During an interview with Bloomberg News’ Al Hunt, 2012 GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said that she envisions entitlement reforms that go well beyond what House Republicans approved in their budget, written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). While Ryan is always careful to say that his plans would not affect those “near” retirement, which he defines at 55 or older, Bachmann believes that those whose retirement is imminent should be subjected to cuts:
BACHMANN: Anyone who is currently a senior citizen on entitlement benefits, they will receive them. We’ll be crystal-clear. But beyond that, we will reform the entitlement programs now, not five years from now, not 26 years from now, now. Anyone who is not yet on those programs, we’re going to change them.
HUNT: So if anyone’s 62 or 63, they would face Medicare cuts now?
BACHMANN: There would be changes in the entitlement system. And of course, we’d have to agree to them, but we all know what needs to be done. Whether it’s longevity issues or means- testing, that needs to be employed.
HUNT: But you would go beyond where Paul Ryan went on Medicare and you would address Social Security cuts, too?
BACHMANN: For Social Security, again, I want to be crystal clear: Anyone who is currently a retiree would not be impacted. But for people who are younger than that age, that needs to be on the table. Everything needs to be on the table.
Consider that she has said that she wants to “wean everybody off” entitlements. “Basically, what we have to do is wean everybody else off,” she has said. “So we just have to be straight with people. So basically, whoever our nominee is, is going to have to have a Glenn Beck chalkboard and explain to everybody this is the way it is.” As a reminder, the House Republican budget all but eviscerates Medicare, increasing costs for seniors dramatically, while gutting Medicaid. And for Bachmann, that isn’t enough.