6 ways President Obama and Congress can avoid the 'fiscal cliff'

Republican congressional leaders and President Obama sharply disagree over how to deal with the impending “fiscal cliff.” But a successful plan shouldn’t be that hard to put in place. Here are six ways Washington can avoid the “fiscal cliff.”

4. Raise retirement age and use means testing for Social Security and Medicare

To rein in entitlement liabilities, Congress should gradually raise the retirement age for both Social Security and Medicare. This should include an exception for those who have worked in physically demanding jobs or whose lifetime earnings have been low. Policymakers can also use means testing, asking more affluent seniors to pay higher premiums or accept less growth in their Social Security benefits down the road.

As part of these reforms, Washington could also update cost-of-living adjustments for both taxes and spending to more accurately reflect inflation. Democrats should like the fact that lower-income seniors are protected, while Republicans should be pleased with these efforts at entitlement reform.

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