Who didn't see this cynical move coming? President Obama offers up cuts to Social Security benefits that Republicans want and they immediately turn around and attack him for it. They've done it before, so there's no reason to believe they weren't going to do it again.
It's terrible policy and as this so clearly illustrates, terrible politics as well: Fiscal frauds:
Okay, if this isn’t the clarifying moment we’ve been waiting for, nothing will ever be.
This afternoon on CNN, GOP Rep. Greg Walden, the chairman of the NRCC, opened fire on Obama’s budget by claiming it is an assault on seniors:
“I’ll tell you when you’re going after seniors the way he’s already done on Obamacare, taken $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare and now coming back at seniors again, I think you’re crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine certainly and around the country,” he said on CNN Wednesday afternoon.
This makes it all but certain that Republicans will use Obama’s Chained CPI proposal to attack Democrats in the 2014 elections for cutting Social Security. Brian Beutler points out that this vindicates the warnings of those on the left who predicted this would happen. [...]
But I wanted to focus on another aspect of what this attack from Walden tells us.
For one thing, it directly contradicts what GOP leaders themselves said earlier today. Remember, John Boehner and Eric Cantor effectively endorsed Chained CPI by claiming we should proceed with those cuts while not raising taxes. Boehner said Obama “deserves some credit” for embracing it. But now the NRCC chair is calling it an assault on seniors?
You could not illustrate the farcical nature of the GOP position on all this more perfectly.
This is what happens when you try to negotiate with hypocrites who don't care if they're talking out of both sides of their mouth at the same time.
Full transcript below the fold.
BLITZER: Let's get some Republican reaction to what we just heard from the President of the United States. Representative Greg Walden of Oregon is joining us right now. He's the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Congressman, what did you think of the president's remarks?
REP. GREG WALDEN (R-OR), CHAIRMAN, NRCC: Well, I thought it very intriguing in that the budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will. And we haven't seen all the detail yet, and we'll look at it, but I'll tell you, when you're going after seniors the way he's already done on Obamacare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think you're crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine, certainly, and around the country. I think he's going to have a lot of pushback from some of the major senior organizations on this and Republicans, as well.
And this is a budget that doesn't balance. At the end of the day, you can have all the flowery rhetoric, but I'm a numbers guy and this doesn't add up. It does not balance. We've passed the Ryan budget. It does balance in ten years; it will put us on a path to grow the economy and jobs. And, again, gets us to where we have a balanced budget. This is 65 days late and it doesn't add up.
BLITZER: Well, let's talk about these proposed changes that the president is putting forward when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, the shocking proposals that you say the president's putting forward that could affect seniors. What's so shocking about changing that CPI, that consumer price index the way that you would determine how much inflation would go ahead with increases for Social Security recipients, for example?
WALDEN: Well, once again, you're trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors and I just think it's not the right way to go.
BLITZER: But doesn't the -- doesn't Paul Ryan's budget have major changes as far as Social Security and Medicare concerned, as well?
WALDEN: Look, it doesn't -- yes, but it doesn't do that. And so I just think there's some -- you know, it's all about when you get to the specifics. And what does that really mean down on the ground? You know, the president just said that his proposals will reduce the cost of health care. Where did we hear that before? We heard that premiums for a family on -- for health insurance would go down $2,500 if his plan was adopted and we now see them going up $2,000 in my state to $3,000.
So you've got to cut through the rhetoric, Wolf, which, of course, you all and your team will do and get into the real facts and figures and so will we. But I don't see this budget as either on time, adding up, balancing, and, further, I think it really does go right at seniors in a way they're going to be shocked, coming out of the administration.
BLITZER: Let's talk about taxes right now. Are you open to what the president calls tax reform, eliminating some of the loopholes, the reductions, for the wealthiest Americans, some of the biggest corporations, in order to pay for some of the infrastructure, education, health care benefits that he's putting forward?
WALDEN: So, Wolf, let's go back -- as you said, or one of your folks there said it about the fiscal cliff. The president got $600 billion in new revenue. And in part, he also put a little provision into the law, it was in there, the Pease Amendment, which already reduces and trails out how much the wealthy in America can claim for deductions.
Tax reform is where you would have the debate about how you can close these loopholes and reduce the rates so we have a competitive code and create jobs in America. What he's proposing, at least at this point -- and again, we've got to get into the details -- sounds a lot like the old style of we're going to raise taxes by dividing the country and then we're going to go spend the money on new programs and existing programs and never get around to real tax reform, which is what we need to be competitive in the world to grow private sector jobs in the world.
The notion that the federal government is somehow going to be the great creator of jobs in America, I think, is a misnomer, because if we're spending $800 billion more than we took in this year, and the last few years $1 trillion plus more than we take in, we ought to have a robust economy right now. The federal government isn't what's going to do this; it's the private sector. We've got to get out there where the folks on the street aren't having to work two or three jobs in order to make ends meet and now seeing their health insurance costs spike.
So I think there's a lot of problem with what he's proposing.