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Beating Obama on the Debt Ceiling…and in 2012

There are many proposals out there right now about what the GOP should demand in return for raising the debt ceiling.  Most of the ideas I’ve seen are good stand-alone ideas, and warrant consideration.

My specific suggestion below is predicated on two observations: First, any GOP response should tie back to a bigger narrative about the President misleading the public about the long-term consequences (intended and unintended) of his policies. Second, any final deal is likely to contain less (perhaps far less) than our original public negotiating position (see recent budget negotiations for proof).

I think the GOP should demand that the Medicare cuts enacted by Obamacare be reversed, and that the Ryan plan for Medicare beneficiaries under 55 be adopted.

The drumbeat our side should pound home publically to the American people, and privately with the Adminstration over the next several weeks is a DEMAND that the Medicare cuts this President signed into law last year need to be reversed: current beneficiaries don’t deserve to have Medicare, already on difficult financial ground, further gutted by the President’s desire to enact Obamacare. If the President wants to enact Obamacare, let him pay for it using someting other than Medicare. 

Of course, the GOP should offset the “cost” of reversing Obamacare’s Medicare cuts with reductions in discretionary spending. And when the President pushes back in private negotiations, because as we all know he NEEDS the Medicare cuts in order to fund Obamacare, the GOP can counter by asking for 1) Ryan’s proposed Medicare changes for those under 55, and 2) block-granting of Medicaid…and reductions in Medicaid’s outlays now that states will have flexibility.

The benefits of this approach are myriad. First and foremost, Obama can’t win this debate.  He doesn’t even want to acknowledge that he gutted Medicare to fund Obamacare. Further, he’ll have to defend WHY current seniors should bear the burden of his desire to enact Obamacare, when even before his cuts the program was not sustainable.

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