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April 11, 2013

Democrats Push Back Against Obama Budget As Republicans Take Advantage

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Call it a miscalculation. Even some of President Obama’s strongest supporters in Congress have come out against his plan to cut Social Security and Medicare, not to mention the activists who put together a 2.3 million strong petition against the plan. Other than paid staff and consultants Obama is fresh out of friends when it comes to cutting Social Security and Medicare two of the most popular government programs in history.

And now we learn from that the Republican Party, seeing a clear opportunity, plans to exploit Obama’s major misstep.

The head of the GOP’s Congressional election arm has framed the 2014 midterm elections. Today. Republicans are the defenders of Social Security, keeping it safe and whole from attacks on it by the Democratic president. Democrats seeking election, or especially re-election, to the House and Senate are on notice from the GOP: you can support the president’s budget and be part of a “shocking attack on seniors” … and orphans … and veterans … and widows … and the disabled.

Meanwhile progressive leaders in the Democratic Party, such as Elizabeth Warren, have also expressed shock at the brutal benefit cuts.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) made it clear Wednesday in an email to supporters that not only would she oppose President Barack Obama’s plan to cut Social Security benefits through a cost-of-living adjustment known as chained CPI, but that she was “shocked to hear” it was included in the White House’s budget proposal at all.

That’s why I was shocked to hear that the President’s newest budget proposal would cut $100 billion in Social Security benefits. Our Social Security system is critical to protecting middle class families, and we cannot allow it to be dismantled inch by inch.

The President’s policy proposal, known as “chained CPI,” would re-calculate the cost of living for Social Security beneficiaries. That new number won’t keep up with inflation on things like food and health care — the basics that we need to live.

In short, “chained CPI” is just a fancy way to say “cut benefits for seniors, the permanently disabled, and orphans.”

As President Obama prepares to exit the stage in just a few years it might be time to call the game early and start re-establishing (or establishing) a Democratic Party that actually serves as an alternative to the GOP on more than cultural issues. Maybe this attack on seniors and the poor will shock awake the population that our political system needs real substantive change.

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