Paul Ryan's Shocking Budget Proposal -- Derek Thompson:which essentially privatizes Social Security and strangles Medicare inflation with cost-controlled vouchers -- is a really important lesson in budgeting. It's very easy to fix our long-term deficit crisis. All you have to do is blow up our entitlement program.
There's a bit of a debate about whether Ryan's proposal is so honest it's crazy, or so crazy it's not serious. I think it's extremely serious -- not as a budget proposal, but as a dystopian parable. It's like reading 1984 for the next century, but with graphs.
Consider the terrifying Medicare proposal. Ryan would give seniors a voucher that would immediately be worth less than Medicare spending per enrollee. Over the next decade, the buying power of the voucher would grow more slowly than medical spending, but at the same time, the cost of premiums will increase because seniors would wander into the more expensive private market for insurance. Anybody wanna know what rationing look like?
Fiscal hawks like talking about "tightening belts." This goes way beyond tightening by a few belt holes. Truly, I think it's a shocking budget, and the kind of thing that no party in power would ever have the cojones to propose. Indeed, Republicans didn't even have the cojones to co-sign health care reform's Medicare cuts. Six months after the Democrats' proposed Medicare savings made Republicans shout bloody murder (literally: Death Panels), Rep. Paul Ryan is now proposing the program's gradual extermination. Like any good dystopian parable, this doesn't deserve to be taken literally.
It's about the lesson: Our deficit crisis in an entitlement crisis, and the solution won't be pretty.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Ryan's Brutal Plan: Break Up Medicare. Did You Know Our deficit crisis in an entitlement crisis.
This is another reiteration of an earlier post I did on the subject of Paul Ryan's idea of Medicare vouchers, but this time written up by The Atlantic's Derek Thompson. This outrageous idea is starting to get national media notice now, because it shows the hypocritical nature of the Republican Party's new image of the great protectors of grandma's life saving Medicare program.