Friday, March 8, 2013

Asking Rachel Maddow to Explain Herself Re: The "Chained CPI"

According to a Richard Eskow blog on ('A President Who'll Cut Social Security and the Liberals who Love Him Too Much', e.g.

both Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein are drinking from the kool aid trough and not "doing their homework". According to Eskow:

"To see leading liberal lights like Rachel Maddow and Ezra Klein chuckle indulgently at those foolish Republicans in Congress over the subject - Don't they know he's already giving them what they want? - is to risk plunging into the depths of that despair.

This week the President hosted a dinner for Republicans leaders where he worked to sell his budget proposal, including his harmful plan to cut benefits through the "chained CPI." National Security was the main course and Social Security was the dessert. And guess who wasn't coming to dinner: The elderly, the disabled, or any policy experts who understand the disastrous implications of the chained CPI."

Eskow goes on to bash both Maddow and Klein for their evident naivete in boiling it all down (as Klein put it last night) to a "failure to communicate". As Eskow goes on, challenging the meme that Repukes really have no clue:

"Silly Republicans. Klein quotes one reporter as saying of the White House, "They tell us three times a day that they want to do chained CPI!"

That's right: The White House has been trying to impose this benefit cut on Social Security's elderly and disabled recipients for years, and Republicans don't even know. Neither do most Democrats, for that matter. They think they voted for a President who will defend those benefits, not work relentlessly to cut them.

But Democrats like Maddow, Klein, and (Jonathan) Chait know better. They know exactly what Obama's been trying to do. And their only complaint seems to be that he's not doing effectively enough. We're not hearing much from the 'left' side of the debate about the profound flaws, biases, and inherent cynicism behind both the President's policy and his rhetoric."


"Surprisingly, both Maddow and Klein buy into the implausible premise that Senate Republicans, each of whom have large staffs and access to Republican Party employees, literally don't know that Obama has offered to cut Social Security as part of a Grand Bargain. As a result of their feigned ignorance, the White House is now reiterating that offer, repeatedly and publicly."

Is it an "implausible premise"?  Or is it a sneaky- like- a- Fox tactic to entice Obama and his WH to forever broadcast it thereby antagonizing a large portion of the (true) Left base and gutting the Democratic Party's future? This is the question that must be asked, and I warrant, answered by both Maddow and Klein.

I prefer to have Maddow's take so I emailed her this morning at
 to try to get her to acknowledge Eskow's arguments in his blog piece and either confirm his interpretation of her perspective or challenge it - i.e. that she is indeed fully aware of the damage that'll be wrought by the Chained CPI which is given the odious tag of "superlative" on the White House  site.

Eskow sets out four factual highlights that Rachel (and Ezra) need to address:

1) Research suggests that Social Security cost-of-living increases are already inadequate. (See studies on "CPI-E" for more details on the best ways to increase them.)

2) Obama's proposed chained-CPI cut would typically reduce benefits for 3 percent, and by as much as 6 percent for some recipients.

3) The White House's decision to label this cut the "superlative CPI" is grotesque. It suggests that elderly women who receive an average of $950 or so per month are receiving "superlative" benefit increases each year.

4) The Administration's insistence on speaking of "entitlement reform," mixing Medicare (which has a real cost problem because of our for-profit health system) with Social Security, is a cheap trick first devised by Republican consultants

Eskow's followup point is clear:

"This is shaping up to be quite a victory for the GOP. Unless something changes, they're about to see a core Democratic program cut - and the Democrats will take the heat for it! The only thing that can stop that outcome is concerted public pressure from the Democratic base."

Count on me!

We (Liberal base, not the wine and brie faction) believed we had an articulate voice in Rachel with her 'Rachel Maddow Show', but as I related to wifey this morning, I have never ever heard or seen Rachel militate against the propose Chained CPI on any show and I watch them every day off the DVR list. If she did at some time in the past, but I missed it, I stand corrected. (Wifey Janice insists she did but can't provide the date or link).

So, I don't think it's asking too much for Maddow to explain herself and in particular that segment with Ezra Klein last night. Meanwhile, I fully agree with Eskow (irrespective of whether his take on their political naivete is deemed wrong by Rachel, or Ezra) that:  "They should be demanding that the President defend the program, while forcing his opponents to attack it."

And don't even try to hand me any remote BS about "pragmatic approaches"!

As I have noted repeatedly, if this "Chained CPI" does go through it will mark a permanent blight on a Democratic President's record who will be remembered more for how he spit on the FDR legacy than defending it. Instead the latter day descendants of Herbert  Hoover will get the credit for instigating a Dem to cut his own party's most cherished program. As I also repeatedly noted, Social Security is not in trouble, it has trillions in cash reserves to pay benefits through 2033 and is also owed trillions ($2.3 trillion now) by the plundering pirates of congress- to try to cloak the deficit.

To expediently cut this program via a "chained CPI"  to escape a sequester or other artificially imposed (by the Tea Pea Repukes) crisis, would therefore be an abomination.

So, we shall await Rachel's explanation of her segment and whether in fact Eskow misunderstood her position. If he did, I expect a full throated defense of Social Security by her and an appeal to Obama to leave it the hell alone (this irrespective of whether the GOP really dig what he's offering in his "grand bargain"(sic) or not!)

As I noted before, the worst mistake Obama has made in this political arena is even instigating a "Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission". It undermines the Democratic brand, causes many to question who's really behind it (e.g. Peter G. Peterson, or taking marching orders from him) and makes one question Obama's dedication and embrace of Democratic core principles. One may well question via his lifelong perspective and experience certain aspects of the 'New Deal'  but if one is a Dem he must never remotely seek to betray those principles!

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