Friday, November 21, 2003
Interest group politics: Let me first give credit where it is due, Tuesday's column by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is the type he should spend most of his time on.
Today's column, however, is notable for a couple of things: First, there's no mention of President Bush. (I'm sure that will be remedied at a later date.) Second, Krugman appears to be shocked by the possibility that a supposedly nonpartisan interest group would make decisions based on *horror* money.
Krugman's column is really little more than a recitation of DemocraticParty talking points.
I'm really not interested in the details of the proposed drug benefit for Medicare. Why? Because whether it becomes law or not, it's unlikely to last for very long in its original state. It certainly won't be whatever it will be when I reach retirement age. The basic problem with Medicare, like Social Security, is that the program is not structured to be self-sustaining. Medicare was projected to be move into an operating deficit without the new entitlement. This will only accelerate that decline.
The program needs structural changes -- something that both parties are loath to attempt.
Getting back to Krugman's column, he suggests that the AARP has decided to support the drug entitlement bill out of greed -- it allegedly stands to gain a windfall in commissions for selling insurance to seniors -- and not because it is a "good" first step for seniors.
Of course, it's odd that Krugman's outrage at the AARP has never surfaced before -- after all, it's been doing this for years. But it's not that uncommon. The pro-abortion lobby fights restrictions on abortion not only on "moral" grounds, but also because providing them is a multi-million dollar a year industry. Krugman isn't outraged at that sort of thing, because it's his side of the aisle that does it.
The AARP has gone off the Democrat Party reservation -- and it's being punished. Nothing more, nothing less.