Thursday, April 21, 2011

What you want and what you get

Over at MinnPost, Eric Black is gloating over polling results that would appear to be, ahem, problematic to the Republicans who are talking about structural reforms to entitlement spending:

In one question (really series of questions) the Post offered respondents five ideas for reducing the national debt. Four of the five were unpopular but the two that were most unpopular were “cutting spending on Medicare” (78 percent opposed) and “cutting spending on Medicaid" (69 percent opposed). Also unpopular, but not as much, were cuts to military spending and a broad tax increase tied to small changes in entitlement spending.

I took a poll of Americans 5 years ago and discovered that nearly 84 percent would like a parfait delivered to their doorstep every night. And in recent polling, I've found out that nearly 67 percent would oppose ending the Parfait Entitlement Act of 2006.

It doesn't matter whether Americans are opposed to cutting Medicare spending. It's hardly surprising -- programs that fund expensive things for people are always going to be popular. It doesn't change the fundamental problem of demographics. We are getting older and we do not have nearly enough young people to finance the costs. Nothing is going to change that. And when we are old and the bills come due, the young people won't be able to pay the bills. Waving a Washington Post poll from 2011 in their faces won't change that.

Republicans may very well lose this election if they actually fight this fight. That's fine. We'll get what we deserve, one way or another.


W.B. Picklesworth said...

Exactly. Losing an election doesn't matter in the long run. Losing this argument means ruin. The sooner the argument is made clearly, the sooner people can come to terms with it. There's no way around the truth here.

Bike Bubba said...

I read a joke recently that illustrates the trouble we have understanding that Congress doesn't make all laws; two truckers came to a bridge that said "low bridge, 11'3"". They got out and measured their rig, and it measured 12'4". At that point, one of them looked around a bit, and said to the other "Let's give it a try. I don't see any cops around."

In other words, a majority of Congress and the electorate can be counted upon to think that the laws of men are more powerful than the laws of finance and physics.

Night Writer said...

Medicare is a bit of the monkey trap scenario; the one where you put a banana inside a small cage that is chained to the ground. The bars of the cage are just far enough apart that the monkey can reach his paw in to grab the banana, but too narrow for him to bring his fist and the banana back out. All the monkey has to do is let go of the banana and he can escape, but he can't bring himself to do it.

We know the Medicaid and Medicare model can't last because expenses outpace contributions, regardless of how much taxes are raised. The high cost of health care (the cost of which has been distorted by govt policies) is so frightening, however, and people are so ill-prepared to pay for it themselves because of the long-held assumption (encouraged by the govt) that the government would take care of them, that the thought of letting go of the banana is impossible. People may not like the situation, but they have to accept it.

Cutting these programs off, or way back, now is a non-starter politically because too many people would be left in the lurch. We will need a plan that protects those dependent on Medicaid and Medicare, while phasing out for those 10-15+ years away from the time when this coverage is most important, allowing them and the market to adjust to and develop a more efficient system.

It's a gamble on the power of the marketplace, but I think I'd rather bet on that versus sitting there with my hand stuck in a trap.

Gino said...

i'll give up my parfait when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

Mr. D said...

i'll give up my parfait when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

You must be one of those bitter clinger fellas the President is always warning me about.

Gino said...

i like my parfait sweet, thank you.