HNN Staff
EDITORIAL: Manchin Must Be Up Front With State's Seniors About CAP Act

Junior U.S. Senator Joe Manchin hit the six month mark in his new job, with a conference call with several reporters from across the state. During that call, Manchin was asked about his support for a bill known as the "CAP Act," one which could make significant cuts in favorite federal programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Manchin favors the bill, but senior U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller does not.  The Charleston Gazette's Paul Nyden explains the bill and its potentially challenging aspects for defenders of such federal programs:

The CAP Act would limit spending as a percentage of the gross domestic product to 20.6 percent. Today, federal spending is 24.7 percent of the GDP. Several analysts have said such spending limits would result in deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, but Manchin says that's not so.

In the Gazette story, that's all we get from Senator Manchin.  No backup, no arguments to further defend the Cap Act.  Manchin appears to be telling the state's senior citizens that they should just trust him on this one despite all the others like Rockefeller, the majority of Democratic U.S. Senators, and many analysts who see what seems obvious, namely that any four percent reduction in federal spending will necessarily include some cuts in entitlements.

Manchin may find to his peril that the state's seniors--arguably the most powerful voting bloc in West Virginia--are better informed on this piece of legislation than he imagines they are.   Senior citizens not only vote in large numbers but take time to study the pieces of legislation that affect them directly. 

Why can't Manchin just shoot straight and explain this bill's potential effects on Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security? Perhaps the cuts to such programs would be minimal and would even help sustain the programs in the long haul. Manchin appears to be either too devious to tell the truth about the CAP Act or simply doesn't know beans about the legislation.

Because let's get serious for a moment:  whom do you think most seniors in West Virginia are going to think has the right read on this piece of legislation?  The junior U.S. Senator from West Virginia?  Or analysts who study these bills for a living.

Manchin's most notable flaw as a politician is his failure to take his constituents seriously.  This is the path taken by every politican kicked out of office. They imagine that they can finesse issues instead of explaining their votes. They believe their charm is sufficient to handle any outrage or other concern.

Senator Manchin should get ready for an earful from the seniors around West Virginia who study these issues with great discernment.  When it's their health and basic retirement benefits on the line, they are within their rights to get some straight talk from their elected representatives--not patronizing pablum that one would feed to an infant.