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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Bill Clinton, Who's Known for His Plan to Cut Social Security

Bill Clinton, Who's Known for His Plan to Cut Social Security

Thursday, 26 May 2011 03:56

In an article reporting on how the Republicans are backing away from the Ryan plan for privatizing Medicare. the NYT quoted former President Bill Clinton on the need to cut Medicare spending. Mr. Clinton was speaking a daylong conference of the deficit sponsored by Wall Street investment banker Peter Peterson.

It would have been worth reminding readers that Clinton is a big proponent of cuts to Social Security. At the deficit conference that Peterson sponsored last year, Clinton boasted that he had wanted to cut Social Security but congressional leaders from both parties blocked him. The cuts that he wanted would have reduced benefits by approximately 1 percent a year. This means that retirees in their 70s, 80s, or 90s, would be getting almost 15 percent less in Social Security benefits today, if President Clinton had gotten his way.

His desire to cut Social Security puts Clinton far outside the mainstream in the Democratic Party. In fact, it puts him far to the right of the majority of the Republican Party. It would have been appropriate to remind readers of this fact so they could put Mr. Clinton's interest in cutting Medicare in context.

Comments (8)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, May 26, 2011 6:43
Clinton also warned the audience that Democrats may bring back Monica Lewinski in a blowback to derail spending cuts to Medicare the same way SS cuts were derailed under his tenure.
Gee, I Wonder if Bill is Looking for a Job on Wall Street?
written by Paul, May 26, 2011 7:44
Why else would he be sucking up to Ryan, Peterson and the Wall Street gang? Might also be useful if the news media started putting Ryan's plan in context: it was designed by the health insurance industry, duh.
written by Ellis, May 26, 2011 10:51
Actually, Obama wants to cut Social Security. Remember his deficit commission? Remember his appointees Simpson and Bowles? Those were his appointees.
Obama made his intentions clear (as he ever will be) in his answer to the Ryan plan: “Around two-thirds of our budget — two-thirds — is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security...the cuts proposed by a lot of folks in Washington have focused exclusively on that 12 per cent [of discretionary spending]. But cuts to that 12 per cent alone won’t solve the problem. So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget.” Presumably Obama is not talking about cutting spending for the military. That means cutting the Big 3 -- Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- as Simpson and Bowles called them.
That is what Obama said “requires the tough decisions and support from our leaders in both parties now.”
Whenever politicians talk about "tough decisions" what they mean is throwing grannie under the bus.
Dean -- choosing between Democrats and Republicans is like choosing between arsenic and strychnine. Wake up and smell the coffee.
written by S.D. Jeffries, May 26, 2011 11:43
Paul -
Bill Clinton doesn't need a job on Wall Street to amass a fortune. But the good will of Wall Street is necessary to guarantee the success of his daughter as a hedge fund manager.
It's about what one would expect
written by dopp, May 26, 2011 4:49
from the Great Triangulator, staking out the ground between the Blue Dogs and the T-bangers.
Ellis needs to read the whole speech
written by AndrewDover, May 26, 2011 7:08
President Obama continued:

"While Social Security is not the cause of our deficit, it faces real long-term challenges in a country that’s growing older. As I said in the State of the Union, both parties should work together now to strengthen Social Security for future generations. But we have to do it without putting at risk current retirees, or the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. And it can be done."

In 2008, he supported a payroll cap increase.

written by denny, May 26, 2011 9:26

I think the salient word is "slashing". Not the same as "cutting".
Political Cover
written by Jeff Z, May 27, 2011 7:14
Actions speak louder than words. Whatever Obama said in his speech, his actions indicate that he is not serious about protecting Social Security, nor reforming health care.

IF we had real reporters, this might be obvious. But is inserted to enable Obama to say that "We tried,, but the economic reality of the situations . . . . " Political cover your ass, pure and simple.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.