Tyler Cowen on Obama saying he will deal with medicare and social security:
The deeper reality is that Obama understands that this country was set up to be governed from the center and he'd rather start there than move there after two years of failed attempts to do something else. Don't be taken in by those funny maps they show about how the Democratic legislators are further left than before; the more power you have, the harder it is not to govern from the center.
But the more prosaic truth is that given that the possibility of a second great depression requires massive borrowing for a year or two, entitlement reform may be unavoidable. How do you persuade the global markets to lend the US more money in the short term if you do not show some small chance of getting back to fiscal sanity in the long term?
If Obama manages to leverage this crisis toward entitlement reform, he would become an historic president. It really would be Buchanan-Lincoln. I've spent too long in DC to believe it, but I can still hope can't I? And the key thing this time around is whether we can build a grass-roots movement to support Obama in this, just as we did in the campaign. Raise the retirement age, means-test social security, raise Medicare premiums for the affluent. After what has amounted to a generational war on the under-40s under Bush, re-balancing is actually a moral cause.
You up for it? I am if you are.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.