Compromiser-in-chief

President Obama’s latest budget panders to Republicans while ignoring the populace.

Ronald Dixon

Last week, the White House announced that President Barack Obama’s latest budget will be released  Wednesday. The budget includes a conversion to the chained CPI cost-of-living structure for Social Security, whereby reducing benefits would cut $400 billion from health care overall and would slash $200 billion from other essential programs, such as unemployment aid and the U.S. Postal Service.

As I have written in other columns, efforts to reduce spending and cut aid to the populace have an adverse effect on the economy during times of economic slump. What we should be advocating for is more stimulus and investments, not regressive and counterintuitive austerity measures. Austerity and sequestration have already led to a dismal unemployment report for March, with even more impacts from the cuts having more evident influences in the near future. We simply cannot afford more cuts.

In a response to the resulting backlash from progressives, the White House declared that these cuts would only be made law under conditions of compromise from congressional Republicans. Indeed, the proposal includes tax increases on the rich and the closure of tax loopholes. What Obama has failed to realize, however, is the fact that compromises with Republicans aren’t always successful. Simply look back at the previous 4 1/2 years to find that whenever the president advocated for “balanced” approaches, Republicans adamantly rejected these plans.

In fact, Speaker of the House John Boehner repudiated Obama’s general proposals, declaring that it is “significantly skewed” in favor of tax hikes for the rich. The plan, however, actually favors spending cuts and entitlement reforms 2-to-1, with $1.2 trillion going toward cuts and only $600 billion for measures to raise revenue.

Obama must use the leverage gained from the 2012 election to advocate for a progressive platform. It is what the populace would prefer, and it would certainly provide a roadmap to victory in reclaiming the House in 2014.

Instead of selling out the American people to obstructionist Republicans, whereby becoming the only Democratic president to call for Social Security cuts, Obama should advocate for stimulus and investments.