I've really had it with the Obama Administration making the case that we must include entitlement reforms (cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits) to solve our fiscal problems -- especially when they begin equating realistic concerns
November 28, 2012

I've really had it with the Obama Administration making the case that we must include entitlement reforms (cutting Social Security & Medicare benefits) to solve our fiscal problems -- especially when they begin equating realistic concerns about what those cuts would have on the American people with the nonsensical right-wing ideological war waged by Grover Norquist, dedicated to the proposition that Republicans can never raise taxes, evah! How does this argument meet the requirements of a reality-based populace?

In post-election remarks at the University of Delaware, Plouffe warned of "paralysis" if both parties remain beholden to their base, saying Obama is looking for a deal that sets the country on the right fiscal path for a 10- to 20-year period. "The only way that gets done is for Republicans again to step back and get mercilessly criticized by Grover Norquist and the Right, and it means that Democrats are going to have to do some tough things on spending and entitlements that means that they'll criticized on by their left," Plouffe said at his alma mater in conversation with former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt.

There is no evidence to back up anything Grover Norquist and the GOP assert while making their endless claims that low tax rates create jobs and that raising federal revenues and taxes is innately EVIL. It's actually the opposite:

There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth. Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. The share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. The evidence does not suggest necessarily a relationship between tax policy with regard to the top tax rates and the size of the economic pie, but there may be a relationship to how the economic pie is sliced.

I forgot, Republicans had a cow over this report by the Congressional Research Service and had it pulled.

On the other hand, there is plenty of real evidence that raising retirement ages for Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid and implementing the chained CPI will have a devastating effect on the middle class.

But what, ask the deficit scolds, do people like me propose doing about rising spending? The answer is to do what every other advanced country does, and make a serious effort to rein in health care costs. Give Medicare the ability to bargain over drug prices. Let the Independent Payment Advisory Board, created as part of Obamacare to help Medicare control costs, do its job instead of crying “death panels.” (And isn’t it odd that the same people who demagogue attempts to help Medicare save money are eager to throw millions of people out of the program altogether?)

We know that we have a health care system with skewed incentives and bloated costs, so why don’t we try to fix it? What we know for sure is that there is no good case for denying older Americans access to the programs they count on. This should be a red line in any budget negotiations, and we can only hope that Mr. Obama doesn’t betray his supporters by crossing it.

Negotiating a fiscal deal should have everything to do with facts and what works and not just to make right-wing extremists happy. Whenever David Brooks gleefully says how fit 67-year-olds look these days, I simply shudder.

BROOKS: Have you looked at 67-year-olds recently? They look the way 40-year-olds used to look. These days we have many people who don’t enter the labor force until they are 22 and then they leave at 64 and die at 85. We can’t sustain a society in which people work for 42 years of their lives and live as dependents or non-workers for 43 years of their lives.

What an embarrassment he is. But then there's David Plouffe in the above video.

Plouffe is completely ridiculous here -- and so is what Rep. James Clyburn is saying to Andrea Mitchell from Monday's show, below. Giving the American people massive pain over scraps just so Grover takes a short term hit is absolutely cruel.

[oldembed width="420" height="245" src="https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640" flashvars="launch=49968910&width=420&height=245" fid="2"]
I thought Rep. Clyburn wanted to kiss Bob Corker after watching this.

I heard Senator Corker earlier on your program. I was very very pleased because he is exactly where I am on all these issues.

Digby breaks down what Rep. Clyburn is so excited about in Corker's plan:

I assume you understand that means cutting wages and benefits for federal workers, implementing the "chained CPI, which is a benefits cut to all manner of people who get federal benefits, voucherizing Medicare, raising the eligibility age for both Medicare and Social Security, cutting SS benefits for middle class retirees, and pulling the rug out from under Medicaid financing. That's what Clyburn gave such fulsome praise to in that clip and what he says can form the basis of "both parties jumping together."

Keep in mind that this is all being done to solve a problem that does not currently need solving and which will make our country poorer and less secure for the vast majority of its citizens. But hey, I guess we can all get on the Republican plan: "don't get sick and if you do get sick, die early." I'd just add that we should just die early --- with this chained CPI in effect most of us will be very poor if we do manage to live very long after working to age 70. Not much point in hanging around, really. Thinking that's a feature not a bug.

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