For The Record…It Was Obama Who Offered To Cut Hundreds Of Billions In Medicare During The Debt Debate
OBAMA AND DEMOCRATS PUT MEDICARE CUTS IN DEBT CEILING DEAL
USA Today: “Cuts in Medicare and other entitlement programs are on the table.” (Susan Page and Fredreka Schouten, “Political Damage Even If A Debt Deal Is Done,” USA Today, 7/31/11)
Obama Agreed To Medicare Cuts In Debt Ceiling Deal. “The deal announced on Sunday by Congressional leaders and the White House would make across-the-board cuts in military spending, education, transportation and Medicare payments to health care providers if Congress does not enact further deficit-cutting legislation by the end of the year.” (Robert Pear, “Congress Must Trim Deficit To Avoid Broader Cuts,” The New York Times, 7/31/11)
Obama Said “Adjustments” Must Be Made To Medicare. OBAMA: “Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare so they’re there for future generations.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks On Budget Control Act, Washington, D.C., 8/2/11)
This will all get milked for all its worth during the Catfood Commission II, as Republicans use these “even Barack Obama supported” statements to win the spin war. Democrats don’t really have any similar statements to hurl back with respect to taxes, at least not from major political figures in the Republican Party, because they don’t really go off the reservation like that. The closest they have is John Boehner saying there was an agreement on an $800 billion increase in revenues in the deal, but of course he’s already backtracked on that, and he’s perfectly willing to say that the revenues would only come from economic growth. So it’s a slippery target. There’s no such problem with Obama. He has said – is continuing to say – that “adjustments” need to be made to Medicare.
Anyway, these things don’t work against Republicans the same way. Heck, they proposed earlier in the year to end Medicare and turn it into a coupon, and they’re still banging out press releases on how Obama will cut your Medicare. This is what I meant by saying that the grand bargain deal, even though it hasn’t yet been consummated, will have damaging knock-on effects for years. As Digby writes, “The President wanted a Grand Bargain, a Big Deal, a Great Compromise that would bring the two parties together to offer the necessary human sacrifices to the Market Gods. But he may have ended up being the sacrifice himself.”