"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

As Debt Meetings Begin, Democrats Should Admit Our Spending Problem; Drop The Scare Tactics And Reform Entitlements‏

May 5th, 2011 by mopns · No Comments

Bloomberg News reports today, “Vice President Joe Biden welcomed congressional leaders for talks to begin ‘the hard business’ of negotiating an agreement on reducing long-term government deficits. . . . The White House doesn’t plan to offer a new proposal beyond the approach President Barack Obama outlined last month to cut $4 trillion from deficits over 12 years, said two administration officials who weren’t authorized to comment publicly.

Biden and Obama advisers set modest expectations, describing the talks at Blair House across the street from the White House as the beginning of a process.”

And according to Roll Call, “Senate Democrats won’t be putting much on the table when the first bipartisan debt panel meeting with Vice President Joseph Biden takes place today at Blair House. . . . Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appears to be eyeing the less-is-more strategy . . . . [T]he Nevada Democrat is keeping his own cards close to his vest, urging his Caucus to keep its options open and waiting to see what the White House puts on the table.”

Further, Roll Call reports, “But even if Reid wanted to put a specific proposal on the table, his caucus is deeply divided over what to do, with perhaps a half-dozen approaches under consideration. Plus, the Majority Leader has already watched three in his caucus sign on to a Republican-backed spending cap, and he will have to contend with liberals worried about proposals that include deep spending cuts to their favorite programs. ‘It’s a mess,’ another Democratic aide said. Sen. Patty Murray acknowledged that Democrats don’t yet have a plan. ‘I think there is the fact that we need to come to consensus, but on what it is yet, we’re not there,’ the Washington state Democrat said.”

In contrast, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the floor this morning, laying out key principles to keep in mind for these meetings: “Even Democrats now admit that failing to bring down the debt would be far more damaging to our nation’s economy in the long run than failing to raise the debt ceiling. The situation has been described as the most predictable crisis in American history. People on both sides of the aisle now realize that the warning bells are too loud to ignore. . . . Now the challenge is achieving a result.

“And that’s why I proposed a few basic principles yesterday that I believe could guide us to success. . . . First: It’s time our friends on the other side stop pitting one group of Americans against another. Solving this crisis will require all of us working together. Let’s act like it.

“Second: The level of spending that Democrats want to maintain just isn’t possible without raising taxes on the middle class, which we know isn’t going to happen. We’re only going to solve this crisis by admitting up front that we have a spending problem.

“Third: Entitlements need to be a part of this discussion. So let’s drop the scare tactics and work together on reform. Nobody is talking about taking anybody’s Medicare.

“Fourth: raising taxes is the last thing we should be doing in the middle of a recession. What’s more, a bipartisan majority here in the Senate opposes it. So let’s set that idea aside and find some common ground instead. If we recognize these things we can avert this crisis. If we don’t, we won’t.”

Related:

Rasmussen Reports: 50% Oppose Obama Budget, 54% Say It Doesn’t Cut Enough

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