Ah yes, nothing like some good old inside the beltway Villager wisdom from the likes of the PBS Newshour's Mark Shields and David Brooks. Mark Shields thinks that the Democrats should commit political suicide by making cuts to Social Security because the public will buy into his nonsense that if they do it, it will be less painful than anything the Republicans might do later.
And David Brooks thinks that despite the polls out there saying that Americans do not want entitlements cut, the "reasonable" people will see the wisdom of taking their medicine and accepting our politicians wanting to balance the budget off of the backs of the elderly, the middle class and the poor rather than ask the rich to pay their fair share in taxes. Then Brooks goes on to compare raising the retirement age to him having a wisdom tooth removed.
Yeah, that's just the same thing. I would like for David Brooks to spend a few years in the shoes of any Americans who work physically demanding jobs for their whole lives and then come back and make that same statement. It's easy for someone like him who is an over paid to carry water for Republican policies day in and day out sitting behind a keyboard to think that working until you're almost seventy before you can draw retirement benefits is some reasonable solution to keeping Social Security fully solvent past 2037. For the rest of us that might actually have to work for a living in sometimes harsh conditions, it's snake oil.
Transcript below the fold.
DAVID BROOKS: Right, and I spent the week talking to members. You know, we have had all these deficit commissions which have come out.
And so I said, is there any reality to this in Congress? And so I have spoken to a whole bunch of members in the last week. And the short answer is, no, there is no political reality. The Republicans really will not accept any deal that includes...
JUDY WOODRUFF: In any of these reports?
DAVID BROOKS: No -- that includes any tax increases. The Democrats really are not that serious about cutting the entitlements. Nobody wants to revisit health care.
And so the basic -- my basic conclusion so far is we have got a lot of nice reports, and a lot of them are great, but they are not going anywhere.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And speaking of all this, Mark, there was a poll that came out, I guess an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, that showed, for all the public message and these midterm elections that they want government spending to be cut, when you raise, specifically, Medicare, Social Security and doing something with taxes, they say, no, no, we don't like that.
MARK SHIELDS: It's the old line about everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.
I mean, that's what -- everyone is for general economizing, Judy, but for specific expenditures. And that's why I don't -- I think David's reporting is quite accurate on the subject, but it's going to require a president taking this and making it the central issue of his administration, whether it is this president, the next president, because it -- that is the only way, you make it visible, that all -- everybody is in.
Everybody is in for a nickel and for a dollar, and it's going to cost you and it's going to cost us, but it is going to be better for everybody else. And I think the argument I would make if I were urging Barack Obama to take up this cause is, look, Social Security and Medicare are going to be cut. Who do you want making those cuts?
Do you want Republicans, who have consistently opposed these programs, or do you want somebody and an administration that believes in them and that believes that the people and Social Security and Medicare have to be protected?
And I think that's the case for Democrats.
DAVID BROOKS: I think that's the way to read the polls. And the polls are against what you said, but that doesn't mean people aren't open to reason.
And I had a wisdom tooth taken out today. And you had asked me, do I support or oppose getting a wisdom tooth taken out?
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I oppose it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Philosophically.
DAVID BROOKS: Philosophically.
MARK SHIELDS: Yes.
DAVID BROOKS: But I did it, because I had to do it.
And so you could say, do you support Social Security being -- retirement raised? No, I oppose it. But, if you explain to people -- and people basically understand this -- we have got to do it, that doesn't mean they won't do what they oppose, but it does take this kind of leadership.
And it also takes, not only the president. It takes business. It takes people in society supporting that. And so far, that business support from business leaders, civic leaders, it isn't there. And the president can't leap out without those people.