Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post is reporting that President Obama is pressing congressional leaders to consider a far-reaching debt-reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for Republican support for fresh tax revenue.
At a meeting with top House and Senate leaders set for Thursday morning, Obama plans to argue that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation's budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action.
As part of his pitch, Obama is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security, according to people in both parties with knowledge of the proposal. The move marks a major shift for the White House and could present a direct challenge to Democratic lawmakers who have vowed to protect health and retirement benefits from the assault on government spending.
Rather than roughly $2 trillion in savings, the White House is now seeking a plan that would slash more than $4 trillion from annual budget deficits over the next decade, stabilize borrowing and defuse the biggest budgetary time bombs that are set to explode as the cost of health care rises and the nation's population ages.
Conversely, Republicans would be asked to raise taxes, perhaps by letting tax breaks for the nation's wealthiest households expire on schedule at the end of next year.
Perhaps? If President Obama is going to allow for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, then it should be an absolute that the wealthy face a tax increase. Giving them a tax cut has not resulted in the proliferation of jobs that the GOP suggested.
Since we have to raise the debt ceiling in order to grant the tax cut to the wealthy (which the GOP and Democrats knew before doing it, which is why we don't understand all of the posturing), then the wealthy should at least pay their share this go-round. They have had tax cuts for almost 12 years now. In the words of Ed Lover, "C'mon, son!"
All of this compromise from the president on programs that will negatively impact the elderly and poor in the face of no real compromise from the GOP does not sit well with us.
Read more at the Washington Post.
In other news: Judge Belvin Perry Jr. Sentences Casey Anthony.