Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Newsday Editorial Board — First shots in war on Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security

Poverty is not a scam. Neither is old age or infirmity or serious illness. But making poverty and the need for help look like a scam is a common political strategy, and it’s one President Donald Trump’s administration sought to rekindle last week when it allowed states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients in “test” programs.
Such a change, based on fiction about who the 70 million Medicaid recipients are and how almost $550 billion in state and federal Medicaid funding is spent each year, won’t save any taxpayer dollars. Nor is it intended to. What it does is spawn news stories that reinforce a message Republicans have promoted since President Ronald Reagan: The GOP brings down mostly minority “welfare queens” riding high on government largesse in their Cadillacs...
Conservative policy rationale is to make it more painful to be poor by punishing poverty in order to incentivize those in poverty to be more "productive." Basic stimulus-response Pavlovian-Skinnerian behavioral psychology.

But this strategy also has a darker side in creating social divisions that can be exploited politically. The GOP sees "the poor" as a major Democratic constituency that Democrats shower with largesse when in power in order to curry favor to get votes and energize the base. The GOP sees that as a strategic opportunity to attack by creating scapegoats.

Democrats under Bill Clinton realized that the GOP base was really the moneyed class that provides the bribes contributions and so, attacking the rich is self-defeating. Clinton took GOP adviser Dick Morris advice to "triangulate" and attack the poor to please the donor-base. Robert Rueben had already suggested that the Democrats cozy up to Wall Street, since that is where the big money is.

So, now the proles and precariat are left out in the cold with the prospect of a colder season coming.
The new job requirements for Medicaid might not be legal and likely will be challenged in court. Either way, the rules won’t save much even if they do take effect. Since only 70 million Americans get Medicaid and 255 million don’t, the proposals might not cause much uproar. But be warned: As a statement of intent and a first shot across the bow, they should.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have been clear about wanting huge across-the-board cuts in Medicaid and Medicare. The cuts have been included in budget proposals they have introduced, and in their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Ryan has said cuts to those programs, along with restructuring Social Security to save money, are his primary legislative objectives, although he concedes they probably won’t happen in 2018....
First shots in war on Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security
The Editorial Board

1 comment:

Noah Way said...

Yesterday: massive that cuts for corporations and the rich,

Today: massive cuts to vital social programs that are available to everyone but utilized by the lower and middle classes "because we can't afford it".

Euthanization is to mild for these a$$holes. Slowly skinned alive on public television would be more fitting.