It seems like such a bad word, “entitlements.” Why should anyone be “entitled” to anything? But Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, they all guarantee one thing — that regardless of how poor you are, or your age, or your health status, you still at the very least deserve not to sicken and starve to death in the streets.
You would think that’s something everyone could agree on — we don’t want people dying in the streets. But it’s not a given anymore. And sadly, in this debt ceiling debate, that’s becoming more obvious.
According to Ezra Klein, there is the possibility for very minor tax increases on businesses, simply accounting gimmicks here and there. But otherwise, the Republicans are demanding, and likely getting, spending cuts. And those cuts are going to come from the social safety net, and likely now with Democratic approval. The Obama Administration is now going to introduce its own version of Medicaid cuts, a plan likely to increase state costs by taking away federal dollars, and guaranteeing states already trying to cut aid will now reduce it even further.
Republican Senator Tom Coburn and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman are floating a plan to cut raise the age that a senior needs to be in order to get Medicare, and up the senior’s premiums, saying that will cut $600 billion from the deficit in the long run. And Democrats Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are so busy arguing over every proposal that the party is unable to even present a unified front against the Republicans. Still, Reid does have time to attack the GOP for living in a “fantasy land” if they think there is any way an agreement will be reached without raising any taxes, and accusing them of not caring at all about the middle class.
We have about one month before the country officially defaults on its debt. Republicans really don’t seem to care, Democrats don’t seem to have power, and the administration seems ready to give away everything the poor have left in order to help protect the rich.
Photo credit: Photo from wikimedia commons
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