Sunday, May 08, 2005

The new populism

The Bush administration has just come out with the news that, if you are old and poor and sign up for the alleged prescription drug benefit, you "may lose some of your food stamps." Translation from Administrationese to English: You _will_ lose some of your food stamps.

Now, let's see how these people justify this. We have a benefit, or rather an alleged benefit, for prescription drugs which as far as anyone can tell is set up to be primarily a windfall for the pharmaceutical industry; but, keep your eye on the pea here, a program which when in full swing will save the elderly poor so much money, that, gosh, the government needs to get some of that loot back.

According to the New York Times, "the savings on prescription drugs will more than offset any loss of food stamps, so 'low-income seniors will be better off.' " The "better off" quote is from Dr. Mark McClellan, a spokesman for the new hey-everyone-comes-out-ahead administration guidelines.

Uh, indeed so, if we take the old CDC claims about the perils of excess weight at face value. Old folks if nothing will else be leaner, and, hence, better off. But, damn, wouldn't you know it, just when the Bush people think they have all the government agencies on the same page, the CDC comes out with new information indicating that old people enjoying a few extra food stamp calories might actually be _more_ healthy.

No, no, no.

It's not about belt-tightening, it's about saving _money_. All you elderly poor will save _money_ and so we'll take away your food stamps, to get it back!
What could be more elegant, and--Republican?

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