Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Magic of Social Security Cuts

Obama Team Looks For New Ways To Fire Up President's Base

Obama acknowledged the challenge last week in Boston. "Somebody asked me, how do we reinvigorate the population, the voter, after two very tough years?" he told Democratic donors. "How do we recapture that magic that got so many young people involved for the very first time in 2008?"

One answer, the president said, is to persuade hardcore liberals to swallow their anger over political compromises the administration reached with Republicans, even when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress.

Obama's concessions include dropping his proposed public option for health insurance, and extending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest.

"There's no weakness in us trying to reach out and seeing if we can find common ground," the president said.

Despite his pleas, many Obama supporters clearly are disappointed. When he was inaugurated, 83 percent of Democrats said they expected his presidency to be above average, and nearly half predicted it would be "outstanding," an AP-GfK poll found. Two years later, 68 percent of Democrats rated it above average so far, and just 20 percent called it outstanding.
Solution: For starters, stop having me read articles like this.
Social Security Reform Splits White House Political, Economic teams
Social Security reform is splitting President Obama’s economic and political advisers.

Obama is being pulled in opposite directions by those whose priorities are fiscal and those whose No. 1 concern is electoral.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Sperling’s deputy, Jason Furman — leading figures in the president’s economic team — are pressing Obama to cut Social Security benefits if necessary, say sources familiar with their positions.

But Obama’s political team, led by David Axelrod, David Plouffe and Jim Messina, are urging the president to understand that backing benefit cuts could prove disastrous to his 2012 reelection hopes, sources say.
Or this:
Obama Administration Issues Veto Threat Against Bill to End Controversial HAMP Housing Program

In February 2009, President Obama said HAMP would help 3 or 4 million American renegotiate the terms of their mortgages. Two years later, the program has permanently renegotiated the loans of approximately 540,000 Americans. Approximately 1.5 million Americans have received temporary modifications – but more than 800,000 of them have been cancelled.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., recently called HAMP “an arbitrary, capricious system that kicks hard- working people out on the street. The administration cannot allow this to continue.”

Earlier this month, Neil Barofsky, then the inspector general of TARP program, testified before Congress that HAMP was “clearly a failure,” saying there is “basically universal and bipartisan agreement that the HAMP program is failing to meet TARP's goal of preserving homeownership."

But, Barofsky said, “Secretary Geithner continues to celebrate the status quo…Treasury stands alone in its defense."

The independent investigative journalists at ProPublica  recently issued a report noting the failures of the HAMP program, noting that “only a fraction of struggling homeowners are getting help,” that the “largest servicers, especially Bank of America, have left most struggling homeowners in limbo without either modifying or foreclosing,” that just about one in five homeowners who applied for the HAMP program received a permanent modification, and that “HAMP itself hasn't made much difference.”
Or this:
White House to Cut Energy Assistance for the Poor

President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget will cut several billion dollars from the government’s energy assistance fund for poor people, officials briefed on the subject told National Journal.

It's the biggest domestic spending cut disclosed so far, and one that will likely generate the most heat from the president's traditional political allies. That would satisfy the White House, which has a vested interest in convincing Americans that it is serious about budget discipline.
Fire anyone who wants to cut Social Security.

Fire anyone who still defends the government run predatory loan program that you created.

Fire anyone who thinks that cutting heating aid for poor people would "prove you're serious" about anything other than killing poor people. 

You don't need six months of negotiations with Max Baucus to make any of those articles go away. They are 100% in your control.

And until you do those things, you don't have to wonder why your base isn't "recapturing the magic".

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