Friday, January 21, 2011

A Conflicted Public Creates Leadership Problems.

David Leonhardt summarizes the results of a recent Times/CBS News public opinion survey. The results demonstrate the challenge that our politicians face. About 63% of Americans want taxes to be cut. An equal percent do not want Medicare or Social Security to be be cut. The public can't have it both ways because we can't fund Medicare and Social Security at their current and projected levels without increasing tax revenues. The GOP would like to cut taxes and put pressure on entitlements by raising issues about budget deficits. They don't want to tell Americans that they can't have their cake and eat it too so they will propose entitlement reforms that disguise benefit reductions. The Democrats were burned by pushing through healthcare reforms that attempted to make healthcare more affordable and which had some tax increases built in that paid for extending Medicaid to the low-income employed who do not receive benefits at work. They must focus on job creation or get crushed in the 2012 elections. Its hard to imagine that the GOP or the Democrats will have any meaningful proposals to fund entitlements without raising taxes.

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