'Operation Offset' - GOP May Cut Medicare to Pay for Katrina
by Scott Shields, Sun Sep 18, 2005 at 08:47:42 PM EDT
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said there is a need for dramatic spending cuts in "big-ticket items."
...delaying the drug benefit by a year are expected to be among the proposals House Republicans are preparing for "Operation Offset" this week, Pence said.
"We need to rebuild," he said. "We can find the cuts in Washington, D.C., to do that, I really believe that."
Perhaps the most disgusting thing about the Republican plan to delay the Medicare prescription drug benefit by a year is the fact that, only this past Friday, it was announced that Medicare premiums will increase next year, in part to pay for the prescription drug benefit. This is the same prescription drug benefit touted by candidates up and down the GOP slate last year. If there's a more egregious example of a political bait-and-switch, I'm not aware of it.
On the question of how to pay for Gulf Coast recovery, the American people probably have it right. A recent NBC/WSJ poll found that 45% of Americans would like to see the reconstruction paid for by reducing spending in Iraq. The second most popular option was repealing the tax cuts with 27% support. Only 12% support cutting spending on other federal programs. Just 12%. I'm sure, though I can't prove it, that of that 12%, only a small percentage would support cuts to a program aimed at the elderly.
Mind you, I'm sure there are quite a few items in the federal budget that can be cut. The mismanagement of the Iraq war has likely resulted in the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars. No-bid contracts to political cronies are generally a bad idea when cost savings are an issue, especially when they're given to companies under SEC investigation. But to expect the Americans most at need to foot the bill while refusing to ask the wealthy to give up their tax cuts is absolutely unconscionable.