I’m not going to say I told you so, but I kind of did.
President Obama’s budget included a measure called chained-CPI, which would reduce the rate at which cost of living increases for Social Security are calculated.
Many conservatives said it wasn’t enough, while many liberals called Obama a sellout.
I called him brilliant.
You see, there’s been one constant with Republicans when it comes to President Obama. They will instantly oppose damn near anything he supports, even if it’s originally a Republican idea.
There’s a joke I’ve seen going around the internet for a while now—“If Obama came out in support of oxygen, Republicans would suffocate.” Sadly, this isn’t far from the truth.
He knew this, and with his budget proposal he suggested a plan he knew Republicans would never support. Outside of his chained-CPI measure, he included funding for programs that help the poor and tax increases for the rich—two things Republicans vehemently oppose.
What were Republicans supposed to do? For years, they’ve argued against “evil entitlements” and how they’re going to be the demise of our country. They insisted any real effort to tackle our debt problem must include reforms to Social Security and Medicare—but not tax hikes.
So what did President Obama do? He gave them a budget proposal that included both reforms to Social Security and tax hikes. By tax hikes, I mean he mainly focused on closing tax loopholes wealthy individuals and corporations use to pay a lower tax rate than most middle class Americans.
That left Republicans with a few choices:
- Accept the deal as is, which would give them the reforms to Social Security they’ve been pushing for, but it would also anger their base due to the tax increases on the wealthy
- Propose a counter to Obama’s budget which removed tax increases—this would then most likely mean Obama removes the chained-CPI from his proposal
- Counter with smaller tax increases, which would still probably prompt Obama to remove the chained-CPI, and anger their base even more
Or they could do what they’ve begun doing—attack President Obama for his chained-CPI proposal and his “attack on seniors.”
Yes, you’ve read that correctly, Republicans (who’ve pushed Obama for years to cut Social Security) are now attacking Obama for proposing cuts to Social Security.
You just can’t make this up, folks.
What Obama has done is sheer brilliance. He played the hand Republicans have used since January 20, 2009, the whole “oppose anything Obama supports” plan, against them. They pushed and pushed for cuts to Social Security, then once Obama gave them what they wanted—now they’re claiming he’s attacking seniors.
This has opened the door for Obama to come out and say something along the lines of, “See, I proposed a plan which I felt reached across the aisle and gave Republicans something they’ve been pushing for, but instead of compromising, they would rather play politics.”
So fine, the chained-CPI that “attacks seniors” is now off the table.
The Republican base will be enraged as conservatives back off the reforms to Social Security they’ve sought for years, liberals should feel relieved as Obama will probably remove the chained-CPI from any budget proposal he supports and the President makes Republicans look ridiculous…
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