News that President Obama will include chained-CPI, which is both a Social Security benefit cut and a middle class tax increase, in his official budget left one with a major question. Is Obama activity trying to prevent Democrats retaking the House in 2014 or does he simply just not give a damn about his fellow Democrats’ election prospects?
The Obama administration claims this budget, unlike every other budget in history, is not Obama’s preferred policy. According to the White House this is some weird pre-compromise that Republicans forced Obama to make by already rejecting nearly identical past compromises. So we should still blame chained-CPI on House Republicans even though Obama was the only one to put it in his official budget. Have fun trying to explain that in a 30 second campaign ad.
As de facto leader of the Democratic Party, Obama’s budget can easily be made into the “Democratic” budget. During the campaign Republicans can turn this budget into a millstone around the neck of every Democrat. Cutting Social Security benefits is one of the most unpopular ideas in American politics and Obama just made Democrats the only party officially pushing for it. It is most strongly opposed by seniors, who also tend to make up a greater share of the electorate in midterm elections.
Prepare for a re-run of 2010 when Republicans run on Democrats “slashing Medicare” because Obamacare. Except this time it will be way worse, because the attack will actually be 100% true.
Photo by Brian Green under Creative Commons license