Ross Douthat of The NY Times has a reaction piece to the State of the Union address and Congressman Paul Ryan’s GOP response to the SOTU. He’s convinced that neither speeches, while mentioning deficit reduction, hashed out specifics and skimmed over entitlement reform. He feels political pressure got in the way.
…in Paul Ryan’s first big moment on the national stage, the words “Medicare” and “Social Security” did not pass the Wisconsin congressman’s lips.
It’s clear that both parties have decided that a period of divided government twelve months before a presidential election is the wrong time to make big moves on entitlements and the deficit. Better to wait, jockey for position, and hope that the correlation of forces after 2012 will be more favorable to their preferred solutions.
These are huge programs and should not be exempt from close inspection and reform, but in today’s podcast Jeff and I point out that Medicare reform and reworking the tax structure are fare more crucial than Social Security.