Between Ryan and Obama

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 18 2011 @ 10:50am

I see Krugman is all moist-for-Obama again, with a little illicit dig at Brooks:

The president, we were told, was being too partisan; he needs to treat his opponents with respect; he should have lunch with them, and work out a consensus.

He senses a "progressive" majority for higher taxes on the rich, maybe a VAT, cuts in defense, and an end to tax deductions in order to save Medicare and Medicaid from the chopping block – and wants Obama to wait to campaign on them in 2012. The worry about that is precisely that it would mean few fundamental changes to the entitlements that remain on a trajectory to make any viable, solvent government close to impossible.

On the other hand, is the GOP really asking 90 year-olds to pick and choose between various private insurance policies, none of which, if the subsidies keep slowly growing less than the price of healthcare, will come close to providing their needs?

Is it really so tough to come up with the obvious compromise:

end all tax deductions (including the cirporate and middle class ones, but excluding charity), let the Bush tax cuts expire in their entirety (including those earning under $250,000), cut defense, raise the retirement age (with exceptions for manual labor), intensify and speed up the cost-control experiments in the ACA, and offer the elderly a Ryan style cut off – but more generously subsidized than he currently intends – and taking place in five years' time so we do not let the boomers off scott-free? (In my dreams, I'd add a gas tax. But that's far too win-win a proposal to get through the American political system.)

I've been mulling these choices over. I'm uncomfortable with either the full Ryan or the full Krugman. Which means, I think, my main problem with Krugman is that it fails to act now. And my main issue with the GOP is that it fails in any serious way to raise revenues.