Yes, that’s right. On the RNC’s “Issues” page, under the oddly creepy headline, “Reach Out And Touch Medicare,” the Committee wants to remind you that, “For The Record…It Was Obama Who Offered To Cut Hundreds Of Billions In Medicare During The Debt Debate.” It’s a pretty selective remembrance! The bipartisan Gang Of Six also sought steep cuts to Medicare — $400 billion worth to recipients. Their talks broke down when Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) demanded further cuts. It wasn’t good enough for another Republican — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — either. He wanted substantially bigger cuts as well. (And let’s recall that Ryan is the author of a celebrated Medicare plan that reduces Medicare costs by not paying for Medicare anymore.)
So, the RNC’s protesting headline seems a little off. It probably should read something more like, “For The Record … Obama’s Proposal To Cut Billions Of Dollars From Medicare Is Something With Which We Are In Total Agreement.” But this is actually old hat for the RNC — new Chairman Reince Priebus is simply adopting the “talk out of both sides of my mouth” technique that his predecessor, Michael Steele, popularized.
(The plan wrought by the debt ceiling negotiations, and endorsed by Obama, makes no cuts to Medicare in the first round, leaves it up to the super committee to do so in the second, and forces a trigger cut to Medicare on the provider side if no resolution can be had in committee or in Congress. Make no mistake, though, massive cuts on the provider side will have consequences for recipients.)
The cynical counterpunch here is to pinpoint that brief period of time that House Speaker John Boehner was trying to shop the terms of the “grand bargain,” which included $1 trillion in new revenue, and write a memo titled, “Remember, America, John Boehner wanted to raise your taxes!”
But one good thing has come from this: after much of the latter-day rhetoric which included constant complaints from the GOP that the White House never contributed a plan, now they suddenly remember there was one! (And it included cutting Medicare, something the RNC wants to do desperately.)
In Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, a character named Don Fanucci is known as a ruthless, greedy back hand extortionist who skims a regular “protection” fee from those who operate in his neighborhood. Fanucci even threatened to disfigure the daughter of a man who refused to pay him, or allow him to “wet his beak.”
Right now, Congress allows big oil companies to wet their beak with $4 billion per year in subsidies paid directly by the taxpayers. These are the same oil companies who are charging us $4 per gallon at the pump, making record profits every quarter, and paying $0 in taxes. In fact, ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world and beneificary of these subsidies, made $19 billion in profits in 2009, and received a $156 million refund check from Uncle Sam instead of paying federal taxes.
At a time when Congressional GOP leaders like John Boehner and Eric Cantor are holding the debt ceiling hostage, demanding Medicare cuts as a ransom note, why hasn’t Congress voted to stop wastefully subsidizing these tax-dodging oil companies? Big oil doesn’t need taxpayer help– in fact, ExxonMobil posted a 53% profit increase in January 2011, amidst skyrocketing gas prices. All taxpayers get in return is more pain at the pump, as we continue to funnel billions into the coffers of the richest corporations on record.
A common-sense legislative solution, H.R. 601, would have ended all of these subsidies for 5 years, saving taxpayers an estimated $40 billion. The extra revenue could instead be used to “uncut” budgets for programs that taxpayers actually depend on. The proposed $11.2 billion in cuts to early childhood education, $4.1 billion in job training programs for the unemployed, and $4.6 billion in teacher training and after school programs could all be reversed if we simply ended the parasitic relationship between tax-dodging oil companies and the taxpayers they’re bleeding dry.
Instead, Republicans voted NO to ending these subsidies, while simultaneously asking for more harmful budget cuts and rolling back Social Security and Medicare benefits.
Why are we asking seniors to foot the bill by cutting back on their health care, instead of ending oil subsidies? Why is President Obama discussing cuts to Social Security instead of demanding Republicans stop subsidizing big oil’s greed? Why are teachers, cops and firefighters being laid off while oil companies like ExxonMobil are sucking up billions in taxpayer dollars? Why are we giving away valuable taxpayer money to companies that are charging folks an arm and a leg every time we fill up?
When a caller confronted Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) on the Jim Bohannon show last night, he went on record stating he would be for ending energy subsidies and closing corporate tax loopholes. Its time for Congress to put our money where their mouth is, stand up for their constituents and end the bailouts for big oil. Our leaders need to have the spine to say no to Fanucci when he asks to wet his beak on the taxpayers’ dime, and demand that these tax-dodging oil companies pay their fair share just like the rest of us.
“Yesterday, Texas lawmakers in the state house passed a 142-page measure in special session that could drastically change how 6.6 million Texans benefiting from Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP programs receive their care. The bill — which includes two controversial amendments that have yet to be adopted by the state Senate — strongly mirror the reforms offered in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget.”
Let me get this straight, so senior citizens are those in the United States that turn up in the largest numbers to vote and you want to strip them of their Medicare? I realize that we need to rein in spending to some extent, but do we really think that providing quality affordable health care to our nation’s elders is something that should not be a priority? And just to think, the elderly is only one faction of the population affected by this, this type of legislation also affects the poor and children. Essentially, this bill attacks our nation’s most vulnerable. Great.