Democrats Won And They’re Still Talking About Entitlement Reform? Really?

While we’re all basking in the glory of yesterday’s victory, here’s something to unbask in the dissipating glory. Steve Israel, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was interviewed on NPR this morning and promptly confirmed that entitlements reform will be on the table, specifically Medicare but I’m sure Medicaid and Social Security will find themselves in the pot as well.

Why the hell is it the FIRST thing out of these “Democrats’” mouths is agreement with Republicans on entitlement reform before the negotiations even begin? Oh yes, he’s also talking spending cuts but then added the Democrats would also try to seek new revenue from closing tax loopholes for the rich, and from ending farm and oil subsidies.

Talking about entitlement reforms wouldn’t irk me if only Democrats would stop calling them entitlements but call them what they actually are–earned benefits. Bernie Sanders gets it–why can’t Israel? And John Warner. And Harry Reid. And Barack Obama.

Earned benefits reform is the last thing that should be put on the table, especially after the damage the sequester continues to inflict on low income persons with/without families, and this latest Republican government shutdown debacle. Increase revenue first, then talk spending cuts and reform.


Warner Worries Me

Just when I thought it was safe to be a Democrat again. Sen. John Warner (D-VA) goes and shoots himself, President Obama, and the Democratic Party in all their feet.

It was at the end of an interview on last night’s “All Things Considered” on NPR .  Over the course of the 5-minute interview he basically said things we Democrats want to hear, but for some reason he repeated the phrase “in uncharted territory” three times.  Maybe he thinks it’ll be the wild new catchphrase sweeping the nation.  But anyway, just when he was almost home free, when he could see the goalposts standing there free and open before him, he drops the ball and this bomb:

“…And then, yes, Democrats will have to give on entitlement reform, Republicans are going to have to give on revenues to tax reform…”

This is the NUMBER ONE reason why many liberals are about to give up on a Democratic Party controlled by corporatists like John Warner.  Obama floated the same junk on entitlements reform during the Republican-manufactured budget crisis that gave us the laughably inept and doomed Super Committee.  It was made clear in Liberal article after article and interview after interview that Social Security and Medicare benefits are NOT entitlements.  One can argue that SSI and Medicaid are but with those programs the problems are not with the recipients at all. The waste in Medicaid would be on the provider and prescription medicine costs side.  But guys like Warner, who at least twice flaunted his years of business experience, insist on pushing the “everyone has to tighten their belts” mantra. Everyone except for members of Congress who mandate that belts be tightened while loosening theirs.

So, with his vast years of business experience where Warner probably staffed out giving his employees the bad news that belt tightening lost them their jobs so his could remain loose and profitable.  You can’t run social services like you do a business.  So, Social Security recipients getting an annual COLA (sometimes) is still too costly for him? Still pushing the Chained-CPI, are we? Giving Medicare recipients an affordable fee schedule will throw the program into bankruptcy?  And again—THESE ARE NOT ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS—THEY’RE EARNED BENEFITS.

I’m too cynical and realistic to believe that by “reform” Warner had in mind raising or altogether removing the FICA tax ceiling.  And while he’s at it, about eliminating entirely the Republican-manufactured Medicare Part D, which would reform both the donut hole and prohibition against the government negotiating drug prices out of existence.

Warner’s words feel me with free that once again the Democrats will compromise with the Republicans over both the budget and the debt ceiling over the backs of the elderly, the sick, and the poor.  The corporatist Democrats may have kept this bargaining chip fish on ice but it still stinks.

An Open Letter To The Koch Brothers

Dear Chuck and Dave,

That’s some creative team you’ve got working for you there. Yeah, some creativity coursing through their little minds.  No wonder you guys are such a potent political force with such creativity ready to be called upon at a moment’s notice.

Take this Generation Opportunity campaign targeted at young, healthy people—especially college students–in an effort to convince them to opt out of Obamacare.  Stroke of genius, that.  Obamcare needs young, healthy, low Obamacare-usage people in the income pool to offset the costs of paying for all the healthcare for older and much younger, not as healthy, high-Obamacare usage people.  Problem is, you overlooked one tiny but ever so critical detail. You targeted young people—many of them college students–and by and large, young college students are in their early 20s. Under Obamacare, these young people don’t have to opt out of anything because they will already be covered under their parents’ Obamacare health plans until they are 26. What’s that Mr. President? The President just said, “Checkmate.”

And have you checked the statistics, fellas? Young people are more prone to drive fast and recklessly so they get into more serious auto accidents…where they would need healthcare coverage to pay their medical bills. Young people engage in contact sports like football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, and rugby.  Young athletes get hurt, they get concussions, they need medical attention which would be paid for by…Obamacare.  Ever watch “Jackass” or see the movies? Young people love to emulate these stunts because young people like to prove their indestructibility and immortality by performing stupid and potentially lethal stunts.  The ERs are full of these young people and Obamacare will pay their bills. Young people—especially college students—like to drink alcohol—a lot. And when they’re drunk they may drive fast and recklessly, engage in contact sports, and perform “Jackass” stunts.  And you want them to feed off their self-image of indestructibility and immortality and opt out of Obamacare under your imposed delusion that they don’t need it? Granted, not all young people are this prone to serious injury but enough of them potentially sure as hell are.

Is there no bottom to your sociopathic callousness and greed? I think that if we keep digging, we’ll reach China long before we hit bottom with you guys.