Crying Boehner now wants millions of Americans to cry along with him, I guess, because he's proposing serious cutbacks in the lives of the elderly in America. Don't you love seeing these rich, fat-cat gasbags demanding cuts in programs for the middle and lower classes while Bush's tax cuts for the rich rain down on them millions of dollars in fool's gold? The GOP is waging war to create a two-tiered class system in America based solely on cash: the very wealthy and the poor. Good-bye to the middle class and all that.
House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that he's determined to offer a budget this spring that curbs Social Security and Medicare, despite the political risks, and that Republicans will try to persuade voters that sacrifices are needed.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Boehner said House Republicans would offer a budget for the next fiscal year that sets goals for bringing the programs' costs under control. But he acknowledged that Americans aren't yet ready to embrace far-reaching changes to Social Security and Medicare because they aren't aware of the magnitude of the financial problems.
"People in Washington assume that Americans understand how big the problem is, but most Americans don't have a clue," Mr. Boehner said, speaking in his Capitol office. "I think it's incumbent on us, if we are serious about dealing with the big challenges, that we go out and help Americans understand how big the problem is that faces us."
Cryin' Boehner followed that up by saying we should raise the retirement age to 70:
House Republican Leader John Boehner said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review out today that he would back raising the Social Security retirement age to 70 for those who will not retire for another 20 years.
The comment - along with Boehner's statement that the financial reform compromise reached last Friday creates a bill that amounts to "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon" -- has drawn the attention of Democrats eager to cast the GOP as uncaring about the problems of average Americans. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee National Press Secretary Ryan Rudominer told Hotsheet in response to the comment that the Republican "blueprint" is to privatize Social Security and Medicare, citing the budget of Representative Paul Ryan (R - Wis.). (Republicans are quick to note that while Ryan's "blueprint" for the future has advocated such measures, he has not put them forward as the House Republican budget.)
Senator Jeff Merkley comes out fighting against the GOP:
Senator Jeff Merkley opens fire on the House GOP plan for budget cuts in some of the harshest terms I've heard yet:
The GOP budget plan will destroy 700,000 jobs. The last thing our nation can afford right now is further job losses. We need to be creating jobs, not destroying jobs.
There are common-sense budget cuts that could reduce our deficits without wrecking the economy or attacking working families. We can start by cutting back on the bonus tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires that Republican leaders insisted on just ten weeks ago. We could end tax subsidies for oil companies and save tens of billions of dollars in the process.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner summarized his perspective on the Republican budget as follows: if people might lose their jobs, "so be it." You might think the House Republican leaders would show some humility after their failed agenda turned record surpluses into massive deficits in 2001, or after their policies reduced the wages of working Americans during the modest expansion in the middle of the decade, or after they burned down the economy with unregulated derivatives and predatory mortgage securities in 2008.
Apparently not. Their proposals are exactly the same: give massive tax cuts to the wealthiest, shred the safety net, and eliminate investments that would help restore American economic leadership.
Will Democrats heed his call? Don't hold your breath. Merkley tried to lead the important fight to reform filibuster rules back in January, and he was sold out by Democratic leadership, who made a "handshake" agreement with Republicans to quietly abandon their abuse of the filibuster. Now we have this new obstructionist group of eight Republicans who will block every bill they don't like in the Senate. So much for handshakes.
Filibuster reform would have been nice at this point, but I agree with Digby that gridlock is better than letting them cut the heart out of the American people.
This is the Teabag faction, of course, which now includes John McCain (who I always knew was a fanatical right wing scumbag at heart)and John Ensign who is under big time pressure. (I expect Orrin Hatch will be joining this group any day now.) Essentially, they are now running the US Senate and any "deals" that happen will have to get past them. Doesn't that sound grand?
So I'm frankly rooting for gridlock at this point. And if that's what we have, then it's necessary to use it wisely. Merkley's speech is a great starting point.