Remember the Promise Keepers? Say hello to the Promise Breakers.
U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) on Wednesday suggested that Republicans will continue a push to overhaul programs such as Medicare, saying in an interview that “promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many” and that younger Americans will have to adjust.
“What we have to be, I think, focused on is truth in budgeting here,” Cantor told The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. He said “the better way” for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order” and “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.”
He added that younger Americans will have “ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust” to the post-Medicare society.
As Cantor sees it, the existing Medicare program simply must be eliminated for fiscal reasons, replaced with a privatized system. In other words, the Paul Ryan plan that was soundly rejected by voters and policy experts alike is still the preferred model for the House Republican leadership.
As a matter of policy, this is still hopelessly ridiculous, for all the reasons we talked about in the Spring. But on a political level, this is just as misguided. The more Cantor and his allies base their agenda on ending Medicare, the happier Democrats are.
Also note the rhetoric the oft-confused House Majority Leader uses: the United States has made promises to the public, and as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, “many” Americans will simply have to accept that those promises “are not going to be kept.”
Why not? Because Republicans say so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises to senior citizens are not.
This is, to put it mildly, a gift for Democrats. I’ll look forward to the DNC running ads in, say, Florida, telling voters that the leading House Republican believes the United States committed to the Medicare program, but now believes those promises “are not going to be kept.”
And in an ideal political environment, the Republican presidential hopefuls would spend the next few weeks responding to a straightforward question: “Do you agree with Eric Cantor that America’s promises to Medicare beneficiaries should be broken?”