Means Testing Emerges as a Social Insurance Pill Democrats Could Swallow

By: Friday December 14, 2012 10:05 am

It certainly looked yesterday as if the White House had dropped any notion of using an increase in the Medicare eligibility age as a bargaining chip in future negotiations on a grand bargain. While the White House has not ruled out increasing the age, some of its leading allies did, and Dick Durbin went so [...]

Contra the Deficit Scolds, We Can Keep Medicare and Medicaid Strong Simply By Keeping Them Intact

By: Wednesday November 28, 2012 1:10 pm

This diatribe bestowed upon Rep. Raul Grijalva on CNBC, which has become Fiscal Cliff TV, is really priceless, with the anchor accusing Grijalva of tanking the market because he refuses to cut benefits for poor people and seniors. The means testing angle is really a joke here, too. Medicare is already means-tested. To means-test it [...]

NYT Picks Up on Cuts to Current Medicare Beneficiaries Arising From Romney-Ryan Plan

By: Wednesday August 22, 2012 7:42 am

The story I covered on Sunday about how the Romney-Ryan campaign would have to cut current Medicare benefits because of the box they’ve shoved themselves into by promising to “restore $716 billion in Medicare cuts” finally gets picked up by the New York Times in a front-page story. If the story gets a bigger platform, [...]

House Republicans Unveil Partisan Legislation on Payroll Tax Cut and UI

By: Thursday December 8, 2011 9:35 am

House Speaker John Boehner announced his party’s year-end legislation that would extend the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance benefits and a patch to prevent a 27% cut in Medicare reimbursement to doctors. The legislation also includes poison pills which the President already vowed to reject, designed as sweeteners to get conservative members on board. One [...]

House Republican Version of Payroll Tax Legislation Littered with Poison Pills

By: Wednesday December 7, 2011 6:14 am

The House is in no hurry to deal with extending the payroll tax. They won’t take a vote this week, and they’re only scheduled to be in session for one more week until the Christmas break. And it’s not just the payroll tax that needs to be dealt with. There’s the funding of the government, [...]

Senate Dems Provide Details on Smaller Payroll Tax Cut Package

By: Monday December 5, 2011 11:02 am

Harry Reid plans to announce new terms for the payroll tax cut today, but while the overall size of the tax cut will be lower, and a few concessions will be made to chase Republican support, the bill will still be partially paid for with a surtax on millionaires. The current payroll holiday, set to [...]

Republicans Float Extending Federal Pay Freeze to Pay for Payroll Tax Cut

By: Wednesday November 30, 2011 1:35 pm

So here’s the first trial balloon from Republicans on the pay-for they will demand in exchange for extending the payroll tax cut. Keep in mind that this is a tax cut that Republicans are “demanding” a price for – something at odds with a principle previously embedded into Republican DNA. But because Democrats are desperate [...]

Obama’s Medicare and Medicaid Cuts: Not Grave, But Also Not Trivial

By: Tuesday September 20, 2011 7:07 am

“Obama and the left back in sync,” Politico blares. “Plan Calms Democrats’ Concerns On and Off Hill,” Sam Stein writes. The latter is more correct. “Relief” would be a good word in reaction to a plan that easily could have included an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and a switch to chained CPI, a [...]

Ranking the Threats to the Safety Net

By: Tuesday May 10, 2011 2:37 pm

Max Baucus just shut the door on Social Security cuts. And given the posture of everyone in this negotiation, I’d say that pretty much ends that threat in the short-term. In the long-term, these things are always vulnerable because you have at least one political party with their knives out for the social safety net. [...]

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