Why President Obama's Chained CPI Pre-concession Was A Mistake
The People's View writes:
Why Obama and Democrats Should Strike a Grand Bargain and Leave Behind The Great Progressive Resistance When everyone digs in their heels, nothing gets done. As I have noted earlier this week, Paul Ryan apparently doesn't remember that his party and his ticket lost the election largely on the merits of their budget plans. House Republicans are digging in their heels, furiously opposed to any additional revenue and hell bent on ending the social safety net. But there also seem to be plenty of Democrats and liberals digging in their heels - Bernie Sanders being the leading contender of the mantle of Leader of the Great Progressive ResistanceTM - and are declaring themselves adamantly opposed to any meaningful reforms to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
The argument appears to be that pre-concessions from the president and Democrats are necessary, and ultimately a good thing, because if they do not make a pre-concession, nothing will get done. I disagree with this negotiating approach. While it is true that Obama and the Dems can "get something done" by conceding points to the GOP, it is not by definition a good thing to get that "something" done. Moreover, the president does not even get credit for the pre-concession anyway.
More . . .
In a strange way, though, the waiting-for-Obama budget scenario may increase its importance. Will the White House, for example, include its still-on-the-table proposal to change the way Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are calculated? This provision is noticeably absent from the budgets offered both by House Republican Paul Ryan and Senate Democrat Patty Murray. For Obama to include it would inflame liberals; to omit it would raise questions about his sincerity. [Emphasis supplied.]Obama's pre-concession is now, in Ruth Marcus' mind (which is pretty reflective of Beltway CW), an agreed to deal point that the president and Democrats can not pull back from lest they be "insincere." The President's problem is this - he has given up a bargaining position in exchange for nothing. He has admitted that he is fine with Chained CPI and therefore the GOP will give him nothing for it in return. Remember what Marcus wrote:
This provision is noticeably absent from the budgets offered both by House Republican Paul Ryan and Senate Democrat Patty Murray.Chained CPI has a constituency of 1 at this particular bargaining table - the president himself. The idea that the president is giving on Chained CPI to a demand for it from the GOP is not borne out by the facts. He is making a concession to Pete Peterson, who is not at the bargaining table and can deliver nothing for the president here. Here's my point-- even if you can live with Chained CPI (and I think it is a terrible idea) in exchange for revenue concessions from the GOP, as The People's View is advocating, the bargaining approach the president has adopted will not forward that result. To get revenue concessions from the GOP, the president will have to give up something else to the GOP (Medicare eligibility age? Pelosi has indicated that one would be real pain in her view, as opposed to Chained CPI.) Of course, it could be that the president is merely trying to look good to the Pete Peterson crowd in hopes of some good commentary from them. My own view is that good commentary from that crowd is pretty worthless politically and otherwise. But even if it was worth something, it is not and will not be forthcoming. They will not take sides, even if one side is arguing for what they say they want. All in all, there is no real logic to the approach the president has taken on Chained CPI.
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