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Hullabaloo


Thursday, November 29, 2012

 
It's not just the Tea Party anymore

by digby

This is good news. Apparently, liberals on the hill and outside the beltway were not pleased by that report in Politico this morning and have come out swinging:

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the chairman of the 77-member Progressive Caucus, told Salon that his members would not support entitlement cuts. “Any agreement to meet our end-of-the-year deadlines will need a large portion of the House Democratic Caucus to pass. Progressives will not support any deal that cuts benefits for families and seniors who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to put food on the table or cover their health costs,” he said.

Outside groups took an even tougher line.

“If this report in Politico is correct, then some ‘senior Democrats’ are sorely misguided about where their base stands. So let me be crystal clear. Any benefit cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security, including raising the retirement or eligibility age, are absolutely unacceptable,” Ilya Sheyman, the campaign director at MoveOn.org told Salon. “More than 80 percent of MoveOn’s seven million members say they want us to fight a deal that cuts those benefits, even if it also ends all of the Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent. And that’s a mainstream position everywhere except in the lobbyist-cash-infused DC cocktail circuit,” Sheyman continued.

There will be consequences, he warned, for Democrats who support a deal that cuts entitlements. “Bottom line: Any Democrat who votes to cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits does so at his or her own peril, and shouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to be held accountable by MoveOn members in the next primary election.”

Now, there are cuts to the programs that would not hurt beneficiaries, and that offers up some wriggle room. (Why democrats want to do that is unclear since the Republicans have shown they will run against them on the issue as they did in 2010, but everyone's so hooked on the delusion of deficits that I suppose that's a problem for another day.)

The details of the cuts in the Politico article were vague, and it’s unclear if they represents real cuts to benefits or not. “That’s a crucial distinction,” said Adam Green, the co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “What’s worried some about the Politico article is that it kind of tossed in reforms or efficiencies along with talk about raising the Medicare retirement age or adjusting the cost of living adjustment — those two things would essentially start a nuclear war on the left,” Green said. “Those are the two big things. Those are benefit cuts. Those actively hurt seniors.”

As I wrote earlier, this is not something about which liberals either in the House or outside should trust the administration. The White House already showed its hand a year ago and we would all be fools to think they won't go there again if they can get away with it. Ellison's words are very welcome.

Update: I should add: will they make a difference? Who knows ...

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