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Mmm...bashing

Okay, the readers are getting restless about the Egypt-related Bush-praising. So how about some bashing? Yeah, that's the ticket. Via Suburban Guerilla, a CBPP report into the Bush administration's plan to make it harder for poor people to get better when they get sick. Also known as "Medicaid reform." The Republican Party's longstanding war on the working poor is truly a sight to behold. The very poorest usually get shielded from these sorts of cuts, because you trim anti-poverty spending by trimming around the margins. This sort of thing not only leads to minor problems like illness and death, but creates de facto super-high marginal tax rates for low income people, thereby creating a massive disincentive toward work and savings.

The joy of it is that all this is done so as to be able to afford tax cuts for the rich aimed at increasing incentives to work and save. Now that's what I call economic policy! The most striking thing about it is that while any given measure of this sort always attracts a certain amount of controversy, and a big deal like slashing Medicaid should even lead some Republicans to pipe up with dissent, the basic orientation of this strategy is essentially never questioned by any GOP elected officials or, as far as I can tell, prominent commentators. But it simply makes no sense on any terms other than sheer desire to redistribute wealth upwards.

February 28, 2005 | Permalink

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» Medicaid Flexibility from CommonSenseDesk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State governors, facing soaring Medicaid costs and threatened budget cutbacks, pushed President Bush for help on Monday and said they would not be rushed into an agreement on restructuring the federal health care program for the ... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 28, 2005 6:27:11 PM

» Medicaid Flexibility from CommonSenseDesk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - State governors, facing soaring Medicaid costs and threatened budget cutbacks, pushed President Bush for help on Monday and said they would not be rushed into an agreement on restructuring the federal health care program for the ... [Read More]

Tracked on Feb 28, 2005 6:28:26 PM

» Medicaid in the Next Decade from Maternal
I predict that some GOP governors will have quite a bit to say about a significant reduction in the Federal contribution to Medicaid. The kids in wheelchairs will be showing up on their statehouse steps. The key battles here are fought locally. [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 1, 2005 9:02:06 AM

» Medicaid in the Next Decade from Maternal
I predict that some GOP governors will have quite a bit to say about a significant reduction in the Federal contribution to Medicaid. The kids in wheelchairs will be showing up on their statehouse steps. The key battles here are fought locally. [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 1, 2005 9:06:13 AM

Comments

Ah, good to hear the administration's war on work is proceeding so well. Although I'm getting nervous that we may not win our social sercurity battle in the war on retirees...where did I put that Joey Lieberman's phone number...

Keep up the great work, Bushie smooshie!

Short-sighted Trust Fund Kids for Tax Cuts

Posted by: theorajones | Feb 28, 2005 3:13:13 PM

They should eat cake.

Posted by: abb1 | Feb 28, 2005 3:16:31 PM

Eat the poor.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Feb 28, 2005 3:36:41 PM

Upward redistribution of wealth is the only thing they truly believe in. You shouldn't be surprised when they pursue it so avidly.

Posted by: bobo brooks | Feb 28, 2005 3:59:35 PM

Damn poor people- if only they'd get rich there would be lots of benefits. (Clearly, without the tax cuts, there's no incentive to be rich.) What the hell is wrong with them?

Posted by: SP | Feb 28, 2005 4:08:05 PM

Jesus loves me this I know;

He blessed my portfolio.

Trickle-down is never wrong;

Jesus keeps the market strong.

yes, Jesus loves me...

Posted by: sic semper | Feb 28, 2005 4:11:06 PM

Yep.

Question is, does Matt (or Josh Marshall or Brad deLong...) have the same existential commitment to redistributing wealth downward?

Posted by: lemuel pitkin | Feb 28, 2005 4:15:04 PM

Just a little bit of it, to keep the serfs healthy, happy and grateful.

Posted by: abb1 | Feb 28, 2005 4:26:57 PM

Just a little bit of it, to keep the serfs healthy, happy and grateful.

Sure, anything else would make them ideologues. Can't have that.

Posted by: bobo brooks | Feb 28, 2005 4:31:13 PM

And meanwhile, the cover story over TAP is "Between Cheney and Chomsky" -- which of course is where all good liberals want to be. How they'd situate themselves without Noam to navigate by, I don't know.

Posted by: lemuel pitkin | Feb 28, 2005 4:54:30 PM

This is so gorgeous I have to quote the whole paragraph:

"The positive theory that accounts will make people excited, entrepreneurial, wealth-accumulating owners, and thus Republicans, expresses one idea about human nature. The negative, anti-government theory embodies another: that people, unless desperate, will not rise up to demand what they don't have and have never known. Here it's useful to remember that Karl Rove's historical parallel is the 36 years of Republican dominance from the McKinley election in 1996 to Hoover's defeat. That was a brutal period in American economic life. Government offered nothing in the way of benefits for workers, minimal widows' pensions, no aid for children, monetary policies that were cruel to farmers and regulatory laissez-faire that was cruel to workers. And yet, year in and year out, people took it, without question. It was the natural order of things. Only the greatest economic collapse in our history forced change. People generally don't demand what they don't have. When Social Security is gone, it will not come back, no matter how badly the accounts do. And people will not respond to its absence by becoming Democrats and demanding the restoration of an economic safety net for seniors. Rather, they will forget it ever existed and vote Republican, confirmed in their belief that government doesn't do a damn thing for anyone. There is little doubt in my mind that this is the thought process in "Bush's brain."" ...Mark Schmitt

Decembrist

What can I say about Mark Schmitt? Speechless. Y'all are vastly underestimating the dangers of the Bush administration and its policies.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 28, 2005 5:29:40 PM

The problem with Schmitt's theory is it doesn;t account for the much alrger expeansion of the welfare state during and after WWII. Why did people manage to demand civil rights for blacks, women gays, protection for the environment, government-paid healthcare for the old and the poor, none of which they had ever known?

My argument would be that extremism of the left (including, esp. in the earlier period, the Communists, and always including the implicit competition of the USSR) was a pretty big part of the story. The absence of a hard left today is more frightening than the presence of a hard right.

Posted by: lemuel pitkin | Feb 28, 2005 5:41:28 PM

Can hardly wait for all the Republican governors to exercise their choices in bringing the cost of Medicaid "under control" as to how many people they want to kick off dialsysis treatment and how many grandmothers they want to kick out of nursing homes. The pictures will look stunning, as will the looks on the faces of family members of those whose services are eliminated. Apparently, some of this reality is beginning to dawn on some of these governors...this wasn't what they were promised they'd have to deal with. Multiply these health care cases by housing cases, by education cases, by nutrition cases, and you have budgeting in the early 21st century thanks to the Bushies.

Charles

Posted by: charles | Feb 28, 2005 5:43:02 PM

And yes, Bellmore and ilk, in a democracy or republic, to attack the "idea" of government is evil. E-V-I-L. If you do not understand why it is wicked to alienate voters from their creation and tool, from themselves and each other (and I believe you do understand), it would take too long to explain it.

The rich and and powerful do not hate government. They understand it as a tool they have shared and partial control over. They intimately understand themselves as part of it. They definitely want it to exist and help them achieve their goals.

Republicans in bad faith and hypocritically have been trying to alienate people from their government for my entire lifetime. See Schmitt's paragraph above as to why they wish it. And if anything is evil, that is.

And MY, if you think the "liberal agenda" has finally and permanently triumphed, as demonstrated by Republican rhetoric, you are a fool.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 28, 2005 5:50:45 PM

What about the time that Clinton made that Medicaid speech while he had no pants on?

Posted by: Al | Feb 28, 2005 5:56:54 PM

"The problem with Schmitt's theory is it doesn;t account for the much alrger expeansion of the welfare state during and after WWII."

The widespread and permanent appreciation of government gained by the average citizen by the New Deal, WWII and the policies following it, like the GI Bill of Rights. The "Greatest Generation" deeply believed that government could and did do good things, for themselves and the world.

That belief is absolutely essential, is the foundation stone of a liberal democracy.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 28, 2005 5:57:44 PM

Isn't there a law of diminishing returns on this business of making the lower economic classes even more miserable? At what point do people of ample means come to the realization that their own world gets worse as the poor get poorer? If I had great personal wealth, it would be in my self-interest to insure that those on the lower rungs were well fed, had a health insurance plan, and a roof over their heads that didn't leak.

Somebody needs to articulate the case to the Right that being concerned about the welfare of the underclass isn't about pity; it's about making sure that we have a safe, stable, and sustainable society that benefits everyone, most of all the upper economic class.

Posted by: peter jung | Feb 28, 2005 6:49:41 PM

"Somebody needs to articulate the case to the Right" ....Joseph Schumpeter

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Feb 28, 2005 6:59:12 PM

Isn't there a law of diminishing returns on this business of making the lower economic classes even more miserable?

That's economics, though; this wealth-redistribution hangup is more of a theological thing. The fact that the poor have a safety net beneath them encourages weakness; a just society punishes them for their lack of initiative.

Ah, the McKinley era. I could never, in a million years, have imagined that this country would be taken over by people who wanted to bring them back. They had to show me before I could believe it.

Posted by: bobo brooks | Feb 28, 2005 7:09:42 PM

One of the ways the president wants to justify these cuts is by lying about so-called "optionals," or people the states are not required to cover under Medicaid. HHS secretary Mike Leavitt likes to paint these so-called "optionals" as "healthy people who just need help paying for health insurance." In fact, so-called optionals are virtually indistinguishable from mandatory populations because when Medicaid enrollees are divided into “optionals” or “mandatories”, many important factors—like as income levels, healthcare needs, and ability to pay for health insurance and additional services—are obscured and minimized (more info here).

As for the level of interest surrounding this story, I think it's growing, especially in states that will be hardest-hit by Bush's cuts, like Ohio and Iowa. Momentum is building against this heartless and idiotic plan.

Posted by: vawolf | Feb 28, 2005 7:52:06 PM

I can't believe you actually devoted a thread to noting that NRO didn't have a weekend story on Egypt.

As of nearly 8 pm EST on 28 Feb, your blog has yet to acknowledge the democratic revolution happening in Lebanon. And we're talking about tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people on the streets, in addition to the resignation of Lebanese parliament--not a promise issued by a dictator.

If I relied on your site, Atrios, & dKos for news, I would not even know this is happening.

Geez, even the DU has it.

Posted by: Bostonian | Feb 28, 2005 7:54:19 PM

I used to read your blog, a couple of years ago.

Now I see why I stopped doing that.

Posted by: Bostonian | Feb 28, 2005 7:55:33 PM

The "Greatest Generation" deeply believed that government could and did do good things, for themselves and the world.

Didn't Grover Norquist have some line recently about how he couldn't wait for the WWII generation to die off, for exactly that reason?

Ah yes -- gotta love Google:

"Each year, 2 million people who fought in the Second World War and lived through the Great Depression die. This generation has been an exeception in American history, because it has defended anti-American policies. They voted for the creation of the welfare state and obligatory military service. They are the base of the Democratic Party. And they are dying."

Posted by: lemuel pitkin | Feb 28, 2005 8:41:00 PM

It's called a kleptocracy; or Reverse Robin Hood, who
was unaware that "A rising tide lifts all boats"

What happended to Jack Kemp, anyway?

Posted by: SEC Overreach | Feb 28, 2005 9:08:38 PM

Bostonian,
Maybe it's your problem that you rely on blogs for news? In my opinion, the best blogs are the ones that avoid posts of, "hey, this just happened!" and instead give a little bit of a thoughtful reaction. Besides, MY may be on a date or something. I know it's a longshot, but you just can't help cheering for the guy.

Posted by: Dan | Feb 28, 2005 10:01:06 PM

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