By tying his Social Security cuts to tax increases, President Obama has offered Republicans the same deal that he has been proposing for years. It is also a deal that will Republicans will never in a million years accept.
Reuters put the offer of cuts to Social Security in the lead, but the twist in in the paragraph below, “However, the president will only accept these spending cuts if congressional Republicans, for their part, agree to higher taxes, the official added. The President’s budget proposal is due to be laid out in full on Wednesday.”
The New York Times revealed that the President is using the offer of Social Security cuts to break the Republican resistance to tax hikes, “Congressional Republicans have dug in against any new tax revenues after higher taxes for the affluent were approved at the start of the year. The administration’s hope is to create cracks in Republicans’ antitax resistance, especially in the Senate, as constituents complain about the across-the-board cuts in military and domestic programs that took effect March 1.”
The problem is that President Obama has been proposing this deal but Republicans have been turning down the deal for the last two years. What the White House is doing is a clever bit of political strategy. They are using something that Republicans really want (Social Security cuts) to force Republicans into making a choice on whether or not to defend raising taxes on the wealthy. The president knows that his budget is DOA, so he is using it to push his broad overall goal of raising taxes.
Obama is proving to be just as dug in on the tax issue as Republicans are.
Chained CPI is ridiculously bad policy. The left should be vigilant against President Obama’s infatuation with it. However, with Independent Bernie Sanders, Harry Reid, and a group of Senate Democrats promising that any deal that contains cuts to Social Security will not pass the Senate, I think chained CPI faces a difficult path to passage.
President Obama is playing the long game. His real motive isn’t to cut Social Security but to break the Republican will on tax increases.
This is why the 2014 election is so important. If Democrats take back the House and keep the Senate, President Obama won’t have to do a “grand bargain.” He will be able to push for a new stimulus and tax increases. By voting next year for candidates who promise to protect needed programs, you can do your part to protect Social Security.
President Obama has been playing a game with Republicans where he dangles Chained CPI out there then takes it back.
I would suggest that what the President is doing is a carrot and stick tactic, but what Obama is really offering Republicans is a carrot and being whacked on the head with a spiked aluminum baseball bat.
If Republicans agree to raise taxes again, their party will be fractured and destroyed. They understand that taxes are the only issue holding them together. This is why Obama’s offer is dead in the water. It is also why some on the left need to stop looking at only one tree (Social Security) and examine the whole forest (the potential for long term victory.)
Be strong, be vigilant, and say no to Chained CPI, but also know that Obama doesn’t want to cut Social Security. The president is trying to break the Republican will on taxes.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association