Has Pres. Obama become a savvy negotiator?
Ezra Klein on negotiations with congress over the fiscal cliff:
…Previously, Obama’s pattern had been to offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up. The White House’s belief was that by being solicitous in their policy proposals, they would win goodwill on the other side, and even if they didn’t, the media would side with them, realizing they’d sought compromise and been rebuffed. They don’t believe that anymore.
Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.
Man, you sure hope so. The negotiating tactic in the first paragraph was what cost us the public option. Obama should’ve opened with singlepayer and made the public option the compromise position. Instead, he offered what he expected the end game to look like. You might as well sit down to a chess board, immediately set up an end game, yell, “Checkmate!” and ask, “Want to play again?” It doesn’t work that way.
Now, the President has Republicans on the spot. They’re demanding that Democrats “get serious” about entitlement cuts, but aren’t offering up any specifics of their own. Why? Because the public will hate any cuts. If Democrats propose them, then Democrats take the blame for them. And the President and his party aren’t falling for it.
You want cuts to Medicare? Fine. You step your shifty GOP ass up to the plate and name your cuts — and get your fingerprints all over them — or go back to the bench and shut up about it.
Thompson admits to lying about his Medicare plan.
U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson acknowledged Friday that he doesn’t know whether his latest plan to change Medicare will save recipients or the federal government any money.
Thompson, the Republican governor of Wisconsin from 1988 to 2001, outlined the plan before the Wisconsin State Journal editorial board: Allow those who are 50 by the year 2020 to either stay on Medicare or join the same health insurance plan that members of Congress and federal employees have.
Asked how much the plan would cost, Thompson initially said the Congressional Budget Office had evaluated his plan and “it has been projected that it would save money.” He later acknowledged that the nonpartisan CBO had not evaluated the plan.
“I have not scored it,” Thompson said, adding that since he is not in office, “I have no ability to score it.”
Worse, had he had that ability, things wouldn’t have turned out well for him. According to the report, a study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. That study found that costs in a plan similar to Thompson’s “grew by an average of 7.1 percent per enrollee per year compared to a 5.8 percent average growth rate for traditional Medicare.”
“The organization reported that the data analysis and interviews with experts showed the federal employee plan ‘had not held down costs per enrollee as efficiently as Medicare during the past decade,’” WSJ reports. So not only didn’t the CBO score his plan, but if they had it probably would’ve shown it was all snake oil.
Still, this does establish Thompson as a mainstream Republican — in that if you ask him to prove something, he answers, “Sure! Here’s some numbers, fresh from being pulled straight out of my butt.”
The conventional wisdom on Obama’s recent surge is that it’s due largely to Mitt Romney’s 47% disaster, and there’s clearly something to this. If nothing else, it’s given Team Obama grist for an absolutely devastating ad.
“But it’s worth pointing out another dynamic that’s been overlooked here: The escalating disaster that is Paul Ryan…
Tommy Thompson claimed to be the best person ‘to do away with Medicaid and Medicare.’
Republicans and their defenders have claimed that the GOP’s massive proposed cuts to the nation’s health care safety net will not eliminate Medicare or Medicaid. The Romney campaign even released talking points claiming GOP proposals would “strengthen Medicare” shortly after they announced that Paul Ryan, the author of a 2011 plan to phase out Medicare, would be the vice presidential candidate. Yet, in a speech last May to a conservative group, former Bush Secretary of Health and Human Services and U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson (R-WI) appeared to admit that the GOP’s proposals have a far more nefarious purpose:
[W]ho better than me, who’s already finished one of the entitlement programs, to come up with programs to do away with Medicaid and Medicare? Let’s block-grant what the state has, and allow the states to determine what’s going to go into Medicaid. And Medicare, let’s wait until everyone that right now is under 55 reaches 55 by age [sic] 2020, and give them a choice whether they want to purchase health insurance with a subsidy from the federal government, or stay on Medicare.
The “one entitlement” program Thompson refers to is Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), which he was instrumental in abolishing under “welfare reform.” For an idea of how well that little disaster has worked out, take a look at all the rent-to-own stores and payday loan scammers all over the damned place — those didn’t used to exist, until Clinton screwed the poor by knuckling under to dopes like Thompson and signing welfare reform into law, creating a need for loan sharks to the needy. Long story short, this guy — and people like him — do not have good ideas.
But man, does that quote ever lay it all bare. They don’t want to “fix” it, they want to repeal it — along with the rest of the 20th century.