You didn't see this in any Colorado newspaper this morning, but according to Politico, Colorado's normally lackluster junior Senator Michael Bennet is openly considering a plan that would radically overhaul Social Security and Medicare, whack discretionary spending, and (cringe now conservatives) close a number of corporate tax shelters for various corporations, including the ethanol tax credit.
Still, it is more than a little newsworthy that Bennet would so openly flirt with such massive cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
Here's how Politico described the plan, authored by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn:
In Coburn’s report, entitled “Back in Black,” the second-term senator proposes vastly deeper cuts across virtually every federal agency, including more than $2.6 trillion out of Medicare and Medicaid and about $1 trillion in new revenue from overhauling the tax code.
…On Social Security, he suggests that starting in 2022, the retirement age should be increased by one month every other year. By changing the benefits formula, especially for higher earners, and overhauling disability insurance, Coburn says he can put the program on a solvent path for the next 75 years.
And Bennet's position on the Coburn plan?
No other senators have seen the proposal, other than Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who had previously expressed an interest to Coburn when he caught wind of the senator’s efforts.
But the Democratic senator isn’t yet ready to commit to Coburn.
“He’s going to take a look,” said Adam Bozzi, Bennet’s spokesman. “He wants to look at all options on the table.”
For those of you trained in Washington speak, that is an open door from Senator Michael Bennet to $8 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in new tax revenue.
How deep are the entitlement cuts in the "Back in Black" proposal that Bennet has left an open door to? Real, real deep. Just listen to the New York Times:
The plan's Medicaid component is close to that proposed by Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which would turn that program, for low-income Americans, over to the states to manage through a fixed set of funds.
Paul Ryan-light anyone? That Michael Bennet would even leave a crack in the door to a plan that includes Paul Ryan-sized Medicaid reform is an IKEA-sized political shocker.
This would be the moment at which liberals come unhinged.
As for us, we aren't sold on the Coburn plan, but if Bennet were to show some guts and step out on this plank, it would totally remake the image of Senator Milquetoast. Who knows, some people might even call him a leader.
Surgeon General's Warning: don't hold your breath, but we still thought we would report what no other Colorado newspaper has.