Opinion: Take from the sick and old, give to the rich

David Koch (AP)

The Republican budget resolution that the Senate is expected to approve this week cuts $475 billion out of Medicare for seniors over the next decade and cuts another $1 trillion out of Medicaid.¹

Both steps are highly unpopular with voters, which is why you don’t hear Republicans bragging about their actions. In a poll taken by the Kaiser Family Foundation in April, for example, just 12 percent of Americans said they support cutting Medicaid. Just 6 percent backed cuts to Medicare.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll. April 2017

 

Even among Republican voters, such cuts are highly unpopular. A Pew Foundation poll taken in April, for example, found that just 15 percent of Republicans support cuts to Medicare.

And why are Republicans proposing such major cuts to programs that serve as the foundation of our nation’s social safety system? It is certainly not out of fiscal prudence, because the money being saved isn’t being used to reduce the debt or the deficit. Instead, that $1.5 trillion is being used to help finance massive tax cuts, “the biggest tax cuts ever,” says President Trump.

And according to every nonpartisan analysis that I’ve seen, most of the benefits of that tax cut will accrue to corporations and the already wealthy. By 2027, the Tax Policy Center estimates, 80 percent of the benefits will be going to the richest 1 percent of Americans, leaving the other 99 percent to squabble over the crumbs. Meanwhile “taxes would rise for roughly one quarter of taxpayers, including nearly 30 percent of those with incomes between about $50,000 and $150,000 and 60 percent of those making between about $150,000 and $300,000.”

Like the budget cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, these tax cuts for the rich and for corporations are highly unpopular, even among Republican voters. According to Gallup, just 19 percent of Americans believe that corporations pay too much in taxes, while just 24 percent believe the wealthy are unfairly burdened.

So at this point an obvious question arises:

Republicans face a potentially tough mid-term election in 2018. Yet here they are, fighting to enact major and highly unpopular cuts to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthy that are themselves highly unpopular with voters.

Why on earth would they do that?

Because, money, baby. It’s all about the Benjamins. As USA Today reports:

“Republican leaders in the Senate are facing increasingly vocal pressure from some of the party’s wealthy contributors to chalk up a legislative win by quickly passing tax cuts — or see campaign contributions dwindle or shift to their challengers in next year’s midterm elections.”

And as the Boston Globe reports from a GOP mega-donor summit organized by billionaires Charles and David Koch, where Vice President Pence pleaded last week for money:

NEW YORK — The message from the billionaire-led Koch network of donors to President Trump and the Republican Congress it helped to shape couldn’t be more clear: Pass a tax overhaul, or else.

As the donors mixed and mingled for a policy summit at the St. Regis hotel in midtown Manhattan last week, just a block south from Trump Tower, it came up again. And again. And again….

“This is the crux issue,” said Chris Wright, a Koch donor and CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services in Denver. He predicted that Republicans would “pay a heavy price” in the 2018 midterm elections if the effort fails, explaining that donors and activists alike would walk away from the party.”

In short, we’re looking at a political ecosystem in which Republicans attempt to enact highly unpopular proposals that will hurt average Americans and further enrich the already wealthy. If they succeed in helping their wealthy sponsors, they will then be rewarded with massive campaign contributions that they can deploy to deny and obscure and distract from the fact that they have enacted highly unpopular proposals that will hurt average Americans and further enrich the already wealthy.

As the old saying goes, one hand washes the other, in this case in swamp water.

—————————

¹Let’s deal with the oft-heard claim from conservatives that these aren’t actual spending cuts, but merely cuts in projected growth. As a matter of basic arithmetic, that’s true. In terms of human impact, it’s nonsense. 

Medicare and Medicaid spending is projected to grow over the next 10 years in large part because every day, day after day, another 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare and also for long-term nursing home care under Medicaid. And it’s pretty simple: More people means higher costs. So when you refuse to account for that growing population of retirees, when you pretend not to see what is right in front of your face by “cutting projected growth,” you significantly reduce the per-capita resources available to help those retirees.

That too is arithmetic.

Reader Comments 0

1599 comments
Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Paul42

why back in my day, when I called SHEETZ I let folks know what KINDA sheetz they wuz!

Kids today...

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Benghazi outrage went from "hey, why are they saying the violence was because of a video?" 

to

"her emails!  Her emails show she was colluding with the enemy!" or some such nonsense. 


Does everyone know what happened to the person who led the attack on the ambassador? (Hint: It wasn't Clinton!) 


Anyone? 

honested
honested

It's a new day.

Will chump manage to finally do something right today?

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@honested @InTheMiddle2  Never heard of a "so-called-president". Heard of President, President elect, vice president, president pro-tem, but "so-called" is a new one. Anyway, who's that?

gadem
gadem

@honested @InTheMiddle2 **electoral suspicions as well....hacked machines, no paper trail.


I do know that my vote did not count because they had my old address on file. Eventhough I changed my voter registration when I changed my license and got my tags....even property taxes had the correct address, but voter registration had me fill out a provisional ballot. How many people did this happen to, and in how many states.

honested
honested

@InTheMiddle2 @honested 

You get the drift.

When will he do something right?

When will he take responsibility for the myriad of situations where he had the clear opportunity to do the right thing and seemed to go out of his way to do the wrong thing? 

Do you people concern yourself with the performance of elected officials, or is it all some sort of ideological superstition?

MiltonD
MiltonD

@gadem @honested @InTheMiddle2 Oh please, give it a rest, your candidate lost fair and square, there have been zero reports of any voting machine hacks.  BTW, if you live in GA, your vote did not count, Trump won the vote in GA and received all of our electoral votes.  

gadem
gadem

They are crying about Basketball now....is patriotism patriotism if it is forced? Why do some people feel the need to tell people to do this and do that?

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@gadem  Human nature to want to tell people what to do. Happens everyday in just about every way. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@gadem

is patriotism patriotism if it is forced? 

No, quite the opposite.

THBAEOSATSQ.

gadem
gadem

@InTheMiddle2 @gadem My kids, my dog...sometimes my wife under my breath of course. Never adults because they are doing something that I disagree with, but that's just me.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@gadem @TetoLeo


Hawks won!!!! Not many thought they would!!! Hope they have a good season.


Don't pay attention to comments of posters in a comments section.  I expect there to be trolls of all shapes and sizes.

straker
straker

Paul - "the silence on Niger and Yemen"  I keep waiting for them to yell NIGER  and YEMEN the way they constantly yelled BENGHAZE. Wonder how long I'll have to wait?

honested
honested

@straker 

Given the spankin' they received over BENNNNNNGHAAAAAAZZZZZIIIII, I would suppose a while.

McGarnagle
McGarnagle

My hope is Trump doesn't double down on this soldiers deaths issue or the NFL national anthem issue. But my gut tells me he will until he can view himself as the winner. Winter is coming.

Paul42
Paul42

@McGarnagle whenever he pulls such a stunt I wonder "Whats going on with Mueller now?"

gadem
gadem

To be clear to everyone here, I am not racist. I am guilty of being prejudice.

gadem
gadem

@InTheMiddle2 @gadem everyone does....I always get to know people until they prove me wrong. I have friends of all race and faith. People are people, we all struggle in this world together...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@gadem

 I am guilty of being prejudice. 

No you're not.

You're guilty of being prejudiced.


/ducking and running.

honested
honested

@gadem 

I referenced the accidental president as a an 'orange treasonous moron' earlier.

Someone mistook that as a prejudice against orange people.

Funny how they could overlook my prejudice against treasonous morons.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@gadem I'm prejudiced against the willfully ignorant.  I still try to let them know about facts and reality.  But, since they ignore those facts and reality, they remain willfully ignorant. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LogicalDude @gadem

Yesterday I was listening to a reformed ex-racist skinhead who talked about the importance of NOT mocking the ignorant, of NOT telling them that they're "worthless", because they already probably believe that about themselves already.

I guess I know in my heart that this is the right thing to do, and probably the only way to ever get through to the people who can be reached.

But still. Christ almighty. It is hard to do.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

@Visual_Cortex @LogicalDude @gadem I at least try to give them some benefit of the doubt, to give logical leads to facts and reality. 

But too many just revert back to ignorance. 


It's definitely hard to do, but sometimes you find a sparkle of gold in the dirt. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LogicalDude @Visual_Cortex @gadem

You are far, far more patient with the ignorant and stupid than I feel I'll ever be.

When I post here, I should probably wear a bracelet that says "WWLDD."

And no, I'm not planning to ask to borrow any money from you. Today.

Paul42
Paul42

Any of the cons care to explain their outrage over Benghazi but the silence on Niger and Yemen?


There were failures with the Yemen op.  No worries, Donald said.  It was the general's fault and they've learned.


Now there's evidence of the same kind of pre-mission intel failures with the Niger op.   The administration not knowing the number KIA for days.  NSC staff preparing a statement of condolence - with the wrong number dead - and the president sits on it for two weeks.  Then there was the body of the dead soldier left behind for days, the lack of operational support, the (what's that word you cons love?) lies about the rescue chopper ("It was French.... It wasn't ?... oh, okay, it was our military... wait... wait...  It was a contractor!  Yeah, that's it!)


So far, all we've heard from you is silence.


Why?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Paul42 They hadn't heard about it from their "trusted news" blog sites.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@Paul42  Now wait a second. I think Hills did her job and convinced everybody that when people are killed overseas it just doesn't matter who or why. Hat's off to Hills for being so convincing. 

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Paul42


I didn't have much outrage about Benghazi at the time it occurred. So not sure my opinion counts in this question.


2 points of difference though.  Had the forces in Niger asked for more protection leading up to the attack, because they feared this type of attack occurring?


Also as of this moment the Trump administration has not trotted out people to tell us it was because of a video.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@TetoLeo Our ambassador specifically asked for a smaller detail around him because it got in the way of his interacting with the locals.

ByteMe
ByteMe

We had an ambassador killed in Niger? 

Paul42
Paul42

@ByteMe see how quickly the conversation degenerates?


Still no answers to my question.  ByteMe  figured out why - and even that is not disputed by the cons.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Paul42 @ByteMe


Paul, 


I provided an answer to your question and then links to support it.


You not liking the answer is far from no answers........

honested
honested

@TetoLeo @Paul42 @ByteMe 

You provided weak support for the 'established opinion' of the wrong wing (despite that opinion being disproved over dozens of hours of pointless hearings).

But do, carry on.

Paul42
Paul42

@Visual_Cortex

That's part of what I was asking them to do.


They won't, let alone explain their reaction to both events.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@honested @TetoLeo @Paul42 @ByteMe


So politifact labeling it as true is weak support?


I made no mention that anything Mrs. Clinton or anyone in the administration had done anything illegal.  So not sure what the hearing provides except legality. Its possible to make a legal decision and it still be the wrong decision.

Paul42
Paul42

@TetoLeo

It's not a question of not liking it.


It's not serious.

TetoLeo
TetoLeo

@Paul42 @TetoLeo


How so?


Your question offers as a premise that the 2 events are very similar.  I show you 2 differences in the events that could very easily change the opinion of how each circumstance is viewed.

You can debate if those 2 differences were enough to cause people to feel differently, but it is historical fact that those 2 things were different in these respective cases.


What would be a serious answer to your question unless you didn't want any serious answers unless they agreed with you???