Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obama in bind over Social Security

With President Obama giving what is touted as a major budget address today, he will have to thread the needle between a public that is demanding leadership on deficit reduction and a Democratic base that is deeply suspicious of his most obvious routes for balancing the budget. This skepticism is reflected in a recent letter to the President from House Democrats arguing against any embrace of the recommendations generated by the Simpson-Bowles fiscal commission, in particular its plans for Social Security reform.

[W]e remain concerned that the Bowles-Simpson proposal may serve as a starting point for budget negotiations. We consider this plan to be flawed in several key areas, especially with respect to its proposed cuts to Social Security Benefits. We believe that any proposal that includes cuts to a popular, fiscally sound program lacks credibility and does not reflect the political center.

Social Security remains the most "fixable" entitlement, one where the solutions are well-understood and the ability to split the difference between conservative and liberal approaches is most evident. But that doesn't mean it's going to be easy.

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