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Dems Fear Obama Will Again Negotiate
'Grand Bargain' To Cut Social Security

Oct. 3, 2013 (EIRNS)—It is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama's plan is to use the present government shutdown and the pending debt-ceiling deadline, to go after entitlements, particularly Social Security—just as his hated healthcare program is already undermining Medicare and Medicaid payments, and thus cutting back medical care.

In a CNBC interview Wednesday, Obama said that as soon as Republicans give him a clean CR (continuing resolution), he'll negotiate over anything: "I think it is very important for us to continue to cut out programs that are unnecessary, not working — some of them need to be reformed. It is important for us to deal with our long-term entitlement spending." After accusing Boehner and the GOP of trying to extort concessions, etc., Obama said: "And if and when they vote to make sure Congress pays our bills on time so America does not default on costs it's already accrued, then I am prepared to have a reasonable, civil negotiation around a whole slew of issues. And that's reflected not just by my words, but by my deeds over the last four years."

Indeed it is. In 2010, Obama pulled the same kind of stunt, when he pushed through a "payroll tax holiday" as part of a deal with Republicans on the budget and debt ceiling. The reduction of payroll tax contributions, and the substitution of general revenues to make up the difference, was a direct repudiation of FDR's creation of Social Security as a self-financing system which "no damn politician" could ever touch. In 2011, the "Grand Bargain" included the Obama proposal for the sequester, now ravaging parts of the economy.

Today, House Speaker Boehner, heeding Wall Street, said he would not allow a debt default, and said, through a spokesman, that

"the President and Senate Democrats should drop their 'no negotiations' stance, and work with us on a plan to raise the debt limit in a responsible way, with spending cuts and reforms to get our economy moving again and create jobs."

Today, the liberal online magazine Salon ran an article entitled "Grand Bargain extortion?: Liberals fear Social Security cuts are coming." Salon notes that, as Boehner is reportedly seeking a Grand Bargain with Obama, "some progressives are raising concerns about the potential for a last-minute, closed-door deal with a heavy price," including a proposed Social Security cut—the chained CPI—which has been repeatedly praised by Obama.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) told Salon Oct. 2:

"I'm particularly concerned, especially today as we're in the middle of this government shutdown, that some may decide that in order to stop the government shutdown, in order to prevent us from defaulting on our debt, that we're going to ram through this Chained CPI, which is going to hurt seniors. And it's going to hurt disabled, and it's going to hurt veterans."

Salon reports that the conservative National Review says that Boehner wants to craft a Grand Bargain on fiscal issues as part of the debt-limit deliberation, and that entitlement reforms, such as chained CPI, and Obamacare changes, are all on the table as trades for delaying aspects of sequestration and extending the debt limit.

Rep. Deutch, talking to reporters Oct. 2, predicted "a drumbeat in some parts of Capitol Hill that says that the path to a budget deal has to include cuts to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid."

When asked on Oct. 1 by Salon whether he was concerned that Obama would put chained CPI on the table as part of negotiations, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison told Salon,

"Yeah, I'm always on the lookout for things that might be offered from our side that are things we shouldn't offer.'