Playing Chicken With The Debt

by Patrick Appel

Douthat faults both Ryan and Obama for offering vague, partial solutions to our fiscal troubles. He notes that "in his first big moment on the national stage, the words 'Medicare' and 'Social Security' did not pass the Wisconsin congressman’s lips":

It’s clear that both parties have decided that a period of divided government twelve months before a presidential election is the wrong time to make big moves on entitlements and the deficit. Better to wait, jockey for position, and hope that the correlation of forces after 2012 will be more favorable to their preferred solutions. And it’s clear, too, that they’ve decided (with honorable exceptions) that it’s too risky to even begin building support for the unpopular cuts or tax increases ahead. The bet, on both sides, is that there’s still time to work with, and that the other party will blink, or at least give ground, before the real crunch arrives.

Let’s hope they’re right.