So here’s the new Republican debt-ceiling idea:
Pass a $1 trillion increase in the debt ceiling joined to $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, no revenues.
That sounds dramatic. But $1 trillion in spending cuts over a decade is not as big a deal as it sounds, especially if you are allowed to be vague about them. And a $1 trillion debt ceiling increase carries the United States government only into the early part of next year, meaning that this debate will recur in 2012.
House Republicans apparently regard the early renewal of the debt-ceiling debate as a feature, not a bug. It means that they can resume the debate over debt and deficits in the election season.
Except – I thought the 2012 election was supposed to be about the economy? Jobs and the Obama administration’s disappointing record of creating them?
Isn’t that the winning issue?
Why the eagerness to change the subject in 2012 to Republican plans to end the Medicare guarantee for those now under 55?
Isn’t that a big loser?
Republicans and Democrats alike assume that a 2012 debate over the debt ceiling hurts Ds and helps Rs. Maybe. But I’d be careful about that assumption. If it means that we spend 2012 debating the Ryan plan all over again – only this time with the big general electorate watching – then the assumption may be wrong.
And if there’s one thing that could alienate younger voters who have begun to drift back to the GOP because of the jobs issue, isn’t a big debate over a Republican plan to end the Medicare guarantee for younger people a good approximation of that one thing? Why frame a national election around that?