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Politicians, Activists React To Obama Deficit Plan, Progressive Caucus Releases Its Own Plan

Politicians, Activists React To Obama Deficit Plan, Progressive Caucus Releases Its Own Plan

Now that the President has released his master plan for reducing the deficit in the next twelve years, it’s time to see what Congress, activists and potential presidential candidates think of the proposal.

Of course, it’s a surprise to no one that the Congressional Republicans weren’t big fans.  The GOP had already announced that rescinding the Bush tax cuts for millionaires was not on the table, and with that being a key point in Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit, it becomes difficult to see where a compromise can be made.

Republican reaction after the speech almost made it seem as if they were listening to a different president than everyone else, with most complaints revolving around Obama either not offering specifics or not cutting enough spending.  The reaction was to continue to paint the unsustainable tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans as “job-crushing tax increases” without noting that the employment picture in the U.S. has basically collapsed ever since these cuts were enacted.

Democrats, meanwhile, are embracing the “reverse Robin Hood” verbage of Vermont’s Bernie Saunders, and applauding Obama’s pledge to reduce the deficit without dismantaling the social safety net for the most vulnerable of Americans. 

The Washington Post has an excellent roundup of congressional reactions on their site.

Meanwhile, presidential contender Tim Pawlenty calls Obama’s plan “wholly unacceptable:” “Today’s speech was nothing more than window dressing. President Obama’s lack of seriousness on deficit reduction is crystal clear when you look at the budget deal he insisted on to avoid a government shutdown. The more we learn about the budget deal the worse it looks.”

Mitt Romney also found the plan lacking. Via The Hill: “Instead of supporting spending cuts that lead to real deficit reduction and true reform of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, the President dug deep into his liberal playbook for ‘solutions’ highlighted by higher taxes,” he said. “With over 20 million people who are unemployed or who have stopped looking for work, the last thing we should be doing is raising taxes on job-creators, entrepreneurs, and small-business owners across America.”

Progressive Change Campaign Committee had been highly active prior to Obama’s speech, rallying supporters of the President to promise to refuse him donations if he agrees to any cuts that would affect the social safety net that keeps so many Americans afloat.  Did the President come through?  The group released the following statement after the speech:

“Americans will be very glad to hear that the President supports raising taxes on the rich. But he needs to take Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefit cuts completely off the table. The overwhelming majority of Americans oppose cuts to these programs, but support taxing the rich, ending corporate welfare, and reducing military spending. That, plus investment in jobs, should be the Democratic plan.”

Finally, the Republicans have had their shot at talking about deficit reduction, and the President has unveiled his plans.  So where is the real progressive agenda?  The Congressional Progressive Caucus has put out their own plan that would balance the budget by 2014, and even create a surplus by 2021.  Primary plan specifics are to let all Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012, although marriage, children, education reliefs and credits would still be continued, immediately end the tax cuts for millionaires, add top tax rates of between 45 and 49 percent for the absolute highest of earners, tax capital gains and create a progressive estate tax.  Social Security would be buffered by a allowing 90 percent of all earnings to be taxed, and Medicaid and Medicare would be made stronger with a public option health care plan for all Americans.  Also helping to balance the budget would be a drastic reduction to defense spending.  You can read all of the deficit reduction details here.

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9:19PM PDT on Apr 18, 2011

As it should be robert b. and I can proccess thought and I despised what your leader and his kind did to our country. Thank you for the compliment.

4:01PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Another quick detail:

One could as easily say it was the purchase of the USSR's debt which did so. I think the problem was that the U.S. could afford two of the three, but not all three. Not only that, but publicly announcing an intent to drive USSR-spending and then buy the debt would have destroyed the whole plan. Frankly, I think the two that ended the Cold War were where the money was best spent. It is arguable that the debt-purchase was opportunistic, but with Reagan's acceptance of such massive spending, which I understand was very uncharacteristic, it seems more like the whole thing was planned.

3:58PM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

Hi David,

Sorry I didn't see your response earlier. When I check for responses to my stuff I run searches for "Stephen" and "Amsel" on the webpage.

I think Ryan's plan is too slow too. Budgets can make 10-year predictions all they want, but pressing problems should have to be solved well before then.

It took 17 years to cut the debt by 70% of the GDP. We are talking about cutting the deficit in 10. That is, we are talking about moving from increasing debt to beginning that process that took 17 years in 10, not actually repeating anything close to what was accomplished then. Extreme measures would be needed to produce such massive surpluses to reduce the debt so quickly, but not to just balance the books.

I checked the numbers on the cost of the wars. They would have come to a trillion only if the cost during the troop-surge were maintained over the long-run. Also, I looked into the massive spending of Reagan's term. I understand that he wanted military-spending to drive an arms-race with the USSR to drive it into bankruptcy so the U.S. could get the economic leverage needed to end the Cold War. That is exactly what his spending did. The problem was that before approving such military-spending, Congress demanded matching funding on domestic programs, paying for each congressman's pet project. Dollars are dollars, so it is impossible to say whether Reagan's military spending or the matching spending is what drove the deficit at that time.

2:53PM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Barry, Trying to have a debate with some of these people like Robert or lyn is like beating your head against the wall... well maybe not, at least the wall will give a little if confronted with enough cooersion. They live by the liberal media talkingpoints without consideration of any alternative perspective. Good luck!!!

10:57AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Bill Reese; either the moral majority is on this site or you are financially sound, or koch has hired you to do his bidding. What do you think has been going on in this country since 2000? Did you help in any of the democrats endevors to turn the recession around and get americans out of dire straights? What about the last 11 years do you not get?
Since our nation is undergoing more republican destruction and union busting, it will be candy when the day of payback comes. It is injustice; the assault teachers are taking by republicans. But there is another day when the ones who caused this distress will get their payback.I am weighing as to whethe rI will be involved like I was last time in the elections. I have yet to resolve this within myself. I don't believe and trust in anything. I don't believe our president can deliver since he caves to the republicans. The republicans and tea baggers are sinister and no good for or to us. They speak morality but have none. Now SS and etal. They are separate funds yet they deceive us and never tell us that. As of late; the story is the SS money was taken out of its fund and mixed with the general fund. Have you heard that story? That's still an excuse to have reason to tamper with it. They lie so much, there is no truth with them. So I believe our president will cave for this new reason. Republicans are so evil. Rich people complaining about taxes, let them suffer like everyone else This is what bush gave us, their hero..

10:54AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Bill Reese; either the moral majority is on this site or you are financially sound, or koch ahs hired you to do his bidding. What do you think has been going on in this country since 2000? Did you help in any of the democrats endevors to turn the recession around and get americans out of dire straights? What about the last 11 years do you not get?
Since our nation is undergoing more republican destruction and union busting, it will be candy when the day of payback comes. It is injustice the assault teachers are taking by republicans. But there is another day when the ones who caused this distress will get their payback.I am weighing as to whetherI will be involved like I was last time in the elections. I have yet to resolve this within myself. I don't believe and trust in anything. I don't believe our president can deliver since he caves to the republicans. The republicans and tea baggers are sinister and no good for or to us. They speak morality but have none. Now SS and etal. They are separate funds yet they deceive us and never tell us that. As of late; the story is the Ss money was taken out of its fund and mixed with the general fund. Have you heard that story? That's still an excuse to have reason to tamper with it. They lie so much, their is no truth with them. So I believe our president will cave for this new reason. Republicans are so evil. Rich people complaining about taxes, let them suffer like everyone else This is what bush gave us, their hero..

10:54AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Bill Reese; either the moral majority is on this site or you are financially sound, or koch ahs hired you to do his bidding. What do you think has been going on in this country since 2000? Did you help in any of the democrats endevors to turn the recession around and get americans out of dire straights? What about the last 11 years do you not get?
Since our nation is undergoing more republican destruction and union busting, it will be candy when the day of payback comes. It is injustice the assault teachers are taking by republicans. But there is another day when the ones who caused this distress will get their payback.I am weighing as to whetherI will be involved like I was last time in the elections. I have yet to resolve this within myself. I don't believe and trust in anything. I don't believe our president can deliver since he caves to the republicans. The republicans and tea baggers are sinister and no good for or to us. They speak morality but have none. Now SS and etal. They are separate funds yet they deceive us and never tell us that. As of late; the story is the Ss money was taken out of its fund and mixed with the general fund. Have you heard that story? That's still an excuse to have reason to tamper with it. They lie so much, their is no truth with them. So I believe our president will cave for this new reason. Republicans are so evil. Rich people complaining about taxes, let them suffer like everyone else This is what bush gave us, their hero..

10:25AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you".

You cannot currently send a star to Barry because you have done so within the last week.

6:07AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

@Stefan Dwonik "Nor do corporations like Ge" Hey Stefan - guess who is Obama's advisor and chairman of Obama's Council of Jobs and Competitiveness? Why it's none other than Jeff Immelt, CEO of zero tax GE!

1:48AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

They continue raise taxes on the middle class, and the poor, gut education, and yet don't raise taxes on the wealthy to their original level before THAT BUSH! Nor do corporations like Ge, and the petroleum companies pay taxes, still continue to receive ridiculous tax breaks, and incentives. Our banks took the money we gave them to save them, and used it to buy up smaller banks and create more mege-banks, and have not used the money to loan out, and grow our economy. Do the American people run this country, or are they content or to apathetic to raise their voice, or over whelm the government withe-mails demanding that the people's will be DONE..

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