“Medicare will be part of any agreement to begin to reduce our long-term debt. I’m not going to put a number on the overall package but we all know what the driver of the debt is,” McConnell said. […] “I am confident that taxes are not going to be a part of this,” he said.McConnell: Saying Medicare is off the table is ‘silly talk’ and ‘nonsense’

Republicans say no tax increases, but they expect Medicare “reforms” to be part of any debt-limit deal. Sen. Mitch McConnell also doesn’t think there are any lessons to be drawn from Kathy Hochul’s win in NY-26. He should read David Brooks:

A few weeks ago, the Republicans might have been able to withstand this. Then it was possible to argue that Americans are so fed up with runaway spending and unsustainable debt that they would support a party brave enough to put the country on a sound fiscal footing. After the Republican defeat in New York’s 26th Congressional District, it is harder to argue that. After these results, 2012 looks more like a regular election ““ whichever party can be accused of cutting entitlements will get pummeled.

[…] …First, Republicans have to make a grand offer on raising the debt ceiling. This offer should include a bipartisan commitment to reduce the growth of Medicare spending. Republicans need Democratic fingerprints on a plan to restrain entitlements. In exchange, Republicans should offer to raise tax revenues on the rich. They should get rid of the interest deductions on mortgages over $500,000 and on second homes. They should close corporate loopholes and cap the health insurance deduction. They should offer a plan that follows the outline of the Simpson-Bowles report and what the now “Gang of Five” in the Senate is working on. (Senator Mark Kirk has a proposal roughly on this latter point.)

… But if the Republicans made an offer that included revenue increases, they would at least show they are willing to compromise to prevent a national catastrophe. And Democrats might take them up on it. Many Democrats understand the fiscal peril.

That’s some chasm between McConnell and Brooks.

At least Social Security is off the table for now.

McConnell acknowledged that Social Security reform will not be a part of the debt-limit talks, despite GOP support for raising the retirement age. “The president doesn’t seem to want to do Social Security even though it ran a $50 billion deficit this year, so I’m assuming we won’t do that,” he said.

Clearly McConnell and the Republicans believe Pres. Obama and the Democrats will buy into their ideas of cuts without having to compromise on raising taxes for the mil-billionaire classes. Hmmm… wonder how they ever got that idea?