Monday, May 30, 2011

The Times Calls the Democrats Out

I spent most of last week ridiculing the notion that House Republicans' embrace of Paul Ryan’s budget had put Democrats back into the political driver’s seat. The surge of confidence you’re seeing in Democratic circles seems to be premised on the idea that the cards that will be played in 2012 have already been dealt, and that Democrats will win the hand just by keeping theirs close to their vest until after election day. You only have to look at Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s embarrassing answer to a direct question about what Democrats plan to do about unfunded Medicare liabilities to see how improbable that is:

How’s that for cynicism? The Chair of the Democratic National Committee has to have the best talking points Democratic strategists have come up with.  And she can’t even manage to pretend that there’s a Democratic approach to dealing with unfunded Medicare liabilities. The words “tax increases” don’t cross her lips, even in the form of the fairy tale that we can fund Medicare in something like its present form merely by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people making more than $250K.

That has even the editorial page of the New York Times calling the Democrats out:
“It is fine — and important — to attack Mr. Ryan’s destructive Medicare plan, and such criticism seems to be remarkably effective among swing voters, as we saw in last week’s Democratic victory in a special election in western New York. But what exactly are the Democrats proposing as their alternative to get the budget back into long-term balance?

“Cutting back on the growth of health care costs is vital, but the job cannot be done without an increase in revenues, largely by raising taxes on the rich and to a lesser degree on the middle class. If Democratic lawmakers are not willing to make this obvious case to the public, they will never dismantle the Republican artillery.”
How sad that the Times editors should have to say something so obvious.  Everybody knows that the Democratic pitch for “saving Medicare as we know it” is going to involve a combination of substantial tax increases and a panel of democratically unaccountable experts telling patients that Medicare won't pay for treatments that their doctors think might do them some good. If Democrats are afraid to start making it now, why would they think it's going to sell in 2012?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can't take your eyes off her. Kind of like a train wreck.