The Republican’s budget guru (who has yet to do the math on his budgets) dismissed the President’s offer of chained CPI today, saying it isn’t entitlement reform – it’s just “clarifying a statistic.” Just last December, Republicans said they wanted Chained CPI more than any other “entitlement” reform.
On a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan trivialized President Obama’s decision to include a provision called Chained CPI, which cuts the growth of Social Security benefits, as a gesture of good will to Republicans in his budget.
“I don’t see it as entitlement reform, as much as clarifying a statistic,” Ryan said.
If it’s just a clarifying statistic, then why did Republicans demand it over anything else? Last December, Republicans said they wanted Chained CPI more than any other “entitlement” reform, but now it’s not entitlement reform.
In December of 2012, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he had to have chained CPI. Oh, a little chained CPI would be compromise and if he got it, he’d give the President $1 trillion in revenue, “President Barack Obama is considering a possible budget concession on Social Security cost-of-living increases after House Speaker John Boehner dropped his opposition to raising tax rates for some top earners, said two people familiar with the talks…. A Republican congressional aide said Boehner is pressing harder for the CPI revision than for other entitlement changes, such as an increase in the Medicare eligibility age.”
How can Boehner be pressing harder for the CPI revision than for other entitlement changes, such as an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, if Chained CPI is not an entitlement reform?
This is called moving the goal posts, and it works quite well for the Republicans because no one seems to ask them why last December Chained CPI was the thing they had to have in order to negotiate, but now it’s nothing.
The many Republicans attacking Obama’s budget before they‘ve even had a chance to read indicates that they never had any intention of meeting the President anywhere in the middle on the budget. They are not budging, because they know they can’t get Boehner’s House to raise revenue. In order to save face, they have to trip over their own words pretending Chained CPI is suddenly nothing.
The only good news here is that President Obama was probably betting that they wouldn’t bite. (He offered, they refused. He tried. They didn’t. Etc.) Once again, Republicans make fools of themselves when dealing with this President. They will do anything to avoid admitting that they can’t tell their masters that they have to raise revenue, even if it means changing what they want every time the President tries to hand them a carrot.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.