Two Tweets That Explain the Entitlements Debate

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Feb. 26 2014 7:19 AM

The Entitlements Debate, in Two Tweets

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Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) speaks during a hearing on health insurance exchanges.

Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Here's Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) arguing that it's bad for the government to try to reduce the amount of money it spends bolstering the living standards of senior citizens:

And here's Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) arguing that it's bad for the Obama administration to refuse to reduce the amount of money it spends bolstering the living standards of senior citizens:

Do note here, however, that while there is hypocrisy about entitlements in the air, it's not a question of pure hypocrisy. The CPI issue and the Medicare Advantage issue differ from each other in that while some of the benefits of excessively generous Medicare Advantage payments make their way to senior citizens, a fair amount of the value is captured by insurance companies and doctors and hospital executives. Hatch's proposal on chained CPI is to simply reduce cash Social Security payments, directly taking money out of the pockets of the elderly.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.