Friday, June 10, 2011

Sen. Joe Lieberman Transforms into Sen. Joe Lieberman

Some Suspect Super-Natural Forces at Work

Back before he had an ego explosion and became the Democratic Senator every Democrat disliked, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D, Ct) was a serious centrist policy wonk who was liked and respected on both sides of the aisle.  Sen. Lieberman engaged in substantial policy debates, developed innovative proposals and his reputation as a serious, relatively non-partisan accomplished legislator ultimately led to his selection as the Vice Presidential nominee in 2000.

After that experience Lieberman underwent a profound change in temperament, climaxing with his desire to retain status in the Democratic Party while speaking at the Republican convention in 2008.  One of the great ironies of the 2010 election that saw Democrats lose their super majority in the Senate was that the Party celebrated the fact that they would no longer have to pander to Sen. Lieberman.  Reading the writing on the wall Sen. Lieberman announced he would not run for re-election in 2012.

The old Senator Lieberman, the one that was admired and respected is back.  Writing in the Washington Post Senator Lieberman outlines a proposal to reform Medicare that is thoughtful, reasoned, based on fact, involves shared costs and saves Medicare in its current form.  In other words, it is everything that the Ryan Plan is not.

The proposal involves raising the eligibility age, increasing the premiums seniors pay for Medicare and increasing Medicare payroll taxes.  It is not a proposal everyone will agree with, including The Dismal Political Economist, but it is a plan that is realistic, and does not rely on the fantasy economics that underlay the Republican passed plan in the House.  Because of Sen. Lieberman’s past, and because the media is infatuated with Rep. Ryan and because Democrats do not have the media machine of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News et. al, the proposal will not get the attention that the Ryan Plan received.  But it should.

As for Sen. Lieberman, The Dismal Political Economist says welcome back sir.  We missed you these past 10 years, and could have used you immensely during that time, but better late than never.

Follow Up:  There are a lot of negative comments out there on the Lieberman plan, many about raising the eligibility age.  Since the 65-67 age group is pretty healthy compared to the rest of the Medicare recipients, keeping eligibility at 65 would not seem to be a major problem.    Here are some of the negative sites, which may be motivated more by the lingering dislike of the 2000-2010 Lieberman rather than the previous, now reincarnated version.  Given the past that is an understandable reaction.




Thanks to The Incidental Economist

1 comment:

  1. The critics of the raising the retirement age keep missing the boat and forgetting to mention the reforms that will come online via the Affordable Care Act in 2014. The elimination of preexisting conditions, the insurance exchanges, the medicaid expansion. They need to put down their guns and try to examine the proposal. Wow. In fact, many of these so called victims could actually be better off in health insurance found through the newly created exchanges than in Medicare itself. Some people just can't stop hating so much they forget to think things through.

    Not to mention that CBO stated in March that this very proposal would save $125 billion over 10 years and reduce medicare spending by 7% by 2035.

    Still waiting on their plan.