Via Dan McLaughlin, who writes, “I’m picturing Reagan or Clinton talking to kids, & can’t imagine either being this glum & defensive.” True enough, but in fairness to O, how do you put on a happy face to tell a couple of kids that they may well be facing economic Thunderdome in their young adulthood? Then again, his demeanor doesn’t change much in any of the six other clips from the interview — except for the last one, when Bo makes a cameo and the funereal atmosphere is mercifully lifted. At certain points, it feels like he’s about to pull out a pack of smokes, light one up, and just shake his head in sad, silent defeat. Good lord. Someone buy this guy a beer.
Late word from Politico tonight is that he’s planning to unveil a deficit-reduction plan shortly after the big jobs speech next week. And not just any deficit-reduction plan. A detailed deficit-reduction plan. Hope and change at last?
In the speech Thursday, Obama will challenge the 12-member congressional supercommittee to exceed its $1.5 trillion goal for budget savings — setting a higher target that would allow the additional money to fund tax breaks and other stimulus spending…
The deficit plan will be more specific than the framework the White House released in April. It is likely to include some unpopular measures that, until now, Obama backed only behind closed doors during the July talks with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), according to Democratic officials familiar with proposal.
Before the “grand bargain” fell apart over tax revenues, Obama and Boehner agreed on about $250 billion in proposed cuts to Medicare, including gradually raising the eligibility age to 67 and hiking co-pays and premiums for wealthier beneficiaries. They also agreed to change the inflation calculator for Social Security and other federal programs — which critics call a benefit cut.
I’m amazed that he’s willing to inch out on that limb, especially now that Perry’s the frontrunner among Republicans. Democrats are licking their lips at the thought of hammering him as a radical on entitlements if he’s the nominee; if O floats even a modest Medicare reform plan on grounds that we can’t put this off any longer, it’s going to defang the whole “GOP hates grandma” messaging campaign next year. Maybe the White House figures that now that Perry’s in and Romney’s all but certain to attack him on entitlements himself, they might as well get out in front of this issue by proposing some very modest reforms. A debate on Medicare and Social Security under the spotlight of a presidential campaign will raise public awareness of the programs’ unsustainability. Obama will need to address that somehow when it’s thrown at him during one of the debates. Maybe this plan is how he’s decided to do it.