Who needs Fox News when we've got PBS out there spewing the same type of nonsense we hear nonstop there, and allowing David Brooks to come on the air opining the failure of the so-called "Super Committee" to reach a deal and praising Mitt Romney for
November 24, 2011

Who needs Fox News when we've got PBS out there spewing the same type of nonsense we hear nonstop there, and allowing David Brooks to come on the air opining the failure of the so-called "Super Committee" to reach a deal and praising Mitt Romney for embracing the advice of Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin, who were urging the committee to partially privatize Medicare. But that's exactly what we got this Monday on The Charlie Rose Show.

Think Progress laid out why this is a terrible idea in their post here -- GOP Super Committee Co-Chair: Lawmakers Failed Because Democrats Refused To Privatize Medicare:

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) faults the Democrats’ refusal to accept partial Medicare privatization for the super committee’s inability to come up with a bipartisan plan to lower spending in today’s Wall Street Journal. He writes, “Democrats on the committee made it clear that the new spending called for in the president’s health law was off the table” and pretends that the spending in the Affordable Care Act added to the deficit (it actually reduces it). “Republicans offered to negotiate a plan on the other two health-care entitlements—Medicare and Medicaid—based upon the reforms included in the budget the House passed earlier this year,” he continues and lays out the premium support proposal offered by Alice Rivlin and Pete Domenici: [...]

Hensarling doesn’t mention that the Rivlin-Domenici premium-support proposal doesn’t so much lower national health care spending as it shifts it to the beneficiary. The plan reduces the federal contribution to Medicare by capping costs for each beneficiary and offering premium support credits that won’t keep up with actual health care spending. The federal government spends less, but seniors will pay more out of pocket for health care benefits every year. The proposal also breaks up the market clout of traditional Medicare and rather than ratcheting up some of efficiencies and payment reforms in the Affordable Care Act, it sets the nation on an untested path of private competition — leaving seniors vulnerable to the manipulations of for-profit health insurers.

Rough transcript of Brooks' hackery below the fold.

ROSE: America likes strong political leaders. They want boldness.

BROOKS: And they want a sense of, where were you going? President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown, which he's very proud, and justifiably, called the new foundations speech? Foundations for what? What type of economy are we building? And I think, what people have a sense of are, we've allowed ourselves to have institutions which have ossified.

And so we need reform. We need to reform entitlements in a big major way. We need to reform tax, the tax code in a big major way. Pick four or five things. One of them he's already doing, education, doing quite a good job there, energy, he's doing a mediocre job, but not without success.

And so take four or five big institutions, big reform agenda. That's what Franklin Roosevelt did. That's what Teddy Roosevelt did and just lay it on out there. I think that's a sixty or seventy percent agenda.

And if you present people with a big reform agenda, specifically starting, say starting with the tax code, nobody's going to like all of it, but they're going to like the strong agenda because you really are laying foundations.

And the tax reform was the mettle test, because many people, including the president himself said we've got to basically reform the tax code. And again, everybody knows what the shape of reform looks like, absolutely everybody. It's lower the rates and get rid of the loopholes.

And he didn't come out with a plan. He embraced it from a distance, but he never came out and said “We're doing this.”

ROSE: Does laying out what he wants to do, what he's prepared to do about cutting entitlements, I mean, can't he make that case that in these economic times, it's essential to do this?

BROOKS: Right, well here's the case where we actually have a big disagreement, an ideological disagreement between the two parties. We currently have a fee for service system in Medicare which charges people by the amount of service.

ROSE: Which we know is not good.

BROOKS: Right and everybody knows it's not good. And so the Republicans believe that if you, if what they call premium support people, a system, if you give people subsidies, they'll buy their own insurance, you'll have competition and that will lower costs. A lot of Democrats don't believe that will work.

And so that really, and so the Democratic approach is take the current system and just quash down the costs, with some innovations in there and the Republicans to go for this competition. My view and frankly, I'm impressed by Mitt Romney, his view is let's create a system where there's both and let's see who's right.

And he laid out a plan, I give him credit for this, which is based on a plan that Pete Domenici, a Republican Senator and Alice Rivlin, a Democratic budget expert, put together. And that was to create these two systems, we'll see which is work... which ones work.

But he hasn't been willing to lay out either of those systems in any compelling way, for the same reason he hasn't laid out a tax reform system and a lot of the other things... an innate caution.

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