Is Obama Throwing Seniors Under The Bus So He Can Keep The Military-Industrial Complex Pork Rolling Along?
Millions of Democrats were outraged that Obama-- apparently in cahoots with Boehner and McConnell-- put forward a proposal, Chained CPI, to reduce the cost of living adjustments for seniors and veterans who depend on meager Social Security payments to live. Although over 100 Republicans already voted for this catastrophic cut to Social Security as part of the reactionary Republican Study Group budget, not even one Democrat voted for it. Obama stuck it in his budget anyway.
Plenty of Obama-supporters have wondered how he could possibly betray the most basic and fundamental principles of the Democratic Party so crassly and so callously, even with most of the congressmen in his own party begging him not to. Joshua Green at Businessweek traces it back to one good thing about Sequestration-- reduction of out-of-control spending by the Pentagon, billions of dollars in waste and crony-enrichment.
The Pentagon budget will be cut by $500 billion over the next decade (an additional $100 billion in deficit reduction comes from interest savings). While it may have troubled the White House, many Democrats regarded this as a huge gift-- military cuts were something many of them desired but few would actually argue for. Sequestration delivered more than they could have imagined.Howard Dean, the last effective head of the DNC, responded poorly. This is a time to fight, not to retreat.
Guess what? The White House still doesn’t like those cuts. And Obama’s new budget, released today, makes this clear. Although the White House doesn’t advertise this fact in the six-page budget overview it put out this morning, the new budget eliminates nearly all of the cuts that sequestration imposes on the Pentagon. Instead of $500 billion in cuts, Obama proposes only $100 billion, and you have to look closely to spot it (“$200 billion in additional discretionary savings, with equal amounts from defense and nondefense programs”).
Along with the well-advertised cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits, this is something that should appeal to the GOP. “It’s another one of the peace offerings in Obama’s package to Republicans,” Robert Litan, the director of research for Bloomberg Government and a former official of the Office of Management and Budget, told me. Indeed, when you cut through all the numbers, Obama and House Republicans are only $100 billion apart (the GOP budget restores the full $500 billion). The catch is that, like the other peace offerings, restoring the Pentagon’s budget is contingent on Republicans agreeing to further tax revenue.