So, who’s calling for $4 trillion in long-term deficit cuts while giving a blistering attack on Republican Tea Party (GOTP) plans for taxes, Medicare and Medicaid? The President of these United States, that’s who.
President Obama said spending cuts are OK, but they have to be tied to higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans with an end to Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2%.
“We have to live within our means, reduce our deficit and get back on a path that will allow us to pay down our debt,” President Obama said. “And we have to do it in a way that protects the recovery, and protects the investments we need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”
The President called out the GOTP saying, they want to “end Medicare as we know it,” and extend tax cuts for the wealthy while demanding 33 million seniors pay more for health care.
“That’s not right, and it’s not going to happen as long as I am president,” he vowed.
So-called Representative Paul Ryan, GOTP, the point man for the House Republican Tea Party budget, was invited to the speech, mistakenly thinking the administration was “extending an olive branch”.
“Instead, what we got was a speech that was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate and hopelessly inadequate to addressing our country’s pressing fiscal challenges,” Ryan said. “What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner in chief.”
Yeah, OK Eddie Munster, whatever; it’s time for you to realize your fifteen minutes of fame was over a long time ago. You can’t seriously think America was just going to bend over while you and your chums on the far right gutted the poor, the elderly, and everyone else who doesn’t earn millions a year? Earth to Eddie … hello?
Now what about the President’s call for $4 trillion in cuts? He said $2 trillion should come from spending, $1 trillion from taxes – yes Eddie he said taxes – including ending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthy, and the rest recouped from lower interest payments on the national debt.
What will be cut? To start, military spending would be reduced by $400 billion through 2023, domestic programs would absorb $770 billion in cuts and mandatory programs such as agricultural subsidies another $360 billion, an additional $480 billion would be saved from Medicare, which of course provides health care to an estimated 33 million seniors, and from Medicaid, a state-federal program covering lower-income families and which is set for a huge expansion under the health care program Obama signed into law last year.
What about Social Security?! Right wing nut jobs are screaming. The President said that Social Security is neither in a crisis nor “a driver of our near-term deficit problems.” He did however say that he supports unspecified steps to strengthen it for the long term, but ruled out any attempt to privatize it.
What about Republican Tea Party proposals to end traditional Medicare for anyone currently under 55, and to give the states near-total control over Medicaid?
For Medicare, the President said, “It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn’t worth enough to buy insurance, tough luck — you’re on your own.”
He added that the so-called Republican Tea Party budget could cost 50 million Americans health care coverage, including grandparents needing nursing home care, children with autism and kids “with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.”
“Well”, think many on the far right, “If they can’t afford heath care, than perhaps they had better just die and decrease the surplus population.” This group of Republicans is so busy cow towing to the Tea Party, the group which thinks people like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann are viable presidential candidates, that they have become drunk on right wing extremism. They have lost whatever souls they once possessed.
The President made a point of placing the blame for the nation’s debt and deficit where it squarely lies, recounting how it all started rolling downhill in 2000, “we increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug programs, but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts.” A very clear reference to policies pursued by President George W. Bush and the Republicans who controlled Congress for six of his eight years in office.
Thank you Mr. President for having the courage to say what needs to be said; for sounding Presidential, and for being the progressive leader we all knew you could be. It’s time for the far right Tea Party Republicans to reel back on their heels and understand that the rest of us are not drinking whatever brand of Kool-aid they’ve been drinking. You have put them on notice, and if they continue charging down this path they will soon see the Congress switch not only back to the left, but to the left in an overwhelming majority.