Of course: Obama abandons plan to bring up Social Security reform in SOTU

posted at 8:03 pm on January 24, 2011 by Allahpundit

Remember, this is the guy who once famously said that he’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-termer. Putting the country back on a fiscal footing that’s even remotely sustainable would abundantly qualify as “really good,” but hey — his approval rating is trending upwards and there’s a campaign right around the corner and, darn it, why should he be expected to lead on this issue when it’s the Republicans who want to cut cut cut?

Wait ’til next year. Or the year after that. Or the year after that.

President Obama has decided not to endorse his deficit commission’s recommendation to raise the retirement age, and otherwise reduce Social Security benefits, in Tuesday’s State of the Union address, cheering liberals and drawing a stark line between the White House and key Republicans in Congress.

Over the weekend, the White House informed Democratic lawmakers and advocates for seniors that Obama will emphasize the need to reduce record deficits in the speech, but that he will not call for reducing spending on Social Security – the single largest federal program – as part of that effort…

“Most of us would like to see the Democrats remain the strong defenders of Social Security, which they have to be if they want to win the next election,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future…

“The commission said nothing surprising about Social Security. The options they recommended are perfectly reasonable and balanced. If the president wasn’t willing to embrace these sort of changes, he shouldn’t have appointed a commission to find solutions. What did he expect?” Robert L. Bixby, executive director of the nonprofit Concord Coalition, which advocates for balanced budgets, said in an e-mail.

Really good question. According to WaPo, the farthest Obama’s likely to go tomorrow is to float a rhetorical air biscuit encouraging Congress to “work together” to make the program solvent and leave it at that. Think progressives will be keen to “work together”? If so, go read the quotes from proud socialist Bernie Sanders at HuffPo saluting Obama for making sure the third rail remains untouched even as our budgetary locomotive steams ahead towards a cliff.

The tragic irony here, of course, is that Mr. Roadmap himself is set to deliver the rebuttal tomorrow night and yet even he might decide not to tackle Social Security squarely. He’ll talk about spending, of course, including “longer-term spending reforms,” but whether we’re in for a blunt message about the, shall we say, fierce urgency of now in dealing with entitlements is as yet uncertain. Given the GOP leadership’s allergies to talking up Ryan’s plan on the trail, I assume he’ll be closely circumscribed; it’s hard to feel angry at The One when even the “fiscally conservative” party doesn’t have much more nerve on this than he does. (Another sad irony: Ryan voted against the Bowles/Simpson plan on grounds that it wasn’t aggressive enough, so he’s not ideally positioned to challenge Obama on tomorrow night’s omerta.) If I were him, I’d lay it out as starkly as possible — i.e. we’re not really debating whether to reform Social Security, we’re debating when to reform it. Does the public want to do it soon, with a scalpel, or do they want to wait for a crisis and do it with a machete? That’d be a dramatic question. I’m afraid of the answer.


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This SOTU address YAHTZEE game won’t be the same this year.

portlandon on January 24, 2011 at 8:06 PM

The GOP needs to start laying out the urgency of the situation so people will be ready to accept the necessary pain.

pedestrian on January 24, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Typical politician.

Asher on January 24, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Ponzi would have been proud.

cool breeze on January 24, 2011 at 8:10 PM

but that he will not call for reducing spending investment in Social Security – the single largest federal program – as part of that effort…

Spending = the word that shall not be spoken.

LASue on January 24, 2011 at 8:11 PM

I guess Ryan will be another Jindal bomb. Let them all show their make-believe “gravitas”.

promachus on January 24, 2011 at 8:11 PM

I guess Ryan will be another Jindal bomb. Let them all show their make-believe “gravitas”. If GOP cannot put up an adequate rebuttal, they deserve to lose.

promachus on January 24, 2011 at 8:12 PM

Given the GOP leadership’s allergies to talking up Ryan’s plan on the trail, I assume he’ll be closely circumscribed; it’s hard to feel angry at The One when even the “fiscally conservative” party doesn’t have much more nerve on this than he does.

Could be an explanation to Obamas increasing numbers, officially there’s no problems with the economy….

the_nile on January 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Teh Won has more words than Webster’s, but not the variety. Spouting meaningless words is not enough.

Yet you and Ed praised his speech in Tuscon, which was mostly devoid of content and full of words.

He will say anything to get reelected, just as he did to get elected.

Why do people keep falling for it?

GnuBreed on January 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM

Does the public want to do it soon, with a scalpel, or do they want to wait for a crisis and do it with a machete? That’d be a dramatic question. I’m afraid of the answer.

Come on Allah, man up!

upinak on January 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM

According to WaPo, the farthest Obama’s likely to go tomorrow is to float a rhetorical air biscuit encouraging Congress to “work together” to make the program solvent and leave it at that.

AP this is why I read all of your posts. Spot F-ing on!

Mord on January 24, 2011 at 8:13 PM

I wonder how the math would work if the SS retirement age were moved up by a month for every two months of calendar time, and the youngest age at which one must begin to pay SS taxes is moved up half-a-month, starting from 18. Would that actually phase-out the program while moving the pig through the python?

cthulhu on January 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Does the public want to do it soon, with a scalpel, or do they want to wait for a crisis and do it with a machete? That’d be a dramatic question.

The power grabbing government types want a big crisis to get an excuse for more intrusive actions.

the_nile on January 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

I guess Ryan will be another Jindal bomb.
promachus on January 24, 2011 at 8:11 PM

that is what I am afraid of. Ryan isn’t that conservative.

upinak on January 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

According to WaPo, the farthest Obama’s likely to go tomorrow is to float a rhetorical air biscuit encouraging…

Nice

JetBoy on January 24, 2011 at 8:21 PM

“Most of us would like to see the Democrats remain the strong defenders of Social Security, which they have to be if they want to win the next election,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future…

The Dems and ObaMao are interested only in winning the next election and maintaining power with whatever entitlements they can promise. Fiscal responsibility be d*mned.

onlineanalyst on January 24, 2011 at 8:22 PM

It’s not like Obowma would act like the President of the United States, and actually try to attack a problem head on that is threatening this country or anything…

… Oh, wait!

Seven Percent Solution on January 24, 2011 at 8:23 PM

Who is the only politician in America, it seems who has the cajones to tackle this issue? I won’t even utter that person’s name, because it goes without saying. And yet, they say this person is not electable, qualified, or lacks the gravitas. And these guys do???

milemarker2020 on January 24, 2011 at 8:23 PM

the farthest Obama’s likely to go tomorrow is to float a rhetorical air biscuit encouraging Congress to “work together” to make the program solvent and leave it at that.

ahhhh…the smell of civility…

ted c on January 24, 2011 at 8:24 PM

The tragic irony here, of course, is that Mr. Roadmap himself is set to deliver the rebuttal tomorrow night and yet even he might decide not to tackle Social Security squarely. He’ll talk about spending, of course, including “longer-term spending reforms,” but whether we’re in for a blunt message about the, shall we say, fierce urgency of now in dealing with entitlements is as yet uncertain. Given the GOP leadership’s allergies to talking up Ryan’s plan on the trail, I assume he’ll be closely circumscribed;

And you thought a Bachmann response would take away luster from the awesomeness that is Ryan. Heh.

Aquateen Hungerforce on January 24, 2011 at 8:25 PM

Those that believe and trust this guy need to be preserved and enshrined in the Smithsonian . . . their inability to recognize reality in the face of overwhelming evidence makes them truly unique and worthy of historical preservation.

rplat on January 24, 2011 at 8:26 PM

“PBHO said not only that SS will never be touched but also that everyone will get a free unicorn/puppy hybrid!”

-morons who believe Obama

Bishop on January 24, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Does the public want to do it soon, with a scalpel, or do they want to wait for a crisis and do it with a machete?

Violent imagery, AP. We can’t have that.

alwaysfiredup on January 24, 2011 at 8:27 PM

The Dems and ObaMao are interested only in winning the next election and maintaining power with whatever entitlements they can promise. Fiscal responsibility be d*mned.

onlineanalyst on January 24, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Having a crisis explode in his second term would just be something they would enjoy for the powergrab potential.

It will be extend and pretend until it could be used for political purpose.

the_nile on January 24, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Are Ryan and Obama going to stand together on the floor of the House to show civility?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 24, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Warm up for the drinking game tomorrow…

“Investment”

… is the magic word.

Seven Percent Solution on January 24, 2011 at 8:28 PM

GOP should turn this on obama as “NOT SERIOUS” about deficit reduction…just more spending…but they won’t

winston on January 24, 2011 at 8:28 PM

A very unserious President.

Weight of Glory on January 24, 2011 at 8:30 PM

GOP should turn this on obama as “NOT SERIOUS” about deficit reduction…just more spending…but they won’t

winston on January 24, 2011 at 8:28 PM

Why , Obama made an amazing speech….

the_nile on January 24, 2011 at 8:30 PM

I pulled this quotation from the article on Bernay’s strategy of propaganda that I linked at the Rasmussen ObaMao popularity poll:

Likewise, it is their elitism that drives liberal politicians to implement a nanny state — one in which it is the responsibility of the federal government to see to the individual’s wants and needs. It is this attitude that fuels programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, and policies such as gun control.

For example, the Obama administration has announced that it will be reviewing regulations for redundancies to ensure that agencies are operating smoothly. On the surface, the effort appears well-intentioned, except that once again, the President has circumvented Congress by issuing an executive order to carry out the process. Likewise, what is also mentioned in the executive order that has not been touted in the media is the following: “In weighing costs and benefits, for instance, agencies may now consider equity, human dignity, fairness and distributive impacts.”

onlineanalyst on January 24, 2011 at 8:31 PM

“Most of us would like to see the Democrats remain the strong defenders of Social Security, which they have to be if they want to win the next election,” said Roger Hickey, co-director of the liberal Campaign for America’s Future…

Translation: “Fu** the country—LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY FIRST!”

Rovin on January 24, 2011 at 8:36 PM

Rumor has it Obama is tense about the speech tomorrow and rehearing a lot.

petefrt on January 24, 2011 at 8:37 PM

that is what I am afraid of. Ryan isn’t that conservative.

upinak on January 24, 2011 at 8:16 PM

Neither are the rest of the mullahs of the GOProgressives. Do we really think they would give a hardline conservative the microphone?

darwin-t on January 24, 2011 at 8:38 PM

You can end it now and be nice about things.

Or it can end you later and then there will be nothing to talk about as the system implodes.

Obama has chosen #2, and he will vote ‘Present’ on entitlement ‘reform’.

Either way the goodies and freebies will end, the question is if there will be a government left when it does? Then it will be time for a new way to do things with the evidence of what happens when you are ‘nice’ via government and love ‘entitlements’ is smelling up the house. Ponzi schemes do not work and no government, no matter how rich, can change that. And what is worse is that ‘reform’ only gets a few more years in the system until the demographics kill it… if you are lucky.

Remember SSA wasn’t supposed to go into the red until 2030, when estimated in the 1980′s. It started doing that last year. The bozos Upon the Hill do not understand economics, math nor demographics and no promise from any politician on ‘reform’ has ever come about. They are spineless. If you want the Nation to continue it is time to let friends and family know that this system has a wound caused by politicians and they are not going to fix it… and then you will be broke with no ‘entitlements’ left at all.

ajacksonian on January 24, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Great thread caption “Leadership”.

S/b “Cojones”.

Teh, heh, the eunuch in chief is a laughing stock, or should be one anyway.

Fools deserve him.

Pity the children.

Schadenfreude on January 24, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Hey Obama, what about SS reform?

“C’mon guys, we’re buying shrimp here.”

At least George W. Bush had the stones to address Social Security. Then again, George W. Bush was a REAL President(once he kicked the Neo-cons out of his Administration).

David2.0 on January 24, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Oh, but he was this close to renouncing his entire life’s work!

Bullcrap. This is just more fodder for a few hundred more “Obama as Philosopher-In-Chief” stories.

“Look, everybody: He stopped and thought really, really HARD, before he finally decided once-and-for-all that a collective economy is the only road to the future. If that isn’t proof positive, then I don’t know what is!”

logis on January 24, 2011 at 9:05 PM

Why , Obama made an amazing speech….
the_nile on January 24, 2011 at 8:30 PM

You read today’s New York Times?

Bishop on January 24, 2011 at 9:11 PM

SS reform bores him. He needs a challenge to match his intellect.

Aquateen Hungerforce on January 24, 2011 at 9:16 PM

OT anyone else watching Rudy implode on Pier’s Morgan?

Aquateen Hungerforce on January 24, 2011 at 9:16 PM

why should he be expected to lead

Exactly. He hasn’t so far. Much preferring to gaze out from on-high. Above the fray – and thus not accountable.

Sorta sounds like Barry’s whole life.

GarandFan on January 24, 2011 at 9:20 PM

SS reform bores him. He needs a challenge to match his intellect.

Aquateen Hungerforce on January 24, 2011 at 9:16 PM

How about a Candy Land tournament?

Dark-Star on January 24, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Dark-Star on January 24, 2011 at 9:22 PM

I’m not quite sure how et, but I am convinced that’s raaaaaayyyyyyyciiiiisssssstttttttt!

Aquateen Hungerforce on January 24, 2011 at 9:32 PM

gonna be a pep rally tomorrow night….

all talky-talk with NOTHING coming to fruition…

cmsinaz on January 24, 2011 at 9:38 PM

“Rumor has it Obama is tense about the speech tomorrow and *rehearing* [sic] a lot.

petefrt on January 24, 2011 at 8:37 PM”

Heh. That’s what he gets for living in an echo chamber.

KS Rex on January 24, 2011 at 10:06 PM

KS Rex on January 24, 2011 at 10:06 PM

TOTUS better be ready, no malfunction tomorrow night

heh :)

cmsinaz on January 24, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I plan on playing a drinking game while I watch, it’s the only way I can get through the whole thing.

The Expert Knows

HAExpert on January 25, 2011 at 12:14 AM

My financial future and income for my golden years quit any reliance on SS many years ago. If part of your retirement income counted on what they promised you in the yearly lie sheet, bad on you.

hawkdriver on January 25, 2011 at 5:40 AM

Shorter Obama on SocSecurity – I’m getting mine, and <expletive deleted> you, <expletive deleted>.

steveegg on January 25, 2011 at 7:57 AM

Does the public want to do it soon, with a scalpel, or do they want to wait for a crisis and do it with a machete? That’d be a dramatic question. I’m afraid of the answer.

Point of order – even if it’s done now, it’s going to take a machete, and it’s going to hurt. The only question is whether the Boomers that allowed the cancer to fester share in the pain that will be delivered upon the GenX’ers, and both the punting and the general tone suggest not.

steveegg on January 25, 2011 at 8:04 AM