he centerpiece of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) plan to slash the federal deficit is turning Medicare into a voucher system. It turns out, that isn't very popular. In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, 80 percent of voters oppose cutting Medicare and Medicaid, including 73 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of Tea Party supporters. In a new Washington Post poll, 54 percent of Republicans also backed raising taxes on the wealthy (Ryan's plan would slash those taxes). Can Republicans win over their own base on this unpopular, entitlement-slashing deficit strategy?
Yes, Republican voters just need to be better informed: "It's hard to get angry at the politicians when the public is so ill-informed," says Kenneth Durden at his blog. But this "entitlement mentality is the real problem in our country," and if we don't "re-educate the population" about the danger rocketing Medicare costs pose to our economy, we're doomed. So Republicans, "become informed on the issue," then we'll "try to change one mind at a time." It's doable.
"Americans oppose cuts in entitlements — the real problem"
No, even Republicans want a free lunch: It's useless, says Rob Port at Say Anything. Republicans, conservatives, Tea Partiers, Democrats: "Everybody wants a balanced budget. Nobody wants their particular ox gored." Like it or not, it may well "take an actual collapse of this nation's finances before the public is awakened from the stupid notion that we can balance the budget without cutting entitlements or by just taxing the rich."
"Poll: 68% of conservatives... oppose cuts to Medicare"
GOP leaders don't really want to cut Medicare: Clearly, revamping Medicare is an "across-the-board stinker" that would mean "electoral disaster" for the GOP, says Kirsten Powers at The Daily Beast. And yet, Republicans continue to push that plan, because noisy Tea Partiers who swept them into power last November are demanding drastic, budget-slashing action. But GOP lawmakers don't really want their unpopular, "draconian" cuts to pass. It looks like they're just touting this plan "to get credit for doing something [they] never wanted to happen."
"The GOP's budget backfire"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why we need a maximum wage
Subscribe to the Week