MS. RADDATZ: Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements.
Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive, Mr. Ryan?
Social Security is not an entitlement and it's not going broke. It has not contributed one penny to the almighty deficit. It's not part of the United States budget. But Beltway insider Martha Raddatz blithely made that assumption in her question. And she is being universally lauded this morning for being the bold, hard-hitting journo who was not Jim Lehrer.
Paul Ryan predictably took the cue and waxed orgasmic with her leading question:
Absolutely. Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts. We've all had tragedies in our lives. My mother and grandmother blah blah blah sob blah whine slurps water blah.
And then Joe Biden did his lesser-evil part and promised he'd never turn the national retirement insurance fund directly over to Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon. So everybody breathed a huge sigh of relief. But did Joe repeat his full-throated promise of just a few short weeks ago that he'd never lay on finger on Social Security? He most certainly did not:
And with regard to Social Security, we will not -- we will not privatize it. If we had listened to Romney, to Governor Romney and the congressman during the Bush years, imagine where all those seniors would be now if their money had been in the market.
That's it. Not a word about not raising the retirement age to 68 or 70, thereby reducing lifetime benefits. No promises not to tinker with the cost of living formula and thereby reducing lifetime benefits. Nothing about means-testing the program, which would give truth to the lie that Social Security is an entitlement/welfare program. Did you notice how he stammered slightly after "we will not"? This is a guy who'd obviously gotten his marching orders from his boss.
Remember, it was only a few months ago when Joe wandered into a restaurant and a regular person buttonholed him on Social Security. The veep's famous words:
Hey, by the way, let’s talk about Social Security. Number one, I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security. I flat guarantee you.”
Biden was immediately taken to task for his "pandering" by The Washington Post editorial board, which gets it marching orders from the White House. Biden's "gaffe" made it that much more difficult for Obama to tweak the program later. It had temporarily endangered the president's legacy as the Democrat who renounced FDR and made history by dismantling of the New Deal.
It was apparent last night that grinning folksy Joe Biden had suddenly seen the light and is on the merry road to right-wing austerity with the rest of the Democratic gang. Three weeks before the Election, and the Democrats are refusing to take Social Security off the table. They're hoping the liberal class won't notice. And so far they're successful, thanks to the rank extremism of Romney and Ryan.
The Republicans will stab you in the aorta without anesthesia, and the Democrats will wait till you're napping, sneak into your room and slowly phlebotomize you. The choice the Duopoly is presenting you with is this: instant exsanguination, or insidious anemia. Either way, you'll never know what hit you. You can die quickly, or you can turn 75 and realize you no longer have enough to eat. Drip, drip, drip.