The rumbling started weeks ago when the GOP rats started abandoning the ship of state known as congress (How many now? 40?), so there was no surprise when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced that he was going over the side rather than endure the embarrassment of having to hand over the gavel …
Tag: paul ryan
The Republicans, led by former and future House Speakers John “Orange Man” Boehner (R-OH) and Paul “Zombie Eyed Granny Starver” Ryan (R-WI), pushed to fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement because who doesn’t love free trade. Now that the secret negotiations are over and the the full text is now available, the love affair …
Why Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) decided to release his latest budget proposal on April 1 will most likely not be answered except with some guffaws. Calling it the Path to Prosperity is another joke, or prank if it even gets to the House floor for a vote. It’s more like the Road to Ruin except for the 1%. His proposal cuts government spending over the next 10 years to the tune of $5.1 trillion dollars mostly on the backs of the middle class but mostly the poor. It will increase military spending:
In his plan, military spending through 2024 would actually rise by $483 billion over the spending caps established in the 2011 Budget Control Act “consistent with America’s military goals and strategies,” while nondefense spending at Congress’s annual discretion would be cut by $791 billion below those strict limits.
In all, Mr. Ryan says, spending would be cut by $5.1 trillion over the next decade. More than $2 trillion of that would come from repealing Mr. Obama’s health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, a political move that has become much more difficult with the closing of the first enrollment period. As many as 10 million Americans have gotten health insurance through the law, either through private policies purchased on insurance exchanges, through expanded Medicaid or private policies purchased through brokers but subsidized by the law.
As with past budget proposals, Mr. Ryan seeks to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, then turn the health care program for the poor into block grants to the states – saving $732 billion over the decade. He would also cap and block-grant food stamps, starting in 2020, cutting that program by $125 billion in five years. The budget relies on imposing new work requirements on food stamp and welfare recipients.
Some of the headlines from The Hill tell most of the story for the rest of Ryan’s fantasies:
The new Republican budget will adopt cuts to Medicare under Obamacare that the party is attacking Democrats for ahead of the 2014 congressional elections.
And it won’t include cuts to Social Security that Republicans bashed President Barack Obama for omitting from his budget proposal just six weeks ago.
The blueprint, to be unveiled Tuesday by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), will shine a light on stark contradictions in the GOP’s stance on these two programs. Slashing the retirement safety net is an overarching goal for wealthy donors and party elites, but their elderly voting base strongly opposes any cuts. While Republicans warn of a looming debt crisis if Medicare and Social Security aren’t scaled back, they’re knocking Democrats for Obamacare’s $700 billion in Medicare payment cuts to hospitals, private insurers and other providers.
A difference between this budget fantasy and Ryan’s other dreams is that it was scored by the Congressional Budget Office before its release. At FDL Action, Jon Walker points out another problem, it won’t achieve what the GOP says it wants, eliminating the deficit and a balanced budget:
The problem is that the CBO has recently downgrade its revenue projections making it harder for Ryan to meet his goal of eliminating the deficit in 10 years. If the deficit was really a top priority for Republicans they could have made the tough decision to raise taxes or put forward even more cuts spending. Instead they decided to basically cheat to get a better CBO score. [..]
This budget is a purely statement of principle by Republicans since it has no chance of becoming law or even being the starting point for a negotiation. In this statement of principle Republicans had to choose between a real plan to balance the budget or their other priorities like tax policy and defense spending. By going this route they made it clear the national debt is at best a second tier concern for them. [..]
Republicans have repeatedly had to the chance to choose between reducing the deficit and keeping taxes low for rich people and once again they proved they will pick rich people every time.
Ryan would like everyone to think he’s serious. The truth is that the is just a very bad running April Fool’s joke.
Like the tale of the three bears, the congressional budget battle has three budget proposals one from the House Republicans penned by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chair of the House Budget Committee; another from the Senate Democrats that was worked out by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), chair of the Senate Budget Committee; and a third called the “Back to Work” budget presented by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Each one has is proponents and opponents and, like that bear tale, it has one that’s too hard, one that’s too soft and one that’s just right.
Paul Ryan’s budget, which is getting the most press, the most negative reaction and is “dead on arrival” so to speak, is a rehash of his last two budgets only worse. The proposal would slash Medicare, Medicaid and repeals Obamacare, which even Fox News host Chris Wallace acknowledges, isn’t happening. It proposes balancing the federal budget with the usual draconian cuts to all non-defense spending and reduction of the already smaller federal work force by another 10%. The Ryan proposal would slash $4.6 trillion over 10 years. The budget plan includes no cuts in Social Security. Pres. Obama has suggested changing an inflation measurement to cut more than $100 billion from the program, which makes no sense since Social Security does not contribute to the debt or the deficit.
The there is the Senate Budget proposal which the Republican leadership insisted the Democrats produce even though, constitutionally, all budget and spending bills must originate in the House. That budget would seek $975 billion in spending reductions over the next 10 years as well as $975 billion in new tax revenue, which Sen. Murray said would be raised by “closing loopholes and cutting unfair spending in the tax code for those who need it the least.” It includes a $100 billion in spending on infrastructure repair and educational improvements and the creation of a public-private infrastructure bank.
Then there is that third budget proposal from the House Progressive Caucus that is just right balance of spending, revenue increases and spending cuts. The basic plan is the put Americans back to work, by as Ezra Klein explains fixing the jobs crisis:
It begins with a stimulus program that makes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act look tepid: $2.1 trillion in stimulus and investment from 2013-2015, including a $425 billion infrastructure program, a $340 billion middle-class tax cut, a $450 billion public-works initiative, and $179 billion in state and local aid. [..]
Investment on this scale will add trillions to the deficit. But the House Progressives have an answer for that: Higher taxes. About $4.2 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade, to be exact. The revenues come from raising marginal tax rates on high-income individuals and corporations, but also from closing a raft of deductions as well as adding a financial transactions tax and a carbon tax. They also set up a slew of super-high tax rates for the very rich, including a top rate of 49 percent on incomes over $1 billion.
But to the House Progressives, these taxes aren’t just about reducing the deficit – though they do set debt-to-GDP on a declining path. They’re also about reducing inequality and cutting carbon emissions and slowing down the financial sector. They’re not just raising revenues, but trying to solve other problems. But they might create other problems, too. Adding this many taxes to the economy all at once is likely to slow economic growth.
As for the spending side, there’s more than $900 billion in defense cuts, as well as a public option that can bargain down prices alongside Medicare. But this budget isn’t about cutting spending. Indeed, the House Progressives add far more spending than they cut.
On Sunday’s Up w/ Chris Hayes, host Chris Hayes discussed the various budget proposals released by Republicans and Democrats in Congress this week with his guests Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Sam Seder, host of The Majority Report, co-host of Ring of Fire; and Heidi Moore, economics and finance editor for The Guardian newspaper.
The Romney/Ryan tax plan is not serious. As Matt Taibbi, contributing editor of Rolling Stone, points out, we should all be rolling our eyes and laughing at this farcical plan. He also takes the mainstream media to task for not being offended by the dishonest tactics and lies that the Republican candidates are using to bamboozle the electorate into handing these two frat boys the White House.
I’ve never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night’s debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden’s dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms. [..]
The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn’t even a real platform, it’s a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill. [..]
Think about what that means. Mitt Romney is running for president – for president! – promising an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without offering any details about how that’s going to be paid for. Forget being battered by the press, he and his little sidekick Ryan should both be tossed off the playing field for even trying something like that. This race for the White House, this isn’t some frat prank. This is serious. This is for grownups, for God’s sake. [..]
Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can’t report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit. [..]
The proper way to report such a tactic is to bring to your coverage exactly the feeling that Biden brought to the debate last night: contempt and amazement. We in the press should be offended by what Romney and Ryan are doing – we should take professional offense that any politician would try to whisk such a gigantic lie past us to our audiences, and we should take patriotic offense that anyone is trying to seize the White House using such transparently childish and dishonest tactics.
Like Taibbi, I am no fan of the Obama/Biden administration, but this campaign by the Republican candidates is a bad joke being played out with the blessings of the traditional MSM. It’s time to get answers. This is serious business.
Searching high . . .
Tampa expected 15,000 protesters for the Republican National Convention. So far, the city has seen no more than “a couple thousand,” Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor told reporters this morning. “There aren’t nearly the number of demonstrators we expected,” Castor said. One reason could be Hurricane Isaac, which forced some bus companies to cancel planned charters of protesters into Tampa Bay..
Searching low . . .
How little impact are the protests at the Republican convention making? Well, let’s put it this way, yesterday the Tampa chief of police cancelled a scheduled afternoon press conference because there wasn’t enough to report. The Examiner reported Monday that the crowds were sparse at the protests and they haven’t gotten any larger since then. Reportedly, the largest crowd at any protest was 300 people at one at Ybor City, which is about three miles from the convention center.
There were several protests Wednesday, but none of them were what city officials had feared. The largest was sponsored by Planned Parenthood at Julian Lane Park about a mile north of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. It featured speeches and chants like ” Ho ho, hey hey, Planned Parenthood is here to stay.”
At midday, there was a protest at speech featuring former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. During the speech when Rice was talking about the compassionate Bush administration, a Code Pink protester, former Army Colonel Ann Wright, stood up and said, “You can’t be compassionate and kill people!” However, no one was arrested and for the most part, everything has been extremely calm.
Asking the cops wherever they go . . .
Have you seen dignity?
In April of 2011, Rollingstone‘s contributing editor Matt Taibbi wrote a piece about Paul Ryan and budget proposal titled, Tax Cuts for the Rich on the Backs of the Middle Class; or, Paul Ryan has Balls
I heartily laughed at Matt’s description of Paul Ryan:
Paul Ryan, the Republican Party’s latest entrant in the seemingly endless series of young, prickish, over-coiffed, anal-retentive deficit Robespierres they’ve sent to the political center stage in the last decade or so, has come out with his new budget plan. All of these smug little jerks look alike to me – from Ralph Reed to Eric Cantor to Jeb Hensarling to Rand Paul and now to Ryan, they all look like overgrown kids who got nipple-twisted in the halls in high school, worked as Applebee’s shift managers in college, and are now taking revenge on the world as grownups by defunding hospice care and student loans and Sesame Street. They all look like they sleep with their ties on, and keep their feet in dress socks when doing their bi-monthly duty with their wives.
You have to admit that is scathingly accurate.
I thought of my own Tea Party House “Rat”, Michael Grimm. Grimm a former FBI agent and freshman representative from New York’s newly redrawn 11th who is currently the target of a federal grand jury investigation into the fundraising for his 2010 campaign. He fits Matt’s description to a tee.
Although Grimm is not a member of the Tea Party Caucus, he has voted lock step with them. When Grimm voted for Ryan’s first budget plan which called for a fix voucher and cuts to Medicaid that that would hurt the poor and elderly, Staten Island Tea Partiers were vocally upset with him. But I can almost guarantee they will give him a second chance to screw them, and everyone else, come November.
Back to Matt’s article. With his wry wit, he goes on to describe Ryan’s goal to reduce taxes for the wealthiest by asking seniors to cut back on their health care in order to pay for those tax breaks. That takes balls.
Never mind that each time the Republicans actually come into power, federal deficit spending explodes and these whippersnappers somehow never get around to touching Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The key is that for the many years before that moment of truth, before these buffoons actually get a chance to put their money where their lipless little mouths are, they will stomp their feet and scream about how entitlements are bringing us to the edge of apocalypse.
The problem, of course, is that to actually make significant cuts in what is left of the “welfare state,” one has to cut Medicare and Medicaid, programs overwhelmingly patronized by white people, and particularly white seniors. So when the time comes to actually pull the trigger on the proposed reductions, the whippersnappers are quietly removed from the stage and life goes on as usual, i.e. with massive deficit spending on defense, upper-class tax cuts, bailouts, corporate subsidies, and big handouts to Pharma and the insurance industries.
This is a political game that gets played out in the media over and over again, and everyone in Washington knows how it works. Which is why it’s nauseating (but not surprising) to see so many commentators falling over themselves with praise for Ryan’s “bold” budget proposal, which is supposedly a ballsy piece of politics because it proposes backdoor cuts in Medicare and Medicaid by redounding their appropriations to the states and to block grants. Ryan is being praised for thusly taking on seniors, a traditionally untouchable political demographic .
Medicaid cuts that would deeply effect the elderly are never discussed by the media, even now with Ryan the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee:
While the Republican vice-presidential candidate is careful to avoid touching Medicare benefits for anyone at or near retirement, his budget would impose immediate cuts to Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor that funds nursing-home care and other benefits for 6 million U.S. seniors. [..]
The proposed Medicaid changes are often overlooked amid the debate over Ryan’s Medicare plan, which has taken center stage in the presidential contest since the Wisconsin congressman was chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate on Aug. 11. It’s politically important because those 65 and older are a crucial voting bloc. [..]
Health-care policy specialists say it’s politically easier to cut Medicaid because most voters don’t understand it. [..]
Many middle-income Americans who may be unfamiliar with Medicaid end up relying on the program in their old age because they exhaust their assets. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care so they turn to Medicaid, which does. [..].
Without Medicaid, current and future Medicare recipients would be in deep financial trouble, as would nursing homes and hospitals that would be under obligation to treat them even if they lack coverage. Ryan’s budget would do this just to give the top 2% another tax cut that wouldn’t even be covered by the cuts.
In his last paragraph, Matt say this about Ryan and his budget:
The absurd thing is that Ryan’s act isn’t even politically courageous. It’s canny calculation, but courage it is not. It would be courageous if Ryan were, say, the president of the United States, and leaning on that budget with his full might. But Ryan is proposing a budget he knows would have no chance of passing in the Senate. He is simply playing out a part, a non-candidate for the presidency pushing a rhetorical flank for an out-of-power party leading into a presidential campaign year. If the budget is a hit with the public, the 2012 Republican candidate can run on it. If it isn’t, the Republican candidate can triangulate Ryan’s ass back into the obscurity from whence it came, and be done with him.
All Paul Ryan has are his “balls” because he certainly doesn’t have a heart or a conscience.
So much for obscurity. Little did Matt know.
It would seem the Republican Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) thinks that that he knows more about what the Defense Department needs to spend than the Generals that run the Pentagon:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) expressed skepticism Thursday that U.S. military leaders were being honest in their budget requests to Congress.
“We don’t think the generals are giving us their true advice,” Ryan said during a forum on the budget sponsored by the National Journal. “We don’t think the generals believe their budget is really the right budget….
He went on to say that while there were certainly inefficiencies that could be reduced in the Pentagon’s budget, fighting wars in the Middle East and a “dangerous world” necessitated keeping defense spending level.
The comments were in response to a question from National Journal managing editor Kristin Roberts, who asked Ryan why the committee chose “to go against the advice of the generals” in rolling back $487 billion in proposed cuts to the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade.
After Ryan’s initial remarks, Roberts noted that the budget was something that came from the Defense Department itself, not the Obama administration.
“You don’t believe the generals?” Roberts asked.
“What I believe is this budget does hollow out defense,” Ryan responded. “I believe this budget goes beyond where we should go to keep people safe.”
So this “genius” budgeter, whose party is always happy to defer to the generals when the generals say what they want to hear, is putting a couple of stars on his shoulder and dictating what the Pentagon needs to “keep people safe.” That’s particularly amazing since General Ryan is under fire from every direction for failing to offer a credible plan to reach his own arbitrary deficit reduction targets.
The Generals apparently did not take too kindly to Ryan calling them liars. This was Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey response:
“There’s a difference between having someone say they don’t believe what you said versus … calling us, collectively, liars,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “My response is: I stand by my testimony. This was very much a strategy-driven process to which we mapped the budget.”
Dempsey added that the budget “was a collaborative effort” among top military officers and combat leaders.
The military faces $487 billion in cuts in the next decade as part of a budget deal reached last summer. The cuts reflect ongoing drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The rest, unfortunately, is behind the Wall Street Journal‘s firewall.
David Dayen had a good summery of the “spat” and just how much of a “hawk” Ryan is:
Now, keep in mind that the Obama Administration’s “cuts” to the military budget aren’t cuts. They just slow growth over time. And the Pentagon doesn’t even contemplate the mandated trigger cuts that are coming at the end of the year, which fall in large part on the defense budget. [..]
The proof that the military budgeting represented a collaborative effort, of course, is that it doesn’t cut the military budget all that much.
But it’s worth re-emphasizing that Paul Ryan called the entire military brass a bunch of liars who gave false testimony to Congress. And he will not listen to their calls for even modest trims to their funding. This makes him the very serious budget hawk in Washington.
Man the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! And damn the consequences.
Because we aren’t going to let you get out from under it….
Today, House Republicans brought another bill (HR 1216) to the House floor that does not address jobs and wastes time in a futile attempt to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act. House Democrats are staging a “mini-filibuster” by “striking the last word” allowing them five minutes of time to discuss their strong opposition to the Republican-passed budget which ends Medicare as we know it and forces seniors to pay over $6,000 more a year.
Weiner: I move to strike the last word Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, you may recall I was standing here approximately two hours ago waiting to speak with several other members on the efforts of my Republican friends to eliminate Medicare as we know it and for reasons that are known only to the Chair, I was denied the ability to do that. Well, I’m back. And just to review the bidding, here’s where it was before that order was made. We had the Chairman of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, a good man, a guy I like, stand down in the well and say, ‘Oh, no’ (and this by the way is someone who is elected by the Republican members to represent them in races all around the country) saying that the Ryan plan wasn’t a plan it was and I’m quoting here, “a construct to develop a plan” and he said the proposal is not a voucher program and then he said it was a one size fits all, that Medicare was draining our economy is what he said.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that might be the rationale for our Republican friends wanting to eliminate Medicare, but none of those things are true. It is not a ‘construct to develop a plan’ it is the proposal of the Republican party of the United States of America to eliminate Medicare as a guaranteed entitlement. If you don’t believe me, go get the book that they wrote, go get the budget that they wrote, go get the bill that they wrote.
h/t to Crooks & Liars for the transcript.
The Ryan Budget plan has failed in the Senate with 5 Republicans opposing it, the Republicans are still embracing the proposal to eliminate Medicare. They are in denial about the loss of NY-26, long a Republican stronghold. to Democrat Kathy Hochul. The sadder part is the White House has also missed the message
Joe Biden group to tackle Medicare and Medicaid: aide
Vice President Joe Biden and top lawmakers will examine government-run health plans on Tuesday as they try to work out a deal to raise the United States’ borrowing authority, a congressional aide said.
h/t Marcy Wheeler
It would appear that the White House is willing to sell out future seniors to give political cover for raising the debt ceiling.
slouching imperiously around a table – telling me that Medicare is unrealistic in its present form. You know what else is unrealistic – being lectured by a man and woman whose weekly clothing allowance and haircare allowance cost more in two weeks than what I pay in a year at the thrift store for my own clothing. (I’ve taken to cutting my own hair in between 2 month visits to a hairdresser.) One would think Mika would consider her own father – but wait – he had a government job, so he’s probably covered in his healthcare and Joe, of course, was a congressperson so he’s not sweating healthcare. As well, Joe makes a decent salary slouching at the table issuing wisdom to the stupid consumers (once called citizens) out here who depend on Medicare both for themselves and their parents.
And the tut tutting about the Paul Ryan Plan – Don’t we get that it’s just an opening gambit! Poor Paul. Btw, great blog out there “Paul Ryan is Pretty” – check it out. Do I have the stones to go downstairs and watch Paul. I’d better I guess if I’m writing this essay.
Not yet – but a love fest, two of them as a matter of fact. One for Kissinger and another ten minutes of love extended to Netanyahu. My favorite: Mike saying that since N lived in America he understands America. “This country is about fairness.” This after the Medicare conversation. Mike who used to have a working class kind of aura now is fully a member of the Village. And we see footage of the Congress standing up and giving N a big love applause moment. Do they think O won’t walk back on what he said re Israel —
they get it.
Let’s see if Paul (I paid my way thru college with SS payment) Ryan is on yet — Yes – but I couldn’t watch all of it. His take: Dems are demagogues on this issue. And he repeats at least three times – it won’t affect people over 55. It will keep the program strong. Yeah, I’m willing to throw my son under the bus – why not? Of course, it will affect all of us all the time. Also: This isn’t a voucher program. It will give us choices to find the best value. It’s giving us options and will keep it solvent for people like Paul. Will Paul rely on Medicare? That’s good news – you mean the congresspersons will rely on Medicare now? I have to research this. He also mentioned that the Tea Party candidate was a problem for the Republican. And who encouraged the Tea Partiers the last year or so? It’s called coming home to roost.
I live across the way from a hospital so everyday I see several old people getting off the bus or out of cars (with or without their children or younger friends or relatives) and with their walkers and arthritic hands and feet take l5 minutes to walk about ten yards to the doors of the hospital. None of them – none – have a clipboard thereby making it easier to check out if this hospital has the best plan for them. And it’s not like they don’t have the time as it takes them so damn long to walk. So – what’s to say about them except they are ungrateful and “entitled.”
Even when it looked like the Democratic woman would win that NY Republican district last night, Stenny Hoyer said it’s all on table (now when the Republicans are on the mat – hey it’s a rough game). Plus O is not trustworthy on SS and Medicare. He plans to have a Board overseeing Medicare – who will be on the Board I wonder?
I took my mom to all doctors’ visits, hospitals and for the last few days, nursing homes. How could she have accomplished this on her own, or with some stranger? Who would have been her advocate? Well, it looks like the answer for some who may not have a daughter with functioning grey cells – Paul Ryan.
When the Republicans voted lock step on the Ryan Budget plan that would decimate the safety nets of Medicaid ans Medicare, they were not prepared for the harsh criticism from their own supporters and organizations that had praised their agenda in the past. During the Spring recess, House members faced angry constituents and a harsh press. On Tuesday, 42 freshmen sent a letter to the president asking that the Democrats forget that they used Medicare scare tactics fighting the Health Care Reform bill and back off holding them responsible for their votes on the Ryan Budget bill. Sorry, guys, no do-overs. You own it now.
The House Republican budget written by Paul Ryan has received a huge amount of criticism for its plan to replace Medicare with a poorly indexed private voucher program that could result in more and more seniors every year being unable to afford health care. Less focus has been put on how equally devastating the Ryan plan would be to people who rely on Medicaid because the plan would stop federal funding for the program from keeping up with the increasing cost of actually providing people with care.
A study from be the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid(PDF) lays out three likely scenarios of what would happen if the Republican plan were implemented.
Critics Fear G.O.P.’s Proposed Medicaid Changes Could Cut Coverage for the Aged
By Jennifer Steinhauer @ NYT
While the largest number of Medicaid recipients are low-income children and adults, who tend to be far less politically potent voices in battles over entitlement programs than older voters, the changes to Medicaid proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the House budget chairman, could actually have a more direct impact on older Americans than the Medicare part of his plan.
The House plan would turn Medicaid, which provides health coverage for the poor through a combination of federal and state money, into a block grant program for states. The federal government would give lump sums to states, which in turn would be given more flexibility and independence over use of the money, though the plan does not spell out what the federal requirements would be.
Beginning in 2013, these grants would increase annually at the rate of inflation, with adjustments for population growth, a rate far below that of inflation for health care costs. As a result, states, which have said that they cannot afford to keep up with the program’s costs, are likely to scale back coverage. Such a reduction, critics fear, could have a disproportionate effect on Medicaid spending for nursing home care for the elderly or disabled.
Critical Letter by Catholics Cites Boehner on Policies
By Laurie Goodstein @ NYT
More than 75 professors at Catholic University and other prominent Catholic colleges have written a pointed letter to Mr. Boehner saying that the Republican-supported budget he shepherded through the House will hurt the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable, and that he therefore has failed to uphold basic Catholic moral teachings.
“Mr. Speaker, your voting record is at variance from one of the church’s most ancient moral teachings,” the letter says. “From the apostles to the present, the magisterium of the church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor. Your record in support of legislation to address the desperate needs of the poor is among the worst in Congress. This fundamental concern should have great urgency for Catholic policy makers. Yet, even now, you work in opposition to it.”
The letter writers criticize Mr. Boehner’s support for a budget that cut financing for Medicare, Medicaid and the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, while granting tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations. They call such policies “anti-life,” a particularly biting reference because the phrase is usually applied to politicians and others who support the right to abortion.
The shoe is once again on the other foot and it is up to the Democrats to make sure it causes permanent bunions, by making them own their votes and pay the price.
You cannot make this up:
Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) political group went on the attack Monday against AARP, calling one of the most powerful lobbies a “left-leaning pressure group.”
Ryan’s Prosperity PAC sought to push back on attacks by AARP against the House Budget Committee chairman’s 2012 budget, specifically its proposed changes to Medicare.
“Last week, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), a left-leaning pressure group with significant business interests in the insurance industry, launched a national ad campaign that intentionally misleads seniors about the Medicare debate,” wrote Pat Shortridge, a senior adviser to Ryan’s PAC, in an email to supporters.
Ryan’s Medicare proposal has been a particular point of criticism by Democrats and groups on the left, which say that the Medicare plan would significantly revamp the entitlement program to the detriment of seniors. Democrats have homed in their attacks against that part of the Ryan budget, which has sparked some degree of heartburn among Republicans.
AARP launched ads last week warning against “harmful cuts” to Medicare and Social Security it said Republicans favored.
History repeating itself from 2005:
Now some people on the right want you to think of gay marriage and Sunni insurgency. The New York Times this morning reported that the lobbyists who brought you the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” have been contracted to promote the agenda of USA Next, a conservative lobbying group. To build support, USA Next is portraying AARP – which opposes the White House’s pseudo-plan for privatizing Social Security – as some kind of liberal extremist group.
How’d that 2006 election turn out, Mr. Ryan?
“Boner” tells Wall St. Medicare is still on the agenda to raise the debt ceiling:
In a speech to the Economic Club of New York in Midtown Manhattan, the Ohio Republican is set to reiterate to leading financial executives that he believes that reforming Medicare should be part of negotiations in raising the debt ceiling, saying that there needs to be “an honest conversation,” because the program is on an “unsustainable path if changes are not made,” according to sources familiar with the speech. Boehner also is expected to advocate for immediate cuts rather than deficit and debt targets preferred by some Democrats.
After his talk, Boehner will take questions from two prominent Wall Street players at the intersection of Washington power: Peter G. Peterson, the private-equity giant who worked for President Richard Nixon, and Observatory Group CEO Jane Hartley, who worked for President Jimmy Carter….
Boehner’s public insistence that reforming Medicare stay a part of debt ceiling negotiations could reaffirm a concern among Wall Street types that Republicans are driving a hard bargain on the limit and will take the negotiations up to the last minute. Boehner said last week Congress must now cut trillions, not billions….
Friday evening, in a sign of unity after a disjointed week, GOP leadership, along with Ryan and Camp, released a statement saying “everything must be on the table except increasing taxes.”
Freshmen, who voted en masse for the Ryan budget, largely want entitlement reform dealt with.
President Obama needs to stand up to these threats to the social safety nets and let the GOP send itself into political oblivion. I have my doubts that Obama can do this. I will be shocked, I tell you shocked, if he calls them in this. This is no longer 11 dimensional chess. It’s now a game of straight draw poker.