Mr. Obama has agreed to nothing else that is serious and specific. House Democrats have already declared that increasing the benefit age for Medicare to 67 from 65 is off the table, and the White House won’t negotiate on Social Security or even, according to the latest leaks, Medicaid. Even if Mr. Obama agrees to income-testing for affluent Medicare recipients, this means another tax increase if it comes in the form of premium increases.
None of this is anywhere close to the reforms that might slow the pace of health-care spending, which everyone agrees is the biggest fiscal problem. Look for Mr. Obama to pocket the immediate tax increases, then next year demand another tax increase in return for token entitlement reforms.
The biggest insult to the public’s intelligence is Mr. Obama’s demand for more spending now. We thought this exercise was about deficit reduction. But as always in Washington, the method is to put deficit “savings” into the future as part of a fanciful 10-year budget estimate while adding to the deficit in the near term by spending more now.