Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) told Meet the Press host Chuck Todd they're going to have to make some "tough choices so that we can balance our books" as he fearmongered about the "powder keg of dynamite" and debt he and his party just made worse with a gigantic tax cut for the rich.
During an interview with Bloomberg, Mitch McConnell said his biggest regret was not slashing our social safety nets, (at least not yet) but as Karoli noted, he wants some bipartisan cover before they go after Medicare and Social Security, and this move is par for the course with what they've been doing for decades -- cut taxes for the wealthy and then use it as an excuse to "starve the beast" and go after programs they hate and want to gut anyway.
Now we're hearing other Republicans parroting that same line. Todd asked Tillis about their prospects for the midterm elections, their lies about wanting to cover preexisting conditions and failure to pass an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, and Tillis responded by blaming Democrats for failing to help them deal with what he called a "crisis."
CHUCK TODD: But in fairness, you've had four years in the majority in the Senate to come up with an alternative and two years with full Republican control of Washington.
SEN. THOM TILLIS: Yeah, and I know you know how D.C. works probably better than I do. You've got to get 60 votes to make that happen. We did, through reconciliation, get rid of the individual mandate and take some of the underpinnings of the Affordable Care Act out. We've got to replace it in the same way that we've got to make sure that Social, Social Security and Medicare can be paid for and Medicaid, over time. What, what the Democrats are not mentioning are widely publicized reports that say, if we stay on the current trajectory, we're going to have a crisis in funding in those programs. No one wants to take away Medicare or Social Security or Medicaid from people who need it. But we have to have a sustainable solution. And we need 60 votes to get that done.
CHUCK TODD: Math is a funny thing here in Washington. Nobody seems to want to ever cite it. But we have a record-breaking deficit, a record-breaking debt every day, when you watch the debt clock, but a record-breaking deficit this year that may surpass $1 trillion. You now, annually, never mind, obviously, the multiples of that, in the debt. The president yesterday was talking about a new tax cut. You're talking about reforming Social Security and Medicare. What--where are you--how are you going to pay for this tax cut that the president is, apparently, proposing?
SEN. THOM TILLIS: Well, we've got to make sure that it's at least supported by facts around dynamic growth. It has to pay for itself. We can't go further in debt. I voted against the spending bill, the most recent one, because it was just too much money being spent. And so we've got to, we’ve got to get the American people to recognize that we have a powder keg of dynamite in a debt that's continuing to grow. We're reaching a point where the service -- our debt service could exceed our contribution --
CHUCK TODD: Right.
SEN. THOM TILLIS: -- or our investment in the military. We've got to make sure that the American people understand, we've got to balance our books. We've got to be on a budget, just like the American people are.
CHUCK TODD: Well, you just said you wanted any new tax cut to pay for itself. This current tax cut's clearly not paying for itself. The debt's increasing, not decreasing. And there's no sign that it's going to decrease.
SEN. THOM TILLIS: Well, if you take a look at the scoring for economic growth over time, we can -- I think that there is a way to rationalize that this tax cut will pay for itself through sustained economic growth. If we don't make the numbers, it won't. But if we do, and we're already seeing it early into this cycle, then I do believe that we create the net incremental revenue. It's not going to be enough to come anywhere close to retiring our $21 trillion in debt. That's where we're going to have to look at tough choices --
CHUCK TODD: Okay.
SEN. THOM TILLIS: -- so that we can balance our books.
CHUCK TODD: Senator Thom Tillis, Republican from North Carolina, I'm going to leave it there. Thanks for coming on and sharing your views. Much appreciated.
"Tough choices" are always for the elderly, the sick and the poor, never for the Tillis and his ilk and their wealthy campaign contributors.