Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bipartisan Pain and Ryancare

Last night I was talking to a Tea Party advocate about the concept of compromise. Of course, he is against compromising, I am for it on occasion. I asked him a simple question that he couldn't really answer -- "Do you think that the Republicans can deal with our $14 trillion debt without bipartisan support?" He tried to sidestep the question by blasting the Democrats as being fervently against dealing with deficit spending. It doesn't take a lot of research to understand that Republicans and Democrats have both been guilty of deficit spending throughout modern history (even our beloved Ronald Reagan). Only George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton have had any success in dealing with the problem.

The bottom line is that dealing with deficit spending is highly unpopular. Poll after poll has shown that the American people want to get rid of the deficit, but when asked to evaluate how to accomplish their wishes, they find all of the tools for dealing with deficit spending unacceptable. Paul Ryan has come up with a way to deal the debt, but his plan is widely unpopular.

And there is a reason why Ryan's plan will never become law. It places the hurt from cuts to deficit spending almost completely on the Democratic Party's constituency. Medicare cuts? Well, yes, but after ten years. The current seniors (arguably the ones most responsible for our debt) are off the hook. They also happen to lean Republican. Medicaid cuts? Yes, and immediately. Medicaid beneficiaries vote Democrat. And then let's sprinkle in some tax cuts for upper middle class families.

On the surface, I am completely find with all of that, except that I know that it will never get passed. What we need to do instead is spread the hurt around (not spreading the wealth). That is the only fair way to do. We all share some of the blame for our $14 trillion debt. We should all feel some of the pain.

And by the way, if the Republicans would follow such a strategy, they would find electoral success. The Republican Party would all of sudden look like a party that cares about governing, and not just protesting.


BOSMAN said...

Pablo I said back in April I thought it was a BAD MOVE to talk about cutting/changing MEDICARE/MEDICAIDE until 2013.

Everything I predicted back then is taking shape. Lets get the White House back then tackle SENIOR ENTITLENENTS!

Ohio JOE said...

At least on the surface of it, this is the most serious post you have written in some time. You are moving in the right direction. There is no question that both parties are to blame (to one degree or another) for the debt. However, the situation now is too serious to rely on compromise alone. A few years ago, that would have been ago. But we are at the point now where a little nip here and a little cut here won't solve the problem in the end. Politicians need to promote capitalistic solutions if we are going to get out of this situation.

The problem with strict compromise is that we will get the small piece of the pie (in this case, only a small per centage of the needed cuts will take place. Then what is the likely scenario? Well, it will be said 'see we tried cuts and it did not work' when it fact cut were not really tried seriously. Then they will go back to there old ways and not cut anything. Balancing one or two budgets might be impressive politically, but long term structural changes are now needed. That won't be accomplished by a compromise here and a compromise there. We need to think outside the box.