In The Washington Post on July 6th and July 7th we are told that President Obama has offered to make cuts to Medicare and Social Security if the Republicans will agree to some raised taxes or to closing some tax loopholes for the wealthier among us. If we are playing political chicken and waiting to see who will flinch first we have our answer and it is becoming a tedious habit.
Today’s article suggests that perhaps Obama knows the Republicans will not accept his offer and he is trying to show his willingness to compromise to advantage against their inflexibility. He’s taking an awful big risk with our lifelines.
For now I will adopt a wait and see position but my gut is grumbling about the matter. I don’t want to lose my trust in Obama as a champion for the middle class, but I am made more skeptical by each of his interactions with Republicans. It will depend on exactly what kinds of changes he is recommending. After all we have known for some time that the health of Medicare and Social Security programs seems to be timing out. Maybe he has some ideas that will prolong the life of these programs. However I fear whatever must be done will be unpalatable and will cause more hardship in the end.
We definitely need jobs but seniors are the people least likely to benefit from increased affluence even in the event that jobs return. Balancing the budget with the livelihood of those who have paid their dues to society, who probably will still not be employable, and who have the fewest options seems like a very poor choice. If America puts us out on that ice floe and leaves hard working Americans with nothing to look forward to then I have to believe that the richness of American culture and spirit will suffer along with the quality of our lives. If the Democrats do this and if they don’t get it right they could betray everything they stand for. We’re watching.