|Unfortunately President Obama is becoming as much of a culprit as anyone. After a first term when he continually compromised Democratic ideals and adopted failed Republican policies it appears as if the President is setting up a second term when he will do much the same. Refuse to fight for the ideals of his party and the will of the American people.
While his rhetoric seemed to indicate otherwise at the onset of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations recently with his new "counter offer" the President seems to be joining Republicans in flashing a big middle finger to the American people.
With his election victory and the will of the American people on his side the President still cannot seem to fight Republicans and continually concedes to much. His latest "compromise" does just that again:
The new Obama offer lowers the president's demands for tax increases and includes additional spending cuts, but it falls short of the healthcare savings the GOP wants from reforming entitlement programs like Medicare.
Obama originally proposed a deal seeking $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue, but on Monday his offer called for $1.2 trillion, which the White House noted was midway toward the Speaker's initial offer of $800 billion.
The president also moved in the Speaker's direction on spending cuts, offering an equal amount - $1.2 trillion - as new revenue, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. But Republican aides disputed that characterization. Under their calculations, the White House offer contains $1.3 trillion in new taxes and about $930 billion in net spending cuts, because of a difference in how changes to the future debt interest payments are treated. Once new proposed spending for infrastructure and extended unemployment benefits that the White House wants are included, the net spending cut is $850 billion, GOP aides said.
On entitlements, Obama is offering to change the way inflation is calculated in benefit programs, including in Social Security, a move opposed by many liberals. The new method, known as chained consumer price index (CPI), would cut $130 billion more in spending. A source said that provisions are included to protect the most vulnerable.
This move is "opposed by liberals" because we know full well that Social Security has not and will not ever add one cent to the deficit. Also, we know full well that working folks and the middle-class have sacrificed much in the last few decades as the wealthy and corporations have run roughshod over them. It is time the other side sacrificed and working Americans are given a free pass for once. With public opinion on his side, the President has decided to negotiate away too much.
Worse yet, even the sacrifices that should not be made by the President are not enough for Republicans in Congress:
Boehner's office on Monday night said the proposal was "a step in the right direction," but senior Republican congressional aides sought to downplay talk that an agreement was close. Aides said significant differences remained across a range of areas, including taxes, entitlement reforms and the timing for the implementation of an agreement over the next two years. But they insisted that an agreement was still possible in the coming days and that negotiations are ongoing.
"Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the president has made previously is a step in the right direction, but a proposal that includes $1.3 trillion in revenue for only $930 billion in spending cuts cannot be considered balanced," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said. "We hope to continue discussions with the president so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem.
And of course with all this bluster and "compromise" what is the one thing that continually gets left out of policy? The will of the American people. You see, huge majorities of Americans favor asking the wealthy to sacrifice for the first time in decades and oppose asking the most vulnerable of society to do so:
Most Americans oppose slashing spending on Medicaid and the military, as well as raising the age for Medicare eligibility and slowing the increase of Social Security benefits, all of which appear to be on the table in negotiations. Majorities call each of these items "unacceptable."
A clear majority of Americans, 74 percent, say they would tolerate Obama's proposal to raise taxes on those with incomes over $250,000, but neither side in the talks thinks that alone would generate enough revenue to bridge the budget gap. A smaller majority backs limits to tax deductions.
It is also clear that Americans want Obama to do the one thing he seems to be backing away from. Picking a fight with Republicans and fighting for the will of the American people:
While there is a desire for both sides to reach across the aisle in the fiscal-cliff talks, the public is particularly critical of congressional Republicans. That puts Obama in a relatively strong negotiating position with House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), at least in the court of public opinion.
And it appears as if the public knows that Obama's ideas are more in line with their own but since he has shown little tendency to fight Republicans tooth and nail for them Americans are losing faith in him. Still, they give him higher marks than the Republicans, whom they see as somewhere between dog feces and dirt:
While only 45 percent of Americans give Obama positive marks, far fewer - 26 percent - approve of the way Republicans are handling the budget issue. Among Republicans, barely more than half approve of their party leaders' handling of the budget negotiations, while three-quarters of Democrats see Obama as doing a good job.
Should the talks break down, 47 percent say they would blame Republicans; 31 percent say they are more likely to point the finger at Obama. Some 18 percent, a growing number, volunteer that they would hold both sides equally culpable.
We have long known that Republicans do not care about the will of the American people. They will fight to protect the greediest and least patriotic among us no matter what because that is just what they are and what they do. They care nothing for 98% of Americans and in the last few years that fact has become painfully clear. They will not change no matter what.
However, what is really perplexing and disappointing is that the President, with such numbers behind him will not stand firm and fight for Americans as a whole. He will compromise the will of the American people yet again to compromise with zealots. If the President will not fight Republicans tooth and nail with the public so firmly entrenched behind him, when will he ever fight them and over what?
It is becoming increasingly clear what is best. No deal is much better than a bad deal which is what even the President has moved towards. All Americans should hope that we just go over this "fiscal cliff" and start all over. Sadly it is obvious that the only thing that is going to be lost in any "compromise" is what has been lost in this country for the last thirty years. Changes that benefit our country as a whole.
We should be tired of getting screwed by Democrats and Republicans.