Former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich notes:
Two central issues in the 2012 presidential election were whether the Bush tax cuts should be ended for people earning over $250,000, and whether Social Security and Medicare should be protected from future budget cuts.
The president said yes to both. Republicans said no. Obama won.
But he asks:
Why is the president back to making premature and unnecessary concessions to Republicans?
Perhaps because he lied? Obama shares the Washington consensus view that Social Security is "in trouble" and won't pay benefits to future generations. The consensus isn't accurate but reflects decades of hard-right propaganda from the likes of wealthy welfare-state haters such as Pete Peterson. Obama is an ideological technocrat, with "neo-liberal" economic views not very dissimilar from Peterson's: far from being Fox News-branded socialists, neo-liberals accept that running a government deficit is worse than creating misery for the lower classes. The opposing view, currently out of favor but very handy at getting us out of a Depression back in the last century, is that you run deficits when times are tough and repair the budget when people are more flush.
Social Security is a separate trust that has no impact on the deficit one way or another but under cover of deficit reduction, Obama has already begun de-funding it by lowering so-called payroll taxes that pay for it. That was in his last term -- now he argues cuts to it are necessary.
You had to laugh at all the O-bots who thought re-electing their man was such an urgent priority. Romney, a Republican, couldn't have cut the government's "catch a break" programs (as Bush found out in 2005, after claiming a mandate to do so). Obama, under cover of being a Democrat "faced with hard choices," can -- this has been called the Great Betrayal and it's happening before our eyes, just in time for the Mayan apocalypse.
Update: Revisions for tone.