...in a budget crisis, where the GOP is rightly demanding structural spending cuts, we have two big shiny objects to raid: Medicare, and defense. (Social security could be saved with minor tinkering). Now if Americans were to choose between taking care of granny or policing the entire Pacific ocean for the indefinite future, I have a feeling they’d pick granny...I will freely admit that I am caught between my own (very immediate) professional/personal concerns about the sequester, and what I'd like to see happen in the big picture. But, it is pretty clear that the Pentagon's budget will never be brought in line with a scalpel. A chainsaw is in order.
The public wants cuts; and it wants them overwhelmingly from defense, rather than Medicare. So let the sequester begin. It’s the dumbest version of what the American people want – but with this Congress, dumb is as good as we’ll ever get. [emphasis mine] As for Medicare, it too needs major surgery. But Obama has pledged to cut it by the same amount as Bowles-Simpson over the next ten years. If a Republican president had said that, they’d be giving him a standing O. But this is the moderate Republican Obama – and there’s nothing more that the GOP base hates than a moderate Republican. Eisenhower would have no home in this party. He loathed its core elements more than perhaps any other Republican president apart from George H W Bush.
As to Medicare, I am less sanguine about the president's intentions than Sully is. But we have to start somewhere. It may as well be where we actually are.