T Nation

Grand Bargain 2.0

Looks like Grand Bargain season is upon us, and the Left is warning Obama not to trim entitlements as part of any deal:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/12/obama-progressives_n_2120431.html

So, to recap:

-Senate majority leadey says Social Security is untouchable
-Union leadership says all three entitlements are untouchable
-Van Jones says all three are untouchable, and though he is mostly a political gadfly, I suspect he is a reliable indicator of where self-described “progressives” are

So, does Obama track center-wise, and embrace a “balanced” deal, and leave the Left howling? Or does he stick with the “progressives”, knowing he doesn’t have an election to worry about, and he owes them his victory?

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

-Van Jones says all three are untouchable, and though he is mostly a political gadfly, I suspect he is a reliable indicator of where self-described “progressives” are[/quote]

I can’t stand Jones at all. He is a bright guy however and I feel very much in touch with the Obama grassroots. So yeah, I agree, I’m pretty sure he knows what the hardleft is looking for here.

I’m more inclined to think the latter is more likely, and I very much hope I’m wrong.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Looks like Grand Bargain season is upon us, and the Left is warning Obama not to trim entitlements as part of any deal:

So, to recap:

-Senate majority leadey says Social Security is untouchable
-Union leadership says all three entitlements are untouchable
-Van Jones says all three are untouchable, and though he is mostly a political gadfly, I suspect he is a reliable indicator of where self-described “progressives” are

So, does Obama track center-wise, and embrace a “balanced” deal, and leave the Left howling? Or does he stick with the “progressives”, knowing he doesn’t have an election to worry about, and he owes them his victory?[/quote]

Being the ideologue that he is he goes with not touching all three.

Obama won’t move, he won his reelection, he has nothing to lose.

Shining a little reality light on the otherwise pollyanna-like dearth of pragmatism that is the mainstream media’s guest-list, Ron Paul provided Bloomberg TV’s Trish Regan a little more than we suspect she bargained for when asked if he had any hope that we avoid the fiscal cliff. The constant “delaying-of-the-inevitable” enables our politicians to avoid facing up to the serious consequences of our reality and as Representative Paul notes the chances of a grand bargain are “probably zero… that’s why I think we’re over the cliff [already].” Just like the handling of the debt ceiling debacle, Paul notes they will “pretend they are going to do it” until we get a total crash of the dollar and the entire financial system (which he notes is what will occur if we continue the status quo). “We are at a point of no return” unless certain things change, since “we are not the productive nation we used to be.”

Paul on the fiscal cliff and whether politicians are under more pressure to just do what they need to do to get votes:

“Well I think that’s true and I think it’s been that way for a long time but the big difference is the Treasury is bare. It isn’t like we’re in the 1950s and 1960s where economic growth could work our way out of these problems that you could print money forever. Printing the money right now, what does it do, it fills the banks with excessive reserves and they get paid to park it at the Federal Reserve. So it’s quite different. We’re not the productive nation we used to be?we have a lot of jobs gone overseas. Our dollar is weakening because prices do go up and as long as we do that, the politicians are going to keep pushing that and trying to get away with that but the big question is how long will politicians will be able to get away with that.”
On the probability that a grand bargain will be reached on the fiscal cliff:

“Probably zero? that’s why I think we’re over the cliff. We’re past bargaining states because they will not address those things I just stated. They’re going to try to pretend that they are going to do it. The way they handled the debt increase, last summer, that is a pretty good example. And matter of fact the debt increase might be the big event come February that might be big because they can roll things over?they can postpone big decisions in January and yet that still does not remove the uncertainty. Uncertainty is a major cause of the inability for the market to get moving again and they have to revamp it in a much more detailed fashion than they are even talking about right now.”
On whether Obama will be able to bring Congress together for some kind of reform before the end of the year:

"Oh no, I think there will be something, but it will be very temporary, it won’t be long lasting and restore confidence and fix the problem. But there will be some type of reconciliation of saying we’ll do this and a little of that and it may even help the financial markets for a little while, but since it won’t solve the problems it will only be temporary. "

Theres something to Bill Clinton campaigning as hard as he could for Obama. Its probably being naive but I suspect Bill Clinton has whispered in Obama’s ear not to screw all this up for Hilary in 2016 so Obama may have to come to the table and compromise.

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:
Theres something to Bill Clinton campaigning as hard as he could for Obama. Its probably being naive but I suspect Bill Clinton has whispered in Obama’s ear not to screw all this up for Hilary in 2016 so Obama may have to come to the table and compromise.[/quote]

Insiders have talked about how Bill doesn’t like Obama, because as of right now, Bill is considered maybe the greatest Dem President in recent times, and he doesn’t want Obama to take that trophy away from him.

Remember what he said about, “years ago this guy would have been getting us coffee…”

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:
Theres something to Bill Clinton campaigning as hard as he could for Obama. Its probably being naive but I suspect Bill Clinton has whispered in Obama’s ear not to screw all this up for Hilary in 2016 so Obama may have to come to the table and compromise.[/quote]

It’s nothing to do with the fiscal cliff, but he was campaigning just as hard as if he was up for re-election.

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:
Theres something to Bill Clinton campaigning as hard as he could for Obama. Its probably being naive but I suspect Bill Clinton has whispered in Obama’s ear not to screw all this up for Hilary in 2016 so Obama may have to come to the table and compromise.[/quote]

That could have as much to do with the party’s big money donors Bill and Hilliary still owe favors to than it does helping Obama.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Looks like Grand Bargain season is upon us, and the Left is warning Obama not to trim entitlements as part of any deal:

So, to recap:

-Senate majority leadey says Social Security is untouchable
-Union leadership says all three entitlements are untouchable
-Van Jones says all three are untouchable, and though he is mostly a political gadfly, I suspect he is a reliable indicator of where self-described “progressives” are

So, does Obama track center-wise, and embrace a “balanced” deal, and leave the Left howling? Or does he stick with the “progressives”, knowing he doesn’t have an election to worry about, and he owes them his victory?[/quote]

He probably would read the above but it wouldn’t sink in. Unless it involves campaigning, he is actually quite stupid.

Axelrod tells him what to say and staffers put it on the teleprompter. That’s one reason he rarely holds press conferences – he is a genuinely stupid person.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Looks like Grand Bargain season is upon us, and the Left is warning Obama not to trim entitlements as part of any deal:

So, to recap:

-Senate majority leadey says Social Security is untouchable
-Union leadership says all three entitlements are untouchable
-Van Jones says all three are untouchable, and though he is mostly a political gadfly, I suspect he is a reliable indicator of where self-described “progressives” are

So, does Obama track center-wise, and embrace a “balanced” deal, and leave the Left howling? Or does he stick with the “progressives”, knowing he doesn’t have an election to worry about, and he owes them his victory?[/quote]

This is as good an argument for campaign finance reform as I’ve ever seen.

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:
Theres something to Bill Clinton campaigning as hard as he could for Obama. Its probably being naive but I suspect Bill Clinton has whispered in Obama’s ear not to screw all this up for Hilary in 2016 so Obama may have to come to the table and compromise.[/quote]

Or what? Don’t be naive, for Obama not to be Obama it would be for reasons that HE wants and nothing to do with any possile head nod from Bill Clinton. If anything they need him more than he needs them.

[quote]MaximusB wrote:

[quote]nickj_777 wrote:
Theres something to Bill Clinton campaigning as hard as he could for Obama. Its probably being naive but I suspect Bill Clinton has whispered in Obama’s ear not to screw all this up for Hilary in 2016 so Obama may have to come to the table and compromise.[/quote]

Insiders have talked about how Bill doesn’t like Obama, because as of right now, Bill is considered maybe the greatest Dem President in recent times, and he doesn’t want Obama to take that trophy away from him.

Remember what he said about, “years ago this guy would have been getting us coffee…”[/quote]

A little off topic but I thought it was interesting how during the democratic national convention they made believe Jimmy Carter didn’t even exist.

Yeah…

I am inclined to think he won’t budge on entitlements. Obama sees himself as someone anointed to complete the unfinished work of the “social justice” movement in terms of domestic policies, and slashing benefits of the very entitlements he believes so strongly in does not fit the mold of social-democrat champion.

He doesn’t want his presidential biography to be written talking about he was green-eyeshade budget pragmatist - he wants to be viewed as a great expansionist, a la FDR or LBJ. Grand bargains that will be overweighted (in large amount) to cutting spending is not the mark of an expansionist president who wants the government to “do more”.

I believe that Obama has always believed that there has only been one problem with entitlements - that they are simply underfunded. And I think with no election to worry about, he will feel liberated to play prevent defense on any real cuts.

I hope I am wrong, however.

[quote]smh23 wrote:

This is as good an argument for campaign finance reform as I’ve ever seen.[/quote]

How do you mean?

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
I am inclined to think he won’t budge on entitlements. Obama sees himself as someone anointed to complete the unfinished work of the “social justice” movement in terms of domestic policies, and slashing benefits of the very entitlements he believes so strongly in does not fit the mold of social-democrat champion.

He doesn’t want his presidential biography to be written talking about he was green-eyeshade budget pragmatist - he wants to be viewed as a great expansionist, a la FDR or LBJ. Grand bargains that will be overweighted (in large amount) to cutting spending is not the mark of an expansionist president who wants the government to “do more”.

I believe that Obama has always believed that there has only been one problem with entitlements - that they are simply underfunded. And I think with no election to worry about, he will feel liberated to play prevent defense on any real cuts.

I hope I am wrong, however.[/quote]

You are spot on with your analysis!

Economy be dammed Obama has no one to answer to.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

This is as good an argument for campaign finance reform as I’ve ever seen.[/quote]

How do you mean?[/quote]

I mean that you may be right about Obama himself resisting entitlement reform (I also hope that this turns out not to be the case). But suppose for a moment that he is in fact conflicted or open to cuts. The strongest pressures weighing on him right now are not from House Republicans–Obama seems to honestly believe that Mitt Romney wasn’t the only Republican rejected in this election–but from Unions and actors and this millionaire and that millionaire, all of whom have bought and paid for consideration of their demands. If this doesn’t entirely hamstring the process it at the very least muddles it real good.

Word is Obama coming out of the gate asking for a $1.6 trillion tax increase, double the amount of the amount in the original Obama-Boehner deal (need subscription for full story).

[quote]smh23 wrote:

The strongest pressures weighing on him right now are not from House Republicans–Obama seems to honestly believe that Mitt Romney wasn’t the only Republican rejected in this election–but from Unions and actors and this millionaire and that millionaire, all of whom have bought and paid for consideration of their demands. If this doesn’t entirely hamstring the process it at the very least muddles it real good.[/quote]

I think that is a fair point, but isn’t it true that these “demands” are just as based on their delivery of votes, not just money?

I mean, I understand your point - with the money involved, there is expected quid pro quo - but even beyond that, I think, are that the demands are in connection with “we gave you the victory by turning out the vote, now you owe us”, which is different (somewhat) than the money.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:

The strongest pressures weighing on him right now are not from House Republicans–Obama seems to honestly believe that Mitt Romney wasn’t the only Republican rejected in this election–but from Unions and actors and this millionaire and that millionaire, all of whom have bought and paid for consideration of their demands. If this doesn’t entirely hamstring the process it at the very least muddles it real good.[/quote]

I think that is a fair point, but isn’t it true that these “demands” are just as based on their delivery of votes, not just money?

I mean, I understand your point - with the money involved, there is expected quid pro quo - but even beyond that, I think, are that the demands are in connection with “we gave you the victory by turning out the vote, now you owe us”, which is different (somewhat) than the money.[/quote]

I do agree, but I think the receipt in hand adds a little too much pepper to the argument that somebody owes somebody something. An elected official should indeed champion the causes of the people who elected him. But the money angle has always given a bit too much legitimacy to the “I made you, how dare you turn your back on me!” argument, in my opinion.