The Obama Bankruptcy
The end of Medicare and Medicaid as we know them—through reform, the Ryan way, or -bankruptcy, the Obama way. The direction of the country—via the Romney-Ryan right track, or the Obama-Biden wrong track. Those are the choices, made stark by the addition of Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket.
Anyone who thought that the selection of Paul Ryan would force the president and his team to abandon purely negative campaigning had better think again. The presence of Ryan on the ticket has merely changed the target of Obama’s negative campaign from Mitt Romney’s performance at Bain Capital to Paul Ryan’s plans to make sense of our fiscal condition and preserve Medicare, unchanged for those 55 years old and over, reformed for other Americans. The Obama campaign remains stuck on negative, claiming that Ryan would destroy Medicare and Medicaid “as we know them.” How Obama would preserve these programs “as we know them” remains a deeper secret than his well-publicized cyberattacks on Iran. The simple fact is that existing entitlements, gobbling ever-larger portions of our GDP, cannot survive “as we know them.”
I am reminded of a wonderful scene in an Elaine May movie (A New Leaf) in which Walter Matthau’s attorney is trying to explain to him that he has squandered his entire huge inheritance. To which an uncomprehending Matthau, waving a check that has bounced, replies that his check must be honored, a position he maintains despite his lawyer’s repeated explanation that, having spent more than the income from his inheritance for many years, he has no more capital: “You don’t have any money.”
President Obama certainly cuts a more elegant figure than the late, rumpled Walter Matthau, but he, too, has no money to back his spending plans. Which is why the Democrats are sticking to their negative campaign rather than saying just how they propose to save these entitlements as we know them. Matthau solved his problem by marrying an extraordinarily wealthy heiress; Obama has solved his problem—our problem—by borrowing almost 40 cents to cover every dollar he spends. That can’t go on, and won’t be solved by soaking the rich: Squeeze them dry and he won’t affect the rounding error in his deficits. ...