Is Obama Siding With Blue Dogs on Social Security Reform?
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Ben Smith says today that the left is "silent on Social Security reform" even as the administration considers it, and quotes Blue Dog Jim Cooper who says Obama is "in a honeymoon phase, and many liberals are afraid to express concerns."
Atrios calls it trolling. Perhaps it is, but there have been signs that serious Social Security reform is in the works, and people who have been briefed on the administration's plans indicate that things like raising the retirement age and cutting benefits are under consideration.
Consider -- in December, Cooper said a report which showed "that the governments unfunded liabilities are roughly $56 trillion" was "shocking." He called for a commission to address it, which Hoyer endorsed but Pelosi opposed. The White House agreed to it in January:
Obama said that he has made clear to his advisers that some of the difficult choices--particularly in regards to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare - should be made on his watch. "We've kicked this can down the road and now we are at the end of the road," he said.
So who is going to be on this panel? Kent Conrad, Judd Gregg, the Blue Dogs and "a host of outside groups with ideas on the matter." Said Paul Rosenberg:
So, Blue Dogs in. Progressives? Not so much. Surprised? Didn't think so. The agenda here "difficult choices--particularly in regards to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare" is straight out of the fiscal slasher movie on CNN last weekend, IOUSA, which Digby blogged about earlier in the week, and which was thoroughly debunked by economist Dean Baker and his associates at the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), which he co-directs, when it first came out in theatrical release last fall.
Whatever plan the task force comes up with, Cooper does not want Congress to be able to amend it.