Call the White House today

Someone reminded me of that old story about the pre-Russian revolution days. Peasants would lament how bad things were, and at the end would add, “If only the czar knew!” Because they somehow believed the czar had no idea of their conditions, or how they were treated. (Some historians joke that the revolution finally happened once the peasants realized the czar did know.) Oh, if only President Obama knew that Republicans were trying to trick him into cutting Social Security and Medicare!

Well, Obama really is going to try to cut Social Security and Medicare. No, it’s not a clever ploy — unless you count the part where he’s counting on you thinking that.

So here it is: The biggest trial balloon of them all in today’s Wall St. Journal. Get your dialing fingers ready. There’s a reason they let this story out on Good Friday, they’re counting on you not noticing or being too busy to do anything about it. The White House switchboard is 202-456-1414, the comments line is 202-456-1111 or you can email here.

WASHINGTON—The White House is strongly considering including limits on entitlement benefits in its fiscal 2014 budget—a proposal it first offered Republicans in December. The move would be aimed in part at keeping alive bipartisan talks on a major budget deal.

Such a proposal could include steps that make many Democrats queasy, such as reductions in future Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security payments, but also items resisted by Republicans, such as higher taxes through limits on tax breaks, people close to the White House said.

These measures would come as President Barack Obama continues his courtship of the Senate GOP in an effort to thaw tax-and-spending talks. The White House’s delayed annual budget is scheduled to be released April 10, the same day Mr. Obama plans to dine with a group of Senate Republicans to discuss the budget and other issues.

President Obama’s inclusion of the proposal would be aimed at breathing new life into bipartisan talks on reaching a deficit-reduction deal.

Oh yes, the Bipartisan Wet Dream of a Grand Bargain.

Including entitlement curbs would be notable, as Republicans often have criticized the White House for offering such steps in private negotiations but never fully embracing them as part of an official budget plan.

People close to the White House believe a proposal to slow the growth rate of such benefits would use a variant of the Consumer Price Index to measure inflation. The new inflation indicator would cut overall spending by $130 billion, according to White House projections, and raise $100 billion in tax revenue by slowing the growth of tax brackets. The White House earlier called for an additional $800 billion or so in cuts on top of those resulting from the inflation adjustments.

“We and all of the groups engaged on this are starting to feel it may well be in the budget,” said Nancy LeaMond, executive vice president at AARP, an advocacy group for seniors that opposes such changes.

9 thoughts on “Call the White House today

  1. Hell with that. Obama is bought and paid for. Starting calling Senator Sanders’ office and ask him to announce the formation of an Entitlements Party. That would freeze the Democrats in their tracks.

  2. I called. Really amazed I’m not seeing posts like Suzie’s in the so-called progressive blogosphere.

    We are so fucked. The Democrats suck. I’m calling Sanders like lless says.

  3. On hold so long I gave up and emailed. As a 40-year member of the Party, I promised to work to the day I die to end it.

  4. It’s always a good idea to call the White House. Often. It might be good to remind the WH that that group of Democratic Senators which refuses to back new gun legislation are for the most part the same group of Democratic Senators who won’t back marriage equality. The Left should remain silent about that, why? So that Harry Reid can continue on as the Majority Leader after 2014? Compromise and bipartisanship be damned. The Right doesn’t compromise so why should the Left?

  5. I checked Talking Points Memo (all DC stuff, right?), but search did not turn up anything about Wall St. Journal article on administration trial balloon or Obama budget trial balloon.


  6. Ah, after doing a visual scan of the about 5 pages of the DKos Front Page, found a Joan McCarter entry on the Obama SocSec/Medicare cuts trial balloon (or dagger at out throats) articles. NYTimes and Wall Street Journal. About 280 comments at DKos.

    As the other DKos focused on, Obama apparently is not far from Eric Cantor’s proposal to meld Part A and Part B into one program with one deductible, meaning patients would have to rack up the hospital stay big, big deduction before the doctors’ visits deductions would be covered. This would cause poorer Medicare recipients to put off visits to doctors and especially lab work and mean higher out of pocket costs for younger recipients. Medicare Supplemental insurance would be done away with or cost much more, if Obama/Cantor get their way.

    In particular, participants say, the president told House Republicans that he was open to combining Medicare’s coverage for hospitals and doctor services. That would create a single deductible that could increase out-of-pocket costs for many future beneficiaries, but also could pay for a cap on their total expenses and reduce the need to buy Medigap supplementary insurance.

    Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the No. 2 House Republican, proposed much the same in a speech in February. “We should begin by ending the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services,” he said. “We can create reasonable and predictable levels of out-of-pocket expenses without forcing seniors to rely on Medigap plans.”

    While Mr. Cantor’s proposal got little attention at the time, its echo by Mr. Obama hints at a new route toward compromise — in contrast with the budget that House Republicans passed this month that has no chance of Senate approval. (My emphasis)

    Obama and Cantor, what a team, eh??

    Sometimes I just can’t believe this pseudo-Dem president. Even though I couldn’t vote for him, as I feared he was not a true Democrat, I never believed he would be as awful as he has turned out to be.

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