Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Democrats, Please Don't Concede GOP Talking Points

While it's only been a few days since we almost saw a government shutdown, both sides are already gearing up for battles over the 2012 budget and raising the debt ceiling. Over the weekend, for instance, it was reported that President Obama will be speaking directly to the American people on Wednesday night during a nationally televised speech. The speech will touch on reducing the deficit and will discuss reforming entitlements such as medicare and medicaid.

Although the Republicans are the ones who generally are proposing huge cuts to programs, it appears as though Democratic leaders are also hinting at how they'll have to propose some cuts as well. The Democratic Whip in the House of Representatives, Steny Hoyer, for instance, released the following statement yesterday about Obama's upcoming speech.
"I'm pleased President Obama will be giving a speech this week to lay out a path of action to seriously address our nation's deficit. I strongly believe that reducing the deficit is critical to ensuring the long-term strength of our economy. Entitlement reform must be part of that effort, to ensure that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are protected for seniors and working families, as well as strong for generations to come. This can only be done in a bipartisan way, and I hope Republicans work with us and put all options on the table. I support President Obama's focus on this issue, and stand ready to work with him."
While most people know that some reasonable cuts might be necessary in certain programs, it worries me that the Democrats are actively conceding some of the Republican talking points. We've already seen how Democrats compromised away the public option during the health care debate and actually went above and beyond what Boehner was originally proposing during last week's debate on the continuing resolution. These concessions were arguably forced because Democrats didn't take a stand in beginning of negotiations.

If we had started with single payer during the health care debate, for instance, we might have ended up with a compromise of the public option. And if we had turned last week's debate into a discussion on the importance of investing in our communities, we would have been able to prevent a lot more cuts. If you have some doubts about this, just look at what happened with planned parenthood. The discussion turned into one that highlighted the benefits of the organization and the cuts were prevented. Now imagine if Democrats had simply started out in the beginning of the debate standing up for Democratic values instead of immediately conceding GOP talking points.

1 comment:

  1. I would have liked to hear something about raising the taxes on dividends and on all wall street earnings. Seeing as rich people don't pay a lot of income tax, the Tax Code needs to be changed so those who've made all the money kick in.