Secular Talk: Donald Trump Makes Up Numbers on Medicare, Republicans Fail to Tackle Him on Real Issues

In this piece from Secular Talk, Kyle Kulinski discusses how Trump was caught out making up the numbers for the amount the American government spends on drugs for the Medicare programme during the Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Trump claimed that because the Medicare administrators were forbidden to negotiate over the prices with the drug companies, the government was paying vastly exorbitant prices for the drugs. He claimed that once this restriction was lifted, about $300 billion could be cut from the budget. Chris Wallace, the debate moderator, pointed out that in fact the government only spent $78 billion on Medicare.

Kulinski points out that Wallace is correct to show how Trump is making up the figures, but states that this attack on Trump is misdirected. Trump is actually right. The American government is forbidden from negotiating with the drug companies over the costs of pharmaceuticals, with the result that the American tax-payer does pay too much for drugs. So the average voter will still be impressed with the general point Trump’s making. Just like they are when Trump says he’ll stop the corporations from going abroad, and keep jobs in America. Average American voters will support this, and they won’t be impressed with the policy’s dismissal by rival candidates like Ted Cruz, who sneer at it for not being serious. Just like they have a sneering attitude to spending money on Medicare on the pretext that the government must balance the budget, and so the poor must do without, and starve. He points out that it’s the same when Trump says he’ll spend more on American infrastructure. It’s a popular policy with ordinary voters, but not with the rest of the Republicans, so they lose to him here.

Trump’s rivals in the Republican party choose to attack him on the weakest points, because they secretly agree with his core policies, horrendous as they are. They like the idea of Torturing terrorist suspects, and deporting millions of immigrants. They like the idea of banning Muslims from the US. And so they mount only weak attacks on what are actually his strongest policies, like saving money by buying drugs cheaply. And the result is that Trump storms past them in the polls.

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