efficient except for that.

          If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

          by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:02:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I love headlines like this! (0+ / 0-)

    Short answer: no.

    How many divisions does OWS have?

    by Diebold Hacker on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 02:08:06 PM PST

  •  Odd indeed that FDR came from "the one percent"! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NanaoKnows

    Do any here not find it odd that FDR, the greatest of our Presidents (I include Lincoln, whose legislative impact was not nearly so profound) came out of the "one percent"?  

    He was born and bred "to the manner born," and his policies were thought to be betraying his own class.  Strange, is it not, that in our current time this one percent of the financial top tier is not content to have dominion over even the greater bulk of the economic pie.

    Oh, that this gifted man now President Barack Obama were as passionate in his commitments to the downtrodden among us as was the truly great FDR!

    I suppose that when he viewed Ronald Reagan as a "transformational" figure, he explained precisely what he defined as seminal to his core, and how he would govern afterwards.

    Surely the better years of America are behind us now.  For inevitably, all empires fall.  I want to believe, as does former President Clinton, "that America always comes back," and yet with an intransigent GOP and an easily yielding President Obama, I wonder how we can be even hopeful of a better life for any but the most supremely privileged.  A truly epic reversal of the beliefs of that most noble of our patrician Presidents, FDR--indeed!

  •  Bravo Joan!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilJD, NanaoKnows, greenearth

    Mainstream Democrats definitely agree with your point of view. I've been a party loyalist for a very long time.  I'm no ultra leftie but if major cuts to the social safety net are offered up by the president and congressional Dems as part of the coming negotiations on the debt ceiling etc., I'm not signing on.   Will there be a civil war among Democrats?  I hope not, but those who are in favor of abandoning the party's core principles (SS, Medicare, Medicaid) need to understand many of us want NO part of it.  We will oppose you!!

  •  Probably I am on the wrong side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zizi

    I am for the tweaking that the President has spoken of.  I like the idea of preserving all these good programs into the future.

    They are popular, and anyone will look bad who tries to change them one cent.  But, I am for what the CBO would say will make them stronger, and do the least harm to people in the programs.

    I am in the programs, so I guess I should be screaming with you.  I am not.  I am for sensible tweaking--anything sensible that makes the programs viable for the future and does not hurt badly the present recipients.

    Forever and ever, I favor any compromise that strengthens the best programs we know about that actually help the people, not just the rich.

    •  There is no difference between tweaking and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NanaoKnows

      destroying. When companies routinely fire, retrench or make people redundant at 60-65 but benefits won't kick in until 66 -70, what is one to do? And when investments have stagnated long term and when there is no pension anymore?

      I received my SocSec statement last month. I have worked since 1964. My employers and I contributed over 200k to SocSec. In simple real terms (accounting only for inflation) this amounts to over 400k. Taking into account time value of money this is somewhere south of a million. Given actuarial tables and subtracting 5 years from life expectancy for combat service, I have 8 more years to live.
      Assume just real terms and 450k, I would need 52k per annum just to break even. Now I have a small amount saved and a small pension so am better off than many. But if you can tell me how I will be better served by Obama's or the House' proposal I am all ears.

      My thought is just give me the 450k and let me figure it out if this is the best the bright lights can do.

      If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

      by shigeru on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 03:35:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tax The Rich & End Corporate Welfare! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth

    How To Raise Taxes: Think Eisenhower!!!

    Quoting J.J. Goldberg at forward.com:  

    [...] Eisenhower inherited a top marginal income tax rate of 92% from his predecessor Harry Truman when he entered the White House in 1953. He quickly lowered it to 91%, where it stayed until Lyndon Johnson lowered it again to 77% in 1964 and then 70% in 1965.  

    During his eight years in the White House, Eisenhower managed to reduce the federal deficit by 75% — down to a quarter of the size he inherited — while building the Interstate Highway System and launching America’s space program. GDP growth averaged 3% per year. Unemployment averaged just under 5.5%.  

    Reagan, entering office in 1981, inherited Johnson’s 70% top marginal income tax rate and immediately lowered it to 50%, then to 38.5% and finally to 28%. His theory was that high taxes stifle economic growth, while lowering taxes unleashes growth and creates jobs. It was a great national experiment, and the result was conclusive: It didn’t work. Growth averaged 3.4% per year during Reagan’s presidency, hardly better than Eisenhower’s, while unemployment averaged a shocking 7.43%, far worse than Eisenhower’s and hardly better than the much-maligned Obama record. [...]  

    So the next time you listen to a presidential debate, remember that nobody up there is taking the Democratic side. The debate we’re having today is between a robust Reaganism and a faint, timid echo of Eisenhower Republicanism. In fact, when you get down to it, the Democrats can’t even bring themselves to take Eisenhower’s side with any conviction. We’re all touting variations on a flimflam theory that’s been tried and proven a colossal failure.

    ——–

    How To Cut Spending: End Corporate Welfare!!!     

    As Rex Nutting of Marketwatch noted in his 12/18/2012 article “Why isn’t Obama demanding corporate welfare cuts?”, “$2.6 trillion could be saved [...] It’s possible to achieve all the budget savings we need for the next 10 years simply by cutting the fat out of discretionary spending programs and tax expenditures [removing all of the corporate welfare] without raising tax rates on the wealthy or cutting the safety net at all.”     

    Oil and gas companies, which are raking in record profits, certainly don’t need $4 billion a year in subsidies, and even the oil company CEOs admit they don’t need it!     

    Why are cuts to Social Security and Medicare even being discussed while literally billions in corporate welfare are constantly spilling out of the Treasury? 

    White House petition to End Corporate Welfare: http://wh.gov/...

  •  Chained CPI = cat food (0+ / 0-)

    The logic of chained CPI leads to seniors eating cat food and dumpster food to stay alive. How?

    The chained CPI is based on reactionary poverty. The prime example of how it works is this:

    If seniors, living on Social Security, can no longer afford to buy steak at a specified price, then they'll buy hamburger at a lower, but specified price. Then the CPI would be calculated with the cost of hamburger, not the cost of steak.

    But sooner (rather than) later, as disposable incomes continue to drop to an unresponsive cost of living adjustment, seniors will no longer be able to afford hamburger. They'll then have to switch to more disposable forms of protein, like, for instance, pink slime, the stuff that McDonald's mixes with their hamburger formula.

    As the chained CPI works its magic, eventually, pink slime will no longer be affordable. Seniors will then be forced to hit the pet food aisles of their supermarkets to look for bargains.

    Then the chained CPI will be calculating the costs of Friskies Grilled Buffet for Cats as the protein choice for Seniors, and the chained CPI will be adjusted downward once more.

    Next stop for Seniors? The dumpster behind Safeway.

    That's how the logic of the chained CPI will work.

    And THIS is what we voted for: Republicans, and now some Democrats, hell-bent on making Seniors eat cat food and Dumpster Delights in order to keep from starving.

    This is 21st century America.

    So, Seniors, keep voting Republican because, after all, you've ALWAYS voted Republican.

    And you can always count on me to surrender my favorite Cat Food Casserole recipes.

    Just give me a call. But make it quick. You don't want to run out of your cell phone limit. The Chained CPI will also dictate your phone usage allowance.

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