The Republican plan or the 2012 election was so simple that I predicted it before the 2008 election. They would do everything in their power to sabotage America and keep Obama from guiding America out of the collapse they had caused. Then they would make the 2012 election a referendum on Obama’s failure to completely undo all that damage in four years. The strategy worked for the 2010 elections, but too well for their own good. Wherever they had power, they acted so much like Republicans that people could easily tell that what they said they would do had little in common with what they actually did. Thus the election has become a referendum on their intentions versus Obama’s intentions, as this editorial by Paul Krugman explains.
Republicans came into this campaign believing that it would be a referendum on President Obama, and that still-high unemployment would hand them victory on a silver platter. But given the usual caveats — a month can be a long time in politics, it’s not over until the votes are actually counted, and so on — it doesn’t seem to be turning out that way.
Yet there is a sense in which the election is indeed a referendum, but of a different kind. Voters are, in effect, being asked to deliver a verdict on the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare, which represents an extension of that legacy. Will they vote for politicians who want to replace Medicare with Vouchercare, who denounce Social Security as “collectivist” (as Paul Ryan once did), who dismiss those who turn to social insurance programs as people unwilling to take responsibility for their lives?
If the polls are any indication, the result of that referendum will be a clear reassertion of support for the safety net, and a clear rejection of politicians who want to return us to the Gilded Age. But here’s the question: Will that election result be honored?
I ask that question because we already know what Mr. Obama will face if re-elected: a clamor from Beltway insiders demanding that he immediately return to his failed political strategy of 2011, in which he made a Grand Bargain over the budget deficit his overriding priority. Now is the time, he’ll be told, to fix America’s entitlement problem once and for all. There will be calls — as there were at the time of the Democratic National Convention — for him to officially endorse Simpson-Bowles, the budget proposal issued by the co-chairmen of his deficit commission (although never accepted by the commission as a whole).
And Mr. Obama should just say no, for three reasons… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
I fully agree with Krugman on this and strongly suggest that you click through to examine his three reasons. They are excellent.
The problem with Social Security can be solved permanently in three words. Raise the cap! I completely reject calls to apply an income test to benefits. This may seem egalitarian to Republicans, who suggest it, and they may be able to dupe some Democrats because of that. However, Republicans suggest this only to change Social Security from an earned entitlement for all into a welfare program, thus making it more vulnerable to their attacks.
Medicare and Medicaid are more complex. The solution, however, is not to restrict benefits, but to control the overall cost of medical care. The culprit, as I see it, is the fee for service model. It provides an incentive for doctors/hospitals to over test and over treat. My own doctor convinced me long ago that we would far better off with a fee for patient/result model, where doctors/hospitals are best compensated when they provide the care needed for their patients good health with minimum waste. Of course the best way to implement such a change is through national health care.
Republicans want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, while drastically cutting Medicaid. They must be stopped.