Poll Numbers Show The Medicare Drug Benefit Is Great Politics, Even If It’s Terrible Policy

Poll Numbers Show The Medicare Drug Benefit Is Great Politics, Even If It’s Terrible Policy: I could not be more opposed to the bloated, elephantine, prescription drug benefit that the GOP is gleefully helping to shove through Congress. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who votes for that monstrosity has lost the right to ever be taken seriously when they claim that they’re serious about reducing the deficit.

Furthermore, I know a lot of Conservatives, many of whom support this budget busting monstrosity, understand and agree with everything I’ve said so far. So why are they agreeing to sign on to this big government program that goes directly against the Conservative grain? I think these USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll numbers will explain it…

“…A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll over the weekend found that 76% of adults favor Congress’ move to spend $400 billion over 10 years to help seniors get insurance coverage for their prescriptions. Just 19% oppose the idea.

…Bush’s seizing of the Medicare issue from the Democrats has been noticed by the public. The poll found Americans trust Bush and Republicans as much as Democrats when it comes to Medicare. And 54% credit the GOP for the emerging legislation; 26% credit Democrats.

“Bush is getting credit for getting something done, even though many people still believe the bill won’t do everything they want it to do,” said Robert Blendon, a health policy analyst at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“He’s stolen a traditional Democratic issue,” Blendon said. “People believe Bush has been the moving force on this bill, even though Democrats first raised the issue in the early 1990s.”

So there you are, 76% of the country says they want this legislation. Of course, if Bush and the GOP leadership had fought this all the way, that number would probably be sitting at around 50%, but hey, better to trounce the Dems at the polls than do the right thing for our country, huh guys?

Of course, I’m not the only one who’s upset about this. Today, Andrew Sullivan said,

“Fiscal conservatives like me are going to be looking in 2004 for someone – anyone – who can control government spending. We know Bush is hopeless and cares not a whit about this country’s future fiscal health. What we need to know is that some Democrat won’t be so bad.”

Good luck Andrew, because the era of fiscal Conservatism is dead as a doorknob. The Democrats have never cared about restraining spending and the budget hawks on the GOP side have now officially given up the fight as well. Oh and don’t even talk to me about the Libertarians — it’s easy to talk about cutting the budget down to size when you’re out of power, aren’t going to be in power, and don’t ever have to answer to the voters (yes, that applies to pundits like me too, but I never let that stop me before =D).

We will start to bridge the budget gap and perhaps even temporarily erase it if the economy grows fast enough, but that may be more unlikely that it first appears given the massive suckling at the government teat that the Bush administration has allowed and is continuing to encourage. The military budget is going to be tough to cut while we’re fighting the war on terror (which has years to go) and once Social Security starts running in the red in roughly a decade, things are going to start getting very ugly.

In fact, I see a financial train wreck coming and all the engineers who should be doing something about it already seem to have decided to just ride it out and hope for the best. That’s bad policy and I see little that can be done about it other than to fix it with a Balanced Budget Amendment. Maybe we’d rather our representatives just spend our money responsibly, but at this point, it should be obvious that’s not going to happen…

Share this!

Enjoy reading? Share it with your friends!