And then, perhaps as early as March, they’ll launch their biggest lift with the beginnings of a plan to reform Social Security and Medicare, the two entitlement programs that, even before the economy collapsed, were threatening the Treasury with bankruptcy. By any standard, it is a massive three-month agenda fraught with political risk. The key to getting it all done, Summers says, is entering into a “compact” with the country “that this isn’t just government as usual throwing money at things.” When Obama unveils his annual budget in late February or March, Summers promises that the President “is going to describe the kinds of approaches he wants to take to the entitlement problems that have been ignored for a long time.” Some options might include delaying retirement, stretching benefits and lifting the cap on taxable earnings. Could one of these prevail? “Remains to be seen,” Summers says.
There are other obscenities in the article. Feel free to browse. (I found the promise to “stabilize the housing market” especially quaint and amusing.)
If I’m reading this right, what this means is that in order to make the McConnell proposal more palatable to conservatives, there would be a mandated bipartisan review of entitlements next year. The source tells me that if a majority of the committee can agree on recommendations for entitlement reform, the proposal would also mandate a Congressional vote on those recommendations.
It’s unclear how Dems will respond to this. Democrats are already cool to the McConnell proposal because it includes spending cuts but no new revenues, but they may be willing to accept it because it spares entitlements. But now the proposal looks as if it will also force a review — and a vote on — entitlement reform. …
UPDATE: Another source close to the talks confirms that Harry Reid is in fact discussing this idea with McConnell, so it’s a real possibility.