Say It Ain’t So, Chuck: Don’t Back Down On Social Security

Roger Hickey

A report in The Hill newspaper last night suggested that Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) may be floating a proposal that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare. If Sen. Schumer’s proposal was accurately reported, the senator could not be more wrong.

Just as President Obama declared in his inauguration speech that America does not have to cut Social Security or Medicare, Sen. Schumer reportedly offers up cuts to those crucial programs in vain hope of getting Republican support for tax increases.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist, sees a joint budget resolution between the Senate and House as the key to raising another $600 billion in new tax revenues. …

“The Senate budget would call for tax reform yielding x amount in revenues. And the House budget would call for zero in revenues. The budget negotiations would become the negotiations to replace the sequester,” said a Schumer aide. “Once we agree on something, we deliver the revenues to turn off the sequester.

“We can use the conferencing of the budget resolution as the vessel for achieving the revenues to pay down the sequester,” the aide added.

The joint budget resolution could also call for Medicare reforms and using the chained CPI formula to curb the cost of Social Security benefits. These entitlement reforms combined with tax reform would give Republicans political cover to accept tax increases — or at least more cover than if tax increases were merely packaged as an offset to the sequester.

Just as Republican leaders have been forced to back away from threatening to crash the economy to force Democrats to accept cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Sen. Schumer capitulates to the hostage taking that Republicans appear to be abandoning.

I hope the news reports are wrong because Sen. Schumer has previously been a strong opponent of cuts to Social Security. The Campaign for America’s Future reminds him and all Democrats that the chained CPI would mean an immediate cut to current Social Security benefits. These cuts are very unpopular with all Americans, and Democrats should be leading the fight to protect Social Security and Medicare, not helping Republicans accomplish their harmful goals.

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