Even Kevin Drum, who thinks that some kind of compromise is necessary on Social Security, doesn’t like the chained CPI “compromise”:
The only proposal being offered right now is to adopt chained CPI, full stop. As far as I’m concerned, that’s unacceptable, and no Democrat should even think about endorsing it. We can argue all day about whether Social Security needs rescuing in the first place, and if we decide it does, we can then argue about exactly which combination of measures would be fairest and best. But some things should be completely off the table, and passing a package that’s 100% benefit cuts is one of them. It’s ridiculous. This is really a no-brainer.
I’ve refrained from following every twist and turn in the fiscal cliff negotiations, but the dynamics in the House are pretty clear. Boehner’s speakership has one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave, so it’s doubtful whether he can deliver votes on anything he agrees to. I’m sure Hey Pauly hey Pauly hey Pauly lets have a ball Ryan and the Tea Party debasers want to starve America’s grannies, but there are still some sane members of the caucus who realize that the only lobby more scary than the NRA, the AARP, will eat them for breakfast like stewed prunes if they cut Social Security. So, at best, what Boehner is offering is part of his caucus to form a coalition with of Democrats, and the minute that vote goes through, the Republicans who voted no will run to the microphones to remind their constituents that they didn’t vote to cut Social Security. Democrats are stupid, but I doubt they’re that stupid.
Also, too: I thought the point of the fiscal cliff was to force Congress to compromise because the cuts in the fiscal cliff are deep and onerous. Maybe chained CPI isn’t deep, but it’s certainly onerous, compared to the other options for fixing Social Security, chief among which is raising the ceiling on the income subject to the Social Security tax.