Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Lliberals face a choice: Which is worse, extended sequestration or a
Grand Bargain that cuts Social Security and Medicare in exchange for new
revenues, as Obama’s forthcoming budget seems designed to secure?
Greg Sargent of the Washington Post interviewed Rep. Raúl Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. House liberal leader: Say No to the Grand Bargain:
In an interview with me today, Dem Rep. Raul Grivjalva — the co-chair
of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — told me he would vote No on
any Grand Bargain with entitlement cuts like Chained CPI for Social
Security. And he said that if we face the theoretical choice outlined
above, the sequester is the better, or least bad, option — because
ultimately the sequester could be changed under pressure from public
opinion, while entitlement cuts would be harder to undo.
“I really believe that the sequester itself would start to unravel
under public pressure,” Grijalva told me. “Let’s let the political and
fiscal consequences of the sequester take hold with the American public.
I’d rather count on the public changing the sequester than on cutting a
deal that exposes Social Security into the future.”
Asked if he would vote against any deal containing Chained CPI,
Grijalva said: “I’ve made the commitment that if this is part of it, I
will not vote for it. I can’t support it.”
However, asked if he thought a sizable bloc of liberals would vote
No, Grijalva demurred, and — in something that will bring back bad
memories for the left — cited the health care debate as an example. “At
this point, I don’t know,” he said. “We’ve been through this before with
the public option. The motivation will be there to close ranks and
support the president.”
A number of liberal groups have harshly criticized Obama
over his Chained CPI proposal. This is exactly what they should be
doing; I, too, oppose Chained CPI and see it as horrible policy.
However, it is still unclear to me how this ends, other than in a choice
between extended sequestration and a deal to avert it. This isn’t to
say liberals need to make a choice right now. As Bernie Sanders has urged, we don’t need to accept this frame — certainly not at this point.
But down the line, it may be a choice we do face — we should be
realistic about this possibility — and if the sequester is later seen to
be the least bad option, we’ll need to spell out why this is the case.
As Grijalva has now done today.
UPDATE: Robert Reich explain Chained CPI in this video. Sign his SignOn.org petition to President Obama at http://www.signon.org/sign/mr-president-please-do-1/.
UPDATE: Cutting Social Security benefits will have no effect on the budget deficit. They are separate accounts.