It wasn't that long ago that the White House was making the case against including Social Security cuts in "fiscal cliff" talks. Why? Because, as Jay Carney explained in the Nov. 26 briefing, "Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit. That's an economic fact."
Q: Just two quick things. One is, when you say entitlement reform, does that mean Social Security as well? Because sometimes when you’ve said in the past, you’ve meant Medicare and Medicaid. Social Security—when you say it’s in there, is that—when you say entitlement reform—::
MR. CARNEY: Well, I referred to health care programs and health care entitlements, and I think that the President has long made clear that he is open to discussions about strengthening Social Security as part of a separate track because it is—
Q: But not as part of this deal? When you say entitlement—when you say the three legs of the stool, and entitlements was one of them, was that also including Social Security?
MR. CARNEY: As a principle, we believe that we have to address the issues—when it comes to a deficit-reduction deal that also ensure future economic growth, we should address the drivers of the deficit. And Social Security is not currently a driver of the deficit. That's an economic fact. And while the President supports engaging with Congress on a separate track to strengthen Social Security for the long term, we need to—when it comes to entitlements, we need to look at Medicare and Medicaid, as we have already.
Q: When you said—
MR. CARNEY: I’m not—again, I’m not going to—
Q:—we should be including—I understand that. But we should not assume—
MR. CARNEY: You should certainly not assume.
Q:—that Social Security is a part of that when you say entitlements?
MR. CARNEY: Correct.