Most people, provided they have a minimum of experience, know that taking a bone from a dog is a risky proposition. In terms of political power, few dogs are bigger than the American voting public. Taking away, or even threatening to take away, the major entitlements to which they have become accustomed could expose politicians to a mauling at election time. As the American leadership begins to grapple with very large issues of entitlement reform in "sacred" programs such as Medicare and Social Security, many may recoil from the task once the fangs begin flashing.
According to polls, 77% of Americans feel the U.S. Government must cut spending. But when it comes to specifics, the support melts away very fast. Until recently, the strongly Republican 26th District of upstate New York had elected only three Democrats since the Civil War. But in a special election held this month (to replace the resigned Republican Chris Lee) the district fell to the Democratic column for the fourth time in 150 years. Many have theorized that the political upset was based on fears that the budget plan put forward by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would restrict entitlements, particularly Medicare.