In the weeks and months leading up to the unveiling of Paul Ryan’s “
Path To Prosperity Path To Poverty”, many pundits and talking heads weren’t so sure that the Republican leadership would embrace it. They knew that what he was proposing could really backfire on them. The mere suggestion of going after senior citizens health care was forbidden. In fact, I seem to remember back to the health care debate when the Republicans all of a sudden were defending Medicare when it suited their purposes, after a long history of trying to kill it. Well now they have gone and done it, they decided that they don’t need the senior vote to win in 2012. People have been asking me why I’ve had a “perma-grin” since Paul Ryan announced his plan. :) Steve Benen has the details on why I’m smiling so much…
But before the right gets too excited, it’s worth remembering that the Republicans’ plan isn’t popular. Election analyst Charlie Cook reports today that he’s been talking to GOP “pollsters, strategists and veteran campaign professionals,” and he’s heard “sounds of concern,” in part because their party is pursuing an agenda Americans don’t actually like.
[T]hese party insiders believe that taking on entitlements, specifically Medicare, could jeopardize the party’s hold on the House, its strong chances of taking the Senate and the stronghold that the party has been established with older white voters — not coincidentally, Medicare recipients. […]
It is much too early to suggest that the Republican majority in the House is in danger, but the sequence of events that Democrats would need to have a legitimate chance are so far looking increasingly plausible.
House Dems need to gain 25 seats next year to reclaim a majority, and they figure the easiest way to get from here to there is to watch Republicans overreach, then target the vulnerable incumbents, especially freshmen, who go along.
Rut Roh! Maybe they should of thought it through just a little bit more. By announcing this plan and with the leadership standing behind it, the Republicans have gone “anti-senior” and provided us with a perfect example of why they can’t be trusted with anything. 2012 is looking pretty sweet, if you ask me. Dean Baker at TPM delves into this a little with this post, go read it. Here is a snippet…(emphasis mine)
The reason why this is so useful is that there is nothing in the Ryan plan that has not been circulated in policy circles for decades. Almost everything in the plan has been tried and failed. The plan ignores obvious economic realities, such as the bubble-induced recession that has left 25 million people unemployed or underemployed. It doesn’t lay a glove on the rich and powerful, while threatening to undermine the limited economic security enjoyed by tens of millions of middle class families.
Yet many pundits will applaud the plan as brave, innovative and creative. In making these pronouncements these pundits will immediately reveal themselves as worthless hacks who either lack the ability or desire to do their own thinking. Their endorsement of the Ryan plan will be like a scarlet letter permanently marking them as someone who has no place in a serious policy discussion. For this reason we owe Mr. Ryan a real debt of gratitude.
Got that, those pundits applauding Paul Ryan as brave and bold in his screwing over seniors, they are hacks. They are carrying water for their corporate overlords. You have to wonder if they even consulted with any economists, based on the scoring from the CBO and this from Paul Krugman, who seems almost gleeful in ripping this apart….he probably has a “perma-grin” too. (emphasis mine)
Then there’s the Medicare business. According to the CBO analysis, a typical senior would end up spending more than twice as much of his or her own income on health care as under current law. As Dean Baker points out, this means that seniors would end up paying most of their income for health care. Again, right.
But in a way, the worst part isn’t the Medicare plan: it’s the fact — which so far has not penetrated the debate — that the biggest source of supposed savings in the plan isn’t actually health care, it’s an assumption that federal spending on everything except health and Social Security can somehow be squeezed, as a percent of GDP, to a small fraction of current levels. Here’s the table, from Ryan’s own report:
Notice the marked area at the bottom: Ryan is assuming that everything aside from health and SS can be squeezed from 12 percent of GDP now to 3 1/2 percent of GDP. That’s bigger than the assumed cut in health care spending relative to baseline; it accounts for all of the projected deficit reduction, since the alleged health savings are all used to finance tax cuts. And how is this supposed to be accomplished? Not explained.
This isn’t a serious proposal; it’s a strange combination of cruelty and insanely wishful thinking.
That was an extended clip from Paul Krugman’s piece, go read the whole thing and bookmark his blog. Although he calls out the President from time to time, sometimes the President needs to be called out. But at least Krugman, like Rachel Maddow, doesn’t filter everything through some strange hatred for our President.
This major blunder by the Republican Party makes the 2012 elections look so much nicer. Clear lines have been drawn in the sand and I’m afraid they can’t put the genie back in the bottle. It’s going to be a fun year and a half. Strap yourselves in, we’re going for a ride. Weeeeeeeeeeee!