Fiscal...Steep Hill

Question of the Week: Will the Republicans Get Specific?

This week should bring pressure on the GOP to get specific about cuts.

The conventional wisdom will probably come up with some other, more "even-handed" question, but the real question of the week is will the Republicans get specific with their proposed cuts? E.J. Dionne puts it well in his column today:

Republicans claim they are fighting for cuts in entitlement programs, particularly Medicare. Fine. Let them put their cuts on the table. So far, all we have are words. Obama has outlined $400 billion in savings from Medicare. If this isn’t enough, the GOP’s negotiators should tell us how to find more. And having individual Republicans toss out ideas is not the same as a detailed public counter-proposal.

Republicans also say tax reform can raise enough money so we can avoid rate increases on the wealthy. Fine. Let them put forward a comprehensive plan so we can judge it. Their problem is that tax reform can’t produce the revenue that’s needed, but let’s at least see what they have in mind.

I'd like to see Obama and the Democrats press this point and do their best to make sure that this is the week's main question. They don't really get to call Obama's proposal unserious and all those things when they haven't even really put out one of their own. But they won't do it because they want Obama to own the cuts, especially the entitlement cuts. He, reasonably, refuses to do that. No more negotiating with himself.