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REAL SOLUTIONS FOR EDUCATION

death and life of education

Miss McConnell Threatens To Shut Down The Government If He Doesn't Get To Cut Social Security And Medicare

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Last night, Ken made it clear why he feels the 113th Congress is likely to be as much of a pilonidal cyst on the ass of American governance as the 112th was. And one of the reasons Congress has been so much more a cause of problems than a solution to problems is bad leadership, i.e.- Mitch "Miss" McConnell, for one. Friday we saw how Miss McConnell leads Senate Republicans into dysfunctional obstructionism to please his big corporate campaign donors, who want the free hand that results from weak and underfunded government. And yesterday Josh Marshall, sickened by the same Meet the Press show Ken tried avoiding, saw McConnell using the threat of shutting down the government to drastically cut back on Social Security and Medicare.
[B]ig cuts to key social insurance programs are not only the price of avoiding what would likely be a catastrophic government shutdown (a real one, not like what we had back in the 90s). But Democrats must also shield Republicans from the political consequences of cutting these programs by cutting them on the Republicans behalf.
"As the leader of the Republicans what I'm telling you is we elected the president to be president. It's time for him to step up to the plate and lead us in the direction of reducing our excessive spending," lisped McConnell, who will face Kentucky voters in November, 2014 and could wind up one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection.

The most active of the local Kentucky groups fight back against McMcConnell is Progress Kentucky, which citicized him after yesterday's MTP hypocritical grandstanding that called for federal spending cuts to reduce the country’s debt, without specifying the cuts he wants. Progress Kentucky, which refers to their homestate senator as a career "earmark junkie," says McConnell co-sponsored 60 earmarks totalling $113 million in 2010 but now wants to claim the country’s spending addiction as "our biggest problem.”
Even more disturbing, McConnell’s Sunday declaration came within four days of a Filibuster for Sale report released by the Public Campaign Action Fund.

That report shows how McConnell’s filibuster to prevent the end of fossil fuel subsidies costing US taxpayers $24 billion in unneeded spending, while he has received $1.3 million in campaign contributions over his career from the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry has almost no presence in Kentucky, yet it is a top-10 donor industry for McConnell.

According to Fortune 500, America's top two most profitable corporations in 2011 were both oil and gas companies. Exxon's profits rose 35% to $41.1 billion, while Chevron’s 2011 profit came in 2nd, with $26.9 billion profit.

“McConnell can start the budget cuts debate today by proposing the specific cuts he wants. It's simple. He could do it this afternoon,” said Shawn Reilly Executive Director of Progress Kentucky. “Even better, we’d like to know if his $24 billion in welfare payments to the oil and gas industry are on the table?”

“Because of McConnell’s evasive, hypocritical and wimpy leadership, we have launched a petition drive asking him to stand up and put the spending cuts he wants on the table,“ said Reilly. “Any ‘intern with an iPhone’ can specify spending cuts.”

But McConnell and Boehner are being egged on by crackpots like Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich-- whose own bluster about shutting down the government when he was Speaker worked out badly for the GOP-- to threaten to shut the government down to force cuts to social programs the Republicans don't like-- including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. This morning Trump said Obama "would have folded like a deck of cards" if Boehner and McConnell had used a little more bunksmanship in the negotiations. "I’m so disappointed in what the Republicans are doing. I’m so disappointed in their negotiating ability and what happened recently."

Gingrich was another Meet the Press guest yesterday and he insisted-- sounding somewhat insane-- Boehner and McConnell just go ahead and shut the government down if they don't get their way. "The debt ceiling is different because it triggers all these international financial problems and triggers the credit of the United States," Gingrich said. "They don't have to say, 'We're going to be wimps.’”


Americans don't like hearing this kind of talk. If Miss McConnell, Boehner-- who now says he's finished negotiating with President Obama-- and even nut cases and crackpots who are given TV time like Gingrich, keep up the crazy talk, 2014 to actually turn into an electoral rout. And that, of course, is why McConnell is insisting that the GOP not just be given the cuts to popular programs they want but that Obama and the Democrats embrace those cuts as well. Obama probably will. Progressive Democrats won't, under any circumstances, countenance benefits cuts to working families and seniors. Here's a statement from the 80-member strong Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued last week:

With yesterday's vote behind us, Americans face an even bigger fight in the coming months: funding our government, avoiding devastating cuts known as sequestration, and avoiding default on our country's bills. The most recent negotiations saw a massive grassroots effort that successfully protected Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits and investments in the middle class. In the coming negotiations, we must continue the fight. Here's what we should do.

First, no more hostage taking. Last August, Republicans held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage in exchange for over $1 trillion in cuts that hit middle class families hardest. Everything from student loans for college students to fixing our crumbling roads and bridges was threatened by these cuts. President Obama is right to refuse to negotiate over paying the nation's credit card bills. The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times in the past, including 18 times by Ronald Reagan. We must join him in calling for a clean increase of the debt ceiling.

Second, protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are the backbone of every family's income when they most need it. Medicare alone provides health care to 40 million American seniors and more than 8 million Americans with disabilities-- and does so at a fraction of the cost of private insurance.

Inevitably, we are going to be asked about the rising cost of health care. We should welcome this conversation. Allowing Medicare Part D to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors-- just like the Veterans Administration already does-- will save more than $150 billion over 10 years. But cutting benefits has nothing to do with cutting health care costs, and actually increases costs for seniors. Raising the retirement age for Medicare would cost our own family members over $2,000 and increase health care costs by over $11 trillion. We won a significant victory in protecting benefits for our family members in these negotiations, and we must firmly oppose efforts to throw American families under the bus disguised as deficit reduction.

Third, additional savings should come from new revenue and the Pentagon, and any deal must include investments in American's number one priority-- new jobs. The middle class should not continue to foot the bill for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. With over $1.7 trillion already cut from programs for American families and less than half of that amount raised in revenue, we have a long way to go before we have a balanced approach. We could save over $110 billion just by eliminating wasteful subsidies to oil and gas companies. My Inclusive Prosperity Act would raise hundreds of billions dollars just by taxing Wall Street trades by a fraction of 1 percent. Six members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have already proposed principles of tax reform, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have called for Pentagon savings to be included in any negotiation.

The American people have our back. By large margins, people want us reduce the deficit by asking those who have benefited most over the past few decades to pay their fair share, and they recognize that cutting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits will only make our problems worse. In the end, our success will depend upon a grassroots movement to protect these priorities. As Abraham Lincoln said, "With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed." Now it's up to us to make sure Congress listens.

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Do they suppose it will work out better for them this year?

Many Kentuckians are looking for someone to replace McConnell in 2014. There isn't an agreed upon candidate yet. But there will be. Blue America is working hard to make sure it isn't a corporate whore and that we wind up with someone supportable and worthwhile like Ashley Judd or Jack Conway, not someone like Ben Chandler or Dan Mongiardo. If you want to help, you can do it here.

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Original author: DownWithTyranny
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