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July 20th, 2011

Don’t Be Fooled By The Gang of Six Plan

President Barack Obama told the nation on Saturday that solving the nation’s debt crisis would “take a balanced approach, shared sacrifice, and a willingness to make unpopular choices.” Those are weasel words.

On Tuesday, the President applauded a proposal from the Gang of Six – six U.S. Senators who unveiled a scheme to reduce the nation’s debt. He called it “balanced” because it combines spending reductions ($500 billion immediately, most later and few specifics offered) with changes in the tax code that would bring in $1 trillion more money from taxpayers over the next decade than current law.

The President must think the public is too stupid to remember that just sixteen months ago, the Obama health law raised taxes by a whopping $503 billion dollars (10 year estimate from the Joint Committee on Taxation.) You haven’t felt those tax hikes yet, because they don’t go into effect until 2013 or later, but they are already the law.

If you and your spouse make $250,000 a year, your Medicare payroll tax is going up from 2.9% to 3.8%. If you own stocks or bonds or a home, and you sell at a profit, your “unearned income’ on that transaction will be hit with a new 0.9% tax.

New limits on how you can use flexible spending accounts and new taxes on medical devices and health plans will eventually take money out of your pocket. And in 2018 a 40% excise tax on the most generous health plans goes into effect. In other words, the tax increase side of the balanced approach was done last year. It’s time for the spendaholics in Washington to cut spending, period.

Now let’s examine President Obama’s other call to action, “shared sacrifice.” Seniors and baby boomers made their sacrifice in March 2010, when the Obama health law was signed into law. That law reduces future funding for Medicare by $500 billion over the next decade. It uses the “savings” from Medicare to pay for two entitlements: a huge increase in Medicaid enrollment and brand new subsidies for middle income Americans (families earning up to $88,000 a year) to buy private health plans on the taxpayers’ tab.

The Obama health law literally raids Medicare to spread the wealth. An astonishing 85 million people will be enrolled in Medicaid or the children’s version by 2014 (31% of all Americans below 65) and Medicaid benefits will be substantially increased.

When the President calls for “shared sacrifice” and “entitlement reform,” he should not be pointing to seniors. They already gave.

President Obama warned that if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling by August 2, Social Security checks might not go out. That’s targeting seniors again. The Obama administration added a net 107,057 new federal jobs in fiscal 2009 and 2010, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Washington is growing fat and happy. Furlough federal workers before going after grandma again.

Ok, so let’s review the President’s formula for solving the debt crisis. It’s got to be “balanced.” True, but the tax hikes are done. They’re in the Obama health law. 
It’s got to be “shared sacrifice.” True, but seniors already gave. The best way to reform entitlements is not to create new ones. Eliminate the $410 billion expansion of Medicaid and the new subsidies for middle-income families before they go into effect.

Finally, there has to be a “willingness to make unpopular decisions, says the President. He’s got that one knocked. According to a July 18 Rasmussen poll, 54% of likely voters want the Obama health law repealed. The President isn’t budging, though that unpopular law adds at least a $1 trillion in new entitlements over the next decade and $2 trillion in the decade that follows. America can’t afford it, Mr. President.

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About the Author

Betsy McCaughey
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D., is a patient advocate and former Lt. Governor of New York State. She is a regular contributor to

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