Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gingrich & Goodman Idea #5: "Don't Cut Medicare"

Ah, memories. Remember back in the Clinton era, when Newt Gingrich engineered a shut down the government in no small part over the Republican Party's demand for a $270 billion cut in Medicare spending? Remember back in... right now... when the only "serious" Republican budget proposal involves privatizing Medicare and slashing its funding? Don't believe your lyin' eyes - Newt Gingrich and the GOP love themselves that Medicare program. It's untouchable.
There is no question that Medicare is on an unsustainable course; the government has promised far more than it can deliver. But this problem will not be solved by cutting Medicare in order to create new unfunded liabilities for young people.
Well, let's see... If Medicare is unsustainable due to its expenditures, it's a given that Newt Gingrich opposes tax increases, and he's claiming that he opposes cuts to Medicare spending, what's left?

Cutting Medicare's coverage.

There's no fourth alternative. If Gingrich truly has flip-flopped on his call for massive cuts in Medicare, and believes despite the current budget proposal from Paul Ryan that this is a "GOP" idea, he can only have one thing in mind: reduced benefits for Medicare recipients. Whether that's cuts in services, increased copays and deductibles, a mandate that recipients pay premiums for their coverage, or some combination thereof, Gingrich is proposing offloading costs from Medicare onto its recipients. While pretending that he's trying to preserve funding. (A newt in sheep's clothing.)

Update: Paul Krugman summarizes the actual GOP idea on Medicare cuts: "So, cutting Medicare by $500 billion is wrong — support Republicans, who want to cut it by $650 billion!"

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