The PBS NewsHour has yet to invite a hard core conservative on the program to talk about the fiscal cliff. Last week, they had NYT’s columnist, left-wing economist, and Obama cheerleader – Paul Krugman to detail his view. Then, they had Sen. Bob Corker ( R-TN), but the December 6 broadcast was the most interesting. PBS invited the Norquist of the left Max Richtman, of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, that we shouldn’t be in a rush to reform our entitlement spending. After all, when the unfunded liability of both programs is around $100 trillion dollars, what’s the big hurry? Where’s the fire?
Richtman started his argument with semantics and a false narrative. First, he wants to call these programs ‘earned benefits,’ instead of entitlement programs. Second, it’s called welfare when the baby boomers’ parents received all of these benefits by paying next to nothing in contributing to the system. The entire interview beset on a throne of lies.
When the question related to the solvency of Social Security arose, Richtman confidently said that this program doesn’t add a dime to the deficit. As USA Today aptly pointed out on November 27, Social Security ran a deficit of $48 billion last year.
Furthermore, Richtman thinks the American lifespan hasn’t increased. Therefore, Medicare is safe.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about Medicare again for a moment…
MAX RICHTMAN: OK.
JUDY WOODRUFF: … the other large so-called entitlement program.
We heard — we have heard a lot of conversation about raising the eligibility age. We know Americans are living longer. Why isn’t that a reasonable solution? President Obama himself has said that’s something that should be considered.
MAX RICHTMAN: Well, it’s not true that — as you know, not all Americans are living longer.
We might be able to do a program like this for a long time, but there are some jobs that are much harder to continue working and have health care benefits and have those available.
Raising the age for eligibility in Medicare would be particularly hard on communities of color. These are people, for the most part, they tend to have poorer health conditions at an earlier age. They have accumulated less wealth to pay for health care out of their pockets between, let’s say 65 and 67 because of lower lifetime earnings, and they have shorter life spans. So we don’t need to do that. We don’t need to look at reducing benefits, whether it’s by raising the age for eligibility or means-testing the program or charging seniors more.
This is a lie. And Woodruff made no effort to correct him in this area. Even John Podesta’s Think Progress and National Public Radio posted stories showing that the elderly Americans are living longer, are healthier, and have increased their chances of living to eighty-five or older. Pharmacology has increased American life by almost two decades, and it’s rather amusing to see those on the left omit this accomplishment since it chips away at their welfare state narrative. In terms of a percentage, Americans who are 85 and older represent the fastest growing segment of the population. Demographics don’t lie, and math, not the reformers of our welfare state, are the enemy.
Now, Richtman says they aren’t against reform. They’re just against reform right now. Nothing is more indicative of an organization that prefers to kick the can down the road. Richtman’s grand plan for reform rests with “improving the efficiencies of the programs, by maybe bringing in some more revenue, [but] not going back to the old mantra of let’s cut, cut, cut.” Yes, tax increases are the option of choice for liberals for any economic defect. As for “improving the efficiencies.” I commend Richtman for being purposefully vague.
As Christmas is approaching, there is one item on my list. Invite Grover Norquist on the PBS NewsHour.