"The War on Wyden
"Ticked off by Washington's failure to tackle big problems? Spare a moment for Oregon's senior senator. Mr. Wyden is the Democrat who in December had the audacity to team up with House Republican Paul Ryan on a proposal to reform and strengthen Medicare—the entitlement that is pushing the country, and seniors, off a cliff. As bipartisan exercises go, this was big, thoughtful, promising.
It was also a complete anathema to a Democratic establishment that is ideologically opposed to change, and cynically intent on using Mediscare to beat Republicans in 2012. Mr. Wyden, as a result, is taking a beating from his own.
"Ron Wyden, Useful Idiot," railed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. "Is Ron Wyden trying to get Mitt Romney elected?" fumed the Nation magazine. Ron Zerban, a Democrat running for Mr. Ryan's seat, accused Mr. Wyden of giving the GOP cover and proclaimed him no longer a "Democrat."The White House went defcon, insisting that the plan would cause Medicare to "wither on the vine." House Democrats hissed the plan would end "Medicare as we know it." Most informative was the gripe of a former Senate staffer: Mr. Wyden was taking away "a key argument for Democrats that are trying to retake the House." The nerve!
Mr. Wyden notes there'd have been no plan had not Mr. Ryan agreed to "traditional Medicare remaining a permanent part of the program," a fact, he says, that rebuts any notion of it "withering on the vine."
The real problem, he acknowledges, is ideological opposition to any private-sector involvement—a position that frustrates the senator, since it is already reality. More than 40% of Oregon seniors already use private coverage, through Medicare Advantage or Medigap.
"This is a disconnected conversation," he pronounces. The Wyden-Ryan bill is simply acknowledgment that any serious entitlement reform must encompass choice and markets."
How do you see this case?
Do you have a reaction to some of the details noted - a belief about them?
Do we encounter similar circumstances in our life? What are they?
What is the practice opportunity and effort when we do?
(c) 2012 Elihu Genmyo Smith