If you read the news at all, you woke up today to liberal outlets pushing the headline: BIG NEWS: Obama drops chained CPI." Lots of outlets on the ideological Left have declared victory - because, you know, they forced Obama to drop his support for Chained CPI - a more accurate way of calculating Social Security cost of living adjustments as a way to curb long-term funding challenges that Social Security faces. There is only one problem with the click-whoring headlines and the celebratory trampoline-jumping: it's not true.
The president's position on Chained CPI has not changed. Like, at all.
The only thing that has happened is that the budget the president will be presenting to Congress does not include the Chained CPI.
To understand why, one must understand why the president offered Chained CPI as part of the last budget in the first place: it was then, and always has been, a compromise as a part of a broader proposal to address the country's long-term debt, which would include, crucially and as a precondition to Chained CPI, greater tax revenue collected from the nation's richest. Since Republicans have decided to slap the hand that the president extended and work on a good-faith compromise position, the president has now withdrawn his offer. But, should Republicans come to their senses and drop their religious opposition to raising taxes on the super-wealthy, the president is willing to negotiate on Chained CPI.
Officials said Thursday that those potential reductions in spending, included in last year's Obama budget, had been designed to initiate negotiations with Republicans over how to reduce future deficits and the nation's debt. But Republicans never accepted Obama's calls for higher tax revenue to go along with the cuts.
One official said the offer would remain on the table in the event of new budget talks but that it would not be part of the president's formal spending blueprint for fiscal 2015.
Professional Left's poutrage artists consistently refuse to understand the president's strategy. This is in fact no different from what the president is doing with the use of executive authority to move the ball forward wherever he can, given Congress' - particularly the Republican House's - refusal to work to help this country while a black Democrat remains in the White House.
In his State of the Union address in 2013, the president asked the Republicans to work in common cause, and offered compromises.
In 2014's SOTU, the president essentially declared to the Republicans that time is up.
The executive actions are part of what follows when time is up, and so does withdrawal of other compromise measures in the budget, like the Chained CPI. This is the president's punishment for the Republicans, not his acquiescence to the screeching Left.
2014 is going to be about the president telling the Republicans that they could either work together with him to move America forward or they can continue to be the Party of No, but he is no longer putting everything on the plate and waiting for them to act. Paul Ryan and other Republicans talked up the Chained CPI and suggested the president agree to enacting only that and no accompanying measure to raise more revenue. The president rejected it then, and he rejects it now.
The bottom line is this: the president has always been open to Chained CPI only if Republicans agreed to raise taxes on the rich and/or multinationals as a comprehensive approach to reach compromise to address our long term debt, and he remains so now. The president has never been open to the Chained CPI as a stand-alone measure without GOP concessions on taxes, and his position today is exactly the same. If tomorrow, Paul Ryan budged and agreed to tax raisers in exchange for the Chained CPI and passes such a budget through both houses of Congress, I guarantee you the president will sign it, with fanfare.
Offering the Chained CPI in the budget last year was a strategic move on the president's part, to show the American people that he is willing to have reasonable compromise. Withdrawing from the budget
this year is also a strategic move, showing the American people that Republicans refuse to compromise for the good of the country even on things they say they care about, like the federal debt.
In other words, President Obama's position on the Chained CPI has not changed even an inch, and the self-congratulatory hoopla pushed by the ideologues' click-whoring isn't helping.