HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Sunday, May 29, 2011

 
The Blight of the Roundtable

by digby

As I'm watching all the conservatives on Meet the Press this morning (and so far the only one who might not be called one is Chuck Shumer -- the rest are Mitch McConnell, Alex Castellanos, David Brooks, Harold Ford and Ruth Marcus, vacuous Villager of the year) I would think that all elderly people should probably be extremely worried that they will be barred from going to the hospital next week because Medicare has gone belly up.

But we've heard this all before. Thanks to Think Progress tweeting this week-end, I was directed to this post at Health Beat:

You may have seen the headline: “DIRE FORECAST SPARKS NEW MEDICARE DEBATE TRUSTEES' REPORT USED AS FODDER FOR POLITICAL SALVOS BY BOTH SIDES,” but the date may come as a surprise: June 6, 1996.

At the time, the Chicago Tribune warned its readers: “Medicare trustees reported Wednesday that the program's financial outlook is getting worse, touching off a new round of debate over the future of the federal health insurance system for the elderly and disabled. According to the trustees, who give the program a fiscal checkup every year, the fund that pays Medicare hospital bills dipped into the red last year and will go broke in early 2001. That's a year earlier than they predicted in 1995.”

Sound familiar? How about these warnings:

Chicago Tribune July 2, 1969: “The Medicare hospital trust fund faces bankruptcy by 1976 and taxes must either be raised or benefits reduced the senate finance committee was told today.”

Washington Post, April 1, 1986: “The Medicare hospital insurance program faces bankruptcy by 1996, two years earlier than projected last year.”

New York Times, January 20, 1985: In the last few years, when it appeared that the Medicare trust fund would run out of money in 1987-89... But the need seemed less urgent after the Congressional Budget Office issued new estimates last September indicating that the Medicare trust fund would not go bankrupt until 1994.

(Hat tip to Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn who culled eighteen stories from the Tribune, the Washington Post and the New York Times over a period of four decades, each predicting that the Medicare Hospital Insurance Fund was teetering on the brink of disaster.)

But of course Medicare didn’t “run out of money” in 1994, and it won’t go belly-up now, in large part thanks to health care reform legislation. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Affordable Care Act (ACA) raises and saves over $950 billion. (Below, I spell out how the legislation generates those dollars). In the process, as the Medicare Trustees’ Report 2011 points out, the ACA reduces Medicare spending “by 25 percent”—without cutting health benefits, or shifting costs to seniors.

More changes will be needed, but Zorn is relatively optimistic. After citing the many times we have been told that Medicare is careening toward bankruptcy, he recalls the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Zorn acknowledges that “just because officials and politicians have been predicting Medicare's imminent bankruptcy for more than 40 years doesn't mean that one day they won't be right, but, more likely,” he suggests, “we will turn the knobs and twiddle the dials in order to keep the overwhelmingly popular program solvent, but not so solvent that, between five and 12 years from now, another set of politicians won't grimly inform us that it's going under in between five and 12 years.”


The good news is that nobody was watching this vapid, braindead Meet The Press this morning about the immediate deficit catastrophe because I don't think I've ever had the misfortune to see a bigger load of pompous Villager pap and GOP propaganda in one place.

I don't think I've never seen one this bad, seriously:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sample of the verbal compost:


Gregory: So, Ruth Marcus, what wins here, bold leadership on Medicare and the argument that the Democrats won't do something courageous or the Democrats who say, hey, those guys want to take away my medicare?

Marcus: I regret to inform you that I think it's the latter. And I think when you were asking Senator Mcconnell if medicare was the new third rail of American politics, I think the question was wrong in a sense, because it's the old third rail of American politics.

This play has been run time after time. If you go back and look at the quotes from president Clinton, back when he needed to win re-election, they sound a lot like the quotes from Democrats today about don't let those republicans take away your Medicare. The difference is that the debt is bigger, the deficit is bigger, the gap is bigger, and the situation is more dire. but i think that, sadly, the lesson of New York 26 is Mediscare works.

Gregory: The question, David Brooks, is whether there is going to be a deal before they raise the debt ceiling on medicare and what that looks like. Senator McConnell wouldn't say it, but he's certainly not backing the Ryan plan. he's not going to go to the map. if you don't whip up the vote in the senate, that's not going to the mat. it's letting your members vote. it would be something different than what Ryan is talking about.

Brooks: Right. If you ask Americans, should we cut Medicare to help end and reduce the deficit, 70% say no. So that's pretty strong. That's what happened in New York 26.

I agree with Ruth's analysis on that. So, what do Republicans like Mitch McConnell do? They can do a couple things. one of the things that would be useful is to cut a deal that includes Medicare, to have dramatic fingerprints on a Medicare reduction plan, which would be good for the country.

And by getting the Democrats involved, then that would reduce that as an issue. Then what they have to offer is tax increases on the rich. now, would the Democrats take that up? I'm not sure. and frankly, I don't think it's likely, but that's what the Republicans need. [oy vey...]

I think it's much more likely that we'll have really a fudge deal on the debt ceiling, a deal of a government shutdown problem this year and a very large chance of some sort of fiscal crack-up within the next couple years.

I was up on Wall Street this week. I know more about political risk than they do. They are vastly underestimating the source of political risk here. We could have a major problem, I think, either this summer or the next couple of years, and I'd be worried about investing too much in the market. That's my financial advice.

Marcus: Luckily, the market's closed.

Gregory: Harold, what about the issue of timidity? It's ironic that what Newt Gingrich said out loud on this program about right-wing social engineering and don't do the Ryan plan is what a lot of republicans were saying privately, of course. then here's Bill Clinton giving ammunition to the Republicans by saying to the Democrats, don't be timid here. Don't go to the old, you know, Mediscare tactics. Do something courageous. Is that going to happen?

Ford: I hope. The efforts under way by Joe Biden, by the great vice president, defined some compromise.Oi'm a believer after watching President Clinton in the last few days that perhaps if they get close to a deal, President Obama might ask President Clinton to come back in and convince some of the Democrats that this is the right thing to do. I was most encouraged, though, by McConnell this morning. He backed away from standing so firm and steadfast with Ryan, suggesting strongly that he's ready for a deal, and even listening to Chuck Schumer this morning. He talked with more specificity about where they would go. So, it's obvious we're moving in a direction where Democrats a few weeks ago said no Medicare.
The Village consensus is that Medicare must be cut and that Democrats are using the same old "scare tactics" by telling their constituents that such cuts will affect their lives. (None of the people in that roundtable need to worry about such things themselves, of course. They are all wealthy celebrities who will be just fine.)

Meanwhile, Wall Street doesn't understand what's really happening and doesn't realize that Armageddon is around the corner and will KILL US ALL IN OUR BEDS --- TAKE YOUR MONEY AND RUN! (Presumably, Brooks is "advising" all of his rich friends to buy gold now, just like Glenn Beck.)

These people are demented. Medicare must be slashed and anybody who doesn't agree is a coward and a fool. But we are supposed to believe that the Corporate Parties of America are prepared to bring down the global economy out of a surfeit of fiscal rectitude and the corporate and financial elites who own them are too silly to understand it (unlike the very, very savvy Mr Brooks) and are completely without resources to stop it. This is considered to be a serious position.

Update: Do watch the whole show if you can stomach it. It's all shockingly bad.

.