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For those who don't understand what Chained CPI is, Robert Reich has put out a (beautifully timed) video and article on what it is, why it sucks, and how it's JUST A CUT IN SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS (first 10 years is over $100 BILLION cut from payments to retirees) and we MUST NOT ACCEPT IT. See updates below on how to get involved to stop this insanity NOW before it gets out of hand. The White House put this story out as a trial balloon to see our reaction, LETS SHOW THEM HOW WE FEEL ABOUT THIS.

Next week, President Obama will be unveiling his big budget plan for 2013-14, but in a likely White House trial balloon, the New York Times has a preview with some details:

In a significant shift in fiscal strategy, Mr. Obama on Wednesday will send a budget plan to Capitol Hill that departs from the usual presidential wish list that Republicans typically declare dead on arrival. Instead it will embody the final compromise offer that he made to Speaker John A. Boehner late last year, before Mr. Boehner abandoned negotiations in opposition to the president’s demand for higher taxes from wealthy individuals and some corporations.
The tl;dr of this plan is:

- $600 billion in new tax revenues (mostly from a 28% tax deduction cap).

- $1.2 trillion in new net spending cut measures (translation: macro-austerity-lite) (including Chained CPI--which is a significant regressive cut to seniors' retirement benefits, and cuts to Medicare, and needed Pentagon cuts)

By now I don't think anyone is surprised by Obama's right-wing self-negotiating style. This is his modus operandi, as anyone who followed the debt ceiling (v1.0 and 2.0) and fiscal cliff negotiations can recall.

This comes after months of his battle cry that "we need a balanced approach" to deficit reduction (never mind the fact that we DONT need to reduce the deficit with any spending cuts, just taxes to reduce inequality and pro-growth stimulus would fix that).

Is it really balanced to be proposing twice as much in austerity spending cuts as tax increases on corporations and the wealthy (who receive overwhelming preferential tax treatment in the current framework)? And why is Obama's plan, in response to Ryan's insane House plan, opening up with cutting Social Security as a starting point? This is the same thing he tried in 2012. What happened to the art of negotiation?  

And why no mention of the Buffett rule? Why no end to carried interest? Why not an overhaul of corporate welfare reform that this country desperately needs to reduce inequality? Why not end these tax expenditures that benefit the wealthy and perpetuate the inequality plaguing this country? Here's a reminder of what's been going on in our country, inequality-wise, and what is perpetuating it (bad tax policy, not "super awesome smart rich people" and "lazy low-middle class workers):

Sure, the Republican opposition can always be blamed for anything and everything. But this story gave me pause, and I wondered, what if Romney got elected? Would Romney, facing a sizeable Democratic majority in the Senate, have offered up something better than this?

The argument is that Obama can't force the opposition to accept any of his plans, and that he needs their cooperation to get any legislation passed.

Fair enough, then, well, how would this be any different than if Romney was in office? He'd have to negotiate with Democrats. And we know the Democrats bent over for Bush multiple times, including for his pro-plutocrat tax cuts and the unfunded wars, which together created the deficits we're now so desperate to reduce.

But the way Obama's plan has turned out, it seems like progressives could have gotten a better deal if Romney was in office and we let Reid play obstructionist and try and force a balanced compromise (as ironic and cynical as it may seem). (NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF MITT ROMNEY SHOULD BE PRESIDENT).

It's developments like this truly unbalanced Obama plan which favors known, failed austerity cuts over inequality-reducing tax increases on the wealthy (not a real form of austerity) which make me just wonder if it even matters who we elected last year.

Obama can't even get basic judicial appointments through, let alone a budget that rejects the misery of austerity that is ongoing in Europe.

While the GOP obviously bears the brunt of the responsibility here, I voted for Obama for his promises not to touch Social Security and to oppose austerity, to reduce inequality and provide opportunities to rebuild the middle class.

But I also voted for his leadership. I didn't vote for him to compromise time after time, negotiate with himself, and end up with a plan that essentially Republicans would have organically produced had Obama not been in office at all.

This is a repeat of Obamacare, which was a reproduction of the Heritage Foundation's corporate giveaway, and Dodd-Frank, which was a weak, coddling set of regulations written by the banks that is still incomplete with vague enforcement mechanisms. Except that was when the Democrats actually had the House and the Senate in addition to the presidency.

So can we really blame Republican opposition, when the Democrats produced bad legislation in 2009-2010 when they had a supermajority across the board?

That may be the excuse they use now, but recent history is showing us that in reality, these are the true colors of the Democratic Party -- outright pandering to the wealthy and corporations, which only further perpetuates the devolution into the modern American oligarchy.

And I'll leave you with this blast from the past by Joe Biden, the king of empty promises:

"I’m glad you all are not talking about doing anything with Social Security,” Mr. Biden responded: “Hey, by the way, let’s talk about Social Security. Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you.

8:00 AM PT: Two things I'd like to add here (thanks everyone for your great comments!):

1. Contact your elected officials and tell them Chained CPI is unacceptable and that you're not fooled about it being necessary in any way:

2. DONT BE AFRAID TO CONTACT YOUR REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVES. MARCO RUBIO IN 2012 STOOD UP FOR CHAINED CPI AND TRIED TO USE OBAMA'S SUPPORT AS BAD OPTICS.  We CAN use the GOP to stop Obama if that's seriously what it's going to take to prevent Chained CPI from occurring.

So write BOTH the Democrats and Republicans representing you, even if it's just a one-sentence note saying "PLEASE STOP CHAINED CPI".

We're all in this together. The strong support the vulnerable. Our country is not a business, we take care of each other and we have to come together and fight this with whatever means we can use!


Courtesy of poopdogcomedy:

 Protecting & Preserving Social Security Act could (0+ / 0-)

use some movement in Congress.  Begich's Senate bill is S. 308, House version is H.R. 649:

Get on the phone with your Senator and Congressman, tell them no cuts to SS & Medicare:

Flood those lines now and when they get back from break.  You can also get involved with the Strengthen Social Security Coalition:

Originally posted to AusteritySucks on Thu Apr 04, 2013 at 11:18 PM PDT.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders, In Support of Labor and Unions, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, and Money and Public Purpose.

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