This was Mitch McConnell, two months ago, explaining why he thought the debt deal was a good way for the parties to come together and cut entitlements.
I view this as a major opportunity for us to do something important for the country. Think of Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan in 1983, when they fixed Social Security for a generation. Think of Bill Clinton and the Republicans on welfare reform in 1996. Think of Bill Clinton and the Republicans actually balancing the budget in the 1990s. Look, divided government, when neither party controls the government is the best time, the best time, and some would argue the only time, when you can do really big stuff.
This, according to Lori Montgomery’s reporting, is where the White House is on a debt deal – ready for entitlement cuts.
“Obviously, there will be some Democrats who don’t believe we need to do entitlement reform. But there seems to be some hunger to do something of some significance,” said a Democratic official familiar with the administration’s thinking. “These moments come along at most once a decade. And it would be a real mistake if we let it pass us by.”
So the White House slowly comes around to the position of the Senate Minority Leader. The advantage of entitlement cuts versus more deep spending cuts is that they place less downward pressure on employment. There are disadvantages, but for whatever reason we’re less concerned about the “uncertainty” of older people planning retirement and health care decisions than the uncertainty of investors and businesses that might have to pay higher taxes at some point.