AP: “President Barack Obama is proposing cuts to Social Security as an attempt to compromise with Republicans on the budget. A senior administration official says the budget Obama will offer to Congress next Wednesday would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years. It includes a revised inflation adjustment called ‘chained CPI’ that would curb cost-of-living increases in Social Security and other benefit programs.”
Politico: “The administration hopes including the cuts — adopting the chained CPI for Social Security and slashing about $400 billion from Medicare over the next decade — can persuade Republicans to roll back the cuts in the sequester and agree to further revenue hikes. In total, the president’s plan would reduce the deficit by $1.8 trillion over ten years.”
Liberal economist Robert Reich does not like that Obama is willing to put chained CPI on the table: He calls it “wrongheaded” and cut a video, too, explaining. “Social Security benefits are already meager for most recipients. The median income of Americans over 65 is less than $20,000 a year. Nearly 70 percent of them depend on Social Security for more than half of this. The average Social Security benefit is less than $15,000 a year,” he writes on Huffington Post. “Besides, Social Security isn't in serious trouble. The Social Security trust fund is flush for at least two decades. If we want to ensure it's there beyond that, there's an easy fix -- just lift the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes, which is now $113,700. Why are Democrats even suggesting the inflation adjustment be reduced? Republicans aren't asking for it. Not even Paul Ryan's draconian budget includes it. Democrats invented Social Security and have been protecting it for almost 80 years. They shouldn't be leading the charge against it.”
Joan Walsh of Salon doesn’t like it either, calling it “bad policy” earlier this week when it was floated that the president could include it in his budget, as well as another “futile crusade for compromise with Republicans.”
Today, “Obama hosts the annual Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House,” USA Today writes.
Whoops… First Lady Michelle Obama referred to herself as a “busy, single mother” in a local TV interview. "Believe me, as a busy single mother...or, I shouldn't say 'single' - as a busy mother...," she said, correcting herself. "You know, when you've got the husband who's president, it can feel a little single, but he's there. And as a busy working mom, and before coming to the White House, I was in that position as well - working, driving kids to practice, not having enough time to shop or cook, not having the energy.”
Meanwhile, at a fundraiser in California, President Obama called Attorney General Kamala Harris the “best-looking attorney general in the country,” after calling her both “brilliant” and “tough.” And as the crowd reacted, he added, “It’s true! Come on!”
USA Today: “We can't help but wonder what the first lady is going to think of this.”
Politico: “Obama’s remark set the chattering class atwitter.”
The New York Times noted the backlash from people like Joan Walsh of Salon, Robin Abcarian of the L.A. Times, and Jonathan Chait of New York magazine.
“Chuck Hagel has started a trend: High-ranking officials across the Obama administration are stepping forward to give back a portion of their salaries in solidarity with their staff who face furloughs because of mandatory spending cuts,” USA Today writes. “Secretary of State John Kerry, Attorney General Eric Holder, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano all indicated Thursday they would give up a chunk of their salary this year. Defense Secretary Hagel was first out of the box Tuesday announcing his voluntary pay cut. President Obama joined in Wednesday, announcing he would take a 5% pay cut.”
But as First Read has noted, those who haven’t yet agreed to forgo 5% of their salary: Vice President Biden, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Pew: 52% say pot should be legalized. Pew writes: “For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana.”
A majority of Americans would support U.S. involvement if North Korea attacks South Korea by a 55%-34% margin, according to Gallup.
Eric Holder during a speech yesterday at the National Action Network Convention said some prison sentences are too long: “Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason. It is time to ask ourselves some fundamental questions about our criminal justice system,” he said, per prepared remarks.
Politico also notes: “The attorney general also painted attempts by Republicans to change electoral vote allocation in certain states as an assault on voting rights.”