This post from Ezra Klein of the Washington Post says that the Republican assault on Medicare was beaten back by public opinion, with heavy losses sustained by the GOP for its effrontery. Now attention will be turned to Medicaid, a much bigger target. Some 67 percent of recipients are elderly or disabled, a majority without a lot of pull, so Republicans are salivating…
It doesn’t matter whether Eric Cantor says he’s bargaining for the Ryan budget or not. The GOP cannot privatize and voucherize Medicare. They can’t even get close. It’s too easy an issue for Democrats, too dangerous an issue with seniors, and too slipshod a policy even for Michele Bachmann. The attack on Medicaid, however, is another story. That one might actually work. And if it does, it’ll actually be worse….
There are two reasons Medicaid is more vulnerable than Medicare. The first is who it serves. Medicaid goes to two groups of people: the poor and the disabled. Most of the program’s enrollees are kids from poor families, though most of the program’s money is spent on the small fraction of beneficiaries who are disabled and/or elderly. These groups have one thing in common, however: They’re politically powerless.
The second is who pays. Medicare is a federal program. Medicaid is a state-federal match, and it kills states during recessions, as unlike the federal government, states can’t run deficits, and so they find themselves with increased costs because they have more people in need but decreased revenues. So there are a lot of governors — particularly GOP governors — straining under overstretched state budgets who’d like a way out of their fiscal crisis that doesn’t include raising taxes, and there are a lot of federal legislators who’d like to save money without having seniors mounting protest marches outside their office, and Medicaid begins to look like an answer to everyone’s problem. “You can shift costs to states so they can be the bad guys while the federal policymakers pretend they didn’t hurt anybody,” says Bob Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Expect to see attacks on the state level, particularly where Tea Party Republicans hold sway — the basest of Social Darwinism from a party that wears the Bible on its sleeve and spouts all kind of sanctimonious spew in justifying its mean-spirited actions.
San Francisco Chronicle
Speaking of statewide attacks, this post on sfgate.com, “Wisconsin Republicans rush agenda before recalls,” details how embattled Republicans faced with a recall election are quickly acting to do the bidding of the puppet masters (as noted here in a post that’s a must-read):
Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and GOP leaders have launched a push to ram several years’ worth of conservative agenda items through the Legislature this spring before recall elections threaten to end the party’s control of state government.
Republicans, in a rapid sequence of votes over the next eight weeks, plan to legalize concealed weapons, deregulate the telephone industry, require voters to show photo identification at the polls, expand school vouchers and undo an early release for prisoners.
Lawmakers may also act again on Walker’s controversial plan stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. An earlier version, which led to massive protest demonstrations at the Capitol, has been left in limbo by legal challenges.
“Everything’s been accelerated,” said Republican Rep. Gary Tauchen, who is working on the photo ID bill. “We’ve got a lot of big bills we’re trying to get done.”
Three comments following accurately describe how this is being received:
Just like bank robbers cleaning out the cash drawers before the police show up.Hurry! Hurry! GOPrs! Work as quickly as possible to ruin Wisconsin and do as much damage as you can!!!
The question is: What is the Koch Brothers dangling in front of these “legislators” for after they lose in the recall election? What “consultant” jobs will they received due to big money corrupting this system. Also, how disgusting can you get?
Wall Street Journal
Think that pension plan — and your future — is secure? This post, “When Benefits Bite Back,” from the Wall Street Journal will make you think twice. Even if you’ve got a pension from a big company like Xerox, you’re possibly shit outa luck when the time comes… The Supremes once again rule in favor of the big guys, even when their moves are deemed unsavory in every other court.