in a balanced way' -- one of President Obama's goals for his second term, according to the ad that just ran on NBC's Olympics show.
Romney (and every other primary contender at the time) said he would not trade one dollar in tax hikes for 10 dollars in spending cuts. Most House and Senate Republicans agree.
So the "balanced way" seems to be, as usual, a one-way street to substantial cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, with equivalent tax increases on the wealthy probably not happening because the wealthy have exceptional political influence (not just on Republicans).
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are very popular government programs that practically exemplify the Democratic brand, yet Obama continues to put them on the table in the vain hope of a Grand Bargain with Republicans who have pledged to Grover Norquist that they will never vote to raise any tax.
First of all, we can only begin to pay down our debt when we have a budget surplus.
We're about $1.4 trillion away from doing that; making up $1.4T the tea party way would cause another recession, and hurt millions of lower-income people.
Especially the many millions who rely on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Here are just a few examples of the kind of Village People Obama is appealing to with his "balanced" plan -- Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), influence peddlers Lanny Davis and Michael Steele, and almost every millionaire journalist/pundit in D.C. and NYC.
They are all Very Serious People, and they all believe that debt reduction should be primarily achieved by substantial cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- mainly by raising the Social Security eligibility age again, the Medicare eligibility age for the first time, and letting states make Medicaid eligibility even more difficult.
The idea of restoring income tax rates to what they were in the 1990s, when the economy did quite well, has never been a priority of the VSP deficit hawks.
And the idea that Lindsey Graham, a certain tea party primary target in 2014, would vote for any bill that raises any taxes is absurd.
Obama must have polling data that show that debt reduction is an important issue for some independent voters. And in a close election, those few voters may make the difference.
But supporting cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, even implicitly as here, will disaffect far more base voters.
Not me, I will be voting for Obama.
But I wish he would stop sending dog-whistles to tea partyish independents in swing states, and mention in his national ads that he will work to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from radical Republicans.
It's a winning message.
I and millions more are waiting to hear it.