The Daily Caller, in the person of reporter Amanda Carey, gets it wrong in a story trumpeting the "offer" from President Obama to "put Medicare and Social Security cuts" on the negotiating table. That's the headline, at least. In the story she phrases it somewhat more eloquently, as "major changes to Social Security and Medicare."
The Obama administration, in seeking $4 trillion in spending cuts in a debt limit deal, has put major changes to Social Security and Medicare on the table if Republicans agree to increased tax revenues.
The offer caters to both sides in the debt limit negotiations and according to the Washington Post, President Obama will urge congressional leaders on Thursday to seize the opportunity to act. The compromise, however, still puts both Republicans and Democrats in tough spots.
Democrats have vowed to protect Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans still argue that tax increases are not realistic legislative proposals. If leadership from both parties agree to the Obama’s compromise, the next move will be to sell the plan to their respective bases and to members of Congress.
Ms. Carey, judging by her thumbnail photo that accompanies the story, is way too young and recently graduated from J school to understand why her formulation in the third paragraph is so inaccurate, so I'll outline it for her here.
Democrats may have "vowed to protect Medicare and Social Security" publicly, but the real story is that the vow places them in their traditional comfort zone, demagoguing attempts to reform these unsustainable programs. If you don't think they are unsustainable, have a look at Greece. Or Ireland. Or Portugal. Or Spain. Or the collective unfunded liability in this country. Or Illinois, a state with which Mr. Obama should be quite familiar.
Republicans primary argument is not that "tax increases are not realistic legislative proposals," though indeed they are not. Their primary argument is that tax increases will take money from the private economy that is necessary for future economic growth. If your primary goal is job creation and a GDP growth then you don't siphon capital from the job creators. (If your goal is redistribution then fine, have at it.)
Finally, Mr. Obama is desperately seeking to be seen as the adult offering reasonable compromise between the sniping children in party leadership. He's not. If he were, we wouldn't have seen the harmful 'stimulus' outsourced to the Democratic leadership of Pelosi/Reid, we wouldn't have seen the moronic cash for clunkers program, we wouldn't have seen ObamaCare pushed through on a one party vote while a recovery was attempting to take hold, we wouldn't have seen no Democratic budget proposal for two years (other than Mr. Obama's - which was voted down 97-0 earlier this year), we wouldn't have seen the drilling moratorium and pushes for carbon taxes that would both increase the price of fossil fuels and siphon more money from the economy, and we wouldn't have seen repeated demands for "tax increases on the wealthy" and the ridiculous sniping over corporate jets. He still is looking for "increased tax revenue" despite previously admitting that increasing taxes in the midst of economic malaise is not helpful.
If Democrats wanted to solve the problem their "compromise" should consist of a) admission that our current tax structure is quite progressive already and that any tax rate increase for the foreseeable future is harmful, b) admission that both Medicare and Social Security need reform, not "cuts," and not demagoguery, and c) admission that ObamaCare was a bad idea that will only make matters worse both economically and in terms of personal freedom and choice. The country needs to make the safety net programs sustainable and promote economic growth, and not use them for political gain and redistribution.
By the way, Ms. Carey can be excused a bit, for she is young. NYT Columnist David Brooks, on the other hand, has no excuse. In this tantrum of a column he both misrepresents the position of the Republican opposition and then denigrates them, for good measure.
The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities. A thousand impartial experts may tell them...
"The legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities?" "A thousand impartial experts?" Surely, he must be joking. Mr. Brooks is referring to his tribe as "intellectual authorities," and being in agreement with him they are therefore "impartial." But Mr. Brooks, I think, is well aware that there are, of course, other tribes, other "intellectual authorities" equally "impartial" in the eyes of others.
7/7/11 1205: Ed Morrissey: it's not a revenue problem, its a spending and recession problem. So fix the spending and the recession - the revenue will follow.