I Get Emails: Why Fiscal Conservative Shouldn’t Support The Medicare Cuts In Obamacare


Here’s a question I received from a RWN reader this week-end:

As a fellow right wing nut, could I ask why we Republicans are not supporting the proposed Medicare budget cuts?

As a fiscal conservative, you know that a balanced budget will require modifications to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and, probably, defense. No way around it, we must tackle these social programs someday. So why don’t we support the Democrat’s proposal to reducing them today? I can only conclude that the Republicans would rather win points with a specific voting group than address the larger national issues.

And that’s why some of us don’t think that changing parties will make much difference.

Keep up the good work

Here’s the thing: Were I in Congress, I wouldn’t support the Medicare cuts in Obamcare either despite the fact that I agree that we do need to do what we can to reduce spending on Medicare.

Why is that?

Well, you have to understand this isn’t a standalone cut to Medicare. Instead, we have one of two possibilities:

The first is that Republicans go along with these extremely unpopular cuts to Medicare and despite that fact, Obamacare fails. If Obamacare fails, then there will be no cuts. Then, in 2010, even Republicans who opposed Obamacare have to defend cutting Medicare when they run for reelection while Democrats can claim it was a bipartisan decision. In other words, the cost of Medicare wouldn’t be reduced by a single penny and yet, the GOP would pay a political price for it.

On the other hand, Republicans could go along with these unpopular cuts and it could very well help pass Obamacare. I have to ask you: does it really make sense to cut 500 billion from one entitlement program to help get another huge, new entitlement program passed that will end up adding much more to the deficit? What’s conservative about moving money from an old budget busting program to a new budget busting program — and that’s assuming that the Medicare money isn’t simply added back in before the next election, which it very well might be.

Long story, in this situation, there is no reason for fiscal conservatives to support these Medicare cuts because no matter how it turns out, it’ll do nothing to reduce the size of the deficit over the long haul.

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