Chris Matthews asked his panel on his weekend bobble-head show if this is "the perfect storm to actually reduce the federal debt over time" by which I'm sure he means some Shock Doctrine style cuts to Social Security and privatizing Medicaid by turning it into a voucher system. The panel doesn't think it's going to happen because of course the un-serious liberals don't want any cuts to our social safety nets.
This conversation by our beltway Villagers is becoming tiresome, but they keep having it. Rather than talking about having single payer so that Medicare is not dumping the sickest and most expensive patients onto the government while the insurance companies profit off of the rest of us and instead of talking about lifting the cap on taxable income for Social Security to keep it solvent far into the future and make it a less regressive tax, we get treated to this nonsense.
And if any Democrats are taking Anne Kornblut's talking points seriously that making cuts to Social Security is going to win them any points with independent voters, they're going to find out the hard way that they're sadly mistaken. George Bush thought it would work out for him as well with talk of privatizing Social Security and the more he talked, the more he just pissed off the electorate.
If President Obama and any "moderate" Democrats decide to make cuts to Social Security or raise the retirement age, rather than win anyone over I think they're more likely to completely destroy the party. I also think you'll see liberals moving to third parties and looking for primary challengers in droves.
I just let my Senator know that's how I felt and I hope the rest of you that have Democrats representing you in the House or the Senate who look like they might be promoting the Catfood commissions' co-chairs' recommendations do so as well. They need to hear from their constituents that it's not acceptable to balance the budget off of the backs of the elderly, the middle class and what's left of it and the poor.
Transcript below the fold.
Chris Matthews claims he's concerned about the federal debt harming the youth of America. Well then Chris, that conversation ought to involve the rich having their taxes raised. Of course he didn't mention that fact that we've got billionaires out there asking to have their taxes raised.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back. This week President Obama and Republican leaders get together, finally. And the bipartisan debt report comes out this week. Our BIG QUESTION: Tea partiers want real cuts in the debt. Does this bipartisan report coin for real cuts in the debt? And the president wants a big legacy. Is this the perfect storm to actually reduce the federal debt over time, John Heilemann?
HEILEMANN: No, it's not. Because, I mean, I think the president actually is the most willing party here to actually go out and do something bold and relatively courageous on this subject. But look, the only way to deal with the deficit problem in the long term is with both taxes and spending and entitlement reform. Republicans are not, at this point, willing to accept any tax increases. And Democrats are not really willing to touch any entitlement reform or any cuts in things like Medicare and Social Security. It's not doable without those two things.
MATTHEWS: Well, that's pretty baleful… and Norah.
O'DONNELL: I hope, yes, that it's the perfect storm. But whether--if liberals won't get on board with cutting some spending, then it's not going to happen.
KORNBLUT: And it's incumbent on the president to really pressure them to not just because he wants to actually reduce the deficit, but because heading into re-election that's important to independents.
SALAM: I think it is a great opportunity because I think that folks on the right embrace the Bowles-Simpson report, which surprised everyone. And they've actually outflanked people on the left who said, “Hey, we're the more sensible ones.” And I think that's a big development.
MATTHEWS: Right. With all this talk about youth in this country, I wish people would think about the youth are going to be saddled with this debt down the road if we don't do something about it.
Thanks to a great roundtable: John Heilemann, Norah O'Donnell--and thanks for sitting in for this week, everybody loved you last week--and, anyway, Anne Kornblut, thank you. Reihan Salam, thank you for joining us again.
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