Monday, September 21, 2009
Charles Krauthammer devotes his column today to questioning President Obama's honesty. Given Krauthammer's track record, that's really not a good idea.
Most of the piece is predictable -- and ironically, deeply misleading -- but it's hard to overlook Krauthammer's complaints about proposed Medicare savings.
Obama said he would largely solve the insoluble cost problem of Obamacare by eliminating "hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" from Medicare.To the extent that politicians like to target "waste, fraud, and abuse" in any system as a generic way to save costs, Krauthammer's right that it can be a hollow cliche. But the problem here is that Krauthammer hasn't been paying close enough attention to the debate -- the White House isn't just throwing around shallow rhetoric, it's identified specific areas within the Medicare system where the government can save an enormous amount of money, and subjected the claims to CBO scrutiny....(Remainder.)
That's not a lie. That's not even deception. That's just an insult to our intelligence. Waste, fraud and abuse -- Meg Greenfield once called this phrase "the dread big three" -- as the all-purpose piggy bank for budget savings has been a joke since Jimmy Carter first used it in 1977.
Moreover, if half a trillion is waiting to be squeezed painlessly out of Medicare, why wait for health-care reform? If, as Obama repeatedly insists, Medicare overspending is breaking the budget, why hasn't he gotten started on the painless billions in "waste and fraud" savings?