Obama Offers To "Test" Medicare For Debt Ceiling Compromise
The president suggests debt can be balanced with some Medicare reform
In the ongoing beef between Democrats and Republicans over the debt ceiling, President Obama is offering to reform Medicare in order to reach a compromise, but he still wants taxes raised on the wealthiest Americans.
In today’s weekly address, President Obama said:
“It will take a balanced approach, shared sacrifice, and a willingness to make unpopular choices on all our parts. That means spending less on domestic programs. It means spending less on defense programs. It means reforming programs like Medicare to reduce costs and strengthen the program for future generations. And it means taking on the tax code, and cutting out certain tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest Americans."
He also said that he didn’t think oil companies and hedge fund managers should pay less than their fair share of taxes. But in probably his clearest terms on the matter, Obama said that no party should be spared pain:
“We shouldn’t put the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of folks who’ve already borne the brunt of the recession. It’s not reasonable and it’s not right. If we’re going to ask seniors, or students, or middle-class Americans to sacrifice, then we have to ask corporations and the wealthiest Americans to share in that sacrifice. We have to ask everyone to play their part. Because we are all part of the same country. We are all in this together.”
Obama began hinting yesterday that he was willing to offer up Medicare if it meant bringing Republicans to agreement on raising the debt ceiling -- though Republicans are not replying with cooperation. The President cited that 80% of Americans want a “balanced approach” -- meaning spending cuts and tax hikes on the rich -- to get the debt crisis under control.
On Medicare, Obama said that reform would not mean affecting current beneficiaries, but could mean “testing” for future recipients, but for those on the wealthier end of the bracket.
While the majority of Americans might favor a “balanced approach” I wonder if everyone has the same definition of “balanced”? Many low-income and middle-class families are already sacrificing a lot in this recession. If they’re asked to sacrifice even more in exchange to meet Republican demands than does that equate to “balance”?