Paul Krugman in his column today in the New York Times:
At the time of writing, President Obama’s hoped-for “Grand Bargain” with Republicans is apparently dead. And I say good riddance. I’m no more eager than other rational people (a category that fails to include many Congressional Republicans) to see what happens if the debt limit isn’t raised. But what the president was offering to the G.O.P., especially on Medicare, was a very bad deal for America.
Specifically, according to many reports, the president offered both means-testing of Medicare benefits and a rise in the age of Medicare eligibility. The first would be bad policy; the second would be terrible policy. And it would almost surely be terrible politics, too.
More below the squiggly thing.
I urge reading the whole column. Further, I reproduce here the top reader comment on his column, recommended by 994 Times readers as of this posting, and written by, um, me. I don't normally hype stuff I wrote for other forums, but I seem to have hit a nerve in this case.
There is no question that Medicare for all--a genuine single payer system--would offer greater savings and better coverage than anything else we could do in the way of health reform. I'm no health issues expert, but just an ordinary citizen, and I have no trouble comprehending this. That President Obama does not seem to understand this, but can, with a straight face, offer to cut back on Medicare to appease the Republicans' insistence on draconian budget cuts, is simply appalling. Democratic presidents are supposed to protect vital social programs, not cut them off at the knees.
It is equally appalling that Obama would put Social Security on the bargaining table at all, when you consider that the Social Security program is already paid for and does not contribute to the deficit. I am sure he understands this, so his willingness to even mention linking Social Security reform to the debt reduction talks can only be cynical calculation.
Finally, there is the fact that raising the debt ceiling has traditionally been a routine matter for Congress in the past, happening dozens of times under both Republican and Democratic presidents--seven times during George W. Bush's administration, for example. That the Republicans are now attempting to use the debt ceiling as a club with which to attack social programs, and that the Democrats are going along with this charade, covers both parties with shame. I am sick of this meaningless Kabuki display that does nothing to solve pressing national problems, and I am sure many other Americans feel the same.
I'll be around intermittently for comments (have to work, ya know...).