Are You Kidding?
Republicans are demanding that President Obama protect seniors if the government defaults. However, they won't suggest what should be cut instead. "Republican lawmakers are pushing President Obama to put seniors, troops, and bondholders at the front of the line should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling. The rest? Well, that's up to him. 'We're just calling on the president to assume the role of CEO and prioritize accordingly,' Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) said at a press conference on the issue. Participants repeatedly accused Obama of trying to 'scare seniors' by suggesting Social Security payments might be suspended in the wake of a default crisis."
Lots of noise but no substance. It's as if the Conservative Republicans had no idea that not increasing the debt would be a problem. Now, perhaps with no good choices before him, the Republicans are suggesting that the President make impossible choices. It appears that every Conservative Republican who has been asked what to cut has dodged the question or offered unrealistic ideas. This is a favorite trick of politicians: try to force your opponent into making bad choices or choices that anger many voters -- even if those choices are hypothetical. Get the voters thinking about what could go wrong.
Considering the absurdity of the Conservative Republican suggestion, Democrats have highlighted some possible perils of default: no Border Patrol agents, student loans, food inspectors. "Sens. Chuck Schumer (NY), Ben Cardin (MD), Mark Begich (AK), and Chris Coons (DE) illustrated the catastrophic effects of the Republican strategy." And Schumer "pointed out that if Treasury chooses to pay Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, military troops and interest on the debt, there would be no money for anything else." " Their Republican counterparts are still denying the country would default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Aug. 2, and insist the Treasury has plenty of money to pay all of our bills."
Notice the defensive and protective posture of Sen. Schumer: there is no choice; if we do this, then there's no money for that. He's supporting the President and setting up for future possibilities -- but mainly trying to illustrate the impossible situation.
AARP Launches Tougher Ad
"First, AARP tried to convey disappointment. In May, the group launched a TV ad warning that Congress might try to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of a deal to raise the national debt ceiling. 'The country can do better,' it said. Then, in June, it tried ridicule. Another TV ad hit Congress for pondering those cuts while the government spent money on such things as pickle research and experiments in which shrimp ran on treadmills. That didn’t work either. So AARP’s new tactic is more direct: veiled threats."
The ad does not seem that strong to me -- not too threatening. Clearly, the aged and disabled are NOT pushovers. Keep informed. Write to your Senator and Congressperson today. [Of course, I'd like you also to continue to tell your friends and colleagues about THE MEDICARE DAILY REPORT. Thanks.]
No Cuts Expected by This Expert
From Kaiser Health News: Budget Expert - Don't Expect Medicare Cuts In Debt Deal. "As President Barack Obama holds daily meetings with congressional leaders in a so far futile attempt to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, Stan Collender, a partner at Qorvis Communications, says that even recent proposals highlight the continuing partisan divide." "In fact, addressing spending issues is not necessary to raise the debt ceiling. It has, though, become a political imperative for some lawmakers who have made the goal of finding significant savings from these programs a condition of their vote."
Mr. Collender has an interesting and well-informed perspective. He also indicates how Republicans will try to paint President Obama as trying to cut Medicare and Social Security. The Republicans have tied the debt issue to their extreme Conservative agenda with the result that many people are frightened. They usr that fear to their advantage -- another political trick.
For Your Information