Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Question of Entitlements

The other day, Andrew Sullivan wrote, "one party is committed to never raising taxes and the other to never slashing entitlements. "

In response I sent him this e-mail:


In an earlier post you said "one party is committed to never raising taxes and the other to never slashing entitlements." I think you misspoke. You must have meant to say "one party is committed to never raising taxes and both parties to never slashing entitlements." What evidence do you have that the GOP is at all willing to "slash entitlements." It might be willing to avoid granting new entitlements (although the GOP's willingness to increase Medicare entitlements during Bush's presidency calls that into doubt) but I don't hear any leading Republicans actually calling for the cutting, let alone "slashing," of entitlements. When pressed, Republicans love to point out their undying devotion to Medicare; even criticising President Obama for what they think is an inevitable cutting of benefits to pay for new entitlements. Furthermore, the GOP speaks of tax cuts as if they were entitlements. For example, the Bush tax cuts the GOP wants to make permanent. What is more of an entitlement than a tax cut that can never be rescinded regardless of the economic situation. And I think eliminating the estate tax would amount to an entitlement to people such as Paris Hilton who never had to do anything to earn their parents' fortunes.

In short, even taking the GOP at its word, the only person that might have to cut Medicare benefits is a Democrat. What entitlements are the GOP willing to "slash?"

R. Peter Nessen

P.S. - I am posting this on my own, rarely read, blog:

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