The New York Times
: President Barack Obama's bipartisan debt-reduction commission is in a holding pattern until after the volatile elections. They'll begin private meetings just afterwards, leaving only three weeks to complete their work. "The group, which has a Dec. 1 deadline for recommending how to reduce the annual deficits swelling the federal debt, purposely has done little to date beyond five public hearings, and it has decided nothing lest any decisions leak and blow up in the flammable mix of a campaign year with control of Congress in the balance. Amid that partisan backdrop, people in both parties say they have been surprised that the 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform reached an early consensus to put all three major budget parts on the table: taxes, annual spending for domestic and military programs, and the entitlement benefit programs Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid" (Calmes, 11/1).