Apr 10 2013

A Fail On Every Level

On policy Barack Obama’s proposed budget is just massively bad.  Everyone admits that it is huge cut in benefits for our oldest, poorest, and sickest Seniors.  What you don’t hear so much is that it is also a substantial slash to Veterans, you know, those guys who risked their lives and lost limbs defending our country.  Finally, it is an enormous middle class tax increase falling most hard on annual incomes between $30 – $50,000, the people who actually represent the median instead of Boyars with 6 figure salaries who merely imagine they’re poor because they can’t afford their McMansion, their winter cruise to Aruba, private school, AND a new Mercedes every year.

More than that it’s a complete and utter failure in terms of reducing the deficit, as even Peter Orzag admits

Consider what future projections look like if we instead assume that the chained index will grow just 10 basis points a year more slowly than the current indexes. In that case, the deficit reduction from switching to the chained index would be less than $150 billion over 10 years, rather than $340 billion. And the reduction in the long-term Social Security deficit would be about 7 percent, rather than 20 percent.

This would make a pretty big difference in the effect on Social Security benefits. For an 85-year-old who began receiving checks at 65, checks would be about 2 percent less, rather than 6 percent if the chained index were to grow 25 to 30 basis points more slowly than the standard index.

(I)f switching to the chained index reduces the 10-year deficit by less than $150 billion and the 75-year Social Security actuarial gap by less than 10 percent, can a “grand bargain” built around it really be all that grand?

So even if deficits were a problem (and they’re not as Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has repeatedly pointed out), the measures in Obama’s budget are utterly ineffective at reducing them.  What does work?  Economic growth and even the pitiful little we’ve been able to achieve has succeeded in reducing the deficit to virtually nothing if you look at percentages instead of scary big numbers.

So why then?  As this Politico article points out, Barack Obama and his Administration think it will somehow get the Republicans to agree to new taxes.

For the past two years, Obama has championed what he calls “a balanced approach” to debt and deficit reduction, demanding $700 billion in high-earner tax hikes from Republicans earlier this year as a prerequisite to budget cuts and reform of runaway Social Security and Medicare costs.

The time to pay up is now, Obama’s aides say, and the White House needed to offer something to bring Republicans back to the bargaining table. They insist that he’s opposed to deeply cutting entitlements and is willing to do only the bare minimum needed to get a deal done.

A senior Democratic strategist close to the White House said Obama “didn’t have to put the chained CPI in the budget” but chose to do so as a “gesture of goodwill” to Senate Republicans, who have emerged as a recent bargaining partner.

Well, forget that $700 Billion.  Now the number is $580 Billion.

Mr. President- no amount of revenue is enough for selling out the elderly, poor and disabled; our Veterans who offered their lives; the broad middle class.

No amount of revenue is enough for you to break your promises to the millions who voted for you.

No amount of revenue is enough for you to ensure the Democratic Party faces a toxic electoral climate in 2014 and for the foreseeable future.

Who will ever trust you, or them again?

Well, but if we don’t do it now, just wait for those evil Republicans to get in.

“We’re not going to have the White House forever, folks. If he doesn’t do this, Paul Ryan is going to do it for us in a few years,” said a longtime Obama aide, referring to the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate who proposed a sweeping overhaul of Medicare that would replace some benefits with vouchers.

What’s to stop them from doing it anyway?  Congress is not bound by the actions of a previous Congress.

But they are men of honor.

How did that Filibuster deal work out for you?

And it has always been so effective in the past.  Republicans are already backing away from this one.  From another Politico piece.

House Speaker John Boehner hit President Obama’s budget for failing to cut enough spending while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed it as “just another left-wing wish list.”

“It’s mostly the same old thing we’ve seen year after year,” McConnell said. “And that’s really too bad, because it’s not like we don’t know the kinds of things that need to be done to get our budget back to balance and Americans back to work.”

The president’s 3.77 trillion budget includes $580 billion in new tax revenue, while reducing deficits by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, White House officials contend. It does not balance the nation’s budget within the next decade, something Boehner pointed out while touting Republican budgets.

And then there’s this-


Again Politico

House Republican leaders did give Obama credit for including something known as “chained CPI” in the spending plan, which would slow the rate of growth for Social Security benefits. They were on message in calling for Obama to help them enact policies they agree on, without coming to terms on a large-scale deficit busting package.

“He does deserve some credit for some incremental entitlement reforms he has outlined in his budget. I would hope that he would not hold hostage these modest reforms for his demand for bigger tax hikes. Why don’t we do what we agree to do? Why don’t [we] find the common ground that we do have and move on that?,” Boehner asked, while accusing Obama of “backtracking” on other entitlement reforms the two had discussed in negotiations last year.

Added House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.): “Finally the president has offered his budget to the American people. And what we see inside the document is more of the same: more spending, higher taxes, more debt.”

“The speaker talked about the fact there are some things besides the tax increases that frankly we can find some agreement on,” he said. “I share the sentiment that if we ought to see if we can set aside the divisiveness and come together to produce some results for the people who sent us here.

If the president believes, as we do, that programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are on the path to bankruptcy and we can actually do some things to put them on the right course and save them, to protect the beneficiaries of these programs we ought to do so. We ought to do so without holding them hostage for more tax hikes.”

So Mr. President, you got nothing.  Nothing at all.  A fail on policy.  A fail on politics.

A fail on every level.


  1. ek hornbeck
  2. DungenessLobster

    choir of dkos – all those degrees and all that erudited-ness and all big words and all them bigger sentences and all those kilobytes of squiggles and all that


    outrage! (did I spell it right?)

    will they put REAL effort into primaries against incumbent sell outs next year, will they walk away from supporting LOTE sell outs, or, will it be back to all the Directed-By-Rove Political … ha ha ha … ‘Calculus’ of who is electable and what is possible and … LOTE LOTE LOTE!!

    I’m betting on Door #2, and no one on this site would vote against me !


  3. BobbyK

    in this case, Bad policy is Bad politics. Eleven dimensional chess my ass.

Comments have been disabled.