That Geithner is Obama’s point man on the “austerity gulch” negotiations really does tell you all you need to know. Here’s Timmy on ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think one of the things that Republicans want to know if the president is still behind ideas that he has seemed to back in the past, for example gradually raising the eligibility age for Medicare, this adjustment in Social Security payments and so-called chained CPI, which would adjust the cost of living adjustments over time for people on Social Security. Is the president still behind those ideas?
GEITHNER: There is [sic] a lot of ideas out there, George, from Democrats and Republicans about things we can do to help strengthen [cut] Medicare and strengthen [cut] Social Security. And what I can do is to tell you the merits of the specific things we proposed, which, again, are very substantial savings [cuts] over ten years, $600 billion, billions of dollars. And when Republicans come to us and say, we would like to do something different or beyond that, we’ll take a look at how to do that. If it meets our basic values [oh ha ha ha] and our test, then we’ll give it serious consideration.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you’re even willing to consider new restrictions on Social Security, because people like —
GEITHNER: No. I didn’t say that. Let me clarify that. Thank you for asking me that.
What the president is willing to do is work with Democrats and Republicans to strengthen [cut] Social Security for future generations. So Americans can approach retirement with dignity and with the confidence they can retire with a modest [Oh, I like “modest.”* Just because I didn’t mastermind a controlled flight into terrain for the entire economy, I don’t get a huge bonus and a golden parachute? WTF?] guaranteed benefit. But we think you have to do that in a separate process, so that our seniors aren’t — don’t face the concern that we’re somehow going to find savings in Social Security benefits to help reduce the other deficits.
Heh. Timmy’s been reading Corrente; this is my argument that money is fungible.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So to be clear, that is one thing that is clearly off the table. Social Security is off the table in these negotiations.
GEITHNER: We are prepared to, in a separate process, look at how to strengthen [cut] Social Security, but not as part of a process to reduce the other [other?!] deficits the country faces.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, so that sounds like a yes to that, that question.
No, it doesn’t. Stupid people.
*NOTE: And is the “modest” guarantee so modest because it’s going to be “supplemented” with a private system?