Tell President Obama: Call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling

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President Obama needs to stand strong on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

It's time to stand up to the Republicans' empty threats
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Call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling. Don't concede to their inhumane cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

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Dear Friend,

The deadline to raise the debt ceiling is just over a month away, and things are not looking good.

Republicans recently broke off talks with Vice President Biden over the White House's proposal to raise $400 billion in revenue by eliminating tax breaks for wealthy individuals and corporations.

That proposal represented no more than one dollar in revenue increases for every five dollars in cuts, but even that was a bridge too far for Republicans.

And let's remember, while the Republicans won't even agree to a minimal amount of tax increases, they are willing (in fact eager) to put extremely popular and important programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security on the chopping block.

These negotiations are a farce and it's time for President Obama to cut bait and stop trying to negotiate with Republican extremists.

Tell President Obama: Call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling. Click here to automatically sign our petition.

As bad as the state of current negotiations is, the final deal might be even worse. The Hill, a trade publication that covers Capitol Hill, reported that members of Congress in both parties think President Obama will once again cave to the Republicans' demands. 1

And why not? Time and again, Republicans have taken the needs of all Americans hostage to the narrow ideological demands of the Tea Party base. And President Obama has repeatedly responded to this strategy first by preemptively compromising and then caving even more when Republicans move the goalposts and demand further concessions.

We saw this during the Bush tax cut fight in December of last year and the negotiations over the continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown earlier this year.

But what makes this dynamic so maddening and ridiculous when it comes to raising the debt ceiling is that defaulting on our debt, which is the scenario that is driving the negotiations, would seriously hurt the Republicans' Wall Street benefactors.

So if you cut through the kabuki, it's clear that in this case at least the Republicans are exceedingly unlikely to go through with their threats and allow our government to default on our debt.

President Obama needs to stand up the Republicans and call their bluff, because that is what it is.

Tell President Obama: Call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling. Click here to automatically sign our petition.

There's one final point that merits mentioning. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy are some of the biggest drivers of the large federal deficit, yet the Republicans went to the mat to extend them in December. And they then used the subsequent increase in the deficit caused by the tax cuts they championed as a reason to call for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

We'll all be better off when they are allowed to expire. But until then, we should stop treating the Republicans as good-faith actors when they're engaging in deficit hysteria. And that is only further underlined by their unwillingness to raise any taxes while pushing cuts to vital programs.

Tell President Obama: Call the Republicans' bluff on the debt ceiling. Click here to automatically sign our petition.

Thank you for speaking out.

Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

P.S. Occasionally when send out an action that encourages President Obama to take a strong negotiating position, some of our members think it amounts to an attack on the president. But Paul Krugman captures the stakes of this fight and correctly understands it as a watershed moment. Referencing the Republicans' unwillingness to accept tax increases of any sort, he writes, "What this says to me is that Obama cannot, must not, concede here. If he does, he's signaling that the GOP can extract even the most outrageous demands; he's setting himself up for endless blackmail. A line has to be drawn somewhere; it should have been drawn last fall; but to concede now would effectively mean the end of the presidency."2 We agree.

1 "House Democrats feel jilted by the president in budget, debt talks," Mike Lillis, The Hill, June 28, 2011.
2 "Debt Limit Stakes," Paul Krugman, New York Times, June 28, 2011.

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