I'm going to vote NO. I think this proposal is extraordinarily unfair. It's going to make devastating cuts to programs that working families and low-income people desperately need. At the same time it is not going to ask the wealthiest people in this country or the largest corporations to contribute one nickel to deficit reduction. It is not only grotesquely immoral; it is very bad economic policy that will cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs ~ Bernie Sanders (dob 9/8/1941) responding to a question asked by guest host Al Sharpton on MSBC's 8/1/2011 airing of the Ed Show. Bernie Sanders is the junior United States Senator from Vermont.
I've lost faith in President Obama's vision, or, more accurately, I've lost faith that his vision is what I used to believe (or hoped) it was. Also, when I suggested (in my previous post) that Social Security Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit the poor are back on the chopping block I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I was implying that the President is a liar. This is what a self-described "good 'ole hippie liberal" who is now disappointed with the "hard left" progressives says.
I'm sorry to disappoint a fellow Liberal, but I believe Glenn Greenwald who says Obama wants to "cut entitlement programs long cherished by liberals [because it] will increase his appeal to independents and restore his image of trans-partisan conciliator that he so covets". I also believe Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks who says Obama is "eager" to cut entitlements (see the video at the bottom of this post).
For the record I do NOT believe the President is a liar. He just didn't say any of these programs are protected from cuts. The super committee CAN cut anything. Everything IS on the table. I'm going by what it says in the "Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline" fact sheet on the White House website.
Specifically the fact sheet says, "The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms OUTSIDE OF THE CONTEXT of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform WILL be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks".
Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit low income folks are safe from any cuts ONLY if the super committee can't reach an agreement, or the recommendations of the super committee are voted down by either house of Congress, or if they are vetoed by the president.
In regards to that possibility Robert Greenstein, founder of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (and a guest on the 8/1/2011 airing of MSNBC's "The Last Word") said, "the super committee could raise revenue but it will not [because] Boehner will not appoint a single Republican who will approve any tax increases". And he concluded that "it is a FOREGONE CONCLUSION that the super committee will fail".
But I'm not so sure the super committee will fail. The members of the super committee will consist of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans (who haven't been selected yet), and if this committee is anything like the Simpson-Bowles committee, they WILL recommend cutting entitlements. For all we know the 3 Democrats appointed could be Blue Dogs and EAGER to cut entitlements.
If a second deficit reduction package that includes entitlement reforms is agreed to by the super committee and passes Congress - I think Obama will sign it.
Also, contrary to what the hippie Liberal believes, the president didn't promise to let the bush tax cuts expire. What he promised is that he wouldn't extend them for the wealthy a second time. HOWEVER, this is the same promise he broke when he said he was initially going to let them expire. I see another excuse similar to the first one coming.
Remember the first time he extended them he said he didn't have a choice because the Republicans were holding tax cuts for the middle class hostage? The same thing is going to happen again... and Lawrence O'Donnell (a progressive pundit both I and the hippie Liberal watch) agrees... or, it is my impression he does.
Last night (8/1/2011) Lawrence O'Donnell said (not an exact quote), "The Republicans will always win in the fight to extend the bush tax cuts UNLESS the President is willing to let all the tax cuts expire, including tax cuts for the middle class and working poor - and extending these cuts was something Obama campaigned on".
I think the super committee will recommend cutting entitlements. I think the Super Committee will NOT recommend, "shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks". I think Congress will pass the super committee's debt reduction package, and I think Obama will sign it. Or, this is what I FEAR will happen.
The only way I see this not happening is if either - Robert Greenstein is right and, "it is a foregone conclusion that the super committee will fail", or if Progressive Democrats block the package - and every time in the past when they said they might block something... they did not. They said they'd block the Affordable Care Act if it didn't include a public option. They said they'd block the deal that extended the bush tax cuts. They said they'd block the deficit reduction deal that included the raising of the debt ceiling if it didn't involve "shared sacrifice".
The President, I'm afraid, WILL sign a deficit reduction package that cuts entitlements and contains ZERO "shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks". I hope I'm wrong and the hippie Liberal is right, but being part of the "hard left" I'm inclined to believe (even though I can think for myself) other "hard lefties" like Paul Krugman, Robert Reich, Robert Greenwald, Cenk Uygur and Bernie Sanders.
Hopefully we're all wrong and what the president negotiated is "a win for the economy and budget discipline". Or perhaps, as Lawrence O'Donnell said on his program, the largest deficit reduction package in history is actually the "the most ill-conceived deficit reduction package in history" and "the stupidest deficit reduction package in history".