Liberals Cast Doubt on Obama Deficit Plan

Progressives not sold on limiting Medicare, Medicaid.

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The first reaction among liberals, at least as reported in the media, was relief and support for President Obama's latest deficit-reduction plan because it called for higher taxes on the rich and on big corporations, and didn't increase the eligibility age for Medicare.

But second thoughts are setting in.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

As they examine Obama's plan more closely, liberals have increasings doubts. One big concern is the president's proposal to reduce Medicare and Medicaid benefits to cut the deficit.

"While we support cutting waste, fraud, and abuse, we reject any proposal that cuts benefits in Medicare and Medicaid," said Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Raul Grijalva of Arizona, co-chairmen of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Families USA, a liberal-oriented health policy organization, rejected Obama's proposed change in Medicaid because it "shifts the burden to states and ultimately onto the shoulders of seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families who depend on the program as their lifeline."

[Vote: Obama wants to cut the deficit in part by raising taxes on the wealthy]

For a good summary of the liberals' doubts, see The Hill story on this subject.

With Republicans opposed to his core ideas, centrist Democrats skeptical, and liberals increasingly concerned, Obama still has a long way to go to make the case for his deficit-reduction package.

  • Read: How Obama's Deficit-Reduction Plan Could Backfire
  • See the biggest losers under Obama's debt cutting plan.
  • Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.