Once you get away from the cacophony of the Petraeus Affair, it's pretty quiet out there in Newsland America. It's late, late Tuesday night, and I've been waiting for some news to be delivered all day, but... there is barely a whisper, hardly a murmur. A dearth of data. A meeting was held today at the White House; the Progressives and the Unions met with the President, but the sign I've been waiting for all day is not present! So, I'm reaching out, hoping my questions can be answered here.
It's true! It really did happen, and I even have proof! Today, if you look at the event schedule at the White House, this is what you'll see.
11:30 amAside from his daily briefing, that was all that was on his official agenda today.
The President and the Vice President attend a meeting with leaders from the labor community and other progressive leaders to discuss the actions we need to take to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit.
-The Roosevelt Room
We have been warned for months and months that there would be a dust up concerning the 'Fiscal Cliff' and it's role in the fate of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. (And given this I would add TRICARE to that essential list.) The enormous role these programs play in the lives of the people who need them and those who have earned them, along with the overshadowing place it has in the federal budget means that any adjustment is going to have consequences. Consequences of some kind for millions, many of which have little else to hold them up. And, yeah, the whole idea and the not-knowing is a bit unsettling. I think I can say that I'm not afraid to sacrifice a bit to pull us all forward... but honestly, the not-knowing is what's getting to me. I spend a lot of time searching for a sign of what's in store for me, those I love and for the country as a whole.
The players have been maddeningly mum, vicariously vague, and so has the press. Witness the lead from HuffPo:
Obama Tells Progressives He Won't Budge On Bush Tax CutsGood, good, good! But I still have questions that aren't being answered, so I'll keep looking.
And here's one from The Washington Post about how
"President Barack Obama remains committed to preserving tax cuts for middle class families and ensuring the wealthy pay more in taxes..."That's good news. I am truly happy to hear it, but given my concern and all that's being discussed today it's kinda thin, although there was this nugget from the same article;
The labor and liberal organizations said they made clear their opposition to any benefit cuts to Medicare recipients or increasing the eligibility age. Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, said after the meeting he was confident that “whatever savings come out of those programs would not come out of beneficiaries or citizens, it would be focused more on providers.”Even Rachel Maddow didn't offer up more than the fact that liberals were allowed in the front door of the White House, and not through the back door away from the viewing public. I paused in the middle of this diary to watch her show, sure that she would have something for me! But no, not even she could help me tonight. However, as already wonderfully documented here by fellow DKos member Joan McCarter, Senator Leader Harry Reid did say that Senate Democrats would protect Social Security. It's good to know that there is a kind of a firewall, how strong it is remains to be seen.
Now, among a multitude of others, the Honorable Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has been sounding this particular alarm loudly and clearly, God love and keep the man. Some information from his website:
Leaders of the nation's labor unions and other liberal groups plan Tuesday to press President Obama at the White House to reject the kind of cuts in Medicare and Social Security that he has previously offered to make.
There are signals of a promising direction. We did win the election (yay for us) and the President didn't spend his first meetings with the Republicans this time, after all. I want to know the scope of possibilities here, and there are a lot of knowledgeable people here. I've read the blogs of Paul Krugman, Yves Smith, Andrew Sullivan and plenty of others, but I feel that I need more perspective. Given what was on the Grand Bargain table last time, I'm sure you understand. So what do you know?