Wed Nov 14, 2012, 02:10 PM
cthulu2016 (10,960 posts)
Medicare benefits are not game tokens to Trade Away
Last edited Wed Nov 14, 2012, 04:09 PM - Edit history (3)
President Obama once agreed to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, and to calculate Social Security inflation adjustments in a way designed to reduce future benefits.
He agreed to that in exchange for a certain level of higher taxes.
Republican opposition to taxes meant that the deal was not finalized.
The deal did not, however, fall apart because of the entitlement benefit cuts. It fell apart over taxes.
So anyone who says that there is no evidence that Obama has been open to cutting entitlements is lying.
That does not mean Obama is a bad person. It means only what it says—that he has a demonstrated philosophical willingness to trade-off health-care for the elderly and poor for taxes.
We have a history of such trade-offs, which soothe the inside-the-beltway self-styled centrist soul, but whatever Tip O'Neill did thirty years ago is not analagous to today. Inequality in America has sky-rocketed since the 1980s. We, the people, are beat down hard. We are in desperate straits. And the rich are richer than ever and haven't paid shit all century.
So there is no trade to be made here. We do not have it to give up. (We already had the Social Security full benefits age raised to 67 in the last grand bargain in the 1990s... we have given a lot.)
Now, there are some people who do not think that the elderly need to give up benefits in exchange for wealthy people paying a fair tax rate.
That is not a "balanced" approach. Suffering ought not be brought about as atmospherics to show the tough pragmatism of a deal... is the idea that if the rich have to suffer by paying more that they deserve the compensating (balancing) entertainment or satisfaction of seeing more old people die of treatable diseases?
Given the real world history, and the current Presidential rhetoric, some people recognize that the President has done it before (fact) and does not rule out doing it again (fact) and thus they chose to express their view, in hopes that doing so will be added to an aggregate popular position that entitlement benefit cuts are not acceptable.
So yes, President Obama, you can do whatever you want, of course, but for whatever infinitesimal difference these keystrokes make in the world I am using them to say that two years of health coverage for people in their mid to late 60s ought not be a bargaining chip in negotiations about the defense budget or upper-end tax rates.
And the deal you previously thought you had with Boehnner was, to some of us, a bad deal.
And that is good information for the President to have. Most people muffled criticism during the campaign, and at this time, after the election and before the 'fiscal cliff', is the time to say, "by the way... we do not consider benefit reductions to be wise or just."
Everyone wishes you well. We do not, however, all share the notion that health benefits are in any sense trade-offs for canceling weapons systems that are a waste of money, or levying equitable taxes on the top 1-2% of people.
We hope that you will bring a similar set of values to the bargaining table. We encourage you to do so.
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Medicare benefits are not game tokens to Trade Away (Original post)
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