This idea of means-testing Social Security, which we have been covering here, really has the potential to mix up the usual sides. Today Bob Herbert, a left-of-center New York Times columnist (call the squad squad, as Safire used to say), criticizes would-be-speaker-of-the-House John Boehner: "That's Mr. Boehner, for you — always willing to stick his neck out for the elite. When it comes to policies of particular concern to ordinary individuals and families, however, his generosity of spirit and passionate willingness to help vanishes. He believes, for example, that Americans who are at least 20 years away from retirement should be unable to receive Social Security before they are 70, and that Social Security benefits should be means-tested."
Advocates of means-testing Social Security argue that doing so would benefit "ordinary individuals and families" at the expense of "the elite." If you're rich, you'd get less Social Security benefits. That leaves the government more money to spend on people who actually need the help, the argument goes. It's the sort of argument that I would expect folks like Mr. Herbert to support and folks like Mr. Boehner to oppose, but, as I said, this issue is one that really has the potential to mix up the usual sides.