"I think we come back to the entitlement question. The Democrats should actually be in favor of certain kinds of progressive entitlement reform, it's not actually that big of a give..... One of the big concerns is doing too much fiscal austerity too soon in 2013. The more that you did in the form of, say, social security, one of the things with Social Security, which can be phrased in gradually over time, the lighter the load imposed in 2013." - Peter Orszag
Personally, I like Erza Klein, especially after meeting him once in person. He's genuinely a nice guy overall for sure, and we know how intelligent he is from exploding onto the scene with consistent diligence on budgets at The American Prospect.
Most people would probably say the same about Peter Orszag genuinely as a person. Nice guy who is definitely quite a personality for a lot of wonk people who aren't able to be personalities like he has been and is his own man.
They know their stuff and never mind talking about, and it's never a problem whenever Klein talks to Orszag on his Washington Post centrist blog. They are both smart, rational guys.
But it's a problem with Klein talks to Orszag, currently in his Citigroup phrase, when the former Obama budget director is allowed to advocate freely for raising the age of Medicare on Rachel Maddow's show of all MSNBC shows and go unchallenged like he did Friday evening.
It's one thing from a renowned and notorious party hack like Jonathan Chait to agree with raising the Medicare age, as he is the same loon that advocated for Iraq and many centrist Democratic, nutty things that have turned out to be a representation of why many Americans (and abroad) view both sides as untrustworthy and American politics as a whole as the reason why our democracy is really awful.
But it's even worse when this advocating against pure Democratic values transpired on a usually progressive and rational show like Rachel Maddow. Now I believe Rachel would not have allowed Orszag's advocating to go unchallenged if she was doing the questioning, but it was so troubling to see that happening on her show regardless of who was hosting.
Austerity is a failure for any society that has mediocre unemployment and/or lower taxes on its highest income bracket. We have seen the pain it has caused modern Western Europe, and only heartless or "immune to fiscal," pain wealthy people would have no problem implementing failed cutting ideas.
Our spending problem in America is only on our bloated military spending, not on social spending. Moreover, our real problem in America, thanks to radical conservative Republican philosophy introduced by the Cheney/Bush administration with tax cuts, is a revenue problem.
And it's something Peter Orszag and Ezra Klein just won't have, sadly, the outright courage to say repeatedly.