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GOP Finally Taking a Stand on Entitlements?

By John Martin - Posted on 15 February 2011

The Republican leadership had to wait until the President’s budget was out before getting the courage to bring up entitlement reform. Paul Ryan could have mentioned that he was in favor of paring Medicare and Social Security during his SOTU response three weeks ago (or at any point before this morning), but decided it’d be safer to speak in platitudes while 50 million Americans were paying attention. Rather than actually looking for solutions, Ryan's party has spent their time in power pretending that NPR, the EPA, and the UN were the sources of our budget woes.

Finally, late yesterday, after the release of the president's very un-liberal budget, the Republicans finally came out with vague promises regarding the 80% of federal spending that needs to be addressed. Eric Cantor promised the GOP budget blueprint would be "a serious document that will reflect the type of path we feel we should be taking to address the fiscal situation – including addressing entitlement reforms."

It looks like the Republicans were waiting for Obama to come out with his plan, so they could then decide what their position would be. At least we now know— the GOP is officially in favor of tackling entitlements. What that’s going to mean in specifics is still up in the air. When asked what exactly what the Republicans plan to do, Cantor responded that "it's premature to talk about what's going to be in our budget given it's something that hasn't been written."

Although I'm disappointed the President didn't address our entitlement problem in his budget, I'm kind of glad he's played this the way he has. I'm looking forward to watching the GOP beat up on itself as they're forced to put the money where their mouths are.

I think President Obama is handling this pretty well. Here we have a party that got into power by promising mega-cuts and (after extending tax cuts for the rich that will increase the deficit) produced less than $50 million in it's first attempt to show what they've got and only after pressure from the Tea Party increased that to $100 million (most very unpopular cuts that they probably knew could be political suicide) refusing to touch entitlements and especially the Pentagon spending, even on expensive projects deemed unnecessary by Gates. So President Obama proposes cuts that will reduce the deficit by over $1 Trillion-some cuts that he admits were tough choices-over 10 years and they immediately say "not good enough" as if they have some credibility on the issue, stating he is not a leader because he won't give specific plans on entitlements. Oh, how they wish he would take that leap solo so they could pounce. Maybe he's learned a lesson or two over the past 2 years. I think he has them where he wants them. And he is sooo good at appearing to be the only mature one. I love his response to the criticism.

Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama called on congressional Republicans to engage in an "adult conversation" about the federal government's long-term financial health Tuesday, warning that serious debt reduction will remain impossible without bipartisan agreement on how best to stabilize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs.

Leaders of both parties have to be willing to make unpopular concessions, he said, while declining to specify exactly what form those concessions should take.

"I expect that all sides will have to do a little bit of posturing on television and speak to their constituencies, and rally the troops and so forth," Obama told reporters at a hurriedly scheduled news conference. "But ultimately, what we need is a reasonable, responsible and initially, probably, somewhat quiet and toned-down conversation about ... where can we compromise and get something done.

"I'm confident that will be the spirit that congressional leaders take over the coming months," he added.

The president noted that his proposed budget includes a five-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending, and said that "there are some provisions in this budget that are hard for me to take," including a 10% reduction in community development block grants.

"Just like every family in America," the government has to live within its means while investing in the future, Obama said.

The president asserted that he was using a budget "scalpel," as opposed to the GOP's "machete."

...Obama said he wants to deal with the growing debt crisis in stages, starting with the government getting control over its discretionary budget before taking on "long-term drivers" of the debt such as Medicare and Medicaid.

His hope, he said, is that "we have an adult conversation where everybody says, 'Here's what's important and here's how we pay for it.' "

Tax reform also needs to play a key role in stabilizing the fiscal situation, he said.

Asked about the need to provide leadership on entitlement reform, Obama insisted that it doesn't matter which party makes a substantive proposal first. Republicans have slammed the president for a lack of specifics, but have also failed to reach agreement within their own caucus on how best to address the issue.

"This is not a matter of 'you go first' or 'I go first.' This is a matter of everybody having a serious conversation about where we want to go and then ultimately everybody getting into that boat at the same time so it doesn't tip over," he said.

I am "confident we can get Social Security (reform) done" with "modest adjustments" and without "slashing benefits," the president asserted. But Medicare and Medicaid reform will be a bigger problem, largely because medical costs are rising as the population ages, he said.

From the polling I've seen, President Obama's approval has held steady and seems to be improving with Independents, while the GOP is losing ground with average Americans and probably angering the Tea Party, too (made so many promises they could not keep.) Democrats in Congress are also gaining a bit, probably because they are the minority in the House with less control. It's all on the GOP shoulders to prove they can work WITH this president to produce those jobs they promised and show fiscal restraint. And they are flubbing it already.

One Missouri Republican wants to  get rid of those  pesky child labor laws..

And some idiot commenter thinks it's a good idea.... you know the whole "govt needs to stay out of our business and parents can do a fine job on their own" and "you liberals want to control everything" brand of logic.

She's not a Fox viewer, is she? **sarcasm**


resulting in.. even more adult unemployed.


Loved the response of one person about it being the parents responsibility to protect their children (regarding the dropping of safety regulations as well) and therefore we don't need the liberal gov't.  Doesn't remember the beginning of industrialization in this country when children were worked 12+ hour days, maimed and even killed by the machinery without much consequence to the owners. 

Yep, sure miss them good old days when we didn't have the gov'tment on our backs. 


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