The man lies as usual.
Several programs, notably Social Security, which the White House said would be "cut" under President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget which he's finally unveiling next week would actually grow at close to the currently projected rates, according to experts.
Instead of the "cuts" heralded in headlines today, the president's budget writers are seizing on a formula that simply tweaks the rate of growth. While it could still significantly reduce the projected 10-year budget deficit, it won't cut anything from what seniors, veterans, students and others who rely on the programs get.
In fact, one Senate analysis reveals that the Obama "cut" will lower slightly the growth of Social Security benefits over the next 10 years to 5.9 percent from 6.1 percent.
Ditto for reports on the "cuts" to Medicare. The plan is to reduce future payments in the program to doctors and hospitals, though wealthier recipients might see higher premiums.
Reports today said that the president plans to switch how inflation is measured to account for cost of living increase to something called a "chained Consumer Price Index," which many feel more accurately figures inflation.
The nonpartisan Moment of Truth Project headed by Democrats Erskine Bowles and Alice Rivlin and Republican Alan Simpson issued a report just last month that said the chained C.P.I. won't cut spending, but instead will limit future growth.
"Since 2000, the chained C.P.I. has, on average, been 0.25 to 0.3 percentage points lower per year than the standard C.P.I. measures. Though this difference is small on average, it compounds over time; depending on which index you use, prices have either increased by 34 percent or 29 percent (chained C.P.I.) between 2000 and 2011. Over a longer time frame, this difference would become even more pronounced," their report said.
More bluntly, their report quoted Robert Greenstein of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, who said: "This change should not be regarded as a benefit cut or a tax increase. It should be regarded more as a technical change to achieve Congress's stated goal of keeping pace with inflation in as accurate a way as possible."
Plus, Obama would include financial protections for the poor and elderly, so they would be guaranteed from seeing any decreases.
Among the program spending increased tied to the C.P.I are Social Security, Obamacare, veterans benefits, Pell Grants, and taxes such as the alternative minimum tax.
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What would best save Social Security would be to restore the “wage cap” at the 90% level as agreed to by a joint R and D group during the Reagan Admin in 1983. Since upper level wages have risen much faster than low level wages, and the wage cap was apparently indexed to inflation, by 1995 the cap level was hovering around the 85% level, more recently it has dropped as low as the 82% level.
All Obama would need to do is remind Republicans of this bi-partisan agreement, and restore the 90% level. This would not be a tax increase, it would just be keeping an agreement.