Their party’s plan to gut Medicare has turned out to be so unpopular that a bunch of freshman Republican members of Congress have written to President Obama asking him not to mention it.
No, I am not kidding.
The stupid letter was signed by 42 members of Congress who voted for the GOP plan to dismantle Medicare. They want the president and other Democrats to forget about it and move on.
In his New York Times column today, Paul Krugman calls it “one of the funniest political stories of recent weeks.” And I have to admit I would be laughing if I weren’t crying.
The Nobel Prize winning economist explains the philosophy behind the GOP budget proposal. And there’s not a whole lot to laugh about. Especially if you’re a codger (or expect to become one).
Krugman warns that:
The truth is that older Americans really should fear Republican budget ideas — and not just because of that plan to dismantle Medicare. Given the realities of the federal budget, a party insisting that tax increases of any kind are off the table — as John Boehner, the speaker of the House, says they are — is, necessarily, a party demanding savage cuts in programs that serve older Americans.
Think about it.
Here’s the quick-and-dirty summary of what the federal government does: It’s a giant insurance company, mainly serving older people, that also has an army.
The great bulk of federal spending that isn’t either defense-related or interest on the debt goes to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The first two programs specifically serve seniors. And while Medicaid is often thought of as a poverty program, these days it’s largely about providing nursing care, with about two-thirds of its spending now going to the elderly and/or disabled. By my rough count, in 2007, seniors accounted, one way or another, for about half of federal spending.
So how come so many aged and aging people vote for the GOP?
Krugman reminds us that:
Last year, older voters, who split their vote almost evenly between the parties in 2008, swung overwhelmingly to the G.O.P., as Republicans posed successfully as defenders of Medicare.
What did George W say about this kind of thing? Fool him once shame on whoever? Anyway, you know what I’m talking about.
We seniors – and you soon-to-be seniors – should be smart enough by now to know who NOT to vote for next year.