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Wed Dec 12, 2012, 11:53 AM

NY Times: Obama balking at "entitlement" cuts

NY Times: Obama balking at "entitlement" cuts

by ai002h

The Times has an interesting articled about the fiscal cliff negotiations by Jackie Calmes, who has great sources in the administration. The key takeaway is the description of whats happened since Sunday, when its just been Obama and Boehner:

Quote below the fold

This week the president and speaker took direct control after staff-level talks bogged down late last week, largely over what one person close to the White House called “the big 2”: Republicans’ demands that Mr. Obama agree both to a slow increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, to 67 from 65, and to a new formula that would reduce cost-of living increases for Social Security.

Mr. Obama has balked; he opposes both ideas and faces heavy pressure from unions and other progressive groups to reject them. But his stance is undercut by the fact that he had tentatively agreed to both proposals in last year’s secret talks, in return for Mr. Boehner’s support for raising taxes on high-income earners.

The president and his aides have told Mr. Boehner and his team that both proposals would be a hard sell to other Democrats, people close to the talks say.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/12/us/politics/questions-on-whether-boehner-could-sell-a-budget-deal-to-gop.html

Two Points:

1)I always knew it was a bad idea for Obama to accept, even tentatively, the cuts in 2011. It was always going to be tough for him to walk that back, as we're now seeing, cause republicans now believe they've entitled to those cuts.

2)We should make sure every democratic house member and Senator is against these cuts. Chained CPI and Medicare Elibigibility need to be ingrained in there heads like Voucherization was. Obama needs Boehner to believe that these are nonstarters with the democratic caucus, sorta like the Debt-ceiling in reverse.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/12/1169210/-NY-Times-Obama-balking-at-entitlement-cuts

Raising the Medicare age is callous and fiscally irresponsible.

Nancy Pelosi: Raising Medicare age part of Republican "assault on the middle class, seniors..."
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021961855

Krugman: What Defines A Serious Deficit Proposal?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021914963


31 replies, 1887 views

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply NY Times: Obama balking at "entitlement" cuts (Original post)
ProSense Dec 2012 OP
ProSense Dec 2012 #1
Nevernose Dec 2012 #2
nenagh Dec 2012 #3
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #7
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #11
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #12
nenagh Dec 2012 #29
SharonAnn Dec 2012 #4
Cha Dec 2012 #22
SharonAnn Dec 2012 #31
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #5
1StrongBlackMan Dec 2012 #6
democrattotheend Dec 2012 #8
Salviati Dec 2012 #26
woo me with science Dec 2012 #9
ProSense Dec 2012 #13
woo me with science Dec 2012 #19
closeupready Dec 2012 #21
leftstreet Dec 2012 #15
woo me with science Dec 2012 #17
BlueCaliDem Dec 2012 #10
ProSense Dec 2012 #14
BlueCaliDem Dec 2012 #23
OldDem2012 Dec 2012 #16
dmosh42 Dec 2012 #18
closeupready Dec 2012 #20
BlueCaliDem Dec 2012 #24
Faryn Balyncd Dec 2012 #25
Matariki Dec 2012 #27
BlueStreak Dec 2012 #28
unblock Dec 2012 #30

Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:03 PM

1. No comment? n/t

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:06 PM

2. I should hope so

I'd rather he not give in to the fiscal cliff blackmail. I will gladly pay slightly higher taxes if it means leaving Medicare and social security alone.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:06 PM

3. Republicans are greedy for the profit to be made by privatizing Health Care for Seniors age 65 to 67

It matters not to the Corporations that Americans may die while trying to reach age 67.

Hold the line Pres Obama... This is not yesteryears negotiation...

Reorganize your thinking Pres Obama, it's not just Democtratic votes your successor will be losing, but also votes of Women, so called Minority votes and Independent votes...probably the 40 to 55 age group..

A bonanza for Republicans and the opportunity to overturn the poor odds from the 2012 election.

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Response to nenagh (Reply #3)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:10 PM

7. I don't even see how corporations are helped by this

They are the ones that have to shoulder the cost of older workers staying on and driving up health care costs for the company.

And I don't think the insurance companies really benefit either, now that they can't deny people with pre-existing conditions.

I am having a hard time figuring out why this is so important to Republicans.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:14 PM

11. But that doesn't matter ...

to the gop.

While I'm pretty sure the business community is aware of this fact, the gop base is not. They just hear "entitlement" and say, "we gotta cut it" not recognizing that it will directly effect them, when they need it most.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #11)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:20 PM

12. For once, maybe the business lobby will be helpful to us

Especially the groups that represent small businesses. Businesses with less than 20 workers will be hit particularly hard, since those companies are allowed to require their employees over 65 to take Medicare Part B and use the employer's insurance as secondary coverage (employers w/more than 20+ employees have to keep providing the same health care to workers 65+ and Medicare is the secondary insurance). For employers w/<20 employees, this means having to suddenly shoulder the primary cost of insurance for older workers, which would drive up their premiums. They can't want this...

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:56 PM

29. Sorry I wasn't clear...I was running out to work...

I dispense medication in Ontario...our drug prices are closely.

Money can be saved by bulk purchase pricing of Rx meds.... Here we restrict certain medications that are to be used only if the patient has certain clinical conditions..

Sorry I was not clear.....everyone's points are very valid.

I was thinking the Big Pharma lobby must be powerful...but medication savings should come before raising the age to 67...


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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:07 PM

4. Citizens "balking" at entitlement cuts. Maybe "opposing" them is a better tem.

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Response to SharonAnn (Reply #4)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 02:42 PM

22. Exactly. Who uses "balking".. I've

never used that word.. I don't like the way it sounds.

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Response to Cha (Reply #22)

Sat Dec 22, 2012, 01:35 PM

31. Ummm, horses and mules "balk", I think. When they don't want to be led.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:09 PM

5. This is somewhat encouraging

From what he said on Barbara Walters last night and a couple other articles about Boehner whining about him not giving more on entitlements, I concluded that he had not agreed to raising the Medicare age, although his answer to Barbara Walters made it clear that he also had not foreclosed the possibility.

This is the most encouraging sign I have seen so far.

From what I have read about 2011, especially in David Corn's book, it seems to me that he tentatively agreed to those things because they were the least bad options of what was being demanded, and he was in a tough situation because of the debt ceiling and the economy still being in bad shape a year before he had to run for re-election. Raising the Medicare age is bad, but when you have House Republicans threatening not to raise the debt ceiling if you don't agree to turn the entire program into a voucher, it doesn't sound quite as horrible.

The good thing is, as far as I know he never publicly agreed to these proposals, so he doesn't really have to walk it back. And there's no reason he can't say to Boehner behind closed doors "you bet against me and I won. Now I have a stronger hand."

Plus, he has a very legitimate reason for being less inclined to back the age hike now: 2011 was before the Supreme Court ruling that the Medicaid expansion for the states was optional. Thus, he is probably less open to the proposal now that there is no guarantee that the poorest seniors will have a backup.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:10 PM

6. Well ...

1)I always knew it was a bad idea for Obama to accept, even tentatively, the cuts in 2011. It was always going to be tough for him to walk that back, as we're now seeing, cause republicans now believe they've entitled to those cuts.


They lost any entitlement to the 2011 cuts in 2011 when they walked away from the deal in which it was offered. And I'm pretty certain President Obama has informed boehner of that fact.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:11 PM

8. They probably walked away because they expected a Republican to win the White House in 2012

And thought they would get a better deal then.

In other words, they gambled and lost.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:42 PM

26. Exactly, If the republicans want to know what has changed between then and now:

1) They lost the campaign for the white house
2) They failed to take the senate, and in fact lost ground
3) They lost ground in the house, and only held control due to the gerrymandering in 2010
4) If they fail to come to a deal, the people will blame congressional republicans over Obama by a nearly 2:1 margin.

That has what has changed since their last negotiation. If the republicans want to negotiate in good faith (HA!) they need to stop pretending that the Democrats didn't win the last elections.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:12 PM

9. This should not be big, glorious news.

for a Democratic President. It should be expected that a Democratic President would never even consider such assaults or put them on the table in the first place.

We should be seeing passionate, persistent actions and public advocacy of policies that will not merely withhold assaults that should be unthinkable in the first place, but actually do something significant to hold bankers accountable and reverse the looting of the poor and the middle class.


http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021965407#post1

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:26 PM

13. How about

"This should not be big, glorious news. for a Democratic President. It should be expected that a Democratic President would never even consider such assaults or put them on the table in the first place."

...for the sellout Caver in Chief that you believe him to be? Are you saying he's now a "Democrat"?

Here's something you could advocate:

Why Aren't We Talking About EXPANDING Social Security and Medicare?
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021950679

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Response to ProSense (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:59 PM

19. Yeah, why aren't we?

Why isn't the President?

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #19)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:13 PM

21. Totally agree - he certainly has the political capital to do so.

I think he's sensing that, too, which is why he's balking at even talking (hey, that rhymes!) about entitlement deform.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #9)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:33 PM

15. But..but..he's putting on his Balking Shoes

I know, that's really lame

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:48 PM

17. I laughed. :)

One can either laugh or cry.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:12 PM

10. Elections have consequences. Republicans change their minds all the time

and we've seen that especially since President Obama was first elected.

Policies that they were for, even have drafted, they then and now vote against in their blatant obstructionism and without so much as a smidgen of guilt. So now these anti-American, Koch-backed pols believe that same right to "change their minds" is not afforded the president of the United States? Bullshit.

Elections have consequences.

The president might have tentatively agreed to both proposals last year (it's still just rumor), right after the shellacking he got from the 2010 elections where it appeared as if the American people agreed with the Republicans rather than the Democrats, but that was then, and they didn't want it. This is now, where they won't get it.

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Response to BlueCaliDem (Reply #10)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:30 PM

14. Exactly!

"The president might have tentatively agreed to both proposals last year (it's still just rumor)..."

Besides, McConnell just filibustered his own bill: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021937851



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Response to ProSense (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:53 PM

23. Oh yeah, the new "McConnell Rule" . . .



On the serious side, it appears to me McConnell was still under an old opinion that Democratic senators tend to buckle when challenged, but there's a new Democratic Party (thanks to Obama) and they're fighting back hard.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this new Democratic Party fighting spirit!

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:43 PM

16. The President made a good offer last year and the GOP refused to take it, therefore....

...the OLD deal is null and void. Period.

Additionally, the President just won a major election based on the premises that he would NOT go after the earned benefits programs (I hate the word "entitlement"!), and he would eliminate the tax cuts for the wealthy. I want the President to follow through on those premises no matter how much the GOP whines.

This is a new year and a new deal...GOPers, get with the program!

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 12:56 PM

18. How about a 500B dollar cut in defense? Plenty of room there!

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 01:04 PM

20. And he SHOULD balk; in fact, strengthening the programs

is what he should be aiming for.

K&R

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Response to closeupready (Reply #20)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 03:54 PM

24. True dat.

Also, it would be nice to see him fight to raise taxes on the bloated rich in this country, rather than allow the Bush tax cuts just to expire. Thirty-nine percent is nice, but I believe sixty or more percent on the rich would go farther.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:27 PM

25. The current COLA formula has ALREADY been rigged to fraudulently UNDER-estiates real inflation.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:42 PM

27. GOOD.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:43 PM

28. How could Obama NOT know these are 2 bright red lines?

If he didn't know that, he is really tone deaf.

If he did know it and still allowed the Republicans to go for 6 weeks thinking they could get those 2 items, that is a negotiating technique I have never heard of.

In my book, it is foolish to not shoot down the unacceptable items immediately.

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Response to ProSense (Original post)

Wed Dec 12, 2012, 08:57 PM

30. good grief! obamacare was originally a right-wing, republican proposal!

they completely changed their mind about it simply because obama proposed it.

drawn-out negotiations inherently involve changing negotiating positions all the time.

i put together corporate deals, and everything can change for a variety of reasons. currency movements, war breaking out, political changes, company or country rating changes, not to mention a new quarterly filing for the company itself can all change everyone's negotiating position. even things that were agreed upon can change right up until the ink is dry.

if republicans -- even the governor who enacted it at the state level -- can change their mind about obamacare, surely obama can change his mind about earned benefit cuts, especially after a strong performance in a critical election.

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