If you think liberals are pissed at Obama now, just wait
White House photo by Pete Souza
By GARY BAUMGARTEN
After any first term midterm “shellacking” – to use President Obama’s words – the occupier of the Oval Office always moves a bit more toward the opposition party’s viewpoint in the hopes that he can redeem himself in the eyes of the voters in order to get re-elected. President Obama did so when he folded on the extension of tax cuts to the very rich (he supported them for two years) in order to get congressional Republicans to approve an extension of unemployment benefits (for 13 months).
The White House has been hurriedly meeting with its liberal base to try to convince it that he’s not abandoned them. But there’s unease over the administration’s failure to promise that Obama won’t go along with Social Security cuts proposed by Republicans and recommended by his bipartisan debt reduction commission.
There are actually those who are suggesting that Social Security be eliminated entirely – though that’s not a likely scenario.
The thing that proponents of SSI cuts fail to recognize is that Social Security is not an entitlement. It’s a federal retirement insurance plan. In order to qualify, you have to pay into it.
Baby boomers who are reaching retirement have done just that. Most of them working around 45 years. Contributing through payroll deductions to the plan. And now, there are those in Congress who would rip their promised returns from their aging hands.
That’s something that amounts to thievery.
The government is looking at Social Security because of the economic downturn. There have to be cuts, many argue. And they have to come from someplace. But here’s the thing. That economic downturn has taken away from many reaching the end of their working cycle most, if not all, of their retirement funds. So, more and more Americans are finding that they are relying on Social Security benefits just to survive.
There are some things the president can do to anger liberals that he can get away with. Because he knows that they won’t entirely abandon him. Not when a Sarah Palin, a Mike Huckabee, a Newt Gingrich or a John Bolton is the potential alternative. But messing with people’s Social Security? That wouldn’t just piss off the liberals. It would piss off an entire generation of people. People who won’t forget such a transgression in 2012.