Eight months is a long time in politics, but it will be eight months ago next week that House Republicans voted overwhelmingly for a budget that envisioned a massively scaled-down social safety net -- a smaller, privatized health care system for old people, to replace traditional Medicare; Medicaid financially constrained, and handed over to state governments; cuts to various other support programs that benefit the poor, the young, and the elderly.
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That didn't sit well with voters. And in the months that followed, Republicans tried to contain the fallout by making federal deficits a central political issue while forcing Democrats to agree to real cuts to these programs -- all while refusing themselves to raise taxes, even on the very wealthiest Americans.
This too didn't go according to plan. The GOP upheld its vow not to raise taxes; Democrats insisted new tax revenue was a criterion for cutting benefits; and Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security avoided the scalpel.
At least for now.