A voucher program is not “premium support” no matter what type of spin Ryan gives as it relates to his program. This to me is a classic example of Republicans saying they are benevolent while only holding dear the causes of their corporate masters. What they should be offering to do is stopping the corporate welfare that they endorse through tax cuts for the rich and bailouts for the financial industry and subsidies for big oil and other powerful lobby interests. Why is it that the Republican plans only discuss monies that will help regular people while they ignore putting any additional burden on their corporate benefactors? Its ideological. And I, for one, will not lend it any credence.
Some commenters have asked a good question, albeit in a belligerent tone: how does the Ryan plan differ from the Affordable Care Act? After all, in both plans people are supposed to buy coverage from private insurers, with a subsidy from the government.
Well, the answer is that the ACA is specifically designed to ensure that insurance is affordable, whereas Ryancare just hands out vouchers and washes its hands. Specifically, the ACA subsidy system (pdf) sets a maximum percentage of income that families are expected to pay for insurance, on a sliding scale that rises with income. To the extent that the actual cost of a minimum acceptable policy exceeds that percentage of income, subsidies make up the difference.
Ryancare, by contrast, provides a fixed sum — end of story. And because this fixed sum would not grow with rising health care costs, it’s almost guaranteed to fall far short of the actual cost of insurance.
This is also why Ryancare is NOT premium support; it’s a voucher system. No matter how much they say it isn’t, that’s exactly what it is. -Paul Krugman
So much for the notion of “the liberal media”. If the media was really slanted left, wouldn’t this plan be getting considerable coverage and discussion…? Isn’t this the plan that is supported by the majority of the American people as viewed through recent polling. Is the Medicaid & Medicare destroying, tax cut for the wealthy and corporate elites, budget plan put forth by Paul Ryan and the Republicans a true reflection of American priorities? I think not…
Watch the clip and let me know what you think…
- Paul Ryan’s Defense of Tax Breaks For Wealthy Brings Him Boos (themoderatevoice.com)
- The threat to today’s seniors in the Republican Medicare/Medicaid plan (dailykos.com)
- “[We’ll] see if Republican senators like the Ryan budget as much as their House colleagues did.” (shortformblog.tumblr.com)
- Republicans Running for Cover After Budget Vote to End Medicare (news.firedoglake.com)
- Home for Easter, GOP faces backlash over budget plan – Pioneer Press (news.google.com)
Maddow illustrates how the Paul Ryan budget (and tax cuts for the wealthy in general) actually transfers money from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and more politically powerful and connected. In other words…Reaganomics or so-called “trickle-down” economics does not add wealth downward. It sucks wealth upward. You do the math…
- Rachel Maddow Celebrates Obama’s Budget Deficit Speech: A Victory For Math (mediaite.com)
- Bill Maher Tells Rachel Maddow: Paul Ryan’s Budget Is A “Fantasy” (businessinsider.com)
- Rachel Maddow Tears Into Beltway Media For Paul Ryan Budget Coverage (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama Hits an Easy One, Rachel Maddow Cheers (my.firedoglake.com)
- From Rachel Maddow Blog – The Shiny GOP future that wasn’t (newomenforchange.wordpress.com)
I hope the President, today, starts over on the left with his budget proposal…and end up somewhere around Bowles-Simpson… As opposed to starting with Bowles-Simpson and ending up somewhere on the far right’s territory. Once again we have come down to the issue of negotiating for the President. Ask for it all and then give a little. First confront…then compromise…
There are now four budget positions on the table. Far to the right is Paul Ryan’s plan, an artless war on the poor that would take a meat-cleaver to Medicaid (health care for the poor), food stamps, support for child care, the environment, and the rest of government other than the military, Social Security, and Medicare (that is, until 2022, when the slashing would begin on Medicare coverage as well). Ryan would keep taxes below 20 percent of GDP (specifically, 19.9 percent of GDP in 2021), at the cost of destroying entitlements programs and other civilian spending.
Then there is President Obama’s budget, which is really a muddled proposal in the center-right of the political spectrum. It would keep most of the Reagan-era and Bush-era tax cuts in place. Like the Ryan proposal, Obama’s tax proposals would keep total taxes at around 20 percent of GDP. The result is a major long-term squeeze on vital programs such as community development, infrastructure, and job training. Also, Obama’s plan never closes the budget deficit, which remains as high as 3.1% of GDP in 2021.
In the progressive middle is the People’s Budget. Like Ryan’s plan, the People’s Budget would cut the budget deficit to zero by 2021, but would do so in an efficient and fair way. It would close the budget deficit by raising tax rates on the rich and giant corporations, while also curbing military spending and wrestling health care costs under control, partly by introducing a public option. By raising tax revenues to 22.3 percent of GDP by 2021, the People’s Budget closes the budget deficit while protecting the poor and promoting needed investments in education, health care, roads, power, energy, and the environment in order to raise America’s long-term competitiveness. The People’s Budget thereby achieves what Ryan and Obama do not: the combination of fairness, efficiency, and budget balance.
The fourth position is the public’s position. The Republicans often say that they want Congress to respect the voice of the people. The voice of the people is crystal clear. In one opinion survey after the next, the public says that the rich and the corporations should pay more taxes. The public says that we should tamp down runaway health care costs through a public option, one that would introduce competition to drive down bloated private health insurance costs. The public says that we should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and reduce Pentagon spending. (Just yesterday, Defense Secretary Gates let loose the predictable Pentagon canard that we should stay in Iraq if the Iraqi government asks for it. Better yet, we should respond to what the American people are asking for: to bring our troops home).
The fact is that the People’s Budget is the public’s position. That’s why it is truly a centrist initiative, at the broad center of the U.S. political spectrum. Ryan reflects the wishes of the rich and the far right. Obama’s position reflects the muddle of a White House that wavers between its true values and the demands of the wealthy campaign contributors and lobbyists that Obama courts for his re-election. Many Democrats in Congress have also gone along with the falsehood that deficit cutting means slashing spending on the poor and on civilian discretionary programs, rather than raising taxes on the rich, cutting military spending, and taking on the over-priced private health insurance industry. Only the People’s Budget speaks to the broad needs and values of the American people. – Jeffrey Sachs
- Jeffrey Sachs: The People’s Budget (huffingtonpost.com)
- The People’s Budget (themoderatevoice.com)
- Here’s a Real Democratic Budget that Serves the Interests of the American People (alternet.org)
- The only real Democratic budget (thehill.com)
I agree with the sentiments here, and have for quite a while now. Any time I hear anyone explaining the joys they feel when they implement their “false equivalency”, the idea that they are somehow “post-partisan” because they proclaim to listen to both sides of the political arguments and see the points of both sides but also seem unwilling to stake a position, I will question their political aptitude. Politics does not work when one occupies the mythical center of what Mark Thompson (Make it Plain XM 167 5-8pm weekdays) calls “chaotic neutral”. Even those who consider themselves in the center have beliefs and convictions. To see some kind of virtue in being in the “center” on all issues is politically lazy, functionally unrealistic and disingenuous. And when a budget is released like the one proposed by Paul Ryan and the GOP, staying in the middle seems untenable…
Political moderates and on-the-fencers have had it easy up to now on budget issues. They could condemn “both sides,” and insist on the need for “courage” in tackling the deficit.
Thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and the Republicans’ maximalist stance in negotiations to avert a government shutdown, the days of straddling are over.
Ryan’s truly outrageous proposal, built on heaping sacrifice onto the poor, slashing scholarship aid to college students and bestowing benefits on the rich, ought to force middle-of-the-roaders to take sides. No one who is even remotely moderate can possibly support what Ryan has in mind.
And please, let’s dispense with the idea that Ryan is courageous in offering his design. There is nothing courageous about asking for givebacks from the least advantaged and least powerful in our society. It takes no guts to demand a lot from groups that have little to give, and tend to vote against your party anyway.
And there is nothing daring about a conservative Republican delivering yet more benefits to the wealthiest people in our society, the sort who privately finance the big ad campaigns to elect conservatives to Congress. – E.J. Dionne
- E.J. Dionne Impressed By Tea Party: They Made Budget Cutting ‘As Fashionable As Justin Bieber’ (mediaite.com)
- The Tea Party is trumping all… (bruceturnerjr5.wordpress.com)
- E.j. Dionne Jr. (sfgate.com)
- The budget fight is on (brobrubel.wordpress.com)
- The Right’s War on Moderation (themoderatevoice.com)
- Rep. Paul Ryan’s Wall Street Protection Act (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- What’s Ideological About Wanting the Government to Give Money to Rich People? (businessinsider.com)
The answer is….not very brave at all.
To be sure, Paul Ryan is brave.
That’s the widespread moderate reaction to Ryan’s budget-slashing budget. He might be a monster, a bizarro class warrior, a heartless, draconian reverse-Robin Hood robber of the the American family. But how brave to put all that nasty stuff on paper!
Washington’s badge of courage for Ryan is an awkward honor. His ideas are widely reviled among moderate think tanks and Washington offices. Reducing Medicare by capping payments to seniors is one part reform and three parts politically-unacceptable rationing. It is, as my colleague Graeme Wood once said, a bit like trying to lose weight by binging on doughnuts while wearing a tight corset.
Ryan’s enthusiasm for slashing Medicare is shared by only 4 percent of the public. Four percent. The United States has eight times more ghost-believers than wannabe-Medicare-cutters. This is absurd, but it’s also refreshing. There is something redeeming about politicians sailing by their own values rather than tacking to adjust for every gust of public polling.
But where was this applause in November, when Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the most liberal member of the president deficit commission, proposed an equally bold proposal to fix out budget. She reformed Social Security exclusively with tax increases on people making more than $106,000. She cut spending but found 90 percent of the fat in defense. Then she killed $130 billion in tax benefits for companies without lowering their rate, leaving us with perhaps the highest effective corporate tax rate in the developed world. In all, her plan was 90 percent higher taxes and defense cuts. Ninety percent.
Calling for an historically high tax increase for the rich and corporate America is just as bold and courageous on the merits as a call for the end of Medicare and Medicaid, isn’t it? Why are Ryan’s ideas greeted with a hero’s welcome, even among moderates who disagree, while Schakowsky’s ideas were written off as boilerplate liberalism outside the lefty blogosphere?
- Paul Ryan, Coward? (swampland.blogs.time.com)
- Profiles in Cowardice: How the Beltway Punditocracy Gets Paul Ryan’s Plan Totally Wrong (time.com)
- KRUGMAN: Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan Is Ludicrous And Cruel (businessinsider.com)
- Krugman: The Paul Ryan $2.9 trillion tax cut will increase the deficit and transfer income upward (americablog.com)