Contribute $3 or more right now to our Emergency Rapid Response Fund to help us send a $100,000 message to Speaker Boehner: We will defeat Republicans who try to slash Social Security and Medicare while protecting tax breaks for multi-millionaires….Republicans’ loyalty to Big Oil, Grover Norquist, and the Tea Party fringe has pushed Speaker Boehner to risk economic disaster rather than budge on ending taxpayer giveaways for Big Oil and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.
According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.
The Democrats’ testiness followed reports that the White House was proposing to alter Social Security and Medicare as part of a potential debt-ceiling deal with Republicans….The White House appears to be gambling that Democrats, even if they gripe, will ultimately rally around the deal the president cuts, as they did last year on a tax package and this year on a continuing resolution funding the government through October.
Now, you’ll hear a lot of people saying that this is just a technical fix, a more accurate measure of inflation. But we have a lot of options to deal with the budget deficit. This particular one cuts Social Security and other benefit programs while raising taxes disproportionately on the working poor. Forget everything else about CPI and inflation indexes. That’s what this would do. And while Social Security advocates understand that, only a few conservatives have been willing to talk about this stealth tax increase, Grover Norquist among them.
Steve Israel wants your money because he says the GOP wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, but it was Barack Obama who put Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table, and now he’s lecturing progressives about how they should support him in it:
Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program… If you’re a progressive who cares about the integrity of Medicare and Social Security and Medicaid, then we have an obligation to make sure we make those changes required to make it sustainable on those terms.
Maybe a good time to address rising health care costs and make the programs sustainable would have been — oh, I don’t know, during the passage of the health care bill, which you’ve been running around for the past year claiming to have “bent the cost curve”:
- Projected annual cost of health care in 2019, if the ACA had not passed: $4,670.6 billion (20.8% of GDP)
- Projected annual cost of health care in 2019, after ACA: $4,693.5 billion (20.9% of GDP)
Source: Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009,” as Proposed by the Senate Majority Leader on November 18, 2009, CMS (PDF)
So because Obama and the Democrats did NOT lower health care costs when they passed the ACA, and then they went and punched a hole in the deficit by extending the Bush tax cuts, now we’ve got to slash social safety net programs if we “care” about them.
The White House is betting the Democrats will suck it up and vote for whatever Obama wants them to, and they’re probably right about that. The Democrats apparently think that if they just don’t use the words “benefit cut,” nobody will notice. Americans overwhelmingly do not want Social Security or Medicare cuts period, and certainly not as part of some deficit-reduction scheme, and the only hope they probably have is that Grover Norquist is calling a reduction in benefits a tax hike, and the Republicans in Congress will be afraid to vote for it.
I can’t recall a moment in my lifetime when government was so extremely out of step with the will of the American people. But it seems like the only fight to be had these days is to see who can screw the middle class the hardest.