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Posted at 5:35 PM ET, 03/ 4/2011

Will John Boehner really protect Obama on entitlements?

By Ezra Klein

The Hill reports that John Boehner has proposed a non-aggression pact with Barack Obama over entitlements: “Boehner has personally promised Obama that he will stand side by side with him to weather the strong political backlash expected from any proposal to cut entitlement costs.”

I’m interested to know whether this promise extends to existing legislation. After all, the Affordable Care Act makes significant cuts to Medicare and includes a slew of politically difficult policies meant to bring down costs in the program. But Republicans have mounted an overwhelming offensive against those cuts, and even introduced bills that would repeal the Medicare cost savings without repealing the rest of the health-care law.

And if it doesn’t extend to entitlement cuts like the ones contained in the Affordable Care Act, then what are the specific entitlement reforms it does extend to? Could Obama endorse a progressive Social Security reform plan like the Christian Weller has proposed and still enjoy Boehner’s zone of protection? Will Boehner stay the GOP’s hand if Obama’s proposals include tax increases? Or are the terms of this deal more restrictive than that?

By Ezra Klein  | March 4, 2011; 5:35 PM ET
 
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Comments

Will John Boehner really protect Obama on entitlements?

Ha! Hahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: qalice1 | March 4, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Ezra,
This is Boehner's attempt to put the ball back in Obama's court for Obama to propose specific reforms. Right now, the pressure is on the GOP to make specific reforms, which it knows will either not please the Tea Partiers or be considered draconian cuts.
And of course, if Obama were to propose progressive plans, including uncapping the tax ceiling, Boehner would declare that the proposal was "not serious and clearly partisan" and causi belli for renewed aggression.

Posted by: ctown_woody | March 4, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Will John Boehner really protect Obama on a Social Security tax increase?

Ha! Hahahahahahahaha!

(pigs will fly first)

Posted by: cautious | March 4, 2011 7:21 PM | Report abuse

All Obama has to do is pledge to sign a repeal of his Pell Grant and Obamacare programs. Then, yep.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

He'll stand by Obama if Obama swallows the GOP party line: benefit cuts only affecting future generations. No tax increases whatsoever. Add means testing for future generations, but not current--ensuring that whatever program it is will eventually be eliminated because the rich won't want to pay for benefits they aren't receiving.

Posted by: will12 | March 4, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

BOEHNER GAVE THOSE HUGE TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHY ARISTOCRATS LIKE THE KOCH BROTHERS, DONALD TRUMP, MARTHA STEWART, ZSA ZSA GABOR, ET. AL. I DON'T TRUST BOEHNER TO STAND WITH OBAMA. BOEHNER AND THAT HORRIBLE PAUL RYAN AND RAND PAUL WILL STAB OBAMA, AND THE SENIOR CITIZENS, IN THE BACK ! PAUL RYAN IS SALIVATING TO CUT ENTITLEMENTS SO HE CAN BE THE KING OF CONGRESS AND HELP OUT THE WEALTHY ARISTOCRAT WITH THE REPEAL OF THE DEATH TAX TOO ! THE KOCH BROTHERS ARE LIBERTARIANS AND WANT THE RICH TO GET RICHER AND THE POOR TO GET POORER. IS IT TIME FOR THE SENIOR CITIZENS TO "STORM THE BASTILLE" AND CHOP OFF THE HEADS OF BOEHNER, RYAN, THE KOCH BROTHERS, ET. AL.

Posted by: jerzeyjim21 | March 4, 2011 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, if you can't trust a Republican politician who can you trust?

Posted by: RichardHSerlin | March 4, 2011 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Gullible aren't you. Just like the Republicans kept to their deal about the filibuster.

I bet you shake hands with jokesters with zappers i their hand.

You and Obama are Charlie Brown and the Republicans are Lucy.

Let me give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this is just very subtle snark. Hope it is.

Posted by: debcoop1 | March 4, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse


But for many hardworking families, affordable insurance can be hard to find. The new "Wise Health Insurance" is giving you more control over your family’s health care by expanding your options for health insurance and making them more affordable.

Posted by: racheltucke | March 5, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Entitlements need to go. People will be living dramatically longer lives and entitlements are simply unsustainable. Cephalon is leading the charge in the new wave of "biological drugs". PII results just published in Nature showed that Cephalon's "off-the-shelf" stem cell drug Revascor reduced MACE (Major Adverse Cardiac Events: chest pain, heart attack, death, etc) by an unprecedented 84%, virtually curing heart disease with a single injection. If you can afford it, the drug has been approved for treatment in Australia. Even though they just beat earnings, raised EPS targets, are net positive cash and have the highest FCF/share of any biotech, Cephalon is approaching a 52-week low and has the highest short interest of any stock in the S&P 500. Go figure. http://bit.ly/i1pYmr

Posted by: stemcellcure | March 5, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Could liberals please stop accepting the framing of social insurance programs as "entitlements"? Please?

Posted by: stevedwight | March 5, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

"You and Obama are Charlie Brown and the Republicans are Lucy."

Sorry Ezra, its true, even if Boehner told the President that in good faith (ha!). There is no deal possible involving entitlements. The Democrats will be primaried if they vote to cut benefits and the Republicans will be primaried if they vote to raise taxes (the logical solution, uncap SS FICA, is therefore off the table).

Congress can cut spending by more than $4.5 trillion over the next decade simply by locking Fed Fund rate at its current 0.25% and authorizing Tsy to only issue 3 month Treasuries (which trade close to FFR). The Fed can control inflation in the future by other means (capital controls, increasing required reserves and/or transaction fees, Vickrey ant-inflation market). But since the CBO projects over the next decade $5 trillion in net interest payments (at an avg rate of 5.0%), capping the Fed Fund rate at current levels would reduce Tsy's cost of money by more than 90%.

The CBO's long-term debt scare charts would suddenly look rather less scary.
http://reason.com/assets/mc/dpowell/2011_01/nick-vero-Fig3.jpg

Posted by: beowulf_ | March 7, 2011 2:10 AM | Report abuse

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