Washington Post on secret deficit, safety net cut negotiations

The Washington Post has what will surely be a much discussed piece about the negotiations between the White House and House Republican leadership to produce a “grand bargain” (read: elite orchestrated transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%). It’s a long, interesting read and the reporters certainly slant in the direction of Boehner’s office doing all they can to make a deal and Obama walking away from it. Whether or not that is accurate is hard to say, though I’m not sure how relevant it is from a policy perspecitve.

In an article that reveals how badly the Obama administration wanted to be credited with achieving major cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the most shocking thing is that the White House is still open to the deal that they offered Boehner last fall.

White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table.

The deal in question here would have included major cuts to the Big Three programs, coupled with $800 billion in new revenues, mostly from closing tax loopholes and letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans. In short, some weak tea on tax policy in exchange for what could be devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

It’s also worth noting that the Post reports Obama sat down with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and asked them to support his pursuit of this deal. Reid and Pelosi agreed.

I don’t think it is likely that such a deal would be likely to happen before November’s election. Unfortunately there are already reports and rumors that there will be major efforts for a deal to happen after November’s election, during the lame duck, when neither side can use it to run electoral campaigns and when many participating members will have already lost their re-election. In the House, Democrats Steny Hoyer and Health Shuler have both been talking openly about wanting to orchestrate such a deal. Clearly Hoyer and Shuler have an ideologically willing partner in President Obama.

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