Well, I stretch the truth a bit. The third rail of politics has long been Social Security -- touch it and you're dead. But a close correlate might be Medicare. It's a closely related program, in that it serves basically the same constituency, which happens to be a highly politically active one, that it is very popular and very needed among its demographic. And if you touch it, you're probably dead, too. Maybe there's a"fourth rail?"
Because apparently McCain is planning on cutting Medicare to the tune of $1.3 Trillion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Wow. Give them credit for honesty, if not for political sense. The details:
- McCain's health care plan consists largely of providing a $5000 tax credit for families to buy their own individual health insurance.
- Although there is a corresponding tax increase on employers, it does not offset and the plan results in a budgetary shortfall of $1.3 Trillion over ten years.
- McCain has promised that his plan will be "budget neutral," meaning that the shortfall must be balanced by reductions in expenditures.
- Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. McCain's senior policy adviser, said Sunday that the campaign plans to fund the tax credits with savings from Medicare. Specific cuts were not identified.