Former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey said in an interview that Republicans would be wise to talk straight about making cuts to Social Security and Medicare if they really want to cut the deficit.
TPMDC interviewed Armey at CPAC yesterday, and we asked him about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget roadmap we’ve been following that cuts privatizes Social Security and creates a voucher system for Medicare.
Armey (R-TX) was an architect of the Contract with America that helped Republicans win control of Congress in 1994. When we asked, he at first danced around the issue but then agreed “Yes,” the Ryan plan is the smart way to go if the GOP is “courageous.”“In the year 2009 mandatory government spending took 100 percent of all federal revenue,” Armey said. “If you’re not courageous enough to look at mandatory spending the two biggest components being Medicare and Social Security, then don’t tell me you’re serious about fighting the deficit. You’ve got to put reforms in there.”
“The conservatives have always got the better ideas,” Armey said. “Yes, what they need to do is they need to get out of politics and into policy.”
He said CPAC attendees and tea partiers are more interested in policy.
“When Republicans are investing themselves in policy they are winning elections and serving the nation. When they diminish themselves through politics they do a disservice to the country and to themselves,” he said.
I also asked for his take on CPAC, and he pointed to the growing numbers of young conservatives in attendance.
“They can sense where there is great commitment to principles,” he said, adding it’s the most “attractive” looking CPAC he’s attended.