Obama and Social Security, Medicare - The Missourian: Opinion

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Obama and Social Security, Medicare

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Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 6:30 pm

The jockeying by both party members over the federal government budget is a seesaw battle that is all politics. The Republicans want some cuts. The Democrats want higher taxes for some segments of the population, continued spending, except now President Obama has interjected Social Security and Medicare cuts into the political mix.

Putting Social Security and Medicare benefits, of course, on the chopping block has angered some members of his party who don’t want seniors’ benefits touched. Republicans are gleeful that the president now has a problem with his own party. Then again, the president is telling the Republicans, “You want cuts, take these.” Republicans don’t want those benefit cuts.

Midterm races already are taking shape and that has some Democrats worried. They don’t want to light a fire under seniors who could face benefit cuts, and endanger Democrats’ re-election chances.

It’s not clear just what President Obama’s strategy is except that he can now say he has proposed to trim future benefits as part of a long-term deficit-reducing compromise.

The political warnings to Democrats are coming mostly from the left of their own party, The New York Times reported Sunday. By tossing in cuts to these programs, the president probably is trying to force a compromise from Republicans, some observers believe.

One of the problems with Social Security and Medicare benefits, and they are generous for many recipients who have paid their dues, is that people are living longer, which has had a tremendous impact on the payouts. Seniors also vote. The Democrats know this and that’s why they are troubled. Democratic candidates in 2014 and 2016 will be forced to take a stand on this issue.

Of course, if a compromise is reached, Social Security and Medicare cuts could be dropped. The issue may not go away for Democratic candidates, however. Seniors will want to know where candidates stand on this issue.

Whatever the president’s strategy is, at this time it does not bode well for Democrats.

/opinion

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