And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.
"Perhaps his raw, slightly unkempt suit balances out Romney’s snazzier, controlled appearance. Ryan’s Midwestern sensibilities and baggy pants may appeal to swing voters who think cuff links are wasteful expenditures. The man believes in trimming budgets, not pant legs."
— Katherine Boyledelivering what must be the finest non-Onion sourced political quotation ever written. The Washington Post, everyone. Cannot imagine why that’s an industry in bad decline. Just a tough environment out there for Serious People; it’s not the content at all. No way.
"Every year we get a slightly different version of the same old [Paul Ryan budget proposal], and every year we have to waste entire man-years of analysis in order to make the same exact points about it. And the biggest point is that his budget would force enormous, swinging cuts in virtually every domestic program, especially those for the poor. If this bothers Ryan, he’s had plenty of time to revise his budget roadmap to address it.
But he hasn’t. He knows perfectly well that his budget concentrates its cuts on the poorest Americans. It’s been pointed out hundreds of times, after all. If he found that troublesome he’d change it. Since he hasn’t, the only reasonable conclusion is that this is exactly what he intends. Let’s stop pretending otherwise."
— Kevin Drum and I are in agreement. Stop making excuses for Ryan. Stop calling him “serious” or “wonky.” He’s neither. He simply puts an unachievable yet comfortingly numerical face on the GOP broader policy goal. Namely, reduce taxes on rich to as close to zero as can be achieved in a single go-round. Then make a show of balancing this huge deficit driver by a) failing to name any substantive tax reforms and but also specify that you’re going to be relying on extensive, substantive tax reform —and— b) cutting all programs for the poor to the bone or entirely. Can’t have a safety “hammock” after all.
When this still fails to balance the budget, you are free to go after Medicare, which was the plan all along. While there, may as well functionally end Social Security; even though it’s not a deficit driver, you’ve got huge constituencies and the MSM convinced that it is so why the Hell not? Then you call it a day and can efficiently sand the gears against putting any of it back in place even if you find your party in the legislative minority for decades. Huzzah for democracy.
"On top of the terrible politics, they even admit that [Ryan/Wyden] dismantles Medicare but achieves no budgetary savings while doing so — the worst of all worlds. Thanks for nothing."
— A “Very Senior” Democratic Aide weighs in on the Ryan/Wyden “plan” to save Medicare by dismantling and replacing it with a system already shown to be at least 25% more costly. The problem here is that Serious People know that Medicare must be destroyed. The only thing they are more certain of is Social Security’s imminent end. Therefore, anyone favoring Medicare as it stands (or, gods save us, the atheistic but sharia-mandated nightmare that would be Medicare for All) is going to be fighting the GOP, some non-trivial number of Democrats, and the always totally objective, non-partisan MSM “referees” running this rotten discourse of ours.
So get ready. They’re coming for this. This is who they are. All the deficit whinging is merely prologue for a pitched fight to end every part of the already dwindling social safety net.
I’d also advise anyone who thinks voting doesn’t matter to go ahead and take the long position on stock in whatever company is going to clear the dead from the streets. Halliburton, presumably. Once your vote didn’t really matter because there’s no difference anyway, there’s going to be a lot of business in that particular sector.
Compare and contrast Jonathan Chait’s approach to Paul Ryan’s fantasyworld with dread Liberal Mouthpiece NPR’s view from nowhere approach in which Ryan is simply allowed to say whatever he wants, without challenge or even follow up of any kind.
Day by day, hour by hour, brick by brick NPR is building its own tomb. Once they’ve chased off all thinking individuals from their “coverage,” a defunding move by the GOP will be a non-event. NPR has vastly higher listenership than FOXnews and still, occasionally, reports facts. Therefore NPR must cease to exist. This is who they are. This is what they do. They want to destroy you, NPR, and you are going out of your way to help.
"If a bondholder misses a payment for a day or two or three or four — what is more important is you are putting the government in a materially better position to better pay its bills going forward."
— Paul Ryanbeing serious and courageous and, yet again, showing just how absolutely determined the GOP is at all levels, extreme far right or merely far right, to have a default on the debt of the United States. Why, we’ll barely notice it’s even happened.
It’s the only way they see getting the White House in 2012. It’s been the plan all along. They assume Obama will get the “egg on his face” and they’re probably right. Once in control it’s goodbye filibuster (assuming the Democrats lose the Senate), goodbye social safety net, and hello freedom is just as free as what of it you can afford to buy. After that, when the money’s gone: kindly go die in the streets.
But hey, taxes will be pretty low. On the already rich, anyway.
Paul Ryan, at the GOP meetup with Obama: Mr. President, the demagoguery only stops if the Leaders stop it. [GOP attendees give standing ovation]
Paul Ryan, immediately BEFORE said meeting: it’s Obamacare itself that ends Medicare as we know it. Obamacare takes half a trillion dollars from Medicare — not to make it more solvent but to spend on this other government program, Obamacare. And then it creates this 15 panel board of unelected, unaccountable, bureaucrats starting next year to price control and ration Medicare for current seniors.
Paul Ryan on Morning Joe: The president and his party have decided to shamelessly distort and demagogue Medicare
Paul Ryan, 2009: [the ACA will] take coverage away from seniors, [...] raise premiums for families, [... and] cost us nearly 5.5 million jobs. [... It's] a government takeover of healthcare [that will] lead to rationing [and a] European social welfare state.
Lemkin: Paul Ryan, serial liar and ruthless demagogue. And considered the Serious Adult of the GOP. A real policy wonk, that one...
"[The Republicans are being advised to spend] 2012 accusing the Democrats of sponsoring death panels. The Democrats will spend 2012 accusing Republicans of ending Medicare. Whichever party demagogues best wins."
— David Brooks, outdoing even his own unusually high standard for making exceedingly stupid statements. One of these is simply not like the other. “Death panels” have been fully, categorically, absolutely, and completely made up from whole cloth. Lies. The biggest lie of 2009, in fact.
The Ryan plan, on the other hand, demonstrably ends Medicare. It transforms the program over the course of ten years from a government-run, single payer system into a voucher-based private insurance steeplechase for Granny and Gramps. If they can’t make the difference between the voucher payment and the cost of coverage, then they can go die in the streets. Yes, David, a program called Medicare will still exist, and I know it’s terribly hard for you to square that circle inside that mind of yours, but it’s clear to a four year old that that Medicare, the one described in the preceding paragraph, will be nothing like the Medicare we have today.
Furthermore, that David Brooks feels confident pitching this sort of brazen false equivalency from his airy perch at the nation’s finest newspaper is a big indication of just how punishingly stupid our discourse is. Is there an editor in the house? George Will routinely spouting horseshit at the Washington Post is one thing; you’d think the Times still has a standard or two.
Can we be clear about that budget problem? It’s driven not by Medicare. It’s driven by the same relentlessly soaring health-care costs that are pushing premiums through the roof and causing middle-class families to shell out more and more money for deductibles and co-payments.
Some features of Obama’s new healthcare law will slow the rise — insurance exchanges, for example, could give consumers clearer comparative information about what they’re getting for their insurance payments — but the law doesn’t go nearly far enough.
That’s why Democrats should be saying this: We need to allow anyone to sign up for Medicare. Medicare is cheaper than private insurance because its administrative costs are so much lower, and it has vast economies of scale.
If Medicare were allowed to use its potential bargaining leverage over America’s hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and medical providers, it could drive down costs even further.
And it could force the nation’s broken health-care system to do something it must do but has resisted with a vengeance: Focus on healthy outcomes rather on costly inputs. If Medicare paid for results — not tests, procedures, drugs, and hospital stays, but results — it could give Americans better health at lower cost.
Emphasis added to point out that this is exactly what Democrats need to be saying. The steadily rising cost of Medicare is only indicative of the problem, it is not the problem. Never was, never will be. Paul Ryan wants to “solve” the issue by simply setting an amount that the government will pay and then telling anyone who can’t meet the difference to kindly go die in the streets.
Democrats, on the other hand, want to solve the problem by solving the problem. And how does the GOP respond? By trying to undo the ACA and any other cost-containment measure. By trying to end Medicare. And, of course, by redirecting the money harvested from the end of Medicare to the richest of the rich. Who so desperately need it.
The Medicare Trustees put the projected shortfall at 0.79 percent of payroll, which is approximately 0.27 percent of GDP over the program’s 75-year planning horizon. By comparison, the increase in annual spending on the military between 2000 and 2011 was more than 1.6 percentage points of GDP. This increase in spending did not cause serious harm to the economy, therefore increased spending of one-fifth this size will presumably not be a major problem.
"Today’s seniors and near-seniors spent much of their working lives in that postwar world, with their incomes rising, investments gaining, their health increasingly secure, and their retirements predictable. Everyone 55 and younger spent his or her entire working life in an economy where all those trends had stalled or reversed […] The Ryan plan, in other words, delivers to the older generation exactly what they’ve had all their lives — secure and predictable benefits — and to the next generation, more of what they’ve known — insecurity and risk."
— Mark Schmitt, writing for The New Republic.
Yep. This sort of “I’ve got mine, time to raise the ladder” thinking pretty much defines the modern GOP. No surprise it’s also trending their mean voter age higher and higher and higher. Sustainable!