Republicans Should Immediately Get Behind Means Testing Social Security and Medicare

Johnson Medicare cc

This should have been their centerpiece proposal during the last battle. They had the full attention of the country and could have put it to good use.

It is not well known, but prior to the government shutdown, some House republicans were arguing against wrapping a bill to fund the government with a demand to defund Obamacare. Instead, they wanted to send the Democratic Senate a government funding bill along with other measures that the Democratis would not like to vote on, including means testing Social Security and Medicare. According to one story circulating, the House GOP even had the language for this proposal drafted. If so, not sending it to the Senate was a big mistake.

Means testing for entitlements is coming at some time. There is no way to avoid it. If the Republicans propose it right now, they can shed their image as the party of the rich. If they wait, the Democrats will overcome their present opposition and embrace it themselves.  The opportunity to shed the party of the rich image will be forever lost.

If the House Republicans are afraid to move because of fear or alienating some voters, at least start with the wealthiest. Is means testing a $1 million income really a scary idea? You have to start somewhere and the time to get started is now.

Stanley Druckenmiller is a 60 year old retired hedge fund superstar. He has recently been arguing two points:1)  that we are conducting a war on our own young by saddling them with so much debt (a major theme of this web site) and 2) we should begin to reform our completely unsustainable entitlements (especially Social Security and Medicare) by means testing them. Why, he says, should people like himself receive these subsidies? Why indeed?

ACC does not always agree with Mr. Druckenmiller. He thinks that it was right to bail out Wall St in 2008 and we do not agree. He also thinks that the bail out should have been short lived and much smaller, that all the quantitative easing has done harm rather than good, a view which we share.  But monetary policy aside, Mr Druckenmiller is somebody we respect and admire, and everyone needs to listen to what he is saying about the abuse of our young and the need to means test Social Security and Medicare.

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