And it looks like that's exactly what they are determined to do.
I'm afraid we are looking as a scenario in which they'll end up accepting "tax reform" (another word for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations) in exchange for tax hikes on the middle class and benefits cuts to social security and medicare. And they will strut and puff and knock themselves over patting each other on the back for being "responsible" and doing the "hard work" of screwing the American people, including the most vulnerable, in the middle of a depression and at a time when their futures have never been more insecure. Heckuva job.
I don't know what more to say about this. Voting against them will not stop it. Voting for them will not stop it. So far, public opposition will not stop it. Certainly, there's little reason to believe that the administration will stop it. They brag about their program cutting prowess with charts like these:
Everyone keeps telling me that they will never cut social security and medicare because they're popular programs. One would certainly think that should be true. So can someone please tell me what they have to gain by pretending they want to? Honestly, I don't see it either as a negotiating ploy or a public relations tactic. The only thing I can come up with is that they believe the Village hype that they will be "heroes" for bucking the popular will. And perhaps they will be -- not in the public's mind, of course, but Gloria Borger and Cokie Roberts will think they're just dreamy andPete Peterson and his pals on Wall Street will surely be grateful.
Look, Obamacare cut hundreds of millions from Medicare already (which the GOP also used as a bludgeon against the Democrats in 2010.) The whole point of that Rube Goldberg mess, including the mandate, was to create incentives to lower health care costs over time. The people who are screaming about deficits want to repeal Obamacare which will add to health care costs and raise the deficit. And Social Security is not part of the budget so these people have no business lumping it in with everything else. If they want to "shore up" Social Security, it's a separate issue and could be easily dealt with by making millionaires pay more into the system. If they insist on paying down the deficit in the middle of a depression in which all projections are predicated on the present disaster, they should look to the Pentagon where they are building weapons systems that don't work to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Those we know we aren't going to need.
Democrats know all this. Becerra should have his district offices inundated with phone calls. People should picket and protest. But I doubt it will do any good. They are determined to do this and they aren't being honest about the reasons why. (Either that or they are too stupid to be in elective office and that's saying something.) Bill Clinton is one of the most astute students of the budget in the entire country. He knows very well that he is spouting utter crapola. There is no earthly reason for him to do this except as a reflexive desire to appear reasonable to people who loathe the very air he breathes --- or appease Pete Peterson and his pals. Actually, in his case, it's probably both.
This has the feeling of a runaway train to me. The Republicans have worn them down and they just want to get past the election. Sure, they may get some little token of a tax hike on the wealthy in return. But it will be nothing to the sacrifices that average Americans will have to make. Indeed, this whole formulation is fundamentally immoral --- tax hikes on millionaires in exchange for poor, sick old people having to do with less than their already meager guarantee is disgusting. Couldn't we at least agree to fuck over the sick, old people only as a last resort?
(Maybe we could cut the kids a break too --- at least until the economy can provide them more than a subsistence living.)
Read the whole thing.
It was relatively easy to save Social Security back in 2005 from Smirky's "privatization" plan when the ones trying to kill Social Security were the usual repug/corporate/rich fuckers suspects. It's going to be much, much more difficult when the attacks are coming from "friendlies" swearing they have to destroy the village to save it.
There are still a few liberals you can count on:
"The wealthiest 400 people own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people --- more than 150 million people."
"If you can believe it the bottom 60% of the people who will be hurt by what's coming out of this conference own 1% of the wealth of this country."
"And the situation is getting worse."