American voters are up grabs, Thomas Friedman wrote in a recent column, and one of the qualities voters may be looking for in a candidate is someone with the courage to cut voters' Social Security and Medicare benefits. That's the gist of Friedman's message, considering he name checks the "Bowles-Simpson bipartisan deficit reduction plan" — a plan that Dean Baker reminds us again and again was never approved by the commission. As Dean writes on Beat the Press, the Bowles-Simpson plan would "sharply cut back benefits for middle-income workers like school teachers and firefighters in future decades," reduce Social Security benefits even more by changing the annual cost-of-living adjustment formula and raise health care costs for the elderly with cuts to Medicare. To Friedman, that's doing "what needs doing." It's not like there are other options for cutting the deficit, right?

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