Here's a mind-bender for those people convinced that President Barack Obama represents everything evil and wrong about the core principles of the Democratic Party.
Having come to power in a political landscape where the center has steadily, perhaps irrevocably, moved far right over the past 30 or 40 years, we've suspected for some time that Obama is no Democrat in any way that people who came up between 1940 and 1970 might understand.
(Incidentally, as a matter of political strategy, Obama might not be the wizard everyone makes him out to be. Republicans will surely use his offer to paint him and every Democrat who supports this budget as a granny starver in 2014. Oops! It seems they already have.)
In terms of promises kept, we seem to remember Obama campaigning in
But Obama's budget formalizes his offer of a chained CPI — Consumer Price Index — that cuts Social Security benefits by linking them to a slower rate of inflation. He offers this legacy-defining concession as an already-failed means to get Republicans to budge on revenue generation.
Along those lines, Obama's budget proposes many tax-based ideas aimed at extracting money from corporations and the wealthy, many of which have been Obama mainstays for some time. They also won't pass Congress, so the really big news here is his heel-turn on Social Security.
Some of Obama's longtime enemies might be tempted to grudgingly applaud him for his willingness to reduce the federal deficit by cutting an entitlement they say is broken, unsustainable, what have you.
Call it what you will. Just don't call Obama a Democrat, let alone a progressive.
But before any conservative pats him on the back for addressing the GOP-propogated lie that Social Security must be cut to reduce the federal deficit, please understand that cutting Social Security will have no effect on the deficit, because Social Security is not drawn from the federal budget.
That money comes from the Social Security Trust Fund, which is stocked with money drawn directly each payday from people who work. It may be administered by government, but it isn't government money.
Now let's go one step more, and talk about the dirty secret behind the federal government's desire to cut Social Security benefits. It's because the federal government — all administrations, all Congresses — have been borrowing from the Social Security Trust Fund to cover its overspending for the past 30 years.
To the tune of almost $3 trillion.
That's right. They owe every working person and Social Security beneficiary $3 trillion. And they don't want to pay that money back to the people who earned it. They would rather cut benefits to reduce that debt.
So the real Social Security crisis isn't about whether it's solvent. It's been able to withstand $3 trillion in looting, after all, and still has decades of solvency remaining. It isn't about reducing the federal deficit. And it isn't about preserving it for now-and-future seniors.
It's about weaving an elaborate tapestry of lies to welch on a debt the federal government owes to working Americans.
This Obama budget is a significant attempt, made historic by its origin with an alleged Democrat as president. And if they get away with it this time, count on it happening repeatedly.