If you don’t think that Serious People want to dismantle the social safety net, you’re not paying attention. Here’s Bobo in a column that conflates the current budget problems with down-the-road entitlement issues:
This is not like fixing Social Security in the early 1980s. The current debt problem is of an entirely different scale. It requires a rewrite of the social contract, a new way to think about how the government pays for social insurance.
The current budget problems have nothing to do with Social Security. In fact, they are largely the product of supply side economic tax cuts and an economic collapse largely caused by belief in free market fairies. Moreover, the entitlements issue (and it is an issue) has very little to do with Social Security (which can be fixed again, if necessary, just as easily as it was in the 1980s) and everything to do with the strain on Medicare and Medicaid caused by rising medical costs (a strain that employers and workers are feeling just as badly in the private insurance market).
Tell me that this isn’t just like Iraq. We were a fed a mish-mash of Al Qaeda connections, nuclear programs, and the just plain evilness of Saddam Hussein, all of it part of one big “Islamofascist” stew. Now the “fiscal austerity” stew involves short-term budgetary issues, Social Security, and medical costs, none of which are related in any way. By conflating them, you create a single monster to fight against. Want to “fix Social Security”? Just cut earmarks. Want to stop Al Qaeda? Just attack a secular Muslim country.
Iraq was a disaster largely because there was no plan. Bobo and Sully and the rest have no plan for what we do after we’ve gotten rid of Social Security and Medicare and liquidated all the evil unions either. But we’ll all be greeted as liberators when we reach Galt’s Gulch.