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President Obama makes some unpopular suggestions in debt talks

President Obama makes some unpopular suggestions in debt talks published on

It is never easy being the President of the United States.  There are times, when you have to do thing that you know are going to upset your base.  A perfect example of this would be found here, as reported by the Washington Post:

President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.

At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.

As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.

“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”

Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing, and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation’s population ages.

That would represent a major legislative achievement, but it would also put Obama and GOP leaders at odds with major factions of their own parties. While Democrats would be asked to cut social-safety-net programs, Republicans would be asked to raise taxes, perhaps by letting tax breaks for the nation’s wealthiest households expire on schedule at the end of next year.

The administration argues that lawmakers would also get an important victory to sell to voters in 2012. “The fiscal good has to outweigh the pain,” said a Democratic official familiar with the discussions.

As one might expect, this is not going over well at all with the progressive blogosphere.  In fact, most of them are quite understandably livid at this sort of talk.  Donald Douglas does feel the need to mock them; however, I will not stoop to such antics.  Seeing that I have to elderly parents on Social Security, I will not take a stance as such.

The truth is that President Barack Obama is in one heck of a tight spot here.  No matter what he does, he will be roundly criticized, by the right and the left for what he does.  The right does criticize the President, sometimes rightfully so, for not showing enough leadership in situations like these; and when he does and makes suggestions like these, his base which is represented by the progressive bloggers —- roundly criticize him for making suggestions like this one here.  In short, it is really a no win situation.

The cold, hard truth is this; America is in a very difficult situation.  We are in a huge amount of debt.  This debt was created by both parties over the past eleven years.  It has been caused by one necessary war and another war that many thought to be unnecessary.  Then, as a new President took office, to try to spur the economy; which ultimately failed, this President spent like a drunken sailor; and now, we are in this situation.

The only true hope I can offer is that the President and the members of Congress can come to some sort of agreement — that will not punish the Americans who worked so very hard to get the benefits that they are entitled.  People like my Father, who worked thirty-one years at the same place, every day, played by the rules, and provided for his family.  These people do not deserve to be punished.  I just truly hope that the President and the Republican members of both houses of Congress realize this.

Others: The Politico, Brilliant at Breakfast, The CaucusTalking Points Memo, Swampland, Gawker, Scarecrow’s myFDL diary, Oliver Willis, Taylor Marsh, TPMDC, AMERICAblog News, Crooks and Liars, Bark Bark Woof Woof, Corrente and FrumForum

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