Both sides in this year’s presidential election campaign have a fair way to go to get real on the budget problem. Democrats are making hay by attacking the only viable tool to bend the Medicare (and health care generally) cost curve. And Republicans are promising very specific steps that would cut income taxes, while keeping their counsel on what they would do to offset the cost (not to mention actually increasing net revenues to reduce the deficit).
The tax issue came up again in the campaign debate this week. President Obama challenged Governor Romney to specify how he would offset the cost of the tax rate cuts that he has proposed. Governor Romney returned to a notion that he had floated earlier: a cap on the amount of itemized deductions that each taxpayer could claim.