IWF’s Nicole Kurokawa wrote in the Examiner about how the GOP’s pledge fails to address Social Security reform. She points out:
[Social Security] is a huge issue (one-fifth of the federal budget, unfunded liabilities in the trillions, and not sustainable by a long shot), yet, interestingly, one that was mentioned only in passing. The document merely states that the GOP will require “a full accounting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, setting benchmarks for these programs and reviewing them regularly, and preventing the expansion of unfunded liabilities.”
…Unfortunately, a failure to acknowledge the problem only kicks the can further down the road, but doesn’t make it actually go away. It’s too bad the Republicans didn’t have the political courage to tackle Social Security reform head on. Sooner or later, someone’s going to have to pull off the band-aid, and it’s going to hurt a lot.
This is certainly a fair point: I think Republicans would have served themselves well by calling for changes, such as reducing the future rate of growth of benefits for high earners.
That said, I find it frustrating that so much of the criticism of the pledge focuses on the GOPs lack of specifics and failure to address big issues like Social Security. Clearly, similar criticism should be levied at Democrats who treat Social Security as nothing more than a political hot potato. If the GOP had discussed Social Security reform in any meaningful way, those on the Left would have immediately savaged with charges of trying to throw the elderly into poverty.
Meanwhile, Democrats have absolutely no plan for Social Security beyond claiming there is no problem, except for the occasionally Democrat who will talk about raising Social Security taxes by lifting the income cap. That’s another massive tax on high earners (on top of the dozens of other taxes on the “rich” that Democrats also want to impose), and wouldn’t even do that much to solve Social Security’s long-run shortfall. Democrats have also spent the last year avoiding having to provide specifics to the American people, by completely forgoing the budget process-a complete dereliction of their duties.
It would be nice if the GOP had laid out more specifics on reforming Social Security and on cutting the size of government, but it would also be nice if we had a media that held both parties equally accountable for providing specifics.