Christie calls for Medicare, Social Security cuts, greater state control of Medicaid

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Few things signal the fresh start of a presidential campaign season better than stump speeches calling for Medicare and Social Security cuts. And 2015 is no exception.

This time, however, the most noise is coming from a person who was being eyed just two years ago as the hottest 2016 GOP contender. Then, an infamous bridge scandal sent him tumbling off the stump.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Wednesday proposed radical benefits reductions for Social Security beneficiaries, Medicaid premium hikes and Medicare premium increases for future upper-income retirees. He also called for relinquishing more control of the federal Medicaid program to states while raising the retirement age and Medicare eligibility age.

Whether Christie's words will fall on deaf ears remains to be seen. After all, Americans have been hearing the dire warnings about the bankrupting of Medicare and Social Security for years, only to have Congressional Budget Office and other number crunchers revise gloomy projections because of things like lower than projected medical costs, the newspaper adds.

According to Los Angeles Times writer David Lauter, Republicans have generally seemed non-combative on government retirement programs lately, especially as they've enjoyed their ascendance in both houses of Congress. Moreover, “the GOP has become increasingly dependent on the votes of older Americans,” Lauter wrote on April 14.