Seniors come out in droves during elections. The midterms are approaching and many seniors are undoubtedly worried about how ObamaCare will affect them. Since ObamaCare redirects resources away from Medicare to fund the medical care of millions of younger people, they should be concerned. How better to distract their attention than give them checks in the mail with a reassuring propaganda letter and then use the politics of fear by raising the specter that Republicans will harm social security.
WASHINGTON -- A check from Uncle Sam gets your attention, even if the money doesn't help that much with the bills. More than 750,000 Medicare recipients with high prescription costs each got a $250 government check this summer, and 3 million-plus more checks are going out to people who land in the program's anxiety-inducing coverage gap.
Democrats, running scared in an election year, are trying to overcome older people's mistrust of the new health care law, which expands coverage for younger generations by cutting Medicare payments to hospitals and insurers.
Will the ploy work?
"It's like a teaser," says Virginia Brant, 65, of Glendale, Ariz. "You go to Vegas and they give you the free spin on the wheel. We have had our teaser - the $250 - for us to say, `Gee, look at what we have coming.'"
What next? Obama talking about his beloved (typical white person) grandma?
Michael D. Shear and Lori Montgomery write, also in the WaPo: Reviving a political tactic that Democrats have used before, President Obama said in his radio address Saturday that "some Republican leaders in Congress" want to privatize Social Security -- even though few GOP lawmakers today support the idea.
The specter of a threat to the program that provides retirement income to senior citizens is a preview of an attack that Democrats intend to make this fall, as they hope to blunt what appears to be a Republican surge in congressional elections.
"I'd have thought that debate would've been put to rest once and for all by the financial crisis we've just experienced," Obama said of privatizing Social Security. "I'd have thought, after being reminded how quickly the stock market can tumble, after seeing the wealth people worked a lifetime to earn wiped out in a matter of days, that no one would want to place bets with Social Security on Wall Street."
But GOP leaders are not pressing for privatization. The idea proved so unpopular when President George W. Bush proposed it in 2004 that Congress, then led by Republicans, never took it up. The concept lives on in a budget proposal by Rep. Paul D. Ryan (Wis.), the senior Republican the House Budget Committee, but only a handful of GOP lawmakers have signed on to that measure.
Scare the seniors is almost as venerable a shibboleth as the race card for the Democrats. Both seem to be declining in effectiveness lately. Has ObamaCare changed the political landscape for them?