The Grand Bargain Is Here. Time To Call Your Senators!

So now it's out in the open: Obama is still chasing his Grand Bargain.

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It's official, folks. The Grand Bargain is here.

Time to take action. If we don't unleash holy hell, this will go through.

Even though we've been warning you for a long time, it's still hard to believe that a Democratic president is offering up the crown jewels of Democratic policy -- and for a mere pittance. We need to fight back. You can call or write your congressperson or the White House if you want, but it's most useful to start with your senators. Tell them you're not willing to starve Granny to make the Republicans happy.

We're going to concentrate on the Senate, because they'll probably send a bipartisan bill to the House in order to bypass Boehner's Hastert rule. Even if you called last week, call today. Be prepared to call every day for the next week. (Here's the link.) Please leave a note in comments telling us how your call went.

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President Obama will release a budget next week that proposes significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security and fewer tax hikes than in the past, a conciliatory approach that he hopes will convince Republicans to sign onto a grand bargain that would curb government borrowing and replace deep spending cuts that took effect March 1.

Obama will break with the tradition of providing a sweeping vision of his ideal spending priorities, untethered from political realities. Instead, the document will incorporate the compromise offer Obama made to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last December in the discussions over the “fiscal cliff” – which included $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and tax increases.

(Editor's note: Krugman calls it "desperately seeking approval from the Serious People." He's right. Dean Baker says Obama is asking for a bigger hit to seniors than to the rich.)

“The president has made clear that he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficit,” a senior administration official said, “but only in the context of a package like this one that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans and that is designed to promote economic growth.”

The Huffington Post has more

The specifics are as follows:

  • The budget would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over ten years -- $600 billion of this reduction would come from revenue raisers, and $1.2 trillion would come from spending reductions and entitlement reforms;
  • It would change the benefit structure of Social Security (chained-CPI);
  • It would means test additional programs in Medicare;
  • All told, it would include $400 billion in health care savings (or cuts);
  • It would cut $200 billion from other areas, identified by The New York Times as “farm subsidies, federal employee retirement programs, the Postal Services and the unemployment compensation system;”
  • It would pay for expanded access to pre-K (an Obama priority) by increasing the tobacco tax;
  • It would set limits on tax-preferred retirement accounts for the wealthy, prohibiting individuals from putting more than $3 million in IRAs and other tax-preferred retirement accounts;
  • And it would stop people from collecting full disability benefits and unemployment benefits that cover the same period of time.

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