Bush, as one last middle finger to the GOP who has slavishly worshipped him, has offered up a budget chock full of election year treats for the already down on their luck Republicans:
Lawmakers and lobbyists are dismissing the possibility that Congress will go along with massive cuts the Bush administration is planning to propose in the Medicare and Medicaid programs when it unveils its fiscal 2009 budget proposal Feb. 4. A senior administration official said Thursday afternoon that the cuts would total some $200 billion over five years, $178 billion in the Medicare program.
Medicare is “still growing at a rate higher than inflation,” the official said. The budget plan “slows Medicare’s rate of growth from 7.2 percent to 5 percent.” The official added that the plan would reduce by nearly one-third the “unfunded obligation” in Medicare over 75 years. Medicare is funded through premium payments and automatic payroll deductions, but also by yearly outlays from general revenues.
President Bush said in his State of the Union address Monday night that the nation must begin confronting the rising cost of entitlement programs. “Everyone in this chamber knows that spending on entitlement programs — like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — is growing faster than we can afford,” he said.
But even before the news broke Thursday that the proposed cuts would approach $200 billion, lawmakers and lobbyists who reacted to an earlier report that the cuts would total some $100 billion were emphatically predicting that the reductions would go nowhere.
“This budget will be dead on arrival,” Rep. Pete Stark , D-Calif., Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, declared. Frederick H. Graefe, a Washington hospital lobbyist, insisted that the plan is “dead before arrival!” he insisted. “You can quote me on that — please!”
All those years licking Bush’s boots, and this is what you get in return- attempts to cut Medicare during an economic downturn during an election year where Republicans poll lower than herpes and Ann Coulter is promising to campaign for Hillary over McCain. Anymore compassionate conservatism and the GOP will be relegated to permanent minority status, with nothing but a few religious nuts, a couple warmongers, and Hugh Hewitt. Wouldn’t that just be terrible?
Actually, it would be precisely what needs to happen- the GOP needs to be utterly destroyed, and that has been my goal for several years. I am really looking forward to slipping in that last knife.