On his Friday night “Real Time” program, liberal comedian Bill Maher seemed to channel Paul Ryan and find religion on entitlement spending.
Maher specifically challenged President Barack Obama’s suggestion during his Inauguration Day address that no tough choices on entitlements need to be made.
“[Obama] said, ‘We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built in country and investing in the generation that will build its future.’ … But we do need to ask, how much do we want to spend on each generation? Because right now the government spends $4 on every adult over 65 for every $1 they spend on someone under 18. And you know, the Republicans love to say we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. We really have an aging problem.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker said soaring medical expenses can be headed off with improved preventive care, but Maher was obstinate.
“I’m just saying America needs to have a conversation on what we want to spend our money on,” Maher said. “We spend an enormous amount of money on entitlements. Now, is this the best use of our money? … People pay about $150,000 — the average worker in their life — into health care, but they take out $350,000. This is unsustainable.”
Booker emphasized the importance of making Americans healthier by encouraging, for example, urban victory gardens like the ones he has helped establish in Newark. Booker also said food stamps should be usable at farmers’ markets.
“Get out of philosophy and get into what is going to make America healthy,” Booker told Maher. “What I’m tired of is these false choices [and] philosophical debates. Let’s talk about practically what we can to do to empower each other to succeed. When success happens, all of us succeed.”