Cutting Social Security on PBS–From Left to Right

shields-brooksOn the PBS NewsHour (4/12/13), the left/right debating duo of Mark Shields and David Brooks took up the issue of Social Security and “chained CPI“–the very controversial White House proposal to cut Social Security benefits over time by changing the way inflation is calculated.

So what did the pundits think of Obama’s plan? From the right, David Brooks thought it was brave:

I give him credit for some things. He did have some reasonably small Social Security reform, this thing called chained CPI, which is part a benefit cut, part a big tax increase. He does do some things which are brave. He does, I think, sort of move to the center.

 Brooks wanted more cuts, but this is a start. And from the left? Mark Shields had this to say:

I think what he did was gutsy; any time you make your own base that angry, as he obviously has done. Last fall, the Republican Senate leaders said about the chained CPI and the means-testing for wealthy Medicare recipients, that these are the kinds of things that would get Republicans interested in revenues.

Well, President Obama is doing that. And there seems to be precious little interest in revenues on their part. But — so I think he gets credit and should get credit for doing something bold and difficult.

Even host Judy Woodruff was left to comment, “It sounds like are you giving him a little more credit than David is.” Even on PBS, the left and right agree that cutting Social Security is brave; I guess that makes the public a bunch of wimps.



About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.