Thursday, December 30, 2010

Krauthammer: "If The Republicans Propose Serious Entitlement Reform, They're Gonna Get Crushed"


The same tea party-driven electorate that just obliterated the Democrats - in large measure as a rebuke to their jaw-dropping affinity for racking up debt - is now going to crush Republicans if they dare propose serious entitlement reform?

Sorry, I don't buy it. I think most voters now realize that entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are simply unsustainable. And the fix is not ever-higher taxes, or raising the retirement age to 2050, etc. Something serious has to be done, and soon - or else the programs will suddenly and chaotically implode. And who's fault is that going to be?

Of course, it will be the Republicans' fault. And that's the point. The Democrats will always shamelessly demagogue entitlement programs, no matter what Republicans do. Remember when George W. Bush passed that huge unfunded expansion of Medicare (prescription Rx)? It was almost Democrat-like in its foolhardiness. Fat lot of political good that did for the Republicans - to this day, the party is still portrayed by the buffoons on the Left as a bunch of cold-blooded misers who want to see you dead.

I appreciate Krauthammer's concern for the political well-being of the GOP, but this is no time for us conservatives to start being afraid of our own shadows.
"Look, I think the Republicans learned a lesson from what happened with the Gingrich Revolution in '94. The Republicans were so heady in those days, they thought you could govern from Congress. And they had control of the House and the Senate, and they could not. They were defeated, the President faced 'em down, and he won re-election, and essentially drove 'em out of town.

"I think the Republicans have to understand that with control of only one House, all that they can do is containment. If the Republicans propose serious entitlement reform, they're gonna get crushed! First of all, it's not gonna end up being enacted, it'll be demagogued by the Democrats. If there is gonna be a deal on that, it's gonna have to be one behind closed doors, the way the tax cut deal was done in the lame duck session, where the Republicans and Democrats agree in advance that they would take equal hits.

"So, if you're not going to do entitlement reform, what's left? You're going to do domestic discretional spending. I think what the Republicans have to do is to do it in a process way. If you say we want to restore the budget to the 2008 level, you are not actually attacking individual programs, you are leaving to the bureaucrats - meaning the Democratic Obama bureaucrats - the choice of what you cut and what you don't. So I think it's smart - you put a cap on spending, and you say to the Administration, the Democratic Administration, you go ahead now and do it. That way when a program is cut, you are not directly responsible."
Transcribed from the video over at The Right Scoop. Cross-posted.

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