“But on Medicare, for current retirees he’s cutting $716 billion from the program. Now, he says by not overpaying hospitals and providers, actually just going to them and saying we’re going to reduce the rates you get paid across the board, everybody’s going to get a lower rate. That’s not just going after places where there’s abuse, that’s saying we’re cutting the rates.” –Mitt Romney
President Obama and Congress did agree to slow the growth of Medicare by $716 billion. Note that, though — this was not a cut, this was a reduction in the rate of growth.
Medicare has been growing at a rapid and unsustainable rate. At some point, in order to preserve the program, cuts have to be made. Romney’s vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, acknowledged as much in his budget, which preserved those reductions to Medicare spending.
Moreover, while those cuts are aimed at providers, they do not reduce the care patients receive under Medicare. Patients will receive the same coverage as before.
Romney has proposed immediately restoring the $716 billion to Medicare — an odd position for someone demanding fiscal discipline. What would that do? Well, for one thing, it would cause the Medicare Trust Fund to run out of money by 2016. Absent new taxes to make up the difference, or draconian cuts in other programs, Romney’s plan would balloon the deficit while providing no additional coverage for seniors. It’s a classic lose/lose.
“Mr. — Mr. President, you’re entitled, as the president, to your own airplane and to your own house, but not to your own facts — (laughter) — all right? I’m — I’m not going to cut education funding. I don’t have any plan to cut education funding and grants that go to people going to college. I’m planning on continuing to grow, so I’m not planning on making changes there.” — Mitt Romney
Romney has not specifically called for education cuts, primarily because Romney has refused to go into specifics about his budget. Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, has put forth at least a quasi-specific budget, though, one which Romney had previously endorsed. That budget cut discretionary spending by 20 percent — spending which includes education.
Now, maybe Mitt Romney wouldn’t cut education. That would be swell. But then he would have to support more cuts from transportation, or agriculture, or Medicaid, or housing, or any of the other programs covered under discretionary spending.
Romney can claim that he isn’t going to cut education spending because he refuses to go into specifics, but that in and of itself is a dodge. Romney has endorsed cuts to the pool of money from which we fund education. If he wants to claim that he won’t cut education, he needs to explain what other programs he’d rather get the ax.
Image Credit: Donkey Hotey
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