Great news: 78% of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare

posted at 5:04 pm on April 20, 2011 by Allahpundit

No problem. If we hike up taxes on the rich by, oh, 3,000-4,000 percent, we should be able to cover the cost for decades to come.

I hate to borrow a page from Obama by whining about “false choices,” but would it be too much to ask the media when polling this issue to remind voters of what their choices actually are? At this point, asking them whether they support entitlement reform to reduce the debt is almost like asking them whether they support the invasion of Iraq. Reality is what it is; they can wish all they want for an alternate one, but that won’t get us any closer to it.

But then, the point of polls like this isn’t to find a consensus way forward. It’s to remind the GOP that they might very well be on a suicide mission:

The poll, conducted for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds that 65 percent of Americans oppose changing Medicare to a system in which the government would give seniors vouchers with which to buy private insurance. Opposition was essentially the same in a Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health survey when the idea came up 15 years ago.

The Republican budget plan includes what’s been widely described in news reports as a voucher or voucher-like system, though its author, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, has maintained that it’s not a voucher system, because subsidies would go directly to insurance companies, from which seniors could pick from a menu of plans.

The language may matter, in that even most Republicans, 56 percent, oppose Medicare vouchers, as do more than seven in 10 Democrats. And opposition soars to 84 percent of all Americans, including nearly three-quarters of Republicans, if government payments failed to meet the full cost of seniors’ insurance coverage.

The other news here is that there’s wide, even bipartisan, support for the sort of tax hikes on the rich that won’t close the deficit gap and may very well hinder economic growth but will also probably be necessary for any meaningful Gang-of-Six-type deficit reduction compromise. Fully 91 percent of Democrats, 68 percent of independents, and even 54 percent of Republicans support tax hikes on households that earn $250,000 or more. (Other recent polls show overall support for those hikes at or around 60 percent.) If — if — a plan makes it to the House and Senate floor with sharp spending cuts and modest tax increases, public support for the latter might make them grudgingly willing to tolerate the former. (Note how the gap closes in the bar graph above for a deal of that sort.) If not, then they’re going to have follow Tom Coburn off the cliff by being “willing to sacrifice our political careers in order to do the best thing for the country.” Step on the pedal, Tom.


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Comment pages: 1 2

I would say that the poll needs to be honest. The Poll should say cutting medicare on people who are younger than 50 (or whatever the age limit is in Ryan’s plan) or would you rather medicare/medicaid just go bankrupt and no one gets any more free goodies.

I think if you just put the first part of my question you would see people understand a little better. Afterall Polls are for making news, not finding out public opinion.

jeffn21 on April 21, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Yep, tax hikes are coming… which is why I’m selling and re-buying my stock every year. Reset my basis to the higher number and pay taxes now at this rate; because it won’t last.

Once the tax rates hike: I’m sitting on my stock, paying 0 taxes, taking 0 earnings and moving $0 in money around. Quite possibly for a decade or more, depending on what rate they decide is “fair”.

Good luck forcing me to earn anything here that I’d have to pay taxes on… you can force me to pay higher taxes when I earn, but you cannot force me to earn.

Bu it’s probably good for the economy to encourage people like to me lock down their investments and not move their money for decades at a time… for some reason. Money moving around and doing things is bad I guess.

I don’t make $250,000 but if you think they’ll only target long-term stock rates for the “rich” then you’ve not payed any attention to how the government works… they’ll smack everybody since they’ll have cover of “it’s really only the rich who will suffer”.

gekkobear on April 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Comment pages: 1 2