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FORTUNE: THE ECONOMY STINKS

settembre 2012 by:
Monopoly man broke

“Absent substantive changes, federal debt will soon rocket to levels no country can bear. By far the largest elements of unsustainable spending are Medicare and Social Security. If you get the right people in the room, you can solve Social Security in 15 minutes, says former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan; Medicare is a far tougher challenge. (…) The largest element of spending after social insurance is defense. Its budget can and should be cut. It is greater than the combined defense spending of the next 15 biggest defense spenders. In May the House of Representatives voted to give the Defense Department some $3 billion more than the $519 billion it requested for 2013. It’s time for Members to think less about directing pork to their districts and more about the nation’s future”.

Sono alcune valutazioni delle due principali firme di ‘Fortune’, Geoff Colvin e Allan Sloan, cui la rivista ha affidato il pezzo portante del proprio Speciale Elezione, titolo: “Hey, Washington: enough already”. Come si vede, nessun dubbio sulla patologia bellicista dell’America: “Defense budget can and should be cut”. Se la Camera  assegna più di quanto il Pentagono ha chiesto è perché i Rappresentanti pensano a ingrossare il ‘pork’ (=’Money, position or favors obtained from the government, as a result of political patronage’). In altre parole, commesse militari per essere rieletti. L’elettoralismo è il peccato mortale della democrazia rappresentativa.

Più scabrosa la soluzione dei due guru di ‘Fortune’ per Medicare:

“The biggest problem is the endgame -when people enter their final descent and are kept alive, expensively. So we would restrict the end-of-life care that Medicare will pay for. In 2006, the last year for which data are available, more than 25% of all Medicare spending went for people in their last year of life (only 5% of the covered population”). Insurance companies, hugely important players in our health care system, already heavily restrict the procedures they pay for. Taxpayers, collectively, should do the same”.

Ulteriore, non sentimentale ma apprezzabile chiarimento:

“We propose that if you want to use heroic measures to keep yourself or any other Medicare or Medicaid recipient alive, either you spend your own money or buy supplemental end-of-life policy from the market”. In aggiunta a tanta (logica) franchezza, Colvin & Sloan chiedono che la copertura sanitaria costi di più ai fumatori, agli obesi e agli assistiti a più alto reddito; e che l’età della pensione venga alzata.

In ultima analisi i due si dichiarano ottimisti:

“Major reforms happened under presidents Kennedy and Reagan; if our country gets a big enough scare, they could happen again. These things have their moments. As  the economy cries for help, just maybe the moment has arrived”.

Un anno fa uno dei due, Allan Sloan, chiamava “American Idiots” la classe politica “che stava distruggendo l’economia con l’accanimento delle posizioni”. Individuava il problema centrale nel “takeover of the economic debate by fanatics who are up to no good”. Questo un anno fa. Oggi ‘Fortune’ non si attende più propensione alle intese bipartisan: “If Obama is elected, he’s likely to stop making concessions to the GOP, and to force a confrontation”. Questo non porta necessariamente a prevedere sviluppi positivi dall’eventuale vittoria di Romney. Né peraltro ad anticipare vere accentuazioni destrorse a seguito dell’inserimento di Paul Ryan nel ticket repubblicano: “History tells us that vicepresidents are more about politics than policy”.

La copertina dell’Election Special di ‘Fortune’ reca due slogan speculari: ‘Don’t vote for Romney’ e ‘Don’t vote for Obama’.

J.J.J.