by T.L. James | 7:22 am, January 26, 2011 | Comments Off
President Obama set out the bait last night — let’s see if Republicans are foolish enough to take him at his word:
Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12 percent of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t. (Applause.)
The bipartisan fiscal commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it –- in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. (Applause.)
This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. The health insurance law we passed last year will slow these rising costs, which is part of the reason that nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year — medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. (Applause.) We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. (Applause.)
So, our free-spending socialist President has suddenly discovered fiscal conservatism, and wants to make nice and work together with the Congress (read: Republican House) to “cut excessive spending wherever we find it” — including “third-rail” social welfare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Imagine my skepticism.
My prediction: if Congressional Republicans take him at his word on this and actually make proposals to reform these programs, the administration, Democrats, and the media will immediately jump on the proposed reforms (no matter how mild) as “proof” that Republicans hate old, sick, poor, and disabled people and want to strip them of their social safety net and throw them into the streets to die. And once that theme is established, it will be the foundation of endless coordinated demagoguery through the 2012 elections.
Unfortunately, Republicans always seem naive enough to fall for it.
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