If this report is accurate, it will be refreshing. But if the President doesn’t follow through and actually start pushing forward some of these things, then cynics like myself will have to conclude that he’s just positioning himself for the 2012 election campaign.
The proposals here are certainly needed, but they won’t be enough by themselves. Our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is killing us, and will finish us off if we don’t get out of both places. The Plutocracy, which seems to be made up of entirely stupid, greedy people, will never allow the wars to end.
But you know, if the wars don’t end, we WILL. The US is on an unsustainable course, and funding Medicaid isn’t going to be what kills us. Nope.
President Obama will call for shrinking the nation’s long-term deficits by raising taxes on wealthier Americans and requiring them to pay more into Social Security, drawing a barbed contrast with a Republican plan to save money by deeply slashing Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic spending.
Obama will offer some spending cuts, including trims to the Pentagon’s budget, but his speech Wednesday is likely to provide Americans with a vivid choice between higher taxes or fewer benefits, issues that will color the national debate straight through the 2012 election.
The debate has little middle ground and poses substantial political risk for both sides.
Democrats hope to repeat the experience of 2005, in which President George W. Bush’s proposal to privatize parts of Social Security proved to be a staggering miscalculation that cost his party heavily in the next year’s election. They think voters will not accept a Republican proposal put forward by Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) that would replace guaranteed Medicare benefits with a limited voucher.
Republicans, at least some of them, argue that the country is in a different place than it was six years ago, when the economy appeared to be on a never-ending roll. Now, they say, voters have awakened to the reality that the government’s fiscal house must be put in order. Americans concerned about runaway spending are prepared to rework the longstanding social contract between the government and themselves rather than accept higher taxes, they say.
Even Ryan, however, recognizes that his plan could backfire.
“Everyone tells me that I’m giving our political adversaries this massive political weapon to use in the next campaign,” he told the Chicago Tribune editorial board Monday. “Yeah, we are. But you know if you don’t start fixing these things …”
Sorry Ryan, but handing even more wealth to the rich will exacerbate, rather than help, fix things. Although I am certain it’d do wonders for Ryan’s standard of living.
This may be the final chance the President has to turn away from the Jonestowners. If he says one thing and does another, my advice to left-leaning Americans is to check for living opportunities to the north, east, and Pacific west. You’ll want to be in one of those areas when things implode.