It would seem even very red state Oklahoma has a lot in common with the rest of the nation: “Keep your government hands off my Medicare."
”Republican presidential candidate and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney announced — with precious few details — how he might help take some of the burden off the national debt: he adopted a partial plan advocated by Wisconsin politician Paul Ryan.
Essentially, it would privatize some parts of Medicare. A way of thinking about this is privatization means turning the duties over to a “for-profit” company to operate.
Currently, the Congressional Budget Office — basically a scorekeeper for Congress — says it costs the government about 1 percent to administer the program. Depending on what parts are privatized, it would be a good bet administrative costs will go up. Few for-profits are willing to exert much effort for a 1 percent return on investment.
Former President George W. Bush attempted to advance a plan to privatize Social Security upon winning a second term in 2004.
It basically went over like a lead balloon with Americans and was finally shelved and ignored.
Americans are realizing they have earned these benefits and they aren’t for free. It costs between $95 and $115 per month for Medicare. Most seniors will also purchase some kind of supplemental insurance to pick up the 20 percent not covered under the plan. That usually will run an additional $130 per month.
So we asked The Ada News readers in our poll if they supported privatization of Medicare and Social Security. The answer, thus far, mirrors the national average of approximately 80 percent against such action.
So one must wonder what Americans really desire? It is clear public services provided by government via tax dollars collected are not sustainable. We take in far too little to continue to provide police, fire, roads, public education, fund our nation’s war machine and provide the basic elements we all have grown accustomed to enjoying.
Yet, we appoint staunch Republicans and Democrats to serve on the so-called Super Committee to find reasonable answers to our debt problems — and by Thanksgiving no less.
When the committee fails, it will trigger deep cuts in defense. Later, it will trigger deep cuts in the social safety net.
It’s time to choose and it’s time to be consistent about it at the ballot box.
The days of having our cake and eating it, too, ended years ago.
Gene Lehmann is editor of The Ada News.