Interested in re-election in 2014? You can pack your bags for home if you vote for the chained CPI. It doesn’t matter what party: if you are a Democrat, the Republican candidate will hammer you for cutting Social Security. And if you are a Republican, the Democratic candidate will hammer you for cutting Social Security. It doesn’t matter what they actually want. What matters is they have a vote to cut you off at the knees. Remember the Medicare assaults on Democrats in 2010.
The idea of compromise may sound good in December and elicit nice sound bites from inside the beltway. But once you cast that vote or even voice support for such an Obama/Boehner compromise, you are legitimizing cuts in Social Security. And that is what your opponent will focus on in 2014… Not an elite-endorsed compromise, but the fact that you cut Social Security benefits, for middle class retirees, disabled workers, low-income retirees, for Tea Party retirees, for union retirees, for Hispanic retirees, for African-American retirees, for Asian retirees, for white retirees, for blue collar and white collar retirees and for the working people who have lost private retirement savings and pensions and see Social Security as the only hope for keeping them from the cusp of poverty. That’s a powerful coalition. One you should try to get on your side, not one that is captured by your opponent’s rhetoric and demagoguery.
So if you want to fuel the fire by selling out retirees, go ahead with a compromise. But you might want to start looking for employment outside of Congress after November 2014.