|The End of Medicare As We Know It||Do the Math, Mr President|
by Christopher Chantrill
April 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm
SOME CONSERVATIVES are getting squiffy about the polls on Medicare. Apparently about 80 percent of Americans are opposed to cuts in Medicare. Mona Charen, for one, is steeling herself for the inevitable Mediscare campaign from the Democrats.
The Democrats have always how to scare the pants off grannie at any suggestion of cuts to Medicare and Social Security. For years and years, Republicans didnt know how to respond to their Mediscare. But now things are different. These days the American people are good and scared about debts and deficits. So its now possible to scare the pants off grannie if we dont fix Medicare.
And this time, we have the president on our side. President Obama obligingly brought up the Independent Payment Advisory Boardthe death panel that exercised Sarah Palin a couple of years agofor praise in his George Washington University speech April 13. Said the president.
And we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services that seniors need.
The IPAB is not in the business of lowering health costs, The Wall Street Journal writes. Its mandate has nothing to do with bending the cost curve. Its job is to lower Medicare reimbursements.
Since the board is not allowed by law to restrict treatments, ask seniors to pay more, or raise taxes or the retirement age, it can mean only one thing: arbitrarily paying less for the services seniors receive, via fiat pricing.
The IPABs job is to lower prices paid to providers by Medicare. Its job is price control. And this is not a proposal in a budget put together by a congressman that nobody knows. This is the law as passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama.
Its the law that to keep Medicare costs down we are going to throw grannie into the snow. The proposal by Rep. Paul Ryan (D-WI) is just that: a proposal.
Now Im not an expert in campaign speechifying, but if I were putting together a compelling sound bite on the IPAB suitable for delivery on the campaign trail, Id say this. Mr. President, Id say. The science is in on this. Theres a consensus among economists about bureaucratic price controls. They cause shortages, inflation, and they institutionalize crony capitalism as businesses hurt by price controls learn to game the political system in order to escape the governments mandate and stay in business. You cant bend the cost curve with price controls. All you can do is wreck the health care system. Your Obamacare is going to throw grannie out into the snow.
Actually, Id continue, theres a real question about whether the presidents death panel would ever summon up the courage to pull the trigger on its price controls. After all, the administration has been promising to lower Medicare reimbursements every year, and every year Congress rescinds the cuts and kicks the can down the road one more time. But one day soon when the government defaults on its debt it wont be the can you kick; it will be grannie.
So who is going to bell the cat? Who is going to do the Mediscare on the Democrats? And who will have the cojones to get out and rally the American people when the community organizers get busy and start putting their government employees and program beneficiaries into the street, and the MSM reports that minorities and women are hardest hit?
Isnt it glaringly obvious? Ive nothing against Mitt Romney (MA), Mitch Daniels (IN), and Tim Pawlenty (MN). They have shown gobs of leadership as governors, but they dont exactly stir the passions of the faithful. Im all in favor of Newt Gingrich, except he does come over as a know-it-all. Donald Trump must be the best publicity hound ever whelped. So he should stick to dog shows.
Sarah Palin is the politician that first put her finger on the death panels. Sarah Palin is the politician with a solid Drill, Drill, Drill record on energy. Sarah Palin was the politician talking about a bullet train to bankruptcy before it turned out that the Chinese bullet trains were going bankrupt. Sarah Palin is the politician that came out and told the union members in Wisconsin that their pensions were sacred and that Gov. Scott Walker was the guy making sure that his state would have the money to pay them.
Of any politician in the United States today, it may be said that Sarah Palin comes closest to perfect pitch. Why then are the big Poo-bahs counting her out? Do they know something we dont know? Or is it just that she doesnt owe them anything, and they dont like that?
I say Give em hell,
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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.
[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
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[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 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
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
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
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
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel