"Very Painful Cuts"

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 3 2012 12:25 PM

"Very Painful Cuts"

One of Election 2012's major themes was an attempt at Republican Medicare jujitsu. Almost every member of the congressional party had voted, twice, for Paul Ryan's budget. That budget included an unpopular plan to change Medicare into a "premium support" plan for future retirees -- or, as Ryan liked to say, to "keep the promise of Medicare for future generations." Republicans blunted attacks on their vote by literally getting their Medicare-loving mothers to vouch for them. Older retirees, you were fine! No need to worry!

Now that the election's over, what do Republicans want to do to these retirees? They're back on the operating table. Bob Corker's talking about "very painful cuts" to the system. Nameless Republicans are about that specific:

Republicans have countered by arguing for a smaller down payment that must include immediate savings from Medicare and other entitlements. Republicans, using almost the mirror-image language of Mr. Obama, have said that they do not want to agree to specific tax increases and vague promises of future spending cuts.

I don't hear any Republicans talking about eliminating the "doc fix," a cost saving that would affect employers. So I assume we're talking about the classic recipes of entitlement reform, like raising the retirement age. Back in 2011, when grand bargain hopes still rang across the land, Republicans like Mitch McConnell said that a crisis was the perfect/only time to engineer these cuts. If both parties do it, neither party takes all the blame. Similarly, if there's a Medicare cut after all of those Republicans promised not to touch the program, they'll look like liars while the Democrats will look even worse.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 1:10 PM Women Are Still Losing Jobs for Getting Pregnant
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.