The party of the donkey is about to give itself a real ass-kicking.
Representatives from the "party of the people" want to cut Medicare and Social Security, and they're looking for bragging rights on who'd cut government more in a time of need.
If the regular folks' party is trying to impose this much pain on the elderly, poor, and disabled, what's the rich people's party going to do: sacrifice babies in Times Square on live television?
Change That Shatters
As I read the proposal I kept asking myself: Who are they trying to impress? Certainly not the electorate, which overwhelmingly rejects the positions they're advocating. And certainly not the Republicans, since even these Dems aren't naive enough to think their proposal will be accepted. So who?
The "Super Dems" are proposing twice as much in deficit cuts as the Committee's mandated to find. That bit of pointless grandstanding reinforces conservative notions that government spending is evil and deficits are our most urgent problem.
It's straight out of the Bill Clinton playbook. But Clinton operated in a period of artificially pumped up, bubble-fueled prosperity. Americans hunger for better policies now. That hunger helped Democrats win the White House and both houses of Congress in 2008. (Seems so long ago, doesn't it?) The Democratic Party website still proudly proclaims the Party's slogan: "Change That Matters."
Change? These are the same Republican Lite policies Clinton ran on in 1992. But we're a sadder and wiser nation now. We've reaped the bitter fruits of economic inequality and endured a disastrous crash as a result of these bipartisan policies. We've moved on, but these Democrats haven't. They're still slavishly (if meekly) echoing the failed conservative ideas of the past.
Their plan calls for $400 billion in Medicare and Medicaid savings, half or which would come from benefit cuts for the seniors, disabled, and low-income people who rely on these programs. The higher out-of-pocket costs for these vulnerable populations would leave many of them with less to spend on necessities, taking billions out of the economy and creating even more economic stagnation. Not to mention the hardship and suffering ...
The other $200 billion would presumably be found by cutting provider reimbursements - which makes sense if done wisely, but which will only create shortages and access problems if done foolishly. (Wise or foolish: Bets, anyone?)
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Democrats also support moving the government to a "chained CPI" cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation for Social Security. That would shortchange everybody receiving benefits, including people already receiving them.
The current COLA is already a raw deal for seniors, disabled people, and the poor, and now these Dems want to double down on it. The chained-CPI would also raise taxes on people who aren't already in the highest tax bracket by accelerating "bracket creep."