File:Paris Tuileries Garden Facepalm statue.jpg

You would think after winning the shutdown and debt ceiling battle Democrats would press their advantage, instead they seem to be volunteering cuts to Social Security as a solution to a future budget deal. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin went on Fox News to promote a deal that would cut Social Security in exchange for tax increases.

Durbin said that Republicans had to put tax revenue on the table to get entitlement cuts. Fox host Chris Wallace noted that Durbin has previously supported entitlement cuts, and asked why Republicans should have to give up tax increases to get something that many Democrats support. President Barack Obama has repeatedly endorsed Social Security cuts as part of budget deals, and Durbin acknowledged that he did support Social Security reforms.

“Social Security is gonna run out of money in 20 years,” Durbin said. “The Baby Boom generation is gonna blow away our future. We don’t wanna see that happen.”

If this is what Democrats do after they win a budget standoff I would hate to see what they do after they lose one.

A truly progressive Democratic Party would be calling for – at least in their first offer on a conservative television network – expanding Social Security not cutting it. Which could easily be done by removing the cap on Social Security taxes so those making over $113,000 a year simply continue paying Social Security taxes on all their income like the rest of us. This would not only ensure solvency for Social Security well into the future but could easily provide additional benefits to current retirees. More revenues and benefits!

Even if you think removing the cap is too progressive, wouldn’t you at least start there?

And 20 years? We have record poverty, unemployment, and stagnant wages today. It’s time for the Democratic Party to prioritize and not open the negotiations by buying the Republican’s framing of the argument and offering cuts to historic promises. Especially without even offering a progressive alternative. Otherwise what was the point of winning the budget showdown – to reopen a conservative government?

Photo by Yerevanci under Creative Commons license.