Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
from the left, Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman, and Brad DeLong all give the speech and its proposals a mild thumbs-up (especially compared to what the press yesterday was reporting about what Obama would say).I thought the speech went well. Content-wise, its certainly better than Paul Ryan. Its much closer to Bowles-Simpson or Rivlin-Dominici and much better at holding to the principle of shared sacrifice. Stylistically, it was pretty good. I thought the best touch was saying he doens't think 33 seniors should have to see their Medicare benefits cut in order to give him a tax cut. Somehow I don't think Republicans are going to like his doubling-down on health care reform, refusal to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. But at least we're not negotiating between Bowles-Simpson (center/center-right) and Paul Ryan's (right-wing) position. Yay for a center-left vision!
I agree Patrick, and give it a thumbs up. I think it will do a good job of framing this debate without the starting position lurching too far to the right. It was short on specific policies, but I don't think this was the time for specifics. Another thing that I picked up on with the 33 seniors paying an extra $3,000 for $200,000 in tax cuts for the rich is that it's a talking point all Democrats should be able to get behind! And it's actually effective and true!
Not everyone agrees:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703730104576260911986870054.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop
Absolutely pathetic. It was an election speech.
Don't worry, TJE, I tuned in to Fox News after the speech to get a more "fair and balanced" perspective. They seemed to think it was class warfare, and a naked political move that signified the beginning of his reelection campaign.Now, for this article. Ryan's plan is not "incremental change," it is privatizing Medicare. He talks about the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board as if its a death panel, or bureaucrats making life or death decisions for people. How does he feel about seniors not being able to pay their medical bills because they don't get enough money from the government? Is this more humane for the author? How does making seniors and poor people pay more for their health bills "create more competition"?Obama did not claim that every fiscal trouble flows from the Bush tax cuts, he said it flowed from the cuts, an unpaid for health care bill, and two unpaid for wars.The author then says, "Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn't cover Mr. Obama's deficit for this year." That is not what anyone is proposing and it is disingenuous for the GOP and conservative talking heads to repeatedly use this as a talking point because noone is proposing it.I do think the "failsafe" thing was a little fishy, but that was a very small part of this speech. The author's ending is also stupid, but I don't think I'm even going to address it because I don't think it deserves my time.What does this author think about 33 seniors having to pay thousands of dollars more for healthcare just to pay for a trillion dollars more in tax cuts for the millionaires and billionaires?I realize this is all about the Obama speech, but again, we have a conservative commentator who is trying to sell the Ryan plan by not mentioning its massive new tax cuts for the rich. Sorry, Guy, people read other things than the WSJ and watch other things than Fox News, and this conservative trick is not going to last long. Americans are not as stupid as these conservatives believe. They will understand what Ryan's plan does, and they will adamantly oppose it.This author is a total conservative hack, who, like most other WSJ, Washington Examiner, NYPost, etc. opinion writers, is a slave to the GOP and their policies.
So you wanted him to lead, and now that he puts a plan out there, you say it's pathetic? Can he do anything to make you happy Megan? His plan may not control the deficit as much as the Ryan plan, but it also doesn't hang seniors and the poor out to dry while providing extra financial security to the rich who don't need it.
I think Obama's speech writers would be very pleased that you bought his re-election speech. After failing to lead on any budget issues (or any issues for that matter) since his election he is trying to recast himself as a leader- right in time for re-election! He spent most of the speech attacking Ryan's plan, barely touched on policy, and inaccurately portrayed where our nation's budget problems come from. It is not disingenuous to point out that "Even if all these Americans—most of whom are far from wealthy—were taxed at 100%, it wouldn't cover Mr. Obama's deficit for this year." This shows that the problem is clearly spending NOT taxing.
Megan, he didn't get to Ryan's budget until about halfway through, and he was right to attack it because it is an immoral proposal that is purely driven by conservative ideology. Now, for where are budget problems come from. I know all conservatives wrongly think that our problems come from the stimulus and the bailouts and healthcare, but that is false. The reason our debt shot up when Obama became President is because during deep recessions like the one we are in, tax revenues are deeply depressed. So even if he hadn't added additional spending, the deficit would have been huge in 2009 just because of a lack of revenue. The Bush tax cuts, an unpaid for prescription drug program, and two wars also don't help. Where do you think the debt came from? That quote points out nothing. A lot of conservatives say, "we don't need to raise taxes, because if we do then government will just get bigger." What about tax hikes just to reduce our debt?I'm sorry that I "bought" such a well-laid out, rational argument about our debt that wasn't ideological, and came from an intelligent and empathetic human being. It's not as bad as buying into Paul Ryan's video with a cheap graphic of climbing debt that could be fixed just by eliminating the Bush tax cuts (check Daily Show). And atleast I bought something that is actually fair and moral, that was laid out in a speech, not a highly edited video where the emphasis of "cut spending" was a deceptive way of saying "privatize Medicare, drastically cut Medicaid, and go ahead and give millionaires and billionaires a huge tax cut as the cherry on top." If Ryan's plan is so good, why don't conservatives try selling it truthfully to the American people, instead of shrouding it in lies about "cutting spending," and "reducing government?" Yeah, increasing health care costs for seniors and the poor really is "epic." Obama was trying to shine some light on Ryan's proposal so people could see what it really is, exactly what the GOP doesn't want. If anyone considers that "partisan" or a "beginning to the election season," so be it. I'd rather have some people say that and have people more educated about Ryan's draconian plan, then keep the public blinded to the plan's painful realities.
But before you answer the whole post, could you answer where you think the debt comes from?
The debt comes from the government spending more than it takes in...obviously. During a recession less revenue is collected. The government had to finance 2 wars, increased number of welfare, Medicaid, and Medicare recipients, increased costs of Medicaid and Medicare. On top of this the government has to pay an increasing amount of money in interest rates. Still, the stimulus, the bailouts, and Obama's huge increase of non-defense discretionary spending increased our national debt quite a bit. I think you are somehow trying to argue that the problem is all revenue. Even if we had the majestic Clinton-era highest revenue intake in history of 21% (which was collected during an economic boom, not a fragile economic state) for the past 4 years, we would still be running HUGE deficits. So in short, the debt is mainly due to spending increases that occurred for a number of reasons. Naturally, the answer to the debt problem will be spending cuts. History shows that tax revenue intake follows economic trends not necessarily just tax rates. How much revenue do you think we could get out of the economy in the current state?
And Paul Ryan's plan is not a youtube video, and it is far more detailed than Obama's plan, and it was released way before Obama's speech. Obama waited until he had an actual conservative plan to attack before addressing the 2012 budget in any sort of serious way. Who do you think is leading on this issue? I am so sick of this whole immoral argument. I think it is immoral that the government thinks it has some inherent right to wealthy people's money. This is the danger of increasing spending and introducing new entitlement programs, when anyone suggests cutting them it is then incredibly immoral and draconian. Smaller government and lower taxes is not immoral, it is what made America great. For some reason Paul Ryan is "cutting" Medicare while Obama will be finding "savings". Who exactly is being dishonest? If we're talking about honesty, Obama should come forward and say that his Medicare cost control mechanism is actually reductions in payments to doctors which will result in less care. The part of the speech that I consider partisan is when Obama actually tried to peg the nation's problems on the rich. Who is involved in class warfare? My biggest source of amazement is that people who have seen Obama in action for the past two years actually bought this speech. Obama has always been all talk and no action. Obama signed an extension of the Bush tax cuts less than a year ago. He just agreed to a historical amount of budget cuts. Now you think all of the sudden he has developed this great liberal agenda? He was essentially trying to do over every stance (if you can call it that) that he has taken in the past few months for the sake of reelection. My amazement comes from the fact that people are buying into it.
I still favor increasing revenue by simplifying the tax code as a way to put a dent in the debt. I think increased revenue will have to play a significant role in reducing our nation's debt, but I don't think letting the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy will fix everything as you (and the Daily Show) seem to think. Spending cuts will play a much bigger role.
A different perspective for PBM to consider.
The Daily Show was talking about all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for the wealthy. And if you let them all expire, then our debt picture looks much, much better, and basically the same as Ryan's plan, but without all the added pain for the poor and elderly.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/how-to-halve-the-deficit-by-doing-nothing/2011/03/25/AFXb0RoB_blog.htmlI will respond to your other things once I get to work.
Oops, forgot link:http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/264641/president-s-speech-yuval-levin
Thanks for adding another conservative commentator who doesn't mention new tax cuts for the rich to my list, TJE. For the Krauthammer video at the top, and kindof for this too, I don't understand why conservatives think Obama was being so "dishonest." I don't think any economist would question his description of our debt, or his explanation of the Ryan plan. Problems may come in from his own plan, because a lot of the spending cuts are unspecified, but a lot of the cuts in the Ryan plan are unspecified too. If anyone is being dishonest, it is these conservatives who are saying that Ryan is trying to save our welfare state, and withholding key information about the tax cuts involved in his plan.
Now, Megan, I'm gonna start going point by point to get our debate a little more organized.a.) On the debt. Yes, we have been spending more lately, but that isn't all because of Obama. Spending is part of the problem, but non-defense discretionary spending is not, and shouldn't be as targeted as entitlement spending. Even if Obama increased this chunk of spending a lot, it still amounts to a very small part of our budget, so it really couldn't have increased our debt by that much. Revenue is also a huge problem, not only because it was depleted by the Bush tax cuts, but also because of the recession we are in. Any realistic debt solution has to address both sides, and the Ryan plan does not do that. The GOP doesn't want any added revenue, and if there is tax reform, they will work to make it deficit neutral, without making any "dent" in the debt.b.) I just rewatched Paul Ryan's video again to get reacquainted with it. I realize he has a plan outside of the video that is more complex, but the video, and the talking points used in it will be the template for the GOP's messaging in the next couple weeks. Ryan emphasizing "cutting spending," "reducing the crushing burden of debt," "reforming Medicare and Medicaid," and "fixing their flaws." His points on Medicare and Medicaid are dishonest, and don't explain what his proposal actually does. For Medicare, it moves health care bils from the government to seniors. Period. It turns Medicaid into a block grant, which sounds good in theory. Every state has different needs, so they should get lots of money and figure it out on their own. The problem with that is twofold. Some states will lower costs by dropping coverage on certain things, which is very painful for the poor. The other problem is that once you establish a block grant, it is much easier to cut without assessing health care realities. It will become a go-to program to cut, like transportation, because it will be such a large chunk of money, and will not be specified for anything other than a huge chunk of money to go to a state. Ryan's budget doesn't just establish these block grants, but it begins cutting them almost immediately.c.) Yes, Paul Ryan released his deficit reduction strategy before Obama did. But it also stands no chance of becoming law, and is basically a conservative manifesto of what our society should become. I guess I'll give you that the GOP has led on deficit reduction, but Obama is picking up the mantle now for a realistic approach that isn't so blatantly ideological.
Megan, the important thing to take away is the Bush Administration couldn’t maintain fiscal discipline during an economic boom. Obama’s problems come directly from the recession which, as you said, causes revenues to decline and prompted the Bush Administration to pass a stimulus package. The bailout was done by Bush. On the stimulus, all it did was offset the dramatic decline in state and local spending. All the stimulus did was prevent total government activity from becoming procyclical in its fiscal activity… during the worst recession since the Great Depression (and during a fiscal crisis worse than that which caused the Great Depression). That is a horrible thing- we would have had a Depression without government spending- a fiscal response. Spiraling recessions are very dangerous and have to be halted before they become a Depression- the U.S. was continuing to decline but had reached the limit of monetary policy. We had little monetary policy tools, leaving us with only fiscal policy tools as a last resort but a necessary option to prevent a Depression. Don’t forget that the recession immediately causes government spending to increase on programs like Medicaid, food assistance, and unemployment insurance- because suddenly more people become economically devastated. Why did this recession occur? Because of the Bush Administration’s and Alan Greenspan’s inability to monitor the economy and ensure its health- they allowed a housing bubble and a worse financial shock than the Great Depression to develop. Btw, I’m at a jobs conference today heavily emphasizing on the global economy, and all people will talk about on this issue is how low the U.S. share of revenues as a % of GDP is compared to European economies, and how much room we have on that measure while still being obviously able to have a very effective and robust economy. We would be running the appropriate deficits in a recession if the Clinton tax revenue levels were still in effect. About 20% of the Democratic party is arguing that revenues should be even a majority of the solution. The middle of the Democratic party wants 50/50 revenues spending split to deficit reduction. Obama wants 33%/67% revenues/spending deficit reduction. Bowles-Simpson wanted 33%/67% split. The other major fiscal commissions (including RIvlin-Domenici) wanted a 50/50 split. What do Republicans want- what does Paul Ryan want- 100% deficit reduction from spending cuts to programs that disproportionately benefit low- and moderate-income households. What does the 70% of the Republican caucus of the Republican Study Committee want? 100%+ in deficit reduction from spending cuts.
d.) On the immoral argument. We have been going along with the current entitlements for something like 50 years. I say it is immoral to take them away because they exist now. That is the reality. Governments all tax to provide some sort of safety net for their people and that is a reality. I'm sorry that that goes against your ideology, but it is a reality of all governments in all industrialized countries. The other reason I say the Ryan plan is immoral is that it cuts programs that are expected by the elderly and poor and funnels that money straight to extra tax cuts for the rich. Is that really what we want our society to look like? The poor struggling even more than they do already, while the rich can have another couple hundred thousand dollars to buy a new car, new boat, or new plane with? That is not fair and not right.e.) "Smaller government and lower taxes is not immoral, it is what made America great. "That is a subjective argument, and if I really believed it, I could make an equally impassioned argument that the creation of a social safety net, and the enlarging of government we've had since WWII is what made us great. So, please, stop making such subjective arguments, they don't help your cause. I realize that is one of the key emphases of conservative thought nowadays, but it is extremely subjective, and there is no way to convincingly prove that.f.) On Obama's honesty when talking about Medicare. His proposal would give a diverse panel the ability to keep Medicare costs down. One example would be that this panel could say that a procedure that could prolong life for a little bit is too expensive to cover for the short extension of life it would provide. It could also streamline parts of Medicare, making it more efficient, lowering health care costs across the system. This seems reasonable to me, especially when the panel will be made up of a mix of medical professionals, consumers, and other random individuals. Ryan's plan, by contrast, would make seniors pay more out-of-pocket for medical care, and would essentially take the most popular government program around away from seniors. His plan amounts to far less care, and far less affordable care, and makes seniors pay significantly more for care when they really don't have the disposable income to do that. There is a reason we created Medicare, because the private insurance market would be especially harsh to people over 65, but now Ryan wants to throw them right back over to that market. And Ryan wants to do all of this while saying he's "saving Medicare", and "fixing its flaws." That is an extremely dishonest explanation of his policy preferences.
The deficits are not mainly a spending problem in the short term. Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire would alleviate 75% of the deficits problem in five years and 50% in the long-term. No matter the split, revenues will be the major contributor in the short-run because there just isn’t that much spending you can wind down quickly. All the fiscal commissions came to this conclusion. You are arguing that Bowles-Simpson and every independent fiscal commission was wrong and far too radical in its approach of relying on revenue cuts to get significant deficit reduction, especially front-loaded deficit reduction. Ryan’s cuts have already been panned by conservatives as too quick and unreasonable! You need to realize that Obama’s proposal is much closer to Bowles- Simpson- in many ways it is Bowles-Simpson, than Ryan’s plan. This isn’t surprising, because Ryan led the House Republicans in voting against the fiscal commission’s report and preventing it from coming up for a vote. How is Ryan leading on this issue when he votes down the fiscal commission report. Or when he releases a report that when you get rid of the drawdown of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan- which he called phantom savings when Obama counted them- then Ryan’s plan gets less than $400 billion in deficit reduction over a decade. All he does is offset his spending cuts that disproportionately impact programs for low- and moderate income Americans (including eliminating health insurance for 30 million Americans) to pay for the Bush tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the wealthy! What deficit reduction does Ryan accomplish? How is he leading on the issue when he doesn’t get significant deficit reduction and votes against the fiscal commission report?It is immoral for Ryan to place the burden of deficit reduction disproportionately on low-income, disabled, and elderly Americans while reducing the burden of wealth Americans. How exactly is Paul Ryan not engaging in class warfare? Obama is being disingenuous in thinking you can get you way with just increasing tax cuts on the rich- hopefully the stalemate between Republicans and Democrats allows all of the Bush tax cuts to expire- resulting in a dramatic improvement in our nation’s fiscal health. Obama is trying to bend the cost-curve that impacts health care costs for the private and public-sector. Ryan just shifts the costs he INCREASES to low-income, elderly, and disabled Americans. That is a huge difference! Ryan also is trying to achieve a much more drastic change to program and how much support it provides. Btw Megan- your position puts you much closer to Obama then Ryan when you say we need more revenues but that spending cuts should be the primary contributor of deficit reduction.
g.) I wouldn't consider someone saying "the rich can afford to pay a little more in taxes" class warfare. It's more of a reality when their tax burden is the lowest it's been in modern times. He is not "pegging" our problems on the rich, as you seem to think. He is just trying to, in Paul Ryan's words, "have everyone make sacrifices." How is Ryan's plan to make health care more expensive and less accessible for the poor and elderly, while giving the rich massive new tax cuts an example of "shared sacrifice." It is not, and Ryan is the one who is a true class warrior, trying to allow the rich to take money from the poor and elderly.i.) I'm buying his speech because he actually laid out his vision of government for once, and it seemed genuine. He isn't doing a do over, he is finally explaining his vision of government, which got lost in the first two years of his presidency because he was wheeling and dealing trying to pass an ambitious agenda, and never explained his position in the whole government vs. free market war.
One additional note,Ryan repeals nearly all of the cost-saving measures in health care reform but keeps all of the "Medicare cuts" he decried as never going to happen, as well as the fees on industries like health care providers. So in that he eliminates all the best elements of PPACA.The CBO has also looked at Ryan's Medicare proposal and found that total health care spending on behalf of a typical 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary, which is not just the government share, but the government share plus what the individual pays, would actually go up by 40 percent. That's he right- Paul Ryan bends the cost curve up!
PBM, have I mentioned that your profile photo is deeply disturbing?
PBM is a great American.
Please don't tell me how to argue PBM. It's called free speech. I know liberals are not fond of it. And tell me how what I said is subjective and the following is not: "And at least I bought something that is actually fair and moral" (your words). Sometimes principles are important, not just data and facts. You guys are both ignoring the fact that revenues are tied to the economy. How much additional revenue do you think the government would have collected from getting rid of the Bush tax cuts during the recession? Do you think it would have been more than the $787 billion stimulus? (Seriously, want an answer on that) I agree when you say that revenue was the problem, but you are making my point for me when you say that the recession resulted in a loss of revenue. Of course we would be in better fiscal shape if we had the Clinton era revenue rates! But that would have been nearly impossible, and I disagree that the deficits would have been "appropriate". In any situation where you are connecting that much revenue, the budget should be balanced or the government should be running a surplus. Liberals love to talk about how Clinton's budget was balanced because of his high tax rates. But spending under Clinton was far below 20% of GDP. Right now it is like 24% or something. Do either of you want to decrease spending to under 20% of GDP? As for the "Europe collects more revenue than us" argument, I have zero interest in being France, which benefits and tax system is working so great that it has a steady unemployment rate of 10%. I already stated I am all for increasing revenues by simplifying the tax code, but no one- Democrats or Republicans have shown any courage in simplifying the tax code since Reagan.Patrick, I'll give you that my views differ from most Republicans in regards to revenue, but I still connect more with the opinion that spending is the problem. I certainly do not think that the answer to our revenue problems is taxing the richest 2% more (which is the only thing that Obama mentioned- his calls to simplify the tax code were only aimed at upper income households). Quote from PBM a couple weeks ago: "Also, I don't think closing charity loopholes in the tax code will solve our problems." - Obama seems to think so! Or at least it will solve our problems enough that it deserved to be mentioned in his deficit speech. Just as you think that tax rates should be raised as a whole, I think that revenue can also be part of the solution (Perhaps we are more reasonable than Dems and GOP). PBM, you put a lot of trust in this "diverse panel of individuals with the ability to keep Medicare costs down" (talk about talking points). I, on the other hand, have a lot of trouble trusting government when I have no idea who these people are and who they will be in the future. And what you described as this panel's role sounds quite a bit like rationing to me. I'm gonna ignore all mention of the Ryan plan because I'm sick of talking about it, and I was under the impression that we were discussing the President's speech. Except the fact that I, and many Republicans would propose some Patrick, I highly doubt that the letting all the Bush tax cuts expire would reduce our deficit by 75% in five years. I think this is some CBO wonderland prediction or something. Do you really think letting the Bush tax cuts expire will produce that kind of revenue? We would need a serious economic boom. Plus the Bush tax cuts are 8% of the budget. So cutting the budget by 8% would reduce the deficit by the same amount. When you actually look at what Obama is focusing on- the tax cuts on for the wealthy- it is less than 4%. So cutting the budget by 4% would result in the same amount of deficit reduction as letting the Bush tax cuts expire. And yes, this percent would increase as the economy grows and the budget as a whole is reduced, but I'm trying to point out that letting the Bush tax cuts expire is not the only solution.
Woops the whole bit about Paul Ryan was supposed to say that I and other Republicans would propose additional cost controls on top of it.
Also, I am so sick of Obama whining about his inheritance of the deficit because of Bush's irresponsibility. He ran for President. I don't care who's fault the deficit is (combo of Obama and Bush from what I can tell), he is the President, it is his job to fix it. I don't think I, or many other Republicans, would look at Bush as a champion of conservative fiscal policy.
Last post I promise. Peter, under your relativist argument it would be immoral to take away ethanol subsidies because they benefit ethanol companies. And Patrick, even if getting rid of the Bush tax cuts does have the possibility to significantly reduce the deficit, do you really think that this money would go towards deficit reduction. How many times in history have tax dollars gone to deficit reduction and not additional spending? What gives you so much trust in our government?
"Please don't tell me how to argue PBM. It's called free speech. I know liberals are not fond of it."That's bullshit, Megan, I'm just trying to make it so we both address each other's points in an organized fashion, without just flying off the handle on a whole host of other issues. You don't need to get a partisan jab in every place possible. That's not even true about liberals, but I'm going to ignore it for the sake of this actual argument."How much additional revenue do you think the government would have collected from getting rid of the Bush tax cuts during the recession? Do you think it would have been more than the $787 billion stimulus?"I think it would've been in the hundreds of billions of dollars, probably close to the amount of the stimulus. I'm not arguing that we should have gotten rid of them during the recession though. I just don't think they should have existed in the first place, but now we should wait until the brunt of the recession is over to repeal them/let them expire.Clinton spending was around, or slightly below 20%, not far below.Your taking my quote on charity loopholes out of context. You said that eliminating them would help seriously reduce the deficit. I disagreed and said other loophole elimination was necessary, and that is exactly what Obama talked about. There are also a wide range of loopholes that benefit just the rich, that should be gotten rid of, and I'm fine with getting rid of all or a majority of loopholes for lower rates.CBO wonderland? The CBO is the ref. If you disregard it, then you have nothing to go off of. I'm assuming your using this retort because your unhappy about us making fun of Heritage's predictions about Ryan's plan, but that's because those are actual fantasy land predictions, and Heritage is an extremely partisan thinktank. The CBO, on the other hand, is a respected, nonpartisan source. I'm sorry that conservatives don't like that the health care bill will reduce the deficit, but you have to live by what the CBO says, and what it says about the Bush tax cuts is correct.
Yes, the Bush tax cuts are only 8% of the budget, but as time goes on, they take up a larger and larger part of our budget.http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/11/the_bush_tax_cuts_effect_on_th.htmlAnd I am proposing getting rid of all of them, which is I think what will happen when the GOP insists on extending them for the rich, and gridlocks any proposal that doesn't do that.]And on your ethanol argument, that is different. I am talking about real people, who will have real, painful problems if Ryan's plan is enacted. I just went to a briefing on ethanol, and it in itself causes huge amounts of problems. That is not even close to an apt comparison.Obama's just speaking the truth Megan, I didn't get a "whining" tone from him, he was just pointing out some budget realities.
And I'm glad to see you didn't address most of the points I laid out in my a,b,c format. Really shows the strength of your positions that you can't respond to pointed statements that go against your point of view.And I stand by a panel that can reduce Medicare costs on the whole over a plan that makes seniors pay for tax cuts for the rich."How many times in history have tax dollars gone to deficit reduction and not additional spending? What gives you so much trust in our government?"The Clinton years.
Well then we have quite a bit of cutting to do.
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