Coming soon to a polling place near you: “Republicans are undermining Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Vote Democratic to stop them.” This has become a staple of liberal Democratic campaigns. Count on the Obama ‘reelection express’ to pound this message home.
President Barack Obama continues to score political points in the battle over extending the payroll tax cut. Yet this fight underlines a key part of his legacy: He has weakened, perhaps fatally, the “social safety net” of entitlement programs, to which liberals claim such devotion and routinely attack conservatives for wanting to undermine.
It’s a Democratic campaign staple to attack Republicans for wanting to “destroy” Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but Obama has done a better job of that than anyone. Syrupy rhetoric is no antidote for his terrible economic policies.
Start with Medicare. The trustees who run the program have been telling us for some time that the current benefit and financing system is unsustainable. Indeed, its 2010 report notes that the Medicare “trust fund” will be exhausted five years sooner than previous estimates.