Who Could Have Predicted That Republicans Would Attack Obama's Budget for "Going After Seniors"?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 10 2013 4:23 PM

Who Could Have Predicted That Republicans Would Attack Obama's Budget for "Going After Seniors"?

Republicans have been very clear about this: They want Barack Obama to be bold. They want him to propose entitlement reform. Up until the moment he does so, they want it because failure to do so leaves America's fiscal outlook in disarray. Once Obama does so... look, here's the video of Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who chairs the NRCC.

"His budget kind of lays out a shocking attack on seniors, if you will," says Walden. "I'll tell ya, when you're already going after seniors, the way he's already done with Obamacare, taking $700 million out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think he's crossing that line." Prodded by Wolf Blitzer, who (wrongly) says that Paul Ryan's budget also reforms Social Security (it actually just cuts taxes and expects more revenue to flow in), Walden says again that Obama is "trying to balance this budget on the back of seniors."

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It's just so predictable. This was the line in 2010, and in 2012, and one of those years -- after the actual passage of a bill -- it worked. But now? When the topic is a budget? The only extra disadvantage for the White House is that it baked federal employee compensation cuts into the budget, which unions oppose. So everybody gets to take a whack at the thing.

UPDATE: Still sort of predictable, if less so: Club for Growth President Chris Chocola calls on Walden to take it back.

Greg Walden doesn’t seriously oppose even the most modest of reforms to social security, right? With nearly $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, the last thing Republicans should attack the Democrats for is for making the most minor reforms to our entitlement programs. If anything, President Obama nibbles around the edges of entitlement reform and doesn’t do anything to put entitlements on a permanently sustainable path. Greg Walden ought to think about clarifying his remarks on chained CPI, and think about clarifying soon. I’m sure his constituents would like to know his opinion.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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