In what appears to be a new offensive started on March 3 by Barack Obama in the political battle over mandatory spending cuts, the President proposed putting social security reform on the table as a way to bring Congress back to budget negotiations, in the hopes of furthering discussions to increasing taxes on the American people.
President Barack Obama raised anew the issue of cutting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a way out of damaging budget cuts, a White House official said on Sunday.
"He's reaching out to Democrats who understand we have to make serious progress on long-term entitlement reform and Republicans who realize that if we had that type of entitlement reform, they'd be willing to have tax reform that raises revenues to lower the deficit," White House senior economic official Gene Sperling said on Sunday on the CNN program "State of the Union." - Reuters
Until the sequester deadline was reached on Friday, March 1, President Obama went across the country in a campaign style tour to try to garner public support for an end to the mandatory cuts outlined during the 2011 debt ceiling compromise. When no new deal was struck before Friday, the President was forced to choose programs and agencies within the government that can fulfill the $85 billion agreement, or do nothing and have triggered cuts take place automatically in legislated programs and departments.
The belief that these mandatory budget cuts would have a major effect on the American people, as well as in most government agencies, was invalidated on Sunday when former Congressman Ron Paul analyzed several wasteful programs that could easily be scrapped to cover the required $85 billion, and would have little impact on the abilities of the government to perform their necessary functions. Simply cancelling the failed F-35 aircraft project for example, would eliminate a projected $1.5 trillion, and completely fulfill the 10 year requirement of cutting $1.2 trillion from the Federal budget.
While the Republican controlled House of Representatives would like to see more budget cuts, and social program reform than what is currently required under the debt ceiling agreement, neither party has any stomach to take on social security, and hold their political lives at stake. Thus it is quite a change of direction by President Obama to put social security cuts on the table, just to try to get Congress to vote in new taxes, which are already testing the consumer and lifestyles of most Americans.