Does Robert Samuelson Worry About Monsters Under His Bed at Night?
|Monday, 21 February 2011 05:54|
That's what readers of today's column must be wondering. After all, we have a government where the big banks can count on bailouts whenever they get in trouble, where pharmaceutical companies can makes tens of billions every year based on government-granted patent monopolies, where health insurers can protect themselves from competition with a more efficient government agency (i.e. Medicare), and where the rich more generally can count on Congress to fill their pockets and whose power does Robert Samuelson worry about? The AARP.
Let's note a couple of quick facts that Mr. Samuelson apparently doesn't have access to over at Fox on 15th Street. First, Social Security and Medicare are not just supported by AARP. They are supported by the vast majority of voters of all ages. In other words, Mr. Samuelson's foe in his quest to cut these programs is the public as a whole, not this one lobbying organization.
Second, the story of massive huge future budget deficits has little to do with aging. It is a story of a broken private health care system. If the United States paid the same amount per person for health care as any other wealthy country we would be looking at huge budget surpluses, not deficits. Of course we can't lower our costs because of the enormous power of the health care industry.
But Samuelson doesn't mention this lobby. He is busy looking under his bed for monsters and the AARP lobby.