I have this theory that those people who protest loudly about some (usually social) issue are the people most guilty of it. Like staunch family-values politicians who turn out to be closeted homosexuals or are having wild affairs in Argentina.
Likewise, Jacob Weisberg has a fascinating editorial in Newsweek magazine that points that that it is the Republicans — the same people who are screaming about Obama’s mythical “death panels” — who have been enacting legislation right and left that effectively pulls the plug on old people.
For example, it was Chuck Grassley, who started the whole “pull the plug on Grandma” talking point, who created the “Throw Mama From the Train” provision of the GOP’s 2001 tax cut. Anyone who dies in 2009 will not have to pay any estate tax, but in 2010, the tax jumps to 55%. Talk about a huge incentive for old people to shuffle off this mortal coil (not to mention their children to turn off their respirators).
Indeed, a study done in 2001 by two prominent universities found that older benefactors die in greater numbers just before estate tax hikes and just after estate tax cuts in statistically significant numbers.
This is not the only example of Republicans trying to throw seniors from the train. Social Security, which has contributed to a reduction in the senior suicide rate of 56% since 1930, is a favorite target of the GOP. If Bush had succeeded in privatizing Social Security, allowing seniors to gamble their retirement on the stock market, we can only guess what would have happened when the stock market crashed. Not only would suicide rates go up, but millions of seniors would not have been able to afford the necessities of life, such as food, medicine, and heating.
And then there is the GOP opposition to stem-cell research, which is one of most promising ways to fight diseases that kill and disable seniors, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. And seniors disproportionately die from air pollution — the EPA estimates that 23,000 lives a year could have been saved by the clean air legislation that the Republicans defeated in 2002.
So the next time you hear a Republican screaming about “death panels”, even though there is no such thing in any of the health reform legislation being proposed — you can smile knowingly, or — if you are feeling brave — point out to that person that they are the ones who are killing grandma.