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Robert Reich
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 10 April 2013
The President desperately wants a “grand bargain” on the deficit. Republicans know he does. Watch your wallets.

Bi-Partisanship We Don’t Need: The President Offers to Cut Social Security and Republicans Agree

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John Boehner, Speaker of the House, revealed why it’s politically naive for the President to offer up cuts in Social Security in the hope of getting Republicans to close some tax loopholes for the rich. “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,” Boehner said in a statement released Friday. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor agreed. He said on CNBC he didn’t understand “why we just don’t see the White House come forward and do the things that we agree on” such as cutting Social Security, without additional tax increases.

Get it? The Republican leadership is already salivating over the President’s proposed Social Security cut. They’ve been wanting to cut Social Security for years.  

But they won’t agree to close tax loopholes for the rich.

They’re already characterizing the President’s plan as a way to “save” Social Security — even though the cuts would undermine it — and they’re embracing it as an act of “bi-partisanship.”

“I’m encouraged by any steps that President Obama is taking to save and preserve Social Security,” cooed Texas Republican firebrand Ted Cruz. “I think it should be a bipartisan priority to strengthen Social Security and Medicare to preserve the benefits for existing seniors.” 

Oh, please. Social Security hasn’t contributed to the budget deficit. And it’s solvent for the next two decades. (If we want to insure its solvency beyond that, the best fix is to lift the cap on income subject to Social Security taxes – now $113,700.)

And the day Ted Cruz agrees to raise taxes on the wealthy or even close a tax loophole will be when Texas freezes over.

The President is scheduled to dine with a dozen Senate Republicans Wednesday night. Among those attending will be John Boozman of Arkansas, who has already praised Obama for  “starting to throw things on the table,” like the Social Security cuts. 

That’s exactly the problem. The President throws things on the table before the Republicans have even sat down for dinner. 

The President’s predilection for negotiating with himself is not new. But his willingness to do it with Social Security, the government’s most popular program  — which Democrats have protected from Republican assaults for almost eighty years — doesn’t bode well. 

The President desperately wants a “grand bargain” on the deficit. Republicans know he does. Watch your wallets. 

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.



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ABOUT Robert Reich

 

ROBERT B. REICH, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org. Robert Reich's new film, "Inequality for All" is available on DVD
and blu-ray, and on Netflix in February.

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10 comments on "Bi-Partisanship We Don’t Need: The President Offers to Cut Social Security and Republicans Agree"

planckbrandt

April 11, 2013 9:23am

The USD is dangerously close to devaluation against the RMB. That is what all this is about. Cutting inflation adjustments is the #1 concern for the Owner/Donors. That is why they are doing this. They know the USD is close to being devalued. It is being rejected as reserve currency by foreigners for more and more trade. That is what this setup has been all about. Social Security has absolutely nothing to do with the deficit. But, the Donor/Owners can create reality anyway they want to since they own the Pols and they own the Media. But, inflation adjustment is their #1 thing to change, since they know where the USD is heading even if nobody else does.

makaainana

April 10, 2013 8:33pm

Cutting SS is again asking the middle class to foot the bill for the execssess and greed of the rich and of our government. The SS trust fund has been raided illegally by Congress with the knowledge of Presidents.

Now its going to be up to Congress to stand up for us. NO cuts to SS or medicaide or medicare.

If you are too afraid to go after the rich, at least stop the off shore accounts and the subsidies to profitable corporations like Exxon Mobil.

pitch1934

April 10, 2013 5:27pm

Either B.O. is the dumbest son-of-a-bitch of a democrat or he is not a democrat at all. When he took office with a super majority in the Senate and control of the House is when he should have laid down the law. Now, he is toadying up to the repugnants with promises of SS cuts. Screw him! Get our act together. We can win this if we get the right leader.

sicntired

April 10, 2013 4:19pm

People just don't understand that the party's over.We have a 15 trillion dollar shortfall to make up for.Plus a few billion recently.Might as well take it out on the greatest generation in our lifetimes.You know,the ones that actually won a war.They've had to watch their sacrifices go for naught,as our freedoms are slowly ceded away by cowards.Why not take away the SS they already paid for?We must all share the pain.Unless you're one of the chosen.The ones who caused the problems in the first place.They're too big to suffer any losses.

Becky Jacobson ...

April 10, 2013 3:34pm

As an Obama supporter from the beginning, I am now thoroughly disgusted with him. His supporters sent thousands of voters signatures to the White House opposing this budget and the cutting of Social Security and he just does not care, now that he is re-elected, what the middle-class or seniors and the disabled think. Washington as a whole is not listening to the American people...it's time to throw them all out and start over!

anono

April 10, 2013 3:22pm

Apparently he a just can't let GeeWhiz go down as America's biggest lying prick asshole of a President we've ever had, Obama must want that title for himself.

frigate

April 10, 2013 2:22pm

Big Money rules. Obama is a Manchurian Candidate.

Smiley

April 10, 2013 12:41pm

I can't believe that Obama is that stupid. He is in cahoots.

ChetDude

April 10, 2013 11:44am

Let's hope that the tea-bagger republicans in the House (shudder) will save us on this one...

What a world!

BozoAdult

April 10, 2013 11:33am

The President is a Republican. All the rest is just theater.