Several times during this last election cycle and it’s aftermath I spotted a few older Americans driving around with bumper stickers that said “Save Medicare: Vote Democrat.” I seem to always have the same reaction when I see this. (No, I don’t shout out cuss words, toot my horn or anything else disrespectful like that). First, I shake my head a few times in disbelief, then I try to catch a glimpse of the naive person driving that bumper sticker around while wondering how it’s possible that some people can be so detached from reality.
It’s an indisputable fact that the Affordable Care Act, aka. ObamaCare, is shifting resources to the tune of $700 billion away from the Medicare program in order to help fund ObamaCare. So really, it is President Obama, and other Democrats, who have recently begun slowing the rate of growth of Medicare. One result of this is that fewer and fewer doctors are treating Medicare patients because the government reimbursements often do not cover the costs of the treatments.
Then there is the Obama Administration’s new budget proposal. Dana Milbank of the Washington Post wrote today that “President Obama, has proposed cuts to Social Security and Medicare as part of an attempt to find a middle ground in the budget debate.” What! Obama is proposing to cut Medicare and Social Security? Is this what the people I saw driving the “Save Medicare” bumper stickers around had in mind when they voted for Barack Obama and other Democrats?
In their report of April 5th (also in the Washington Post), Zachary A. Goldfarb and Karen Tumulty wrote that,
“White House officials said Friday that Obama’s budget would cut Medicare and Social Security and ask for less tax revenue than he has previously sought.”
“On Friday, liberals expressed outrage that a freshly reelected president would concede so much.”
Despite the hope of those clinging to their bumper sticker illusions, entitlement spending will be reduced regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are in power. Economic reality will dictate this necessity. But unfortunately, it is a reality that at least half of the voters in this country refuse to acknowledge. The Federal Government is $17 trillion in debt. All one has to do is look at what is happening in Greece, Spain, Portugal and other EU countries which are in trouble. Governments that fund retirement, disability and health care and other entitlement programs with money they don’t have eventually make drastic, painful cutbacks to those programs.
The denial of economic reality in this country (as represented by certain bumper stickers) will make it harder to fix the problem because it will mean, at least for the time being, a continuation of the spending of money we don’t have and thus a lot more pain and suffering for Americans down the road.
In light of President Obama’s new budget proposal, perhaps the “Save Medicare: Vote Democrat” voters will replace their old bumper stickers with a new one: “Save Medicare: Impeach Obama.” But somehow, I doubt it.
Ponder this: Why didn’t candidate Obama tell us last year that he would propose cutting Medicare and Social Security after his re-election. This question reminds me of the time he secretly whispered to a Russian negotiator that he would be able to be “more flexible” after the election. (Well, it would have been a secret, except that the microphone which the President thought was turned off, was still on.) It will be interesting to see what other “secrets” the President has in store for us.
(Dislosure: I confess. I have custom-made bumper stickers of a political nature on my car.)
(Clarification: I am not really advocating that Obama be impeached for proposing cuts to Medicare or Social Security – just poking fun at certain folks who have been so brainwashed that they probably don’t see the irony in President Obama’s recent proposal to cut Medicare and Social Security spending.)