|Unaccountable America||Who Will Mediscare the Dems?|
by Christopher Chantrill
April 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm
AS USUAL, Mark Steyn has comically grasped the essence of the budget problem. Democrats are right, he admits, when they say that the Ryan Budget Plan means the end of Medicare as we know it. But lets be honest about the alternative.
The Democrats plan business as usual will end America as we know it.
Thats because under the Democrats business as usual, we will end up Greece or Ireland or Portugal where the government cant borrow money at the rates offered by the money market. According to Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff in This Time is Different, you typically get to Default City when a government is facing about 10 percent of GDP in annual interest payments.
Meanwhile, in Washington State, weve already ended Medicare as we know it, and Im part of the reason why. Ill be 65 in about three months and its time to sign up for Medicare. Im thinking of abandoning my conservative principles and signing up for Medicare Advantage with Seattles Group Health Cooperative. That way I wont be buying a Medigap policy from the dreaded AARP.
There are three collective institutions that proudly define the essence of liberal Seattle. There is PCC Natural Markets, a certified organic grocery store & Seattle Washington co-op; there is REI, the outdoor clothing and gear co-op, and there in Group Health, a consumer-governed, nonprofit health care system that coordinates care and coverage.
According to Group Healths website, it seems that you cant get ordinary Medicare at Group Health. For individuals, the choice is between an Individual & Family plan or Medicare Advantage. So much for the idea that ObamaCare was going to slit the throat of Medicare Advantage. It wont happen here in Washington State. Talk to a liberal about Group Health and she will get a faraway look in her eye. If shes over 65 shes on Medicare Advantage at Group Health.
I figure that long before the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback and the notorious ObamaCare waivers that Seattle liberals already made their Immaculate Reception. Heres a nickel that says that Sen. Patty Murray (D), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), Rep. Baghdad Jim McDermott (D) and the rest of the Washington State (D) crew got themselves a deal with the White House to protect Group Health. Only you and I never got to hear about it.
GHC has several Medicare Advantage programs and I plan to sign up for the one with the biggest deductible. It makes quite a difference. The plan with the maximum annual out-of-pocket expense of $3,200 has a monthly payment of $19. The plan with the minimum out-of-pocket expense of $1,000 costs $210 a month. On top of that, you get to pay $115.40 a month directly to the Feds; that amount comes off your Social Security check. For reference, my current individual health insurance plan costs me $168.94 a month with a $5,000 deductible.
Its good to know that Seattle liberals have taken care of themselves even as they try to sicc ObamaCare on the rest of us. The nomenclatura always takes care of its own.
It will need to, because the Ryan Budget Plan, now available at usgovernmentspending.com, is going to take chunk out of liberal programs. Compared to the presidents budget, Ryan proposes to spend $1 trillion less per year by 2021. Heres a chart of it all:
That one trillion dollars doesnt look like much on the chart, but if features $244 billion less in interest, $225 billion less in other mandatory programs, $233 billion from ObamaCare repeal, and $140 billion from Medicaid reform. And that is all before 2022, the year of the end of Medicare as we know it.
Here is the great question in our national politics. If we chop a trillion a year off federal spending will it hurt or help the most vulnerable? Is the problem too few government programs or too many government programs? Conservatives say that the problem is that government handouts encourage and foster social pathologies. Liberals say that social problems are caused by outsourcing, by corporate power, by budget cuts, and by general conservative meanness.
But this great issue will not be decided on its merits. More likely, it will turn on minor questions. Perhaps Americans will cut the welfare state in a fit of pique about liberal double standards. You know the sort of thing: How liberals enjoy tenure and state-guaranteed pensions while ordinary people watch their 401(k) accounts get ravaged by financial crisis and inflation, or how liberals dealt themselves a cozy deal on Medicare Advantage in Washington State.
But now liberal President Obama is going to present his own spending reduction plan. A liberal proposing spending cuts? That really would be the end of America as we know it.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America