Super Committee Going After Your Social Security? That Was the Point

By: Tuesday November 1, 2011 11:30 am

Recent stories note that Democratic members of the Super Committee have offered to reduce Social Security, Medicare and other benefits as part of a larger debt reduction plan. This is not surprising, since the Super Committee was created under procedural rules purposely designed to allow such benefit cuts.


Panetta’s Peace Dividend: Routing Iraq and Afghanistan Troops to Challenge China

By: Tuesday October 25, 2011 2:00 pm

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suggested that with the draw down of US forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, the US can now deploy more military resources to confront the Chinese military buildup. Because we really need another land war in Asia.

Obama Deficit Plan Won’t Include Social Security Changes, Reports Say

By: Thursday September 15, 2011 7:00 am

Both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal report that President Obama’s proposal for deficit reduction, due out Monday, will not include any changes to Social Security. The reports are less certain about increasing the Medicare eligibility age, giving a definite “maybe” about that measure.

Obama’s Deficit Plan to Include Medicare Eligibility Age Increase

By: Wednesday September 7, 2011 11:30 am

I’ve been trying to remind people throughout the run-up to the Obama jobs proposal that it would also presage a deficit proposal, to “pay for” whatever spending is in the jobs proposal. We now have a topline number for the jobs plan: $300 billion, half from tax cuts and 2/3 from the extension of current law (Maybe this is why nobody thinks it will work). So will there be $300 billion in cuts in some fashion to “pay for” the spending over time? No, it’ll be much higher than that.

Republicans Choose Their Interchangeable Parts for Catfood Commission II

By: Wednesday August 10, 2011 10:00 am

There were no real surprises among the choices made by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell for the Catfood Commission II. It’s perhaps interesting to note that Paul Ryan didn’t make the cut, but I guess Boehner figured that he’s toxic and therefore not a good face to put on the committee. Instead, Boehner picked two heads of other committees with jurisdiction over health programs and taxes, and made the chair a member of the original Catfood Commission as well as the House Leadership.

Senate Dems on Catfood Commission Like a Rorschach Test

By: Wednesday August 10, 2011 7:04 am

If you think that the committee is designed to fail, these are good members to that end. If you think that the entire exercise is a ploy to cut entitlements and lessen small-d democratic accountability, you can see that at work here as well. In that sense, ultimately the specific members of the committee don’t really matter.

S&P’s History of Relentless Political Advocacy

By: Monday August 8, 2011 7:00 am

If the rating agency’s entire argument was that the political system showed itself to be “less stable, less effective, and less predictable” during the debt limit debate, and that this failure of policymaking and institutional capability increases the chances of default, I don’t have much to argue about that. But, there’s a policy response for that. S&P could do exactly what Moody’s did and call for the debt limit to be extinguished, on the grounds that the legislative branch shouldn’t get to vote twice on funding, once when they appropriate it and another time when they decide whether or not the bill should be paid. If they really wanted to exert some influence on behalf of bondholders, they could have said that they would downgrade US debt further if the debt limit isn’t abolished within 90 days. Since the brinksmanship over the debt limit constitutes the biggest – perhaps the only – threat to paying off US sovereign debt, then the appropriate action for entities judging creditworthiness is to ask that the country in question eliminate the arcane and also dangerous practice.

But that’s not S&P’s only rationale.

Exchange Subsidies Threatened; Part of the Automatic Trigger in the Debt Limit Deal

By: Thursday August 4, 2011 5:30 am

Some Democrats took a look at the automatic cuts and thought they were tough, but probably better than a bad agreement that would slash the safety net and in all likelihood do little on revenues. After all, Medicaid, Social Security and programs for the poor were protected in the agreement, and Medicare would only see a provider haircut. And half of the automatic cuts would hit the Pentagon. What’s the forcing mechanism for the left?

Turns out, that would be the exchange subsidies from the Affordable Care Act:

Pelosi, Reid Talking Big About Revenues, Protecting Safety Net on Catfood Commission II

By: Tuesday August 2, 2011 4:20 pm

Both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are making some bold predictions about the Catfood Commission II and their roles in it. Pelosi said she wouldn’t appoint anyone to the committee who didn’t oppose benefit cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And Reid tried his own dollar-for-dollar pledge by stating there must be a 1:1 ratio between tax and cut solutions on the committee.

Reid Confirms $2.7 Trillion All-Cuts Debt Limit Deal

By: Monday July 25, 2011 6:36 am

Harry Reid is working on a debt limit proposal that would satisfy two key Republican demands. It would sustain the dollar-for-dollar relationship between spending cuts and an increase in the debt limit, and it would not include any revenue increases.

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