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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Fred Hiatt Just Makes It Up to Push Cuts to Medicare and Social Security

Fred Hiatt Just Makes It Up to Push Cuts to Medicare and Social Security

Sunday, 08 September 2013 21:16

Remember President Obama's 2008 campaign where he promised to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid? Yeah, that was where he said, "yes we can."

Okay you probably don't remember it because if he ever said he wanted to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the media strangely did not bother to report it. But that does not stop Fred Hiatt from claiming in his Washington Post column:

"President Obama came into office five years ago promising to make hard decisions, not to kick the can down the road, not to let entitlement programs — primarily Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — swallow the rest of the budget."

This is the Washington Post so perhaps we should not expect much in the way of accuracy, but even for the Post this is pretty far out. After all, in the real world Obama never said anything remotely like this in the 2008 campaign. Hiatt is just putting his senior-bashing agenda in the mouth of President Obama, hoping he can fool some readers. That is really pathetic.



Those interested in what President Obama did actually say about Social Security during the 2008 campaign can get a sample here.

Comments (9)Add Comment
written by Dryly 41, September 09, 2013 12:12
Why, oh why, can't we have a better press?
Remember and Then Reality
written by James, September 09, 2013 12:29
President Obama and GOP said to increase marginal tax rate for the investment bankers up to 50%. Obama needs to keep his campaign promise to abolish the drug patent.

That will never got printed bc you cannot make up stuff like that against the rich and powerful but you could make up stuff against the workers. And that's reality.

written by Procopius, September 09, 2013 3:19
Well, I don't really want to give old Fred any benefit of a doubt, but although he didn't run on it, and I'm pretty sure it would have cost him a lot of votes, he DID promise to "make the hard decisions" at the dinner he had with conservative columnists in January 2009. He's been quoted as saying, at that dinner and to those despicable people, that he firmly believed it is essential to "reform" Social Security and Medicare. In that context, of course, "reform" is code for "cut." His actions since then have shown that he really, really WANTS to cut them but the Republicans, by refusing to accept his many offerings of a "grand bargain," have denied him the cover he feels he needs.
written by Kat, September 09, 2013 8:31
I'm with Procopius on this one. Isn't he on record as promising his constituency that he would make "the hard choices" when it comes to "entitlement reform"? (His constituency being pundits and Wall Street as he has made clear 5 years into his presidency)
Yeah, But
written by Jeffrey Stewart, September 09, 2013 10:42
"President Obama came into office five years ago promising to make hard decisions, not to kick the can down the road, not to let entitlement programs — primarily Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — swallow the rest of the budget." -F. Hiatt

If you change the "five years ago" to "one year" ago and interpret "reduce the deficit in a balanced way" (which President Obama said many times) as promises to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, then F. Hiatt is right. He just got the years wrong.

It's mind boggling the policies and personnel President Obama fights for:
1) Social Security and Medicare benefit cuts
2) Lawrence Summers
3) War with Syria.
But Dean agrees with these cuts to SS and Medicare....
written by pete, September 09, 2013 11:21
In the past you have argued, correctly, that our health care professionals are overpaid on a global basis. Thus, medicare can be cut without sacrificing quality or quantity simply by eliminating the monopoly power of our health care professionals, and encouraging the importation of health care workers. E.g., European nurses and doctors would love to get our higher salaries, let alone Phillipinos and Nigerians.

Regarding SS, of course, many feel that the 12.5% flat tax should be expanded to higher incomes, or applied to dividends and capital gains. This would be a clear "cut" to those workers who are affected, similar to the cut we all suffered in the 1980s, by a higher retirement age and an increase in the tax rate. I would prefer taxing bad things, like carbon, rather than labor, but that seems to be a horrid right wing (re: economics 101) idea.
Hiatt is "remembering" when Obama came to talk with the Post's editorial board
written by Mike, September 09, 2013 1:53
Michael Shear "reported" it as a Post-approved front-page editorial Jan 16, 2009. Shear is usually much better than this -- usually a pretty straight reporter -- but this was a big interview the week before inauguration.

Obama's response to a question (from Lori Montgomery?) on Social Security and entitlements comes around the 24 minute mark.

Obama did use the words 'kick the can' and 'hard decisions'. Of course, Obama then implemented some hard decisions and didn't kick the can down the road as he rewrote health care and created a new entitlement for the not elderly to receive health insurance access and coverage. (Fully paid for too!)

Fred Hiatt is determined to ignore the changes to Medicare payments that arrived with ACA / Obamacare.

Of course the best way to reduce the deficit would be to get the economy back to producing at full potential and then raise taxes.
oops, left off the link
written by Mike, September 09, 2013 2:04
Shear story here with a link to the audio of Obama at the WaPo editorial board.

Two weeks before inauguration
written by Ellen1910, September 09, 2013 4:01
"President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that overhauling Social Security and Medicare would be “a central part” of his administration’s efforts to contain federal spending, signaling for the first time that he would wade into the thorny politics of entitlement programs." NYTimes January 7, 2009 http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01...bama.html; and see, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01...ficit.html

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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.