So-called "deficit hawks" like Kent Conrad, Erskine Bowles, and Alan Simpson aren't just unserious. They're radicals. Their positions are an extreme departure from the philosophy of government that's guided American policy for a century.
I'd like to pose this question to everyone who has proposed cutting Social Security benefits: Why are you against this simple, clean, and popular idea? It's a sincere question. I'd really like to know.
If the Deficit Commission members want their recommendations for cuts to have any credibility, they should pledge to live on the same Social Security benefits that they would impose for other Americans.
Some deficit cutters will promise that lower-income people will not see benefit cuts. But any cuts will break the covenant under which workers have paid payroll taxes for a lifetime. And the question remains: Where will you cut?
There's only one problem with the argument that Social Security spending "drives out" education and other budget items: Those aging people have paid into a self-sustaining program for their entire working lives.