An excellent point by Ezra Klein, namely that it's an enormous dodge for reporters to write that John McCain plans to balance the budgeting by "entitlement programs, including Social Security". Like, overhauling how. If McCain doesn't say how, he might as well be saying he plans to balance the budget by magic. If he does say how, well, some people will get upset but they ought to have their chance to get upset before the election.

This is part of the paradox of McCain's famous openness to the press -- the deal seems to be that in exchange for unusual access to the candidate, his traveling press corps agrees not to ask him any obvious questions like "when you put changing the federal government's largest program at the center of your economic strategy, what exactly do you mean?" You probably wouldn't get invited to the next BBQ session or something. But it's a kind of important aspect of the overall picture. Trying to cut Medicare spending is a more reasonable idea than Social Security cuts, but it's an even more conceptually difficult proposition and one really needs to know what kind of overhaul we're talking about before evaluating that kind of proposal.

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