Obama Will 'Spare,' 'Reduce the Growth' of Medicare, But GOP Threatens to 'Shrink' It With 'Big Cuts'

Thursday's paper led with Obama's partisan budget speech, "Taking On G.O.P., Obama Unveils Debt Relief Plan - Calls for Spending Cuts and Tax Increases but Spares Medicare and Medicaid," and once again did a double-standard dance around the politically inflammatory issue of changes in Medicare spending when proposed by a Democratic president.

While previous attempts at reform of Medicare by Republicans were eviscerated in the Times as "big Medicare cuts" or (just this week) a "shrinking" of the program, the paper greeted Obama's own vague proposals with benign, soothing words like "overhaul" or claims that Obama was merely looking for Medicare "savings." Thursday's headline insisted Medicare and Medicaid would be "spared" and the text by reporters Mark Landler and Michael Shear described Obama as only proposing "changes to social welfare programs" and to "strictly limit the growth of Medicare and Medicaid."

An accompanying infographic stated Obama's position on Medicare this way: "The proposal seeks to reduce the growth in Medicare spending, including lowering prescription drug spending by 'leveraging Medicare's purchasing power.'" Isn't that what Bush's prescription drug program is already doing?

The Times' liberal editorialists certainly enjoyed Obama's speech; Thursday's lead editorial celebrated "President Obama, Reinvigorated," painting a picture of an America "that keeps its promises to the weak and asks for sacrifice from the strong." They only wished Obama had reminded "the middle class than their income taxes remain low and will need to go up."