|Biblical Brinkmanship (Caravaggio)|
The latest horror story to emerge from the closed-door talks is that Obama is offering to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67, in keeping with the recent shocking proposal from Sens. Joe Liebermann and Tom Coburn. Lawrence O'Donnell has an interesting theory on why the president is seemingly out-partying the Tea Party -- it's all part of what he calls "the most masterful rope-a-dope ever performed by a president against an opposition party in Congress."
I wish I could believe that, but I don't. Even if true that Obama is only pretending to put Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block to bluffingly appease the gods of a supply-side economic theory that was debunked decades ago, it's a cruel tactic. There are millions of uninsured and underinsured people just counting the days till they reach 65. Raising the retirement age, cutting benefits through a bait and switch change in cost of living calculations, cavalierly suggesting that as long as we're trimming the waste, we might as well throw the New Deal under the bus too -- it's just boggles the mind. It is either the most complete betrayal of democracy by a Democratic president in history, or it's a giant practical joke/game of chicken at the expense of the peace of mind of countless suffering people. From Monday's press conference: