The GOP’s Flim-Flam Man 10 Year Plan

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

First of all, didn't we used to mock the Soviet Union for its 10 year plans? Just asking.

Roadmap_ruinI have told you about the Tea-Publicans' so-called  "economics guru," Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. I told you about his "Roadmap to America's Future (Ruin)," i.e., the basis for the new "GOP Contract on America" last year. The GOP Road to Ruin; Update: The GOP Road to Ruin; GOP's Roadmap to America's Future (Ruin): Plutocracy on Steroids.

And in The GOP's Flimflam Man, I told you that Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman took a look at this "economic guru's" roadmap and declared it to be a fraud:

Paul Krugman opinion, The Flimflam Man – NYTimes.com:

[I]t’s the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.

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The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center … numbers indicate that the Ryan plan would reduce revenue by almost $4 trillion over the next decade. If you add these revenue losses to the numbers The Post cites, you get a much larger deficit in 2020, roughly $1.3 trillion. And that’s about the same as the budget office’s estimate of the 2020 deficit under the Obama administration’s plans. That is, Mr. Ryan may speak about the deficit in apocalyptic terms, but even if you believe that his proposed spending cuts are feasible — which you shouldn’t — the Roadmap wouldn’t reduce the deficit. All it would do is cut benefits for the middle class while slashing taxes on the rich.

And I do mean slash. The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

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the main alleged saving would come from sharp cuts in Medicare, achieved by dismantling Medicare as we know it, and instead giving seniors vouchers and telling them to buy their own insurance. Does this sound familiar? It should. It’s the same plan Newt Gingrich tried to sell in 1995.

And we already know, from experience with the Medicare Advantage program, that a voucher system would have higher, not lower, costs than our current system. The only way the Ryan plan could save money would be by making those vouchers too small to pay for adequate coverage. Wealthy older Americans would be able to supplement their vouchers, and get the care they need; everyone else would be out in the cold.

In practice, that probably wouldn’t happen: older Americans would be outraged — and they vote. But this means that the supposed budget savings from the Ryan plan are a sham.

So why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It’s not just inability to do the math, although that’s part of it. There’s also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there’s deference to power — the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn’t point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.

But they don’t. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.

House Republicans are preparing to introduce the Flim-Flam Man's 10-year budget plan on Tuesday that will eliminate Medicare and replace it with a private insurance system that closely resembles the new health care law, and end Medicaid as an entitlement program all together. House GOP's 'Radical' Plan To Overhaul Medicare, Medicaid | TPMDC:

Here's what this means if you're elderly, disabled, or poor.

Low-income Medicaid beneficiaries will lose their guaranteed benefits altogether. Currently, Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal government and states, which are required to provide comprehensive health care benefits to people in poverty. Ryan's plan turns the program into block grants for the states — states get a bunch of cash from the feds and have to make the best of it. For many states, that will mean severe benefit rollbacks. [see Arizona]

Seniors, and others on Medicare, would be in a slightly different predicament. Currently seniors 65 and over are guaranteed a defined benefit program: taxpayers finance the system, and the government agrees to pay for seniors' health care services (though seniors have to pitch in too). Ryan's plan would leave that system intact for anybody currently on Medicare, or expecting to be on Medicare within 10 years. For everyone else the program would be radically overhauled. Future beneficiaries would no longer have a single payer system to rely on. Rather, they'd be given a menu of private insurance plans to pick from, and subsidies to help pay their premiums. If those premiums skyrocket, that's on them. If the insurers themselves aren't required to pay for whatever the doctor orders, then the guaranteed benefits will erode.

Recently Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt — a respected health care expert — described the plan this way: "Under the defined contribution approach envisaged by the Rivlin-Ryan plan, most of the risk of future health-care cost increases would be shifted onto the shoulders of Medicare beneficiaries. This feature makes the proposal radical."

But it's structured an awful lot like the new health care law, which means the GOP's position on health care is about to become Obamacare for seniors, but not for anybody else.

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Ryan's plan will also propose tax reforms that lower corporate and upper-income tax rates, while eliminating certain loopholes. The details of that part of his plan are unclear [see Krugman above], but if they adhere to his Roadmap for America's Future, the GOP budget will propose to overhaul the tax code in a way that reduces the burden on the wealthy and increases it on the poor and middle classes.

The Roadmap to America's Future Ruin is about to begin. You were warned.

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