Somewhere Peter G. Peterson is weeping.

by Bruce Webb

People who follow the issues around what is known as the Entitlements Crisis are more than familiar with Peter G. Peterson a co-founder and financial sponsor of the Concord Coalition and a man who has devoted a billion dollars of his own money to endow the Peter G Peterson Foundation. The PGP Foundations’s main goal is to roll back not just the Great Society but also the New Deal by convincing America that even in the short run programs like Social Security and Medicare are bankrupting future generations. A good introduction to Pete G P and his works can be found in this cover story in the Nation from last February Looting Social Security

PGP is alive and as far as I know well for a man of his age (83) which is a good thing because if he was in his grave he would be spinning fast enough to be an energy source for a medium sized city. The Republican Party which has been since its inception firmly on message against Medicare and with the PGP agenda has suddenly become Gramma’s biggest defender. This started first with Sarah Palin’s introduction of ‘death panels’ into the discussion. Her partner in clownery, RNC Head Michael Steele decided to double down with this WaPo OpEd Protecting Our Seniors: GOP Principles for Health Care that reads in part:

Republicans want reform that should, first, do no harm, especially to our seniors. That is why Republicans support a Seniors’ Health Care Bill of Rights, which we are introducing today, to ensure that our greatest generation will receive access to quality health care. We also believe that any health-care reform should be fully paid for, but not funded on the backs of our nation’s senior citizens.

The Republican Party’s contract with seniors includes tenets that Americans, regardless of political party, should support. First, we need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of “health-insurance reform.” As the president frequently, and correctly, points out, Medicare will go deep into the red in less than a decade. But he and congressional Democrats are planning to raid, not aid, Medicare by cutting $500 billion from the program to fund his health-care experiment. The president also plans to cut hospital payments and Medicare Advantage, all of which will mean fewer treatment options for seniors. These types of “reforms” don’t make sense for the future of an already troubled federal program or for the services it provides that millions of Americans count on.

Somewhere Peterson’s minions Robert Bixby of Concord and former GAO Controller David Walker (now CEO of the PGP Foundation) are sitting pole-axed. Their message was pretty simple, in large part because it is mostly correct, this country cannot afford for Medicare and Medicaid costs to accelerate as they have. Their solution which involves slashing Medicare while not doing much for the rest of health care is not in my view correct, the solution has to be more broad-based. But that portion of Steele’s op-ed bolded by me is in effect the anti-Peterson message. He and his have spent decades trying to drain the juice out of the Third Rail of American Politics and now Steele with his Don’t Tread on Senior Citizens flag is serving to amp up the current in that Rail.

Heck of a job Mikey! Don’t expect your stipend check from the PGP Foundation this week. Because you went WAY off message here. But Gramma sends hugs and kisses.