Monday, August 13, 2012

Fixing What's Broke

Some years ago I was on a plane ride from hell, being seated between two older women pontificating (to each other) about the G. W. Bush initiative to reform (and save) Social Security. One lady stated that she wanted "those folks in Washington to stay out of my personal affairs". Unsaid (by her or me) was that "her personal affairs" involved "my personal affairs" and those of my kids and grandkids. But putting that aside, these ladies seemed ignorant of the fact that the Bush proposal did not affect them at all. Bush wanted to give workers under the age of 55 (which didn't include my travel companions) the option of putting a portion of their SS contributions into private accounts.

There's the same widespread ignorance about Republican proposals to save Medicare. And it's not like the impending collapse of Medicare is a controversial issue. Here is Barack Obama on the subject last July.

“...if you look at the numbers, then Medicare in particular will run out of money and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.”

Naturally, our cojone-free president is doing nothing about this. Nor are his equally gutless congressional colleagues. (Ron Wyden being the notable exception). As Nancy Pelosi put it, "We have a plan for Medicare. It's called Medicare." Placing the two quotes side by side reveals the heart and soul of the Democratic Party. The task to fix the program is left to politically courageous statesmen like Paul Ryan.

Since Democrats are readying ads showing Ryan wheeling a crippled grandma in front of an onrushing locomotive or into a cauldron of boiling oil*, it is necessary to present his actual prescription for Medicare reform. Here is a nice, concise explanation from the editors of National Review.

The Romney-Ryan proposal — which has the support of liberal Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon — would let senior citizens choose a coverage plan provided either by the federal government or by a private company. The government would defray the cost of purchasing the plan selected. The providers would submit bids showing the premiums they would charge to cover the benefits Medicare has traditionally offered. The second-lowest bid would set the amount the government would provide for each beneficiary.

Seniors who picked the second-cheapest provider would have their entire premium paid by the government, and seniors who picked the cheapest would get a check for the difference. Seniors who picked a more expensive plan would have to pay the difference out of pocket.

The NR editors don't mention it here, but again, those over the age of 55 (darn it, that's me) will be stuck with the same lousy system. Also, the private plans would have to meet government standards. It's not like the government is going to hand over some money and tell seniors, "You're on your own."

Repeatedly faced with the weakness of their positions on issues, liberals do not bother making persuasive arguments. Instead they lie, cheat, misrepresent or just change the subject.** That they get away with this to a disappointingly large extent doesn't reflect well on the uninformed electorate they are targeting. For his part, Ryan believes that treating constituents like children will backfire and that they can be engaged in an intelligent discussion of the issues. I'm not so sure.

*He's already been shown throwing her off a cliff.
Leftist propaganda is tending increasingly toward self-parody as indicated by this ad and the more recent production, "The Life of Julia", a celebration of enfeeblement.

NR article

**For an example of the latter, there's Obama's non-response to Ryan's now famous evisceration of Obamacare. (You Tube link below - Unfortunately the video doesn't show Obama refusing to address Ryan's talking points).

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