Looks like Jay Cost at the Weekly Standard discovered Medicare on Thursday, tweeting, "Medicare is a massive transfer of wealth from the young and poor to the old and rich."Medicare is a massive transfer of wealth from the young and poor to the old and rich. pic.twitter.com/Utek3roiwv— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) August 12, 2016
The history of Medicare and its sibling, Medicaid, trace back to the 1964 presidential election, the worst shellacking for a Republican candidate not running against FDR.
Neoconservatives love to talk about Barry Goldwater taking one for the team in 1964, and setting up Reagan in 1980, 16 years later.
While no doubt, Goldwater gave Reagan's political side national exposure, the fact is Reagan already was making his move, and the boost given was minor. Goldwater took 41 percent of the vote in California. Two years later, Reagan took 57% to knock off the incumbent, Pat Brown, who had beaten Nixon four years earlier. I don't think LBJ schlonging AuH2O helped Reagan.
But let us suspend reality for a moment to ask this:
If Reagan is the gain from Goldwater, what was the cost?First, Lyndon Johnson got a mandate. Elections have consequences. His 22-point landslide gave him an enormous mandate. After the 1964 election, his party had control of the Senate 68-32 and a 295-140 edge in the House. That's right, there were twice as many Democrats elected in each house of Congress. Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen and House Minority Leader Jerry Ford had little influence. Whatever LBJ wanted, LBJ got.
But the origin of Medicare was bipartisan. Health insurance was out of reach for most retirees. The poverty rate for retirees was 35%. Today it is 10%.
However, this is a transfer of wealth exacerbated by the poor job prospects of the twenty-something grandchildren of today's retirees. Good luck fixing that.
But the real problem was Medicaid. This is a transfer of wealth from state budgets to the health industry. The biggest single factor driving medical prices is this program that offers health insurance with no premiums, no deductibles, and no co-payments to the most financial irresponsible of our citizens. I will grant you that many poor people are there through no fault of their own. But many have chosen lives of chaos and living for the moment. Medicaid hands them the keys to the state treasury -- and hospitals know this.
The set up is that the federal government puts up more than half the money, with the states putting up matching money. This looks like free money. Indeed, at one point for every dollar West Virginia put up, the federal government put up three. Good luck controlling your state budget with 15 percent of it off limits. The hospital lobby is very well-financed and powerful, as 15 percent of the state budget now goes to just this one medical program.
Medicaid gives the federal government great budgetary control over the states.
That is just one of the problems from abandoning Goldwater.
Johnson's Great Society unleashed a holy hell of federal programs upon the states.
Johnson also gave us the first weakening of immigration law in 1965, courtesy of Ted Kennedy.
But hey, despite all the damage done to the nation, Nelson Rockefeller and his brethren got to maintain control of the Republican Party.
In 1968, Richard Nixon rose from the political graveyard to barely defeat LBJ's vice president for the White House. Four years later, Nixon became the first person to sweep 49 states. But Nelson Rockefeller did get a consolation prize of the vice presidency under Jerry Ford.
Of course, Ford dumped him in favor of Bob Dole in the election effort.
So yes, by all means, go ahead Never Trump and hope Hillary takes 50 states and DC (as Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal said) and in 2020 or 2032 or somewhere later, a Republican you like will win the nomination by promising to rein in universal health care.
Just like we reined in Medicaid.
And just like we will end Obamacare.
Strategic losing is just that -- losing.
I want to win. I will do all I can legally to stop HRC.
"Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race" is available as a paperback. Please order here.
The Kindle version is available here.
Autographed copies are available for $20 (includes shipping). Email me at DonSurber@GMail.com