Via TPM, I … can’t help sharing Liz Mair’s feeling here:
Kill me now. Are we for breaking bank on entitlements? MT @TPM Top R blasts O budget as "shocking attack on seniors" http://t.co/YIhpdkYykR
— Liz Mair (@LizMair) April 10, 2013
Justin Green elaborates:
Real talk? Those seniors created this mess. They were born into the most affluent and productive society on Earth, they had their fun in the 1960s and 70s, and they didn’t have enough kids to leave a strong work force to support them. But no, we certainly can’t talk about limiting benefits. That’d be unfair and shocking!
I’m not really the austerity type. We don’t need big cuts now. But if conservatives are to ever get serious about preventing the natural growth of government spending (aging society, remember) from ballooning into a real issue, it won’t be as the party that defends the old against the young.
So hey, President Obama, not a huge fan of your budget, but I’m certainly not going to attack you for requesting moderate entitlement reform. In fact, bravo!
Paul Ryan, while not endorsing Obama’s chained CPI proposal to reform Social Security (in part because it’s too weak), felt obliged to say, “I think the president should be commended for leaning into an issue that is not popular,” yet here’s Greg Walden unloading on The One ahead of 2014 in a GOP version of Mediscaring. (It’s no coincidence that Walden’s head of the NRCC.) I know, I know — this tactic worked before. But the longer it’s used by one side, the more difficult it is for the other side to safely propose even the mildest entitlement rollbacks. What Walden’s doing here is telling O that it’s in his political interest to stay far, far away from reforming Social Security and Medicare, and telling the public that entitlements aren’t so urgent a crisis that they can’t be used as a partisan bludgeon. What point of budgetary despair do we need to reach before the impulse to build bipartisan support for reform overwhelms the impulse to grab a few extra votes through Mediscaring? We don’t have much time.
Update: The Club for Growth to the rescue:
“Greg Walden doesn’t seriously oppose even the most modest of reforms to social security, right?” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “With nearly $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, the last thing Republicans should attack the Democrats for is for making the most minor reforms to our entitlement programs. If anything, President Obama nibbles around the edges of entitlement reform and doesn’t do anything to put entitlements on a permanently sustainable path.”
“Greg Walden ought to think about clarifying his remarks on chained CPI, and think about clarifying soon. I’m sure his constituents would like to know his opinion,” added Chocola.