WASHINGTON — For an example of the sort of deficit-reduction measure that is evoking hoots and howls and cries of phony spending cuts from conservatives, it is hard to top the "orthopedic shoe" provision.
Under the provision, which is expected to be included in pending legislation to shrink the deficit, the federal government would buy orthopedic shoes for Medicare recipients who have circulatory problems in their feet caused by diabetes.
Proponents claim that by buying the $300-a-pair shoes, the government would save $25 million in the current fiscal year. How? Simple: Thanks to the shoes, the government would have to finance fewer expensive foot amputations for elderly diabetics.