The AFL-CIO's Damon Silvers continues reminding the Obama administration and Democratic members of Congress what it would look like if they tried to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And you can't say he's not direct or colorful:
“The labor movement is going to fight to the death to stop cuts to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid,” AFL-CIO policy director Damon Silvers told Salon Thursday afternoon. “Not ‘unreasonable cuts.’ Not ‘cuts without tax increases.’ Cuts period. We’re against all of them, we will fight them ferociously, and we will give no cover to any Democrat who supports them.”Billionaires sure do like it, but implicit in everything Silvers says is that it's not just unions or the famed professional left that don't want to see these programs cut, it's, well, basically everyone. For Democrats to offer up cuts to these programs would mean giving Republicans a weapon that would be used in a million campaign ads. Yes, those campaign ads would be being run by the exact billionaires that wanted to see Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cut to begin with. Yes, the ads would be run to promote Republican politicians that would make more and deeper cuts if they could. No matter. The ads would run. And voters would be—rightly—furious. The Democratic base would be dispirited and disgusted. Low-information swing voters would be hearing that Democrats were responsible and Republicans were the answer. It would be armageddon for Democrats.
Silvers said it would be “simply an invitation to a fratricide in the Democratic Party” for the president to take up a renewed push for “chained CPI,” a proposed change in cost of living calculations that would reduce future Social Security benefits. “It hits the absolute most vulnerable people …” charged Silvers. “It’s a proposal that has no merit at all other than that billionaires like it.”
So when unions or whoever else say they're going to fight a grand bargain with these cuts, they're fighting primarily for the millions of Americans whose lives would be harmed, who might be thrown into poverty or left to sicken and die because they're poor. But they're also fighting for the immediate electoral fortunes of the Democratic Party. Even if they have to fight Democratic politicians to do it.