Obama Budget to Offer GOP a Spoonful of Sugar

Medicare, Social Security cuts 'demonstrate willingness to compromise': NYT
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2013 9:12 AM CDT
In this March 21, 2013 photo, President Barack Obama speaks.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) Obama's personal salary isn't the only figure the president plans on cutting this year. A new budget set to be released next week proposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security. It's a deficit-reducing olive branch to the GOP, and the administration says it will lead to $1.8 trillion in savings over the next decade (and replace the sequester in the process), reports CNN. The $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and other social programs sees Obama repeating an offer he made to John Boehner during fiscal crisis negotiations last year. He is also proposing a new inflation formula for determining Social Security benefits that is popular with Republicans—considerably less so with Democrats—that the New York Times says will have the effect of reducing cost-of-living payments.

These proposals are intended as a spoonful of sugar to help Republicans swallow tax increases elsewhere. Other budget proposals include universal access to prekindergarten education—funded by a increase in tobacco taxes—and a limit on the amount of wealth that can be accrued in tax-preferred savings accounts. "The president has made clear that he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficits," said a senior official, "but only in the context of a package like this one that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans and that is designed to promote economic growth.” (Read more budget stories.)

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