On Reversing 30 Years of Falsity

14 Apr

Memo to Barry: Fight!!The President, yesterday, commenting on Representative Paul Ryan’s “deficit reduction” 2012 budget plan, which is just shorthand for “ending Medicare, Medicaid, and the social safety net as we know it, plunging the United States backwards into the 19th century”:

The fact is, their vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America. As Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said, there’s nothing “serious” or “courageous” about this plan. There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. And this is not a vision of the America I know.

The Republicans have doubled down on their obeisance to the superwealthy and powerful corporate interests. They have been quite adept at hiding their preference for oligarchy behind appeals to God, patriotism, and Reagan.  But abolishing the social safety net so that the very rich can pay de minimis taxes, so corporations can relocate freely to the Caymans, or game an system that is advantageous to the hyperwealthy to avoid all taxes, and paying for those tax cuts on the backs of the middle class and wage earners is the real class warfare being waged.

The Ryan plan, aside from directly benefiting do-nothing middleman health insurers – those feckless David Brents of the health delivery industry – promises to not touch Medicare for those now over 55.  So for those of us who have lived, say hypothetically, 42 years in a country with an expectation that at least some of our health care expenses in old age will be covered by a generous and well-run government single-payer health plan, we’d have been deceived. This is fundamentally unfair and unacceptable – simple pandering to the massive baby boomer vote at the expense of “everyone under 55”.  The Ryan plan completely avoid making any cuts to military spending – an unbelievable joke to presume that not even a dollar’s worth of savings might be siphoned off from the military-industrial complex.

Most Americans are politically middle-of-the-road, and economically middle class. The Republicans have spent the last 30 years duping regular folks that it’s critically important to make sure the superwealthy don’t pay a lot in taxes. I don’t quite know why that steaming, fetid pile of lies is still accepted as truth, or reasonable policy.

I know a lot of liberals, progressives, and others who supported Obama are disappointed at a lot of what he’s done, and more at what he hasn’t done. It’s been an intensely complicated three years, to put it mildly. I’m mildly disillusioned, but I’m not ready to abandon the guy yet.  Not when he can so succinctly make the case that the opposition has essentially abandoned regular folks.

Asking billionaires to pay 37% of their income versus 35% isn’t class warfare. It’s reverting back to the Clinton era, when the economy was booming and the government ran a surplus.

20 Responses to “On Reversing 30 Years of Falsity”

  1. Leo Wilson April 14, 2011 at 7:16 am #

    The best idea that BH Obama has had for reducing costs is to impose an 80% medical loss madate on the medical insurance industry. The best idea for impacting public debt would be to impose that same 80% medical loss mandate on the UMMC, which scrapes more than 70% of its revenues off for something other than paying for medical procedures for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The problem with public debt isn’t the level of revenue, it’s the level of waste. And, that waste isn’t from fradulent claims, it’s from fraudulent management by government.

    I’m still apprehensive because everyone who talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act calls it either “Obamacare” or “The Affordable Care Act”. Even the President himself has dropped the “Patient Protection” portion of its name from his rheoric.

  2. Leo Wilson April 14, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    It sure would be great if we could trust our government to manage our monies competantly and efficiently, and execute our good intentions successfully. If I were a fool enough to trust politicians, I might even be a leftist myself.

  3. Brian Castner April 14, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    If I were an Obama supporter (instead of a disappointed crossover voter), I’d be pissed he’s 1) letting a punk Republican Congressman set the agenda, and 2) all over the map on whether a stimulus is needed to boost the economy, or a responsible budget and deficit reduction is needed to get our house in order. They are diametrically opposed, and he forcefully advocates both, which makes him an idiot or a panderer, and I don’t think he’s an idiot. Perhaps he’s just blowing in the wind until he beats Trump/Palin in 2012.

  4. Mike In WNY April 14, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    The government has screwed up the economy tremendously through taxes, subsidies, tax breaks and regulations. Ryan’s plan actually has the potential to improve the economy, provide opportunities for Americans and to not be detrimental to one’s well being. Many other changes are needed in conjunction with his plan. It should be viewed as a starting point, not an end. We are running out of time for the opportunity to “fix” things.

  5. Brian April 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    I’ll take Obama seriously when I see those who caused the Great Recession AND those who authorized illegal wars and torture are indicted, convicted, and imprisoned or hanged.  Until then, I see little reason for me or my fellow Americans to obey laws we find inconvenient.

  6. jimd April 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Amen to that Brian. That’s the most disappointing thing about this guy. After 8 years of lies and deception, bilking the federal government out of billions of dollars, costing the lives of thousands of our young men and women (not to mention those disabled), blatantly ignoring our own laws, he just looked the other way. That is unforgiveable.

  7. STEEL April 14, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    From what I understand the cost of medicare has risen at a slower rate than private sector health care.

  8. Mike In WNY April 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Steel, the government restrictions on private health care contributes to cost increases across the board. We do not, nor have we had, anything approaching patient choice for private health care.

  9. jimd April 14, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Mike, could you please elaborate? What government restrictions?

  10. STEEL April 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    So mike you are saying some government control = more costly but complete government control = less costly?

    Our private insurance system is complete nonsense and it has been proven around the world as well as even in our own country’s experience.

    Can’t wait until a 70 year old arthritic cancer survivor with high cholesterol and a heat condition tries to pay for private health insurance on the individual market. Well at least he will have his reduced benefit SSI to pay for it. Of course that will only cover half the premium. Bring in the magic free market pixy dust

  11. Mike In WNY April 14, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    @jimd, people have not had any choices, for the most part, for insurance coverage for many years. The government tells insurance companies what must be covered and only allows for a very limited number of insurance providers. Federal regulations eliminated cost accountability between patients and providers (doctors). Freedom of choice and competition is what holds the line on costs.

    @STEEL, I am saying we have been suffering for decades with government control of the healthcare industry, the result being ever escalating costs. More control will = even more cost increases.

  12. Jesse April 15, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    “back to the Clinton era, when the economy was booming and the government ran a surplus.”

    Really, you’re going to sit here and call out the R’s as a bunch of lying dissemblers and then suggest that raising any tax rate by 2 measly % will somehow lead to a chicken in every pot and surplus?

    Sure, lawyer that you are, you’ll whine that you didn’t /actually/ say we’d have a surplus, but to sit here and imply it is just as dishonest as anything you accuse Paul Ryan of doing.

    We are spending at 25% GDP.  That is fucking ridiculous.  Feel free to tell us how Obama would have been talking about cutting that level if Paul Ryan and the Tea Party hadn’t shaken the crap out of the establishment.

    People who want to cut spending are winning.  Period.  You can cut something different from Paul Ryan’s budget, I honestly don’t care.  The USA cannot historically bring in anywhere more than around 19% GDP in revenue.  And your Democratic pals wouldn’t be talking shit about cutting if Ryan and the Paulists weren’t doing something about it.

  13. Bbill April 15, 2011 at 8:13 am #


  14. Bbill April 15, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    When you have to bear the company of teabaggers and their rhetoric, it might help to be familiar with their ideological roots:


  15. Leo Wilson April 15, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    One of the restrictions that Medicare imposes on health care has to do with limited payments. Since the government says, “We’ll only pay X amount for that procedure”. So, the provider charges full price to private insurers, right up until they can’t be competitive. Then, they stop accepting Medicare patients.

    As we all know, Doctors and Hospitals refuse these patients all the time because of these payment restrictions.

  16. Leo Wilson April 15, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    The impact of that practice is to artificially increase costs for the privately insured. That’s been true since Medicare first started, if you bother to look into it. From 1944-1964, medical costs increased at a fairly steady rate of 2% to 4% per year… when medicare was implemented, that increased to more than 7% per year, has never once gone lower than that rate of increase, and every time new payment restrictions that lower the ratio of payment to providers have been implemented, it has caused a spike in the rate of increase for private insurance.

    If you’re familiare with the “hockey stick” chart that justifies AGW, you should look at how similar the chart for medical costs are in relation to Medicare.

  17. STEEL April 15, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    But mike I have already pointed out that more government control has produced lower costs. The government run system is cheaper than the private system. I would also point out that the industry has shown that more competition with lots and lots of insurers drives up costs because health providers don’t have to negotiate on prices when there are so many. There is nothing logical about having a private health insurance system. It becomes a middle mans system with nor real purpose

  18. jimd April 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    @Mike I think it’s the chicken and egg thing. Did the government step in with all these regulations that foul up the system out of thin air? Or are people being screwed by the insurance industry as well as the medical industry and this is governments fingers in the dike? I think we fuck ourselves. Want government out of your life? Be honest and demand it from society. But that’s not how life works I guess.

  19. Max April 16, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Whether it’s Ryan’s plan or the President’s, there’s going to be pain; we can’t continue on this debt/deficit death waltz ad infinitum. As we proceed, what has to occur is shared sacrifice. Ryan’s plan exempts entire classes from sacrifice and to no surprise, it serves his GOP constituentcy by keeping the high income tax cuts intact as well maintains the sanctity of the Pentagon budget. I think the President could be more aggressive in weeding out the waste and duplicitity in the Pentagon.


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