Reports that President Obama could discuss with Republicans the idea of cuts to Social Security and Medicare is picking up praise from a source that doesn’t usually have anything good to say about the President: Rep. Allen West (R-FL).
In fact, this is coming from a man whose military career ended after a torture-related incident, who has called Obama a “low-level socialist agitator”, and who has said that Medicare will destroy America: “I gotta tell you something: if you support Medicare the way it is now, you can kiss the United States of America goodbye.”
Of course, West also opposes increasing taxes as part of a budget deal, though he did signal some willingness to close loopholes: “Our tax code needs to be used to provide economic growth and create jobs. It cannot be used to punish individuals and small businesses that create jobs. With Florida’s unemployment rate more than 9 percent, we just cannot exacerbate the situation with counterproductive tax policies.”
In a statement released Thursday, West boasts in part:
As reported in the Washington Post this morning, President Obama plans to argue (with Congressional Leadership) ‘that a rare consensus has emerged about the size and scope of the nation’s budget problems and that policymakers should seize the moment to take dramatic action. (President Obama) is proposing significant reductions in Medicare spending and for the first time is offering to tackle the rising cost of Social Security.’
“I want to take this moment to commend President Obama for facing the facts that in order for us to bring our fiscal house in order, we need to take necessary steps to address mandatory spending such as Medicare and Social Security,” West said. “For too long individuals and special interests groups have used these programs to demagogue and scare seniors in order to gain a political advantage. President Obama says he finally realizes that to save these programs we need to make significant reforms, and I support his goals.”