More GOP 1 + 1 = 3 ... or is it 5? Or 7? Whatever ...
By Joe Conason - TruthDig, December 6, 2012
If President Obama honestly wants to negotiate an agreement with Republicans before the year-end fiscal deadline, he must be deeply frustrated. And if he doesn't really want to negotiate with them, then he should be delighted, for the same reason: Their latest "offer" laid before him by House Speaker John Boehner demonstrates again their refusal to reveal their true intentions -- and their inability to do simple arithmetic.
Consider their treatment of Medicare, the popular social insurance program for seniors that Republicans have always despised. They have just emerged from a long national campaign in which they repeatedly and falsely claimed to "protect" Medicare from the president -- whom they accused of wanting to slash $716 billion from the program -- but now they complain that he won't cut it enough. The Obama cuts were mythical, but the Boehner budget proposal includes at least $600 billion in Medicare and Medicaid reductions.
Worse still, the Republicans propose to perform this crude surgery on Medicare without the slightest explanation of where they would cut. Washington rumors suggest that they would achieve some of those cuts over the next 10 years by raising the eligibility age by two years to 67 and by increasing premiums for more affluent beneficiaries.
As Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities pointed out on Tuesday, however, those changes would not begin to achieve the savings required by the Boehner proposal.