It's not just about Obama. In some ways, FDR is also up for reelection -- not because Obama resembles him but because it's Roosevelt's legacy that the Republican party wants to destroy.
Simpson-Bowles, Paul Krugman reminds us, isn't a safe fallback, an acceptable compromise.
... Despite the bizarre reverence it inspires in Beltway insiders — the same people, by the way, who assured us that Paul Ryan was a brave truth-teller — the fact is that Simpson-Bowles is a really bad plan, one that would undermine some key pieces of our safety net. And if a re-elected president were to endorse it, he would be betraying the trust of the voters who returned him to office. ...Paul Krugman, NYT
So reelecting President Obama isn't the solution to all our problems. But a change in the political environment that has been a feature of this presidential campaign and the possibility that Obama will be back in office, is a significant step towards rescuing FDR's legacy of fairness and some semblance of equality from Republican's harsh division of America into rich and poor. And the rescue depends on Barack Obama.
... There’s no mystery about why Simpson-Bowles looks the way it does. It was put together in a political environment in which progressives, and even supporters of the safety net as we know it, were very much on the defensive — an environment in which conservatives were presumed to be in the ascendant, and in which bipartisanship was effectively defined as the effort to broker deals between the center-right and the hard right.
Barring an upset, however, that environment will come to an end on Nov. 6. This election is, as I said, shaping up as a referendum on our social insurance system, and it looks as if Mr. Obama will emerge with a clear mandate for preserving and extending that system. It would be a terrible mistake, both politically and for the nation’s future, for him to let himself be talked into snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. ...Krugman, NYT
Certainly one seemingly minor change needs to be made in the way we talk about what Republicans see as the heavy costs of the social safety net. When they talk about "entitlements," they're really avoiding talk about the constantly rising costs of health care and the profit-motive-turned-fraud in commercialized health care. We need to focus on the rising costs as part of the effort to develop an equitable healthcare delivery system -- a healthcare system available to all.
America does not have an “entitlements problem.” Mainly, it has a health cost problem, private as well as public, which must be addressed (and which the Affordable Care Act at least starts to address). It’s true that there’s also, even aside from health care, a gap between the services we’re promising and the taxes we’re collecting — but to call that gap an “entitlements” issue is already to accept the very right-wing frame that voters appear to be in the process of rejecting. ...Krugman, NYT
Krugman, at his blog, is even more explicit about his fear of Simpson-Bowles and the likelihood of it being adopted.
You know what will happen if the expected result materializes and Obama is reelected: all the Very Serious People will clamor for him to return to the pursuit of a Grand Bargain, built around S-B.
So, a public service reminder: Simpson-Bowles is terrible. It mucks around with taxes, but is obsessed with lowering marginal rates despite a complete absence of evidence that this is important. It offers nothing on Medicare that isn’t already in the Affordable Care Act. And it raises the Social Security retirement age because life expectancy has risen — completely ignoring the fact that life expectancy has only gone up for the well-off and well-educated, while stagnating or even declining among the people who need the program most.
Yes, I know, inside the Beltway Simpson and Bowles have become sacred figures. But the people doing that elevation are the same people who told us that Paul Ryan was the answer to our fiscal prayers. ...Economics and Politics