So there has been a lot of talk about the Republican cries of ‘death panels’ and rationing of health care for older Americans if nationalized healthcare becomes a reality. There is an article in Newsweek by Jacob Weisberg entitled ‘Why is the GOP Gunning for Grandma.’ He puts forward several situations where the GOP are really the ones who have it in for the elderly. Reading threw it, I was amazed at just how he had to twist things to get to this point.
Point one was regarding the Estate tax, which drops to 0% next year. At the end of the year, however, it expires and goes back up to 55%. Weisberg’s claim is with the sunsetting of this, it will drive some older Americans to either commit suicide, find ways to die, or push their heirs to pull the plug before the tax cut sunsets. Since the Republicans were the ones to champion this bill, obviously they have it in for seniors. This, of course, ignores the fact this tax cut could be made permanent. Obviously with the Democrats in charge right now, this won’t happen. After all, setting up a legal way to get 55% of money that’s already been taxed in many cases is something that likely has several of them drooling. And they don’t even have to do anything to make it happen. They can simply say ‘well, this provision was in there to begin with, so it’s not our fault.’
Next Weisberg moves on to Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security. He leaves out a rather important part, however. Bush’s plan would have let people direct the investment of a very small percentage of their Social Security contributions. Nevermind that Social Security is functionally bankrupt and is the biggest legal Ponzi scheme in the US. In Weisberg’s eyes, we can’t allow people the personal freedom to direct how they set up for their retirement, because that would lead to people being destitute and having a poor quality of life. He simply changes the facts to make his point a bigger one by casting this as Bush having tried to privatize all of Social Security.
The last thing he hits on was Bush’s curtailing of Federal funding for Stem Cell research. I will be the first person to agree that Stem Cell research is one of the best avenues for finding cures for many debilitating diseases. I could go into the discussion of what stem cell lines Bush removed from Federal funding lines and the like, but really that ignores the main point. Funding this isn’t the responsibility of the Federal Government. This is something that should be handled by private industry and not by throwing tax dollars at it. When it was originally done, I had zero issue with Bush’s actions (not touching the discussion of his reasons for his actions, however). However, Weisberg clearly wants to cast this as another way the Republicans want to kill of Grandma and Grandpa.
If one side is going to throw stones, they really should make sure their walls aren’t made of glass before doing so. Even more so, they really should make sure what they’re throwing are the stones they want them to be. Of course, politics anymore is based on the idea of the Big Lie. Tell it often enough, and people will believe it. Or at least enough people that it doesn’t matter.