Two Ways of Curbing Spending

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


As the Hill reports today, Republicans in Congress are getting ready to reduce the deficit by making “tough choices” and hacking at programs for the politically powerless. (This despite the fact that discretionary spending cuts won’t make a dent in the deficit; repealing the Bush tax cuts is, needless to say, off the table.) On the other hand, as Sam Rosenfeld notes, the outcry over Katrina may shame them into restraint; already the Senate has dropped a plan to slash food stamps—which would, again, shave off a mere $500 million from an annual deficit that’s exceeding $400 billion. It’s like trimming a few blades of grass near the porch by hand when the yard is overrun by weeds, but no one seems to mind.

In all likelihood, the bulk of the cuts will come from Medicaid; a terrible idea considering that the health care program for the poor has been taking care of the ever-growing number of Americans losing their health insurance and sinking into poverty. The GOP is envisioning some $35 billion in cuts over the next five years, but the rather disgusting irony here, as a new study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows, is that it’s very, very easy to achieve these savings from the government health care programs merely by trimming some of the excess payments made to the managed care companies that run Medicare. Most of this excess is the famous “waste” we hear so much about. Of course, since PPOs and HMOs have their own set of lobbyists, and tend to make large campaign contributions, while Medicaid recipients have… desultory popular outrage… on their side, the choice here isn’t going to come as much of a surprise.

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate