Re: Wingnuts then:
posted at 3/3/2013 8:22 AM EST
In response to airborne-rgr's comment:
The problem with the wingnuts; they are clueless as to the reality of the budget negotiations.
They are either wilfully ignorant or obfuscate what the actual positions are.
Case in point:
Would it matter, one reporter asked the veteran legislator, if the president were to put chained-CPI - a policy that reconfigures the way the government measures inflation and thus slows the growth of Social Security benefits - on the table?
"Absolutely," the legislator said. "That's serious."
Another reporter jumped in. "But it is on the table! They tell us three times a day that they want to do chained-CPI."
"Who wants to do it?" said the legislator.
"The president," replied the reporter.
"I'd love to see it," laughed the legislator.
You can see it. If you go to WhiteHouse.gov, the first thing you'll see is an invitation to read the president's plan to replace the sequester. That plan is only a page. "Savings from Superlative CPI" - another way of saying chained-CPI (consumer price index) - is one of the items in bold type. It saves $130 billion over the next decade, mostly by cutting Social Security benefits. And yet there are key Republican legislators - the very Republicans who say they want to strike a deal, and who the White House will need if it's going to get a deal - who don't know the president is even willing to consider it.
Case in point:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talks about what's needed for an agreement, he calls for "serious means-testing for high-income people" on Medicare. When Sen. Lindsey Graham said he'd be open to a deal that would replace the sequester with $600 billion in revenues if the White House would reform entitlements.
But on page 34 of the White House's most recent budget, President Obama proposes to do exactly that. Medicare, it's important to note, is already a partially means-tested program, with richer seniors - about 5 percent of them - paying income-related premiums for their hospital and drug insurance. Obama would increase those premiums by 15 percent, and he'd freeze the threshold such that, over the next decade or two, 25 percent of seniors were paying part of the cost of their coverage.
Case in point:
Republicans also believe that supplemental Medicare insurance - typically called "Medigap" policies - are increasing costs because they often wipe out any co-pays or deductibles for seniors. Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate committee that manages Medicare, has taken particular aim at these plans. (Never mind that they were attacking Obama during the last election for stripping out $700 billion of this supplemental support)
The administration agrees that Medigap policies are a problem. It's proposed a 15 percent surcharge on Medigap policies that cover first-dollar expenses. The idea is to make those policies less attractive to seniors. Privately, administration officials say they'd be willing to go quite a bit further.
What's holding an agreement up is that Republicans are far less willing to compromise on taxes than Democrats are to compromise on Medicare and Social Security.
Moving the goalposts, again.
These discussions are pointless, as the liberals think that printing money is OK, shifting money around into different pots or mechanisms creates more money, and that entitlements pass consittutional muster.
But, for the record, Social Security and Medicare are not only immoral, but ponzi schemes. they will fail, either by politicians pushing these programs off a cliff, or just through sheer demographics.