This morning, while watching Morning Joe on MSNBC, I was treated to the fact that President Obama would be speaking from the White House Rose Garden later today to announce his plan to cut the national debt.
Even co-host Mika Brzezinski and regular guests Mark Halperin and Jon Meacham questioned whether President Obama is serious or whether it is a positioning tactic for re-election.
They discussed highlights of the president’s proposals which include a $3 trillion in savings in addition to the approximately $1 trillion in cuts already called for under the debt ceiling deal enacted in August.
The proposed savings over the next 10 years would include:
$1.5 trillion in tax increases, primarily on the wealthy, through a combination of closing loopholes and limiting the amount that high earners can deduct.
Just over $1 trillion in war savings coming from ending the combat mission in Iraq and withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Also $580 billion in cuts to mandatory spending which includes approximately $250 billion from Medicare and $80 billion from Medicaid. White House officials say the Medicare cuts will not come from raising the retirement age, but may include some means testing.
The White House is calling the new program the “Buffet Rule”, named after billionaire investor, Warren Buffet, who has frequently argued that the rich aren’t taxed enough.
What they didn’t say out loud, but scrolling on the bottom of the screen was a statement that a reduction of military retirement benefits would also take place.
All of what I was seeing on MSNBC brought a number of questions to my mind.
First, is this proposed cut to Medicare that President Obama is going to suggest going to be in addition to the $818 billion cut to Medicare Part A and the cuts to Medicare Part B which would bring the total Obama administration cuts to Medicare to $1.05 trillion in the first ten years and $4 trillion over the first 20 years?
Secondly, the withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq? I thought the President and his handlers took the credit multiple times for the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq when the Army’s 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division crossed the border into Kuwait in August of 2010.
Thirdly, it strikes me as odd when I hear a proposal to raise taxes on the rich by closing loopholes and restricting deductions, but stretching it over ten years, by the same people who reject suggestions to completely change tax system because it would take too much time. Would it take longer than ten years?
And lastly, the “Buffet Rule?” Really? We are talking about the same CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, aren’t we? You know, Berkshire Hathaway, the company who still owes back taxes for years 2002 through 2004 and 2005 through 2009. An administration that would use that name for a new proposal that includes tax increases would hire someone who hasn’t paid his taxes to be Secretary of the Treasury!
What the President is doing today, is making a statement that will be followed in a couple of days with speeches criticizing the Republicans for blocking “progress.”
Obama-speak. Washington-speak. Why don’t we try something new and refreshing…truth and openness.