Republican House Speaker Mr Boehner says some very strange things. For example, he has consistenly said that increasing taxes for anyone, for any reason, is not acceptable. Even if the alternative is national default, Boehner would rather trash our credit rating than raise taxes even one penny on the rich.
So why did he argue -- the very same day -- to raise taxes on rich people because they can afford to pay more? Make no mistake: means-testing of Federal insurance programs is a tax hike. If you have to pay more for the same government services then I do then you are being taxed more than I. Your higher payments are going to pay for my benefits. Apparently in this particular scenario, Mr Beohner thinks that's fair.
And if you're middle-income, lower income, we are going to pay, just like we do today, for the cost of [Medicare]. But for people of means, there's no reason why we should subsidize [their Medicare]. I'm sorry.
And most people think this is true. In fact most people think this is true in general -- that high income individuals should contribute more to funding the social insurance programs that make up the great bulk of government spending. And yet for Mr Beohner and his colleagues raising income taxes -- even a little -- is "off the table."
It's almost cute how he thinks he can hide his true meaning behind populist rhetoric. The simple fact is that means-testing Medicare kills Medicare. Once you take "rich" people out of the system --and to get any real cost savings your have to cut out a lot of the middle class -- it devolves into another welfare program for the poor, and it's easy to kill because anyone with political power has already divested. And that's what Republicans have dreamed about since Medicare was invented.
Funny how they're all for tax hikes when it achieves their policy objectives. Such principles!