So as expected, president Obama released his budget proposals with his offer to make cuts in Social Security (via the chained CPI) in return for some tax hikes. And as equally expected, some leading Republicans are now saying that it is the Democrats who are trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors by cutting benefits in social services and that they are going to defend it (see here and here).
In his defense, it has been argued that Obama is playing a deep and clever game, that he is making his offer knowing that Republicans won’t accept tax cuts in any form and that the deal will go nowhere, enabling him to make the claim that Republicans are totally intransigent, and that making his supporters angry is a way of building credibility with Republicans and the general public that he is making a serious offer.
I don’t buy it. In any negotiation, you never make an offer that you would not be comfortable to live with, however confidently you think the other side dislikes it and will reject it. The second reason for my skepticism is that Obama and leading Democrats serve the same oligarchic interests as the Republicans, just different factions within them, and their desire to please them has been well established. In fact, the extreme right wing group Club for Growth has welcomed Obama’s proposal to cut Social Security.