The flustered, unprepared, and arguably disingenuous response from Republicans this week does not bode well for future efforts on serious entitlement reform. The tens of trillions in unfunded mandates that will eventually bury the US economy and impose crippling debt do not result from offering too few benefits from these programs; those burdens result from too much expansion of entitlements, both in breadth and scope.
At some point, entitlement reform means restricting benefits, delaying eligibility, and increasing contributions in some combination. There are no end games to fiscal solvency for these programs that keep all their current promises and obligations. One way or another, bad news will be part of the effort, even while necessary to prevent much worse news.