President Obama put out his call yesterday for a Grand Bargain, which includes cuts to Medicare and Social Security as reported by Sam Stein. Many Democratic politicians like Nancy Pelosi have been railing against cutting our safety net programs to appease the Tea Party base over the debt ceiling. Well, guess who sided with the Dems?
Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) said she will not support any debt deal that includes cuts to the two social safety net programs, citing “strong bipartisan support.” “There are solvency problems with both programs. They have to be addressed but not as part of the debt reduction talks,” Snowe told the Bangor Daily News. It’s unclear how she would square that position with her support for a balanced budget amendment. But Snowe added, “There are a lot of tax credits that are not needed and should be repealed” — a position with which Maine’s other Republican senator, Susan Collins, agreed. “We spend billions of dollars a year in subsidies that go to some very wealthy corporate farmers,” Collins said.
There's a lot of craziness infecting our political system since this debt ceiling kabuki dance began and now Snowe adds her voice to the debate. At least she's on the right side of it even if her purposes are self serving or don't match up with some of her other positions.
Eric Cantor does take the cake with his absurd remarks:
At his weekly press availability House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said the key Republican concession is "the fact that we are voting -- the fact that we are even discussing voting for a debt ceiling increase." He claimed this was a significant move. "What I don't think the White House understands is how difficult it is for fiscal conservatives to say they're going to vote to pay for a debt ceiling increase."
Just before leaving for the White House, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) also told reporters that a "balanced" approach is one where Obama agrees to the GOP's fiscal framework and Republicans agree to prevent a default.
"Most Americans would say that a balanced approach is a simple one: the administration gets its debt limit increase, and the American people get their spending cuts," Boehner said.
The glaring problem with this interpretation is that Republican leaders have admitted that raising the debt ceiling is imperative -- not an arbitrary policy preference of the President's.
Well yes. But why should they give up real anything at this point when they are still getting so much without it?
See, Republicans won't destroy us if they get everything they want. That's fair, isn't it? Digby links to a very shrill post by Marc Toma on Obama's presser. The Disappointing Embrace of Job Killing Austerity
I just hope no deal gets done at all rather than see trillions of dollars of austerity cuts so millionaires don't get a tax credit for flying around in private jets and then maybe we'll have a clean vote on something that has always been clean. There are some who see three dimensional chess being played by the administration so the GOP looks like buffoons at the end of the day, but too much damage has already been done to poor Mr. John Maynard Keynes for me. If that is the case, then let us not forget what type of media world we live in and then please tell me what outcome will be transmitted to the public. I'd like to know.