Tag Archives: national debt

Oh, Newt

Bruce Bartlett has a very nice post on how Newt Gingrich was a huge cheerleader for Medicare part D. According to the latest reports, Medicare part D only added $16 trillion to our national debt. For those who are not familiar with it, Medicare part D was George W. Bush’s transparent ploy to buy the senior vote. It was also a huge giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies. Medicare part D paid for a line of prescription drugs. It also promised the pharmaceutical industry that the United States government would not negotiate drug prices.

Back in 2003 when we were negotiating (arguing over) this giveaway, here’s what Newt Gingrich wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

If you are a fiscal conservative who cares about balancing the federal budget, there may be no more important vote in your career than one in support of this bill. Since health expenditures comprise almost 14 percent of the U.S. GDP, a shifting away from the failed bureaucratic third-party payer model and back to a market-mediated binary payer model, where the customer controls his own first health dollars, is the single most significant reform that can be made in saving the country from skyrocketing health costs and steadily increasing calls for taxpayers to finance more and more of the healthcare system through higher taxes.

Although some conservatives may complain about the cost of the drug benefit, this benefit was designed within the framework of the budget resolution. The Medicare drug benefit is a necessary improvement to a Medicare system that was designed before modern pharmaceuticals became a key to staying healthy. Does anyone believe it makes sense to pay billions for kidney dialysis and not pay for the preventive care drugs that lets people keep their kidneys healthy for only pennies per day? Let’s face it, a Medicare drug benefit is inevitable. Liberals, some of whom are running for president, would pass it without any of the changes contained in this bill, and have said as much. However, to meet the future demands of retiring baby boomers the same liberals would either raise taxes massively or shift to a bureaucratic rationing of care–both disastrous policies.

What’s up, Doc? Tuesday evening

You know, there are some days when you sit in front of the computer keyboard and all you want to do is play computer games. Today has been one of those days.

 

  • The death toll in the deadly tornado in Joplin, Missouri has risen to 122.
  • Is there a link between the terrible tornadoes that has destroyed most of Joplin, Missouri and climate change? Of course not (click the link before you comment on my sarcasm).
  • A new poll suggests that Americans are more worried about the deficit than they are worried about defaulting. Again, another poll that shows that Americans do not put things together as well as I would like. Exactly what would happen if we defaulted on our national debt is described in this article in Slate. It is not a pretty picture. The probability of us defaulting on our debt has actually been calculated. You can find those calculations here.
  • Alberto Gonzales, former Attorney General, seems to be trying to rehabilitate his image. After disgracing himself and his family he’s got a lot of work to do.
  • House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has sunk to a new low. He has now stated that aid to help the victims of the Missouri tornado needs to have offsets. He can go find all of those offsets by asking the Chamber of Commerce to fork over some of that money that they seem to be sitting on. Even the Hammer, Tom Delay didn’t go this far.
  • We need to rethink government contractors and political spending.
  • If you are a Republican and you’re going to hold a town hall meeting, you can expect some angry seniors to show up and ask you about your vote to end Medicare. So, as a young congressman, how do you face this mob? You don’t. You call security and have them and the reporters escorted out of the room. Very Classy Representative Justin Amash.
  • Representative Patrick McHenry (of my state of NC) acts like a jerk to Elizabeth Warren for no particular reason. Whether it was a misunderstanding or a mix up doesn’t matter. We can still treat each other with dignity and respect. In the south that is how we are raised. I have no idea how Rep McHenry was raised.
  • The Patriot Act, which I thought was a done deal, isn’t.  Rand Paul wants to vote on several provisions and, because of this, Senate majority leader Harry Reid has tabled a motion to extend the Patriot Act. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • The Dallas Mavericks showed a lot of heart and tenacity by pulling out a victory in Oklahoma City last night to take a 3-1 led in the best of 7 series. On the other hand, the Oklahoma City Thunder caved under pressure. The Dallas Mavericks are down by 15 points with just over 5 min. to play in regulation. Dirk Nowitski played amazingly down the stretch with excellent leadership from Jason Kidd. Oklahoma City Thunder got no leadership from Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. If you’re a Dallas fan it was on the watch, if you’re in Oklahoma City fan it would break your heart.

A Few Things This Monday Morning

  • Taking another look at representative Ryan’s budget, anyone who is dependent upon Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security would simply be out in the cold. This is a frontal assault on the social safety net.
  • Guantánamo Bay documents have been released, or rather leaked, to the press. 172 prisoners remain at Guantánamo Bay. While these documents provide new insight, I’m still curious as to why Guantánamo Bay has not been closed.
  • The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol has been a fixture on Fox News for over a decade. To say that he was a cheerleader for the invasion in Iraq would be an understatement. He was on Fox News on Sunday pushing for an escalation in Libya. One of the things that you’ve gotta love about Bill Kristol is that he is incredibly consistent.
  • Rick Santorum, on the other hand, disappeared from the national scene for about two years. Remember that Rick Santorum “found the weapons of mass destruction” that no one else could find. Yet, for some reason, Fox News believes that the former senator has something meaningful to say. Yesterday, he let us know that it’s okay to default on our national debt, which truly means that this man is not a serious politician, nor a serious political thinker. He also believes that “gays have enough rights.”
  • Representative Gabrielle Giffords seems to be making progress in rehab. This is good news.