Melissa Harris-Perry and her panel (which included Carmon Wong Ulrich, Dean Baker, Lisa Cook and Josh Barro) took on President Obama and his budget plan which includes ceding to the Republicans and their demand for chained CPI and explained why that proposal ought to be dead on arrival for Democrats who are concerned about the retirement security of average Americans.
This really was a welcomed change of pace from what we're generally treated to on the network, whether it be David Gregory asking just how much pain Democrats are willing to inflict on seniors, to the day after day drone on Morning Joe with Scarborough and his regulars demanding a pound of flesh from seniors as well, to Chris Matthews going after Democrats who don't want to go along with cuts to our social safety nets unreasonable.
It really would be nice to see their daytime lineup during the week, and Scarborough's three hour nightmare every morning filled up with conversations more like this one, but that's not likely to happen any time soon.
HARRIS-PERRY: The budget plan President Obama presented this week makes another push toward a grand bargain with an inclusion of an enticement to Republicans that had so far been off the table in the deficit battle, a proposal to take a scalpel to Social Security. His plan would limit the benefits paid to seniors by charting the calculation for inflation -- changing the calculation for inflation, to cut the growth of monthly Social Security payments in the future. So instead of tying the increases to the consumer price index, the President's budget would change it to a different calculation called chained CPI.
And while his budget exempts the oldest and the poorest of Social Security recipients, it would cause 65 year old retirees to lose more than a thousand dollars a year by the time they reach age 85, which far more of them are now going to reach.
House Republicans for their part, have refused to take the bait. But the plan has sparked resistance from within the President's own party as progressives launch an organized campaign against the proposal. So I mean, I mean I know what second term presidents are supposed do. They're supposed to touch the third rail that nobody else can. They're never run for election again. But this one has been tough.
ULRICH: Why are we picking on old people? Why are we nickel and diming our seniors who can't afford this? A thousand dollars a year, that can pay for prescriptions, prescription coverage that's not covered by the government, because in retirement, more than a third of your costs are going to be related to health care. $200,000 on average for seniors in their senior lifetime. It's crazy.
HARRIS-PERRY: And with baby boomers being where they are in their life cycle right now, we've got a lot of seniors, if everybody is going to stop smoking, even more old people, right, and so we know this is a huge population and I think part of the conversation has been, what are we going to do with all of these retirees, and this is one answer.
BAKER: You know, it really is outrageous I think, because the presumption is that somehow seniors have too much money. And you know, Josh actually wrote a nice piece on this a little while back. Our retirement system collapsed. We don't have defined benefit pensions any longer. Most people have little by way of savings. We know that a lot of people took a big hit on their homes with the collapse of the housing bubble. Social Security has been the one pillar of retirement income that's stood up. If anything we should looking into expanding it. So, I mean, this is just you know, the Washington Post loves this. But apart from the Washington punditry --