The S&P downgrade was not a comment on America's economy; it was a comment on America's polity. The attempt by some on the far right (which is now, alas, synonymous with the right) to blame Obama is preposterous. Does anyone believe that if the GOP hadn't flirted with default, the markets would have been so spooked? The reference to both parties was politeness. We all know the reality.
And the reality is that the president has been very willing to put real compromise on the table:
Congressional Democrats, lobbyists for older Americans and advocates for the poor expressed alarm last month when Mr. Obama showed serious interest in proposals to reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits, increase the eligibility age for Medicare and cut Medicaid payments to the states for treating poor people.
I know of no such compromise from Boehner or the GOP. Their absolutism on revenues is simply reckless and borderline insane at a moment like this. But there is hope. The Super-Committee should, in my view, expand its remit. The goal should not be another $1.2 trillion in debt reduction over the next decade but a full $3 trillion on top of the deal already made.
I support raising the retirement age, reducing the social security COLA, means-testing Medicare for the wealthy, beefing up IPAB in the healthcare reform, doubling the defense cuts now being proposed (sorry, Mr Panetta, but the Cold War is over and the defense budget should reflect that) and a tax reform designed to raise at least $1 trillion over the next decade. Rather than allow the Bush tax cuts to disappear, end the deductions, cripple the lobbyists who create them, and raise money while reducing rates. If the GOP cannot compromise even on that, then our political discourse is, indeed, over.
(Photo: Jewel Samad/Getty.)