Jonathan Chait: “Let’s first imagine that, on January 20, Romney takes the oath of office. Of the many secret post-victory plans floating around in the inner circles of the campaigns, the least secret is Romney’s intention to implement Paul Ryan’s budget. The Ryan budget has come to be almost synonymous with the Republican Party agenda, and Romney has embraced it with only slight variations. It would repeal Obamacare, cut income-tax rates, turn Medicare for people under 55 years old into subsidized private insurance, increase defense spending, and cut domestic spending, with especially large cuts for Medicaid, food stamps, and other programs targeted to the very poor.
“Few voters understand just how rapidly Romney could achieve this, rewriting the American social compact in one swift stroke. Ryan’s plan has never attracted Democratic support, but it is not designed for bipartisanship. Ryan deliberately built it to circumvent a Senate filibuster, stocking the plan with budget legislation that is allowed, under Senate “budget reconciliation” procedures, to pass with a simple majority. Republicans have been planning the mechanics of the vote for many months, and Republican insiders expect Romney to use reconciliation to pass the bill. Republicans would still need to control 50 votes in the Senate (Ryan, as vice-president, would cast the tiebreaking vote), but if Romney wins the presidency, he’ll likely precipitate a partywide tail wind that would extend to the GOP’s Senate slate.”
Forbes: “A new study out today by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation confirms what many have been saying for a very long time—the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan would result in six out of ten seniors paying substantially more for the same Medicare benefits they receive today.
“The premium support approach to Medicare involves the government providing seniors with a set amount of money each year—pegged to the second lowest priced private health care plan available—in an effort to turn over health care for seniors to the private insurance market. While proponents of the approach believe that this will generate more competition in health care, make seniors more responsible for how they spend their health care dollars and result in less spending on seniors by the federal government, critics have argued that the sum of money the government would pay would be insufficient to cover the rising costs of health care, leaving seniors exposed to having to pay an ever growing portion of their health insurance coverage. The Kaiser report backs up the critics.”
Joe Biden, during last night’s debate: “Folks, follow your instincts. With regard to Social Security, we will not privatize it. If you listened to Mitt Romney and the Congressmen, during the Bush years, imagine where all of those seniors would be now if the money had been in the market. Their ideas are old, and their ideas are bad, and eliminate the guarantee of Medicare.”
Think Progress: “On Friday afternoon, Paul Ryan addressed the AARP’s National Annual Conference in New Orleans. The GOP vice presidential candidate attacked Obamacare for taking $716 billion out of Medicare — the very same cuts he included in his budget — and made the case for transforming seniors’ health care from a guaranteed benefit into a premium support “voucher” program.
“The address didn’t go over well. Audience members called Ryan a “liar,” told him to “go home” and the repeatedly booed his critique of President Obama and health reform.”
He called the loud booing a “mixed reaction.” haha.
This is heart-warming for a couple of reasons. First, Ryan deserves to be booed endlessly — from the moment he steps out the door in the morning until he inserts earplugs at night, so he can sleep over all the booing from people in the street. And secondly, did AARP members suddenly stop watching Fox “news”? Good on them. I am relieved and happy that people are actually paying attention.
Benjy Sarlin at TPM explains how the budget math between Romney and Ryan is getting so twisted, that now Ryan says they won’t even discuss how they’d balance the budget before the election!
Ryan’s choice was intended to bolster Romney’s promise to cut spending. In a bizarre twist, however, the only concrete policy change since Ryan joined the ticket has been a new promise to reverse $716 billion of Medicare savings enacted under the Affordable Care Act, complicating an already fantastical promise by Romney to balance the budget within eight years.
[...] As for his long-term Medicare plan, Romney is even less clear. He disavowed Ryan’s 2010 proposal to privatize the program and dramatically cut seniors’ benefits over time to bring down the deficit. But once again, he’s refused to fill in the details as to how many savings he’d achieve with his own partial-privatization plan, making it impossible to judge its impact. [...] As the independent Tax Policy Center noted in a study last month, Romney’s promise to cut income tax rates by 20 percent across the board by eliminating tax deductions for the rich simply does not add up. Even under the most charitable estimates, the study concluded Romney’s approach would raise taxes for 95 percent of Americans on average while slashing them for the wealthiest Americans.
Romney called the study “garbage” Tuesday, but his new running mate confirmed this week that they would not release any more information before the election as to how they would pay for their plan instead. “That is something that we think we should do in the light of day, through Congress,” Ryan told FOX News. Continue…
Maybe Mitt will pledge to release his tax returns after the election too. Why not? He’s not going to talk about specifics of his budget until then. Romney wants everything he’s done or stood for off limits or he whines that Obama is engaging in “gutter politics.” Why discuss anything else at this point? This is quite the impressive team you have there, GOP.
That didn’t take long.
“Ryan has received strong criticism for his plan to transform Medicare into a voucher system. Trying to deflect the attacks on Ryan’s plan, Fox contributor Angela McGlowan claimed that the Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) cuts hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare.
“In fact, the savings the ACA makes to the Medicare program would not cause a decline in quality of care under Medicare, and Ryan has proposed identical savings. But Ryan’s plan goes much further, ending Medicare as we know it by transforming it into a voucher plan.”
Robert Reich adds: “Stumping in Florida today, Mitt Romney charged President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will “cut more than $700 billion” out of Medicare.
“What Romney didn’t say was that his running-mate’s budget — approved by House Republicans and by Romney himself — would cut Medicare by the same amount.
“The big difference, though, is the Affordable Care Act achieves these savings by reducing Medicare payments to drug companies, hospitals, and other providers rather than cutting payments to Medicare beneficiaries.
“The Romney-Ryan plan, by contrast, achieves its savings by turning Medicare into a voucher whose value doesn’t keep up with expected increases in healthcare costs — thereby shifting the burden onto Medicare beneficiaries, who will have to pay an average of $6,500 a year more for their Medicare insurance, according the original analysis of the Republican plan by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office...”
From 2011: “As Congressman Paul Ryan cracked a joke about him, Tom Nielsen found himself face down on the floor being handcuffed by police. The 71-year-old retired plumber from Kenosha was thrown to the ground, placed in handcuffs, and arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest after objecting to Ryan’s plans to gut Social Security and Medicare during his congressman’s only public appearance scheduled during the August recess — a $15 Rotary Club luncheon in West Allis on Tuesday. Nielsen repeatedly told police that he wasn’t fighting them and that he didn’t want to make any trouble. He also told them several times that he had a broken shoulder. Police officers ignored his comments as they wrestled him to the ground despite his howls of pain.”
Ryan: Most of our debt in the future comes from our entitlement programs.
Senior: Hey, what is this entitlement program all about mister congressman? I paid into that for 50 years. My unemployment, and my Social Security, and my Medicare. And now you’re gonna…
Ryan: I hope he’s taking his blood pressure medication.
Bob Cesca: Get it? He’s old and cranky! I hope he’s taking his medication!* (*The medication I want to deny him with my Vouchercare program.)
Welcome to the Republican States of America.
The Huffington Post reminds us that Paul Ryan tried to re-brand his idea for “privatizing” Social Security with the more positive-sounding ”personal retirement accounts”:
“Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his running mate has already reignited the debate over the future of Medicare. Ryan has proposed ending the guaranteed benefit and instead giving individuals vouchers to pay for private insurance, which Ryan refers to as “premium support.”
“Ryan, in a March 2005 interview on C-SPAN, described his Social Security plan in detail. His bill would have allowed people under 55 to divert roughly half of their payroll taxes away from the traditional program and into a private account “owned” by the individual but managed by Social Security, and invested in stocks and bonds. But that plan did not cut any benefits, but brought such an astronomical price tag that the Bush administration called it “irresponsible.” [...] Ryan said his plan would work to guard against wild swings in the stock market by moving people out of stocks and into government bonds as they approached retirement. ”
It’s interesting that Paul Ryan has already collected and benefited from SS survivor benefits, so what he’s proposing is like saying, ‘I got mine but you’ll have to get yours another way.’ If you collect SS now and approve of Ryan’s “plan,” you’re basically saying the same thing to your children and grandchildren, and that’s pure Ayn Rand “Objectivism“, which Ryan believes in.
There was a time when the Republican Party wasn’t swarming with anti-government fanatics and zealots, when its members cared about average Americans, and thought government could be a positive foundation for the common good:
"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are... a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
--- from a letter President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote to his brother Edgar on November 8, 1954.