Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spin This One, Lawrence: The BIG CAVE Is Imminent

This just in, from the New York Times; I've highlighted the major points of concern to progressives:
Boehner and Obama Close to Deal, Leaders Are Told
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has informed Democratic Congressional leaders that President Obama and Speaker John A. Boehner were starting to close in on a major budget deal that would enact substantial spending cuts and seek future revenues through a tax overhaul, Congressional officials said Thursday.

With the government staring at a potential default in less than two weeks, the officials said the administration on Wednesday night notified top members of Congress that an agreement between the president and Mr. Boehner could be imminent. The Congressional leaders, whose help Mr. Obama would need to bring a compromise forward, were told that the new revenue tied to the looming agreement to increase the debt limit by Aug. 2 would be produced in 2012 through a tax code rewrite that would lower individual and corporate rates, close loopholes, end tax breaks and make other adjustments to produce revenue gains.

Officials knowledgeable about the conversations between the administration and Congressional leaders said the details of the potential package remained unknown but they presumed it would include cuts and adjustments in most federal programs, including Medicare.

However, officials on all sides of the tense negotiations warned that no firm deal was in hand yet, and tried to play down the progress — if only to stave off attempts to block it or influence its shape by hardliners on both sides of the debate on taxes and spending.

“While we are keeping the lines of communication open, there is no ‘deal’ and no progress to report,” said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner.

The White House denied that any deal is imminent. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that “there is no deal. We are not close to a deal.”

The same fiscal and political issues that stymied earlier negotiations between Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner remain, including how much a deal would raise in new revenues over all. Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers were resistant to an Obama-Boehner deal for separate political reasons — the Republicans because of party opposition to new taxes and Democrats because many want to campaign in 2012 against Republicans’ proposed deep cuts in Medicare and Medicaid and a compromise, they believe, would make that harder.

The agreement was likely to rile Democrats, who could view it as more tilted toward Republican priorities than a bipartisan plan issued by the so-called Gang of Six senators this week; its prospects with conservative House Republicans were uncertain as well. Though it would initially appear to meet Republican demands for less reliance on new revenues as part of what Democrats have called a “balanced” approach, Republicans could be uneasy about accepting a plan tied to a higher future revenues through tax changes.

“The trick on this has always been the tax issue,” one Republican said. [READ MORE HERE ...]
Can't you just see it coming; the President is about to sell us out on Medicare and Social Security — ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE DECIDED THOUGHTFULLY AND TRANSPARENTLY, NOT AS PART OF A FAKE DEBT "CRISIS" — just as he handed us a fait accompli on extending the Bush tax cuts when Nancy Pelosi, the only leader who could represent the people's interests, was cut out of the dealmaking. The same pattern seems to be repeating itself here. And if it's true, progressives CANNOT take this sitting down; no matter how big a selling job the President throws out there. If there are benefit cuts or a raise in the retirement/eligibility age of either or both programs, DEMOCRATS.MUST.SAY.NO TO THE PRESIDENT.

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