For a long time now Republicans have been screaming about the coming armageddon if we don't cut entitlement programs. President Obama offered to meet them halfway in his 2014 budget by switching to chained-CPI as a way of measuring inflation for Social Security benefits (and other government programs) and raising Medicare premiums based on income.
But as soon as he did that, Republicans had an (umm...) change of heart.
With another fight over the national debt brewing this summer, congressional Republicans are de-emphasizing their demand for politically painful cuts to retirement programs and focusing on a more popular prize: a thorough rewrite of the U.S. tax code.No...seriously. You can't make this shit up!
Steve Benen lays out the process.
1. Republicans create a debt-ceiling crisis, demanding spending cuts.And Jonathan Chait sums up the Republicans message on this.
2. President Obama accepts spending cuts.
3. Prioritizing debt reduction, Republicans demand more cuts, this time to Social Security and Medicare.
4. President Obama grudgingly says he'll accept cuts Social Security and Medicare as part of a debt-reduction compromise.
5. Republicans condemn the Social Security and Medicare cuts they requested, and decide they want tax reforms instead.
But what is the GOP position on tax reform? It’s that tax reform must cut tax rates and not raise any revenue at all. So House Republicans are prepared to refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless Democrats agree to let them cut tax rates without increasing revenue. Their extraordinary threat, first presented as a way to force a reduction in the deficit, is now being wielded to prevent a reduction in the deficit.Comparing the Republicans strategy these days to the Keystone Cops would be too kind.
UPDATE: I just can't help myself. I have to add a note of caution for all of you to avoid any smoke inhalation as the hair-on-fire-about-chained-CPI emos try to absorb this news ;-)