Thursday, July 21, 2011

Will Everyone Please Calm Down?

I was out of earshot of the televisions and the cable "news" outlets today (thankfully) and therefore out of earshot when the hair on fire freakout happened with a story based on those famous "anonymous sources" leaked that President Obama was ready to sign off on a $3 Trillion debt reduction deal with no increases in revenue. IEEEEE!!! Run into the streets with torches and pitchforks! Obama is selling out the poor! We knew it! He's not going to raise taxes! IEEEE!...

I found out when one of my faithful readers sent me an email with a link taking me to the Washington Post article and it's ridiculous first paragraph (emphasis mine):
President Obama and top House Republicans are deep in negotiations over a far-reaching plan to save $3 trillion over the next decade through sharp cuts in agency spending and politically painful changes to popular health and retirement programs, but without any immediate increase in taxes, Democratic congressional leaders reported Thursday.
Step away from the keyboard and take a breath. And think logically.

Why on earth would President Obama, while in a position of negotiating power as can be proven by poll after poll, just decide to give up on tax revenue increases when he and the administration have stated unequivocally that any part of a "grand bargain" would have to include tax revenues?

After reading the article, it sounds like a fake story designed to sabotage talks and put President Obama on the defensive since he's been getting favorable poll numbers on this issue. No one is being quoted, no one is taking ownership of these rumors, yet everyone is asking about it. Funny that.

According to my reader, he heard Oregon Congressman Pete DeFazio on the Thom Hartmann Show today tell Hartmann that Jared Bernstein had said the White House is catering to the independent voters who are worried mostly about the deficit, so there will be some cuts to "The Big Three," namely Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security "because Obama doesn't care where the money comes from." Of course, DeFazio wasn't at that meeting, and frankly, though I like DeFazio, that story sounds like a bowl full of shit to me.

News to DeFazio and anyone else not paying attention: the White House already has the independent vote. Independents don't trust the GOP led House in Congress.

Since the beginning of these talks, there has never been a time when the President or any of the White House spokesmen have ever denied that a grand bargain would include looking at restructuring Medicare and Social Security to strengthen them for future generations without making cuts to benefits. How this is interpreted at cuts is beyond me. Does cutting money to Medicare (like the ACA did by $500 billion in terms of fraud and abuse) equal automatic cuts in benefits?

From teabaggers to firebaggers, how does anyone know that this is the super secret "Obama wants to be Reagan" position without details? And how do you assume that position when everything you've heard from the White House is contrary to that line of thinking? When the fact that anything that would resemble trying to pass $3 Trillion in cuts with no revenue increases would never, ever pass in Congress?

But hey, this story did the job that it was supposed to. It filled another news cycle on a stalled story and caused the collective freakout of the MSM, the professional left, the Democratic politicians in Congress and the Twitterverse. It took the beltway insiders by storm. It caused President Obama to call a meeting of Democratic leaders of Congress - all based on a rumor.

1 comment:

Janicket said...

And the very next day, PBO takes the GOP out to the woodshed for a righteous whuppin'.