Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Obama wants a grand bargain

By Frank Moraes

Last night, Politico reported, Sources: Obama Plans W.H.-GOP Budget Group. In other words, it is Grand Bargain time! Don't worry, that feeling in the pit of your stomach is a normal reaction to the loss of all hope. But maybe it isn't as bad as all that. Regardless, it is an opportunity for me to discuss some new thinking I've been having about Obama's obsession with making a deal. The news is good! And bad! It depends upon how you want to look at it.
Why does Obama want a deal that will cut Social Security and Medicare in the long term? Because he doesn't care about the long term. Does that sound harsh? I don't mean it that way. The truth is that the economy is really bad right now. The stimulus is making it worse. Obama hopes to get a deal that will get the economy back on track now. And if that requires screwing seniors over the next couple of decades, so be it.

There are two ways to look at this. Imagine if Obama could get the economy growing again and create The Wrath of the Conquest of the Planet of the Bride of the Son of the Return of Morning in America. Then in a few years, the Democrats would likely have greater control of the government and would be in a position to fix the harm done by Chained-CPI. They could say (and this is true), "This cost of living adjustment is incorrect for seniors; we shouldn't havelowered it; we should have raised it!"

Of course, there are other ways that Chained-CPI hurts the Democratic base. In particular, it is a way to raise taxes (slowly, but surely) on the middle class. This is, as they say, something that Obama said very clearly that he would not do. So there's that. And that brings us to the second way of looking at Obama's pursuit of a Grand Bargain.

Maybe he just wants things to be good now, since he's in office. If it all goes to hell afterwards, who cares? In fact, that might be good. Nothing made people appreciate Clinton like George W. Bush. So if seniors in 2018 are eating cat food and the economy is struggling because of lack of demand, people will look back (Republicans especially!) and say, "That Obama was one bad mother f..." (Shut your mouth!) But I'm talking about Obama. (Then we can dig it!)

It may surprise you all, but I actually think it is the first way. Obama thinks that we need to fix the economy now. And he's right. If we are to have any hope in the future, we need to deal with our problems today.

So take a moment to appreciate these nice things I'm saying about Obama. I assure you, I will be back to complaining very soon!
(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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