Not “My” Program
For people over fifty (almost a third of the U.S. population), there are three or four categories of people. Those that are either retired comfortably, those retired with reservations, those working towards a comfortable retirement and those working towards a very modest retirement. This demographic often votes (around 70%). Many of these are old school and vote party line tickets, just as their fathers did. Most of these folks are only interested in things that affect them. What is the candidates’ position on Medicaid funding, drug reimbursement, social security stability, and other senior benefits? If the candidate supports all of these things, great.
Any candidate suggesting cuts to Medicaid or other senior benefits would be toast.
The fact that Medicaid is one of the single largest expenditures in the Federal Budget is irrelevant. Many of these people scream about a balance budget, but they are typical NIMBY’s (Not In My Back Yard). Cut anything except my programs. Back, eons ago, a state was having revenue issues resulting from a poor economy. Mid-year adjustments were necessary and out year program funding was looking bleak. Any program put “on the chopping block” resulted in an outpouring of support. The solution was often the same; cut travel. It was the junkets and frivolous training dollars that were inevitably offered up first. The reality is those expenditures are minutia, rounding errors in the grand scheme.
People, even older people, are wholly ignorant where their tax dollars are spent.
The bottom line is the federal government spends too much money. Programs must be eliminated, not trimmed. Budgets must be hacked, not tweaked. Grants must cease and desist. This should have happened years ago, but why cut services when you can simply print more money. As clever as they were, Summer and Geithner didn’t insist on an exist strategy. If they did, it was optional and they should have known that would never work. The days of blame are gone, but the time to pay the piper is coming.
It will not include one demographic segment, the pain will be spread. At first, business, with its strangle-hold on Congress, will deftly avoid most of the pain, but as the hole deepens, since initial changes will have little affect (the savings projections will be horribly wrong….again), some people will realize business is a significant part of the problem and they will offer up a small token. This process will continue without substantive change for many years. People are reluctant to give up their hard earned gains. At some point in the future, these gains will lose value. The market will level the playing field.
As always, the question is when.