Obama loses key support for cutting Social Security, Medicare in “Grand Bargain”

A Quick Hits post on benefit cuts: I alluded to this news earlier, but wanted to bring it to you directly. President Obama may have just lost his battle to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits as part of some austerity-driven “Grand Bargain.”

One of the strongest proponents of benefit cuts in the Democratic infrastructure — the powerful think-tank Center for American Progress (CAP) — has just withdrawn its support.

Via Joan McCarter at DailyKos (my emphasis and paragraphing):

There’s a glimmer of good news for the nearly half of America’s seniors threatened with poverty: The grand bargain is nearly dead. The Center for American Progress, a key Democratic establishment institution and strong backer of President Obama, has abandoned austerity. The deficit, they say, is not the most critical issue facing the country in 2013. (And the sky has yet to fall.)

obama_gives_them_social_security_Braveheart_THUMBThe move comes in a report from the Center’s Michael Linden, who writes “Most policymakers, organizations, and policy leaders seem to be stuck in 2010, as if nothing has changed in the years since.” …

This is the first significant defection in the Obama team on austerity, and one that has some political potential. It gives lots of room for congressional Democrats who would have been necessary to any kind of grand bargain passing in the House to back out. Without CAP arguing for the necessity of making cuts to benefits to Social Security and Medicare, there’s no one to have their back if they choose to participate in making those cuts.

Here’s a key conclusion from the CAP report:

When considered all together, there is clearly no need for deficit reduction to take precedence over every other important issue facing the country. We need to stop allowing deficit concerns to hijack every other policy discussion.

McCarter has additional analysis here.

One down (perhaps), two to go — Keystone and TPP.


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

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