Why the GOP must push for entitlement reform now

A rare consensus among all Americans gives Republicans a chance to put the nation on firmer financial footing

Edward Morrissey

Republicans won an historic victory in the midterm elections, flipping more seats in the House than any election since 1938 and taking the gavel away from big-spending Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The wave of dissatisfaction was related directly to spending by Democrats during their control of Congress as well as the unpopular push for a new health-care entitlement program by President Barack Obama. Yet as House Republicans prepare to repeal the ObamaCare bill as promised during the election, some conservatives have voiced a curious reluctance to fight for entitlement reform.

It isn't difficult to understand why. Recall that George W. Bush insisted that he would use his political capital after the 2004 election to reform Social Security, the easier of the two massive entitlement programs to address. Despite clearly understood analyses showing that the system would start running deficits within the next 15 years — and that reform sooner would mean less expense — his political opponents demagogued the issue. Then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid insisted that there was no crisis in Social Security. His fellow Democrats accused Bush of trying to take away benefits from retirees through partial privatization, which would have allowed workers to control their own investment funds — and keep the money out of the hands of Congress.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.