Walking and Chewing Gum

What’s wrong with this picture?

The Bush administration maintains that we can wage war—the financial costs of this war already exceed those of Vietnam–and cut taxes to the wealthy at the same time. 

But now the writing on the wall (Animal Farm revisited) has changed.   We are told we need to charge more and cut costs of social programs in order to balance the budget and in this way help pay for the war.  

“Bush is proposing $95.9 billion in savings in mandatory spending, the part of the budget that includes the big benefit programs of Social Security and health care.

Medicare, which provides health insurance for 43 million older and disabled Americans, would see the bulk of those savings _ reductions of $66 billion over five years. That would come about primarily by slowing the growth of payments to health care providers.”

Now I’m not an economist but additional premiums and cost cutting (which inevitably result in decreased benefits) sound something like a tax increase that hits mainly the poor, the working poor, the middle class and the elderly.  Not a particularly progressive solution.

I encourage cost cutting in health care but believe we need to address this by attacking monopolistic pricing, lack of interest in efficiency (the pass costs through mentality), and the conflicts of interest that drive health care expenditures.   Perish the thought but one place to begin would be to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies to assure the best price for our citizens.


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