5 Apr

The “Intellectual Seriousness” of Paul Ryan

                                       

I agree somewhat with what Jennifer Rubin writes here….there aren’t many people on the Republican side with “the “campaign” skills, the depth of knowledge and the philosophical gravitas of a Paul Ryan.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R- Wis.) and his staff obviously planned the budget roll-out with meticulous care. The right is gushing (at Heritage, at Americans for Tax Reform, and on talk-radio with conservative favorites such as Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh). In the Senate, Ryan snagged the support of two stalwart conservatives Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) praised the effort.

This tells us a few things. First, there is very little room on the right to criticize the Ryan budget. To be blunt, is a Republican freshman going to accuse Ryan of “selling out” when Ryan has so many rock-solid conservative rock stars on his side? Second, this doesn’t happen by magic. I’m guessing — wild guess here — that Ryan and his staff spent hours and hours lining up support. It’s like they understand how to drive a message, flood the airwaves and capture the momentum. You know, there’s another national contest underway where those talents would be of help.

He’s impressive I will give her that. Check out his answer to the “distortions and demagogueries” about his budget:

But from what I’ve read, he doesn’t want to run, which is a shame.

One thing his meticulous budget proposals highlight tho is the stark contrast between what the right is proposing and what the left is proposing…namely

Tax the rich….and tax the rich some more

Which reminds me of this post I saw yesterday at DummiesU:

John Paulson, who rose to fame in 2007 with a prescient bet against subprime mortgages, earned a record $4.9 billion in 2010 as a result of a big wager that his fund, Paulson & Company, made on gold. The metal soared last year, lifting the values of some hedge funds by more than 30 percent.

Last year was very lucrative for some of the biggest and best-performing hedge funds’ chiefs. Wealth was so concentrated that a mere 25 people pocketed a total of $22.07 billion, according to this year’s annual ranking by AR Magazine, which tracks the hedge fund industry. At $50,000 a year, it would take the salaries of 441,400 Americans to match that sum.

So why can’t we get our paws on this treasure? We are cutting here there and everywhere mainly the poor. Why can’t we claw in some of the fat cats’ windfall?

The mind of lefty is a scary place.

About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.
This entry was posted in Congress, Economy, Obamanomics, Paul Ryan, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 at 9:13 pm
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45 Responses to The “Intellectual Seriousness” of Paul Ryan

  1. Greg says: 1

    What we’ve got here is a plan that would turn Medicare into a voucher program–which is exactly what that part of the proposal comes down to, regardless of any spin to the contrary–while simultaneously reducing the maximum federal tax rate to 25% for those whose rapidly expanding shares of income and wealth are already unconscionably enormous. Is it distortion and demagoguery to point that out?

    Ryan conveys the seriousness of the problem that confronts us with clarity and eloquence. It doesn’t automatically follow that the mix of solutions he advocates are correctly balanced.

    Suddenly the Debt Commission Recommendations are sounding a lot more reasonable.

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  2. Bobachek says: 2

    Greg unfortuantely the problem that Ryan has spelled out has been kicked down the road by both Dems and Repubs for a long time. Given the choice between Paul Ryans plan of reduced entitlements and lower taxes or the usual Dem plan which is increasing my taxes exponentially to try to cover an ever increasing spending budget, I’ll side with Paul Ryan any day and twice on Sunday.

    This guy is one of the few really bright spots in Wisconsin politics, at the moment he is one of 5 or 6 people who could actually get my vote in the next presendtial election. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like that will be the case which is a shame because we need an intelligent person in that office in the worst way.

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  3. Missy says: 3

    You are wrong Greg, no “vouchers” in Medicare:

    Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. This is not a voucher program but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost.

    In addition, Medicare will provide increased assistance for lower- income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks. Reform that empowers individuals—with more help for the poor and the sick—will guarantee that Medicare can fulfill the promise of health security for America’s seniors.

    Greg: Is it distortion and demagoguery to point that out?

    Yes it is, you fail to mention that the plan closes loopholes and reduces write offs. Lowering the highest in the world corporate taxes to 25% will help our businesses compete on the world playing field. One would think you would be excited that the money lobbyists have worked years for will be going back into the treasury.

    ________________________
    I don’t know where my first post went, I could be like the lib trolls that come in here and acuse FA of censoring my posts, but I know better than that and will use this as an opportunity to show that….stuff happens, down the rabbit hole.

    As I had said in my first post, I have received two personal letters from Congressman Paul Ryan addressing conversations I had with a couple of his aides in his Janesville office.

    I was suprised/delighted to receive the first letter and equally surprised/delighted when the second one arrived, such nice treatment to someone who isn’t even one of his constituents.

    He definately has top knotch people working for him, mirrors the boss. I’ve put the letters away, should he ever become President one of my grandchildren will definately enjoy having them.

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  4. John Cooper says: 4

    I like the videos, but my first reaction was “I want to know more about the specifics”. Upon thinking about it though, I don’t much care what the plan cuts, as long as the cuts are massive.

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  5. JustAl says: 5

    It’s too bad the GOP doesn’t have the guts to pull the plug on medicare. Healthcare costs tracked general inflation until the government got involved.

    I wonder what healthcare costs would look like without any so called “third party”.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/09/understanding_the_cause_of_hea.html

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  6. Randy says: 6

    While Ryan is a man I could vote for in 2012, there are likely more who we can not see due to the MSM distortion of their record and vision. It does look like the MSM may have concentrated so much on Palin that some other bright politicos are being able to show their wares.

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  7. James Foxx says: 7

    Curt, great videos. One could wonder why Paul Ryan doesn’t want to run for the election. He seems to have a plethora of knowledge and alot of individuals behind him for moral support.

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  8. Hard Right says: 8

    Folks, PR is good on spending, but his views on foreign affairs is apparently similar to Ron Paul’s and that IS NOT a good thing unless you think cutting off all aid to israel is the right way to go.

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  9. Nan G says: 9

    Thanks for the videos, Curt.
    One fallacious point the Left keeps making is that people, like hedge fund chiefs, are getting rich while, they, the Left are left behind.
    Anyone can invest!
    We invest.
    And we chose to hold quite a bit of our investments in gold and cash since Obama got elected.
    (Gold is NOT a great investment when prices go down, however, so, keep that in mind, potential investors.)
    Anyway, point being, though I am not with Paulson & Company specifically, I have no ill-will toward my investment chiefs making a good profit on helping my bottom line.
    Why would I?
    But the Left wants to take someone else’s cake rather than open a new box and make their own.
    There’s plenty to go around, fellas.
    Whether you are Left or Right you can click onto an investment site, or go have a meet with a representative of a firm and start building your own nest egg.
    It is SO COMMUNISTIC of you to simply want to take it away from others.

    What Paul Ryan is doing makes a whole lot of sense.
    It allows the country to get back to growing in the private sector (where real jobs come from) while saving the country from its profligate ways before it destroys itself.

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  10. johngalt says: 10

    @Hard Right:

    unless you think cutting off all aid to israel is the right way to go.

    Let me preface my comment by stating that I believe the U.S. should always support Israel in their disputes with their neighbors. Having said that, it may just be a good idea to discontinue at least some form of aid to Israel. Some of that aid comes with stipulations and restrictions on their right to fight for their own existence. If some of that kind of aid were cut off, and the limitations discontinued, we just might see what happens when a country feels threatened and then has the ability to counter those threats.

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  11. DrJohn says: 11

    Ryan is the guy who just might save the country.

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  12. DennyO says: 12

    You can only tax the rich so much…because they know how to shield and/or hide their wealth. When buffoons like John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi talk about taxing the rich, doesn’t anyone on this planet question them as to why a wealthy liberal would ever consider paying more in taxes? Simply stated, they know how to protect it from the tax man. (Has the deadbeat John Kerry moved his boat back to Mass. yet?) Off shore accounts, trusts, company owned enterprises are all ways of shielding your wealth. Warren Buffet is worth billions, but takes a salary of 100k…and that is what he pays taxes on. When the liberals start aiming at overpaid sports – baseball, football and basketball players – or the Hollywood and music crowd, then I’ll start taking them seriously.

    As for Paul Ryan, he is strictly a policy wonk and has no desire to be Prez…which is too bad because he would certainly work harder than the Prez we have now! The White House is in desperate need of adult leadership, and Paul Ryan can provide it. Go Cheeseheads!

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  13. Greg says: 13

    @Bobachek, #2:

    Given the choice between Paul Ryans plan of reduced entitlements and lower taxes or the usual Dem plan which is increasing my taxes exponentially to try to cover an ever increasing spending budget, I’ll side with Paul Ryan any day and twice on Sunday.

    There’s no doubt whatsoever that spending cuts are essential. The legitimate area of debate concerns what is to be cut and to what extent. Ryan’s plan approaches the matter of spending cuts entirely from the perspective of the right, hoping to use debt and fiscal problems as a means to further the right’s ideological agenda. Social programs that the poor, the working class, and the middle class depend upon for their security would be drastically scaled back, with an eye to their eventual elimination.

    Simultaneously, the greatest benefits of the proposals would fall to the wealthiest segment of society. Given a national debt already exceeded $14 trillion and worsening deficits that have at least in part resulted from previous tax cuts, it was argued that the extension of the high-end Bush tax cuts was fiscally irresponsible. We did it anyway. Now Ryan proposes that this be taken even further, with a permanent reduction of the highest tax rate to 25%. This, when we’ve already got the greatest top end concentration of wealth and income in U.S. history, when that upward shift of wealth and income is already continuing, and when the actual percentage of taxes at the top end is already at an historical low.

    To this across the board economic attack on the poor, the working class, and the middle class, we’ve got a coordinated effort to eliminate the political power of those same segments of society by calculated redistricting, the elimination of advocacy organizations, the elimination of unions and collective bargaining, etc. The errosion of public education and the increasing inaccessabliy of higher education for the children of mainstream America threatens to make that class-defined disempowerment permanent.

    Honestly, what does it seem like all of this will eventually add up to for the average American? Assuming you’re not among the upper 10%, what is your own personal future beginning to look like?

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  14. johngalt says: 14

    @Greg:

    There’s no doubt whatsoever that spending cuts are essential. The legitimate area of debate concerns what is to be cut and to what extent.

    Explain this to us Greg: Why is it that the liberal democrats were all up in arms over Bush’s spending and deficits, never topping $500Billion once, and now they are all up in arms over spending cuts on Obama’s deficits that have all topped $1Trillion, including the estimated $1.65Trillion deficit this year? Just how much spending cuts do you see in the budget?

    Simultaneously, the greatest benefits of the proposals would fall to the wealthiest segment of society. Given a national debt already exceeded $14 trillion and worsening deficits that have at least in part resulted from previous tax cuts, it was argued that the extension of the high-end Bush tax was fiscally irresponsible. We did it anyway.

    As has already been explained numerous times to you, even if the tax cuts for the “rich” had been discontinued, that would have only affected around $60Billion of the estimated debt, and that only if you believe that tax cuts equal spending. Were not talking about mere tens of Billions. Were talking deficits of over a TRILLION dollars. Get off the tax cuts already.

    Now Ryan proposes that this be taken even further, with a permanent reduction of the highest tax rate to 25%.

    I understand that 25% number as being the top corporate tax rate, not the top individual income tax rate.

    This, when we’ve already got the greatest top end concentration of wealth and income in U.S. history, when that upward shift of wealth and income is already continuing, and when the actual percentage of taxes at the top end is already historically low.

    Your talking about the issue and discussing how apples affect oranges. We have a spending problem in DC. Not a wealth distribution problem. Until you start seriously talking about spending cuts, and not those items of liberal rhetoric claiming how conservatives are going to kill grandmas and children, the discussion on deficits, as far as you are concerned, will be meaningless.

    To this across the board economic attack on the poor, the working class, and the middle class, we’ve got a coordinated effort to eliminate the political power of those segments of society by calculated redistricting, the elimination of advocacy organizations, and the elimination of unions and collective bargaining.

    Lots of issues there to be discussed, and not enough time right now. I’ll just state that considering the amount of the deficits, and the debt, and the massive increase in spending, including entitlement spending, under Obama and the dem congress, all items need to be on the table, especially those that lean towards political funding for favored entities.

    Honestly, what does it seem like all of this will eventually add up to for the average American? Assuming you’re not among the upper 10%, what is your own personal future beginning to look like?

    The average American won’t care, as long as the “rich” are still providing jobs and benefits to them. The number of workers that would be fired or laid off due to increasing taxes on the “rich”, is unknown, but significant.

    As for my future, I am middle class, and it looks ok, for now. I would be worried about liberals, after having gained the upper hand on the “rich”, turning their sights on the middle-class next, particularly when the unemployment rate is already high, and very liable to climb higher still with less private dollars in the economy for jobs and investment. But again, you need to get off the “unfairness” soapbox, Greg, and start looking at real spending cuts, otherwise it won’t matter who makes what, because it will be worthless anyway.

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  15. Greg says: 15

    @Missy, #3:

    Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. This is not a voucher program but rather a premium-support model.

    “Premium-support model” is simply a more easily pitched term for vouchers. The elderly will be provided with a fixed number of dollars in lieu of Medicare, to apply to private health insurance premiums. Call that fixed amount a voucher, a coupon, or a premiums support; it all comes down to the exact same thing.

    It would be “the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy” only in that one sense: that it pays a fixed-dollar amount of a health insurance premium. If anyone believes that the defined benefits of any for-profit, guaranteed-enrollment program covering millions of people who are the most likely to require expensive and prolonged medical care will be comparable to “the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy” , I’ve got both a bridge in Brooklyn and some swamp land in Florida that you might find of great interest.

    A for-profit plan serving such a high-risk, fixed-income demographic as the elderly simply can’t do that. Unless, of course, the level of premium support is very high. In which case, you’re back to an operation that’s very costly for American taxpayers.

    We might want to take note of the fact that, as a percentage of total costs, the administrative costs for Medicare are very good. The same can be said of the Social Security retirement system.

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  16. Hard Right says: 16

    Greg the parrot strikes again.
    Rawk-Hurts the poor, rawk, hurts children, rawk–rich fat cats, rawk!
    Greg’s hatred and envy of those that have earned more than he has is on display yet again.
    As for pushing our “ideological agenda”, project much greg?

    John Galt, sorry that isn’t sufficient reason to pull their funding. Not to mention it would hurt them significantly and would likely damage their ability to defend themselves.

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  17. Greg says: 17

    Here’s a link to the full text of Ryan’s The Path to Prosperity proposal, if anyone wants to examine it in detail. Before you click, be aware that there’s an 85 page .pdf document on the other end.

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  18. Aqua says: 18

    @ Greg

    Time and again, I and others here have shown you links and proof of the rampant fraud and waste in medicare, medicade, social security, and welfare. Your answer to this is to give the government more money. You don’t care that they throw away billions. Of course you don’t care, it’s not your money. It’s been said on here before, if someone is consistently busting their spending limit, you take away their credit card.

    I read the Path to Prosperity. Ryan does show the top individual and corporate rate to be 25%, but he also talks of reforming the tax code to clear out:

    burdensome tangle of deductions and loopholes that distort economic activity and leave some corporations paying no income taxes at all.

    I’m sure you’re ok with GE raking in huge profits and paying no taxes since they are a left corporation. Warren Buffett said two years ago that he paid 17.7% in taxes. If this isn’t making sense Greg, I’ll see if I can explain it…again. It is not the tax rate, it’s the tax code. The tax code is used by your buddies in the left to make sure their buddies aren’t hurt smoke and mirrors tax rate increases.
    I also see you and the house dims are up in arms about giving money to the States in the form of block grants. Why? There’s no way the States could possibly screw it up worse than Congress. I have a two year-old grand niece that couldn’t screw it up worse than Congress. Congress has absolutely no clue the problems the States go through. The 17th Amendment made sure of that.

    Finally, don’t you think that it is better that everyone move up economically instead of you and your liberal friends constantly trying to pull every down to your level? The money out there isn’t static. There are people that have money and are willing to spend it. All you have to do is find something they want to spend it on and they’ll part with it gladly.

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  19. The top 25% tax rate was, to my understanding, to apply to BOTH corporate and personal tax rates.

    If the private sector was so efficient, then private sector health care costs should be rising much slower than Medicare costs. But Medicare costs have gone up much less than the private sector costs, despite the fact that Medicare is far superior insurance (largest choice of doctors and hospitals; no “gatekeepers” limiting access to specialists, no bean counters granting or denying pre-authorization for procedures and tests, greatest consumer satisfaction, lowest cost, truly universal coverage, no exclusion for pre-existing illness, no lifetime caps on benefits, fewest medical bankruptcies, most transparent approval/denial process, most accessible appeals process, etc., unsurpassed health care outcomes).

    So, despite all the alleged fraud and waste, Medicare still does a better job than private insurance in delivering quality, cost-effective medical care. And Ryan wants to scrap this and replace it with a voucher system, wherein seniors will have all the limitations as exist with today’s private insurance plans: limitations on provider network; limitations on hospitals which are included in the plan; need for pre-authorizations; denial of access to specialists, etc. Delivered by a private health care system which has been utterly unable to control costs and which is subject to just as much fraud, only we don’t hear about it, because so much of what goes on in the private insurance sector is opaque.

    As I’ve repeatedly explained, the usual principles of market economics don’t work in the health care industry, where the sellers (doctors) make the purchase decisions for the buyers (patients). During the recession, lots of people lost their health care coverage, but doctors’ incomes didn’t fall, even thought they were seeing fewer patients, because the doctors just provided more “care” (longer consultations, more procedures, more tests) on the remaining patients. This is why the only hope for constraining costs is to base payment on outcomes, instead of on fee for service. There was $10 billion in Obamacare to pilot programs for doing precisely that.

    The other thing about Ryan’s plan is that it’s all spending cuts. Following World War II, the US had a much worse debt problem than we have today, but the debt got paid down to to a debt ratio of close to 30% of GDP by 1980, despite intervening wars and Great Society programs, because the nation taxed itself to pay for government expenses. Ever since 1980, we’ve been laboring under the illusion that we can cut taxes and borrow the difference, with the result that we have now.

    And how has the nation benefitted? Well, the top 1% has benefitted, big time, but the middle class has been either running in place or going backwards.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

    The Debt Commission had it right: it’s got to be a combination of decreased spending and increased taxes.

    We could essentially solve the debt crisis by restoring taxes to where they were in the 1990s, before the Bush tax cuts, and the 1990s were hardly a high tax era, by historical standards.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  20. John Cooper says: 20

    Larry: The only people you left out of your glowing analysis of socialized medicine were the ones you are counting on to provide your health care: The doctors themselves. You might want to ask a few doctors how they like being paid half (or less) their normal rate for Medicare patients. Check out the Medicare reimbursement schedule. Do you know they get paid only $16 for a routine office visit? Hell, that won’t even pay their light bill for the hour you are there.

    Low reimbursement rates explain why an increasing number of doctors refuse to accept Medicare patients.

    You might want to read Atlas Shrugged as well. It would do you good.

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  21. @JohnCooper: The funny thing is that the overwhelming majority of doctors do continue to accept (and welcome) Medicare patients. As I wrote, Medicare patients have, by far, the greatest choice in doctors and hospitals. Doctors are free to opt out of Medicare. When too many opt out in a given area, then Medicare increases their reimbursement rates. That’s the smart, businesslike way to control costs. You try and get your costs down by cutting back on the amount you offer to pay out until too many doctors let you know that they won’t go along with it anymore, so then you back off. It’s pure capitalism.

    Most of the doctors with the biggest gripes about reimbursement were the older male physicians who went into medicine to get rich, who got rich, and who are now resentful that they won’t be as rich. But they are facing competition from younger physicians, increasingly female, who went into medicine to be doctors and not to build financial portfolios.

    Primary care physician supply is a challenge which will be met, over time. One reason why primary care physicians largely support ObamaCare, while surgical specialists hate it is that ObamaCare is going to try to pay more to primary care and less to the specialists. But women are increasingly filling the specialties, as well.

    Medical school enrollments were cut in the late 1970s/early 1980s, because the AMA lobbied for the cuts, fearing a glut of physicians. Now we are paying the price, as it takes a lot longer to build up the size of med school classes than to cut them back.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  22. Nan G says: 22

    Medicare’s Chief Actuary, Richard Foster, begs to differ, Larry.

    He appeared at a House Budget Committee hearing.
    Here are his answers to a question from California congressman Tom McClintock:

    McCLINTOCK: True or false: The principal promise that was made in support of Obamacare was, that it would hold costs down. True or false?

    FOSTER: I would say false, more so than true.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    One way the Democrats “paid” for ObamaCare was syphoning $500 billion out of the Medicare program.

    The inevitable effect was lower payments and a decrease in the number of health care providers willing to accept Medicare patients:

    Top-ranked primary care doctor Linda Yau is one of three physicians with the [Washington, DC] District’s Foxhall Internists group who recently announced they will no longer be accepting Medicare patients.

    And those still willing to accept Medicare patients are being forced to cut back on the care they provide to them. Geriatric specialist Michael Trahos is a typical example:

    The Alexandria-based doctor has been limiting most of his Medicare patients to twice yearly rather than the quarterly checkups he considers ideal for the elderly.

    This is how government-run health care programs “control” costs. They impose price controls that make it impossible for doctors and other providers to treat all those “covered” patients. As Dr. Yau put it:

    It’s not easy. But you realize you either do this or you don’t stay in business.

    This is de facto rationing.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    For an English translation of ObamaCare, I recommend NCPA’s pamphlet: What Does Health Reform Mean for You? Among other things, it correctly points out that the costs of ”reform” will be disproportionately borne by Medicare patients (i.e. the elderly & disabled):

    More than half the cost of health reform will be paid for by $523 billion in reduced Medicare spending over the next 10 years.

    In general, these Medicare spending cuts exceed the new benefits by a factor of more than 10 to one.

    More than $200 billion in spending cuts are directed at Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. As a result, one of every two people expected to participate in MA will lose their coverage entirely.

    Those who retain their MA coverage will face steep cuts in benefits or hefty increases in premiums, or both.

    In addition to these direct costs there are indirect costs, including new taxes on drugs and medical devices — items that are disproportionately used by seniors and the disabled.

    To make matters worse, the planned cuts in Medicare fees may cause some doctors to retire and force some hospitals out of business, according to Medicare’s chief actuary.

    Moreover, as 100 million newly and more generously insured people try to increase their consumption of medical care, you may find it increasingly difficult to obtain the care you need.

    People can tout the lies all they want.
    But the truth is plain for anyone with eyes to see.
    Our family doctor just decided to no longer accept Medicare patients…..but that’s just anecdotal.
    ;)

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  23. @Nan. What you describe is not “rationing;” it’s free market bargaining. You give examples of individual doctors, in individual cities, who complain about being squeezed and opt out of Medicare. These are a very loud, very small minority. And whenever the number of physicians who opt out gets too high, reimbursement is maintained or even increased — to a level required to attract an adequate number of high quality providers.

    The fact which matters most is that Medicare patients continue to enjoy — by far — the greatest choice in providers and hospitals. Medicare patients have their choice of the largest number of top ranked doctors and hospitals in the nation — with no geographic restrictions.

    And I can’t believe the way conservatives talk out of both sides of their mouths. They complain that Medicare costs too much and they complain when Obama tries to cut the cost of Medicare.

    And.. “rationing.” Come on. Most of the rationing which goes on in the real world of fee for service medicine is private insurance companies refusing to authorize or pay for care which patients want and their physicians want.

    Either we control costs or we don’t. Medicare is currently doing a much better job of controlling costs than private sector medicine (which overpays the Dr. Yaus of the world), while providing a superior product, as I outlined.

    P.S. I just love this sentence in Nan’s post, above:

    “Moreover, as 100 million newly and more generously insured people try to increase their consumption of medical care, you may find it increasingly difficult to obtain the care you need.”

    That’s right, let’s keep all those people uninsured; so that the rest of us don’t have to deal with the riffraff in the waiting rooms. That’s why this argument can never be settled on the basis of logic or objectivity. It’s — at bottom — a philosophical debate, and personal philosophies will always differ.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  24. Greg says: 24

    @Nan G, #22:

    How do you think a guaranteed acceptance “premium-support” system would keep costs down while simultaneously assuring the same level of health care access the 0ver-65 population currently has under Medicare? Remember, they’re a segment of the population that’s most likely to require expensive services at the highest frequency; in other words, they’re generally a very bad bet for profit oriented insurance companies. What are the free market mechanisms that would keep prices under control while still maximizing service quality and accessability?

    I have never heard this explained by anyone who claims free market forces would provide better results than Medicare.

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  25. Bill Johnson says: 25

    You know, Greg, if we confiscated ALL of the wealth of ALL the billionaires in the US, it would not fund the current fiscal year deficit.

    And for act two – start on the millionaires?

    You sir, really do wish to kill the golden goose. Or tell me, how much money is ‘enough’ for one man? Do billionaires have too much? Millionaires? How many houses is too much? Cars? Boats? See if any of your fine rich Democrats give any extra to the Treasury each year. Why, no – in fact, in several rather famous cases, they evade taxes. Why is that?

    Why is Caterpillar about to leave Illinois? Why has Fidelity moved offices from Taxachussetts to New Hampshire?
    To avoid taxes. See, that what people do – avoid taxes. So what do you think they will do if you tax them more?
    Why do so many rich Britons live in Monte Carlo? How much taxes does Britain get from them?

    Ask a poor man for a job next time you need one.

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  26. John Cooper says: 26

    Larry–

    You expose yourself as a class-warrior who knows absolutely nothing about doctors when y0u post that doctors go into medicine “to get rich”. My wife works at a hospital and is on a first name basis with dozens of doctors. Not a single one is “rich”, although they certainly deserve to be. They’re basically on call 24/7 and have no personal life to speak of. Even if they earned a lot of money – which they don’t – they wouldn’t have time to spend it.

    Doctors do what they do because they love helping people and have the ability and training to do so.

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  27. @Bill Johnson: We should just return the tax levels to the way they were in the 1990s. Everyone pays just a little more — for the good of all of us. By historical standards, 1990s tax levels were not high. By world standards, they would still be quite low.

    @John: I’ve been a member of the “profession” since getting my degree in 1975 and I know whereof I speak (you can Google me).

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  28. John Cooper says: 28

    Nan G: Apparently, news travels slowly to Huntington Beach. From the NY Times:

    Doctors Are Opting Out of Medicare

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  29. John Cooper says: 29

    Well I’ll be dipped… Dr. Larry M. Weisenthal, MD “Dr. Larry Mark Weisenthal MD practices oncology and internal medicine in Huntington Beach, California. Dr. Weisenthal graduated with an MD 36 years ago.”

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  30. Greg says: 30

    @Bill Johnson, #25:

    I fully understand the terrible plight of the rich and the dreadful inconveniences that are involved in staying one step ahead of the tax man. No one likes taxes. I was thinking about that only last week as I contemplated my most recent total yearly contribution to the federal, state, county, and local governments. Be that as it may, I’m not quite ready yet to accept that the elderly of America should be herded out onto the ice flows to allow further reductions in the already-historically-low tax rates of the wealthiest.

    I’ll support what someone else has said:

    “We should just return the tax levels to the way they were in the 1990s. Everyone pays just a little more — for the good of all of us. By historical standards, 1990s tax levels were not high. By world standards, they would still be quite low.”

    Do that. And also look to rational spending cuts.

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  31. @John Cooper. It varies by region of the country. It’s always being adjusted. When too many providers opt out, then, as noted, Medicare increases reimbursement. I just went to the Medicare website and looked for a primary care doctor (in this case, entering “internal medicine”) and I got a retrieval of 289 within 15 miles of where I live.

    As I said, however, the choice of providers and hospitals in Medicare is unsurpassed. There are regional differences in provider availability with all health care plans. Anyway, as noted, the cost of health care (both strictly private sector and Medicare) is bankrupting the nation and SOMETHING has to be done about it and nothing in any of Congressman Ryan’s plans does anything to seriously address this issue in a way which preserves the current high level of medical care enjoyed by Medicare beneficiaries.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach

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  32. Curt says: 32

    Yes John, Larry is a Doctor. Has even offered to take me on a tour of his facility seeing as I live close by. While I rarely agree with him much I very much respect the work he does.

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  33. Aqua says: 33

    @ Larry

    …Congressman Ryan’s plans does anything to seriously address this issue in a way which preserves the current high level of medical care enjoyed by Medicare beneficiaries.

    Not true. The plan does nothing to end the current system for those currently enrolled and create a new program for younger workers. It will even subsidize low income people and those with greater health risks. They should also untie it from Social Security.
    Why does the government have to have their hands on everything for the left to think it’ll work. They haven’t done anything to inspire my confidence.

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  34. @Aqua: Not having the Ryan plan apply to current (and soon to be) Medicare beneficiaries was a brilliant political move. There’s no way that Ryan (or anyone) would have convinced virtually any Medicare beneficiaries to give up the greatest large scale health care plan in the world.

    Ryan’s proposal for the under 55s is a reprise of the so-called “Eldercare” originally offered by the AMA 50 years ago as an alternative to Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare. It lost back then and I’m reasonably sure that it will lose today, as well, for reasons nicely outlined by Greg.

    – Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

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  35. johngalt says: 35

    @openid.aol.com/runnswim:

    for the good of all of us.

    Very non-threatening words that lead to the servitude of all. Regardless of how high, or low, taxes are, you liberals miss one very important item when talking of taxation. Namely, the reason for it. Today, our deficits top $1Trillion dollars, while our debt has gone beyond $14Trillion. During Bush’s tenure, the average debt was right around $300Billion. For Obama, it’s about $1.3Trillion so far. $1Trillion more in debt than Bush averaged. Why is that? Part of it is due to lower federal revenues, but even then, under Obama, federal spending has topped $3.82Trillion dollars(estimated for fiscal 2011), while Bush’s last year was $2.9Trillion. So what we have is an increase in spending of around $900Billion, or roughly 32%. Is that amount of spending truly needed? Your liberal buddies in congress think so. Conservatives do not.

    @Greg:

    Be that as it may, I’m not quite ready yet to accept that the elderly of America should be herded out onto the ice flows to allow further reductions in the already-historically-low tax rates of the wealthiest.

    Hmmmm. I coulda swore I saw SanFranNan say that very thing recently. Really, though, I’d think you could pick a much worthier cause than the old people. How about the children that will starve to death?

    Do that. And also look to rational spending cuts.

    I asked you earlier to explain what cuts you think are acceptable. I don’t think I missed your post on it, so I’ll ask again. As well, while your at it, explain just how higher tax rates for individuals won’t push the economy into a full blown recession, rather than a stagnation, or slight recovery, such as is going on now.

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  36. Greg says: 36

    @johngalt, #35:

    I asked you earlier to explain what cuts you think are acceptable. I don’t think I missed your post on it, so I’ll ask again. As well, while your at it, explain just how higher tax rates for individuals won’t push the economy into a full blown recession, rather than a stagnation, or slight recovery, such as is going on now.

    Off the top of my head, I’d have a go at farm subsidies. (To Ryan’s credit that’s on his list.) A defense budget that’s larger than the total of the budgets of the next 5 highest-spending nations combined bears close examination. I get the impression that contracter cost over-runs are the norm across a wide range of governmental programs. I’d definitely get rid of the provision that prohibits Medicare from bargaining for lower prescription drug prices.

    Would anyone care to take a shot at the question in #24? I’m genuinely curious about that.

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  37. johngalt says: 37

    What is the liberal’s answer to Paul Ryan’s plan? How about this from David Leonhardt of the NYT;

    A fairer, more fiscally conservative plan would not postpone dealing with Medicare. It would leave in place the cost control measures in the health reform bill and go even further to reward the quality of care rather than the volume. Obviously, these steps would run some risk of restricting good treatments, too. But, remember, we’re facing “an existential threat.” We can’t limit ourselves to solutions without risks.

    Next, the federal government would raise taxes. As countries have grown richer over time, they have historically paid higher taxes — to cover the costs of a strong military, good schools, comfortable retirements and other luxuries that the free market doesn’t provide.

    Affluent Americans, in particular, can afford higher taxes. They have received far larger raises in recent decades than any other income group, and their tax rates have fallen far more. Yet Mr. Ryan would reduce them further.

    Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/clay-waters/2011/04/06/nyt-econ-writer-david-leonhardts-simple-budgetary-solutions-ration-heal#ixzz1InKhlTeD

    I especially like the part about “strong military, good schools, comfortable retirement and other luxuries that the free market doesn’t provide”. There is so much wrong with that statement.
    -One, last time I checked, luxuries were not a listed, or even implied freedom in the Constitution. Similarly, Article I, Section 8 doesn’t list luxury procurement as one of the powers of congress.
    -Two, a strong military is not a ‘luxury’. It is a specific requirement of congress and the federal government in it’s job to provide for the common defense of the several states.
    -Three, it isn’t a failure of the free market. It is a failure of common sense regarding federal spending. Namely, the tendency to spend more than is taken in.
    -Four, comfortable retirement? Since when is SS supposed to provide for comfortable retirement. The original mission of SS was supposed to provide basic subsistence income to the elderly.

    Gotta love this statement;

    Affluent Americans, in particular, can afford higher taxes.

    And your point? I’m middle class, and I can afford higher taxes. There are people on the low end of the pay scale that can afford higher taxes. What the hell kind of argument is that? Simple jealousy, promoted by liberals.

    Remember, everyone, to a liberal, it isn’t about how much you put into your job or business, through blood, sweat, tears, and your own risks. It isn’t about how well you do your job, or the little niche in business you’ve found that no one else has. It isn’t about your own frugality in running your business that allows for higher profits. It isn’t about your special skills that few, if any, other people have, or have applied to the kind of work you do. It isn’t about the years and years of little to nothing to show for it just to ensure that eventually your business would grow by leaps and bounds. It isn’t about your intelligence applied to your pursuits that gained you wealth.

    It’s simply about how much you can afford to pay in taxes. I remember seeing a faux tax form when Clinton was President. On one line it asked, “How much did you make?”. On line two it simply stated, “Send it in”. That line highlighted above reminded me of that, but I didn’t find myself laughing this time.

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  38. johngalt says: 38

    @Greg:

    Those are acceptable to look at, even defense spending. As I said, though, all areas of spending needs to be subject to the cutting room. I’d start with those items not specifically addressed by the Constitution, and allow debate on whether they fit under certain phrases or sections, bearing in mind what the founding fathers wrote about the Constitution, and referencing the Federalist Papers often.

    As for your question #24, I do not know enough about Medicare to comment on it specifically. I will note, however, that as an entitlement program, Medicare gets more than the taxes generated for it, as does SS. As such, it is akin to talking about how to make an apple pie, with oranges.

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  39. another vet says: 39

    One of the strangest commercials I ever heard was a couple of months back when AARP was urging people to call their congressional rep to urge them to stop the pending cuts to Medicare because it was going to result in a shortage of doctors accepting Medicare. Didn’t they support the bill? Pretty ironic. Nothing like throwing your constituency under the bus.

    Larry- Being a prostate cancer patient I can appreciate the work you do.

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  40. Gary Kukis says: 40

    @DennyO:

    You can only tax the rich so much…because they know how to shield and/or hide their wealth.

    900+ tax attorneys work for GE; that seemed to work out pretty well for them.

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  41. Aqua says: 41

    @ Larry

    …the greatest large scale health care plan in the world.

    Down the street from me is one of the greatest houses I’ve ever seen…but I can’t afford it. I’d really like to live there though. Maybe I can get everyone else in the country to contribute their money so I can live there.
    So, what is the “greatest large scale health care plan in the world” going to do when there is no more money?

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  42. Gary Kukis says: 42

    @Greg:

    There’s no doubt whatsoever that spending cuts are essential. The legitimate area of debate concerns what is to be cut and to what extent.

    There is Ryan’s plan and the debt commission’s plan (some of which was incorporated into Ryan’s plan, like tax simplification). There are no other plans out there.

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  43. Gary Kukis says: 43

    Speaking as an older citizen (I’m 60), my biggest problem is, Paul Ryan did not go far enough. He should have dealt with my benefits as well. I’m not sure when retirement is, but I have no problem with it being raised to 70 or 75. If people have put aside money in order to retire early, great; if not, then they need to wait. The idea that our culture has sunk to the point where people honestly believe that they ought to be paid to retire at age 55 or so with full medical and 70-90% salaries (as some state and federal workers have) is absolutely immoral.

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  44. Gary Kukis says: 44

    @Aqua:

    Down the street from me is one of the greatest houses I’ve ever seen…but I can’t afford it. I’d really like to live there though. Maybe I can get everyone else in the country to contribute their money so I can live there.

    All you need is a little Obama money from Obama’s stash. Just hold out your hand….

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  45. suek says: 45

    As someone said – even if you confiscate every penny “the rich” earn, plus every penny they own, plus their assets – it wouldn’t be enough. Spending simply _must_ be cut.

    Here’s a version in color:

    http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-smash-liberal-tax-cuts-for.html

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