Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pelosi on the Side of Seniors & Disabled, McConnell Easing Up - Maybe, More on the Debt Ceiling

Does Pelosi Read The Medicare Daily Report?

Did my jaw drop when I saw this headline!  Nancy Pelosi: Some In GOP Would Pay China Before Seniors In A Debt Default  "Republicans may be accusing President Obama of 'scare tactics' in saying a default could halt Social Security checks, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says some in the GOP may actually prefer stiffing the elderly.  'I've heard some on the other side say we should pay the Chinese government before we send out a Social Security check,' Pelosi said, even as she argued that leaders need to worry about reaching a debt agreement before focusing on who gets hurt if they don't."

I think she or her staff  must read "The Medicare Daily Report."  Just yesterday I said "So, as we run out of money, who do we pay first -- retirees or Chinese?"  The question was meant to provoke thought about the responsibilities we have to our citizens and to our creditors.  The answer is that both count -- all mixed together with legal obligations, priorities, fairness, and political realities.  There is no easy answer.  Clearly, the Country must solve the debt problem -- which was created in large part by two wars and huge tax breaks for the wealthy.  Chart from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
McConnell Backing Down?

McConnell Debt Back-Up Plan Gives Dems Opportunity To Break GOP Anti-Tax Hegemony  "The U.S. political world reacted with confusion on Tuesday to a ground-shifting proposal by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  The plan itself was clear enough: Republicans don't really have the stomach to allow the country to default on its debt in pursuit of their decades-long goals of slashing deeply into popular entitlement programs.  But instead of admitting that and extending President Obama's borrowing authority through the 2012 election, McConnell proposed a Rube Goldberg-esque scheme by which Obama, by accepting some public embarrassment for himself and his party, could raise the debt limit on his own, with no policy strings attached."

Just when you thought you'd seen everything, along comes a big surprise.  Perhaps there's a bit of common sense behind this -- and if so, then the Republicans do deserve a small measure of credit, although they never should have brought us to this brink in the first place!  Just the same, Conservatives are lambasting McConnell for his apparent surrender.  However, not everyone agrees with McConnell.  "But GOP leadership -- including House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) -- understood what the Wall Street Journal recognized, but few others did: A fiscal crisis is much too hefty a price for the party and the country to pay, even if it's to purchase the holy grails of conservatism."

GOP Says President Obama Is Holding Debt Limit Hostage

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) -- "an articulate freshman, beloved by conservatives" -- tried to pull a switcheroo.  "So after acceding Tuesday that they'll raise the debt limit one way or another, Republicans are now accusing President Obama of holding the debt limit hostage.  Fine.  It's pretty clumsy as rhetorical jiu jitsu goes, but fine.  For this argument to be persuasive, though, these same Republicans must omit the fact that they were using the debt limit as a weapon in an ideological fight just 24 hours ago."  "He took some heat from the assembled reporters for trying to turn the tables on the Democrats, and did his best to argue the point."

This, of course, follows a time-honored political tradition:  if you change your position, ... STILL blame the other guy.  This attempt was more transparent and clumsy than most and lacked the finesse of a polished veteran politician.

An interesting perspective from Robert Scheer: The GOP's Sick Priorities.  "How deceptive for politicians to stress 'entitlements' when they talk about gutting Social Security and Medicare, two programs long paid for by their beneficiaries.  The Republicans make it sound as if they're doing us a favor, cutting government waste by seeking to strangle America's two most successful domestic programs.  And now Barack Obama seems poised to join their camp in undermining the essential lifeline for most of the nation's seniors, many of whom lost their retirement savings in the banking meltdown."  This is a very thoughtful piece that deserves your full attention.  It's clear, it's sensible, it's correct.

Lieberman's Plan Hurts Seniors

"It's Lieberman versus Lieberman at CJR, where analyst Trudy Lieberman eviscerates the Lieberman/Coburn plan to raise the eligibility age for Medicare, a plan that the White House seems to have embraced as a bargaining chip."  "It hurts seniors without really saving that much money for the program, relatively, since the major costs for the program hit older people."

For Your Information

No. 2:  Sometimes, I just have to share with you something really bizarre, such as Mitch McConnell: We Must Rewrite The Constitution Because ‘Elections’ Haven’t ‘Worked’.  Yes, the same McConnell who has eased up on the debt limit.  "Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered what may be the most concise summary of conservative constitutionalism ever spoken -- America must rewrite the Constitution to force conservative outcomes because we the people consistently elect lawmakers who disagree with McConnell."


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