Paul Ryan Has Created The New 'Fourth Rail' Of Politics: Medicare

Two new polls came out today, and it's bad news for Villagers who have been pushing cuts to our social saftey nets as a must-fix for their deficit fetish. Pundit after pundit constantly pushes the idea that "austerity rules," and Americans must sacrifice if America is to cut the national debt. Being an "austerity" gasbag plays well for the Beltway insiders, but not for the public at large.

And a new phenomenon is happening thanks to Paul Ryan:

Medicare seems to be turning into the new third rail of politics.

"I'm pretty confident Medicare will be there, because there would be a rebellion among voters," said Nicholas Read, 67, a retired teacher who lives near Buffalo, N.Y. "Republicans only got a hint of that this year. They got burned. They touched the hot stove."

Maybe we should call Medicare "the Fourth Rail" of politics. Social Security was always regarded as the third rail of politics, kinda like what would happen to you if you stumbled onto touching the electrified train track. Electrocution isn't a welcomed outcome and politicians have always been careful not to touch it. Not so with the Tea Party crowd, and now they've added a new rail that's pulsing with power called Medicare.

They're not buying it. Most Americans say they don't believe Medicare has to be cut to balance the federal budget, and ditto for Social Security, a new poll shows.

The Associated Press-GfK poll suggests that arguments for overhauling the massive benefit programs to pare government debt have failed to sway the public. The debate is unlikely to be resolved before next year's elections for president and Congress.

Americans worry about the future of the retirement safety net, the poll found, and 3 out of 5 say the two programs are vital to their basic financial security as they age. That helps explain why the Republican Medicare privatization plan flopped, and why President Barack Obama's Medicare cuts to finance his health care law contributed to Democrats losing control of the House in last year's elections.

Obviously Obama's health care didn't cut Medicare to finance it so that's false and just a Republican talking point, but since FOX News helped dispense those words they are taken as gospel. Americans do know a good thing, especially seniors and they don't want their security messed with no matter how many times the Alan Wests or Paul Ryans tell them otherwise.


Ask the voters and they'll tell you: Social Security cuts are off the table when it comes to cleaning up the budget mess in Washington.

Fresh polling from Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota published first by TPM show voters in the states overwhelmingly oppose any cuts to the Social Security entitlement program, even in the name of reducing the national debt. The coalition of progressive groups which sponsored the survey say the polls send a clear message to the Democratic Senate incumbents up for reelection in each state: cut Social Security and you'll incur the wrath of an angry electorate.

I hope the Obama administration is keeping a close tab on these polls and I expect they are. These results and basic comon sense have kept me writing about the dreaded Gang of Six, I mean Five, who are supposedly working on budgetary and deficit plans. I also hope Vice President Biden and his working group gets the memo and steps away from jumping into the deficit abyss like the GOP has.


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