No, it just makes us more likely to punch you in the face for saying stupid shit like that.
President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.
At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.
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As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.
“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”
Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.
Is there life after the Democratic party? Give that some thought.
Republican style! How is this different from slavery?
While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it’s helping a different group in Wisconsinites — inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.
As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.
The law went into effect last week, and Racine County is already using inmates to do landscaping, painting, and another basic maintenance around the county that was previously done by county workers. The union had successfully sued to stop the country from using prison labor for these jobs last year, but with Walker’s new law, they have no recourse. Watch a report from Fox6 in Green Bay:
The Washington Examiner called Racine’s move “another success story” and “all great news for Wisconsin taxpayers. Hopefully, we’ll see more of it.” So far, it appears no other jurisdiction has followed Racine’s example — for now. It may just be a matter of time to allow existing union contracts to expire. The spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office of Dane County, which includes Milwaukee, said, “Nobody in our jail will be benefiting…at this time” from the new law, but the left the door open for future changes.
Just as I’ve always predicted, Obama is going to go after Social Security:
Two weeks ago, that first assumption proved true: Democrats proposed a few hundred billion in new tax revenues (a small fraction of the trillions of dollars in spending cuts Republicans are demanding) so GOP principals threw up their hands and abandoned the discussions. But the second assumption isn’t built on bedrock. And in recent weeks, congressional aides, strategists, and advocates have been floating, or warning of, a stealth change to the Social Security benefit structure that has quietly been placed on the negotiating table.
The proposal wouldn’t just impact Social Security benefits. It would also shave off yearly increases in federal pension payouts, and result in somewhat higher tax revenues. But the ratio would be skewed toward benefit cuts by a factor of about 2-to-1 and would represent a financial hit to even the poorest retirees unless they were exempted.
The idea is to change the way Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) are calculated across the federal government. Currently, the COLAs for tax brackets, pensions, and Social Security are tied to different measures of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Because spending habits change when living costs increase, some experts think these measures are too generous, and want to change all of the COLAs to a different, smaller measure of inflation: the so-called “chained-CPI.”
On the tax side, this would likely draw more revenue: Tax brackets would rise more slowly than incomes, so people would get kicked into higher brackets more quickly and, voila, more income subject to taxation.
But on the benefits side, this means money out of people’s pockets, even current retirees and pensioners. Responding to a letter of concern from House Democrats’ top Social Security guy the program’s chief actuary explained that moving to “chained-CPI” would constitute an immediate 0.3 percent benefit cut. That may sound small, but the effects would compound, and “[a]dditional annual COLAs thereafter would accumulate to larger total reductions in expected scheduled benefit levels of about 3.7 percent, 6.5 percent, and 9.2 percent for retirees at ages 75, 85, and 95, respectively.”
I’m still not clear on why Democrats are validating Republican deficit hysteria. As Dick Cheney said, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Unless there’s a Democrat in the White House, of course:
Washington, DC — Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future commented on reports that Senate Democratic Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) will present a “50-50” plan for deficit reduction; according to The Hill, the Conrad plan would “balance the burden of reducing the deficit roughly 50-50 between increasing tax revenues and cutting government spending.”
Roger Hickey, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future said:
“The Conrad proposal is the first strong Democratic proposal that has come out of these negotiations. Of course the devil is in the details, but 50-50 could be a fair deal for Americans. Let me be clear about what a fair deal would include: No deal without the rich and big corporations sharing in the sacrifice. No deal that would harm the essential programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. No deal that takes more out of the programs for middle income and poor Americans than it takes from tax breaks, loopholes and havens for the rich and the big corporations, and no deal that undermines the economic recovery.
“We encourage Senator Conrad, the President and all the negotiators to stand up for the American people and not shift the burden of the deficit down to the people who need government help the most including sick, elderly and disabled people.”
And children. But apparently our president only cares about his own kids.