Since we are only seven weeks into 2014 I feel confident calling President Obama’s decision to remove the chained-CPI Social Security benefit cut from his budget the biggest victory for progressives so far this year.
The change is bigger than simply the removal of a line from a budget. It symbolizes a victory over the entitlement-cutting “grand bargain” forces because it is an acknowledgement by Obama his hope is basically dead. This is a fight that has been going on for years against some of the best-funded organizations in Washington. A policy which would have hurt millions of Americans and made our retirement crisis worse appears to have been stopped – for now.
It is a sad comment about the current state of politics that the biggest progressive victory so far this year wasn’t a victory with the Democratic President, but a victory against him. While Obama did technically remove chained-CPI, he was the one who put it there in the first place. He is the one who has been consistently pushing for a grand bargain for years. He was the one who forced the Democratic party to temporarily back such a destructive and deeply unpopular position.
Obama only removed this policy from his budget because he was stopped by a combination of progressives (some) and mostly Republicans who refused to give him even token tax increases.
Official White House photo by Pete Souzza