Gene Lyons' latest opinion column. "What Obama's got here is a teachable moment, an opportunity to apply his formidable pedagogical skills. He's already said that reforming Social Security is "easy"-simply remove the cap on payroll taxes on persons earning over $200,000 a year and the program can be self sustaining indefinitely. Compromise? Maybe raise age limits slightly to give moderate Republicans cover. The point is to bring aboard those members of the opposition willing to deal with reality. Let the rest walk around Washington wearing signboards printed at the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation or any of the other tycoon-funded propaganda shops dedicated to rationalizing tax cuts for multimillionaires above all else. Medicare's tougher. The simplest fix would be to make it universal. As that's probably a political impossibility, Obama must keep pointing out that simply cutting benefits would produce a cascade of bad effects. The answer lies in increased efficiency through universal health insurance, which also would greatly improve the competitive position of U.S. auto companies, for example. Bipartisanship, then, involves personal civility, repeatedly emphasizing that we Americans are all in this mess together and soliciting ideas from Republicans willing to brave the wrath of Rush Limbaugh. It certainly doesn't mean occupying the middle ground between wisdom and folly." - rest at http://moose-and-squirrel.com/gene/gene.html I hope that Mr. Lyons is correct that reasonable Democrats and reasonable Republcans can work together to save Social Security and Medicare for the long term.