What Party Sends Seniors Running To the Other Side?

Another problem for the Catfood Commission - seniors vote.

Atrios writes:

The Democratic Party Self-Destruction Act

That's what Bowles and Simpson have submitted.

Conservative blogger Professor Bainbridge thinks Simpson and Bowles have submitted the Republican Party Self-Destruction Act:

Remember all those older tea party types who wanted the government to keep its hands off their Social Security and Medicare? Even setting aside opposition in the Senate and the White House, how does the House GOP cut old folk's entitlements without sending seniors running back to the Democrats for protection?

No sane political party will embrace the Catfood Commission. None ever would. It's DOA.

Speakng for me only

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    See...finally some Post Partisan Unity (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by steviez314 on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:11:48 PM EST

    In the word of Peter Griffin (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:16:33 PM EST

    DOA? There are stiffs in the morgue with more (none / 0) (#12)
    by steviez314 on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:24:24 PM EST
    life than this.

    What's stupid about him helping his backers? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:19:13 PM EST

    "This had to be one of his more politically stupid ideas."

    Obama's not stupid.  Savvy investor?  Yes indeedy.

    It seems to have slipped the (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:30:00 PM EST
    good professor's notice that recommendations will be voted on in the lame-duck Congress, not the GOP-majority House in the next Congress.  He's also missing the fact that the GOP didn't create this commission - Obama did - so that pretty much stamps "D" all over it, I think.

    And who that is paying attention thinks the WH is opposed to all of this?

    While apparently some Dems are making I-could-never-vote-for-this kinds of noise, there are way too many making we-have-to-have-the-conversation-and-this-will-give-us-a-starting-point noise.  And I haven't heard Obama stop talking about having to "do something" about deficits - nor have I heard him acknowledge that Social Security is not part of the federal budget.

    If this looks like it is actually going to be taken seriously, the only place people are likely to run is into the streets, with pitchforks and torches.  

    A Cchristmas Eve vote? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:34:21 PM EST
    Not gonna happen.

    There's a reason why the (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:49:46 PM EST
    report and recommendations were set to be delivered and voted on in a lame-duck Congress, so I really don't put anything past them - and I don't know how anyone can put much stock in them doing the right thing.

    Obama needs to kill the whole thing, and take the heat for "wasting" time on the commission in the first place.

    Think he has the courage to do that?  Or is this going to be another example of Obama looking on as a disinterested observer and letting things run their course, no matter how badly it could turn out?


    Why kill it (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:53:35 PM EST
    it killed itself- any report needs 14 of 18 members backing it- this recommendation has 2, and its release seems to signal that no actual report will be forthcoming.

    The heat will transfer (none / 0) (#23)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:25:00 PM EST
    to the House and Boehner in terms of any cuts. They have the responsibility for proposing any $$ cuts.  And, since the proposal won't be formally submitted until December, there will be no time for anything this serious until after the first of the year. It may be that--just like the Republicans new-found dilemma over "earmarks"--Mr. Boehner et al will have to publicly deal with what had been heretofore their campaign "debt rhetoric."  In any event, the WH initial reaction today indicates that the bouncing burden on this one will follow Boehner and his colleagues...if the Commission can agree on any recommendations, that is. Interesting variation on triangulation by the WH, in my perspective.

    There's a reason this was all set (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:39:23 PM EST
    to be presented to a lame duck Congress.

    And while it may fall to the next Congress to flesh out the details, it will be carrying out the recommendations of the Democratic Congress that passed - if, in fact, recommendations do pass - the Commission's recommendations.

    How you can think for one minute that whatever follows from passage of a recommendations package will not forever be hung around Obama's neck is completely and utterly beyond me.


    Because it will never (none / 0) (#44)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:52:19 PM EST
    ever be passed and may never even get a vote (why would Pelosi allow a vote on this- its not the report its simply the Chairs recommendations, which can be ignored).

    I am well aware that what was (5.00 / 3) (#56)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:18:14 PM EST
    released today was a draft of the chairmen's report - that this is not the report of the entire commission, nor have any of the proposals been voted on, and none are recommendations.

    But what I have been reading is that this is the opening salvo - as commission member Dick Durbin said, " a starting point."

    When the discussion - in the media, from the president, from people who are supposed to know better - continues to dishonestly connect Social Security with deficits and the federal budget, what are we to conclude?  That it doesn't have a big ol' target on its back?

    I can only hope that you and others are correct when you say that you think this is all a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    It pains me, though, to think about so many people, already struggling, already suffering, who now have to endure however many weeks of additional worry before we get to the political punch line of "Just kidding!"


    Pelosi would allow a vote on the (none / 0) (#84)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:07:29 AM EST
    commissions final recommendations because she promised Obama that the House would vote on it during the lame duck sessions if it passed the Senate.

    Pelosi called the content of yesterday's release (none / 0) (#104)
    by christinep on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:40:05 PM EST
    "Simply unacceptable." (And--ho! ho!--on the right, old Grover Norquist warned his fellow righties that he could not support it because of all the tax increases inherent in it.) Nobody likes it.  What is Boehner to do?

    This isn't the report though (none / 0) (#43)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:51:13 PM EST
    and as such has no obligation of being voted on- hell from all accounts there will be no report which is why the chairs released these recommedations- remember to get a report they needed 14 of 18 members voting in favor.   Besides the broad-reach of the recommedations ensures opposition from virtually every lobbying group in congress- from Big Oil (the 900 million cut in Fossil Fuel research grants), to the AARP (the Social Security changes- which actually arent't as big as I thought they'd be they raise the age of eligibility to 69--- in 2075, and rightly lift the contribution cap- something that virtually everyone supports) to AHIP- because it slashes Medicare Advantage even more steeply than HCR did, to the Defense Industry (20% cut in the Defense budget- primarily from procurement)-- there is literally not a congressman alive at least not one who gets corporate money or hopes to be a lobbyist some day who will vote for this.

    maybe they will both (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:31:18 PM EST
    self destruct and we can start over with the rent is to damn high party or something.

    That's a much better name (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:33:17 PM EST
    than the tea or coffee party.

    We've had countless chances... (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:39:27 PM EST
    to throw a monkeywrench in the works and start over...obviously this is exactly how we want it.

    What do we want the Jimmy Mac's and Ralph Nader's to do for our votes, beg?  There's a monkeywrench on almost every major office ballot, we laugh at them...the joke is on us.


    Nobody (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:41:50 PM EST
    takes Nader seriously. Third parties need to come up with better candidates if they want to get more votes.

    Better candidates... (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:43:52 PM EST
    like Obama?  Boehner?  By my view they already have better candidates.

    Do you (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:46:16 PM EST
    really think Nader was a good candidate? The man has become a joke. He runs on Green Party ticket when he won't even join the party and then he runs on another party ticket in 2004 because they're the only ones that will have him? He's an egomaniac.

    Compared to... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:53:24 PM EST
    the empty crooked suits Brand D and R trot out, I'd gladly roll the dice on Ralph and his ego.  

    It's true he's not much of a "candidate", but I'd call that another plus.  "Candidates" tell you whatever it is they think you wanna hear...aka lie through their teeth.


    Not a good candidate (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:11:40 PM EST
    because the system is completely and utterly gamed to keep people like Nader out and keep the stooges and players like Clinton and Obama rolling in.

    Though, this recieved wisdom/meme that Nader is somehow more of an ego maniac than many, many other people prominent in politics is b.s. It's just a transparent manuvre designed to marginalize the message by tarring the messenger as craaazy..


    Work (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:18:40 PM EST
    on getting rid of the electoral college then.

    I wish them good luck with that (none / 0) (#47)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:56:31 PM EST
    the electoral college, like the Senate is a relic- but like the Upper body in Congress- its also locked in the constitution and as such is not going to change.

    I tend to disagree about Ralph (none / 0) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:21:13 PM EST
    but interestingly I think if he ran in 12, if things stay the same, he might get a little more sympathy and attention.

    Seriously (none / 0) (#46)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:55:19 PM EST
    even Perot- a visibly unbalanced Billionaire who dropped out in the middle of the fall only to re-enter the race a few weeks later was viewed as a more credible canidate than Nader.

    "This proposal is simply unacceptable." (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by Pol C on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:21:37 PM EST
    Pelosi has released a statement about the chairpersons' proposal:

    On the Proposal Released by Co-Chairs of the Fiscal Commission

    Our nation is facing two challenges: the need to create jobs and address our budget deficit. Any viable proposal from the President's Fiscal Commission must strengthen our economy, but it must do so in a fair way, focusing on how we can effectively promote economic growth.

    This proposal is simply unacceptable. Any final proposal from the Commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren's economic security as well as for our nation's fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare. And it must strengthen America's middle class families-under siege for the last decade, and unable to withstand further encroachment on their economic security.

    The House isn't obligated to vote on anything the commission can't agree on. Since the commission can't agree on anything, there won't be a vote on anything in the lame duck session. Pelosi's statement seals it. This particular assault on the citizenry is over.

    Pelosi understands (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by shoephone on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 05:01:50 PM EST
    Negotiation 101 better than some other D's.

    Lets listen to some other voices (none / 0) (#87)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:12:57 AM EST
    on who commented on this issue today. Source: AP


    Obama, in Seoul, South Korea, declined to discuss the specifics of the chairmen's work but said Thursday, "We're going to have to take actions that are difficult and we're going to have to tell the truth the American people." He said there has been a lot of rhetoric about the nation's debt and annual budget deficits but "a lot of the talk didn't match up with reality."


    Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Budget Committee and a member of the White House commission, said the nation faces the real possibility of becoming a "second-tier economic power" if it fails to address the trillion-dollar-plus deficit. He said simply cutting waste and fraud will not solve the problem, and insisted changes to Medicare and Social Security were needed because both programs are headed toward insolvency.

    "People can say we want to keep what is. What is is not affordable," Conrad said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

    Seems to me they ought to first start (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:55:59 AM EST
    with the truth - that Social Security is not part of the budget and is not a factor in the deficit - and then see how the people react to being told that instead of subjecting wages over the current ceiling ($106,800) to some portion of the tax that wages below that ceiling are subject to, the solutions being offered are to (1) reduce benefits by raising the retirement age even higher than the current age most people in labor-intensive jobs have to be in order to get full benefits, (2) index the benefits which is another way of reducing them, (3) make it a means-tested program that will make receiving benefits feel like one is receiving welfare.

    But apart from that little truth problem, there's an even bigger problem: the American people have already sacrificed plenty, thanks very much, so it seems to me these kinds of concern-trolling lectures from Obama and Conrad and their ilk would best be delivered to the banks and to Wall Street and the health insurance industry, which have unabashedly screwed us again and again and again, and each time were rewarded for their actions with more and more and more of our money.

    Too bad, too, that the media're all on board the freight train: Brian Williams opened last night's NBC News by saying something to the effect that when America voted on the 2nd, it was telling Washington to stop spending money -and now this report was out (no mention that it was a draft, of course), and now all that remained was figuring out the details.

    What comes after "livid?"  Actual head explosion?


    Well you know that there is the "truth" (none / 0) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:39:26 AM EST
    and Obama's truth. Not the same thing by a long shot.

    Only Nixon (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Zorba on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 05:19:03 PM EST
    could go to China.  Only Clinton could have slashed welfare.  Maybe only Obama can slash Social Security (Bush II certainly couldn't).  Not that I'm in favor of this, mind you.  I'm an old-fashioned liberal, and to me, this is unconscionable.  I would love to have some "old-fashioned" Democrats come up- people like Eugene McCarthy, Bobby Kennedy, George McGovern, Paul Wellstone.  Heck, even Birch Bayh- I cannot help but think that he must be appalled at his son Evan.  

    I like one (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:58:50 PM EST
    of the recommendations on Social Security- the lifting of the income cap, and think that the longevity index bit makes some sense (because if life spans keep increasing than fiscally we probably do need some sort of slow lifting of the retirement age) but everything else in that section is nuts.  

    Are you a white collar worker? (none / 0) (#100)
    by sj on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:27:40 PM EST
    think that the longevity index bit makes some sense (because if life spans keep increasing than fiscally we probably do need some sort of slow lifting of the retirement age)

    Because if you're not, you must be relatively young and have not yet started experiencing how the body gives out.

    And by the bye, life expectancy increases can largely be attributed not to longer life spans but to the decrease in infant mortality.


    Optics (5.00 / 0) (#30)
    by trillian on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 05:21:55 PM EST
    Atrios.....Owning It

    ..The foxnews.com headline is "Obama Debt Panel Eyes Cutting Social Security, Home Deduction."

    Oy vey

    And this should surprise anyone how? (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 05:48:56 PM EST
    BTW it is Obama Debt Panel that he put together for the "fixing" the entitlement programs.

    have we seen Obamas (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 07:45:41 AM EST
    something like democrats need to hold their fire because painful things are going to be necessary?

    tell you what.  if this is his approach to this I officially part ways with BTD in his opinion that no democrat will primary Obama from the left in 2012.

    in fact if this is his approach I would almost bet on it.

    Well (none / 0) (#82)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 08:47:49 AM EST
    all I hear is that we can't do it because AA voters will be alienated.

    So my theory is that he gets wiped out in 2012 because that's when people finally get to vote with their feet.


    I believe the White House statement (none / 0) (#83)
    by Anne on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:01:39 AM EST
    was to the effect that the president would have no comment until the commission had finished its work - I would assume that would be upon delivery of their official report, with any recommendations they managed to find 14 votes for.

    In other words, "we realize that this was a commission the president convened, and we know he's been out there talking about sacrifice and 'fixing entitlements,' but now we want to see which way the wind is blowing, and who's doing the most huffing and puffing, before we express an opinion."


    well (none / 0) (#85)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:09:14 AM EST
    thats what they said on Joe this morning.  so salt as appropriate.

    The MSM this a.m. (none / 0) (#95)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:37:55 AM EST
    is doing the job of carrying the commission's messages -- and portraying them as necessary without alternatives.  So, the Admin need not say anything, when others are doing it for them.

    What (none / 0) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 02:12:09 PM EST
    on earth was Obama thinking when he appointed the commission? This had to be one of his more politically stupid ideas. You better bet he'd better squash them or the party better figure out how to squash them if it's going to survive.

    Don't you think that the GOP will call it Obama's commission and run on the items that they have come up with? This year the GOP ran on protecting social security and people bought it. Don't think they won't do it again.

    This is NOT the recommendation (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:08:00 PM EST
    of the commission.  It's a set of agreed-on half-baked ideas the two co-chairmen came up with.  The commission itself did not vote on it, did not approve it, and apparently never even saw it before these two bozos released it.

    This "chairmen's recommendation" is meaningless and has no standing of any kind.


    No (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 03:22:27 PM EST
    but he is handing the GOP a huge issue simply by even appointing the commission. I mean when the election comes is anyone really even going to be able to discern the difference between the recommendations of the chairman and the commission? Is anybody even going to really care?

    The commission (none / 0) (#40)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:41:27 PM EST
    will basically be ignored and forgotten about within a month or two. Seriously can you even name the deficit commission Clinton formed that Simpson headed up?

    People (none / 0) (#65)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:12:43 PM EST
    are paying attention to this though.

    That's the political impact (none / 0) (#76)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:23:24 AM EST
    I'm just addressing the false impression that this is the official deficit commission recommendation.  It's not, it's just two the two bozos.  If this had been the official commission report, agreed to by the 14 out of 16, it would have much bigger impact.  This is just an annoyance, IMO.

    Even Simpson is downplaying it now (none / 0) (#86)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:09:28 AM EST
    probably due to tall the news it provoked. Says they were just putting all the options on the table.

    What Digby said (5.00 / 3) (#89)
    by ruffian on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:28:35 AM EST
    Obama has made some less than savvy political decisions in office but this one has to take the cake. If he ends up signing on to deep cuts in social security in exchange for some tax hikes that will be subject to revision by the next idiot Republican who comes into office bleating "it's your money!" then he will have presided over the destruction of the Democratic Party. If they can't even protect the safety net during a time of great financial stress --- when they have the presidency and one house of congress --- just what the hell is the point?

    I could try to say it better, but why bother?


    I completely agree (none / 0) (#91)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:30:49 AM EST
    this is it.  this the the last straw.  this is a bridge to far.  pick your end times metaphor.
    if he does this he is done.  period.

    because (none / 0) (#92)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:32:27 AM EST
    the skids he is attempting to grease are lined with razor wire.  the people he is trying to please will NEVER vote for him.  and by doing this 80% of the people who might vote for him are going to be enraged.  I am talking marching in the streets and attacking democratic headquarters enraged.

    it is completely unfathomable


    Sometimes there is a great benefit (none / 0) (#25)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:31:42 PM EST
    to the counterpunch of letting the experts and/or all the ones who claim to know how to reduce the debt to have first crack at it. Because it gets it off the table...for all to see.  Then, and only then, can we get serious.  Without all the poseurs, it could be possible to find a few consensus items. After the bluff and bravado.  I'd like to see how it all plays out...but, it could be a lot better for the WH than one would have thought earlier.

    11 dimensional (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:47:48 PM EST
    chess again?

    Naw (none / 0) (#28)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 05:18:50 PM EST
    Just classic let-the-other-guy-who-talks-the-loudest go first. Sometimes--maybe like Health Care Reform--the proactive role should have been used by the WH. But, sometimes, like the incredible mire pulling down any cost-cutting measures <where there is no magic answer> it is better to hold for awhile until the official others demonstrate what we have just seen.  (BTW, as a person myself who has a propensity for jumping right in to a conflict, it took me more than awhile to appreciate the advantages of the counterpuncher.) We'll see soon how effective is the use of a Commission to show openness to a range of ideas...where, if the Commission has great ideas, the appointing executive can take credit for having the foresight to name a Blue Ribbon or whatever Commission OR, if the ideas cause screams & yells, the executive has a range of options after the screening and in terms of his/her own proposals.

    But (none / 0) (#41)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:47:35 PM EST
    Obama has gone first; he set up the commission.  I'm beginning to wonder if this prez believes in any Dem economic ideas or cares about any traditional constituencies for those ideas.  I think he hung around U Chicago economists too long.

    These commissions are meangless (none / 0) (#51)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:00:25 PM EST
    both of the past two presidents formed them- and guess what Alan "I hates me Social Security" Simpson was a chair on each of them- they mean nothing but sound good.

    If you've watched any of the (none / 0) (#88)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:16:52 AM EST
    cable and network news channels this a.m., you will see that the recommendations of the commissions are being presented as necessary and almost done deals.

    I'm not one to have much ego or to say I told you so (by 'you' I mean all), but this is a heavy truck rolling swiftly down hill.

    This morning's news also features pundits yapping about how mortgage interest deductions are an "entitlement".  


    Ugh...you hit a vulnerable point (none / 0) (#55)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:17:35 PM EST
    The University of Chicago? I hope not. (Honest. The Commission-setting-up idea goes way back. A President can benefit from the use of the rarefied Commission... it is up to him, of course, how he plays it.)

    The same thing (none / 0) (#39)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:40:19 PM EST
    Clinton was when he appointed Simpson to head a similar commission in the 90s- that its a pointless gesture that might garner some good press and will never come back to haunt him because said commissions recommedations will be voted down if they aren't just laughed at- I mean lets not get into the geniunely disturbing recommendations like Tax cuts and Social Security reform lets just touch on the side issues that kill this-- seriously, can you honestly imagine congress voting to slash 20% from the defense budget? To eliminate the Mortage tax credit- the very corporate nature of congress prevent both of those things from ever, ever happening and as such prevent these recommendations from getting through.

    Erskine Bowles (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:19:30 PM EST
    was definitely a good, successful counterpoint to Wyoming's Simpson.

    You can (none / 0) (#61)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:45:12 PM EST
    get away with a lot of things when you have a good economy. When you have 10% unemployment like Obama does, people are lot less inclined to ignore things like recommendations for cuts to social security

    But, now, the jury is out on how (none / 0) (#68)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:19:06 PM EST
    the Democrats in Congress and, then, President Obama will respond.  For those who were playing "gotcha", the tables might be turned.

    When has (none / 0) (#70)
    by Ga6thDem on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:25:43 PM EST
    Obama been able to play that game? He's continually gotten played by the GOP.

    He's not being played by the GOP (none / 0) (#90)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:29:27 AM EST
    He is a Reagan Dem if he's a Dem at all.  This is what the pres. wants.  As I posted above, the MSM -- both cable and network -- is parading the commission's ideas of last night as common sense and unimpeachable.  It remains to be seen if anyone in Congress has the backbone to stand up to this.  I'm not optimistic, but I'd love to be wrong.

    Pelosi has issued a statement (none / 0) (#102)
    by christinep on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:27:48 PM EST
    calling the Chairs' blueprint proposals "simply unacceptable." (That should be a hint about Congressional Dems.) BTW, as needs repeating, these proposals reflect only the Chairs' ideas...and, they have expressly stated that they do not expect the requisite 14 of 18 members <needed to send the plan to Congress> to be found.

    The eye of the beholder: Many people that I know view this first outcome as an indication of the President knowing how to call the bluff of the loudest deficit hawks.  Again, we shall see. (But, hey, it is something when we all get to see what it would really look like if all these cuts or many of them were made. Bluff calls--certainly when foreseeable as many have said this was--tend to deflate the gas baloon, followed by an injection of reality.)  

    As you can tell, I'm optimistic. In fact, listening briefly to Jake Tapper (ABC?) and then Jim Lehrer (PBS) last night, it seemed that most of the commentary suggested how it would be difficult, if not impossible, to get agreement on most of the proposals.  


    Pelosi was also (none / 0) (#107)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 07:42:27 PM EST
    in favor of a public option and various other progressive provisions that never made it into the HCR and which she was instrumental in passing.

    DOA? (none / 0) (#19)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:14:17 PM EST
    A fascinating proposal...it practically guarantees that almost every segment of society will be against it in some respect. With the exception of phasing in higher age by 2075 for Social Security and raising the contribution limit to capture 90%, the blow-them-out-of-the-water remarks about the concept of "indexing to inflation" shows that any overall diminishment in that area is DOA. Really.

    In a sense, the Chairs did us all a favor. Their suggestions hit everyone. My personal laughing favorite: Cutting expensive federal contractors (trans. as the boys/girls of the lobbyists and other big money interests) both in the civilian and military areas. There are a number of military projects that are specifically slated to be cut; and, what about the proposal to cut a 1/3 of forces in Europe and Asia; or the VA service charge increase? Or, for the midwest politicians, what about the proposal to trim $3Billion in farm subsidies yearly? Or, what about deleting tax credits, etc. not just for the middle class...but also for the wealthy?  Oh my, it is all there. And more.

    Maybe this is good. (1) It will either cause such noise and gasps from all sides that it will have no chance OR (2) It will cause the loudest cutters to face publicly some of the projects and goodies that have been sacrosanct for them OR (3) When everyone looks around and realizes the range of the suggested axe, the reality becomes to mutter and make pronouncements and then walk away or there may actually be some near consensus reductions.

    I have a penchant for cliches. Cultures the world over find sayings and cliches very useful shorthand for reality.  In a raucous conversation about the Chairs' outlined proposals today, we liked these 3 sayings: 1. "When push comes to shove..." lets see what happens. 2. "You can't have your cake and eat it too" (special note to Repubs in the House) 3. "Who's ox is being gored" (special note to almost every group.)

    My optimistic self then says: After the hoopla comes the recognition that the Chairs either deliberately or accidentally gored everyone. How long will it take for the real players to shake out and--here comes another cliche--"fish or cut bait."  Somehow it brings to mind the opening gambit in 1995 of the Repubs ill-fated government shutdown. With that history (including the same cuts in parks and other services), I wonder how long the American people will say "Yea, Boehner, you keep slashing away....?"

    You (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by kmblue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 06:41:23 PM EST
    are kidding me.  I don't for a moment believe a commission Obama created over the objections of Congress will be blown off by our President.
    But if you want to believe it's a clever ploy by the man who hasn't been clever since he won office, be my guest.

    It is a very well known approach (none / 0) (#35)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 06:58:38 PM EST
    Appoint a Commission. If the Commission--a bipartisan one--can't reach agreement (14 of 18) after being given lots of leeway, well....

    When that's accompanied (5.00 / 3) (#42)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:50:19 PM EST
    by the president's frequent statements that support the "mission" of the commission he created, it's more than a little bit of a stretch to believe this is all for show.

    I'm with you Anne (5.00 / 1) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 06:20:53 AM EST
    and the day before the midterm election on 60 minutes, Obama once again said that we had to do something about entitlements.  I don't understand how so many people can disremember the words coming out of his mouth.

    I don't (none / 0) (#80)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 06:29:44 AM EST
    know why everybody doesn't realize that if it's a GOP idea, Obama is going to do it.

    The "misson" (none / 0) (#53)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:04:59 PM EST
    is cutting the deficit- of course the President supports that- can you remember a President who didn't support "cutting the deficit" its a catchphrase like how every single politician who ever runs for the Presidency believes in "strong defense" despite having a variety of definitions for said strength.

    And this morning's news story (none / 0) (#93)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:34:06 AM EST
    from Asia stating the President is not opposed to extending tax breaks for the wealthy.

    The fix is in.  If the deficit is addressed, it will be on the backs of average folks with little left to spare, and the wealthy and uber wealthy will continue the march toward owning a greater and greater percent of the nation's total wealth.


    Except the Commission doesn't have the votes (none / 0) (#103)
    by christinep on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:31:48 PM EST
    It seems like clever ploy (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:56:31 PM EST
    to hand off responsibility to someone else, as in healthcare to Congress, when Admin had its hand-picked directors of the industry scribes all along, so when things go wrong, there's someone to blame.  At the same time, be sure the MSM picks up your theme songs, i.e., public option can't pass, and this time, we can't afford to keep funding Social Security as currently in effect -- all so the public will come to accept the limitations of our system, and all go away quietly. The error the their ways only comes home to roost at election time, and perhaps the prez does not want a second term, or does and feels assured that the Repubs will again select a ticket that makes many in the electorate go for lesser of two evils.  

    The appointment of this Commission, the timing of the release of preliminary recommendations or whatever you want to call them, etc. all seems to fit a pattern.  I would love to be proven wrong, but I've been saying this since the healthcare debacle.  


    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:03:09 PM EST
    its the old "I'll form a Blue-ribbon panel to look into that" schipiel that politicians do to quiet people on an issue. Remember that by doing this Obama killed a congressional attempt at a similar commission- one that would have had teeth- whereas the recommendations here can be filibustered even if they are ever reached.

    Uh...Congress killed that attempt, (5.00 / 4) (#58)
    by Anne on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:27:50 PM EST
    and then Obama issued the executive order that breathed new life into it.

    And then extracted a promise from Congress that it would give whatever recommendations passed an up-or-down vote.

    So, Obama wasn't content with Congress killing the commission - he wanted to make sure it got recommendations to kill, as well.


    Your history is good (none / 0) (#59)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:31:22 PM EST
    People--all of us--remember only the outcome.

    Not exactly (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:39:31 PM EST
    Quite a few of us actually paid attention to the details and remember all to well the history of the current committee.

    I haven't been (none / 0) (#67)
    by NYShooter on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:17:06 PM EST
    following this issue too much, so maybe you can fill in some blanks for me, MO.

    I just finished watching R. Maddow and she dedicated a segment of her show to the fact that they chose today (when Obama was out of the country) to issue their statements. Man, she talks a lot, and fast, and repeats, and repeats, and repeats, but anyway....

    She was making fun of the fact that seven republicans who, by the way, were co-chairs, or co-signatories, to this commission suddenly flipped, and voted NO as soon as Obama agreed it was a good idea, and also signed on. She even showed a clip where Obama is joking it up pretty much with an audience using this flip-flop as the punch line.

    Can you shed some more light on this, please?


    Didn't watch Maddow and I'm confused about (none / 0) (#72)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:57:42 PM EST
    where she was going on the subject. This is the only explanation I've seen as to why the co-chairs made their recommendations public today. You can decide if it has merit.

    The White House's debt commission co-chairs were not planning on publicly releasing their preliminary recommendations, at least not in such a hurried fashion. But the commissioners' reactions to their eye-popping proposals weren't exactly positive. And so, concerned about potential leaks and negative press, the co-chairs decided to unveil it and get ahead of the spin, according to a source with knowledge of the proceedings. TPM

    The two reason I've read as to why Republicans voted against the commission were they feared steep tax increases and argued that the commission would not be focused enough on cutting spending and top Republicans feared it would help Democrats extricate themselves from a difficult debt-ceiling bill.

    Days before the vote, seven Republicans who had supported the measure withdrew their co-sponsorship and eventually voted against it. I do not remember exactly who the seven Republicans were only that 23 Republicans voted against the bill. Here is the roll call.


    Left something out (none / 0) (#73)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 10:20:19 PM EST
    Had the seven Republicans not changed their votes the bill would have passed.

    why, yes i can! (none / 0) (#77)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 04:11:25 AM EST
    Can you shed some more light on this, please?

    simply put, ms. maddow is an idiot. a well educated (rhodes scholar and all) idiot, but an idiot nonetheless. the reason she talks so much and so fast is because, by doing so, she hopes you won't notice that she really hasn't the slightest clue what she's actually talking about.

    unlike beck and limbaugh, who's audience's revel in their host's obvious ignorance of the facts, ms. maddow's audience prides itself in thinking she's a really smart person, with very insightful insights. unfortunately for them, ms. maddow is nothing more than a 2 million dollar a year twit, who seemingly couldn't analyze her way out of a wet paper bag. so much for that high falutin' edumacation.

    no doubt ms. maddow is a smart person, and a great conversationalist. she also looks better than either beck or limbaugh. sadly, being a great conversationalist rarely translates into being a good analyzer of facts.

    it's unfortunate too, i had high hopes for her.


    "all of us"? (none / 0) (#101)
    by sj on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 12:27:43 PM EST
    Don't include me that.  How one arrives at an outcome is often as important (sometimes even more) than the outcome itself.

    I guess, though, that not remembering how an outcome is reached helps some to live in the present.  But it seems like it could have a dampening effect on the concept of striving for more.


    Yes but (none / 0) (#62)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:45:33 PM EST
    congress only killed it because the GOP thought it would raise taxes- eventually it would have gotten through and been able to release unfilibusterable recommendations- now its recommendations don't have any special protection and can be prevented from ever getting a vote.

    So basically what you are saying is that (none / 0) (#64)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:06:25 PM EST
    instead of "Obama killing a congressional attempt at a similar commission- one that would have had teeth-", the Republicans saved us from Obama and the Dems attempt to create a commission that would have had teeth.

    No (none / 0) (#66)
    by Politalkix on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:13:39 PM EST
    PBO is calling the Republican bluff on deficits. It was clear from the beginning that they are petrified about raising taxes, cutting defense spending, farm subsidies. They depend more heavily on senior citizens these days to get elected to office, so they will not want to cut SS and Medicare, either.

    Excellent (none / 0) (#69)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:24:47 PM EST
    That ploy has worked real well so far (none / 0) (#74)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 10:29:00 PM EST
    SENIORS - Seniors account for 24 percent of the vote, their highest in a national House vote in data going back to 1992, and their 19-point margin in support of Republican candidates, if it holds, will be the best such margin among seniors in House vote for the GOP, again in available exit poll data since 1992. link

    Somehow it is harder to campaign on "The Republicans want to take away your Social Security" when the President and the Dems have created a committee that is looking at ways to cut SS benefits. This current report will come in real handy next election for getting even more seniors to vote Republican.


    We shall see what happens in the future (none / 0) (#75)
    by Politalkix on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 11:06:02 PM EST
    at this point it makes no sense to me to get paranoid over every woe that can theoretically befall people or the President or Democrats. I ofcourse understand that you have a different way of thinking...

    Taxes will not be raised -=- (none / 0) (#94)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 09:36:24 AM EST
    at least not on the wealthy; reports on news this a.m. that Obama has just said he is not opposed to extending tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Does this surprise you in any way? (none / 0) (#98)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:43:16 AM EST
    No way was Obama going to raise taxes on his savvy friends no matter what he said initially. Just a little kabuki before "reluctantly" doing the deed.

    agreed (none / 0) (#106)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 07:40:35 PM EST
    this is kind of fun (none / 0) (#24)
    by CST on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:30:29 PM EST
    I wonder if the chairs of the committee will be held to this plan come re-election time.

    We know what their plan is :)

    It would be more interesting (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Zorba on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 06:15:14 PM EST
    to find out what their take would be if they were forced to live on only their Social Security benefits.  Not that this would ever happen.

    Since most of our Congresscritters are (none / 0) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 06:56:24 PM EST
    very affluent to down right wealthy, the additional tax cuts will add to their wealth considerably while the poor and the middle class struggle to survive. Even if fired from Congress, they will be richly rewarded by Wall Street and the industries who benefit from these decisions.

    Not on Social Security (none / 0) (#37)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:36:02 PM EST
    remember what happened when Bush tried to touch it- his own party turned on him and they supposedly support privatization. Add in the massive cut to military spending and even lobbyist will fight this.

    But we did not have (none / 0) (#49)
    by BackFromOhio on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:58:12 PM EST
    the same widely recognized out of control deficits and other financial woes that we have today, and cutbacks to Social Security are being wrapped in the mantra of "we have no other choice".

    Actually in 2005 (none / 0) (#54)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:06:55 PM EST
    we did have "out of control deficits" of course on the other side we didn't just have thousands of people marching to "keep the governments hands off my Social Security" which as illogical and moronic as it is does clearly demonstrate opposition to a proposal along these grounds.

    this will get (none / 0) (#36)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 07:34:45 PM EST
    about as far as Simpson's last proposal to change Social Security- the one that supposedly Clinton and Gingrich were going to push through against the will of their respective parties in 1997- yeah nowhere.  Seriously, it even has what is essentially a poison pill outside of SS reform-- cutting the defense budget 20%- if anyone honestly thinks a majority in either house of congress would vote for a 20% cut in the defense budget, I've got some Nigerian accounts frozen and I'd like their help.  

    to answer your thread question: (none / 0) (#63)
    by cpinva on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 08:55:32 PM EST
    root ignorance sends seniors running to vote for republicans. yes, i know, i'm not supposed to point out that the vast majority of senior citizens aren't very well informed, it's not seemly.

    sadly, it's a fact. as a common example:

    many senior citizens resent the fact that some of their SS income may be subject to tax. after all, they already paid income taxes on it when they first earned it, why should they get taxed on it again? seems like a fair question, doesn't it? and it is, if you know nothing about FICA (AKA: social security), which most people do.

    FICA has, since its inception, been a dual liability: half paid by the employee, half paid by the employer. the half paid by the employer is a tax (and GAAP) deduction for them, and not considered taxable income to the employee. interestingly, most people not in the accounting (or congress) business don't realize this, they think only the employee is paying all the FICA taxes. hence, their anger that they might pay even more income taxes, upon receipt of SS income payments.

    obviously, they haven't been taxed on it all to begin with, but try explaining that to someone who gorges on beck, limbaugh, hannity, coulter, et al.

    Only to add to that (none / 0) (#71)
    by christinep on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 09:28:02 PM EST
    That age does not determine whether people are aware or not of the political realities.

    agreed, (none / 0) (#78)
    by cpinva on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 04:15:09 AM EST
    That age does not determine whether people are aware or not of the political realities.

    but this thread dealt specifically with seniors, and so that's what i addressed.


    Social Security and Taxes (none / 0) (#99)
    by KLCarten on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 10:58:10 AM EST
    For years any income earned through Social Security benefits and or earned income was taxed over $40K a year.   Last year this was lowered to $36K a year, I find it hard to believe that anyone on Social Security doesn't know the tax liability, due to the fact that you receive tax information and on the form it tells what income is taxed after a certain amount and it has the amount for single and married.
    For us disabled people, who had to fight for years to get the benefits, our back pay is also taxed. When I received my back pay, the last year they paid out lump sums in back pay, the full amount was taxed plus what I received that year.  I had to file a request that the income was a lump sum settlement from Social Security, and not normal earned income.  The one and only time I had my taxes done, thinking that the accountant would file the proper papers.  I had to amend my taxes because there were two extra forms that had to be filed.
    So I must disagree, that when it comes to Social Security, seniors and disabled people are educated with Social Security.  As much as a pain it was to get it, The Social Security Offices do keep us folks informed about any changes in our benefits and Medicare.

    Lowering the tax free amount from (none / 0) (#105)
    by MO Blue on Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 07:09:19 PM EST
    $40K a year to $36K a year was not exactly what Obama promised. He promised to eliminate all federal taxes on seniors with incomes under $50K a year. Instead we get higher taxes, and if Obama "fixes" Social Security and Medicare, lower Social Security benefits and higher Medicare premiums and co-pays.