Monday, December 10, 2012


Ezra Klein thinks the GOP's obsession with cutting Medicare is highly illogical:
There's no particular conservative -- or even non-conservative -- policy goal that raising the Medicare eligibility age advances.

Raising the Medicare eligibility age doesn't increase competition in Medicare... It doesn't reduce national health spending ... it increases it. It doesn't force seniors to act as more discerning consumers of health care.... It doesn't substantially pare back "the nation of takers," as many of the 65- and 66-year-olds thrown off Medicare will enter the exchanges or be caught by Medicaid.

... Raising the Medicare eligibility age really will hurt some seniors.... there are a number of middle-income seniors who make enough that they won't get much help from Obamacare, who are sick enough that they won't get a good deal from insurers, and who may end up going uninsured (after paying the individual mandate's penalty) or straining under the cost of health insurance.
Ezra thinks Medicare cuts are just (in Nancy Pelosi's words) "a trophy that the Republicans want":
For Republicans, it's a signal that they won something big on entitlements. In a party that's confused about where to go on Medicare, it at least proves they're going in a direction Democrats hate.
Yes, Republicans are always motivated by hatred for Democrats -- but there's more going on here than that.

Republicans clearly seem to think that hurting people by making government program function less effectively is a winning strategy for them. They've branded themselves as the party that says government is bloated and inefficient and therefore odious and hateful, while they've branded Democrats as the party that believes in more and more government no matter what. Democrats do have more faith in government than Republicans do, at least as a means of helping ordinary Americans -- so Republicans believe that if they can impede the government's ability to help ordinary citizens, Democrats will be blamed.

And that's especially true if tales of benefit cuts can be couple with tales of what seems like misdirected government money -- especially if it seems to be going to groups certain voters despise or distrust. If Medicare gets cut and Fox News finds tax money going to, oh, y'know, an ex-ACORN employee, even if there's no connection and the dollar amounts aren't even remotely comparable and the grant is thoroughly legitimate, that's a win for the GOP. Even a story about a $100,000 grant to do a (perefctly legitimate) study cow flatulence can be played off against, say, billions of dollars in Medicare cuts, and Republicans believe Democrats lose whenever that happens.

So there's more than just a desire to screw Democrats here. This is how Republicans try to win voters' hearts and minds. I don't know if it's working now, but it's worked for them for a long time.


aimai said...

I believe that in this instance its a combination of both perspectives: 1) Boehner has to be given something, anything, to save face with his caucus. 2) That something has to be something that has an odor of belt tightening, regardless of its real cost. They are absolutely the party of cutting off someone's nose to spite someone else's face. It would save more money and make more sense to have everyone be able to buy into medicare and make medicare more efficient and remunerative for the doctors who take those patients. Health care is different from almost any other commodity because you really want people to use as much as they need.

But they won't choose that option because it doesn't cause pain to anyone and saving money and making a deal come in dead last compared to hurting someone. They don't even care that it will hit their own voting block. Because it is about crippling Obama and making him look weak and that is also a goal.


Victor said...

Feck saving face for them!
Feck giving them cover!!

They lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They lost on their economic stances, they lost on their attitutes toward women, "Blah's," browns, children, gays, and senior citizens.

We owe them NOTHING!!!

But you have to admire their "Chootspah!"
After losing, they don't want a pound of flesh. The want A FECKIN' LIMB!!!

Feck them!
Do the Michael Corleone thing - "I give you, nothing."

reflectionephemeral said...

Well it's the Southern Strategy. Govt is good if perceived to be acting for Us, and bad if perceived to be for Them. That explains about 97% of Paul Ryan's voted, doesn't it?