Tom Maguire @ JustOneMinute:
After months of hectoring us about fiscal sanity and intransigent Republicans, the NY Times discovers inflexible Democrats:
Efforts to Curb Social Spending Face Resistance
By Robert Pear
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s re-election and Democratic gains in Congress were supposed to make it easier for the party to strike a deal with Republicans to resolve the year-end fiscal crisis by providing new leverage. But they could also make it harder as empowered Democrats, including some elected on liberal platforms, resist significant changes in entitlement programs like Social Securityand Medicare.
This should hardly be a surprise – Nancy Pelosi spent a year thinkingshe could reclaim the House by demonize entitlement cuts and defending Medicare.
So away we go. One reason Republicans have taken a hard line on trading tax hikes for spending cuts is their belief that Reagan was duped by the Democratic House in 1982 into accepting future spending cuts that never materialized. Current Republican thinkers and leaders remain confident that Washington is much more competent and diligent about raising taxes and collecting the revenue than it is about cutting spending. (The Doc Fix in Medicare is a classic example of legislated savings that, year by year, never actually materialize.)
And might such a trade of tax hikes today for spending cuts later (or never) happen in the run-up to the fiscal cliff? Sen. Richard Durbingives us a hint as to where the rest of Obama’s party is: