Martin Bashir Show, MSNBC, December 30, 2011
Rep. Jim Cooper of the state of Tennessee is trying to raise his exposure by going after the low-hanging fruit of Congress' dismal approval ratings and offering up what sounds like some common sense incentives for Congress to clean up their acts. Ultimately, it's just pretty words about withholding pay until they do their job, because anyone with a lick of sense knows that none of this will ever be even considered by Congress, who will NEVER vote to not get paid.
But I have a suggestion for Jim Cooper if he'd like to see congressional job approval numbers go up: STOP THREATENING MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY.
A bipartisan budget plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 10 years with a mix of new tax revenues and spending cuts across the federal budget is headed for a House vote, but it is likely to be rejected by Republicans against higher hikes and Democrats opposed to curbs on Medicare and Social Security benefits.
The proposal by Reps. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, and Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., is modeled after a much-praised plan by the co-chairmen of President Barack Obama’s 2010 deficit-reduction commission.[..]
“It has real entitlement reform and real revenues,” Cooper said in an interview. “And those are two essential elements of any viable budget. It’s shared sacrifice. Everyone is asked to help make our country stronger, and that’s why it’s bipartisan.”
But it’s those curbs on so-called entitlement programs — which include Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that seem likely to limit Democratic support, just as most Republicans will recoil from the measure’s proposed tax increases.
Entitlement programs, Rep. Cooper? ENTITLEMENTS? No, you traitor to Democratic values, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are part of our social safety net, they are EARNED BENEFITS. Stop adopting these horrible Luntz-created talking points. You want to "fix" Social Security? Remove the cap. Done. Controlling costs rather than cutting benefits would go a long way toward "saving" Medicare. But we're not having those conversations. Why? Because alleged Democrats like Jim Cooper (who is running for re-election essentially unopposed) are eager to grab the too-embarrassed-to-admit-they're-Republican No Labels talking points on 'bipartisanship' and ignore what Americans want entirely. Solutions that don't penalize those who can afford it the least are never even brought to the table.
Added Cooper, “If we had a secret ballot, Simpson-Bowles would pass overwhelmingly.”
Did you catch that? Cooper just admitted that that those pesky voters holding him accountable for his vote keep him and other congresspeople from passing Simpson-Bowles. Damn, it's hard selling out your constituents these days.
If you'd like to remind Jim Cooper that he was elected to represent his constituents as an actual Democrat, not kiss up to destructive Republican policies, you can leave a message here on his Facebook page, or via his contact page here. He won't accept emails from non-district people, but his phone and fax numbers are at the bottom of the page.