President Obama sent his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction -- Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future -- to the Joint Committee and sounded more like a leader than a conciliator. He has made a significant statement about dealing with America's financial problems, and here are a few of the reactions:
From the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare: "The White House has given us a desperately needed reality check offering a deficit plan providing the common-sense balance most Americans know is necessary. President Obama has flatly rejected conservatives’ calls to cut Social Security since this program did not create our deficit crisis. In fact, Social Security has a surplus of $2.6 trillion in its trust fund and can pay full benefits for at least 25 more years. Added to that good news is that the President will not recommend raising Medicare’s eligibility age -- safeguarding healthcare access for millions of future retirees."
From Strengthen Social Security -- a coalition of over 300 national and state organizations: "We thank the President for leaving alone Social Security, a program that, by law, cannot add to the deficit and so has no place in deficit discussions. We also thank the president for recognizing that raising Medicare’s age of eligibility from 65 to 67 simply shifts costs to the nation’s seniors who have not caused the deficit."
From AARP: "We appreciate that the President has heard the voices of the millions of AARP members and other older Americans who have been urging elected officials in Washington not to include cuts to Social Security in any deficit reduction deal. Social Security is separately funded by workers who have paid into the program over a lifetime of hard work." "AARP reiterates its strong opposition to any proposals that would raise costs or cut the hard earned Medicare benefits that millions of seniors depend upon every day for their health and retirement security."
From the Center for American Progress: "The plan released today by President Barack Obama offers a balanced plan that stands in stark contrast to the extreme vision embodied in the budget resolution passed this spring by Republicans in the House of Representatives."
From Rep. John Boehner: "'Class warfare isn't leadership,'" The only quote attributed to him that I could find.
Don't Cut Medigap
"State insurance commissioners are preparing some stern words of advice for members of Congress trying to reduce the federal deficit: don’t touch Medicare supplemental insurance. Next week, the bipartisan National Association of Insurance Commissioners is expected to send a letter to Congress opposing changes that would require beneficiaries to pay a higher share of the cost of their supplemental Medigap insurance."
As noted here before, cutting federal costs simply pushes costs on to the States and beneficiaries. In addition, some changes could eliminate standardization and increase consumer confusion.
For Your Information
The Republican Reality-Free Zone
Even before the President's speech, the Conservative Republicans were repudiating "class warfare" and fighting to keep tax breaks for the wealthiest and increase taxes on the middle class. Who, really, is waging class warfare? Who is winning?
Paul Ryan Calls For Increasing Taxes On Middle Class But Dismisses Millionaires Tax As ‘Class Warfare’