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?

7 Comments :

Blogger rcentor said...

All Along the Watchtower (written by Bob Dylan, made famous by Henrix)

"There must be some kind of way out of here,"
Said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion,
I can't get no relief.

August 1, 2011 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Harrison said...

Hendrix loved Bob Dylan songs.
Such a talent.
A terrible loss.
HLR

August 2, 2011 at 12:46 PM  
Blogger DrJHO7 said...

"We're not gonna take it...anymore"
(Twisted Sister, 1984)
This should be the message of the American people to our elected officials, regarding their political quagmire. It's as pointless as trench warfare. They spend 60% of their time in partisan squabbles, 30% of their time campaigning for election/re-election, 8% of their time investigating each other's scandals, and 2% of their time on last minute stop-gap votes that kick the can down the road til the next stop-gap vote, so they can pat themselves on the back and take credit for legislation that accomplishes almost nothing, sponsored by: special interest groups, especially those with lots of money to support campaigns.
The voters need to speak out on this.

August 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger PCP said...

Bob,

How about 'singing the blues' that you liberals in organized medicine have doctors singing.

When you all supported obamacare on ideological grounds even with serious and vociferous internal and external opposition and sans any improvements in the climate for the private practice of medicine, you had to know this day was coming.

Read back on this blog. I told you, that we would be left negotiating with the tea party on sgr cuts. Sleep with the devil and you get hurt.

The only potential for the rebirth of primary care was an appropriately structured high drductible health plans, that would have effectively removed the role of insurance in expenditures under 5k a year, along with a relaxation of some stark laws, letting the free market work, and putting the doctor-patient relationship at the center of it all.

Tonight we hear that the US has lost its AAA debt rating. I reflect back to this blog a few months ago when I raised this alarm, and die hard liberals like 'harrison' decided to view this debt in cyclical terms and dismissed the concerns of those like me who felt like this represented a confluence of global factors rendering us less and less able to pay down our current debt far less able to take on more.
This president has added a 4th new health care entitlement(after Medicare, Medicaid, Medicare D) at a time that we are ill equipped to to handle the ones we had. This is on top of the massive ARRA widely acknowledged to have failed miserably in it's goals. We are adding 1.6 trillion in debt yearly to a 14.8 trillion debt, with a stagnating economy with no near term catalysts for growth. We have just lost our AAA rating which would likely over time lead to a rise in our collective interest costs, rendering any near term cuts in spending already obsolete. Such are the trappings of debt, something conservatives understand and liberals prefer to deny.

Liberal policies have now led to a downgrade of our sovereign debt. We are collectively less credit worthy as a nation. What now ACP? Your advocacy has been pathetic both for national priorities and professional priorities. Time for introspection, if this organist ion is anything ut a bunch of ideologues.

August 5, 2011 at 11:10 PM  
Blogger rcentor said...

One more - Talking Heads - Life During Wartime:

"This ain't no party,
this ain't no disco,
this ain't no foolin' around"

August 9, 2011 at 6:29 AM  
Blogger George G. Lopez said...

The Gambler by Keny Rogers

On a warm summer's eve
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin'
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us, and he began to speak

He said, "Son, I've made my life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don't mind my sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice"

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

- It's all about gambling in a casino. What about hearing a song that talks about online games of chance?? I'm pretty sure online game developers will love this.

August 25, 2011 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger Hair said...

I am very happy to find your post, i enjoyed very much to read your article, thank you for sharing

Debt Relief

December 3, 2011 at 5:41 AM  

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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.

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