Currently Obama has gotten the political upper hand in the sequester fight by blaming the Republicans for the lack of willingness to compromise. Fortunately for Obama, much of the decision about the sequester has been focused on the possible impact of the cuts, who is to blame, and the lack of negotiation.
Lucky for the administration, little attention has been paid to the Obama’s actual plan to replace the the entire sequester past the fact that he technically has one. If the American people started looking at the details of Obama’s plan it would likely become very unpopular.
Two of the biggest single elements of Obama’s $1.5 trillion plan are a large cut in Social Security/Veteran benefits and a substantial middle class tax increase. Obama proposed adopting the chained-CPI, which is a slower and less accurate measure of inflation than the government currently uses.
Because of a slower inflation measure every year beneficiaries would get slightly less money. Over time this cumulative reduction in Social Security would add up to a substantial cut for many beneficiaries. In addition, a slower measure of inflation would impact where tax brackets are set. It would steadily shift many people into higher brackets. As a result, millions of middle class people would end up paying more in taxes.
Polls show cutting Social Security benefits and raising taxes on the middle class are individually unpopular proposals, but they are likely to be made even more unpopular by what they would be used to pay for. Obama’s plan would also eliminate the vast majority of the sequester cuts to the military.
In effect, Obama is proposing cutting your Social Security benefits and raising your taxes so most of that money can be given to the Pentagon instead. This is the exact opposite of what the electorate would prefer.
Photo by Pete Souza released under Public Domain