Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kristol vs Ponnuru on entitlement politics

It's an inter-conservative debate: should the House Republican majority take on entitlement reform? The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol says yes:

"Leaving entitlements on cruise control is not a serious position for an aspiring governing party—especially one that aspires to reduce the deficit and restore our fiscal solvency."

But National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru says no:

Whether entitlements stay on cruise control is not really the question in dispute, since they are going to do so regardless of what the House budget resolution says. What Bill is really saying is that House Republicans should go on record supporting specific entitlement reforms even though the Senate won't go along and even though the resolution wouldn't actually reform entitlements even if the Senate did go along. That's an odd test of seriousness.

Sad to say, I sided with Ramesh on this in a post from a while back. I didn't mean Republican's shouldn't talk about entitlements and shouldn't put forward reform plans, but if there's no chance of passing reform now they should also think about conserving political capital for when there is.

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