Obama Budget Won't Include Social Security Cuts

The Wall St. Journal reports President Obama's budget, to be released on Monday, won't include changes to social security:

"The president believes that we should strengthen the program without putting at risk current retirees or slashing benefits for future generations, and he believes we can only achieve this goal by working together—Democrats and Republicans—to find a bipartisan solution," said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage.

Joan at Daily Kos has more.

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    This from the first link (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 09:53:33 PM EST
    is just marvelous:  
    The hope was to engage Republicans in talks.  But aides decided against putting forward the ideas, sure to be unpopular, without a clear signal from Republicans that they were ready to talk.

    Yay, the Dems this time are not giving it all away even without being asked!  This is progress, and I couldn't be happier that the learning curve came in time to leave Social Security alone.

    Translation: Obama wants to do it, (5.00 / 8) (#4)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 09:58:31 PM EST
    but he doesn't want his to be the only fingerprints on it.

    He - and other like-minded "Democrats" - may be putting it off to the side - for now - but I don't know why anyone would believe it isn't still firmly on the table.


    Thank you for the reality check -- the Big O has (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by jawbone on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 09:59:25 AM EST
    talked about taking on the entitlements, SocSec and Medicare, since he began his primary run.  When that didn't go over very well, he changed his tune, except when speaking to private well-heeled donors. Speaking to the rubes, he lied.

    He wants to go after SocSec so bad he can barely contain himself, but I guess his political managers are teaching him a bit about real politik.

    Just watch: The Repubs will "make him do it."

    We don't get paid no mind, but Repubs sure do. And Big O will indeed find it impossible to not exceed their demands.


    Me either Anne (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:52:38 AM EST
    How am I supposed to simply forget numerous Obama moments where he stood at a podium and indicated we must "tweak" Social Security.  He was saying it before it was even in vogue. I believe he was the one person who had any power who attempted to make it in vogue, and when that didn't hammer out very well when it came to getting reelected he now takes a completely different course?  He has done such things many times too when it benefitted him at the moment, and has had no intention of following through and has backtracked later and shoved the unwanted right down my throat.  Making a convenient play on the cheap intended only for the moment, to be undone as soon as that is convenient, is his signature.

    obama's huge victory on destroying SS (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by pluege2 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 07:38:48 AM EST
    was his getting the 2% payroll tax cut that will be neither temporary, nor ever paid back.

    By undermining SS's finances, obama undermined the argument that social security won't have any kind of financial problem for at least another 25 years. This is what prevents SS cuts from getting traction. But by moving the "SS isn't paying for itself" date much closer, obama puts some air into the his and the republicans "the sky is falling on SS - we MUST do something" nonsense rhetoric.

    In short, when it became still obvious that SS couldn't be cut now even when pushed by a democratic president, obama did the next best thing, he undermined it to set up the need for those cuts he and his plutocrat puppet-masters are still 100% behind. What obama did is a setup for the destruction of SS. He is such a good plutocratic stooge.

    If you've been following the (4.80 / 5) (#2)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 09:38:43 PM EST
    course of this whole budget/debt ceiling/deficit "crisis" thing, you would understand that the Dems - with Obama leading the way - are still marching down the wrong path on fiscal policy; they are so concerned with proving they are "serious" about spending that they are failing to stay focused on - and make a case for - all the things that government can and should be doing, and which require that money be spent.

    How much sense does it make for Obama to propose cuts to a program that provides energy assistance to low-income people, in order to offset breaks for the wealthy and for corporations?  Really?  That's how we're going to "pay for" all the goodies the wealthy think they deserve?  On the backs of the poor?

    Don't get me wrong: it's good that Social Security cuts aren't part of what Obama is proposing - this year - but the real question is, why was it ever even in play?  And is it off the table for good, or only until Obama can get the GOP to play along?

    Consider this:

    The White House last month considered offering specific benefit cuts and tax increases to shore up Social Security's finances, but ultimately decided to back off.

    Officials weighed suggesting that Congress raise the ceiling on wages subject to the Social Security payroll tax and allow benefits to rise more slowly than under current law, according to three people familiar with the deliberations. The hope was to engage Republicans in talks.

    But aides decided against putting forward the ideas, sure to be unpopular, without a clear signal from Republicans that they were ready to talk.

    The rest is behind the subscriber wall, so I don't know the punch line - but, if people aren't appalled that what stopped Obama from proposing cuts was not that it was the wrong thing to do, but that he didn't have the GOP on board, there must be ice water coursing through their veins - or they're in the elite class and Social Security means nothing to them.

    Here's a good summary of what's wrong with where Obama is taking us:

    Larry Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute says that progressives "are losing the argument at a higher level" about the budget in general, putting all programs and services at risk.

    The fundamental problem, Mishel says, is a spending freeze on the discretionary non-security budget, while calling for certain investments within that budget, and giving up on moving the needle on taxes to any degree. "Spending has to be maintained as a share of GDP just to keep up these programs," Mishel said, noting that inflation, wage increases and population growth all enter into that equation. "If you freeze spending, the population and economy has grown, that's a net cut." Mishel surmises that Obama is set to shrink the discretionary budget, through this freeze, by 32% over the next 9 years.


    Mishel takes issue with the Obama Administration's messaging on the subject, being practically boastful about budget cuts. "He's bragging to the Chamber of Congress about his discretionary budget being at the lowest level since Eisenhower. This is not the country we want to live in. It's awful." He related the Administration's plan for investment in certain areas as akin to the "cut and invest" approach of the DLC in the 1990s. "And they never meant invest," he added.

    The entire notion of acknowledging fiscal responsibility before anything else amounts to operating on the ideological turf of the conservative movement, according to Mishel. "You try to pre-empt very awful things by doing awful things," he said. You can see this in the approach of Congressional Democrats, not arguing about the need for budget cuts, but trying to direct those cuts more appropriately.

    "I heard Nancy Pelosi last week, saying that everything they support will have to strengthen the middle class, create jobs and cut the deficit. You cannot merge a Blue Dog message with a progressive message and think it's consistent," Mishel said. "Everyone wants to salute being fiscally responsible. They should be saying we're in a recession, and we're never going to balance the budget until we get people back to work." Mishel also highlighted the tax cuts just agreed to on a bipartisan basis. It's impossible to say that the country cannot afford, say, LIHEAP funding, Mishel reasons, when the country just gave away hundreds of billions in tax cuts for the rich and lowering the estate tax. "They should have a graph, money from LIHEAP versus money from the estate tax deal. How do you say we can't afford it?"

    Welcome to austerity, brought to you by Democrats.

    No Democratic President (4.75 / 4) (#1)
    by cal1942 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 09:28:30 PM EST
    should ever even so much as risked putting Social Security in jeopardy the way Obama did re the Cat Food Commission.  

    We should not have had to sweat out whether Social Security would be compromised.

    Interesting that alleged liberal Senator Durbin favored cuts to Social Security.  

    I hope everyone realizes we're still not out of the woods on this one.

    There's a terrible arrogance among our elected representatives when they propose or are open to cuts to a crucial system that 85% of the American people don't want cut.


    I'm still sweating (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by sj on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 11:48:50 PM EST
    That 2% now coming from the General Fund creates a crack that was never there before.

    Likewise (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 11:20:07 AM EST
    Good reason to sweat.  That chink in the armor was, IMO, a deliberate attempt to weaken the trust fund and make a case for cuts.

    Sickening to think a "Democratic" President did this.

    Some deal.  We're being dealt to death.


    Probably should be sweating the (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by inclusiveheart on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 11:58:01 AM EST
    fact that Obama not including cuts in his budget doesn't preclude Boehner et al from including them, nor does it preclude Obama from going along with GOP cuts if they come to the fore.

    The Cat food commission thing is such (5.00 / 0) (#27)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:36:33 PM EST
    a red herring- multiple Presidents have had similar commissions and as in this case they were panders with no real chance of changing Social Security- hell, Clinton's was even headed up by Simpson and tied to Bowles.

    funny (4.67 / 3) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 09:53:16 AM EST
    that a post titled "Obama Budget Won't Include Social Security Cuts"

    produces nothing much but a torrent of paranoid bile recounting, yet again in case anyone missed it the first 84 thousand times, of all the imagined and alleged sins of the president.

    Obama Budget Won't Include Social Security Cuts


    thats good news.

    Not if you're familiar with the pattern, (5.00 / 7) (#11)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 10:02:17 AM EST
    and not if you read - actually read - more than just the headline.

    When it's reported that the reason the cuts aren't in the budget is that Obama wasn't able to get Republicans on board - think about that for a minute: he's for it, but he couldn't get enough Republican support - the only thing missing from the headline were the words, "For Now."

    But for the lack of Republican support, I have no doubt that those cuts/changes would absolutely be in that budget, and I have no doubt they will find their way in at some point - probably after the GOP has managed to extract even more of what they want from Obama.

    That's the pattern.

    And that's why people aren't doing Cartwheels for Obama.


    the same question as the other thread (2.67 / 3) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 10:08:44 AM EST
    do you honestly think anyone reading this sees it as some insightful and intuitive analysys and not for anything other than what it is?

    which is you taking any and every opportunity for you to grind your ax of hatred for Obama in a public forum.  


    Let me (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 10:53:28 AM EST
    ask you this? Do you think Obama's word is any good on most subjects? I think this is what it really boils down to: time and again Obama has shown himself to be completely untrustworthy on issue after issue. He has caved and pre-caved and everything else. I really don't care what he says because he's shown himself not to be credible.

    Except for pursuing war (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by observed on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 11:17:08 AM EST
    with AfPak,where else has he kept his word?

    DADT (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 11:26:35 AM EST
    but the leadership came from elsewhere. Anyway, yeah, he's pretty much done an 180 on about everything else he said.

    Anne's comment (5.00 / 5) (#17)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 11:30:52 AM EST
    is an accurate analysis.

    Too bad you can't see it.


    I have no control over how others (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 04:12:33 PM EST
    interpret what I write; I'm just expressing what I think, like everyone else.  Could it be that it bothers you a bit that others apparently agree with me?

    Whatever problems I have with Obama aren't as personal as you seem to want to make them; I have a problem with his ideas, with his catering to Republicans, with his affinity for the rich and powerful - to the detriment of us ordinary people who comprise the majority of the country.

    I'm not an automaton, marching in lock-step just because I'm a registered Democrat and so is Obama.  I'm not willing anymore to accept the steady shift to the right just because it's Democrats that are leading that movement.

    I'll stand up for what I believe until I no longer have breath, and if that means I'm critical of Obama, so be it.

    Maybe someday you can explain how going along with policy and legislation and ideology that doesn't represent what someone believes is going to advance the goals that are important to those people.

    In the meantime, you can just bite me.


    This exchange is getting pretty nasty. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by oculus on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 06:04:28 PM EST
    And tiresome.

    Not true Captain (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 12:06:33 PM EST
    Obama has been desiring to hack on Social Security for a very very long time now.  It is all recorded, it isn't about hate for those of us who are holding him responsible.  It is about facts.

    Facts? Facts? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Towanda on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 12:21:33 PM EST
    Some folks just don't want to face no stinkin' facts.

    No, no it really (none / 0) (#29)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:41:50 PM EST
    hasn't but hey let's just say it was- I mean just because the last Democratic President sold out the poor at every opportunity doesn't mean Obama will.

    In case you didn't know it, the poor (none / 0) (#35)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 07:53:04 AM EST
    had the only improvement in their income in the last 30 years (possibly more) under Clinton.
    They certainly have not been helped by Obama's policies.
    But really, you're a broken record.
    Obama could proclaim that Turkey is part of Eretz Israel, and you would say "At least he didn't screw up peace talks like Clinton!"

    Eh don't worry about (none / 0) (#28)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:40:44 PM EST
    remember these are the same people who were convinced "Obama didn't want to repeal DADT"- I mean if Obama's plan up to and including the much derided Pentagon study on that bearing fruit didn't alter there basic preception nothing will- haters gonna hate. At this point there perception on Obama is almost indistinguishable from the read on the President held by people like Glenn Beck- in that his every action is presumed to be driven by ill-intent and even his triumphs are basically to the credit of someone else.  

    obama sycophants are ridiculous (none / 0) (#20)
    by pluege2 on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 03:57:35 PM EST
    in spite of all the damage obama has done and continues to do, not the least of which is his raising the specter of a problem with social security when absolutely none exist, nor will for decades, unlike just about everything else in the country that obama is exasperating instead of solving, and yet the obama fans continue suck and suck and suck - its embarrassing to watch.

    I breathe (4.50 / 2) (#5)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 10:37:25 PM EST
    an entirely unnecessary sigh of relief.

    Let's be honest - Social Security is a Democratic Party "sacred cow" - and the less it becomes so, the more it is endangered.  I don't see that Obama won any great progressive victories in pretending it was on the table.  I am a big believer in the concept of a "civil religion" and verbal damage will eventually lead to real damage to Social Security.  Thankfully, the opposition party is in the hands of madmen, but it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see a future leader using our debates on the issue as rationale for harrowing changes.  If the political debate is unchanged for years upon years, people will take note.  Someone has to stand up for these programs, or they will disappear...

    What a bunch (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 06:45:52 AM EST
    of hooey from Obama. First of all, by now it should be obvious to everyone that Obama's word on any subject is worthless. So what if he said that? He said a lot of things and went back on the majority of them.

    Secondly, you can't work with people whose goal is to destroy social security. It seems no matter how much the GOP beats him up he will continue to wear his bipartisan "kick me" sign on his back. Has there ever been a President who begged and pleaded to be beaten up by the opposition as much as Obama? It's gotten beyond pathetic.

    C'mon he's not Bill Clinton (none / 0) (#30)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:45:12 PM EST
    Obama clearly has some values other than Political Expediency. You know how easy it would have been to drop healthcare post Brown (ala Clinton) or cave on Gays in the military (again ala Clinton). Seriously, I do love how you ask "has any President ever caved so much" while ignoring the fact that the very last Democratic President was essentially a craven sellout who had at best a mixed record in terms of progressive achievements.

    Oh, (none / 0) (#32)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:36:44 AM EST
    you've got to be kidding. Obama has NO values at all. With Clinton you knew that he would draw a line in the sand when he stood up to the GOP when they shut down the government. We have seen Obama's response to the GOP takeover of congress: complete total cravenness and begging when the GOP takes a hostage. Bill Clinton can't light a candle to the cravenness of Obama.

    And DADT was a compromise NOT a cave. You obviously don't know the story behind that one. The GOP didn't even want DADT to happen.

    The thing is Clinton never lied and pretended to be a "progressive" like Obama has. The fact that you bought Obama's snake oil about being a "progressive" what ever the heck that means is certainly no reason to take it out on everybody else.

    And for all that, it must really eat your heart that Clinton is TO THE LEFT of Obama on almost every issue.

    Obama has shown himself to be not credible on any issue.


    I'm sure the final line will be (none / 0) (#9)
    by observed on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 08:19:06 AM EST
    drawn at making "permanen t" SS cuts. Obama will save the day by only making temporary cuts.

    As long he doesn't (none / 0) (#31)
    by Socraticsilence on Sun Feb 13, 2011 at 10:47:09 PM EST
    cave like Clinton did on Welfare I'll be willing to vote for him- I think he'll draw a line in the sand on this one- over the last 6 months with only a few exceptions he's consistently out-played the GOP and pundits predictions.

    Good grief. (none / 0) (#33)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 06:38:50 AM EST
    Clinton did not "cave" on welfare. He campaigned on welfare reform. There is a difference. He kept a campaign promise with welfare reform. That is not caving silly.

    I guess Obama caving on tax cuts for the rich must have really bothered you then?


    You're saying that if Obama cuts (none / 0) (#34)
    by observed on Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 07:51:19 AM EST
    SS, you'll still vote for him, because you hate Clinton?

    Daily Kos is down. Maybe repost link to Joan (none / 0) (#18)
    by magster on Sat Feb 12, 2011 at 11:41:43 AM EST