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Bush's Budget Cuts Medicaid by $60 billion.  Bush's budget for FY 2006 cuts Medicaid funding and shifts the burden onto states.  "The Administration's budget proposes $45 billion in federal Medicaid funding reductions over the period from fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2015.  The Administration proposes to reduce federal funding to states for Medicaid by $60 billion over this period.  This gross reduction of $60 billion would be offset in part by $15 billion in proposed new Medicaid-related initiatives, for a net reduction of $45 billion over ten years.  These reductions would represent a relatively small percentage reduction in total federal funding for Medicaid and SCHIP, but their impact on states' ability to provide health care coverage would be substantial."  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Medicaid Budget Proposals Would Shift Costs To States And Be Likely To Cause Reductions In Health Coverage," 2/18/05]

Bush's Medicaid Proposal Shifts the Difficult Choices to the States.
"Shifting [these] federal costs to states would have a negative impact on state Medicaid programs.  States are unlikely to be able simply to absorb these costs.  Instead, most states would have to choose among a set of difficult options:  raising taxes, cutting funding for other priorities such as education, and cutting their Medicaid programs, including both eligibility and the medical services that Medicaid covers."  [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Medicaid Budget Proposals Would Shift Costs To States And Be Likely To Cause Reductions In Health Coverage," 2/18/05]

Shifting the Medicaid Burden onto States Will Increase the Uninsured.  "To the extent that states chose to deal with the costs shifted to them by the federal government by cutting Medicaid, as many states likely would do, the number of uninsured and underinsured Americans would be very likely to rise." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Medicaid Budget Proposals Would Shift Costs To States And Be Likely To Cause Reductions In Health Coverage," 2/18/05]

Originally posted to Senate Democratic Communications Center on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 10:30 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Privatization? (none)
      This release confused me a bit. I immediately think of Social Security with regards to privatization. The press release seems to be talking strictly about Medicaid/Medicare, and is not proposing privatization of those programs.

      I've got blisters on my fingers!

      by Elwood Dowd on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 10:29:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry for the confusion (4.00)
        The point was that George Bush's budget does not include the costs of privatizing Social Security while making the cuts noted above.

        Sorry about the confusion.

        •  All costs ignored, all benefits counted (none)
          And still he's offering a record deficit.

          Presidents have not always been forthcoming in their budgets, but the newest budget is completely dishonest.

          Folks with Republican Governors should make sure that their governor knows that Bush is sticking them with the bill. Ask your governor why the President hates the states.

        •  Nut meat under the SS shell? (none)
          I think if Bush et al are playing a shell game, they are busy and publicly moving the nut shell around that holds social security; the shells slipped into place under cover of this activity include severe medicaid cuts and loss of bankruptcy protections.

          Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

          by barbwires on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 01:06:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This is great, and what about (none)
          Lieberman?  What is Reid going to do about getting Joe L. back on the right page on Social Security preservation?  I hope that is answered somewhere.

          If you're going in the wrong direction and you stay the course, where, exactly, do you wind up?

          by Mimikatz on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 01:10:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Do you plan (none)
          Do you plan to use Social Security to get Democrats elected in Senate and in local governments? This is the kind of issue that would win a lot of votes. Republicans want to remove Social Security? Democrats want to save it. Anyone on Social Security or who supports the idea of it has to vote for a Democrat.

          The single most critical issue of the Democratic party Support Living Wages

          by Lucian on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 06:21:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Stick (4.00)
      Thank you once again.  We love hearing from you.

      Now, can you pass a message upline?  Tell Harry (or somebody) to take Joe Lieberman out behind the wood shed and explain to him that he is hurting himself and his party.  NO COMPROMISE ON SOCIAL SECURITY.  (Sorry to yell - he's really starting to scare me.)

      Thank you.  We've got your backs.

      "Whatever they want the answer is no. Now is not the time to fold, now is the time to up the ante." -- Charles Pierce

      by baba durag on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 11:12:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ditto on Lieberman (3.80)
        Just wanted to add my voice -- maybe lots of us should comment to this effect here -- that Lieberman is becoming a very big problem.  I'm sick and tired of CT congressmen carrying water for the financial services industry, and somebody better tell Joe we know that's what he's doing if he tries to play the hands-across-the-water game with Republicans on Social Security.  In my book, that chimpish kiss on the head after the SOTU made Joe a marked man.

        Solidarity, Dems!  No compromise!  No backsliding!  Ask Cleland or Landrieu or any of the others who tried it, where compromise has ever gotten a Democrat who's tried to work with these jerks!  Let these Repubs stew in their self-made mess!

        •  Yes, tell him (none)
          Tell him he's threatening MY FAMILY. Sorry to yell, but ..not really. It matters.  We are living on Social Security benefits, husband in nursing home, kids home.  This MATTERS.  Goddammit.
    •  please add bio info (none)
      I'm sure it's been asked a million times and I just missed it.  Would you please add some bio info to your profile about who you are?  

      (Specifically are you posting as a regular citizen or in an official capacity, and if so, who are you & what is your office)

      Thanks, just curious, and sorry for my ignorance.

  •  What I can't figure out (none)
    is that this plan seems to screw over seniors in red states more than in blue ones. That's out of character for the Bushies, and doesn't seem likely to help him politically, unless the red staters are essentially masochists, an idea I've been wondering about for quite some time. Hmm.
    •  Not sure (none)
      There is one bit of blatant greed that the states have been indulging in with regard to Medicaid -- they tax medicaid providers, raising the cost of the service, and raising the reimbursement from the Feds to cover the costs. This little gimmick allows some states to dramatically increase their bite of federal funding of Medicaid and keep their own costs down. Con games like that make me think that maybe we should consider abolishing states altogether and replacing them with sensibly designed provinces.
    •  There is nothing unusual here. The (4.00)
      consistent pattern has been to make promises to their base and then blame the Democrats for failing to deliver.
      What Democrats need to do is come up with an alternative proposal to provide the necessary services.  But first, they have to know why they should.
      Why should medical care be paid for by a national program?  There are three main reasons.  Volume makes for efficiency.  As it stands now, the multiplication of sources of funding and as well as multiple standards for different states, increases administrative cost without increasing the level of services for recipients.
      The second reason is that medical services are not a matter of choice.  Most people would prefer to be healthy, rather than sick.  So, getting medical attention is the lesser of two evils, not a positive good.  Whenever you're dealing with a lesser of evils, that's a sure sign it's something the community (government) needs to provide.
      The third reason is that, even when people get older and a little feeble, they still like to be mobile, to travel and to move from place to place, maybe even to migrate seasonally.  Consequently, if this preference (or right) for individual mobility is going to be satisfied, incidents of injury and disease are going to have to be able to be taken care of wherever people happen to be.  Trying to tie people down with HMO's and preferred provider programs and prescription cards that only work with a limited number of purveyors of drugs is a recipe for inefficiency, insanity, and almost certain failure.
      Why is it that when Europeans vacation in the States their medical coverage takes care of their medical needs?  Why is it that when Americans travel from Texas to Vermont they'd better make sure they don't get sick enough to require a lengthy hospital stay?

      BTW, in any discussion of health care expenditures, I think the point needs to be made that the total current expenditure is $1.5 trillion per year.  So, if there is a projection of $1.5 trillion increase over ten years, that's only ten percent per annum and that's not taking into account that we could certainly save that much in administrative costs, if the payment system were rationalized.

      The argument that a patient's ability to choose his or her own doctor is being preserved is entirely bogus.  As it stands now, people have to be referred to specialists who may or may not be willing to take them on.
      What people want is a guarantee that when they are injured or really sick they will be taken care of quickly, regardless of where they happen to be.

      Elective surgery to take care of an annoyance is an entirely different matter and ought to be paid for by the person who wants it.

  •  Hey, while we've got your attention... (4.00)
    will someone take Joe Lieberman (and Tom Carper) aside and tell them to stop giving bipartisan cover for the Republicans?  No talks with Lindsey Graham, please.

    -----

    Thanks for all the info!

    •  And while we're on a tangent (4.00)
      Could we talk about the bankruptcy bill?

      Why aren't all Democratic senators opposing?  Make the core of your opposition about rising medical costs and their relation to bankruptcy.

      As interests go up, there will be more and more bankruptcies.  This will be a huge pocketbook issue in 2006 and beyond.  If we stand up now, we can make it clear whose side we are on.

      The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use JFK

      by Responsible on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 12:51:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Working With Governors? (4.00)
    To what extent are Senate Democrats working with (either in the recent past or going forward) the nation's governors in opposing these cuts?  I read an article in the New York Times yesterday that seemed to indicate that the governors' opposition to the cuts is fairly widespread, and includes Republicans such as Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Bob Taft of Ohio.

    Today, Bush claimed that he wants Medicaid to work, and that he'll work with the governors to that end, but this would appear to be the typical screen to which we've all grown accustomed as part of his so-called bi-partisan efforts.  The AP article here seems to indicate that the main division is between the governors and Congress, not between Democrats and Republicans (or at least, that's how the GOP would like to portray it).

    Hopefully, we can make it clear that it's really just the Bush administration and Congressional Republicans versus everyone else, trying to barter genuine reform of the Medicaid program in return for severely diminished funding.

  •  Calling rewrite! (4.00)
    I recommended this diary because I think the information is important.  Having said that, I think Dems need to do a much better job of disseminating information.  This press release fails, in my opinion, for two reasons.  

    First, it is very dry.  "cuts...blah...blah....offsets....blah...ten years...blah...blah...eligibility".  I see no reason why this information can't be presented in a way that is more personally engaging and generally readable.  For instance, rather than talking about billions of dollars in cuts, which immediately makes people's eyes glaze over,  why not discuss the issue in terms of cuts per capita of eligible Americans?  I'd like to know how many $$$ a senior would typically get and how many $$$ that senior will get after the cuts.  The use of "coverage years" strikes me as a step in the right direction but it is a metric that people are not familiar with.

    Second, and more importantly, the author of the release makes the mistake that many Democrats do. Namely, assuming that the reader already agrees with the writer on many ideological issues.  For instance, the diary states that "Bush's Medicaid Proposal Shifts the Difficult Choices to the States."  Well, I hate to break the news to people but the GOP has spent decades attempting to convince people that states are in a better position than the federal government to address many of these issues.

    In fact, a neutral reader is not going to accept the conclusions of the writer...that "a relatively small percentage reduction in total federal funding for Medicaid and SCHIP" is going to result in states making poor choices and seniors getting their benefits cut.  

    Democrats need to stop, take a deep breath, and think this issue through.  This isn't about Medicaid.  This is about federalism and figuring out the most effiicent use of political resources to solve social problems.  If Democrats disagree with the Republican belief that state and local politicians are in the best position to make critical policy decisions then they need to do a much better job of articulating and selling their competing view.  

    Assuming that Democrats can articulate an alternative view that works better, they need to use language to properly tie their underlying ideology together with their specific policy goals.  In this case, it would mean framing the issue in a way that will naturally cause people to agree.  Rather than saying that the cuts would shift "choices" to the states, which people might actually support, say that it costs states X% more than the federal government to provide the same level of services.  Assuming that is true, people will naturally support the federal government providing the services.  And if it isn't true, then Democrats may need to rethink their opposition to state and local decision-making.

    •  Alternative (none)
      George Bush's budget will force tax increases in every state no matter how strongly Republican because the alternative is to see the poor dying in the streets. Our President's budget shows neither compassion nor conservatism.
      •  space is right. (none)
        In fact, I'd go further:  cut the program, and in exchange the federal government will simply send the money.  That means NO reporting, NO administrative overhead, and States are free to take their per capita share of the pie and do what they damn well please with it.

        The Director of our County Hospital [before it was shut down] told me that absent reporting requirements, he could provide BlueCross/Shield to everyone in the County.  

        I'd be much more receptive to the "sky falling" if Democrats made an honest effort to clean up program administration/reporting requirements.  The costs to the taxpayer are substantial.

        •  Viva Nixon (none)
          The best reform ever in Federal revenue sharing was Nixon's reform, but Republicans and Democrats alike have been clawing it back and adding strings-attached revenue instead. We can say with a great deal of confidence that Bush will not get rid of the reporting requirements, based, in part, on the immensely bureaucratic waste of money that is No Child Left Behind.

          I think that the Democrats could win with an offer to pick up the entire tab for Medicaid, keep funding transportation and security and stop all other programs, both funding and regulation, including NCLB.

          •  "Inefficiency" (none)
            My point was that the delivery process itself is part of the problem.  Whether BushCo is involved or not, Democrats at least have to acknowledge, and provide a legislative fix.  
    •  Amen and Howdy (none)
      Hiya Stick. I'm always so happy to see a diary from Reid's crew. Your communications enhance the feeling that there really is a powerful movement afoot.

      However, I have to agree with space. Throw numbers at us that support our views and we'll rejoice like the wonks we are, but those not obsessed with policy (the other 80% of the country?) will not effectively understand the personal implications of such reckless policies. space hit it on the head; personalize the message - what will it mean to me and/or my state. We need commercials telling human stories now, not later, that depict the Dem view.

  •  New Medicaid-related initiatives??? (none)
    WTF does that mean?  Are we going to cover faith healers now?  Are these transition costs to "privatize" Medicaid?  What is the Bush administration planning?

    Maybe I'm paranoid, but it can't be good....

    You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

    by Dallasdoc on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 12:24:40 PM PST

    •  Advocating prayer... (none)
      as the answer to everything.  Or, denial of any treatment to "ease the burden of health care costs"!  It's amazing how many stupid things dubya and his cronies come up with.  Even more amazing is the number of people who fall for that crap!

      The only second term dubya deserves is 20 to life!

      by Street Kid on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 12:30:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  i'm sure (none)
      that they will take care of all the docs on reimbursement rates too

      tongue firmly in cheek

      email: tlawkos@yahoo.com

      by tlaw on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 02:12:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Medical Savings Accounts (none)
      They exist now.  Employers can offer an account where you have a certain amount deducted from your pay each month pre-tax.  At the end of the year, you can get reimbursed from the account, tax-free, for out of pocket medical expenses that were not covered by your insurance (for example, deductibles, co-pays, and the like).

      Essentially, it's a tax shelter for medical expenses. However, there's a catch. If you deduct more than you spend out of pocket, you can't get the extra money back.  It disappears - poof!

      The wingers want to create a variation of that for medical care.  

      Instead of doing the sensible thing and providing insurance for everyone, they want to grant you the opportunity to pay into an account from which you can draw for your medical expenses. Of course, if you can't pay in enough to cover whatever expenses you incur should you be injured or become ill, you'll be hurting, but at least you'll be able to OWN your suffering ... and the resulting bankruptcy.

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

      by mataliandy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 03:21:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  SDCC (none)
    Who is the Senate Democratic Communication Center?
  •  What if... (none)
    the shifting of the medicaid burden onto states resulted in the raising of taxes on the wealthiest citizens of those states?
    •  What if your state doesn't have an income (none)
      tax and covers it's budget short falls with a regressive sales tax increase like TN? Our sales tax is already at 9.5%.
      I'm not trying to be snarky, but are several other states with similar tax structures.  

      "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." ~ Gandhi

      by mad ramblings of a sane woman on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 02:49:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another call to "disipline" Lieberman... (none)
    ... after the great work you folks and Senator Reid have done, it would be criminal to have it torpedoed by another incomprehensible move by Joe L.

    I agree this is just what the administration is waiting for, they will play it for all it's worth and more.

    ========

    -highacidity-

    by highacidity on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 02:21:15 PM PST

  •  Frame it (4.00)
    This is great data, but you need to cut to the chase and frame it.

    The Frame
    The irresponsible deficit is the real problem, and the real reason the administration wants to kill social security.

    Now that a frame has been established, what are some metaphors that will evoked the irresponsibility? Here are some examples, feel free to come up with your own:

    Evoking the frame
    "The Red Ink Republicans are bleeding your social security account dry."

    "They're robbing Peter to pay Paul. You're Peter."

    "The Credit Card Captialists want to stiff you with the bill for their wasteful spending."

    "They made a bad bet, and lost. Now they want you to cash in your insurance policy to pay their debt.


    Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

    by mataliandy on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 03:07:03 PM PST

  •  This stat is unreal (4.00)
    The Gov says people can live on 540 bucks a month, no kidding here, 540 dollars.

    If you make more then you dont qualify for Medicaid. which pays for meds.  Medicare for these people costs them nearly 200 dollars from their monthly checks.  You take 200 out of 600 and that leaves you with 400 to pay for EVERYTHING, including vital medicines.  Our leaders have become evil.  Old folks and disabled people are eatin dog food and living in cardboard boxes in the richest country in the world.  This info needs to get out there.  Tell the world how we treat our old and disabled.  

    Lifes too short when youre this good.

    by ksecus on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 03:35:50 PM PST

  •  Hey, Stick, how about some more provocative (4.00)
    ... headlines on these gems?

    I'll take them one at a time with mine following your head in bold and my replacement head in bold italics:

    • Bush's Budget Cuts Medicaid by $60 billion
    • Bush Medicaid Cuts Dump $60 billion on Broke States

    • Bush's Medicaid Proposal Shifts the Difficult Choices to the States
    • Bush to States on Tough Medicaid Choices: 'You figure it out'

    • Shifting the Medicaid Burden onto States Will Increase the Uninsured
    • Uninsured Number Likey to Rise Again under Bush Medicaid Cuts

    • Eliminates Over 1 Million Coverage Years for Seniors From 2006-2010 (this one includes the children headline as well)
    • Nationwide, Seniors and Children to Lose More than 7 Million Net Years of Health Coverage under Bush Medicaid Cuts
  •  Lieberman. Thanks. Also... (4.00)
    As mentioned above.  Very important and very urgent.  Please feel free to tell Senator Lieberman that the earful he's been getting today is nothing compared to what will happen if he so much as winks in Lindsey Graham's direction, and that you won't be able to protect him from our wrath even if you want to.  We're not fooling around here and we're happy to play the bad cop if you guys want to play the good cop.  

    That said, these are good (if somewhat wonky) talking points.  "Shifts the burden onto the states" looks particularly useful.  Please remember to tell stories about people though.  Facts and figures and links to wonkery are fine for kossacks, but human interest is what makes the nightly news...  

    The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. --MLK Jr.

    by radish on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 03:48:34 PM PST

    •  Oh I have life experience with this stuff (none)
      Im unfortuneately disabled and recently lost my Medicaid due to the fact that I made too much.  I made 540 a month on SS and about 30 dollars a month through SSI.  BTW Im only 50 yrs old. I have a wife and two children. I make less than 600 a month.

      Now I dont have anyway to buy my heart and blood pressure meds along with pain meds for a chronic back and hip problem. Im at the end of my rope. Theyve cut everything and its impossible to pay bills, let alone get any healthcare

      Lifes too short when youre this good.

      by ksecus on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 04:09:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You sir are proof (none)
        that the repugs are truly making this America's finest hour.

        What we need are stories like yours to get out there to the American people. It took the images of Dorothea Lange to bring home to the American people how bad the depression actually was.

        We need a campaign that brings suffering American's to the forefront once again to expose the repugs as the greedy MF'ers they are.

        My heart goes out to you.

      •  My God (none)
        George Bush's America.  This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

        I don't know where you are, but IIRC, Seventh-Day Adventist hospitals see uninsured, low-income patients in their ERs.  If there's one near you, maybe you could check them out?  Healthcare is one of the Adventists' main missions, and lots of church offerings go to support it.  If there's not a hospital nearby, maybe an Adventist church would be someplace you could get help?  

        I'm sorry.  I wish I could do something concrete to help.

        We were marching for the children, we were marching for the poor. Now we're marching for self-interest-- we'll march forevermore.

        by andlorr on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 05:18:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks to you both (none)
          Actually I pondered whether to post my situation or not , its really embarassing .  But yea, I dont see how any sane government official can say 540 dollars is enough for one person to live on for a month. Even the caseworkers are outraged at how funds are drying up.  You learn to stretch money like you wouldnt believe possible . BTW my wife works at a nursing home. Shes making min wage and she gets 32 hours a week, that way they can keep her part time and benefitless.   When they dropped the Medicaid last week it just floored me.
  •  you guys at "Stick" see this yet? (none)
    From a new WaPo article titled "For GOP, Urgency On Social Security: White House Plans Six-Week Push":

    "The Treasury Department yesterday announced the formation of a Social Security 'war room' and the hiring of three full-time employees to help coordinate and refine the administration's message on the issue. The war room, which the administration is calling the Social Security Information Center, will track lawmakers' remarks to their local news outlets, to help the White House detect signs of Republican concern or Democratic compromise."

  •   Joe, you are wanted in the Principal's Office (none)
    March 1, 2005
    OP-ED COLUMNIST
    Just Say No
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    resident Bush's effort to hustle the nation into dismantling Social Security as we know it seems to be faltering: the more voters hear about how privatization would work, the less they like it.

    As a result, some Republicans are reported to be talking about a compromise in which they would agree to some kind of tax increase, probably a rise in the maximum level of earnings subject to the payroll tax. They would offer to use the revenue from that tax increase, rather than borrowed funds, to establish private accounts, thereby assuaging fears about the huge debt buildup that would take place under the administration's plan. They might even agree to make private accounts an add-on to traditional benefits, not a replacement.

    But it would still be a bad deal. Creating private accounts in the current environment, no matter how they are financed, would be a mistake.

    First, think about the fiscal implications. We have a huge budget deficit, largely caused by Mr. Bush's decision to cut taxes while waging war. Any realistic plan to bring the budget deficit under control will have to include tax increases, especially if we want to avoid the harsh cuts the administration is trying to impose on Medicaid and other essential programs.

    There may be a place for a rise in the payroll tax maximum in such a plan: AARP, among other groups, has proposed such a rise as one way to improve the Social Security system's long-run finances. Devoting the extra revenue to the trust fund would also reduce the overall budget deficit.

    But if the revenue from a rise in the payroll tax maximum was used to subsidize private accounts rather than to bolster the trust fund, it wouldn't address any urgent priorities: it wouldn't help the long-run finances of Social Security, it wouldn't reduce the budget deficit, and it wouldn't support crucial programs like Medicaid.

    What it would do, instead, would be to get in the way of any return to fiscal sanity. After all, raising the maximum taxable income would be a fairly stiff tax increase for some taxpayers. For example, someone making $140,000 a year might owe an extra $6,000. And the taxpayers who would be hit hardest by this tax increase would, in many cases, be the same people who will face a growing burden from the alternative minimum tax.

    As a result, an increase in the payroll tax maximum would make it much harder to pass other tax increases, frustrating efforts to do something about the deficit.

    Furthermore, it's all too likely that any compromise that created private accounts would turn into a Trojan horse that let the enemies of Social Security inside the gates.

    This might happen almost immediately, as a result of the legislative process. As you may have noticed, moderates don't run Congress. Suppose that a moderate senator thinks he has struck a deal for fully funded private accounts that don't directly undermine traditional Social Security. Almost surely, he would be kidding himself: by the time the conference committees were done with the legislation, the funding would be gone or greatly reduced, the accounts would be bigger, traditional benefits would have been cut, and the whole thing would have turned into a privatization wish list.

    Even if that didn't happen, private accounts, once established, would be used as a tool to whittle down traditional guaranteed benefits. For example, conservatives would use the existence of private accounts, together with rosy scenarios about rates of return, to argue that guaranteed benefits could be cut without hurting retirees.

    In short, anyone who wants to see the nation return to fiscal responsibility, wants to preserve Social Security as an institution or both should be opposed to any deal creating private accounts. And there is also, of course, the political question: Why should any Democrat act as a spoiler when his party is doing well by doing good, gaining political ground by opposing a really bad idea? (Hello, Senator Lieberman.)

    The important thing to remember is why the right wants privatization. The drive to create private accounts isn't about finding a way to strengthen Social Security; it's about finding a way to phase out a system that conservatives have always regarded as illegitimate. And as long as that is what's at stake, there is no room for any genuine compromise. When it comes to privatization, just say no.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/01/opinion/01krugman.html?hp

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Mon Feb 28, 2005 at 09:43:12 PM PST

  •  Pass on to Lieberman... (none)
    That if he even THINKS of maybe even considering a compromise with these (insert salty phrase of your liking) on SS that I'll move my whole family to CT just long enough to vote against him.

    And personally on a general note.

    No compromise on any issue, at anytime EVER with the GOP.  None.  Fight for every inch of ground without mercy or quarter make them pay and pay dearly for even the slightest milimeter of ground.

    The only exception I would entertain (and once more speaking only on a personal level), is the few truly moderate republicans that are as nervous about the direction that the GOP is headed.

    And that compromise would not be on policy, but rather on getting the usurping whack jobs out of the halls of power!  A gentlemans truce if you will, help us keep this yahoos from pulling off their coup and we will back you in your next election as a show of unity with the human wing of the republican party.

    They must realize that the radical wing of their party is just as much a common enemy to them as they are to us and the American people.  

    And once those people are out of the picture we can go back to deciding which path is the best one to take in reaching what is essentially a common end goal.

  •  Hey Stick--two words (none)
    Not "privatization"--piratization
    Not "privatizers"--privateers

    Let's paint the Jolly Roger all over these guys.

  •  Better Way to handle medical care than Medicare (none)
    Politics and rhetoric are fun, and certainly the Bush administration is heartless about real people.  But the cost of Medicare/Medicaid is monstrous and growing very rapidly, suffocating the economy and crushing the Federal and State budgets.  There are too many corporations involved, too much "insurance", too much everything, except true care for the poor who need it.

    Why don't we re-establish rural and urban medical clinics for poor people?  There used to be a whole network of these, under the Public Health Service.  Any poor person could go, get a checkup, get some medications at very low prices.  This would be a much much cheaper solution to medical care in this country than Medicare.

    The current Medicare system is extravagant and pays for medical care for those who are perfectly able to pay for their own, while leaving the poor out in the cold.  Anything that is "free" become instantly abused.  Who doesn't want more of what is "free?"  I've got old inlaws who get MRI scans and brain tests in their 80's because they can't remember things and get dizzy sometimes.  Jesus H. Christ, what do people expect to happen to Medicare costs?

    Why don't we propose the "socialist" solution of medical clinics for the poor and get rid of the clumsy bureaucracy of Medicare entirely?  Provide free drugs to poor people who need them, and bargain down those prices with the drug companies instead of filling their pockets with cash.

  •  Head up from "This Week in Fascism" (none)
         I have a policy of letting diary authors know what I said about their diaries in my series on "This Week in Fascism."

         Come on over and let me know what you think about my comments. I also remind the Authors that I probably recommended their diaries and am consistantly the top recommended each week. Hint! Hint!

         without further ado here is what I said.

                 Kossacks in Action: Running for Office or Working for Candidates.

         [new] The Senate Democratic Communications Center gave us a well documented analysis of Bush's Budget: Hiding the Cost of Privatization while Increasing the Uninsured. I subscribed to them so I would not miss out on anything they post. And so should you.

    "It's about the accountability, stupid." Thomas Davis 2005

    by Tomtech on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:59:05 PM PST

  •  Head up from "This Week in Fascism" (none)
         I have a policy of letting diary authors know what I said about their diaries in my series on This Week in Fascism 03-06-05 [Major Announcement]

         Come on over and let me know what you think about my comments. I also remind the Authors that I probably recommended their diaries and am consistantly the top recommended each week. Hint! Hint!

         without further ado here is what I said.

              Kossacks in Action: Running for Office or Working for Candidates.

         [new] The Senate Democratic Communications Center gave us a well documented analysis of Bush's Budget: Hiding the Cost of Privatization while Increasing the Uninsured. I subscribed to them so I would not miss out on anything they post. And so should you.

    "It's about the accountability, stupid." Thomas Davis 2005

    by Tomtech on Sun Mar 06, 2005 at 10:02:14 PM PST

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