When a Bad Idea Is a Bad Idea

Ezra thinks the “fiscal cliff” compromise will have the tax rates for the wealthy going up some, but not all the way to the pre-Bush 39.6 percent. He also thinks the Dems will allow the Medicare eligibility age to go up to 57 67, as a sop to the Republicans.


I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that this is just a case of creeping Broderism, that it’s a VSP fantasy about how we’re going to resolve this in a bipartisan way. Because if Obama really does make this deal, there will be hell to pay.

Yeah, these bad ideas are bad ideas. As far as the tax rates are concerned, seems to me the Dems have the Grey Old Peckers by their boy parts, and we’ve still got more than three weeks to the cliff.

And Ezra himself explains why raising Medicare tax rates is a bad idea:

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(During the recent election campaign, Republicans tried to scare the old folks into voting for Romney by shrieking that Obama was cutting Medicare. And of course, Republicans wanted to win that election so they could cut Medicare.)

Why compromise on Medicare? The thinking seems to be that while it’s a bad idea, and would create real hardship for some folks, the pain would be narrowly spread and the deal would have little effect on the economy. But if they do this, the Dems had better get something really fat and juicy in return. And nothing fat and juicy enough is coming to mind.

22 thoughts on “When a Bad Idea Is a Bad Idea

  1. Oh I wish your typo was right: “… the Dems will allow the Medicare eligibility age to go up to 57, as a sop to the Republicans.” 57 would be a lot better than 65, not as good as Medicare For All, but a good start! 🙂

  2. I think you meant 67, not 57, maha.
    Oh, how I wish Medicare eligibility was 57! Because then, in a little over 2 years, I’d be eligible.

    President Obama is holding a Royal Flush, and seems ready to fold to a joker holding a pair of dueces.
    WTF is wrong with him?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
    Jayzoos H. Keeeeeeeeerist, spurning eternal salvation for a hamburger that he can have today, are you completely tone-deaf?

    I want – nay – DEMAND, that Nancy Pelosi be allowed in the negotiations!

    Raise the Medicare eligibility age? Are you feckin’ kiddin’ me?!?!?!
    Why not just put a gun to the head of every Democratic politician in the country and pull the trigger, Mr. President?
    And shoot us voters, too, while you’re at it – you’d be doing us a favor.
    You, President Obama, YOU, will have given the Republicans the gift that will keep on giving for years, if not decades!
    And for what? Raising the age does virtually nothing to lower the deficit.
    I sure as sh*t hope this is some o’ that ’11th Dimensional Chess” I keep hearing about!

    Because, if what I’ve read is true and the age is raised, some day, I hope to play poker against you, President Obama, so that I can ‘feather my nest.’ And FSM knows, you’ll have plenty of feckin’ feathers on ya – if I can pull them off the feckin’ tar.

  3. Another “Lost Comment?”

    I did it again!
    I ended up in the twit-filter because I mentioned a game of chance using playing cards, and even named a winning hand!

    • Lesser Evil, huh?

      1. Yes. 2. This is just pundit speculation. It hasn’t happened yet. Possibly the White House leaked out the idea just to see how people would react to it. Let’s not get hysterical yet.

  4. That “deal” makes no sense. The GOP gets two things it wants, lower rates on the rich than they would get, and cuts to Medicare. What do we get? They agree to lower taxes for the rest of us? If Team Obama agrees to this, they are the worst poker players EVER.

    Sitting tight for a few weeks gets us higher rates on the rich, no cuts to Medicare, plus a ton of cuts to the defense budget. After a week or two of howling, the GOP agrees to pass tax cuts for the rest of us, retroactive to the first of the year, and we end up way ahead.

    Man, I hope there isn’t a deal like Ezra describes.

  5. At least the fact that Medicare is cheaper than alternate methods (ER) of treatment should keep it from being raised to 67. Plus, poorer people live shorter lives, and they are more likely to have health problems by age 65 because of harsher work environments and less medical care lifelong. So raising Medicare eligibility age just adds to the misery of people who are not retiring with health care or much if any other benefits. and how a low-income worker is supposed to make significant savings for retirement I don’t know. I guess they become “takers” a couple years too soon, huh? If this is what the Republicans want, and I think it is, then they are showing their true colors more and more.

    On this note of “every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost” I encourage everyone to see Brad Pitt’s new movie KILLING THEM SOFTLY. It is backgrounded with all the speeches from the financial crash era by McCain, Obama and Dumbya, while telling the story of corruption within the corrupt New Orleans underworld. The two stories make quite a comment.

  6. And what choice (or choices) do liberals/progressives have. It ain’t like the Repubs will run anyone to the left of Obama.

    I’m still for 70% as the top marginal rate. Folks like Romney and other billionaires and near-billionaires are just shipping jobs overseas. They are not sweating and getting callouses trying to feed their family.

    We need to go back to the rates of the Ike/JFK era.

  7. And more “good” news from Dr. Krugman:
    Jobs ARE coming back to America – only to be done by robots!

    I look forward to the coming ‘robotism’ – a deep-seeded hatred of all things robotic – from our Conservatives. I can see the blogs, the Op-eds, and the politicians, railing about robots coming for American jobs.
    I kid, of course, because anything that helps corporate America, is fine with all of them. Even the putz’s and putzette’s who’ll lose their jobs putting on bolts, to a bucket of bolts and a motherboard.
    And robots don’t need salaries, breaks, sick days, vacations, time off for a sick child, time off due to giving birth, or other benefits. And the can’t strike.

    In a few years, Tagg, or one of the other Romneys will be saying, “Robots are people too, my friends.”

    I’d link to Dr. K’s blog, but apparently I’ve already had my 10 alloted free peak’s at the NYT’s. Try the linkie maha’s given us on the top left. The robot piece is the 2nd one down as of right now.

  8. Instead of raising the age, how about means testing. Look, I am all for helping out my fellow American , especially in their sr years(but not limited to that). But here is the deal..a lot of old folks are taking services that they just don’t need. The koch bros will take medicare and ss. WHY?

    Lets take , for example, the parents of the guy I have been seeing for the past five years. They saved and worked hard all of their lives. They own their “homes” – hell they even paid off their sons home, bought him a new Harley(about 40k) , and a new car. They have a new BMW and top of the line chevy truck and they spent about another 100k to remodel their home and get new furniture and purchased a brand new 50k camper. They eat out at the best places every night(because heaven forbid they USE their new 50k kitchen). She uses their ss check for “mad money”. The company he worked for provides them with medical insurance until their death. They have no use, no need for medicare, but those greedy assholes still take it. And thats about 90% of the reason I have more respect for the dog crap in my back yard than them.

    Then on the otherside of the coin, I just finished watching one of my dearest friends father suffer from the day his health FORCED him to retire until the day he was lucky enough just to die and end the suffering that working a hard manual labor job for his whole life had inflicted upon him. After 45 years of hard labor his body was done at 60, but he couldn’t afford to stop working so he plugged on till he was 64 and died just a few months into his 65th year. He needed medicare sooner, but he couldn’t have it.All so people who don’t need it can have it.

    As I have said before , I believe Obama to be a smart man. Being a smart man I hope like hell he reads the Maha Blog..So OBAMA if your reading this I have some suggestions for you..Instead of raising the age as a consideration how about means testing? How about still giving the mega rich medicare, but at a small cost? How about a small increase in the amount deducted from payroll taxes for medicare? Americans love this program the way it is, so most of us(and I am at the poorest end so if I can give, no one else has any excuse) would pay a extra dollar or two a month to make sure our seniors were taken care of. No one wants someones mom to suffer.

    And lets talk about CUTS..CUT tax loop holes for the rich, CUT militaryspending – we are ending two wars- you don’t need as much $$. CUT by 10% all aide given to anyone outside America.Let them figure out how to make do on 10% less instead of expecting those who already paid their whole lives for you to have the money to give in the first place.CUT your paycheck and the paycheck of every senator and congress person. We are facing a crisis, it is WAY PAST time your paychecks reflected that the way ours has for the past several years. And while we are on the subject , it is time to cut the lifetime benefits for congress and the senate..when your done serving those benefits need to END. You all are so busy trying to plan what we the people can give up, what are YOU ALL giving up?

    And how about the mortgage deduction. End it for those making over 150, or 200k for a couple.

    And finally, How much is the NSA spending to collect ALL of our data and store it?END IT ALONG WITH WARRENTLESS WIRE TAPPING.With 911 over a decade past us , you have no excuse for this crap anymore. STOP IT.

    So I guess what I would tell you, President Obama, if I could, is there is a lot of cutting to do before you get to medicare. You should be thinking of how you can cut the light bill at the white house before you raise the age on medicare.

    Auction off “Lunch with the President” on e bay to raise funds, have a garage sale(put texas on the .25 cent table), start a “send your pennies” campaign. Host a federal lottery.

    And look, if medicare and SS are in trouble , it is an outrage.Fix SS by ending the cap. People should not stop paying in after they earn a certain amount. SS tax is taken from every penny I make, it should be the same for everyone.

    Bring me to the White House and I will fix it in a week. No charge.I would love to go all Luther on spray tan boy and his merry band of theives.

  9. For everyone’s Sunday morning amusement, there is a funny and perceptive article by Hunter at DKos right now on the R’s “pining” for Jeb Bush as a new leader to take them out of the swamp of sadness they currently inhabit.

  10. Ezra Klein’s day job is at the Washington Post. So he has similar bad habits in terms of parroting VSP talking points in order to “build consensus”. He should not be subbing for Rachel…

  11. We shouldn’t means test, either.

    That’s a step toward making Medicare a safety net thing and away from the goal of Medicare for all, the American style of socialized medicine.

    • And why do you suppose they would want to do that?

      Why don’t you ask them? And may I say I hate knee-jerk reactions, and your knee is jerking rather badly at the moment.

  12. Sorry philo but I don’t agree. I don’t believe the program was set up to provide free medical care to folks like Warren Buffet. I am willing to bet he would agree with me.
    IMHO, every entitlement program is a safety net. Unemployment may be there if you find yourself out of work, but if you have 10 million in the bank saved do you NEED 200.00 extra dollars a week? mitt romney claimed to be “unemployed” during his campaign. Do you think he should collect unemployment because if we means tested that it would end the socialized unemployment program?

    I am below the poverty line , when it comes to my income. I qualify for all kinds of crap. Reduced property taxes, medical insurance, food stamps, help paying my utility bills, ect. I don’t need any of those things so I don’t take them. Why? Because I know someone needs them worse than myself and if I take what I don’t need that net won’t be there for someone else. Am I able to eat every day? yes so I means tested myself. Call me old fashion but I believe you don’t take anything you don’t need- just because you can.

    We have reached a place where our country has fallen on hard times. If it is a choice between making every old person wait two more years for medical care or cutting off those who can pay their own way , it is a no brainer to me, especially when you look at the real life examples I set forward above.

    And you know I don’t care for the “socialized medicine” dog whistle either. Blowing it only pisses me off.

    • justme — although what you say is logical, if you look around the world you see that nations in which the “entitlements” are sustained over the long haul are those in which the benefits are universal. When benefits are reserved only for the “needy,” they will inevitably be nickle and dimed to death and eventually collapse. We should resist going the way of means testing except as an absolutely last resort, and even then any means testing should be a temporary measure. But I wouldn’t do it at all.

    • As Mulder used to say, “Trust no one.”

      Where politics is concerned I trust only facts in evidence. We don’t know what’s really being negotiated. There’s been no word from the White House about raising the eligibility age. Some pundit says this may be the deal, and you assume that the deal is done and that the White House is behind it. This is another kind of trust — you trust your own imagination more than the facts in evidence. It’s reactive, it’s knee jerk, it’s not helping anybody. Cut it out.

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