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Obama budget takes heat from all quarters (+video)

Republicans reject any new taxes. Liberals say they'll fight any changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs. Does the Obama administration have any room to maneuver?

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“I will never support any reductions in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits – and chained CPI is a direct reduction in Social Security benefits,” says Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York. “Along with my fellow progressives, I will vehemently oppose any such cuts.”

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“Any ‘democrat’ who supports these proposals is never going to get my vote,” warns the economic analyst known as “New Deal Democrat” on the Bonddad Blog. “I will support any primary opponents and I will accept a one term GOPer if necessary to end the political career of any Grand Betrayers, replacing them with a progressive in 2 or 6 years. And I know I am far from alone.”

On his Conscience of a Liberal blog, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman says chained CPI is “purely and simply, a benefit cut.”

“So what’s this about?” Mr. Krugman asks. “The answer, I fear, is that Obama is still trying to win over the Serious People, by showing that he’s willing to do what they consider Serious – which just about always means sticking it to the poor and the middle class.” 

Labor unions threaten to “make noise” about the entitlement elements in Obama’s budget as well.

"It is unconscionable to ask seniors, people with disabilities and veterans who are barely making it to be squeezed even tighter at a time when corporations and the wealthiest 2 percent are not paying their fair share of taxes, despite soaring profits," AFL-CIO policy director Damon Silvers writes in an e-mail reported by Politico. "It’s bad policy to make cuts that will weaken our economic recovery."

"The majority of Americans oppose cuts to our country’s most important family protection programs. It’s time to make some noise about it," Mr. Silvers writes. "We need to invest in America's working families, not pull the rug out from under them."

The House and Senate have already passed their own budget plans, with the Republican-controlled House cutting $5.7 trillion in spending and balancing in 10 years, and the Democrat-controlled Senate plan raising taxes by $1 trillion.

“There is a good chance both sides want to compromise,” predicts White House adviser Pfeiffer.

But, he warns, “If the Republicans, particularly in the House, think my way or the highway approach, then we’re not going to get a deal. Simple as that.”


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