Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee calls for means-testing Medicare. Charge them higher premiums, he says. “There’s no reason in the world for wealthy seniors to be subsidized with American taxpayer money for healthcare benefits that they can afford.”
I can think of one: they were promised they would be paid.
I can think of another: because of Medicare, private insurance programs drop coverage automatically for anyone over 65. There are no free market options.
I can think of a third: they paid full taxes into the program. They should get full coverage out of it. It’s a matter of justice.
I can think of a fourth: the extra money the government will pull in will be peanuts. So, this position is for political grandstanding.
Corker is a Republican Senator who is seeking votes from liberals, and who wants to be seen as a populist “man of the people.” He is a multimillionaire businessman, so he has positioning problems.
Mr Corker recently put forth a $4.5tn deficit reduction plan that included raising the cost of health coverage for retirees earning more than $50,000, saving about $50bn over a decade, and he is also proposing to make Social Security benefit distribution more progressive. “Especially when Democrats want wealthy citizens to pay more, this is a place hopefully where we would have common ground,” says Mr Corker.
Common ground. Common cause. Corker, the Great Commoner — William Jennings Bryan in drag.
He proposes a $4.5 trillion deficit reduction plan. That’s over 10 years. But the deficit at $1 trillion a year will be $10 trillion.
Why not propose a $1 trillion deficit reduction plan for fiscal 2013? Also 2014, 2015, and so forth? Why not get serious about deficit reduction?
For that matter, why not run a surplus, and begin paying off the federal debt?
Because that would lose votes in Tennessee. I mean, no Republican wants to be seen as a Ron Paul fanatic.
Is anyone going to vote with Corker on his proposal? Of course not. It will not get out of committee. But it makes for great grandstanding for Republican retirees back home, most of whom make under $50,000 a year.