There is only one way to make the medicine of tax hikes go down easier for Republicans: specific cuts to entitlement spending. ...Note that Republicans are trying hard to avoid responsibility for Social Security or Medicare cuts. They want the President and Democrats to "own" those cuts even though it is the Republicans who are demanding them. Republicans want to continue to call, in the abstract, for cuts in "entitlements" while demanding that Democrats propose the actual cuts to Social Security and Medicare. The public doesn't oppose cuts to "entitlements" since the public has little idea what that term means. If anything, most of the public seems to think that "entitlements" are some form of "welfare" that doesn't go to people like them. The public does strongly oppose cuts in Social Security and Medicare, however, since the public, in general, is either receiving Social Security and Medicare or expects to.
A top Democratic official said talks have stalled on this question ... Rob Nabors [the White House negotiator], has been saying: ‘This is what we want on revenues on the down payment. What’s you guys’ ask on the entitlement side?’ And they keep looking back at us and saying: ‘We want you to come up with that and pitch us.’ That’s not going to happen.” ...
It is possible Social Security gets tossed into the mix, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to fight that, if he has to yield on other spending fronts. ...
[T]hat will most likely be the deal Republicans will be staring at: tax hikes now in exchange for Medicare changes way later.
Nov 29, 2012
The State Of The Fiscal Cliff Negotiations -- Social Security Benefits May Escape Cuts. Republicans Want To Escape Blame