Earlier this month, ThinkProgress reported a comment made by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) in favor of eliminating entitlement programs. To deal with the national debt, Bachmann suggested that the government should ultimately “wean everybody” off Social Security and Medicare. In this month’s edition of Esquire magazine, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) seemed to rebuke Bachmann’s call for eliminating entitlements, saying Republicans should never try to “abolish or reduce” Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid:
ESQ: Or how about the Social Security Act? Is Social Security a proper role of government? How are those programs materially different from the health-care reform that has been the focus of the president’s attention?
PAWLENTY: Well, in 1965 I was only five years old. I think if you look at Medicare and Medicaid, the premise was that government needs to provide some assistance to people who aren’t able to take care of themselves. I think we all share that goal, Republicans and Democrats. I don’t think anybody’s gonna go back now and say, Let’s abolish, or reduce, Medicare and Medicaid.
Pawlenty isn’t only rejecting his state’s star conservative lawmaker, but also the vanguard of other Republicans members endorsing a new push to privatize and diminish Social Security as well as Medicare. In the past few weeks, Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Jack Kingston (R-GA) have called for privatizing Social Security, and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) has proposed a Medicare privatization program. In fact, since 1991, House Republicans have cut over $1 trillion from Medicare.