Bill Kristol Says Rep. Paul Ryan Will Violently Slash Entitlements Next April

September 27, 2010 1:22 pm ET — Chris Harris

Defending the "boldness" of the Republican "Pledge to America" on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol perhaps went a little further than GOP leaders would have liked.

Kristol declared, despite the GOP not addressing entitlements in the "Pledge," that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) would address entitlements in the FY 2012 budget proposal.

KRISTOL: It's a step on the way to boldness. I mean, seriously, if a power drunk, inebriated, big government-loving Democratic Party is driving the car off the cliff, the first responsibility is to put on the brakes.  I think the Republicans are absolutely right about that.  Stop the bad policies, go back to 2008 levels of discretionary spending, that's a pretty big cut, as you pointed out in your interview with Republican leaders. That's a pretty big cut in current discretionary spending

WALLACE: Nothing about earmarks, nothing about entitlements.

KRISTOL: There are not gonna be earmarks next year. They can't get all their caucus to agree to it now, but if Republicans take the House, there will be such sentiment of the Tea Party nation that they will not, in my view, do earmarks.  They will really cut discretionary spending.  Paul Ryan will lay down the budget on April 1st, 2011, as chairman of the Budget Committee, that will address entitlements.  They're being reasonable; they're being bold in a reasonable way.

Ryan's plan for reforming entitlements is included in his "Roadmap for America's Future." As and others have noted, the plan will dismantle Social Security and Medicare, restrict access to health insurance, slash taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and raise taxes on working middle class families.  In fact, Ryan's privatization plan would cut Medicare by 76% and reduce Social Security to levels not seen in the U.S. since nearly half of all seniors lived in poverty.

So why wasn't Rep. Ryan's "boldness" included in the "Pledge to America"?

The answer to that question can be found by looking at Ryan himself, who once said, "There is never a good time politically to put something like this out there."  According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 68% of Americans opposed phasing out Social Security in favor of private accounts.

Bill Kristol is right. The GOP's hidden plan to eliminate Social Security and Medicare could be described as a "bold" idea. But it's also a terrible and unpopular idea.