The blueprint for a deal to avoid a fiscal nightmare early nextyear may be found in the failed debt negotiations between PresidentBarack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner in mid-2011.

Part of their talks on a $4 trillion deficit-cutting planincluded a gradual increase in the Medicare eligibility age to 67and an alternative yardstick for calculating inflation that wouldreduce annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.

Democratic-leaning interest groups including the AFL-CIO aremobilizing to oppose any cuts to Medicare and Social Security.Still, Obama could use this as a starting point to strike amultitrillion-dollar deal on debt reduction with Republicans, saidWilliam Daley, a former White House chief of staff who was at thecenter of the 2011 negotiations.

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