They point to one of the central problems in an argument that has become gospel - or at least acceptable in terms of cynical propaganda - among the Beltway Villagers:
Pelosi's reasoning on Social Security focuses on the costs of the program. Logically, a way to strengthen it even further would be to cut it much deeper. It's no coincidence that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who takes that argument to its logical extreme, also employs the term "strengthen" when talking about his plan, which slashes Medicare spending. While weakening a program to strengthen it may seem at first to be wholly counterintuitive, it begins to make sense from a different perspective. For beneficiaries, the program is weaker, as it pays out less. But for taxpayers, it's stronger, because the program can meet its obligations for a longer period of time without taxes being raised. The extra costs are borne instead by seniors.Tags: austerity economics, barack obama, chained cpi, fiscal cliff, grand bargain, medicaid, medicare, nancy pelosi, social security
That logic, however, is only ever applied to entitlement programs that have their own revenue streams. Nobody would attempt to argue that the military was strengthened by cutting its budget, or that education was strengthened by slashing funding for it.
Social Security was created in the 1930s to combat elderly poverty. It worked: Giving money to older Americans made them less poor. Shrinking benefits would correspondingly lower their standards of living. [my emphasis]