Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Joint Committee: Danger for Beneficiaries, Possible Progress, At Home With 1%, Awaiting Republican Reaction

Democrats May Turn Their Backs on the Aged and Disabled

"The Democratic co-chair of President Obama’s fiscal commission now says Democrats should entertain an increase in the Medicare eligibility age -- thanks in part Obama’s own health care law.  At a hearing before the deficit Super Committee, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles argued that the Affordable Care Act should allow Democrats to accept raising the Medicare eligibility age, because it creates a system of subsidized, guaranteed private health insurance for people who don’t qualify for government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. And he outlined a plan -- framed as a pitch to Democrats -- that would total nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years, including a higher Medicare retirement age."

Unbelievable.  With friends like these . . . .

Reuters Exclusive: Group forms inside debt panel in quest for deal

"Six members of a congressional 'super committee' have struck out on their own in a new effort to come up with a plan to slash America's huge deficits before a November 23 deadline."  "Despite widespread calls for the 12-member super committee to reach a multi-trillion dollar 'grand bargain' to fix the country's fiscal mess, the six lawmakers are seeking a smaller deal because they recognize the differences between both sides over taxes and spending are too wide."

"The six lawmakers, who began meeting only recently, include: Republicans Rob Portman, Dave Camp and Fred Upton; and Democrats John Kerry, Max Baucus and Chris Van Hollen, two congressional aides said."

Very interesting reading about the ins and outs and the possibility that some kind of deal might be struck.  It takes a majority of seven to get a deal, and while no one knows where the 7th vote might come from, there's a better chance with 3 Democratic and 3 Republican possibilities -- bi-partisan possibilities.  Of course, with so many possibilities that something will go wrong -- for example, draconian cuts to Medicare and Social Security -- we just need to be vigilant.

Super Cuts From One Percent

"No surprise, this Tuesday, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (a.k.a., the 'Supercommittee') is listening to all the normal Washington insiders talk about why Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and a host of programs critically important to the American people must be sacrificed on the altar of deficit-reduction. What we have here is the one percent speaking to the one percent, recommending sacrifices from the ninety-nine percent."

"It is not surprising that Congress's approval rating is, for the first time, in single digits.  The views of the American people who -- across party lines and all demographics -- consistently say 'do not cut Social Security,' 'Do not cut Medicare' lack standing in this policy discussion.  The views the majority of Americans who say that income and wealth inequality is running amuck are also virtually ignored.  Neither is the potential and disproportionate harm that proposed cuts will inflict on people of color, on women, on low-income and moderate income families discussed."

You should read this and add its information to your discussions with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and others whether they agree or disagree.  It looks like 1% of people is hell bent on lording over the rest of us, no matter the cost to us, to them, or to America.

Republicans: Time To Make a Move

"After last summer's showdown over raising the debt ceiling, Obama was roundly criticized for agreeing to a deficit-reduction deal that was all spending cuts and no tax hikes.  Democrats, disconsolate over this seeming capitulation to House Republicans, saw it as the low-water mark of his presidency."

"Yet the deal also created the bipartisan super committee, which was charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion (over 10 years) in additional cuts by Nov. 23.  The super committee has a strong incentive to succeed, since its failure will trigger an automatic, equivalent cut in domestic and defense spending."

"The Republicans claim their package includes revenues ($640 billion worth) but much of it seems to come not from actual changes in the tax code, but from increased fees and co-pays in Medicare.  The rest is supply side fairy dust -- around $200 billion from the higher growth supposed to be generated by future tax reform."

The Conservative Republicans need to demonstrate that they are serious about the work of the Joint Committee and not just posturing for the Conservatives who wield too much power over the Republican party.

The Republican Politics-Over-Patriotism Zone

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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