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Can Hillary Save Us From a "Grand Bargain?"

Alexa's picture

Grand Bargain Watch - Save Social Security
Photo Credit: Grand Bargain Watch--Save Social Security, DonkeyHotey's photostream, flickr,

I don't know. Obviously, I don't have a "crystal ball."

Look, I have quite a bit of respect for Secretary Clinton, personally. But as a potential Presidential candidate, I have always been concerned about her DLC ties. (Not just hers, but those of almost all of the Democratic Party candidates.)

Last week, as I was researching a couple of issues for a blog comment, I ran across, and subsequently posted a "blurb" similar to the one below. That one regarded NJ Democrat Rush Holt, who apparently also furnished some DLC material to the "OnTheIssues" website as part of his policy stances
As I see it, the Democratic Party is likely to attempt to nominate a corporatist Dem as the Party's Presidential candidate. IMO, it's our place to make sure that whoever the nominee is, he/she understands that "business as usual" is no longer acceptable.

Frankly, I'm wondering--after another three plus years of this Administration--will there be anything left of a safety net to worry about preserving?

Certainly, as a nation, we cannot stand anymore chipping away at Medicare or Social Security.

I hope that the various progressive activist and blogging communities will unite behind this basic premise in 2016.

Clinton adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade." Here's a very brief excerpt.

An ever-growing share of the federal budget today consists of automatic transfers from working Americans to retirees.

Moreover, the costs of the big entitlements for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are growing at rates that will eventually bankrupt them and that could leave little to pay for everything else government does.

We can’t just spend our way out of the problem; we must find a way to contain future costs.

The federal government already spends seven times as much on the elderly as it does on children. To allow that ratio to grow even more imbalanced would be grossly unfair to today’s workers and future generations.

In addition, Social Security and Medicare need to be modernized to reflect conditions not envisioned when they were created in the 1930s and the 1960s.

Social Security, for example, needs a stronger basic benefit to bolster its critical role in reducing poverty in old age. Medicare needs to offer retirees more choices and a modern benefit package that includes prescription drugs.

Such changes, however, will only add to the cost of the programs unless they are accompanied by structural reforms that restrain their growth and limit their claim on the working families whose taxes support the programs.

Goals for 2010

• Honor our commitment to seniors by ensuring the future solvency of Social Security and Medicare.

Make structural reforms in Social Security and Medicare that slow their future cost growth, modernize benefits (including a prescription drug benefit for Medicare), and give beneficiaries more choice and control over their retirement and health security.

• Create Retirement Savings Accounts to enable low-income Americans to save for their own retirement.

[Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC7 on Aug 1, 2000]

The "stronger basic benefit" is straight out of the Bowles-Simpson proposal, "The Moment Of Truth."

This is very deceptive, really, since only a relatively small number of the poorest Social Security beneficiaries will meet the criteria to qualify for this benefit, according to CBO. I'm not on my computer with the "bookmarks," but this information can be pretty easily "DuckedDucked, Binged or Googled." And here's a link to the Bowles-Simpson proposal, The Moment Of Truth.

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Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

point, Notorious P.A.T.

This post was certainly not intended to be an "endorsement" of Secretary Clinton.

She is an extreme fiscal and foreign policy hawk, and was actively involved in, and held a leadership role in the DLC while she served as Senator.

I recently posted a DLC "plan" that she co-wrote with fellow DLCer Tom Carper (DE).

I will repost it, in greater detail, in the months to come.

Her policy recommendation for "health insurance" was the same as this Administration's policy.

And that "plan" was written just a bit prior to her run for President, as I recall.

I can see where at least one very poorly constructed sentence would have given you the impression that it did constitute an endorsement.

I meant to say that I admired some of her "personal attributes"--which I do.

But that doesn't change the facts regarding her very conservative political/ideological stances.

I never have, and don't intend to start voting on "cult of personality." (So the fact that I admire some personal qualities of hers, or any politician, does not mean that I endorse them. I attempt to give credit, where credit is due. That's all.)

I will update my "Grand Bargain" post to reflect this.

Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Secretary Clinton also opposed "raising the cap" on taxable income or wages for Social Security, even though it has fallen to approximately 84%, down from the recommended 90% that was maintained for years. That is certainly a very conservative stance.

And if that isn't done, the obvious "solution" is cutting benefits for low and middle income Americans. Which is exactly what the DLC policy that I posted above, is all about.

I will be posting a quote of her regarding "raising the cap" made during one of the Presidential debates.

And on Syria, both Hillary (and Bill) are pushing for more involvement.

Remember, he issued a public statement the morning that the President said that he might consider more direct action in Syria. And Hillary was recommending more aggressive military intervention in Syria, while she served as Secretary of State.

Heard this on "Press Pool" during a discussion by White House foreign policy reporters, when it looked like the President might go into Syria.

Submitted by lambert on

... for the FIRE industry.

Still, that manifesto is from 2000. Do we have anything more current? I can well believe that we do.

* * *

I wish Clinton had resigned as SoS. She could even have done it quietly. Now she's implicated in drone strikes and whatever the hell else Obama's doing that we don't even know about. I still think it was a smart move to get out from under the falling safe of Obama's domestic policy, but way too little, way too late in 2014.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

It is indeed "rental extraction," and Dems are leading the way.

Have posted, and shall repost in greater detail closer to the midterm elections, Tom Harkins' half-baked giveaway to the insurance "annuity" industry--USA Retirement Funds.

Just another Dem Party "backdoor" way to accomplish a conservative goal--privatizing Social Security.

Do you recall that I mentioned watching Geithner's congressional testimony regarding "raising the eligibility age of Medicare."

He stated that they would wait to see if the "PPACA" held up in (before SCOTUS). If it was according to Geithner, then the Administration could proceed to raise the eligibility age.

Nothing the Dem Party does regarding social policy, is done in a vacuum.

Basically, his testimony "revealed" one of the goals of the PPACA--delay the eligibility of millions of seniors for Medicare benefits (another deficit cutting measure, IOW).

I'll make m prediction today. In several years, Tom Harkin will be "sitting pretty" in a cushy insurance/investment industry job. Today, his reputation as a "liberal" is mostly hype. (Like a few other prominent Dems, he may have been somewhat progressive years ago. But if you Google, you'll see that he has garnered several awards from the insurance and finance industry, as late. Sadly, I believe that his "good ol' boy" demeanor (and he does have that down pat, doesn't he, LOL!) is just a façade.)

[Don't remember what I've posted here on this, but have posted on this topic at some length.]

It is mindboggling what "hybrid" financial instrument they've hatched up for this giveaway to both Wall Street and the insurance industry (made sure of that, but making these "opt out" retirement account "variable" annuities.

Both industries are elated to have all this business thrown their way. And why wouldn't they be?

Yep. The Dem Party's sell out to FIRE is almost complete (or will be when Harkin gets his bill through).

Have a video that I'll be posting on this topic that is guaranteed to sicken even "mildly" progressive activists/voters.

Watch for an "Update" to the Grand Bargain post, Lambert.

Regarding the date of the DLC "Hyde Park Manifesto" and your question "Do we have anything more current?"

I guess my take on this is a little different than yours.

You may have noticed that it specifies that these are GOALS FOR 2010.

And she ran in 2007 and 2008, during the 2008 Presidential cycle.

To my mind--this is "key." And one reason that this "Manifesto" is still pertinent, today.

What reason would anyone have to believe that if Hillary had been elected in 2008, she would not have carried out this plan/Manifesto?

Which, BTW, is basically the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commisson's and the Obama Administration's proposed plan.

As far as I can tell, there has been no "retraction" of this policy stance.

The website is "relatively updated," since it refers to her as "Secretary Of State . . . Former Senator (NY).

She also calls for a Social Security Commission ("OnTheIssues" website) which is a Third Way/DLC/No Labels and just flat out Democratic Party stance, today.

I will link to the website when I update the Grand Bargain post. [I'm having some vey strange "issues" at this time--copy and paste won't work!]

BTW, I just posted days ago, an excerpt from Dick Durbin's WSJ Breakfast in March 2013, where he, as a member of the Democratic Party Leadership, renewed his called for a Social Security Commission to "reform" Social Security.

Sorry, this is so disjointed. Have stopped and started it 10 times. And you know how lousy I am at typing "long" comments. Between the typos and run-on sentences, I hope you can read this mess!

Frankly, I don't expect to find many more detailed references to this stance by her, especially if she is planning to run for President again. It wouldn't surprise me if this one "disappears" at some point.

There is definitely a "two-track" media campaign that all the corporatist Dems and Repubs wage--one for "the base,"and one for their pay masters--the Business Community.

I'd wager that the "Manifesto" was not intended "for the consumption of" the Dem Party base, so to speak. It is apparent to me that this message is intended for the One Percent and/or the Business Community.

We'll get some version (as Hedges would say) of "I feel your pain." (That would apply to any Democratic Party candidate--not picking on Hillary.)

But hopefully, if we get enough information out, "the base" won't fall for this again. ;-)

[Off Of Soapbox, Now.]


katiebird's picture
Submitted by katiebird on

Start right now recruiting Senate and Congressional Candidates pledged to something very like the 12 word platform (assuming the NSA thing fits into end the wars)

Pretty speeches from anyone - anyone at all - isn't good enough at this point. We need a Senate and House that's committed to making things right.

I don't care who that person is -- what their past is -- what their press has been. And I don't care at all about what they say.

But, if they get a bunch of people from all over the country to run against the way things have been, then I just might believe they are serious. And I might support such a person if he or she runs for President.

Otherwise it's all talk, talk, talk. And I can't afford it again.

Submitted by lambert on

Can't afford the outcome, and can't afford the money, time, or energy either. 2008 was a long time ago.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

that there won't be a "serious" Presidential candidate (if that's what you're saying).

They would have to care about bringing along some lawmakers, and I just don't see that happening, any time soon.

I must admit, at this point, I agree with Hedges that any real change won't be effected within the Party.

A forceful movement outside of the Party structure is the only thing that can save the Democratic Party from itself, so to speak.

But with the current "police state" environment, I'm not even sure that this can happen.

Many locales have changed their laws to basically make protests (of any duration) illegal, as a result of OWS.

So what I can't figure out, is "how" a movement can effect change.

I agree, on the one hand, that their words are "useless/meaningless," etc.

But they are all we have to try to hold them accountable. Again, that doesn't seem to work very well, since the Dem Party could care less what it's base thinks.

As nutty as some of the conservative base of the Republican Party are, at least they know "how" to make their Party Leaders respond to them.

I wish we did. ;-)

katiebird's picture
Submitted by katiebird on

I am sure that if I'm thinking something then about 50,000 (or more) other people are. Some of those people might be Kennedys or other wildly rich historically liberal people who have the connections to pull this off.

It doesn't all have to come together in one or two election cycles. Start packing the Congress & Senate ASAP -- that's really more important than the Presidency. The Presidency is obviously important too -- but getting some oversight - real oversight (not the phony baloney oversight we've got now) is most important.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

even one "wildly rich historically liberal" people" that would fit the bill.

I was a supporter of Caroline Kennedy (big time), but the Democratic Party Establishment intervened on behalf of the conservative NY US Representative from rural, upstate NY (now a "No Labeler"), Kirsten Gillibrand.

If the PtB would nix her run for Senator from NY, I'm guessing that they would not even consider her for higher office. And Patrick Kennedy (I think that is his name) has had mental illness issues.

And the oldest Kennedy cousin, Kathleen Townsend Kennedy (former Lt Governor of Maryland--I think) is definitely a "DLCer." So, she'd be no improvement, although she has the resume, I suppose.

"It doesn't all have to come together in one or two election cycles. Start packing the Congress & Senate ASAP -- that's really more important than the Presidency."

I believe that there is a huge need for "urgency" in getting a real progressive President elected.

IMO, it will probably take decades as it is, to undo the damage that corporatist Dems and Repubs have inflicted on the US.

Not to mention that Establishment Dems have an iron grip on "which candidates" are recruited and financed.

So, for now, my money's on working "from outside the system."

Once the PPACA blows up, I truly believe that 2016 will be a "perfect storm" for a "liberal" Third Party candidate.

If "the left" doesn't field one, I'm afraid that we'll get stuck with Rand Paul, LOL!

Wouldn't that be something!!! ;-D

Submitted by Hugh on

Any Democrat running for national office is going to be corporatist and for business as usual. Clinton will be more of the same. We need to stop looking to the two legacy parties for anything. They are both part of the problem, not the solution.

katiebird's picture
Submitted by katiebird on

But, I still think we need actual candidates for house and senate and we need someone to act as personal inspiration -- it doesn't seem to be happening spontaneously. My hypothetical rich person needs to dramatically walk away from the Democratic party. I say rich person (as coordinator) because I just don't see how anyone without access to A LOT of money could do this.

I have a lot of ideas for how just about anyone could run and win a congressional and even (maybe) a senate campaign.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I have a lot of ideas for how just about anyone could run and win a congressional and even (maybe) a senate campaign.

Hey, I know you're busy with blogging on the PPACA, but anytime you have a chance to share these ideas--I'm all ears.

You're right. Any person that would choose to "walk away" and form a truly progressive party, would have to be loaded.

I truly wish there were one . . .

katiebird's picture
Submitted by katiebird on

But very simply:

This is a longish term commitment (more than one election cycle):

With as many unemployed people, there are X number of people who are very smart, liberal (in the best way) and able to run on the 12 word platform.

These people have some time.

They have time to go door to door with cards listing the 12 word platform and their cheap campaign blog. Do this every day for at least 2 hours a day.

Once a week hold a meeting at a community center or library (free meeting room) for people interested in your campaign. .... Ask them to spend 2 hours a week canvasing their neighborhoods with the 12 word platform. Ask them to bring a friend to the next meeting.

Do this for long enough that you become That 12 word platform Guy/Gal

Keep doing it.

As you talk to people (remember to invite people to your weekly meeting) and ask likely people if they belong to any organizations that would be interested in the 12 word platform.

Get involved in community functions -- even if you are only marginally interested in them.


Since this scenario doesn't include a major national figure coordinating the message, it might be years before you reach a point of having enough support to even begin a campaign.

But it's a start -- and using the "candidate" label will get you a slightly bigger audience, so if you are brave do it right away.


I think every senator and congressman/woman deserves to be fired. Let's replace them and get a Presidential candidate from a whole new class of politician.

(just thinking.....)

Submitted by lambert on

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

are card-carrying members of the Hamilton Institute and are thick with the Rubin et al inner core.

She's a Third Way Advance Panzer-Woman. How can anyone think for a minute she can "save" us from anything? She's busy figuring out ways to keep throwing everyone -- except her handlers and lackeys -- under the Bus of poverty, misery, suffering, sickness, indentured servitude, etc.

She was a complete arriviste when she made out on pork futures and way more now that she and Bill have tasted and enjoyed the One Percent lifestyle off of Bill's "speaking" fees.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Glitches, as she reports on the "panic" of many Democratic lawmakers before the midterm election.

Ms. Budoff Brown says that some lawmakers are being "deputized" by the WH to sell the ACA over the next several months.

Now, it seems that even the corporatist media are becoming "apologists" for this boondoogle, called the ACA--priceless!

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

"... some lawmakers are being "deputized" by the WH to sell the ACA over the next several months."

Wow. I'm sure those lawmakers knew they were signing up to trade corporate money for legislation, but turning into insurance salesmen? That must hurt! Especially since all the lawmakers are lobbying WH to make sure they don't have to be in ObamaCare !

Oh wait, maybe that's the quid pro quo. Obama promised the "lawmakers" [why no names?] they'd get to stay in FEHB if they reel in, say 100, chumps (per lawmaker)into Exchange Marketplace Products. So do these lawmakers hit up their family and friends? Or just their 20,000 "best friends" on Facebook?

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

She spends all her time at do-gooder black tie galas or vacationing in exclusive private places. What exactly are her qualifications to be a ambassador to Japan. Does she even speak Japanese?

Sheesh, man. Maybe she just looks good in an Obe.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

The Grand Bargain logo looks decent except for the part reading "Save SSI"

SSI is not Social Security, it stands for Supplemental Security Income. Its a guaranteed income program set up by the last New Dealer, Richard Nixon, for the poor elderly and disabled (particularly those who didn't have the work credits for a Social Security pension). Most importantly, its paid out of general revenue, not the Social Security trust funds.