Good for Sen. Bernie Sanders for standing up for what's right if President Obama tries to offer Republicans cuts to our social safety nets as part of some "grand bargain": Bernie Sanders says give people what they want: Safe Medicare and Social Security:
Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the charge in the Senate to block any grand bargain that would cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits, and he's got a pretty smart strategy. He explained his efforts in an interview with Greg Sargent. Getting a budget deal is not about offering up the trophy of entitlement cuts to lure in Republicans, Sanders says.
"It's a question of making Republicans an offer they can't refuse," Sanders tells me. "Their position is no more revenues. You and I know that is not the position of the American people. One in four corporations doesn't pay any taxes. What Democrats and progressives should say is, 'Sorry, we're not going to balance the budget on the backs of the vulnerable.'" Sanders described the idea of cutting education, Social Security, Medicare and veterans' benefits as an "obscenity." [...]
"The alternative is not to go into a back room and negotiate with Boehner; it's to make our case to the American people," Sanders said. "I don't believe there's a red state in America where people believe you should cut Medicare, Social Security and veterans' benefits rather than doing away with corporate tax loopholes."
Now that's a pretty smart and pragmatic reading of the American electorate as well as a smart and pragmatic strategy for getting the Republicans to relent on revenue. Wooing them sure as hell isn't going to get the job done. But standing up as Democrats, with the people, could.
And as Greg Sargent noted, he may have some help some of his fellow Democrats in the Senate:
I asked Sanders if he would filibuster any grand bargain that cuts entitlement benefits. “It’s more than just the filibuster,” he said. “That’s a one day tactic. This is about rallying the American people and winning.” He predicted liberals in the Senate (Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, and Elizabeth Warren come to mind) would likely band together to adopt a range of tactics to block such a grand bargain. “Filibustering may be part of it,” he said.
It’s still unclear to me what the endgame would look like if liberals stick with such a strategy. Republicans could simply continue to support indefinite sequestration rather than agree to anything at all, let alone a deal that includes new revenues but no entitlement cuts. Or if the White House does strike a grand bargain, liberal Dems may ultimately cave and support it. Or if a deal is reached in the Senate, it could pass without liberals. However unclear the way foward remains, it’s undeniably good for progressive Senators to be out there defining the liberal position in the debate in as high-profile a way as possible.
And from the Kos diary as well: Send an email to the White House telling President Obama to immediately stop proposing any cuts to Social Security.