Obama is scrapping his previous offer to trim cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs. That idea had been a central component of his long-term debt-reduction strategy, even though it was considered odious by many Democrats.
While (Deputy Press Sec. Josh) Earnest and other officials said that trims in benefit cost-of-living adjustments remain on the table should Republicans choose to bargain, Democrats cheered the decision to keep them out of the budget.
"I applaud President Obama for his important decision to protect Social Security," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who last week organized a letter signed by himself and 15 Senate Democrats calling on the president to refrain from benefit cuts in his budget. "With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we cannot afford to make life even more difficult for seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in America."Too bad the allegedly socialist Bernie didn't also demand that Social Security benefits be increased so that older people and other vulnerables won't have to choose between heating and eating. Too bad he didn't demand that the contribution cap on FICA taxes be scrapped so that our great social insurance program will remain solvent into perpetuity. Maintaining the status quo of ordinary people clinging to life by the skin of their teeth is about the best we can hope for in the Feudal States of America.
Meanwhile, here's my comment to Paul Krugman's latest column, about the woefully tragic Stimulus of 2009:
When our compromised leaders swallowed the poison pill of austerity, it acted upon them like an aphrodisiac. The fiscal solution of inflicting pain on the masses while enriching the financial miscreants beyond their wildest dreams is an addiction they just can't quit. Deficit reduction is now entrenched in their very DNA. And it's killing us.
The one antidote to their deficit disease is the bloated military budget. Because when it comes to funding the war machine and spying on us, the sky's the limit.
But every domestic policy plan even minimally benefiting ordinary people is treated as a terrorist threat. It either has to be deficit neutral, or the poor must be robbed to pay for the poor. For the first time ever, both parties agreed that the ill-fated extension of jobless benefits required a pay-for. Even then, it was DOA.
On the White House website there are five reasons why we should love the food-stamp cutting Farm Bill, Guess what Number One is? It contributes to long-term deficit reduction!
When 16 senators successfully demanded that the president spare Social Security from the budgetary axe, they also praised him for reducing the deficit, even though SS doesn't contribute to the almighty deficit.
The subtext -- that austerity is a virtue -- survives. A grand bargain offer of cuts still stands, if only the GOP's sugar daddies agree to relinquish maybe .00000000000001% of their own wealth in order to "share the sacrifice" with starving people with no jobs.