Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Having [Obama] go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism...”

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Hey, remember this? V.P. Biden “flat guarantees” no changes in Social Security, which “effectively takes Social Security off the table.”

So this happened: Obama budget would cut entitlements in exchange for tax increases:

President Obama will release a budget next week that proposes significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security and fewer tax hikes than in the past, a conciliatory approach that he hopes will convince Republicans to sign onto a grand bargain that would curb government borrowing and replace deep spending cuts that took effect March 1. [...]

Obama proposes, for instance, to change the cost-of-living calculation for Social Security in a way that will reduce benefits for most beneficiaries, a key Republican request that he had earlier embraced only as part of a compromise. Many Democrats say they are opposed to any Social Security cuts and are likely to be furious that such cuts are now being proposed as official administration policy. [...]

Overall, the budget request reflects Obama’s stark shift in strategy over the last month, as he has adopted a far more congenial posture toward the opposition...

“Millions of working people, seniors, disabled veterans, those who have lost a loved one in combat, and women will be extremely disappointed if President Obama caves into the long-standing Republican effort to cut Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with Democrats, said earlier this week, after reports surfaced that Obama might include the change in his budget.

“In 2008, candidate Barack Obama told the American people that he would not cut Social Security. Having him go back on his word will only add to the rampant political cynicism that our country is experiencing today.”

"Disappointed" indeed.

Why does President Obama still not grasp that Republicans do not like him  (maybe he does), refuse to compromise (maybe he doesn't), and will continue to do everything they can to obstruct sensible Democratic plans and to make mincemeat of his legacy? They've always wanted him to fail, and they continue to want him to fail. They're doing whatever it takes to make that happen. As has always been the case, they have no intention of working with him, only against him, the well-being of the rest of us be damned.

Why does he still insist on bargaining from the center and moving right instead of starting from the left and moving center-left? Well, for one thing, as I've always said, he's no liberal, as I made clear in this post:

...President Obama’s willingness to cut Social Security benefits? Or his strong consideration of signing off on a disaster-in-waiting (see: State Dep’t. draft report looks promising for backers of Keystone XL pipeline)? Or his indefinite detention of detainees at Guantanamo Bay? Or his stance on wiretaps? Or his reluctance to go after Bush, Cheney, and company for lying us into a fraudulent invasion of a sovereign country and torturing prisoners? Or allowing nearly all of the Bush tax cuts to remain in place? Some liberal.

It's one thing to be realistic and understand where a deal will likely end up. It's another to break promises, to doom any chances of keeping the programs intact that those on the left (and most voters) hold dear and rely upon, and to cater far more to those on the right.

The GOP was going to reject Democratic ideas regardless of what the president came in with, so why not begin negotiations with a more Progressive stance and one that is more popular overall?

Here's an idea, why not eliminate the payroll tax earnings cap? Oh, and there's this. The sequester was designed to force Democrats into supporting a Grand Bargain.

The following chart is from StrengthenSocialSecurity.org. Please follow the link to see how proposed changes would also affect veterans, and so much more.You can find more charts and information here, too.

chart social security chained CPI

The important thing to know is that this change would cut the benefits of all beneficiaries, including current retirees, disabled workers, and others–even after politicians promised repeatedly that any changes to Social Security would not affect current beneficiaries. The COLA cut is a real threat to the financial security of every American who does currently or will rely on Social Security.

And please read Why Social Security Recipients Shouldn't Be Shackled With The Chained CPI. More here.

The always astute Dave Johnson (@dcjohnson) had this to say in an email:

The Obama budget is going to offer "Grand Bargain" cuts in Social Security and Medicare, hoping to get Republicans to offer tax increases. We are heading into a retirement crisis. The 401K experiment didn't work. Companies have pulled back on pensions. And the squeeze that has been on regular people for decades means that people also do not have the savings they need to get them through old age. And all the money went to the top. The last thing the country needs is cuts in essential services for the elderly.

Who Could Have Predicted:

"If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there's no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward," Boehner said in a statement.

If they say they are offering to "protect"  the oldest and poorest from this, then what does this mean is going to happen to the rest?

Want to try to make a difference? Contact your Senators here. I just did.

grand bargain social security 2

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