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Wednesday, September 20 2017 @ 08:48 AM MDT

Republicans' lame proposal to save money

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell continue their rhetoric about President Obama's proposal to bring the federal deficit under control. They said that it wasn't serious. Yesterday, the Republicans finally made a proposal. It was the same old Republican ideas, but no specifics. They are going to raise $800 million in additional revenue by closing loopholes, but they won't specify what loopholes they will close.

They will reduce spending by $1.6 billion, but the details are sketchy at best. They will reduce the cost of living adjustments for Social Security recipients. They suggest that the spending cuts will include raising the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. Other analysis says that the overall costs will go up as a result. Some of those costs will shift to the states. Others will shift to our older citizens.

If people aged 65 and 66 are excluded from Medicare, the cost per person of medicare will go up. Why? Because the 65 and 66 year old people are statistically the healthiest of the people over 65. At the same time, insurance rates for everyone else will go up. Why? Because the 65 and 66 year old people who will now have to buy health insurance are statistically the least healthy people among those under 67 years of age.

Many of them will not be able to afford health insurance and will end up in emergency rooms, unable to pay for the services that they receive. Their care will be more expensive than preventative care would have been.

The plan to save money is based upon taking from the poor so that they can give to the rich.
It is the Republican plan that is not serious. They want their way without giving anything until some time in the future. Tax cuts for the wealthy are necessary, they say, to let the economy grow. Taxes were higher during the Clinton years, and the economic growth was quite high. Along came George W. Bush, who slashed taxes with the promise that it would improve the economy.

Quite the contrary, the republican plan of tax cuts and deregulation were the cause of the recession. And now they want to fix it with more of the same. The Republican plan is not a serious plan. The Republicans seem to think that their majority in the House of Representatives should give them the right to have it their way. They ignore the fact the Senate is controlled by Democrats. They ignore the fact that Obama has already said that he will veto any bill that includes a tax cut on the wealthy.

Republicans seem to believe that the president should present a proposal that is a compromise. That's the kind of thing that he did during his first term, and it was a mistake. I will illustrate why with a numerical analogy.

Suppose we have two people, Bill and Fred, trying to negotiate a value. Let's suppose that Bill wants 100 and Nancy wants 0. They each have an understanding of what the other wants, but Bill, in his attempt to reach a reasonable compromise, suggests 60. Fred sees that Bill is willing to give, but he decides to take a hard line. He proposes 0. After some argument, Fred makes a big concession and proposes 10. Bill is now pressured to make a counter proposal. He proposes 55. Fred comes back with 15. You can easily see where this is going. You and I, as outsiders can easily see that 50 would have been the natural compromise, but it will likely be closer to 35.

This may seem like a silly comparison, but it is very much the way the Republicans want Obama to negotiate. I am glad to see him stand up to foolishness and expose if for what it is.

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