Dean Baker continues to beat up on the Washington Post coverage of fiscal policy matters:
Yet again the Post reports on the threat posed by “entitlement” spending, referring to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. To quickly repeat myself, this is dishonest. There are modest and manageable increases in projected Social Security spending due to the aging of the population. There are unmanageable projected increases in Medicare and Medicaid expenditures due to a projected explosion in health care costs. If the projected explosion in health care costs proves accurate, then it will devastate the economy, and cause serious budget problems. Honest people respond to these projections by examining ways to prevent the explosion in health care costs. Less honest people talk about the need to cut entitlement spending, including Social Security.
I loved the title that Michael Abramowitz choose for his “nonsense”. Also note:
No specific plan has been advanced, and administration officials are proceeding gingerly given the political debacle that beset the White House last year when President Bush promoted a plan to create private accounts in the Social Security program. But they have been sending strong signals in recent weeks that they want to try something again after the elections in November.
We’ll likely hear the usual garbage from the GOP that we Democrats have no plan. Well, I have a suggestion: scrap the prescription drug benefit until we can come up with a less costly way of achieving better benefits for the elderly and we come up with the tax base to finance it. And I’m sure Dean Baker would love to talk about other ways to address the inefficiencies in how we delivery health care.
I was impressed with some realism coming from Grover Norquist:
Grover Norquist, a leading GOP strategist, said he can envision no circumstance in which Bush could secure any overhaul of the Social Security program, including creating personal accounts. “The Democrats cannot be bribed, cajoled or threatened into voting for Social Security reform – it can’t happen,” he said.
The story continues by noting that the Republicans wish to duck this issue until after the November 2006 issue. That was exactly their strategy during the 2004 campaigns. Look – if they have some notions for changing the Social Security system – wouldn’t it be nice to inform the voters as to their intentions before the elections?