The ACP Advocate Blog
by Bob Doherty
Monday, August 1, 2011
The debt deal . . . by popular song!
You probably were expecting me to write a serious blog today about the debt deal reached last night. I will give you a few initial observations, but since I am leaving this morning to vacation in Cape Cod (I can’t wait to get out of Washington and its stifling climate—political and meteorological!) I can’t bring myself to get too serious. So instead, I am going to ask for your help if finding a popular song that best describes the gruesome political theater that led to the debt deal. But first, I will offer a few serious words about it.
As I have written in previous blogs, I think a default would have had terrible consequences for the country, and especially for the millions of people who rely on Medicare and other government health and public safety programs. It could have led to suspension of Medicare and Medicaid payments to physicians, and an almost total shut-down of the FDA, CDC, and NIH. So the fact that default appears likely to be averted (Congress still has to pass the deal) is a good thing.
But the almost $1 trillion in cuts (over the next 10 years) in discretionary programs required under the agreement may end up defunding programs that ACP believes are critical to expanding coverage, improving quality, and ensuring an adequate physician workforce. And the agreement also puts in place a process where a “Super-committee” of Congress will make recommendations for more than another $1.5 trillion in cuts including Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs. Congress will either approve or disapprove the Super-committee’s recommendations by the end of the year on an up or down vote. And, if it doesn’t approve the Super-committee’s recommendations, or the committee itself deadlocks, the deal calls for across the board cuts in defense and domestic programs, including cuts in Medicare payments to “providers.” We won’t know for months how all of this will play out, but you have to be concerned that it could lead to more cuts in Medicare payments to physicians (as if the SGR wasn’t enough!) and GME programs, and who knows what else. (You can learn more about the debt deal at ACP’s advocacy web page, www.acponline.org/advocacy.)
Now, for what I hope will be the more fun part. Yesterday, a friend sent me this You Tube rap song about the debt ceiling. It’s a hoot, and you don’t have to be a rap fan to enjoy it. This got me thinking . . . what popular song would you use to describe how Washington went about getting a debt deal? Here are my suggestions:
“I’m a Loser” (Beatles), I’ll leave it to you do decide if this describes Boehner or Obama more!
“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction!” (Rolling Stones), Obama, for sure.
“I Did it My Way” (Sinatra), Boehner, of course.
“We can work it out” (Beatles), especially the part “Why don’t you see it my way . . .”, everyone involved.
“Time Is on My Side” (Rolling Stones), surely describes the GOP negotiating strategy.
“Taxman” (Beatles), could have been written by Grover Norquist.
“Play with Fire” (Rolling Stones), the words “but don’t you play with me, you’re playing with fire” could be used to describe Boehner or Obama, or maybe the Tea Party.
“You Say You Want a Revolution” (Beatles), surely dedicated to the Tea Party caucus, especially the words “we all want to see the plan.”
“It’s the End of the World as We Know It” (REM), how Timothy Geitner describes default.
“I Won’t Back Down” (Tom Petty), Tea party caucus again, especially the S.C. delegation.
“Fool on the Hill” (Beatles), you choose, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, or Michelle Bachmann?
“Stuck in the middle with you (Stealer’s Wheel), especially the words “Joker to the left of me clowns to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you” to describe the dwindling ranks of congressional centrists.
That’s it for now, but let me hear your ideas for the songs and lyrics that best describe the debt deal/debacle and who they most apply to.
One more thing, I won’t be doing much blogging (if any) while on vacation, so you can look forward to what I am sure is a much welcome break from having to hear from me, until I return the week of August 15. Enjoy!
Today’s question: What popular songs best describe the debt debate/debacle?
About the Author
Bob Doherty is Senior Vice President, American College of Physicians Government Affairs and Public Policy; Author of the ACP Advocate Blog
Email Bob Doherty: TheACPAdvocateblog@acponline.org.Follow @BobDohertyACP
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