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.