Well, Representative Paul Ryan, (R) Wisconsin, the new darling of Conservative budget slashing advocates, has unveiled his specific proposals for totally revamping the federal budget to remove waste and eliminate the deficit. Sounds fair and reasonable, right?
It is a scam being foisted on the public that is purportedly a way out of the fiscal morass we are constantly told threatens to totally engulf our federal government.
If, as claimed, Ryan’s plan will lead to a balanced , responsible budget, then why does it INCREASE the federal debt for the next fifty years before finally eliminating it twenty years after that? Hell, anyone reading this will likely be dead by then.
Let me show you what I mean.
In a Feb. 24, 2011, column in the Washington Post, Matt Miller, a senior fellow with the liberal Center for American Progress, criticized Republican plans for the federal budget. Miller specifically took aim at a “roadmap” put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget Committee.
That is the lead-in to an article on Politifact analyzing Miller’s claim by vetting Ryan’s budget roadmap. Politifact uses what it terms its Truth-O-Meter as a scale to demonstrate its conclusions. Miller’s allegations were declared mostly true.
Here is the detailed explanation.
Further, Ryan offers a way out of high Medicare costs hamstringing the government. It’s a pretty simple solution. He would provide federal vouchers of up to $15,000 to Medicare eligible citizens to purchase individual health care policies on the open market. Well Whoopee.
That solution will serve no one except the insurance companies.
Two quick thoughts. One is that, other than studies from Conservative backed organizations or individuals it is generally accepted that Medicare applies only a small percentage of its expenditures to its administrative costs, And that percentage is a fraction of the percentage applied to insurance company expenditures.
The admittedly liberal columnist and ecomomist Paul Krugman addresses this notion, partly in response to one such study. He uses data from the Congressional Budget Office to refute claims that hidden medicare administrative costs actually bring this percentage much higher and greater than that of insurance companies.
My second point is far more personal.
I am Medicare covered. Although any changes proposed at this time will not take effect immediately and therefore won’t apply to me directly, based on my experience with that system and the way “reforms” will be structured, if they would apply to me, I would be plunged into abject poverty. And I ain’t a pretty sight right now, but still better off than many.
Those with more widespread and critical health problems than myself might end up spending practically all their income simply to stay alive but without the means to continue living.
In addition, under Ryan’s plan Medicaid would no longer be a shared responsibility of the federal and state governments. Instead, the federal government would issue block grants for the states to apportion as they determine.
It’s true that a block grant alone doesn’t constitute “reform” of Medicaid. But in tandem with reforms in health care delivery, especially efforts to move from fee-for-service to capitated “accountable care organizations,” a block grant could dampen inflationary pressures and protect taxpayers against the automatic and unsustainable growth of public health care spending.
That is from a piece Will Marshall, President and Founder of the Progressive Policy Institute wrote for the Huffington Post.
It seems to me that if the success of a block grant plan depends on reforms in health care delivery, shouldn’t those reforms be instituted first?
Remember Marshall, though a progressive, generally praises Ryan and his plan. Yet he also puzzlingly draws this conclusion:
In other words, it’s an unbalanced plan, morally and politically, that gives the Pentagon and the wealthy a pass, and concentrates the pain of deficit reduction on middle and low-income families.
And Marshall calls himself a progressive?
Now in his budget proposal Ryan also compounds the canard that by putting more money into the hands of the rich…by taxing them less of course…the vast unwashed remainder of us will benefit. It wasn’t true when Reagan claimed it, or when his Budget Director David Stockman claimed it and it wasn’t true when George W. Bush claimed it and then spent the final 7 years of his term proving it was a lie by having the worst job creation record of any President in history after his first round of tax cuts in 2001.
In this article on Slate.com David Weigel explores the burgeoning love affair with Paul Ryan, not only from the predictably smitten but by a coterie of folks who should know better.
Weigel points out the unprecedented attack on so-called entitlements that this budget represents.
But that was easy. Ryan’s budget proposal does go after entitlements in a way that no Democratic budget, and none of George W. Bush’s budgets, ever has. It’s not nearly as bold about attacking Republican shibboleths. Actually, it’s timid when it comes to all of that. At the morning presser, Ryan was asked why he incorporated so many of the take-your-medicine suggestions of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission but didn’t take their advice on tax increases. Ryan responded with a koan that was half zen and half Art Laffer.
“When you tax something more, you get less of it,” he said. “When you tax something less, you get more of it.”
That’s not true. Tax receipts nearly doubled during Bill Clinton’s presidency, when income and corporate taxes were raised to levels that no Republican wants to return to. They increased in the Bush years, but not as much as analysts—such as the ones at the Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis, which crunched Ryan’s numbers—had predicted. And Ryan proposes cuts in the top marginal income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.
This love affair with Ryan is much more a product of opportunity than it is “till death do us part” commitment. Why oh why are we falling for this charming pickup line when we know we won’t be respected in the morning?
Weigel essentially views it the same way. Here’s how he expresses it.
Two: Everybody thinks it’s in his or her best interest if Ryan’s budget proposal, and Ryan in particular, captivate Washington. It’s good for Republicans because they get to shift the Overton Window yet again—they’ve been doing quite a lot of this—and start a discussion about privatizing Medicare and turning Medicaid payments over to states in the form of block grants. In the space of a couple days, these have gone from the desks of AEI and Heritage researchers and onto, well, “Morning Joe.”
For those not familiar with “Overton Window” (which, admittedly I was not) the link will take you to a Wikipedia explication. But basically…the term comes from a Glenn Beck novel of all things…it means that in a particular political climate you will have the chance to successfully promote certain policies that may not be possible at another time.
I come right out and call Paul Ryan a fraud for his perpetration of an entire series of lies designed to deceive the public into believing he is offering solutions to legitimate concerns.
That is a standard definition of “Fraud” I got from Webster’s.
If the shoe fits…wear it. May we have your size, Mr. Ryan?