Cantor: We Need To Embrace Paul Ryan's Roadmap

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(h/t Heather)

Aw, isn't it the sweetest? Eric Cantor insists on standing by his man, Paul Ryan, telling Meet the Press host David Gregory that the Republicans must "embrace" Ryan's Roadmap for America.

DAVID GREGORY: How about-- and-- and the irony-- of Paul Ryan being introduced as the budget chairman-- and he's doing the response to the State of the Union. He is the one who's proposed draconian-- cuts to--

REP. ERIC CANTOR: Right.

DAVID GREGORY: --Social Security and to Medicare.

DAVID GREGORY: And Republicans don't stand behind him.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: That's not true. I just told you that-- we put a chapter in our book about it because the direction in which the road map goes is something we need-- we need to embrace.

Actually, it *is* true and as Jon Perr writes, Cantor can't hide his "Ryan eyes" :

During the 2010 midterm elections, John Boehner's "GOP Pledge to America" took those two popular programs off the table when it came to his now broken $100 billion budget cut promise. The much-hyped Republican Study Committee plan to slash $2.5 trillion in discretionary spending for Democratic priorities similarly includes what Boehner's Pledge deemed "common-sense exceptions for seniors." And throughout the fall campaign, the same Republican Party that tried to kill Medicare in the 1960's and gut it in the 1990's falsely accused Democrats wanting to cut benefits to 46 million American elderly.

Which is why Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America makes the Republican leadership queasy. Because while most no doubt agree in principle with Ryan's "slash and privatize" agenda, they are terrified of saying so on the record.

In February, House Minority Leader John Boehner distanced himself from Ryan's Roadmap, saying, "it's his." In July, Boehner grumbled, "There are parts of it that are well done," adding, "Other parts I have some doubts about, in terms of how good the policy is." And with good reason. With its draconian spending cuts, Medicare rationing, tax cuts for the rich and Social Security privatization, a GOP platform based on Ryan's Roadmap would about as popular as the Ebola virus. As the Washington Post put it:

Many Republican colleagues, who, even as they praise Ryan for his doggedness, privately consider the Roadmap a path to electoral disaster...

The discomfort some Republicans feel for Ryan's proposals goes beyond November. If Republicans were to take control of Congress next year, Ryan will rise to chairman of the Budget Committee. He could use the position to hold colleagues accountable for runaway budget deficits and make it more difficult for fellow Republicans -- and Democrats -- to stuff bills with expensive projects that add to the problem.

Why is it that Republicans love to say that "everything is on the table" but the only thing that actually ever gets mentioned is the two most successful programs for the average American and cutting for those who can least afford it? Let's be clear: Social Security is NOT an entitlement--it's a trust. Nor will it ever be insolvent if the income cap is removed. That's all it would take, but instead we have Republicans preaching austerity measures for senior citizens as if that would solve all our economic woes. Idiots.

Every fair-minded analysis makes clear that Ryan's roadmap is a right-wing fantasy, slashing taxes on the rich while raising taxes for everyone else. The plan calls for privatizing Social Security and gutting Medicare, and fails miserably in its intended goal -- cutting the deficit. As Paul Krugman explained, the Ryan plan "is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America's fiscal future."

I really hope that the Republicans keep going along this track. The Republican voter is typically older and let's see how much support they can count on when they go after Social Security and Medicare.

DAVID GREGORY: Let's talk about Social Security. A couple weeks ago-- Majority Leader Reid in the Senate was on the program and I asked him about whether Social Security is in crisis. This is what he said.

(VIDEO CLIP NOT TRANSCRIBED)

DAVID GREGORY: If you disagree with Leader Reid are you prepared to raise the retirement age, means test, benefits or in-- another way seriously tackle the entitlement of Social Security?

REP. ERIC CANTOR: David, what we have said is we've got a serious fiscal train wreck coming for this country if we don't deal with these entitlements. And so entitlements are something that we need to begin to work on. Now for me the first entitlement we need to deal with-- is the healthcare bill. Is the Obamacare bill.

DAVID GREGORY: We'll get to healthcare. I asked you--

REP. ERIC CANTOR: You know--

DAVID GREGORY:--about Social Security now.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: And-- absolutely. And-- and-- and so we have got to-- focus-- on what we can do together. Now as you s-- as-- as that just indicated, the Senate is not willing to do anything under Harry Reid.

DAVID GREGORY: What are you willing to do? Means test benefits? Raise the retirement age?

REP. ERIC CANTOR: David, we've-- we have a program that we have seen one of our members, Paul Ryan, the chairman of the budget committee, put together called the Road Map. And he and Kevin McCarthy and I wrote a book together. And in that book we reserved a chapter for discussion-- about Social Security, about Medicare, and how we can begin to at least discuss

DAVID GREGORY: Well, what are you for?

REP. ERIC CANTOR: --to do that.

DAVID GREGORY: Leader, I'm asking you what you're for.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: What-- what-- what I'm telling you we're for is we're for an active discussion to see what we can together--

DAVID GREGORY: How--

REP. ERIC CANTOR: --and do.

DAVID GREGORY: --discussion Social Security and what is happening has been discussed for years.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: Well--

DAVID GREGORY: How about-- and-- and the irony-- of Paul Ryan being introduced as the budget chairman-- and he's doing the response to the State of the Union. He is the one who's proposed draconian-- cuts to--

REP. ERIC CANTOR: Right.

DAVID GREGORY: --Social Security and to Medicare.

DAVID GREGORY: And Republicans don't stand behind him.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: That's not true. I just told you that-- we put a chapter in our book about it because the direction in which the road map goes is something we need-- we need to embrace. Now let me tell you this--

DAVID GREGORY: Raise the retirement age? Means testing benefits? Those are the specifics.

REP. ERIC CANTOR: The fundamental-- the starting point in any plan has got to be we need to distinguish between those-- at or nearing retirement. Anyone 55 and older in this country has got to know-- that their Social Security benefits will not be addressed. Will not be changed. It is for all the younger people, the-- those 54 and younger, we're gonna have to have a serious discussion. Now with Harry Reid talking about the fact that he doesn't wanna even discuss it, that's not leadership.

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