President Barack Obama started the adult conversation over debt and taxes last week — if only barely. In a forthright and feisty speech, Obama defended the traditional social safety net while also acknowledging the need to curb the growth of spending, especially on health care.
But he riled many Republicans by re-introducing an inconvenient truth: Taxes must be raised. The nation simply cannot pay its debts and sustain worthwhile federal programs without more revenue.
She conveniently lets the point slide by that Obama also increased spending exponentially.
It's funny how people who claim the mantel of 'adult conversations' were the ones who were suckered into voting for someone who ran as a cipher using obscure terms such as 'Hope' and 'Change' as a selling point.
By the way, the "adult conversation" bit is worn out. Both sides are adults. And Cynthia Tucker in a ninny.
While that’s a generally accepted bit of grade-school math in much of the political realm, it has become heresy in the GOP, which has taken up residence in a parallel universe of fairy godmothers, unicorns and Easter bunnies. In that universe, lowering taxes for the rich magically creates jobs, fills government coffers and spreads prosperity for all.
That’s bunk, of course. George H.W. Bush famously called it “voodoo economics.” Still, that notion — proved wrong as recently as the presidency of George W. Bush — has gained a certain power through frequent repetition.
Because when Pres. Bush(43) lowered tax rates, tax revenues rose. But that doesn't fit her narrative so it's ignored.
So it fell to Obama to remind Americans of the Clinton years — when taxes were higher, the budget was balanced, the deficit falling and prosperity widespread. The balanced federal budget was squandered by Obama’s predecessor, who slashed taxes, spent recklessly and presided over a period of tepid economic growth.
Obama will need to repeat the facts that link higher taxes with increased prosperity time and again. And even he didn’t go far enough; the president ought propose raising taxes on the merely affluent, not just the rich.
Again, more glossing over history. In 94, Republicans took over Congress and forced Clinton to work within a budget. It's a sad fact that they lost their way when a Republican was in the White House.
Anyway, that's another posting for later.
Moreover, Obama has only started to nibble at health care spending in Medicare, a voracious federal program. He ought to be frank with the nation’s elderly: they are draining an exorbitant amount of the national treasury, taking up resources that ought to be going to the young.
Somehow, we’ve managed to create an upside-down social safety net that maroons far too many children while swaddling the elderly in a cocoon. How can the nation “Win the Future”[WTF, heh] if we spend 2.5 times as much on its old as the young? (If you count federal spending alone, the ratio is more like 7 to 1.)
At last, she needed 6 paragraphs of justification and strawmen to get to her point.
I don’t mean to sound cavalier about the needs of the elderly, who tend to be sicker and have higher medical expenses. Obama was right to pledge to protect Medicare against the predations of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-), who wants to end it.
There's a 'But' coming. And anything that was before the 'But' is complete bullcrap.
But [See] an adult conversation — a truly adult conversation — would engage seniors and help them to understand the consequences of our current spending curve. In nations that suffer famine, we hear wrenching stories of starving parents who give the last scraps of food to their children. We’ve taken a starve-the-kids, feed-the-old approach, instead.
Sounds something eerily like. . . Rationing of care for the elderly in order to save money.
While too many children are stuck in bad schools and poor housing, while community clinics that deliver vaccinations and asthma medicine beg for money, while young adults skip college because they can’t afford it, the elderly were given a budget-busting prescription drug plan during the Bush administration. That makes little sense.
If kids are stuck in bad schools, provide vouchers. Let them have school choice rather than forcing them to attend whatever failing school that happens to be in their neighborhood.
I'm not going to defend Medicare Part D. But this is interesting. A liberal is criticizing a government entitlement? Did hell freeze over? Oh yeah, "Bush's fault!"
By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that the Obama administration is training a parrot to squawk, "Bush's Fault" to replace Jay Carney as Press Secretary.
If resources are limited (and they are), the nation needs to make choices – some more painful than others. My brother, Kevin, a Boston physician who treats kidney disease, talks about the Medicare program that pays for dialysis for anyone with failing kidneys — including the terminally ill. Started in the 1970s to help adults still in the workforce, its fastest-growing population is now over 65, he said. And it costs tens of billions a year.
“It may not be the best use of resources for the frail and infirm elderly, and it also forces many elderly patients to spend their last days in the hospital, rather than at home,” a more comfortable setting, Kevin told me.
Here she all but declares rationing and denying of care in order to save money.
I almost missed this part. "The nation needs to make choices. . ." Not the patient, the one. But the nation, the collective needs to make the choice. Not the nation itself but the decision making will be done by a governing board of directors who will look at the variables of the patient (age, sex, general health, estimated life span) and the variables of the procedure (cost of drugs, cost of time, pay of staff involved) and compare the two.
Should A < B then the operation can happen. Should A > B, well, there's this very nice room we have prepared for you to spend the last few days in.
Yet, many patients, even octogenarians who don’t expect to recover, find it difficult to turn down the treatment. “And physicians resist having a conversation with patients that recommends they forego dialysis because it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have. It’s easier just to recommend the treatment,” he said.
But those are exactly the adult conversations we ought to be having.
She wants old people to hurry up and die in order to save money. Let's face it. If a dialysis treatment is denied, death or a transplant are the only option. And if dialysis is too expensive, a kidney transplant is out of the question.
Shorter Tucker: Kill the senior citizens! It's for the children!
Shorter still: Death Panels!