The strange Republican embrace of Medicare

August 24, 2009

Chris Edwards over at the Cato Institute is also unsettled by how the GOP is endorsing the status quo with Medicare spending to score political points:

Yet the taxpayer costs of MedicareĀ are expected to more than double over the nextĀ decade (from $425 billion in 2009 to $871 billion in 2019), and theĀ program will consume an increasing share of the nationā€™s economy for decades to come unless there are serious cuts and reforms. Even the Obama administrationĀ talks about ā€œbending the cost curveā€ to slow the programā€™s growth.

Yet Republican National Committee chairman,Ā Michael Steele, takes to theĀ Washington Post today to defend Medicare against any cuts, while at the same timeĀ criticizing the DemocratsĀ as ā€œleft-wing ideologues:ā€ …Ā SteeleĀ uses the mushy statist phrasing ā€œour seniorsā€ repeatedly,Ā as if theĀ government owns this group of people, and that they should have no responsibility for their own lives.

Fiscal conservatives, whoĀ haveĀ come out in droves to tea party protests and health care meetings this year, are angry at both parties for the governmentā€™s massive spending and debt binge in recent years. Mr. Steele has nowĀ informed these folks loud and clear that the Republican Party is not interested in restraining government; it is not interested in cutting the program that creates the single biggest threat to taxpayers in coming years. For apparently crass political reasons, SteeleĀ defends ā€œour seniors,ā€ but at the expense of massive taxĀ hikes on ā€œour childrenā€ if entitlement programs are not cut.

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