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Democratic Party ‘Mainstream’ Prefers ‘Balance’, As Only Max Baucus Can Deliver

by on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm EDT in Politics

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took little time in announcing he would be naming Senator Max Baucus as one of three Democrats (including Sen. Patty Murray and Sen. John Kerry) to serve on the “Debt Super Committee”.

Matthew Yglesias assures Liberals there’s little to worry about with regards to Baucus. His rationale is that there’s little disagreement between moderate and liberal Democrats on the “core issue” facing the super committees:

In general, people should remember that while an important cleavage exists between moderate and liberal Democrats about the desirability of cutting Social Security spending, there’s really very little disagreement about the core issue facing the super committee, which is whether Democrats should agree to far-reaching domestic cuts without any offsetting tax hikes. Baucus is firmly within the party mainstream in demanding balance.

In other words, both moderate and liberal Democrats alike agree that far-reaching domestic cuts are okay AS LONG AS Republicans agree to impose tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. I.e. it appears (according to Yglesias) we’ve all bought into Obama’s “shared sacrifice” spiel: that it’s okay to impose austerity measures on average Americans or even the most vulnerable Americans during a severe recession, as long as the wealthy throw some “tip money into the jar”. And we can be assured that Max Baucus will not bend on this ‘mainstream’ Democratic Party ‘balance’-principle.

Meanwhile, CNN just released a new poll today that reveals the complete opposite about the ‘mainstream’ Democratic Party:

Breaking the CNN Poll results down:

Should increases in taxes on businesses and higher-income Americans be included in the Super Committee’s deficit reduction proposal?

Democrats: 80% Yes, 19% No

Liberals: 82% Yes, 17% No

Moderates: 74% Yes, 25% No

Should major cuts in spending on domestic government programs be included in the Super Committee’s deficit reduction proposal?

Democrats: 39% Yes, 58% No

Liberals: 40% Yes, 58% No

Moderates: 52% Yes, 44% No

Should major changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems be included in the Super Committee’s deficit reduction proposal?

Democrats: 28% Yes, 71% No

Liberals: 30% Yes, 70% No

Moderates: 30% Yes, 69% No

It would appear from the numbers above that Democrats (as an ENTIRE group) don’t buy into Obama’s concept of ‘shared sacrifice’ or ‘balance’. A clear majority DON’T EVEN WANT major spending cuts in domestic government programs TO BE ON THE TABLE. They want the Super Committee to focus entirely on revenues, and they want those revenues to come from corporations and the wealthy.

And let us not forget Sen. Baucus’s track record. Here is a Senator who was instrumental in overriding the will of the American people on healthcare reform (and was rewarded handsomely by the health insurance industry & BigPharma for his efforts).

Now, it’s true that the Senator has made a few surprisingly encouraging statements in defense of Medicare and Social Security recently. But after the healthcare reform debacle, we all know a thing or two about Baucus’s integrity. 

Candidate Obama VS President Obama On Fixing Medicare

by on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 10:55 am EDT in Healthcare, Politics

On the campaign trail, CANDIDATE Obama was very specific on how he intended to fix Medicare:

1. To lower Medicare costs, Candidate Obama said he would permit Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices with the price-gauging pharmaceutical industry:

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SEN. OBAMA: But one thing I have to say, we are not going to make some of these changes unless we change how business is done in Washington. The reason that we can’t negotiate prescription drugs under the Medicare prescription drug plan is because the drug companies specifically sought and obtained a provision in that bill that prevented us from doing it.

MS. WASHBURN: Thank you.

SEN. OBAMA: And unless we change that politics, we’re going to continue to see the waste that we’re seeing in the entitlement programs.

2. He would increase revenues by $300 Billion simply by ending Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, and use that to shore up Social Security and Medicare:

 

We’re not going to solve social security and Medicare unless we understand the rest of our tax policies. … Let’s be clear about my tax plan and Senator McCain’s, because we’re not going to be able to deal with entitlements unless we understand the revenues coming in. […]

Senator McCain wants to give a $300 Billion tax cut to — $200 Billion of it to the largest corporations and $100 Billion of it going to people like CEOs on Wall Street.

If we get our tax polices right so that they’re good for the middle class. If we reverse the policies of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, and that Senator McCain supported, then we are going to be in a position to deal with Social Security and deal with Medicare, because we will have a health care plan that actually works for you, reduces spending and costs over the long term, and Social Security that is stable and solvent for all Americans, and not just some.

 So let’s see how PRESIDENT Obama fared in advancing his progressive platform for saving Medicare:

 1. Promise to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices:

In August of 2009, the Obama Administration admitted to cutting a secret back room deal with Big Pharma which SPARED the wealthy drug industry from having to negotiate drug prices with Medicare. Obama, additionally, broke another promise by dealing away Americans’ ability to import cheaper drugs from Canada.

In return, the drug industry agreed to kick in $80 Billion in savings over ten years (a mere 2.6% of the $3 Trillion Americans are predicted to spend on drugs over that same time period), and the industry additionally agreed to toss Obama $150 million in television ads to sell his “health reform” bill.  

2) Promise to add $300 Billion in revenues by allowing Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy to expire (which he would use to shore up entitlements): 

Now you might have expected, by the way Candidate Obama tied Bush Tax Cuts (as a source of revenue) directly to offsetting entitlement expenditures during his campaign, that he would have made entitlements the central focal point last December to make the case for allowing Bush tax cuts to expire.

But to the shock and dismay of his own party, Obama flipped on this campaign promise, quickly agreeing to extend Bush Tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And only THEN, after it passed — thereby ensuring there would be no additional revenues — did he moves on to addressing entitlement expenditures. 

His NEW PLAN For Fixing Medicare:

Here was Obama over the weekend, revealing his new — perhaps undisclosed would be a more accurate depiction? — plan for fixing Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid:

Essentially, what we had offered Speaker Boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending, both domestic and defense. We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.

Who the hell is this guy?