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And it’s a bi-partisan effort:

“Both Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee, signaled that they’re preparing budgets that would seek cuts to government spending in order to address the deficit.

Conrad said he’d look to the recommendations by President Obama’s fiscal commission as a “starting point,” and then look to craft a budget that improves on those proposals.

“I have a list of things that I’d like to see improved. The domestic spending cuts went too far, because mandatory spending is really where the problem lies,” Conrad told Bloomberg Television in an interview to air this weekend. “That has now become about two-thirds of our budget, the so-called mandatory accounts — Social Security, Medicare and the rest. We’re going to have to achieve savings there, and we can do that without hurting Medicare beneficiaries.”

How much clearer can Conrad be? “Mandatory spending is where the problem lies.” Not defense. No problem there. The problem is with Social Security and Medicare, never mind that Social Security has not one damn thing to do with the deficit, it’s all the fault of Social Security and Medicare. But “we can do that without hurting Medicare beneficiaries.”

What does that leave?

“Both Conrad and Ryan were members of the catfood fiscal commission — the former supported the panel’s recommendations, while the latter voted against them.”

The latter voted against them because the spending cuts didn’t go far enough.

“The lawmakers cited an expected vote early next year to raise the U.S. debt limit as a turning point in the fight to reduce spending.

“We intend to do lots of spending cuts and lots of spending reforms as soon as we take over in January,” Ryan said. “The debt ceiling, obviously, is going to have to be increased if we’re not going to default, so the question is, what do we get in exchange for that, and what kind of fiscal controls?”

What do they get in exchange for that? They get to gut Social Security.