Cato: GOP Presidential Hopefuls Don't Address Entitlement Reform

Wednesday, 28 Sep 2011 10:02 AM

By Greg McDonald

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The leading Republican presidential candidates talk about reducing government spending, but fail to back up the claims by discussing entitlement reform, according to Cato Institute senior fellow Michael Tanner.
“There’s time, and lots of debates, to hear specifics from them,” Tanner writes in a column posted on National Review Online on Wednesday. “But so far, the omens are not auspicious.”
Nearly all the candidates have floated ideas about how to deal with the problems facing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, says Tanner.
But he notes that only a few of the “second-tier” candidates like businessman Herman Cain and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — have actually spelled out proposals of their own, he notes.
The top candidates on the other hand have been “murky” at best on the entitlement reform, sounding a lot like Democrats by talking about the need to rein in costs without producing concrete plans, Tanner says.
Tanner writes that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has suggested on the campaign trail that “some type of private investment option” for Social Security might work, but stops there.
Other than making headlines with his description of Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme,” he says Perry “has offered nothing in the way of a proposal for reform.”
Tanner says the same is true for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, both of whom at least for now seem to be content with simply defending Social Security as a necessary federal program while attacking Perry for calling it a Ponzi scheme.

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