Tomorrow, House Republicans are planning to release the latest version of their Contract With America, modeled off the 1994 document of the same name. The plan will reportedly call for repealing the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform bill, as well as a full extension of the Bush tax cuts.
An open question is whether the Contract will be honest regarding the Republican desire to cut and privatize Social Security. Of course, plenty of Republicans have proposed such a move, including House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), but a host of GOP talking heads have insisted that the party wants to do no such thing.
Evidently Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — one of the GOP’s self-styled “Young Guns,” who will also be appearing at the Contract’s unveiling — isn’t clear on the party’s Social Security stance either. During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, McCarthy insisted that “no one has a proposal up to cut Social Security”:
The other fact is, no one has a proposal up to cut Social Security. It’s about protecting it. They try to claim that it’s about privatizing. No, it’s about making it the same option you have for federal employees right now.
Not only is McCarthy oblivious to his own leader’s plans — or to the pronouncements of Republicans like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who wants to “wean everybody off” Social Security entirely — but he also seems to have not read the book he just released with Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI). The book — “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders” — features Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future, a budget plan that drastically cuts Social Security:
The Ryan plan would cut traditional guaranteed Social Security retirement benefits substantially compared to the benefits now scheduled to be paid. Much of the reduction would stem from the adoption of what is called “progressive price indexing,” which would reduce the benefits of future retirees except for the bottom 30 percent of wage earners. For the average new retiree, defined benefits would be reduced by about 16 percent in 2050 and about 28 percent in 2080. Reductions would be greater for retirees with higher earnings.
But because Ryan’s plan involves diverting funds into the creation of privatized accounts, according to the Social Security actuaries, it “requires transfers totaling $1.2 trillion [to Social Security from the general budget] between 2037 and 2056.” So McCarthy himself is supporting cuts to Social Security that don’t even guarantee the program’s solvency, or else he is disavowing the plan put forth in his own book.
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.