The country has a very large debt built up from years and years of borrowing since Reagan. Bush's last budget year had a deficit of $1.4 trillion! This borrowing was caused by:
1) Conservative tax cuts for the rich under Reagan and Bush II that broke the budget.
2) Conservative spending increases, mostly on military.
3) Interest that must be paid each year on the debt resulting from 1 and 2.
4) Emergency spending made necessary by the financial crisis caused by conservative "free market" deregulation and cronyism.
Conservatives propose to address this debt they caused by:
1) Gut Social Security because money that was borrowed from Social Security to pay for the tax cuts for the rich needs to be paid back to Social Security so citizens who paid into the system can retire.
2) Gut Medicare because it is a popular government program that helps regular people.
3) Gut other non-military government programs that that help citizens who don't happen to be rich and are not owners of big corporations.
4) More tax cuts for the rich and increases in military spending. (Because they propose this as the solution to everything.)
Currently there is a proposal being floated for a "debt commission" structured to force these solutions without the cumbersome processes of democracy getting in the way.
Senators Gregg, Conrad, Bayh and others are threatening to force the United States of America to default on its debt obligations if such a commission is not set up,
Conrad, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) and a group of about a dozen other Democratic senators said that the enactment of a special fiscal process was key to their votes on the debt limit increase. The federal debt limit, now at $12.4 trillion, must be raised by mid-February to prevent the government from defaulting.
How are these Senators described by the media? As "centrists" and "moderates." For example, from the story,
The commission's supporters, mainly centrist lawmakers in both chambers, have said that the special legislative process is necessary to any fiscal reform because lawmakers aren't willing to consider the politically perilous tax increases and spending cuts necessary to bring down the deficit, which hit a record $1.4 trillion last year.
Again and again these pro-corporatist, anti-democracy politicians -- so radical that they are threatening to destroy the credit of the United States -- are described as "centrist" and "moderate!" Please click these two links.
Words have power, and the words "moderate" and "centrist" force people's thinking in certain directions. It is no accident that these words are repeated in the corporate media to describe those proposing policies that further the interests of the largest corporations over the interests of regular citizens and democracy.