Obama wanted cuts to Social Security and Medicare during failed Grand Bargain talks

Here’s the Washington Post behind-the-scenes story of the failed Obama–Boehner Grand Bargain negotiations. It’s a doozy.

I’m focusing on one thing only — Obama and your children’s safety net.

First this (my emphasis and reparagraphing everywhere):

A lot of red ink, the Republicans thought. But the major elements of a bargain seemed to be falling into place: $1.2 trillion in agency cuts, smaller cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients, nearly $250 billion in Medicare savings achieved in part by raising the eligibility age. And $800 billion in new taxes.

And later, after Obama balked at something called “dynamic scoring” (counting “revenue from economic growth” as revenue), there’s this:

That night, Obama prepared his party’s congressional leaders. He warned Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that he might return to the position under discussion the previous Sunday — that is, cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for just $800 billion in tax increases. Would they support him?

The Democratic leaders “kind of gulped” when they heard the details, [WH chief of staff William] Daley recalled. … Reluctantly, Reid and Pelosi agreed to do their best to support the plan.

And still later:

Working late into the evening, Obama asked someone to get Boehner on the phone. [Obama’s] message: I’ll take your last offer. “Mr. President,” Boehner answered, “we don’t have time to reopen these negotiations.”

White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table.

Be still my heart. As Digby says:

So selling out Medicare and Social Security, lowering taxes on the wealthy and cutting the hell out of everything else was just fine, but dynamic scoring was the hang up? Well, I guess we at least know what the limits are now.

One thing is clear from this article: the administration simply had no respect or concern for the Democratic base’s reaction to what they were doing. They had convinced themselves that raising taxes in some fashion — no matter how abstract — would be enough to assuage them.

And she’s right.

The real “grand bargain”

About all this safety net dealing, I just want to point out one thing. If you’re over 45 or so, your Social Security and Medicare are not at risk. You will be just fine.

The real Grand Bargain isn’t between the Dems and Republicans. It’s between both of them and you. They’re offering to sell out your children’s Social Security, in exchange for letting you keep your own.

Your Democratic Party at work, folks. Here until progressives grow some stones and take some “tea party” action.


(To follow on Twitter or to send links: @Gaius_Publius)

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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