GOP Senators Want To Take Debt Ceiling Hostage In Order To Raise Retirement Age

Those guys are such creeps.  Someone needs to tell them about the results of the last General Election.  They appear to be stuck on stupid

Think Progress

Two Republican senators want to use the threat of an economic meltdown to raise the retirement age and cut Medicare. Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced a plan today that would raise the federal debt limit by $1 trillion in exchange for $1 trillion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, as The Hill reported:

The Corker-Alexander dollar-for-dollar plan has several components.

It would structurally reform Medicare by creating competing private options giving seniors greater choice of healthcare plans. It would not, however, cap Medicare spending.

The plan would also give states more flexibility to manage Medicaid programs and prevent states from “gaming the federal share of the program with state tax charges.”

It would gradually raise the Social Security retirement age and use the “chained CPI” formula to calculate cost-of-living adjustments, curbing the growing cost of benefits.

In exchange, it would direct the debt limit be increased by the same amount as the savings generated from entitlement reform.

The U.S. will hit its debt limit on or around December 31st. The Treasury Department estimates that, using extraordinary measures, it could avoid default for another two months or so. Allowing the U.S. to default on its debt via not raising the debt ceiling could cause a complete financial meltdown. The 2011 debt ceiling debacle — during which House Republicans nearly pushed the country into a default due to their intransigence on taxes — cost the country about $19 billion in higher interest payments and at least one million jobs.

Corker and Alexander are threatening more economic chaos in order to achieve one of the most regressive potential policy changes. Though lawmakers point to America’s increasing life expectancy in order to justify raising the retirement age, life expectancy is only increasing for wealthier workers in non-physical jobs. As the Center for Economic and Policy Research put it, “there has been a sharp rise in inequality in life expectancy by income over the last three decades that mirrors the growth in inequality in income.”

4 comments

  1. If the Repubs want spending cuts, all they have to do is pass laws to that effect. That is their primary job. But Republicans can’t come up with ideas that will pass both houses of Congress, so they resort to extortion instead.

    President Obama has already said he is “not going to play that game” because once you start paying an extortionist, they don’t go away, they keep coming back for more.

    The question is: does the President have the spine to say “If you put a bill on my desk extending the debt ceiling I will sign it, otherwise it’s not my job, man”?

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    1. Stehen, all good points. I might add that the POTUS did in fact give in to GOP political extortion during the 2010 debt ceiling debaucle when they held unemployment benefits over his head a couple of years ago, right before the holidays in 2010. In fact, it appears that they always create a crisis so they can get their way in the end.

      The difference this time is that the POTUS is willing to “go over the cliff” rather than capitulate.

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  2. Here’s Robert Reich’s prediction. We’ll see if he’s right or wrong. Robert Reich: “Here’s my pre-New Year’s fiscal cliff prediction. Obama’s Plan B is NOT to go off the fiscal cliff and then introduce a new middle-class tax cut and spending bill retroactive to January 1. That’s the congressional Democrats’ plan B. Obama doesn’t want to go over the cliff. I expect right after Christmas Obama will tell Republicans he’s willing to keep everything as it is right now through the end of 2013 or until a “grand bargain” on the deficit is worked out before the end of the year — extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone, and extending current spending including extended unemployment insurance — as long as Republicans approve an increase in the debt ceiling through 2013. Republicans will agree, as will Democrats, because it maintains the status quo and is the least risky (politically or economically) of all alternatives.”

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