President Obama deserves credit for putting Medicare and Medicaid on the table for deficit-reduction efforts and for encouraging the new super committee to exceed its assigned goal. But the President’s new proposals to that panel, released today, fall short of comprehensive structural reform in health care and tax policy, and his decision to leave Social Security out of the plan is disappointing as well.
Amid growing concerns about a double-dip recession, the administration has focused this month largely on short-term measures to support the economy. These measures should not preclude putting long-term deficit reduction plans in place, and in fact such plans can dramatically boost the effectiveness of the short-term initiatives.
So Obama’s suggestion that Washington proceed on both the short- and long-term fronts is welcome. So is his willingness to discuss changes in Medicare and Medicaid, two of the federal government’s largest and most rapidly growing programs. Significant changes will be needed in those programs if the nation is to have any hope of eventually putting itself on a more responsible and sustainable fiscal course.
The proposals to change other mandatory spending programs, such as cutting agriculture subsidies and increased cost-sharing in...