The problem with Washington's negotiating cliche of "putting everything on the table" is that monumental inanities such as raising Medicare's eligilibity age--which would save about $6 billion and cost about twice that--invariably stay put while the vast rationality of, say, spending much less on our Klingon empire and its associated industrial complexes tends to scurry off into the protective black holes of almost countless congressional fiefdoms.
Negotiators sits and thinks and then tap their fingertips together and openly ponder the splendid fiscal nothingness of screwing some poor 66-year-old whose lobotomized GOP governor has banned expanded Medicaid from his state's dystopian borders. Meanwhile needless trillions get flushed in a squalid defense apparatus perpetually maintained against no known natural predators.
From Chalmers Johnson to recovering neoconservatives and not least to mountains of historical literature there come irrefutable warnings that bloated militarism augurs ultimate national collapse--especially when vital domestic spending is bargained away in exchange for a nonproductive, globally roaming behemoth.
Yet here we are, still musing about the transcendent benefits of trimming a few pounds through "Republicans' demands that Mr. Obama agree both to a slow increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, to 67 from 65, and to a new formula that would reduce cost-of-living increases for Social Security," as we slip into a fiscally diabetic coma induced by the Pentagon's gross obesity.
Can't you just hear it? "Let's see, gentlemen, that last little item is still on the table here somewhere, I'm sure it is, yes, yes, here it is, buried under this mound of urgent inanities. So first let's do screw some poor 66-year-old in Alabama."