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November 15, 2012

Media Distressed To Learn That Democrats Are Quite Serious About Their Shameful Pandering on Entitlements

Before the election -- long before -- I had a fantasy. It went like this:

It has long been a mark of the Smart Set to acknowledge the distressing problem of financing our entitlement systems. For decades, a pundit on the pages of the Washington Post could make his rent by writing the same basic column once a month -- "While these nincompooops in DC argue about this or that temporary trivia, everyone ignores the real problem, which is that, due to the Baby Boom followed by a very long Baby Bust, there are too few workers to support the ever-growing cohort of retired folks, and this problem will get worse and worse every year until we either do something about it or we don't, in which case the system collapses catastrophically."

Even liberals who didn't understand math (which is most of them) knew that the Smarter Folks who did understand math were quite certain this was a problem, and so echoed their concerns.

When the Republican Party -- first in the form of Paul Ryan, then in the form of Mitt Romney, who substantially embraced his ideas -- began talking about serious reforms -- unpopular but necessary -- I had a fantasy that the media's Smart Set, which has long cherished its unearned reputation as the Smart Set, would at the very least remember the things they'd been saying and writing for 15, 20, 30 years and perhaps admit that Romney and Ryan had a pretty strong point, and anyone arguing against them was simply unserious.

This, of course, did not happen. Obama, while making soft, vague noises about reform, never laid out an actual plan or proposal for it, and in fact campaigned almost exclusively on the meaningless bromide "a balanced approach." His only concrete idea was to raise taxes on the rich, but that could only raise $80 billion per year, and even that assumes that the higher taxes would not dampen the taxable base (and thus mean that a higher tax rate brings in less actual revenue than projected).

So here we are. Obama has been reelected without any mandate for critical reform. In fact, his buffoonish incompetent of a Vice President vowed in August, campaign season, that Social Security would not even be touched.

On the same trip to southern Virginia, Mr. Biden wandered into the Coffee Break Cafe in Stuart. According to the White House pool report, when a diner there said, “I’m glad you all are not talking about doing anything with Social Security,” Mr. Biden responded: “Hey, by the way, let’s talk about Social Security. Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you.”

Why is this so depressing? Because, as Mr. Biden knows, Social Security is going broke. If “no changes” are made, then by 2033 the program will not be able to pay benefits as promised.

He said that stupid thing in the same trip he said another stupid thing -- that "dey gon' put y'all back in chains" -- so he was once again the beneficiary, as he so often is, of covering up his serious incompetencies and stupidities with less serious but even more risible incompetencies and stupidities, thus covering up the fact that he is, in fact, seriously incompetent and stupid.

Harry Reid, who is about as far from a Statesman as a Cowboy Poetry is from Shakespeare, pandered on this issue for years before the election (and the last one) and, shockingly enough, continues pandering post-election.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will not allow changes in Social Security to be part of the negotiations to avoid a federal budget fiscal cliff, further narrowing the opportunities for savings that could be tapped to close the deficit.

Republicans have insisted that big entitlement programs such as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid be part of the end-of-year negotiations to head off tax-rate increases and the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts. …

“Social Security is not part of the problem, That’s one of the myths the Republicans have tried to create,” he said. “Social Security is sound for the next many years. But we want to make sure that in the outer years people are protected also, but it’s not going to be part of the budget talks, as far as I’m concerned.” …

“I’m giving you my personal feelings about where we need to go. Take care of the middle class and have the richest of the rich contribute a little bit to helping our economy,” he said.

No one has explained to him that $80 billion per year is not equal to our $1.whatever trillion per year deficit. It's less than 1%.

Now comes the Washington Post, after fighting assiduously to re-elect the team pandering on entitlements, slandering and lying -- I'm sorry, I mean "Fact-Checking" -- the team which told the truth about entitlements, to impotently object that "entitlements must be on the table."

They have no credibility on the issue. If this was such an important issue-- which they remember to say again after the election -- why did they work so hard to elect the Party determined to pander and offer nothing but Mathematical Fantasies? When it comes to pandering, their mouths say "No" but their eyes say "Yes yes yes," and the Democrats know it.

AS BIPARTISAN negotiations over avoiding the “fiscal cliff” draw nearer, many of President Obama’s core Democratic supporters are urging him to fix the debt through defense cuts and tax increases rather than by tackling Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlement programs. It’s a reprise of progressive resistance to the entitlement trims Mr. Obama contemplated during the abortive debt-reduction negotiations with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last year. This time, though, the Democratic base is claiming vindication in the just-completed election.

Fair enough. Mr. Obama won on a pledge to raise more revenue from the wealthy, and labor unions and like-minded groups provided much of the funding and many of the foot soldiers for his campaign. Nevertheless, on this he must tell his political base no. Any serious debt-reduction plan has to include revenue and defense cuts. But no serious one can exclude entitlements.


At his news conference Wednesday, President Obama called for “a serious look at how we reform our entitlements,” advocated “compromise” and pronounced himself “ready and willing to make big commitments” on debt reduction. Sounds like a man who understands what is needed.

Yes, a man who understands what is needed, and yet has not submitted a single proposal for what is needed, and also forgot to tell his top allies the Vice President and the Majority Leader of the Senate what is needed.

Part of the reason I had this fantasy -- this fantasy that the press would actually stand up, for once, for something besides liberalism -- was Mickey Kaus' oft-repeated assertion that the press are, or at least consider themselves to be, "Secret Patriots." And that while they have a liberal bias, they also have a bias towards patriotism -- statesmanship -- which can sometimes check their bias towards liberalism.

I just watched an entire political campaign in which the media never criticized nor pressed Obama on his inaction and failure to present a plan on entitlements, nor made any serious effort to criticize the idiots around him who were vowing -- vowing, promising -- that entitlements would be entirely untouched.

Secret Patriots? No. Simply liberals. When it comes to the country versus liberalism, they will, as we thought, simply choose liberalism every time.

Liberalism is its own nation, its own farflung tribe, its own Fifth Column within any country it infests. The "patriotism" postulated by Kaus is simply a loyalty to the Grand Progressive Cause.

It is not a patriotism of country ; it is simply a insurrection on the sly.

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posted by Ace at 12:54 PM

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