Corker: Start Entitlement Cuts Now

Corker: Start Entitlement Cuts Now

There is a vacuum in the White House where leadership is supposed to be, especially in tackling the entitlement reform that must be addressed to save America. As a result, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is taking matters into his own hands. Corker said Tuesday he is willing to stand front and center in the battle for entitlement reform:

In our nation’s history, the best way big problems have been solved is through presidential leadership. In the absence of a president who will lead on this issue, one constructive way to start tackling our financial deficit and the fiscal deadlines we face this quarter … is to begin legislating on entitlements in areas where there has been strong bipartisan consensus in Congress as well as White House support: chained CPI adjustments and Medicare means testing.

Chained CPI (Consumer Price Index) has been opposed because it would slightly reduce Social Security benefits. The Congressional Budget office estimated that it would lower the Social Security Cost Of Living Increase by one-quarter of a percentage point each year, and save $112 billion over the next ten years. The chained CPI idea is an honest and fair approach. Unlike the regular CPI, which assumes that if prices on items rise consumers will not look for a lower priced substitute, like chicken for beef, the chained CPI version takes into account that consumers are not stupid and will indeed look for cheaper substitutes. In the regular CPI, expenditures calculated are taken from a two-year period, while the chained version uses monthly evaluations, making it more accurate.

Medicare means-testing would mean that people who could pay for their own health care could see lower Medicare payments.

Corker isn’t interested in dawdling, he said:

Elected officials have praised the concept of ‘entitlement reform,’ but it’s way past time to move beyond platitudes, start enacting real reforms now, save these programs for the future and save our country in the process. Only responsible actions will begin to rebuild the trust deficit that exists in Congress. I plan on introducing legislation to enact these reforms when we return, and after we pass these, though it will not be fast or easy, we must continue grinding through a similar process, month after month, using regular order, one piece at a time, until we have put our country’s finances back on a sustainable path.

Someone with a plan. It’s about time.