Viewpoints: Republicans offer 'nonconcessions' in fiscal talks; Obama must lead Democrats to entitlement cuts

Published on November 29, 2012 at 4:38 AM · No Comments

The New York Times: Still Dodging Reality On Taxes
Congressional Republicans seem to think they are being flexible on taxes simply because a few of them have grudgingly admitted that some new revenues can be part of the current fiscal negotiations. We're unimpressed. … In exchange for these nonconcessions, Republicans want vast cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit the middle class and the poor (11/27). 

The Washington Post: Mr. Obama's Time To Lead On Entitlements
Democrats, meanwhile, are sounding more and more maximalist in resisting spending cuts. Many insist that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education -; pretty much everything except the Pentagon -; are untouchable. … Mr. Obama ran on a clear platform of increasing taxes on the wealthy. But he was clear on something else, too: Deficit reduction must be "balanced," including spending cuts as well as tax increases. Since 60 percent of the federal budget goes to entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, there's no way to achieve balance without slowing the rate of increase of those programs (11/27).

The Washington Post: Teetering Over The 'Fiscal Cliff' 
After the kumbaya White House meeting Friday with congressional leaders, it took until the following Monday evening for Republicans to return to the White House with an initial offer. It was, in a word, pathetic. As described to me by several sources with direct knowledge, the "bargain" was that all the Bush tax cuts would be extended. … In return for the vague promise of future revenue, the defense-spending sequester would be canceled, the age for Medicare eligibility would rise and changes would be made to the formula for calculating increases in Social Security benefits. Cuts now, revenue later. Sound familiar? (Ruth Marcus, 11/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Why $16 Trillion Only Hints At The True U.S. Debt
A decade and a half ago, both of us served on President Clinton's Bipartisan Commission on Entitlement and Tax Reform, the forerunner to President Obama's recent National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. In 1994 we predicted that, unless something was done to control runaway entitlement spending, Medicare and Social Security would eventually go bankrupt or confront severe benefit cuts. Eighteen years later, nothing has been done. Why? (Chris Cox and Bill Archer, 11/26).

The Wall Street Journal: Lots Of Talk, Little Action On Medicare Fraud
The Obama administration could be doing far more to protect seniors who rely on the Medicare and Medicaid programs-;and to protect taxpayers, whose dollars are wasted by the billions. Behind the flashy press conferences and announcements, the reality is that some administration antifraud efforts in these programs are actually losing money, while others are producing few palpable results (George LeMieux, 11/27).

The Wall Street Journal: Hope And Exchange
ObamaCare is due to land in a mere 10 months-;about 300 days-;and the Administration is not even close to ready, so naturally the political and media classes are attacking the Governors and state legislators who decline to help out. Mostly Republicans, they're facing a torrent of abuse in Washington and pressure from health lobbies at home. But the real story is that Democrats are reaping the GOP buy-in they earned (11/27).

The Denver Post: Paying For Health Care When You Get Older
One of the things we thought about when I finished graduate work was what was going to happen to us when we got old. My father would die within the next five years. He was a supporter of right-to-die organizations and after suffering for many years from osteoarthritis of the spine took his own life, dying peacefully at home. My mother was determined to never be in a nursing home, but spent the last three years of her life in a nursing home, dying at 103. Those 43 months cost almost $300,000 (David Steiner, 11/27).

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