Monday, August 1, 2011

Agreement Almost in Place, Points To Remember, Changing Medicare

With some kind of tentative deal in place, we know the Conservative-Republican-created debt crisis will end soon . . . and certainly not soon enough.

Almost There: Rich Escape Taxation

"Congressional leaders and President Obama on Sunday night announced they've cut a deal to avert a historic U.S. default, saying they have assembled a framework that cuts some spending immediately and uses a 'super Congress' to slash more in the future.  . . .  The next round of $1.5 trillion in cuts would be decided by a committee of 12 lawmakers evenly divided between the two parties and two chambers.  This so-called super Congress would have to present its cuts by Thanksgiving, and the rest of Congress could not amend or filibuster the recommendations."

"We'll know in a few hours whether the major and controversial deal to raise the national debt limit and advance major cuts to government services, announced by President Obama and Congressional leaders on Sunday evening, will make it's [sic] way smoothly to law.  After an intense day of direct and shuttle negotiations, and after a tentative agreement nearly fell apart, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the floor of the Senate late Sunday to announce an agreement in principle."

I am very disappointed that we DO NOT have a "balanced" solution -- that, once again, the weakest and most frail in America are shouldering the greatest burden.  Let's pay attention as politicians tell those who are struggling the most that this is somehow fair and try to convince them that they need to do so much more than the wealthiest among us.  We can continue to let our Senators and Congressmen know that this is not a balanced approach.

Anyway, the final vote has yet to be taken.  Today -- especially -- listen to the spin up to and following the vote.  Pay attention to how politicians portray themselves and others.

A Few Basic Facts

"If the debt-limit debate had anything to do with reality, every story about it would include a few basic facts.  Starting with: President Obama inherited a $1.2 trillion budget deficit.  And: Republican leaders supported the tax cuts and wars that (along with the recession, another pre-Obama phenomenon) created that deficit.  Also: Republicans engineered this crisis by attaching unprecedented ideological demands to a routine measure allowing the U.S. to pay its bills.  Finally, Obama and the Democrats keep meeting those demands -- for spending cuts, then for more spending cuts, and even for nothing but spending cuts -- but Republicans keep holding out for more."

Clearly, as has been pointed out here and elsewhere, the Conservatives created this confrontation -- with the acquiescence of the Republican leadership.  Typically, they hold on and hold on and never let the disgust of the American People deter them from trying to score points with their small minority of fanatical supporters.  It reminds  me of when the Republicans brought oral sex into my living room every evening for months and months.  Talk about bad taste.

When Can Medicare Change?

Lost in last week's chaos was an interesting piece asking: is Medicare ripe for a change?  I respect Kaiser Health News and wanted to be sure to share this with you.  "Kaiser Health News asked experts to give us their thoughts on what would have to happen for Washington to decide if -- or when -- the time is right to revamp a popular program like Medicare.  Here are edited excerpts of those interviews."  Although I do not agree with some of the commentators, this is interesting reading.

These comments make me wonder:  Is a financial crisis the best -- or the worst -- time to address changing Medicare?  The general consensus of opinion is that it would take a budget crisis to move politicians to make the changes needed.  Today's crisis, however, is not truly about Medicare.  It has been conveniently created to scare (i.e., force) people into making bad choices and bad changes.


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