CongressDaily this afternoon reports on comments by several Democrats regarding possible means-testing of Medicare benefits and/or eligibility. HELP Committee Chairman Harkin said in an interview: “Just as Social Security is not means-tested, neither is Medicare. We have a program that is means-tested, and it’s called Medicaid. Medicare should not be means-tested.” Likewise, Sen. Mikulski said she was “absolutely opposed to means-testing” benefits. Meanwhile, Finance Committee Chairman Baucus said “we’ve got to have revenue…we need revenue.”
To sum up: Democrats want to obtain new revenue – largely by raising taxes on small businesses and other American job creators – in order to ensure that Warren Buffett will continue to receive his Social Security pension and Bill Gates can obtain taxpayer-funded Medicare benefits. It appears rather perplexing that Democrats are willing to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” in order to fund entitlement benefits for those same individuals. This contradiction is heightened when you consider that means-testing entitlement benefits for wealthy individuals is much less likely to have secondary economic impacts than raising taxes on job creators.
It’s this kind of flawed economic and fiscal logic – raising taxes on job creators in order to fund benefits for billionaires – that explains why Democrats’ trillion-dollar stimulus has failed to deliver the jobs it promised, or why the health care law has failed to deliver the $2,500 per family reduction in premiums candidate Obama promised.