Political Animal


December 13, 2012 9:07 AM Finding Another Dog To Kick

By Ed Kilgore

The hard line the administration is taking on Medicaid during the fiscal talks has an ancillary effect on the incoherent Republican negotiating position, reflected in John Boehner’s repeated demands that the White House put spending cuts on the table: with Republicans unwilling to unilaterally propose big changes to Social Security and Medicare, and frantic to find offsets to pay for protecting the Pentagon from sequestrations, they are really having trouble coming up with a spending plan of their own that is anything other than numbers pulled out of the air backed up by abstractions. Here’s how Jonathan Chait puts it:

It’s true that Paul Ryan’s budget plan had some deep cuts. But none of those cuts touched Medicare for the next decade or Social Security at all. Ryan just kicked the crap out of the poor. So, that provision aside, if you’re not willing to inflict epic levels of suffering on the very poor, there just aren’t a lot of cuts to be had out there.

But the Medicaid block grant proposal was an important part of Ryan’s plan to “kick the crap out of the poor,” disguised as it was as a “devolution” measure that would unleash the creative genius of the states (who would then typically use it to “kick the crap out of the poor”). So if deep Medicaid cuts are indeed permanently off the table (and Medicaid was already exempted from the domestic spending share of the pending “sequestration” that will go into effect January 1 barring a fiscal deal), Republicans will just have to find another dog to kick.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on December 13, 2012 9:51 AM:

    Oh, don't worry, they'll find one!

    Conservatives and Republicans will always find another dog to kick - as long as it isn't a lead dog.
    They ALWAYS kick down - never up.

  • jjm on December 13, 2012 10:28 AM:

    I like it that you're telling it like it is: the plan was to 'kick the crap out of the poor.' That's what the rich expected from a Romney presidency: taxes to go up, but only on the least wealthy. Now they have to make other plans ... Why don't they all just move to Belgium??

    Because without poor people, guess what? no millionaires. As someone once said, "It takes a whole lot of poor people to make one millionaire."

  • AndThenThere'sThat on December 13, 2012 10:49 AM:

    Republicans will just have to find another dog to kick.

    The middle class