Obama to Support Simpson-Bowles

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


While it’s been unclear what President Obama will say Wednesday that could turn him into a long-term deficit warrior. We now know. Obama will throw his support behind the controversial Simpson-Bowles plan which slashes Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

Back on April 5, Ezra Klein asked: Will Ryan’s budget revive Simpson-Bowles? It turns out Klein was correct.

Today, Klein writes:

But if the president was actually interested in passing Simpson-Bowles, this was a bit of an odd way to go about it. Leaving it out of his budget and State of the Union speeches meant it didn’t become the central issue on the table. That gave Ryan room to make his proposal, and the early signs that his proposal has turned many Republicans against Simpson-Bowles, as they’d prefer Ryan’s plan and don’t want to weaken their negotiation position. If the process then becomes a compromise between a centrist plan like Simpson-Bowles and a hardline conservative plan like Ryan’s, that’s not going to produce something Democrats are happy with, and Obama will be blamed for not taking the imitative and forcing everyone to simply consider Simpson-Bowles when he had a chance.

One of the most insidious parts of the Simpson-Bowles plan is to cut Social Security benefits by changing the cost-of-living adjustment formula. This will start in 2012, so it would hit current as well as future beneficiaries.

Seniors currently retired and the disabled receiving Social Security benefits would see their benefits slashed by about 3 percent and after 10 years, and by another 6 percent.

Keep in mind that currently, the average retiree’s annual Social Security benefit is $14,000, which is lower than the minimum wage, the Economic Policy Institute reports. Three and a half million seniors are living below the poverty level, even with Social Security.

But it gets worse. Today’s 20-year-old workers who retire at age 65 would see their benefits cut by 17 percent if their wages average $43,000 over their working lives, a clear attack on the middle class.

So there you have it. President Obama is expected to support Simpson-Bowles and will even frame it as a responsible alternative to the 2012 plan unveiled last week by Rep. Paul Ryan. Still think the president isn’t controlled by the Tea Party?

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16 Responses to Obama to Support Simpson-Bowles

  1. Brigadoon says:

    As if America’s seniors and the disabled don’t have enough to worry about? Obama is no advocate for anyone who falls below middle class. He’s a contemptible excuse for a president and I can’t wait to see him leave office in 2012.

  2. TOM339 says:

    Obama isn’t interested in cutting the deficit. He wants to get reelected in 2012.

    If he were serious, instead of attacking the elderly and the most vulnerable in our society, he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, redeploy the battleships away from Libya and start the process of shutting the 900 military bases the U.S. maintains around the globe. He would also pull the plug on the 8 military bases slated for construction in Afghanistan.

    But none of this will be on the table because Obama is a sissy and he doesn’t have the chops to stand up to the Pentagon.

  3. Debbie Banuelos says:

    When you stand for nothing your are nothing. Back in 2006, then-Sen. Obama voted against raising the debt limit. But now-President Obama says he regretted his vote and through WH Spokesman Jay Carney said,

    “He (Obama) realizes now that raising the debt ceiling is so important to the health of this economy and the global economy that it is not a vote that, even when you are protesting an administration’s policies, you can play around with.”

    Obama flip flops more than a short order cook at IHOP. LOL!

  4. Rachel says:

    Makes you wonder if Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan was deliberately designed to make Simpson-Bowles look reasonable? In any case, I think when the 65 million Americans who receive Social Security either as retirees or disabled Americans get wind of this, Obama’s ass is toast. Attacking people at the bottom is immoral and Obama needs to feel the sting of rejection by the voters.

  5. Estacada says:

    Debbie Banuelos – One thing Barack Obama hasn’t flip-flopped on is his commitment to tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

    The Obama/McConnell tax scheme will total $800 billion. Obama is now in Reagan’s and Bush’s territory.

    No wonder he’s ready to embrace Simpson-Bowles. This is blow a whole in the Federal budget equal to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

  6. CriticalEyes says:

    Obama, I now hate you more than I ever hated George W. Bush. You can forget 2012, mother-fucker, you’re finished!

  7. mbmdl says:

    For those of us who work in healthcare, H.R. 1473 is particularly troublesome. It cuts $600 million from community health while HIV and other disease-prevention funds are cut by $1 billion. Young adults and minority women now make up the largest segment of new HIV cases. Most are poor and under insured or have no insurance. As time goes on and Obama’s record become clearer, I find it ironic that George W. Bush did more for HIV by passing a $15 billion dollar AIDS initiative. Obama has done nothing.

    Mary Beth, MD

  8. Peace Nick says:

    Did you guys see the new CNN poll?

    Billionaire Donald Trump is first when Republicans are asked who they support for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

    As much as I’ve grown to detest Obama (who hasn’t?), does Trump stand a chance of unseating the current president? If Trump can rally white independents, then Obama is through.

  9. Mary Beth,

    It’s so great to see you commenting again. I know how busy you are with your practice.

    I’m not familiar with the particulars of H.R. 1473. It sounds like just another attack on a segment of society who are less able to fight back.

    If there was ever a time in history when we need a revolution, it’s now. We need to turn Washington upside down and shake the garbage out — beginning with the White House.

  10. VicoDANIEL says:

    I think it works like this. If Obama signs onto cutting Medicare and Social Security then he passes the Tea Party purity test but in the process, he loses the backing of the majority of the left.

    Let’s watch him get reelected without the support of AARP, the LGBT community, the disabled, doctors and nurses who work in public health, the Unions, Hollywood, and Hispanics.

    Trust me. It ain’t going to happen. The numbers don’t add up, no matter how David Axelrod tries to tally them.

    vicodaniel1987@yahoo.com

  11. DMason says:

    Sometimes I feel like I’ve gone through the looking glass. Didn’t Obama say during the 2008 campaign if we elected him, he would let the Bush-era tax rates on the wealthy expire? Those tax cuts are sucking $900 billion out of the US Treasury every year. So, if Obama is suddenly a deficit hawk, why cut Social Security and Medicare and steal $1 billion from AIDS prevention. Just let the Bush tax rates on the wealthy expire for fuck’s sake. Why is this such a radical idea?

  12. Big Hank says:

    The Tea Party ain’t never going to support this administration.

    Obama’s a silly ass if he thinks otherwise.

  13. fran says:

    This is Bush 2’s fault you know– he racked up the huge $13 trillion dollar debt & let the Wall Street Banksters run amuck. The only way to begin digging out of a $14,000,000,000,000 that’s $14 trillion dollar debt is to slash everything.
    But that means start with the 60% of the budget military expenses (cut the wars), and no tax cuts for the wealthy- who have enjoyed 10 years of tax breaks while the country struggles on the edge of total financial meltdown.
    If we think all this budget brewhaha is upsetting, wait till next month, when they have to vote to allow the Trillion plus debt limit to be raised.
    It’s going to be like Roman Gladiators in D.C. – and yes the GOP is always willing to make sacrifices that hurt the poor, most in need & middle class- always protecting their base– the fat cat lobbyists & the wealthy.

    Bush embraced the philosophy if you ignore the economy, it will go away…. and just like he did in the businesses he ran prior to his (stolen) presidency, left them in bankruptcy & failure– he did the same to this country- obsessed with getting his wars on. Now he’s long gone & who knows how many decades it will take to recover?
    His 2 wars still rage on as well. Remember these were going to be “slam dunk” “in the last throes” quick & easy wars??

    Bush 2 spent money like a drunken sailor. Now WE pay his pension & benefits for all eternity & for security guards, when his sorry ass should be in jail.

    The programs people paid into for all the years of their working lives should be held in trust. Cut from the top down, not the bottom up.
    Let’s see some cuts in congressional pay too, Eh?

  14. fran says:

    This is the doing of Bush 2 you know- HE racked up the big debt & let the Wall Street Banksters rum amuck. Blame is not going to fix the problem, but the only way to even begin to dig out of a $14 trillion dollar debt (oh hell, the Ntl. Debt grows by $4.08 BILLION PER DAY), is to slash everything across the board.
    But the GOP plan to protect the rich from feeling any pain- ie keep those tax cuts for the wealthy, and to keep the military industrial complex humming along, unscathed financially- ain’t gonna fly.

  15. Robyn says:

    At this point I don’t care if it’s Bush 43’s fault or not. Obama has to be judged on his own (de)merits and at this point I don’t see myself reelecting him in less than two years.

    I just might vote for Trump if he goes Independent. I can’t stand Obama or anyone else the GOP trots out for the nomination.

  16. Jolly Roger says:

    There is no “tea party.” It is an entirely contrived invention of a few rich guys. there are Americans, and there are Jonestowners. Period.

    I refuse to acknowledge these racist, delusional fucks by using the name they were given by their masters. They are drinking hard at the vat, so Jonestowners they are.

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