WaPo: The Democrats’ refusal to address entitlements is getting kinda’ silly, isn’t it?

posted at 2:41 pm on November 28, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Over and over and over again, we’ve heard the president, the White House, and various Democrats intone that we need to find a “balanced” approach to solving the impending debt crisis, but Democrats have conveniently neglected to match their proposed ‘Clinton-era’ tax increases with Clinton-era levels of government spending, which would obviously require mega-cuts. The only serious cuts Democrats seem willing to address would come from the military’s budget, and more and more of them having been coming out and declaring their outright opposition to even considering entitlement reform.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed that sentiment: “President Obama said that Social Security is not part of what . . . we’re going to do in this. And I agree with him.”

In prepared remarks earlier Tuesday, the second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin, went further: He said all entitlement programs — including Medicare and Medicaid — should be dealt with, but not in any fiscal cliff negotiations. …

Indeed, Democrats face increasing challenges from the left in that regard. On Nov. 15, a collection of liberal Democratic senators sent a letter to Reid, encouraging him not to cave to the opposition in fiscal cliff negotiations.

One provision in that letter urged, “Any deal must protect Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security from harmful cuts.” Despite claims to the contrary, the letter notes, “Medicare and Medicaid are already very efficient,” and it adds, “The projected rate of spending growth in Medicare and Medicaid continues to be much lower than the rate of growth in the private health insurance market.”

Ohhh, you must mean the other entitlement programs, the ones that aren’t currently hurtling us toward $86 trillion in liabilities. Riiiight. Well, okay, but still… where’s this marvelously “balanced” approach we’ve been hearing so much about? The Democrats’ newfangled definition of compromise — ‘bipartisanship means you come to the table and then do exactly what we want’ — has shot way past ridiculous, and the Washington Post is even saying that it’s time for the president to step it the heck up already.

Democrats, meanwhile, are sounding more and more maximalist in resisting spending cuts. Many insist that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education — pretty much everything except the Pentagon — are untouchable. …

Elections do have consequences, and Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be “balanced,” including spending cuts as well as tax increases. Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there’s no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs. …

That means spending cuts, it means entitlement reform, it means compromise, it means a balanced solution that will please neither House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Only one person is in a position to make it happen.

But does that mean that it will happen? …I won’t hold my breath. Krauthammer had President Obama’s number on Fox last night (click the image to watch, via RCP):

Photobucket

…Why are Republicans allowing the entire debate to be about taxes and about the war among Republicans over holding the line on the Norquist pledge or not, when what Obama is proposing on raising the rates on the 2% is a triviality? It will reduce the deficit from 1.10 trillion to 1.02 trillion, 8 cents on the dollar. It is nothing. It’s lunch money, it’s a rounding error. And yet that’s all the debate that we are hearing. Obama understands this. He’s not trying to fix our fiscal issues and problems. He’s trying to destroy the Republicans by insisting that there is a split among the Republicans on this issue which has held them together, the same way it destroyed President Bush Senior when he went back on the pledge he made. This is a political attack on the Republicans. There is no evidence right now that he has any interest in the real fiscal issue because he would have to talk about spending and entitlements and he isn’t.


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But yet they still will carry the water for the libs, and ridicule any Republican that suggests exactly what the WaPo suggests.

Flange on November 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

It’s lunch money, it’s a rounding error. And yet that’s all the debate that we are hearing. Obama understands this. He’s not trying to fix our fiscal issues and problems.

We know. And that’s why we’re saying, L.I.B.

BTW, Der Kraut definitely has a cool style, his squishy tendencies aside.

UltimateBob on November 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

It was never about fixing the economy that they “inherited” it was always about punishing evil Republicans for the unmitigated gall of not being progressives.

Lily on November 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Courtesy of RWM and of course, the beloved and admired Mr. Ramirez, a national hero, a man/mensch…not like the Empty in Chief.

Schadenfreude on November 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Why are Republicans allowing the entire debate to be about taxes and about the war among Republicans over holding the line on the Norquist pledge or not, when what Obama is proposing on raising the rates on the 2% is a triviality?

Because anti-conservative idiots like the Weeping Boner are running the GOP. Boner should have been canned back in March of 2011 when it was clear that he was the biggest disaster anyone on the right could have imagined. But, he refused to leave and the idiots in the GOP House refused to take him down, so we got stuck with him, stuck with continual caving to Barky and the leftist junta, continual debt ceiling raises for NOTHING in return, continual Continuing Resolutions allowing insane spending for NOTHING in return, continual allowances for the junta in the Senate to fly by another couple of years without passing any sort of budget and being let off the hook by Boner and the idiots in the House … and now that same set of fools has voted the imbecile back into the Weepership and we are back to being knifed in the back by Boner and his cronies, while Barky and the leftist junta just ride off doing whatever the heck they want, Constitution be damned, law be damned, America be damned.

That’s why.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on November 28, 2012 at 2:49 PM

NiceDeb has a good post relevant to this.

The current leaders of the USA are Alinsky devotees. Alinsky devotees are motivated by one singular thing:

Turning the USA into a statist hell on earth.

The republicans were stupid not to realize this four years ago.

tom daschle concerned on November 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

It was never about fixing the economy that they “inherited” it was always about punishing evil Republicans for the unmitigated gall of not being progressives.

Lily on November 28, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Even though most Republicans in DC actually are Progressives.

UltimateBob on November 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

The Democrats’ refusal to address entitlements is getting kinda’ silly, isn’t it?

Smart Power, baby.

BacaDog on November 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

We’re heading for economic dictatorship

The whole of the West is falling into the economic black hole of permanent no-growth
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9684778/Were-heading-for-economic-dictatorship.html

Forget about that dead parrot of a question – should we join the eurozone? The eurozone has officially joined us in a newly emerging international organisation: we are all now members of the Permanent No-growth Club. And the United States has just re-elected a president who seems determined to sign up too. No government in what used to be called “the free world” seems prepared to take the steps that can stop this inexorable decline. They are all busily telling their electorates that austerity is for other people (France), or that the piddling attempts they have made at it will solve the problem (Britain), or that taxing “the rich” will make it unnecessary for government to cut back its own spending (America).

Colbyjack on November 28, 2012 at 2:51 PM

ThePrimordialOrderedPair

Amen

ultracon on November 28, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Why should they? The Dems already know, the eSTABrepubs/rinos are going to Surrender like the French and give the Traitor-in-chief, whatever he wants! They colluded with Benedict Obama and are in the process of sweeping the Treason of Arming Al-Qaeda under the rug. It’s not like anyone here or anywhere, for that matter, is going to do anything about it! Katherine Herridge was the only one talking about it & she’s been shut up! The fact is that the reaction by the rinos/eSTABrepubs, proves they are involved and either approved or new about, the Arming of Al-Qaeda and did nothing! Making them co-conspirators in Benedict Obama’s TREASON! So why should the Dems relinquish anything, when they can get the eSTABrepubs to sellout their own?

http://www.paratisiusa.blogspot.com

God Bless America!

paratisi on November 28, 2012 at 2:54 PM

“balanced approach” for these idiots means tax hikes coupled with an equal amount of defense cuts

thurman on November 28, 2012 at 2:56 PM

What’s the Real Size of our National Debt?
http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2012/11/27/whats-the-real-size-of-our-national-debt/

It’s a helluva lot more than $16 trillion.

Former Congressmen Chris Cox and Bill Archer lay out the grim fiscal landscape that our dishonest government accounting practices are hiding from the American people:

The actual liabilities of the federal government—including Social Security, Medicare, and federal employees’ future retirement benefits—already exceed $86.8 trillion, or 550% of GDP. For the year ending Dec. 31, 2011, the annual accrued expense of Medicare and Social Security was $7 trillion. Nothing like that figure is used in calculating the deficit. In reality, the reported budget deficit is less than one-fifth of the more accurate figure.

Why haven’t Americans heard about the titanic $86.8 trillion liability from these programs? One reason: The actual figures do not appear in black and white on any balance sheet. But it is possible to discover them. Included in the annual Medicare Trustees’ report are separate actuarial estimates of the unfunded liability for Medicare Part A (the hospital portion), Part B (medical insurance) and Part D (prescription drug coverage).

As of the most recent Trustees’ report in April, the net present value of the unfunded liability of Medicare was $42.8 trillion. The comparable balance sheet liability for Social Security is $20.5 trillion.

Colbyjack on November 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM

The only serious cuts Democrats seem willing to address would come from the military’s budget, and more and more of them having been coming out and declaring their outright opposition to even considering entitlement reform.

So, make our military weaker while at the same time making our citizens lazier. Sounds like a winning formula to me. What could go wrong??/S

Sterling Holobyte on November 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Colbyjack on November 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Don’t forget the complicit bankers have a 1.5 QUADRILLION derivatives bubble.

It is all make believe right now.

tom daschle concerned on November 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The Republicans should say, sure we’ll jack up taxes, right after we cut 1.5 trillion from non-discreationary/non-defense spending and defund all your liberal sacred cows.
This time we get our sugar, and we’ll get back to you on tax cuts.

Iblis on November 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

The treasury raiders, AKA democrats won’t deny their core constituency and limit “spreading the wealth around”. However, reality is a stubborn thing. When the cash cow finally dies the entire house of cards the dems have built will come down and the streets of places like Chicago Detriot Indianapolis etc. will make the streets of Greece look like a garden party.
Those of us who have prepared will watch the entire house burn to the ground ride it out and then pick up the pieces.

E ff the progressives (traitors)

Kuffar on November 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

One comment at the WaPo article said: “Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are not the cause of our fiscal problems”.

In 2012 the federal government spent 1.6 trillion on those alone. Add the 500 billion for welfare and we spent 2.1 trillion on the basic entitlements. Our total revenue was 2.3 trillion.

We had 200 billion left to run the government.

darwin on November 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

“back to you on tax hikes” not cuts. damn persistence of memory

Iblis on November 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Schadenfreude on November 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM

LOL!!! I needed that.

ProfessorMiao on November 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

And to top all of this off, Nancy Pelosi’s having a Susan Rice moment:

Meanwhile, House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday furthered the Democrats argument that the party has already made cuts.

“We have already agreed to over a trillion dollars in cuts,” The California congresswoman said. “We’re looking to see what the revenue piece will be to that.”

link

More “spontaneous” cuts out of thin air, right Nancy?

Rovin on November 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

The GOP is holding all of the cards here. For the low-information voters, Obama and the Democrats won the election . . . big. Few outside of the base of both parties even knows that the Republicans control the House, and hold a veto (for now) in the Senate. The President and the Democrats will get blamed ultimately if things go south. They have way more to fear from that than Republicans do. In fact, the only way the Republicans do get back into power, it seems to me, is if the population actually experiences some serious negative consequences to their stupid decision on November 6.

So, the House should just pass what they want, and send it to the Senate. Sit and wait to see what the Democrats do.

Progressive Heretic on November 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Colbyjack on November 28, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Don’t forget the complicit bankers have a 1.5 QUADRILLION derivatives bubble.

It is all make believe right now.

tom daschle concerned on November 28, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The treasury raiders, AKA democrats won’t deny their core constituency and limit “spreading the wealth around”. However, reality is a stubborn thing. When the cash cow finally dies the entire house of cards the dems have built will come down and the streets of places like Chicago Detriot Indianapolis etc. will make the streets of Greece look like a garden party.
Those of us who have prepared will watch the entire house burn to the ground ride it out and then pick up the pieces.

E ff the progressives (traitors)

Kuffar on November 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM


http://www.hulu.com/doomsday-preppers

Colbyjack on November 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Fitch downgrades bit*h.

Schadenfreude on November 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

More “spontaneous” cuts out of thin air, right Nancy?

Rovin on November 28, 2012 at 3:10 PM

You merely “deem” cuts to have been made and Viola! the cuts are there and the “saved” money can now be spent on something else.

Lily on November 28, 2012 at 3:22 PM

I’m beginning to wonder at what point do I stop paying my mortgage and taxes.

Ditkaca on November 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

“Where’s your plan Mr. President…?”

Seven Percent Solution on November 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Ironic news story of the day?

Photo may show iceberg that sank Titanic
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/11/28/photo-may-show-iceberg-that-sank-titanic/

Chip on November 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

I’m beginning to wonder at what point do I stop paying my mortgage and taxes.

Ditkaca on November 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

When food shopping turns into a ‘Black Friday’ sale at Walmart…

… and people no longer stop at “STOP” signs.

Seven Percent Solution on November 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

“Where’s your plan Mr. President…?”

Seven Percent Solution on November 28, 2012 at 3:27 PM

I have a copy.

tom daschle concerned on November 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I’m beginning to wonder at what point do I stop paying my mortgage and taxes.

Ditkaca on November 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

I know one who already has.

Ann Barnhardt.

tom daschle concerned on November 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

I have a copy.

tom daschle concerned on November 28, 2012 at 3:30 PM

I found it…

Seven Percent Solution on November 28, 2012 at 3:37 PM

There is no evidence right now that he has any interest in the real fiscal issue because he would have to talk about spending and entitlements and he isn’t.

The president has proven that he needn’t do diddly squat and he’ll get away with it. His latest attempt to deal with this issue is to go campaigning again and tweet about it. How long did the WH think it would take for tweeters worldwide to ridicule the democrats for their lack of leadership? About a nanosecond, that’s how long. The whole administration is a joke. One. Big. Joke.

scalleywag on November 28, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Screw it . . . let it crumble, then we’ll sort through the rubble and attempt to rebuild this once great Republic.

rplat on November 28, 2012 at 3:50 PM

sorry, forgot to drop the link to the hilarity about the WH tweet

http://twitchy.com/2012/11/28/hijack-hilarity-hijinks-will-they-never-learn-white-house-launches-my2k-hashtag-fails/

scalleywag on November 28, 2012 at 3:51 PM

At this point, the GOP is essentially negotiating with itself. They should have some discipline, and every day ask the President to present the details of his offer.

Our guys are so eager to jump in front of a camera that we end up playing whack-a-mole with various proposals, some of which hurt the parties image, and others which hurt our negotiating position. Time to shut up and let the President show some leadership.

If asked to comment, just say “we’re ready and eager to work with the President.”

hawksruleva on November 28, 2012 at 3:58 PM

Over the cliff!

Don’t fear the reaper.

batter on November 28, 2012 at 4:02 PM

How about we just start pushing this website out.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_budget_detail_fy12bs12012n#usgs302

25%, 23% and 22% of the total Federal budget.

Eventually, people with even minimal math skills will get something out of it……

Tenwheeler on November 28, 2012 at 4:03 PM

It seems to me that the House can address any entitlement that it chooses. Every spending bill originates in the House, so why doesn’t the House approve limited spending in its bills or am I missing something? I do realize that previously signed bills call for automatic spending, but there is much that doesn’t.

cajunpatriot on November 28, 2012 at 4:07 PM

cajunpatriot on November 28, 2012 at 4:07 PM

The House could have put a break on spending any time it wanted. If the House doesn’t pass a continuing resolution then the Senate has to pass a budget or the feral government has to start shutting down. If the House doesn’t raise the debt limit, then spending has to be constrained to the cash that actually comes in. It’s pathetic that the GOP House has allowed all of this insane spending to continue after the Tea Party put them in power in order to specifically stop this and to kill ObamaScare (which could have been done by conditioning its full repeal for passing one of the umpteen CRs or debt raises that they passed). The fact that the GOP House has colluded with the dems on all this spending is a good part of what contributed to Barky’s re-election, as they didn’t do the only thing they were voted into power to do and basically crushed the Tea Party enthusiasm for the 2012 election.

It’s sad to say but as insane and anti-American as Barky and his leftist lunatics are, the GOP House is the entity responsible for the spending of the last two years. The Weeping Boner refused to take a stand and, instead, kept pushing for the continuation of dem spending and allowed the Porkulus to remain as part of the baseline since funding was done merely by CR and not by budgeting.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on November 28, 2012 at 4:17 PM

GOP, stfu and make the Dems submit a plan.

besser tot als rot on November 28, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Erika, et al.,

I’ve done some very simple number crinchng using the data in the below website. Granted, numnbers only available there through 2016.

With my simple math skills (and albeit lack of an accounting degree) it looks like Social Security not only is in the black, but produces revenue in excess of expenditures, and with a minor 2.75%/30 yr Treasury note on the extra alone stays in the black through 2016.

As I said, nothing is available past 2016, when I expect the charts would show a ballooning retirement surge. It would be interesting to run those numbers though, such that they are. If the results are anywhere near what I am seeing there is some very funny stuff being done somewhere.

Of course given the past record of not only the Administration but the Congress on just the Unemployment reporting alone, I am not surprised.

http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_budget_detail_fy12bs12012n#usgs302

I recall in the movie Dave where his accounting bud sits down with the budget and cranks out something workable. Wonder how a few tries by the ahem, unwashed, at balancing the actual Federal monstrosity would turn out. It could not be any worse than it is.

Tenwheeler on November 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM

The Gelded Old Party on Capitol hill think they are in charge of something. They are. Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. They get played like violins by the Dems with increasing regularity anymore.

ghostwalker1 on November 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM

Wonder how a few tries by the ahem, unwashed, at balancing the actual Federal monstrosity would turn out. It could not be any worse than it is.

Tenwheeler on November 28, 2012 at 5:00 PM

But, of course that is exactly what we sent those morons to Wasshington to do in the first place.

Tenwheeler on November 28, 2012 at 5:01 PM

It’s about time for the Republicans to take a stand. Let’s go off the cliff, once and for all. It serves a lot of purposes. First of all, it shows people that the “Bush tax cuts for the rich” really had an effect on their income. Secondly it allows all taxes to go up and then the sequestor takes place. Let people who work for defense contractors see how their jobs are affected. Obama said it wouldn’t happen, let him keep his promise and, in the meantime find out that he actually has to do something besides demagogue to get something done.

Alas, the Stupid Party will be signing on the dotted line before the end of December instead of doing the right thing. Thank God Boehner was never a wartime general, we’d have lost every war we were in.

bflat879 on November 28, 2012 at 5:07 PM

GOP, stfu and make the Dems submit a plan.

besser tot als rot on November 28, 2012 at 4:51 PM

…yeah WTF!…the “we don’t have a plan …but we don’t like yours!” was months ago……the Pubes are dumber than dumb to discuss ANYTHING until then.

KOOLAID2 on November 28, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Well, okay, but still… where’s this marvelously “balanced” approach we’ve been hearing so much about?

Do we commenters have to educate the writers here on everything? A balanced approach is the Republicans cave on everything and the Democrats get everything they want. Shhhesch!

Herb on November 28, 2012 at 5:17 PM

It was never the intention of any democrap to cut any program. They are growing government(findamentally transforming) not cutting it.
After they get thier tax increase by restoring taxes from the Bush tax cuts, next step will be federal internet tax, followed by a full on vat tax. Incrementialism. Aint it great?

paulsur on November 28, 2012 at 6:10 PM

The Democrats’ newfangled definition of compromise — ‘bipartisanship means you come to the table and then do exactly what we want’…

Nothing “newfangled” about that. Compromise to Democrats has always meant that Republicans/conservatives should compromise their values and positions to vote with the Dems. Just as crossing the aisle has always meant Republicans crossing over to stand with Democrats. It’s been the case as long as I can remember.

SukieTawdry on November 28, 2012 at 6:31 PM

If they weren’t so freaking dangerous this whole slimy gaggle of politicians would be knee slapping hilarious . . . they are without a doubt the epitome of incompetence and stupidity.

rplat on November 28, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Krauthammer’s right. This is entirely a political attack, and should be fought as such. Go after the president’s goals. Make him pay a political price when his top priorities get cut, when EPA funding is slashed.

The media is on the side of the president, and the Senate will stand by him. But that doesn’t really give him the balance of power. The balance of power is held by the people who pay the bills. And the bottom line is that no deal can happen unless the House agrees to fund it. If the House allocates funds for it, then the House can attach rules to those funds.

Identify the funds that the Democrats love and use to buy votes, and freeze them at 50% of the previous year’s funding until DOD is fully funded. If you can make a good case that the spending is not really necessary, cut it to 10%. Demand all tax hikes be coupled with twice as much in spending cuts, and that all spending cuts have to be in effect before taxes can be hiked.

Obama is a big-government guy. Take away his toys. Oh, and as long as the military is taking such heavy cuts, no more military planes should be provided to Senators and Congressmen to fly them back home. Force government officials to cut back travel expenses.

And start saying loudly and often, “If the American people have to pay more taxes, then the government will just have to cut more spending.”

BTW, how mad do you think Obama would be if the whole Obamaphone program was defunded and all those with them were told, “Due to the massive spending cuts required this year, you will be responsible for your own cell phone bills.

tom on November 28, 2012 at 7:43 PM