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Thursday, June 16, 2011

 
The Destroy Social Security in Order To Save It Plan

by digby

Ok, this is the non-logic driving the debates about "entitlements" that makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Here's Kay Bailey Hutchinson arguing in favor of her new proposal called the "Defend and Save Social Security Act."

Hutchison said that if Congress failed to curb Social Security Costs, retirees’ monthly benefits would be cut by nearly 25 percent beginning in 2036.


First of all the shortfall won't be 25%. But that's not what makes me want to bang my head against the wall -- it's the fetid logic implicit in this idea. Hutchison is saying that because Social Security is heading for a shortfall in 2038 which would result in a cut in benefits, in order to ensure that doesn't happen we need to cut the benefits. It's daft.

I'm not sure how this works. Perhaps they are convinced that if they say Social Security is "broke" or "bankrupt" enough times people will somehow believe that they are "saving" it by cutting it. Or maybe they just figure people are too dumb to realize that they are intentionally ratifying what is now only a projection far into the future. I don't know. But it is maddening.

Hutchison is retiring so they've tasked her with it since she doesn't have to face actual humans on the stump anymore. But it is a way of keeping this out there so that they can keep the pressure on the President to agree to some kind of cuts over the course of the next few years. (You should note that Hutchison's plan doesn't affect anyone under the age of 58 rather than 55 --- a clear sign that this is a negotiating position.) They know that this deficit and economic downturn is a once in a generation opportunity to gut the safety net and they aren't going to waste it.

If only the voters weren't so stubborn about wanting to keep living after they can no longer work this would be a much easier sell.


Update: This is a good opportunity for the Democrats to brand the Hutchinson's plan the same way they branded the Ryan plan. Hutchison's opened the door by making even more people close to retirement suddenly feel vulnerable. The Republicans obviously haven't learned their lesson.


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