Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Progressives Won't Support Obama in 2012 If Entitlements Cut

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It seems President Obama is beginning to alienate his support base. First, the labor unions voiced their anger toward the administration for what they perceived to be its failure to stand up for them. Now, one of the top "progressive" organizations in the nation, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has issued a warning to the White House: If entitlements are cut, President Obama may not have their support in 2012.

According to CNN, nearly 200,00 of the organization's 700,000 members have pledged to withhold their support for Obamas 2012 campaign if his administration concedes on cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

In fact, PCCC co-founder Adam Green predicts that if President Obama does not heed the demands of his group, he may have to consider running as an Independent in 2012, particularly as a large majority of Democratic voters are opposed to entitlement cuts. If hes running as a Democrat, antagonizing the base like that is a pretty bad strategy, he warned.

However, President Obama may not be in a position to compromise on that issue, as House Speaker John Boehner and House Republicans have shown no interest in maintaining current spending levels for entitlement programs. According to Boehner, the entitlement spending is unsustainable.

Evidence of Boehners assertions is incontrovertible. For example, Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) pointed out that 38 states across the nation are presently taking funds from other programs such as education to pay for Medicaid. Appearing on the Fox Business Network last December, Gingrey stated, In 2014, every state has to cover individuals up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Greece is perhaps the best current example of what happens when a nation allows entitlement programs to mushroom out of control. That ancient nation is now in the unenviable position of having to trade its autonomy for just enough European Union bailout money to sustain itself for a few months at a time.

Still, many Americans seem unaware of just how dire the straits truly are. A new Pew Research Center survey reveals that the majority of Americans decisively support keeping Social Security and Medicare benefits as they are now:

The publics desire for fundamental change does not mean it supports reductions in the benefits provided by Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Relatively few are willing to see benefit cuts as part of the solution, regardless of whether the problem being addressed is the federal budget deficit, state budget shortfalls or the financial viability of the entitlement programs.

Even among Republicans there appears to be a divide, with lower income GOP voters opposed to reductions in entitlement benefits.

Overall, 60 percent of Americans believe it is more important to maintain the status quo than to reduce the budget deficit.

Perhaps what those Americans do not understand is that either way, those benefits will inevitably be unavailable as a result of the deficit probably sooner rather than later. Furthermore, if the federal government allows the nation to reach that point, rather than making the necessary cuts now, maintain conservative economists, America will likely go the way of Greece.

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