Where should deficit reduction work focus?

Posted Nov. 29, 2010, at 3 p.m.

The century began with the U.S. having a budget surplus. But in the next eight years, two unfunded wars, two tax cuts that weren’t paid for, and a big prescription drug benefit that also wasn’t paid for turned the surplus into big deficits. When the economy dramatically receded, the federal government borrowed to bail-out banks and auto makers and to stimulate growth. And then there are the promises made to millions of Americans of Social Security and Medi-care. A commission that begins meeting this week will make recommendations, but where should the focus be? Rolling back Social Security and Medicare? Raising taxes? If so, on whom?