In a nice follow-up to the post below, here's Politico with "Left silent on Social Security, Medicare"
Opponents of significant changes to Social Security benefits were jarred in January, when the then-president-elect echoed George W. Bush's claim of an entitlement "crisis," warning of "red ink as far as the eye can see" in Social Security and Medicare. Obama promised that those programs would be a "central part" of his plan to reduce the federal deficit.Uh-oh. With their cherished socialist spending at risk, the liberal left has responded with
The relative silence of liberal activists who smashed Bush's hopes of slowing entitlement spending is a mark of the deep trust Obama enjoys from the left of his party - and it's also giving hope to those who would like to see major shifts in the way Social Security and other programs are funded and managed.Can Obama reform entitlement spending the way "only Nixon can go to China?" Unfortunately, I fear we've gone beyond the tipping point where the power of the retiree lobby (i.e. the AARP) will overwhelm any chance for genuine reform. For reference, check out this excerpt of P.J. O'Rourke's "Parliament of Whores" where Congress double-quick unpassed a catastrophic health care bill when the seniors discovered they'd have to pay for something.
Aww, snap! - Well, the P.J. O'Rourke section isn't loading right. Anyway, in 1988, Congress passed the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act to prevent the kind of economic ruin that occurs when seniors are faced with extended illnesses. But the $4 flat monthly fee was too much for the grayheads who flooded Washington with complaints. The world's greatest deliberative body folded like a cheap card table and reversed their own legislation by a vote of 99-0. (see pages 215-216 of the paperback version.)