You may have missed it, but over the weekend congressional Republicans admitted that they are terrified that any Social Security cuts will lead to their defeat.
If you are paying attention to the politics of Obama’s chained CPI offer, you may have noticed that Republicans have been running away like their hair’s on fire away from his proposal.
The reason why is that Republicans are afraid that the president is setting them up. Roll Call reported, “The debate Walden’s remarks has set off inside the GOP shows many Republicans harbor deep-seated fears about publicly supporting the entitlement cuts they supposedly back and have demanded Obama and other Democrats embrace since taking control of the House in 2011…Many GOP operatives fear Obama’s embrace of chained consumer price index, a mechanism to slow the growth of Social Security benefits over time, is a trap — a means of getting Republicans to support the policy on the record only to see Democrats savage them for it down the line.”
The Republican strategists who suspect this are partially correct. President Obama is using Chained CPI to set up a win/win/win situation for Democrats. Republicans have to choose between raising taxes in order to get the Chained CPI, arguing for Chained CPI without the tax increase, or rejecting Chained CPI. If Republicans express any desire to cut Social Security, Democrats will savage them for it during next year’s election. If Republicans agree to raise taxes at all, the base of their party will erupt in rage. If Republicans split and some of them reject Chained CPI, it will never become law. (Chained CPI probably won’t become law anyway, because Harry Reid and many Senate Democrats have promised to oppose any changes to Social Security.)
While the activists on the left continue to completely ignore the political realities unfolding before them, it is looking more and more like Obama’s Chained CPI offer was designed to call the Republican bluff on Social Security.
The truth is that outside of the right wing ideologues, many Republicans see real political danger in messing with Social Security. In plain English, Republicans will get nothing on Social Security unless they agree to raise taxes. Since they will never raise taxes, Chained CPI is pretty much DOA.
Democrats have constructed an elaborate political trap for Republicans. If they go on record as supporting Social Security cuts, President Obama his party will snap it closed.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association