Pity poor Chris Christie. All the Republican cool kids are starting to announce their candidacies, and he's still on the sidelines with possible indictments hanging over his head and a lack of support from residents in his own state. He's gone from potential front runner to also-ran.
In a bid to establish his relevance, he has proposed a plan to "reform" Social Security that is plain old austerity politics. It mostly involves raising the retirement age to 69 and cutting off benefits above a certain. He also wants to do similar things to Medicare and Medicaid. Of course, in typical Christie fashion he has pitched the same tired conservative talking points as straight talk, claiming that "Washington is afraid of having an honest conversation about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with the people of our country. I am not."
Chris Christie proclaiming his honesty is just about as ridiculous as Madonna proclaiming her modesty or Bill Clinton his marital fidelity. At least those other people don't insult the public's intelligence with such claims the way Christie does. He talks as if austerity is necessary because the money isn't there to pay for "entitlements." (Scare quotes there because I have been paying for the retirement benefits of the elderly for two decades now, but am supposed to somehow not expect the same provided to me by the next generations.)
We all know that the money is there, and that it is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Forget the Social Security trust fund, there is plenty of money held by the superrich in offshore tax accounts to keep the system solvent under the current rules. It's just that the ideology of Christie and his ilk says that billionaires ought never to be made to make a sacrifice, but that the average worker ought to maintain that state of affairs by putting off their retirements or sacrificing financial security in old age. He's also against raising the minimum wage, unions, and pensions, so I guess the future elderly with have to make do with gruel and early death.
We are the wealthiest nation on earth, and can well afford the rather modest retirement benefits our welfare state offers. To pretend otherwise is not to engage in straight talk, but the worst kind lying cant. Of course, Christie isn't saying these "hard truths" to get voters, but to get more of that sweet sweet Koch money. I get the feeling that even they aren't buying what he's selling anymore.