Obama Fights Back

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks on the economy and an extension of the payroll tax cut at Osawatomie High School December 6, 2011 in Osawatomie, Kansas. President Obama speaks on the economy in Osawatomie, Kansas. (Mandel Ngan/Getty)

David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones, discusses his new book, Showdown, and how Obama is gearing up for a fight with the GOP.


David Corn

Comments [21]

When President Obama was running for office people's expectation were so high and inflated that no human being could meet them. The Republicans have shown their true colors for years; they continue to attack the government of the country that they allegedly love and want to give the private sector managed and controlled by a very few number of individuals. There is an imbalance of power between the 'state' and 'corporations' and that is a dangerous imbalance. It appears that the mega-corporate leaders care more about their personal power and wealth then the good of the country or the global economy. The Republicans and some Democrats supporting a failed research policy of tax cuts for the rich and cutting non-mandated spending on our country's infrastructure, research and development in science and technology, etc or basically anything that benefits individuals and our country. Now, they want to take the first steps to dismantle Medicare a program that has helped improve the health of the those over 65 (this is based on long-term data on health) and put less strain on the budgets of the elderly. Anyone, other then millionaires, over age 45 should be scared of what Paul Ryan wants to do to Medicare as these people have been hit hard by the recession which by the way was caused by policies advocated and supported by the Republican deregulation ideology.

Mar. 21 2012 03:04 PM
Ed from New Jersey

The whole debate about Medicare is disingenuous by both parties. Medicare was set up as a stand alone program that through payroll taxes funded itself. Both parties have raided and continue to raid the fund to fund other programs. Now it is being played as being in financial trouble by both parties. The Obama administration and the Democrats has taken 500 billion out of the fund for Obama Care. The Ryan plan wants to privatize Social Security. Many seniors are not capable of spending thousands of dollars per year on medical coverage. Both of the political parties need to stop raiding the fund, implement means testing for people applying for benefits,use the collective power of the federal employees with the people on social security to get better rates on medical/drug coverage and allow people on Social Security to work more hours to supplement the benefits. Making Social Security/ Medicare a political football for their benefit is wrong for both parties.

Mar. 21 2012 11:07 AM

@dboy and Sheldon -

You write as if Obama was supposed to be the Great Left Hope, he wasn't. He WAS supposed to be immediate relief for the bad policies - foreign and economic - that were the BUSH years. If his agenda had been forward enough to please you guys, he would have no chance of re-election. And you both sound smart enough to know what a politicians's first priority is. When Obama and his party needed support in 2010, where were you? Did you vote? Or did you kid yourself that your Democratic house member didn't need your vote because their agenda wasn't Left enough? Part of the 'shellacking' of 2010 was moderate and Democratic voters failing to comprehend the amount of anger and residual racism could be rallied against our President. We underestimate them at our own peril.

I firmly believe in a progressive agenda but I am 100% against the notion of the idea contained in the thinking 'We elected you, now you take care of it' that you seem to be putting forward. Or the slightly less detached, "You weren't the guy I thought you were." The stakes are too high to stay seated.

[I was a Richardson guy thru the debates and primaries.]

Mar. 21 2012 10:55 AM

I'm with Sheldon from Brooklyn...

...and, not because I didn't get what I expected. Rather, he didn't do what HE said his priorities were. He rolled-over without a fight on nearly EVERY issue. There has been NO fight-back.

The rollover started when he refused to toss that pathetic WEENIE, Lieberman out of the Democratic Caucus.

In politics, love and war...patsies ALWAYS loose.

The rollover has been so pronounced, it brings into question Obama's fundamental political leanings.

BO has stunk for a VERY long time... ironically, for the antithesis of why the GOP continues to fabricate!!

Mar. 21 2012 10:30 AM
Harry Putty from nyc

Obama seems to be agressively fighting medical fraud.

that will significantly reduce the cost of medical coverage.

the Republicans like the fraud and fight to let it go on.

but I have to take that with a grain of salt, the republican party is full on nutty nutz.

Mar. 21 2012 10:27 AM
Edward from NJ

Why is Medicare reform in a budget bill and not a free-standing piece of legislation?

Mar. 21 2012 10:26 AM

I and my employers donated payments into MediCare and Social Security for 23 years. In fact, as my work life started AFTER Reagan and Greenspan DOUBLED FICA rates -- supposedly to pay for the bulge created by the Baby Boom -- I see the Ryan plan and any other attempt to privatize social security or means test MediCare as a theft of my money. The US Government has borrowed the surplus not used to pay benefits in social security and now politicians are looking for a way to skeeve out without having to raise taxes to pay back the borrowed money. I won't stand for it. I'll see the Rich taxed at 90% first. The revenue problem is that too much money is going to under-taxed portions of the economy. Middle tier earning power has been under strong assault since Reagan. We *should* use the tax code to put some balance back into this equation.

Reduce FICA rates back to pre-Reagan levels
For FTE's, make up to 5X the median income subject FICA withholding (for the self-employed up to 3X)
Public option for healthcare - even if the option is just expanding VA hospitals to cover the Medicare eligible.
Curtail deductions, reduce rates but maintain balance above all
As a thank you to our Iraq War and Afghanistan vets, give them 2.5% off ALL FUTURE INCOME TAXES for each complete tour of duty.

Mar. 21 2012 10:25 AM
RA from CT

Despite all the praise for Paul Ryan for "being honest" and "taking a stand" and "not avoiding the hard choices" regarding Medicare and Social Security, Paul Ryan is being just a typical, cynical and weak-willed politician by "buying off" the over 55 crowd by promising to them there will be NO changes for them. He's co-opting the Seniors to screw the young. We'll still be paying for current Seniors lucrative benefits while we suffer in our old age. That's only a good deal for current retirees many of whom have not bothered to save for retirement.

Everyone must share in the pain, including current Seniors. This means raising the retirement age, indexing the amount of income subject to FICA to track wage growth and not cost-of-living, and finally, means testing Medicare benefits.

Mar. 21 2012 10:25 AM
chip from ny

One thing I find very confusing is whether we are talking about actual budget cuts, or cuts in the rate of increase in the budget. Brian: you, NPR, and the media in general never make this distiction. I think it would be clearer to most listeners if this dsitinction were made consistently and clearly.

Aslo, just to be clear it is "Standard and Poors", not "Standards and Poors." Since Mr. Corn is suppposed to be an expert on this he may as well learn the name.

Mar. 21 2012 10:23 AM
Yosif from Manhattan

Paul Ryan makes all his staff read Ayn Rand. I see why. He is the sociopath in chief, and this budget reflects that.

Mar. 21 2012 10:22 AM
Cynthia from NYC

How come no one mentions that seniors still wind up purchasing supplemental insurance to cover may costs not covered by medicare. Health insurance can cost $400 - $800 per month for a single (the lower end has high deductibles or less choice of doctors) So even if you get a couples plan at maybye $1K per month - what senior on a fixed income can afford this. This is completely ridiculous - Technology any place else goes down over time - not in the medical community - lets look at the actual cost of care not premium costs alone.

Mar. 21 2012 10:20 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Obama was naive to think he would be able to change or work within the dysfunctional culture of DC. He is understandably
Done with trying to reach across the aisle. When Democrats proposed different legislation that was originally proposed by Republicans just a few short years ago, those same Republicans rejected them. Amazing. Their hatred for Obama has meant that nothing has been accomplished.
Obama doesn't need to move left to be re-elected. He only needs to put together a montage of the Republican debates as the candidates fight to be the most extreme. Do they really think the independents out there who will determine this election will forget that Rick Santorum wants to return women to 1956? Or that Romeny will literally say anything to get elected?

Mar. 21 2012 10:17 AM
Dorothy from Manhattan

Sure, Ryan will give you a choice of traditional Medicare or private insurance. Surprise! Traditional Medicare isn't going to cover much of anything but private insurance will cover a little more. A Medigap policy already costs something around $200/month. If Ryan gets his way that Medigap will cost a double or triple that.

Trouble is that I don't trust Obama to fight for Medicare. He'll compromise to hell and gone, and Medicare as we know it will be no more.

Mar. 21 2012 10:15 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

So he finally "fights" back. Not a single banker arrested, no public option, we get a bunch of onerous mandates and an extension of the Bush tax cuts without a fight, with more deficit spending. Hope & Change my .......

Mar. 21 2012 10:15 AM

Isn't the Ryan plan for Medicare very similar to Medicare Advantage?

Hasn't Medicare Advantage failed to be more cost-effective than standard Medicare?

Mar. 21 2012 10:15 AM

Ron paul wants to cut 1 trillion first year and balance the budget in 3 one else is proposing real cuts...most are cits in increases.

Mar. 21 2012 10:14 AM
Carl Ian Schwartz from Paterson, New Jersey

Paul Ryan's budget "proposals" are disingenuous and mendacious.

Federal employees--and congresspeople--are eligible for a choice of PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT, health insurance plans. Depending on one's tenure in Congress, congresspeople can get coverage for LIFE.

What is proposed for the rest of us is what is euphemistically called "premium support," in other words, subsidizing the private health insurance industry at the expense of Medicare beneficiaries present and future. Medicare works, despite some problems. Private health insurance puts in layers and layers of middlemen--and for what? For whose benefit? Not that of the elderly!

As someone who lost family in the Holocaust, I see a pattern approaching that. Rather than demonizing people based on their religion, the GOP strategy is a more broadly-based assault on people based on ethnicity ("illegal immigrants"!), sexual orientation, and most broadly, those Americans with less money than the top 1%. It's modus operandi is malignant neglect rather than active transport to murder facilities--but its desired end-result is the same.

Unfortunately many less fortunate Americans continue to vote against their interests, diverted by the pickpocket's trick of "wedge issues."

Mar. 21 2012 10:13 AM

What a great idea, privatizing health care for the elderly. Let's reward the insurance companies for having done such a good job containing costs.

Mar. 21 2012 10:12 AM
Jay F.

Is this guy for real?

Mar. 21 2012 10:10 AM
John Smith from nyc

Now he fights back?

When he had a chance to do something productive, he focused on saving the banks. Well, you saved them, congratulation. Now they want you out and the deregulation guys back in. we all know elections are BOUGHT not WON and banks will pay.

He blew his chance to fight and do something productive in January 2009.

Good bye President Obama, don't worry you'll get a good job on wall street next year, you'll be fine. As for the rest of us, we folks just ain't Harvard grads is we?

Mar. 21 2012 09:35 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Baloney !!! This “fighting back” hasn’t been heroic defense, but rather a radical frontal offensive assault on anyone who stands in the way of Obama “fundamentally transforming this nation” as he promised to do.

Obama’s amazingly open slither to the left for this election is another big story that has received delicate handling by his media, even though it has taken two years of carefully planned bashing of the rich and the business community in order to paint them as an “enemy” of the people and set up the whole narrative for November.

To paint this carefully crafted chicanery, as Corn does in his book, as “standing up” to X, Y or Z is laughable...and knowingly dishonest.

Mar. 21 2012 09:32 AM

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