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Medicare redux. Bring back gridlock!

By Keith D. Cummings
web posted February 2, 2004

We're less than a month into the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, and the White House is already announcing that the price tag on the giveaway to wealthy old grouches has gone up a whopping 30 per cent. The White House, which assured conservatives in the fall that this new entitlement would only cost entirely too much. Now it is skyrocketing, and no one with any common sense can believe that $530 billion from 2004-2013 is the top number we will see for Medicare prescription drugs.

Bush: Hey big spender
Bush: Hey big spender

The New York Times, hardly the voice of conservative reason, is citing the anger of conservative Republicans over this high-priced bid for votes by George W. Bush. The president, a man who has outspent Bill Clinton and his father, has obviously learned the biggest trick of the Democrats, buying votes with other people's money.

This "benefit" will undoubtedly grow over the years, joining Social Security, Medicare and Welfare as budget busters today, and economy killers in the future. There is no way a budget that exceeds $2.2 trillion per year, more than half of that non-discretionary spending like Medicare and this new white elephant, can long last. With a projected deficit near $500 billion in 2004, one has to ask what George W. Bush is up to?

The answer is obvious. Republicans need to understand that the President of the United States is the worst kind of RINO (Republican In Name Only). In his 2004 State of the Union Speech, the unprincipled disaster from Texas declared that the nation needed to declare a war on steroids in professional sports while promising to hold spending growth in 2005 to only 4 per cent. Of course, that's 4 per cent above the automatic increase in spending that is built in to the federal budgetary process.

Bill Clinton never dreamed of pushing through the number of budgetary increases that George W. Bush has hoisted onto the backs of the youth of America. That's right, while Marge MacDonald enjoys her cruises through the Caribbean and her occasional early bird special at the Sizzler, her children, grandchildren and unborn great-grandchildren are going to bear the burden of both Marge's free drugs and Bush's purchase of a second term.

It's a crying shame that so many conservative talk show hosts see the need to defend this miserable excuse for a conservative president. Glenn Beck, a man who otherwise seems to have some principles, nonetheless seems to be dedicated to shilling for the president on the grounds that someone with principle needs to be in the White House. I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, George W. Bush isn't that man.

From 1995 through 2001, the president of the United States was a Democrat while Republicans controlled the Congress. The animosity between the two parties resulted in gridlock, where nothing got done. The beauty of gridlock is that no money was being spent on frivolous new programs like Medicare prescription drugs because neither side wanted the other to get credit for it. Democrats wouldn't let the Republicans buy votes and vice versa. Now, a President and Congress in the same party are all too eager to buy each other regular reelection.

What this country needs is a return to gridlock. We need to get together and either elect a Democrat who will admit he is a Democrat (unlike the current Democrat in the White House) as President, or re-elected George W. Bush and put the Democrats back in control of the Congress. Either way, we would be rid of this calamity in Washington.

Keith D. Cummings is the author of Opening Bell, a political / financial thriller. His website is http://www.keith-cummings.com.

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