From Majority FM: Jonathan Alter On His Calls For Democrats To Embrace Entitlement Cuts:
Blommberg View Jonathan Alter, argued that cutting entitlements will guard investment in discretionary spending, guess how Sam felt about that argument? Sam and Jonathan debated whether or not CPI was a cut and agreed that the wealthy should pay more taxes...
You can read Alter's article here: Why Democrats Must Get Smart on Entitlements.
It's a long and pretty infuriating interview for anyone who has time to listen to all of it. Alter pretty much personifies everything we've seen wrong with our beltway Villagers who want to insist that liberals are being unreasonable and don't want to do anything about the long term sustainability of our social safety nets, which is not true. Seder did a nice job of taking apart his arguments and the constant false equivalency game he played throughout the interview, which was bad enough that at one point he was comparing liberals who want to protect those programs to Grover Norquist.
Alter based most of his arguments during this interview off of the assumption that if Democrats just agree to cut these programs now, that will stop Republicans from trying to make more cuts in discretionary spending in the future and that if President Obama finally agreed to some "grand bargain" that it would keep Republicans from demagoguing the issue in upcoming elections. As Sam rightfully noted, it didn't stop them from doing it in past elections and there is no reason to believe that Republicans still won't be demanding more cuts.
I also thought Alter was going to blow a gasket when heaven forbid Seder suggested lowering the Social Security retirement age and increasing benefits to take care of our unemployment problem in the United States. It would really be nice to see Alter have to face this same type of scrutiny every time he comes on the air and is portrayed as representing the left side of the aisle.
And I'm sure it will come up here again, but I hate the use of the word "entitlements" but that's what Alter called them in his article and in the segment above. They're earned benefits and social insurance programs and they are designed to keep people out of poverty, but it's not ridiculous to take note of the fact that if you turn any of them into a poverty program only, they won't have a political constituency left to fight to keep them in place and they'll wind up being demonized like welfare has been.