Friday, September 04, 2009

Panels? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Panels

Like a lot of things that emerge from Republican Talking Points, the idea that the Democrat-sponsored Health Care bill will result in killing the elderly is rooted in a form of projection. As Jacob Weisberg points out in Slate last week, Republicans have done more to kill off the elderly than anyone.

Take the conservative push to privatize Social Security, which George W. Bush proposed and failed to get Congress to pass in 2005. Social Security has driven life expectancy up and death rates down since it was instituted. It has an especially pronounced impact on suicide rates for the elderly, which have declined 56 percent since 1930. Had Bush prevailed, we would now be undoing income security for the elderly. Those who gambled on the stock market and lost would be less able to afford medicine, food, and heating for their homes. In aggregate, they'd presumably die younger and commit suicide more often.

Republicans continue working to shorten and sadden the lives of the elderly in more oblique ways, too. One of President Obama's first official acts was to reverse Bush's executive order limiting government funding for stem-cell research, which remains the most promising avenue for new treatments of diseases that afflict the aged, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Clean-air legislation, which the Republicans defeated in 2002, has the potential to save 23,000 lives per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Many of those victims are elderly people, who suffer disproportionately from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses exacerbated by air pollution. Because emissions of carbon monoxide and such are merely a contributing factor, you can't name the individuals who have died because of this policy choice. But there are tens of thousands of people who would still be elderly today if Republicans didn't value the rights and campaign contributions of polluters more highly than their lives.
Weisberg also points out that the inheritance tax, which was co-written by Chuck Grassley to expire in 2010, will encourage old people who are worth more than a million to ALSO expire by the end of 2010. If they won't die on their own, there's gonna be a lot of relatives around to help 'em out.

It's tounge-in-cheek, scurrilous logic; but that's what those guys get for not arguing the bill on its merits in the first place.


Publius said...

Oh, it wasn't "tongue in cheek." It was just more Democrat hate mongering and demagoguery.

Danielk said...

Right, because no-one could ever write in such a tongue-in-cheek way.

Publius said...

Not any true believer Democrat, no. There's no humor in such as they!


Danielk said...

I'd be chuckling now, if only I was capable as a liberal.

Publius said...

See... SEE!!