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David Brooks Pushes For Means Testing Social Security

Bobo wants us to turn our social safety nets into welfare programs and we all know what would happen to them if he gets his wish.
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If anyone needed proof that PBS can be just as bad as the rest of our corporate "news" media when it comes to having a conservative bias and with having fake "liberals" on for "balance" to supposedly represent "the left," here you go.

As long as PBS believes we should be hearing from the likes of overpaid Republican turd polisher and New York Times' columnist David Brooks and his milquetoast conserve-Dem counterpart, Mark Shields for weekly commentary on how our politicians are behaving, put them squarely in the category of Fox-Lite.

Case in point was this Friday's show, where Bobo did his best to try to convince the audience that the main problem with the Republicans and the godawful, cruel budget they proposed this week is that they didn't means test our "entitlement programs," otherwise known as turning our social safety nets into welfare programs.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Let me turn you both to this country, to Congress.

Right now, the budget, Republicans — we now see, David, what the Republicans want to do with the budget. Many of them are arguing we need to cut $5.5 trillion over the next 10 years, cutting Medicaid, cutting food stamps. Democrats are screaming, this is way too much. Do you see balance here? What do you see?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, this is sort of happening on two levels.

One is the grand vision level, what do you want, and the budget — the Republican budget in the House does have a grand vision. They’re right to say we need massive changes to get the balance in budget. Over the next 10 years, the national debt is rising significantly up to about 78 percent of GDP. It’s very high, getting way higher the 10 out years.

So they do need to do things. I think the Republican budget priorities are messed up. I salute for the way they’re attacking some of the entitlement programs, but they are taking huge cuts, by pretending they’re just block-granting it to the states, out of Medicaid, from the least fortunate.


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Then they’re taking huge cuts out of domestic discretionary spending, which is already at his historic lows. And so I agree with the idea of cutting, but it should all be coming out of entitlements for the affluent and not out of domestic discretionary, which is welfare, education, all the stuff the government does, parks, FBI, and it shouldn’t be coming out of Medicaid.

So, I like their approach. I just don’t like the priorities they demonstrate in the broad brush. Let me just quickly on — the narrow thing is over where to cut defense. And the Republicans are just hugely divided.

MARK SHIELDS: I think they want to increase defense, Judy. It’s part of the Republican creed.

And they — for the first time, understandably, they have a real advantage on national security. And it’s measured in the polls. We’re going into what they hope would be a national security election. But it’s also part of what has been the consistent Republican position.

And they now are a more interventionist party than they have been at any time since George W. Bush left office. But I — at the same time, you have got the deficit hawks who really are — it’s beyond — they have given a bad name to smoke and mirrors. I mean, they are saying, we’re going to report — repeal the Affordable Care Act and we’re going to cut — we’re going to cut Medicare and Medicaid.

The Senate doesn’t do that, the Senate Republicans. They voted for it when they were not in power, but they don’t include it as part of their agenda when they are in power. So I think what we’re seeing is a lot of back and forth. As long as Republicans won’t — won’t raise taxes and as long as Democrats won’t in any way make entitlements based on need, rather than just across the board, I really think that we’re doomed to this deadlock.

DAVID BROOKS: Yes. This is like the Middle East. Both parties have to do it together, because it’s just too painful to do it alone. So you have just got to get there, and we’re not going to get there any time soon.

I know we've discussed it here many times, but AlterNet has a great article from back in 2012 explaining exactly why no one should be listening to either of these people.

6 Reasons Joseph Stiglitz and Other Top Economists Think Means-Testing Medicare & Social Security Is a Destructive Idea:

Means-testing is a back-door strategy for taking away benefits earned by hard-working Americans.

In Washington-speak, “means-testing” is a scheme to deny or reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits for people who are “too wealthy” in the name of saving money. It’s a counterproductive, harmful idea, but one that well-intentioned liberals often end up embracing.

It’s easy to see why. Economic inequality has exploded to dangerous levels, and the argument for means-testing seems to appeal to a powerful sense that the rich are getting more than their fair share at the expense of everyone else. Combine this with the deficit hysteria promoted by conservatives, and the trap is set.

Don’t fall into it. The truth is that means-testing is a sneak attack on vital programs meant to weaken and eventually destroy them. There’s a reason why an ultra-conservative like Paul Ryan pushed means-testing during the presidential campaign. And there’s a reason why private equity billionaire Pete Peterson, enemy of Social Security and Medicare who served in Richard Nixon's cabinet, makes a special point of bringing up means-testing when he is talking to liberals. Read on...

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