Obama, Geithner Hold All the Face Cards in Debt Ceiling Fight
The administration will get to choose who gets government checks and who doesn't.
July 29, 2011 - 12:00 am
You know how the rest goes.
After that, the president finds himself in a truly target rich environment. Randall Hoven at the American Thinker has done a lot of the leg work on this, breaking out the various pockets of bills coming due and how they might be trimmed. One of the biggest targets on the radar will be defense spending. Clearly Obama would not be foolish enough not to pay the troops, but more than $575B of the estimated $738B defense budget goes to things other than military pay. These possible targets could include:
- “Yard bird” pay for civilian workers at shipyards and military installations
- Maintenance, refitting, and salvage of the “ghost fleet”
- Civilian base workers in maintenance and related fields
The president could also reduce checks or simply fail to pay any number of defense contractors for work already performed or scheduled. This would hit a lot of major Republican donors, not to mention potentially leading to layoffs in that industry for lack of work. And once again, Jay Carney will be out on the White House lawn every day at noon with his big, sad puppy dog eyes detailing how it’s all the fault of the GOP.
Next up we find a clever way to get the seniors out in the streets. As previously noted, Obama would obviously send out all of the Social Security checks, but he doesn’t have to pay everything associated with Medicare. One immediate option would be to reduce or cancel some reimbursement payments to doctors. Might that result in physicians cancelling appointments or refusing to take new patients who are in the program? This one hits seniors right in the breadbasket, traditionally a demographic that supports the Republicans disproportionately.
But it’s not just direct payments to providers that might be on the table. There’s a lot more gold to be mined in them there hills. There are a multitude of secondary programs in Medicare which take up resources every month. They take care of a host of mundane programs such as reducing the cost of prescriptions to subsidizing bulk items like ace bandages, disinfectants or… replacement oxygen tanks.
As I recently wrote in piece titled “Plan Nine from the DNC,” there are political opportunities aplenty waiting in all of those bookkeeping nooks and crannies, assuming the Democrats are willing to play politics with something like this. (Not that I’m insinuating Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s crew would ever stoop so low, mind you.) But if you stop and think about it, it’s a fairly simple matter to fail to send out a check or two to some medical supply companies. And when that happens, the Democrats find a young boy named Timmy in a wheelchair that didn’t get his replacement oxygen bottle this week, and suddenly he and his bedraggled, single working mom are instant television stars in political advertisements which run non-stop until the Republicans finally cave in.
But the Democrats would never actually do that… right?