Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bad Policy = Bad Politics

What would happen in the next election if Democrats side with Republicans in making major cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits? Jon Walker of FDL has the results of some surveys, and it frankly looks terrible for Dems:


According to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research memo (PDF), it was concerns about the “cuts” to Medicare in the new health care law that caused such a huge swing away from Democrats among the elderly.
The Republicans absolutely hammered Democrats with what the GOP labeled as a $500 billion cut in Medicare as part of the new health care law. The fairly misleading message clearly resonated with seniors who really don’t want their entitlements cut.

What the Democrats actually did was reduce projected Medicare spending by around $500 billion by mainly trying to address waste, overpayments, and inefficiency. The so-called cuts were not meant to affect the core coverage provided by Medicare. In addition, some of the savings were put toward reducing the Medicare Part D doughnut hole, reducing the deficit, and expanding coverage for others; positive things that should have at least partially mitigated anger over the “cuts.” But despite all that, senior citizens were still furious over it, and strongly punished Democrats at the voting booth. 


And there you have it. Cutting Social Security and Medicare is terrible policy, but hey, at least it's bad politics... um, wait a minute; why would anyone do that...

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