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Rep. Becerra Pushes Back On Fox’s “Cut, Cut, Cut Entitlements” Meme

Reported by Guest Blogger - June 23, 2011 -

By Brian

Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) did a great job discussing the deficit and pushing back on the “need” to cut entitlements in response. He’s a News Hounds Top Dog. He not only got his message across loud and clear without shouting or belligerence, he refused to allow Cavuto to interrupt him. You could see Cavuto doing his best not to lose his temper at being smacked down so politely.

Becerra started by saying "Social Security did nothing to add to these deficits. They didn't contribute one dime, so there's no reason why we should be making cuts to Social Security when it didn't contribute to those deficits."

Cavuto responded, "I think what the CBO is saying… that over the next 10 years the corresponding cost and growth in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, what have you, is going to double as a percentage of GDP? …Do you have to do something to slow their growth?"

Becerra nipped that in the bud. "That's a dangerous statement you just made, Neil. …If I say whether you contributed or not to a crime I should put you in jail, you would probably say no."

"I think it has contributed," Cavuto said.

"Social Security is actually going to be very stable way into the future because after we deal with the baby boomers we're actually going to see a dip. …Social Security costs stay pretty constant once you get past 2035," Becerra added.

"They moved that up 5 years,” Cavuto said.

"One year," Becerra responded.

Finally, Cavuto said, "Would you do anything to address entitlements of any sort?"

Becerra said he would "continue to make improvements on the historic health care reform that already helped to stake out about $500 billion in waste and fraud from the system."

Trying another tack, Cavuto asked, "Why did the CBO say the health care component of this is the thing that's galloping ahead at 3 times the inflation rate?"

But Becerra had a ready answer. "Because the private sector cost of health care continues to rise faster than Medicare and so Medicare's pulled along by these rising costs in the private sector. Remember, the principle driver of these deficits haven't been Social Security or Head Start programs that Republicans are looking to cut. It's been the Bush tax cuts and the unpaid-for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."

So Cavuto tried attacking on another front. "Why does it always come, Congressman, to Bush? Are we going to be in a situation 30 years from now where we're still blaming this poor SOB for everything?"

"You can't just say, ‘Disregard the thing that drove us into the larger deficits, the Bush tax cuts,’” Becerra countered.

But it’s OK to defend Bush, apparently. Cavuto said, "We had a recession that prior president was inheriting. We had an implosion in the internet."

"He came when we had budget surpluses," Becerra answered.

Cavuto didn’t dispute that. He said Bush "came in a recession, statistically that 4th quarter was sliding onto recession… We saw the NASDAQ cut in half. We saw an internet boom implode."

“During the Clinton years, we had 22 million jobs created, as opposed to the Bush years, where we ended up losing net jobs," Becerra answered.

Look up the National Bureau of Economic Research report. It shows the recession began in March 2001 under George W Bush.

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