What Do Pelosi’s Smoke Signals Really Mean?

As President Obama’s personal lobbying on Capitol Hill this week seemed to bring him closer to Republican lawmakers as he talked about changes in Medicare and Social Security, Democrats offered the expected pushback. But Obama won unexpected support from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, usually a leader of the party’s liberal wing. USA Today reported Pelosi as saying that Democrats are open to some reforms, among them requiring wealthier Americans to pay more for Medicare. She also sounded amenable to …

Obama’s Charm Offensive: Time-Tested Strategy

Maybe the most surprising thing about President Obama’s wining and dining of GOP lawmakers is the fact that it’s surprising. Socializing that crossed party boundaries once was the lubricant that greased political compromise in Washington. In recent years, though, lawmakers have been spending much more time back in their home districts, which means they have less time to get to know their colleagues in Washington. And the polarization of politics has led to less two-party partying. Obama drew lots of …

Stop the Sequester (Wait … What’s a Sequester?)

The major budget cuts looming on March 1 are a bad idea, whether you know much about them or not. That’s one takeaway from a new poll by the Pew Research Center and USA Today on issues that are likely to dominate the political landscape this year. By a 9 point margin (49 to 40 percent), those polled favored finding a way around the $85 billion in spending cuts scheduled for military and most domestic programs – known in Washington …

Simpson, Bowles: Still in the Deficit Reduction Game

The two leaders of President Obama’s 2010 panel on cutting the national debt, former Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, are back at it, offering a new compromise budget plan that builds on deficit reduction that’s already been enacted. But before we get into details, check out how another panel member, Alice Rivlin, is trying to shake things up with the “Harlem Shake” Internet dance sensation. The performance by Rivlin, an economist at the …

Don’t Be Fooled: Social Security Not to Blame for Budget Woes

The immediate frenzy over the fiscal cliff may have subsided, but the drama is far from over: Next on the agenda is a debate over spending cuts – a debate that promises to be as rancorous as the one we’ve just seen. Already, budget-cutters are taking aim at Social Security. Yes, the way to calculate cost-of-living adjustments – the chained CPI, unfriendly in name and in its impact on retirees – is already back in the picture (see related video). But …

Presidential Debate #1: Obama and Romney on Medicaid

Debate #1 moderator Jim Lehrer devoted a segment to the national debt. The discussion turned to Medicaid. Obama on Medicaid Romney on Medicaid See also: Presidential Debate #1: Obama, Romney on Medicare Presidential Debate #1: Obama, Romney on the health care law Join the online discussion Election 2012 Debate Season