Sunday, August 12, 2012

Why Does Mitt Romney Running Mate Paul Ryan (R-WI) Hate American Values

Why Does Mitt Romney Running Mate Paul Ryan (R-WI) Hate American Values

Many millions of working-age Americans would lose health insurance. Senior citizens would anguish over whether to pay their rent or their medical bills, in a way they haven’t since the 1960s. Government would be so starved of resources that, by 2050, it wouldn’t have enough money for core functions like food inspections and highway maintenance. And the richest Americans would get a huge tax cut.

This is the America that Paul Ryan envisions. And now we know that it is the America Mitt Romney envisions.

Of course, we should have known that already. Romney committed himself to the Ryan agenda during the presidential primaries, both by embracing the Ryan budget rhetorically and specifically proposing key features of Ryan’s agenda, starting with a tight cap on federal spending. But if anybody doubted that Romney was serious about these commitments, the Ryan pick should put those doubts to rest. Maybe Romney sincerely believes these ideas are right for the country and maybe he feels that endorsing thiem is necessary to please his party’s base. It really doesn’t matter. It’s the way he intends to govern.

But will the voters get it? Ryan’s has a carefully cultivated image as a wonk hero, somebody who deserves to be taken seriously because he understands policy minutiae and cares about reducing the deficit. The image is a little misleading: As my former colleague Jonathan Chait has written in New York magazine, during the Bush Administration Ryan supported creation of the Medicare drug benefit and other policies that substantially increased the deficit. But Ryan's image helps to insulate him, and his ideas, from the charge that he’s proposing what would amount to the most radical revision of governing priorities in our lifetime. Pointing out the very real, very painful consequences his budget would have somehow seems impolite.

With that in mind, here are five things everybody should know about Ryan and his agenda, based mostly on non-partisan authorities such as the Congressional Budget Office, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

1. Ryan really believes in ending Medicare as we know it. The essential promise of Medicare, ever since its establishment in 1965, is that every senior citizen is entitled to a comprehensive set of medical benefits that will protect him or her from financial ruin. The government provides these benefits directly, through a public insurance program, although seniors have the right to enroll in comparable private plans if they choose. But the key is that guarantee of benefits, and it’s what Ryan would take away. He would replace it with a voucher, whose value would rise at a pre-determined formula unlikely to keep up with actual medical expenses.

Ryan's early proposals had no safeguards to make sure the voucher was adequate. His most recent one has safeguards, a more reasonable spending line, and preserves the government-run plan as an option. But the safeguards are weak, at best, and the government-run program would struggle to survive. The long-term effect would likely be the same: Over time, more and more seniors would find the voucher too small to buy the insurance they need, forcing many to pick between health care and other essential needs—the very same situation they routinely faced until the 1960s, when dismay over the hardship seniors faced created the political groundswell for Medicare.

Keep in mind, by the way, that Ryan would also raise the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 67. Without the Affordable Care Act, which Ryan would repeal, many if not most 65- and 66-year-olds without employer insurance would end up uninsured. And that's not an age at which you want to be skipping doctor visits.

2. Ryan really believes in ending Medicaid as we know it. Like Medicare, Medicaid is effectively a guarantee: It’s a promise to the states that, as long as they offer Medicaid and contribute their share, the federal government will enough money to cover everybody who is eligible for the program, no matter how many people it is. It’s also a promise to individual Medicaid recipients, that the insurance they receive will be sufficiently comprehensive to cover any service they might need—plus some extra services, such as lead screening for children, that are particularly critical for low-income Americans.

Ryan would end both guarantees, by turning Medicaid into a “block grant.” Every year, the federal government would cut checks for the states, according to a pre-determined formula. The formula envisions massive cuts to the program; it’s one of the major places Ryan looks to reduce federal spending. Given those levels, states would be forced to reduce, dramatically, whom they cover and/or what they cover.

According to estimates commissioned by the Kaiser Foundation and made by researchers at the Urban Institute, the end result would that between 14 and 27 million low-income Americans lose health insurance. That’s above and beyond those who are supposed to get insurance from the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, but would not because Ryan wants to repeal the law’s coverage expansion.

Oh, one other thing. People forget that the majority of Medicaid spending isn't on the proverbial single mother living at the poverty line. It's on the elderly and disabled. One way or another, such severe cuts to Medicaid will impact their services, making it (more) difficult for them to pay for nursing homes and long-term care.

3. Ryan really pushed for privatization of Social Security. From Ryan Lizza’s profile of Ryan in the New Yorker:

    Ryan and other conservative leaders, among them Senator John Sununu, of New Hampshire, wanted to be sure that Bush returned to [privatization] in 2005. Under Ryan’s initial version, American workers would be able to invest about half of their payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, in private accounts. As a plan to reduce government debt, it made no sense. It simply took money from one part of the budget and spent it on private accounts, at a cost of two trillion dollars in transition expenses. But, as an ideological statement about the proper relationship between individuals and the federal government, Ryan’s plan was clear.

    The release of the Social Security proposal was a turning point in Ryan’s career. Bush could have chosen to push a bipartisan idea, such as immigration reform, as the first domestic proposal of his second term. But, during the 2004 campaign, Ryan, with such allies as Kemp and Ferrara, kept up pressure from the right to force the White House to make a decision on Social Security. Many Republicans were still wary. Two weeks after Bush’s Inauguration, Ryan gave a speech at Cato asserting that Social Security was no longer the third rail of American politics. He toured his district with a PowerPoint presentation and invited news crews to document how Republicans could challenge Democrats on a sacrosanct policy issue and live to tell about it.

    Conservative editorialists and activists cheered him on. “What Ryan and Sununu have proposed is historic,” Newt Gingrich wrote in an op-ed piece. “They have fashioned a plan that makes the idea of a personal-account option for Social Security not only politically viable but, indeed, politically irresistible.” Jack Kemp lauded his former aide: “It will be proven the most efficacious of all the reforms.”

By the way, the plan was so radical that Bush eventually rejected it for a more cautious version.
There are two more items and details of Paul Ryan's (R-WI) radical anti-Americanism and anti-common decency at the link. Ryan, while already 42, is considered a "young gun" by Republican leaders, the future of conservatism that continues to move further and further to the radical anti-American right-wing conservatism. His views on Social Security should be either scary or laughable to rational Americans, he wants to hand over your retirement safety net to the same people who lost $17 trillion of America's wealth. Now that America is suffering for that, Romney and Ryan want the middle-class and working poor to pay for the shortage in the government coffers instead of their buddies on Wall Street, who are back to living the reckless lifestyle they were before the crash caused by Republicans in 2007-2008.

Romney and Ryan Both Supported Privatization of Social Security

Why does conservative Republican provocateur Ann Coulter hates American values like honor and truth,  Coulter: Sandra Fluke Introduced Obama To Help With "The Base Democratic Voter -- Stupid Single Women"