The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Thursday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the debt-ceiling talks and the notion that August 2 is a hard deadline for a deal:

That’s a phony argument. All you’ve got to do is extend the debt limit for a couple of months and negotiate what you have to negotiate. August 2 is not a number handed down in the Bible. It’s flexible. . . .

Look, all of this idea that the liberals [are] in a frenzy and pushing back — on what? What exactly has Obama offered on entitlements? I know it’s in the headlines. I know it’s been heavily leaked in advance of this meeting today. I know it’s what Obama wants everybody to think, that he’s prepared to be the grand — the national savior, the compromiser. . . .

But what exactly is on the table? … I would say if Obama wants to show he’s serious about entitlements, he needs to offer a structural change, let’s say in Medicare. There is a rumor that it’s going to be means testing, meaning the rich will pay more and the elderly poor will pay less, which I think is eminently reasonable. But why would a liberal resist that? Isn’t that what liberals are arguing, for fairness in having the rich contribute more?

On whether Democrats are resisting entitlement reform because they don’t want to lose it as a political issue:

That’s exactly right. And that’s why I think this is all about cynical appearances and pretense. Until you see something on the table that’s real, I think all of this is shadows so that Obama appears as the great uniter. . . .

If you don’t have a structural change in any of the entitlements — for example, you synchronize the eligibility age of Medicare with the age for Social Security. (The Medicare age is inexplicably lower.) If you see something like that and then you index that age to longevity, that’s a real change. Otherwise it’s smoke and mirrors.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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