Beto O’Rourke has been doing a lot of apologizing since entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination just days ago. Among other things, the former Texas congressman has expressed regret for having made light of his negligent parenting, for the extent to which he had benefited from “white privilege,” and for having penned a gruesome murder story as a teenager. Given the mood of the Democratic Party’s activist base, however, I suspect all these will be considered venial sins in comparison to the fact that he once flirted with entitlement reform.
While O’Rourke’s exploits as a teenage hacker could be dismissed as youthful mischief-making, The Wall Street Journal reports that he called for raising the Social Security eligibility age and means-testing federal entitlements as recently as 2012, when he was in his late 30s, old enough and wise enough, presumably, to have reached a considered judgment on such important questions of public policy.
Recall that O’Rourke was hardly alone among Democrats in championing entitlement reform during the Obama years. President Barack Obama, for one, had on several occasions called for restraining the growth of Social Security benefits, and the Affordable Care Act, his signature legislative achievement, introduced a series of new cost-control mechanisms designed to keep Medicare spending under control.