Incredibly, This Really Happened

Just a quick review of what Republicans ran on in 2010:

In Florida, the conservative 60-Plus Association took aim at Democratic members of Congress Allen Boyd, Alan Grayson and Suzanne Kosmas. The ad said the new health care law “will cut $500 billion from Medicare. That will hurt the quality of our care.”

In Pennsylvania, the Republican-controlled group Crossroads GPS attacked Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak, saying he “voted to gut Medicare … reducing benefits for 854,489 seniors.”

In California, Crossroads GPS said Barbara Boxer “voted to cut spending on Medicare benefits by $500 billion, cuts so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.”

Alex Sink wants to “cut Medicare.”
Rick Scott, Wednesday, September 1st, 2010.

Seniors and the disabled “will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”
Sarah Palin, Friday, August 7th, 2009.

And here’s John Boehner:

“Once again today, Democrats are peddling talking points that are directly contradicted by their actual legislation. They are holding a press conference to pat themselves on the back for ‘protecting’ Medicare, even though their government takeover of health care bill would cut seniors’ Medicare benefits by $500 billion. Are you kidding me? The American people are fed up with Washington politicians who say one thing and do another.”

I was getting a piece of direct mail every day from Karl Rove’s Crossroads group here in Ohio, and every single one was “Democrats cut 500 billion from Medicare”.

All of that was, of course, a lie, but we can agree they ran on saving Medicare from the big, bad Democrats, right?

And, they get a majority in the House…

Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington.

The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills.

Republicans are hoping to retain the senior citizen vote by pushing this off on those 55 or younger.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Ryan’s cowardly dodge of waiting ten years to end Medicare will mitigate GOP losses.

When I talk to people about health care, the most frightened and insecure segment are people who are now in their fifties, because they’re worried they’ll lose their job and won’t be able to get another one with health benefits. This is a completely rational and reasonable fear, by the way.

They’re all waiting to get on Medicare.

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116 replies
  1. 1
    Citizen Alan says:

    Say, this Paul Ryan guy looks like a real jerk! Too bad he ran completely unopposed in 2010 and will probably do so again in 2012.

  2. 2
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    In other words, Projection Works, because the public is too dumb to spot blatant hypocrites until it’s too fucking late. Brilliant.

  3. 3
    jrg says:

    This is old news.

    This is also the reason I believe that medicare must be cut in order to have a reasonable discussion about healthcare… Otherwise, you wind up with what we’ve got – geriatric, expensive to insure tea baggers howling about socialism whenever the prospect of insuring anyone other than lilly white septuagenarians pops up.

  4. 4

    I keep thinking that eventually the Republicans will try something so batshit crazy that it will cost them for the long term, and it keeps not happening–the cost, I mean, not the trying. And I have to wonder if this is just the endgame of what I was fed as a teenager in the 80’s, that by the time I get old enough to retire, Social Security and Medicare won’t be there for me. That they would be if Republicans would stop trying to destroy them is beside the point–my generation had the idea planted in our heads that they wouldn’t be, so Republican attempts to make that idea come to fruition don’t seem so odd anymore.

  5. 5
    jrg says:

    This is old news.

    This is also the reason I believe that medicare must be cut in order to have a reasonable discussion about healthcare… Otherwise, you wind up with what we’ve got – geriatric, expensive to insure tea baggers howling about soc1alism whenever the prospect of insuring anyone other than lilly white septuagenarians pops up.

  6. 6
    cmorenc says:

    Of course, this will only work if Democratic politicians grow enough backbone to fully embrace the principles FDR laid the groundwork for and aggressively challenge the GOP, going all-in to call their bet, instead of timidly hedging and hawing and meeting the GOP juggernaut with what amounts to “yes, but…”.

    Will it happen? Hope so, but first Obama has to realize this isn’t some seminar debate, it’s a knife fight.

  7. 7
    America's Median Voter says:

    Cut brown people more than me, or before me, and I am so there.

    Provided always you get offa my lawn!

  8. 8
    Suffern ACE says:

    I wonder how long the “No one under 55 will be affected” lasts.

  9. 9
    Kay says:

    @jrg:

    It may be old news to those who read The Economist, but the fact is they ran in Florida and the rust belt states on Democrats cutting Medicare.
    I was here in Ohio. I saw what happened.

  10. 10
    burnspbesq says:

    And if you think it’s a coincidence that a House Ways & Means subcommittee held a hearing last Friday on whether AARP has violated the rules governing its tax exempt status, I have a bridge that I’m willing to sell you at a deep, deep discount.

  11. 11
    James E Powell says:

    The Republicans ran a campaign based on lies and they won?

    This is news?

  12. 12
    Lurking Canadian says:

    It is not incredible that politicians lie during campaigns. What is incredible is that they will get away with it, because the supine media will not allow them to be called the baldfaced liars they are and the issue will have no traction in the next election.

    Actually, it would not surprise me if, in the next election, the Republicans run successfully on how President Obama thwarted their efforts to save Medicare through needed reforms.

  13. 13
    BGinCHI says:

    Benen has four must-read posts on this. Click over for the devastation:

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

    Scroll down as they were posted earlier today.

    Krugman points out that we wouldn’t even save any money. It’s a naked GOP power grab.

  14. 14
    Dennis SGMM says:

    Republicans are hoping to retain the senior citizen vote by pushing this off on those 55 or younger.

    Any over-55 who falls for that horseshit deserves every bite of the catfood they’ll be eating. As soon as the herd gets divided the Republicans will begin pitting the younger against the elder. When the unders get angry enough and start clamoring loud enough then the R’s will “Do the will of the people,” by cutting Medicare for the over-55’s.

    Divide and subjugate.

  15. 15
    me says:

    @Citizen Alan: He didn’t run unopposed in the general election, I voted for his opponent, but he won handily. All of his challengers have been terrible. I hope the Wisconsin DP can find a good challenger for 2012 to take advantage of the chaos in Madison.

  16. 16
    kay says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    As soon as the herd gets divided

    I know this is serious bidness, but that made me laugh.

    Back to outrage! :)

  17. 17
    Judas Escargot says:

    Any over-55 who falls for that horseshit deserves every bite of the catfood they’ll be eating. As soon as the herd gets divided the Republicans will begin pitting the younger against the elder. When the unders get angry enough and start clamoring loud enough then the R’s will “Do the will of the people,” by cutting Medicare for the over-55’s.

    This, sadly, is exactly how I think it will play out in the long term.

    I say ‘sadly’ because those older white teabaggers, having drained the Treasury, will be dead. And the over-55 set of that era will be those in their mid 30s/40s now.

    Yet another instance of Xers paying for the excesses of (some of) their predecessors.

  18. 18
    Stillwater says:

    Kay, you’ve come a long way in fully accepting the mendacity of the modern GOP. But you still seem too easily shocked by it. Eg,. these guys aren’t hypocrites, or flip-floppers, or irrational/inconsistent. They’re employing useful tools to achieve very specific goals. And they’re very good at it.

  19. 19
    danimal says:

    I’ve got to hope this is a bridge too far for the majority of Americans.

  20. 20
    Culture of Truth says:

    Because of the new 72 hour rule, to vote by Friday night the bill must be proposed and online by Tuesday night. Unless they break the rule.

  21. 21
    mds says:

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Ryan’s cowardly dodge of waiting ten years to end Medicare will mitigate GOP losses.

    Er, I suggest you review all the unmitigated horseshit you quoted earlier in your post, with which the GOP made enormous electoral gains in 2010.

    @Suffern ACE:

    I wonder how long the “No one under 55 will be affected” lasts.

    Until the second year of the change?

  22. 22
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    The Koch’s are demanding that the GOP commit suicide? That’s some pretty strong mojo. You would almost think its a plot by Soros.

  23. 23
    Kirk Spencer says:

    When I talk to people about health care, the most frightened and insecure segment are people who are now in their fifties, because they’re worried they’ll lose their job and won’t be able to get another one with health benefits. This is a completely rational and reasonable fear, by the way.

    51. Unemployed for three years, despite a master’s degree and a couple decades of experience. I’ve recently been told I can have a job that pays minimum wage, no benefits.

    And the only light in my tunnel, that medicare package a decade and a half down the road, is being shut off.

    I am angry.

  24. 24
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    Its just Distributed Jesusland in action.
    The thing about Distributed Jesusland, that it can only win local elections.
    So it can never control the senate or the executive branch.
    The Founders set up their utopia that way.
    ;)

  25. 25
    Stillwater says:

    @Culture of Truth: Unless they break the rule.

    Aren’t rules officially quaint now?

  26. 26
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Stillwater: Not in this case, because the Tea Party pushed for the 72 hour rule, and Boehner is terrified of them.

  27. 27
    jwb says:

    @Suffern ACE: As long as they need the votes. This has been in the cards for a good long time. Every fucking government program has been eviscerated the moment the bulk of the baby boomers have passed through the gate. This may be a miscalculation, however, in that it leaves about four years more of the baby boomer generation on the outside of the policy than has been the case in the past. Normally the change in policy as affected those born after 1960; this one, if I’m reading it right, would affect those born after 1956.

    In any case, the political tactics are clear enough: use generation warfare to roll back medicare and social security.

  28. 28
    Stillwater says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: The Koch’s are demanding that the GOP commit suicide? That’s some pretty strong mojo.

    Maybe they’ve convinced GOP reps that by destroying civil society they’ll be greeted as liberators.

  29. 29
    Joey Maloney says:

    When I talk to people about health care, the most frightened and insecure segment are people who are now in their fifties, because they’re worried they’ll lose their job and won’t be able to get another one with health benefits. This is a completely rational and reasonable fear, by the way.

    Which is why it will receive absolutely no attention in any news coverage of this story and will have absolutely no influence over the outcome of the debate.

    I’m reminded of a supporter of Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaign who approached him after a campaign appearance. “Senator,” she said, “you have the vote of every thinking American!”

    “Unfortunately, madam,” he replied, “I need a majority.”

  30. 30
    gnomedad says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937:

    The Koch’s are demanding that the GOP commit suicide?

    Unfortunately, by burning the house down around them.

  31. 31
    Catsy says:

    @Brian S (formerly Incertus):

    I keep thinking that eventually the Republicans will try something so batshit crazy that it will cost them for the long term, and it keeps not happening—the cost, I mean, not the trying.

    At this point I’m about out of “bridge too far” moments. I’m at the point where I’ll believe it when I see it.

    That said, they’ve overreached so blatantly and excessively this time that I can’t fathom how they pull the wool over people’s eyes this time around. It really is all about the economy–and after two years of futilely trying to ram through culture war shibboleths and completely ignoring jobs and the economy, I don’t see how they have anything to sell in 2012.

    And I have to wonder if this is just the endgame of what I was fed as a teenager in the 80’s, that by the time I get old enough to retire, Social Security and Medicare won’t be there for me.

    Yep. It’s like the well-known correlation between what Republicans accuse others of doing and what they’re actually guilty of themselves–that projection extends to their fearmongering as well.

    When Republicans warn that X liberal policy will put Americans at risk of terrorism, you can count on their preferred alternative policy being the one to create that risk.

    When Republicans warn that government is untrustworthy, inefficient and ineffective, they say that because they’re incapable of governing any other way.

    And when Republicans warn that you can’t rely on Social Security and Medicare being there when you’re older, that’s because they’ve spent their careers trying to destroy it.

  32. 32
    Kay says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    51. Unemployed for three years, despite a master’s degree and a couple decades of experience. I’ve recently been told I can have a job that pays minimum wage, no benefits.

    I know it’s cold comfort, but I hear it a lot.

    As I said, I think it’s completely rational fear and anger.

  33. 33
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @danimal:

    I’ve got to hope this is a bridge too far for the majority of Americans.

    As long as there’s a promise of hippies to punch on the other side and/or less brown people to worry about, no bridge is too far for most Americans.

  34. 34
    Nellcote says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Not in this case, because the Tea Party pushed for the 72 hour rule, and Boehner is terrified of them.

    I thought they already violated that with the budget bill or maybe it was one of the many, many many anti abortion bills.
    They’ve already violated the teabagger “must associate bill with specific constitutional provision” rule.

  35. 35

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think Ryan’s cowardly dodge of waiting ten years to end Medicare will mitigate GOP losses.

    I do. Americans are fucking idiots. This will work like gangbusters, buying off the Boomers at the expense of everyone who came afterwards. It worked with the automotive manufacturers, it worked with the grocery unions – it always works.

    Plus, you have forgotten the #1 law of the Tea Party: stick it to the uppity nigger in the White House and all those dirty brown people and hippies, and we’ll do just fine.

    (disclaimer: they will not do “just fine”. Refer to my comments about the stupidity of Americans above)

  36. 36

    @Catsy: Yeah, I gave up on trying to find a bottom to this thing about the time that Bush replaced Ashcroft with Gonzales and I discovered that indeed, yes, you could do worse as AG than Ashcroft. It’s like trying to figure out a crazy person’s next move, and I mean crazy-crazy, not Sheen-crazy.

  37. 37
    kay says:

    @Failure, Inc.:

    This will work like gangbusters, buying off the Boomers at the expense of everyone who came afterwards

    We’ll see, but I think the people on Medicare who voted for Republicans to protect Medicare are a different group than those people in their fifties, who were counting on Medicare.

  38. 38
    Lee says:

    IF you want get all 11 dimensional chess on this and you think the Democrats have the balls to do it this could work out well….

    One of the issues with Medicare is that you ONLY have 65+ enrolled. So if you look at it as insurance it is destined to fail. As some have suggested (Lieberman?) if you open enrollment to 55+ you have a better chance of at least breaking even.

    So the Democrats use this piece of policy excrement to point out that fact as well as how this will ACTUALLY defund Medicare, they could get some traction.

    But they would have to have an actual backbone to do this.

  39. 39

    @Nellcote:

    They’ve already violated the teabagger “must associate bill with specific constitutional provision” rule.

    Which really pissed me off because I had a whole conceptual poetry project ready to go based on that, and they denied me my material.

  40. 40
    jrg says:

    @jwb:

    In any case, the political tactics are clear enough: use generation warfare to roll back medicare and social security.

    If that’s their goal, I’d like to see them go ahead and accomplish it. I’m 35, and have been paying into SS and Medicare for a decade. If I’m not going to benefit from either of these programs, I want to stop paying for them.
    @Failure, Inc.:

    Americans are fucking idiots.

    Hear, hear. Many of them are too stupid to google “U.S. federal budget” to see how they benefit from social programs. This is regrettable, but eliminating Medicare is a sure-fire way to get elderly voters who have spent the last 30 years polishing Reagan’s decaying knob to comprehend the fact that social programs do not come from mana that drips from Jeebus’ ass.

  41. 41
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    They’re all waiting to get on Medicare.

    They’ll get the same kind of coverage we all got with the ACA. Free market bitchez!

  42. 42
    gene108 says:

    @Brian S (formerly Incertus):

    I keep thinking that eventually the Republicans will try something so batshit crazy that it will cost them for the long term, and it keeps not happening—the cost, I mean, not the trying.

    If Iraq didn’t hurt them in the long run, nothing will.

    Vietnam crippled the Democrats nationally, from what I’ve read (too young to have lived through it) and helped set the stage for Republicans being “tough” on defense and Democrats being “weak” on defense.

    I don’t see anything the Republicans do causing that kind of permanent damage. They control the media. They tell enough people what to think, they don’t have to worry about the other 50%-1, who don’t agree with them.

    And I have to wonder if this is just the endgame of what I was fed as a teenager in the 80’s, that by the time I get old enough to retire, Social Security and Medicare won’t be there for me. That they would be if Republicans would stop trying to destroy them is beside the point—my generation had the idea planted in our heads that they wouldn’t be, so Republican attempts to make that idea come to fruition don’t seem so odd anymore.

    In the early 1980’s, there was a real problem with Social Security solvency. They raised payroll tax and solved the problem for 50 or 60 years, i.e. 1983 new Social Security tax package gets enacted and by 2037 it will be time to revisit the issue.

    What’s impressive about the Social Security and Medicare are broke and need to be destroyed to save America line of reasoning is (a) it is hugely unpopular, as seen by Bush, Jr.’s failure to get private Social Security accounts, which were much less radical than anything being proposed now, off the ground and (b) they keep pushing the need to scrap Social Security and Medicare and I think eventually they will succeed.

    Whatever vested interests want to do away with these programs really seem to have taken the long view, in terms of dismantling them. They just don’t quit. Ever.

    They’re freaking Terminators, they’ll keep coming until we’re all dead.

  43. 43
    Culture of Truth says:

    In any case, they’re aiming for Tuesday night.

    Obama has invited Reid and Boehner over for a chat Tuesday.

  44. 44
    vtr says:

    I’m 66.8333 years old, and have been a political junkie since the Kennedy Administration. I’m right now scratching my head, wondering why I can’t see the incandescent brilliance of Paul Ryan, and his earnest concern for all our great nation’s citizens.His bumper sticker reads, “As you have unto the least of these,my brothers…”

  45. 45
    opie jeanne, formerly known as Jeanne Ringland says:

    Aw hell, Kay, it’s not just the 60-somethings who are scared; we retired a year ago by taking a little less than we would get if my husband and I worked until we were both 65, and it seemed like a lot. He is now 64 and I am 61, just lost our excellent Kaiser coverage (yes, Kaiser was excellent) because we retired too far from the nearest clinic, and are now all too aware of how wonderful the for-profits are not. We are holding our breath waiting for Medicare to kick in, because we have each had a couple of visits to the doctor and the pharmacy bills and standard lab test costs will reduce us to poverty if we aren’t careful. So here we are, retired on what would seem to be a more than adequate amount and we are reduced to rationing our own health care.

  46. 46
    Zifnab says:

    Can we just cut Medicare in the Red States? As a Texas Resident, I wouldn’t even mind. I’m young. I’m healthy. And I’m willing to bet that the large number of elderly rural voters will notice when their local clinics fold up and their doctors stop seeing them because Republicans don’t think Medicare is worth it anymore.

  47. 47
    Marc says:

    Does the defeatism serve some actual purpose? We’re seeing some very concrete examples (e.g. recall petitions) of over-reach.

    Perhaps the Chicken Little stuff (in comments here) could wait on actual evidence?

  48. 48
    gene108 says:

    @Lee:

    But they would have to have an actual backbone to do this.

    They have the backbone, what they need is a megaphone, so people will hear what they are saying. They lack the megaphone. The MSM won’t pay attention to what Democrats say.

    I’m sure Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have held pressers about protecting Social Security and Medicare. The amount of time the chattering classes have spent on those press conferences would be incredibly tiny, if they were covered at all.

  49. 49
    opie jeanne, formerly known as Jeanne Ringland says:

    And I’m in moderation. I said the H E L L word.

  50. 50
    Percysowner says:

    58 with a 24 year old daughter, who I want to have a safety net for when SHE gets to be old. Perhaps the over 55 crowd will cave, but a lot of us have children and even though we ARE DFHs who are liberal, we actually do love and care about what happens to our kids and to other peoples kids. I will fight tooth and nail to make certain that there is some security for my child in this country. Plus I figure calling out the National Guard and shooting a bunch of DFH’s is a whole lot different from calling out the National Guard and shooting a bunch of little old ladies in tennis shoes or even worse wheel chairs because they are protesting government policies. Yeah, northeast Ohio born and bred, I DO know where all this can lead.

  51. 51
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @gene108:

    No, they can get a megaphone. The problem is the megaphone is only offered to the Dems who appease or simply flat out agree with the GOP, and that discourages anyone with a fucking spine from working. So thus, even those with spines are forced to be essentially GOP lite or simply shout into the ether.

  52. 52
    gene108 says:

    @Zifnab:

    Can we just cut Medicare in the Red States?

    I hope so.

    I’m for cutting all federal spending in Red States. If their Congress people don’t vote for a budget bill, for example, their constituents shouldn’t get the rewards of the money from the budget bill going to their states and districts.

    It’d be interesting to see how many Republican assholes change their tune, when they know their vote will cost them something.

    They voted against ARRA, knowing if it passed their districts would still be covered. I’d like to remove that certainty.

  53. 53
    Paul in KY says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: The founders also counted on an informed electorate.

  54. 54
    Nellcote says:

    OT but why are all the primaries in red states?

  55. 55
    mds says:

    Oh, give the Boomer bashing a rest, already. It’s not “the Boomers” en masse who were waving Keep Government Out of My Medicare signs at teabagger rallies. Wage-earning Boomers experienced an increase in their FICA taxes during the height of their earning years in order to fully fund the demographic bulge they put in the Social Security program. This also offset the imminent shortfall in the trust fund which the General Fund was unable to cover due to an enormous income tax cut benefiting rich people whether they were Boomers or not. The resulting trust fund surplus was then borrowed against to fund more income tax cuts primarily benefiting rich people whether they’re Boomers or not. Unless there are hard data illustrating how Baby Boomers are exclusively rich teabaggers, it might be a good idea to stop regurgitating a right-wing talking point which is a picture perfect example of:

    As soon as the herd gets divided the Republicans will begin pitting the younger against the elder.

    And the under-55 provision isn’t to make sure that all Boomers are protected, since not all of them are even over 55 yet. It’s to reassure certain current recipients, the ones who turned out to yell incoherently at town halls, that they’re not even close to having their own benefits disrupted, so they’ll continue voting enthusiastically for stomping on gays, sluts, illegals, and undeserving poor people.

  56. 56
    artem1s says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    yes, targeting the 55+ crowd but I think the Dems underestimate how terrified the 30-40 set is at the prospect of having to pay their parents medical bills. I know it scared the crap out of me when my dad died. Not so much for me but realizing how much his illness and death were going to affect my mom’s standard of living from here on out. I know if I and my siblings were unemployed or looking at foreclosure it would have been a far more important part of our conversations over that last year. As it is we are fortunate that our own financials didn’t have to be part of the mourning process and the whole thing didn’t completely wipe out my mom’s ability to take care of herself.

  57. 57
    OzoneR says:

    @cmorenc:

    this isn’t some seminar debate, it’s a knife fight

    why don’t we just cut the chase and fight another civil war

  58. 58
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Paul in KY:

    The founders also counted on an informed electorate.

    no they didnt. They just built so that the uninformed could only have local control.
    The system is WAI.
    ;)

  59. 59
    Kay says:

    @artem1s:

    yes, targeting the 55+ crowd but I think the Dems underestimate how terrified the 30-40 set is at the prospect of having to pay their parents medical bills.

    This is a really good point, especially since (as I’m always harping on here) Medicaid pays the bill for dual eligible elderly once they spend all their assets on medical care. It’s 48% of Medicaid spending, disabled and elderly.

    And they want to cut a trillion out of Medicaid.

  60. 60
    licensed to kill time says:

    @opie jeanne, formerly known as Jeanne Ringland:
    It’s the pharm.acy word that trips the spam filter.

  61. 61
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    merde.
    still no comments.

  62. 62
    James E Powell says:

    @Marc:

    Perhaps the Chicken Little stuff (in comments here) could wait on actual evidence?

    Wouldn’t that require waiting until it’s too late?

    And it isn’t exactly “Chicken Little stuff” when one considers how easily Obama and the Democrats have been rolled on other issues. Extending tax cuts for the rich, for example.

  63. 63
    cthulhu says:

    I have to say that I was shocked this morning when the headline in the LA Times was “GOP Plan Would Alter Medicare.” I have been frustrated with LAT Washington reporting which often seems to be biased a little too favorably toward conservative positions (The state and local reporting doesn’t seem to have this problem). Yet today, the article fairly quickly noted that this would be a major overhaul and is politically dangerous.

    Anyway, what with the already negative attitudes engendered over attacks on labor, I would think this will play even worse than it otherwise would have. The GOP’s class war has never been so bald-faced.

  64. 64
    Napoleon says:

    It appears no one has mentioned this but for all the busting on the over 65 crowd I recall seeing polling data when Dubya made is privitization push that the older crowd was very strongly against changes that would effect they young.

  65. 65
    danimal says:

    @Marc:

    Does the defeatism serve some actual purpose? We’re seeing some very concrete examples (e.g. recall petitions) of over-reach. Perhaps the Chicken Little stuff (in comments here) could wait on actual evidence?

    The negativism of so-called progressives is self-defeating idiocy. And I’ll never understand why they feel the need to depress everyone else.

  66. 66
    Paul in KY says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: Back then, in the late 18th Century, Senators were elected by state politicians. Thus, if the great unwashed happened to elect enough boobs, they could theoretically elect a boob to the Senate.

    I think that if you would read some of Hamilton’s & Madison’s writings on this matter, you would see that they assumed or expected that the average voter would be an active participant in Democracy (reading a newspaper, going to see a candidate speak, trying to make a honest judgement of who was best for the position, etc.). I think they thought this would be the norm, as truly free & fair elections were a novel thing at the time.

    Ben Frankin might have had a more sober opinion of the future voters.

  67. 67
    Bulworth says:

    I have to say that I was shocked this morning when the headline in the LA Times was “GOP Plan Would Alter Medicare.” I have been frustrated with LAT Washington reporting which often seems to be biased a little too favorably toward conservative positions (The state and local reporting doesn’t seem to have this problem). Yet today, the article fairly quickly noted that this would be a major overhaul and is politically dangerous.

    Unfortunately, the headline is the takeaway from the article, and “alter” sounds a lot like “reform” or “modify”, not destroy, which is what the policy would do.

  68. 68
    James E Powell says:

    @Nellcote:

    OT but why are all the primaries in red states?

    Expanding on your off-topic topic, why is the chair of the Senate’s Housing, Banking and Urban Affairs committee from South Dakota? Seriously, Urban Affairs!

  69. 69
    opie jeanne, formerly known as Jeanne Ringland says:

    @mds: Thank you. I’ve been hearing for too long about how awful the Boomers are. Heck, even my youngest told me that a couple of years ago, and she’s in her 20s.

  70. 70
    Paul in KY says:

    @cthulhu: The LA Times is a notorious right wing publication. It is a legit newspaper, unlike The Washington Times or Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, but it should be considered to be like the Chicago Tribune, except that it has to sell papers in en even more blue area than Chicago, so it does do some DFH pandering every now & then.

  71. 71
    opie jeanne, formerly known as Jeanne Ringland says:

    @licensed to kill time: Ok, thanks. I was surprised by being in limbo.

  72. 72
    gene108 says:

    @The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik: That’s because right-wingers control the megaphone / microphone, i.e. you want to get on the air at Fox News as a Democrat, you have to bash your party.

    You want to get face time on the Sunday morning shows, you have to bash the Democrats.

    The MSM is complicit in this. They almost never put on liberals in the Democratic leadership.

  73. 73
    Hermione Granger-Weasley says:

    @Paul in KY: I am having an interdimensional love affair with Thomas Jefferson.
    when we are finished I might read someone else.
    ;)

    the system is WAI. it just works very slowly. it was built that way.

  74. 74
    Kay says:

    @Bulworth:

    I don’t know how it’s going to save any money for anyone. Putting a huge new group of the heaviest health care users in the private insurance pool is just going to push up rates for everyone else.

    It’s a horrible idea.

    They’re bad enough now, and that’s without the whole over 65 demo.

  75. 75
    Suck It Up! says:

    @James E Powell:

    Wouldn’t that require waiting until it’s too late?

    And it isn’t exactly “Chicken Little stuff” when one considers how easily Obama and the Democrats have been rolled on other issues. Extending tax cuts for the rich, for example.

    no offense, but its not as if you guys are going to DO something other than complain.

  76. 76
    Stillwater says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: no they didnt. They just built so that the uninformed could only have local control.

    Where do you come up with this stuff?

  77. 77
    Mandramas says:

    @Hermione Granger-Weasley: WAI? Sorry, I’m a rookie.

  78. 78
    Citizen Alan says:

    @me:

    My bad. I could have sworn he ran unopposed. Still, given how well Obama did in his district, I still don’t see why he can’t get a serious Dem opponent. Or (having just checked out his last opponent’s website) at least an opponent who will comb his hair before taking his campaign website’s photo.

  79. 79
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik says:

    @Mandramas:

    Despite my manga and anime nerdiness wanting to react in a much different way, I think “WAI” means “Working As Intended”.

  80. 80
    Jim Pharo says:

    Like so many people on our side, you have a hard time seeing that all the rational arguments in the world aren’t going to matter a lick in 2012 or in any other election. If people voted in some way correlated to their personal interests or their views on issues, there wouldn’t be ANY GOP elected officials.

    We always forget that the only poll that matters is the one on election day, following the usual orgy of completely misleading ads. Or am I missing something…

  81. 81
    Bullsmith says:

    You’d think the health insurance industry wouldn’t want to be responsible for insuring the elderly. But then again, some of these people are dying with estates and accumulated wealth they’re passing on to their children. Deadbeats! They can pay more!

  82. 82
    srv says:

    We really need to come up with a plan for the elderly to opt-out by party affiliation. We have lived outside of the rules of evolution for too long.

  83. 83
    Barry says:

    @jrg: “If that’s their goal, I’d like to see them go ahead and accomplish it. I’m 35, and have been paying into SS and Medicare for a decade. If I’m not going to benefit from either of these programs, I want to stop paying for them.”

    Why do you think that trashing the programs will cause the GOP to stop pulling that money out of your pocket? It’s not doing them any good sitting in *your* pocket.

  84. 84
    geg6 says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    Yet another instance of Xers paying for the excesses of (some of) their predecessors.

    You know, this is some serious horse shit. Really serious horse shit.

    Guess what, fuckwad? I’m a Boomer and I’m not over 55. I’ve been paying into it a hell of a lot longer than you. And it looks like I’ll be getting fucked right along with you.

    People talk about Boomers as being self-involved. But, for my money, NOBODY beat the Xers at that game.

  85. 85
    jake the snake says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Since only property owning pinkish-beige people had the franchise, they had more expectation that the voters would
    be, relatively high information.

  86. 86
    Marc says:

    @James E Powell:

    Obama didn’t actually agree to permanent changes in the tax rates, did he?

    The logic here stinks. “Obama has disappointed me in case A, therefore he will always disappoint in all other cases” is poor reasoning. All of the nonsense about Social Security had the same origin – none of it in things that Obama actually said, and all of it in “he gave up on the public option, thus he will give up on everything.”

    We’re seeing massive backlash, and real anger, in states like Ohio. We needed 1,000 signatures on an initial petition to stop the union-bashing bill in Ohio (and 200K eventually.) In one precinct here in Columbus, in one hour, we got 150. People are pissed.

    And then I come here and see nothing but “we’re doomed”; “the fix is in”, “the Democrats are useless and will cave.”

    Nonsense.

    If anyone wavers threaten them with certain defeat, pressure the Dems to do the right thing, and direct your fury where it belongs – at the Republicans. Assuming that nothing can be done is the worst possible attitude, and the evidence at hand doesn’t even justify it.

  87. 87
    Kay says:

    @Stillwater:

    Kay, you’ve come a long way in fully accepting the mendacity of the modern GOP.

    I don’t even watch news anymore, honestly.

    I sometimes read transcripts and count the unchallenged lies.

    I read a transcript this morning from Meet The Press where there are seven, from Bachman. Flat-out lies. Not a peep from the potted plant host. A transcript always puts lies in stark view, w/o all those graphics and forced laughter and such.

  88. 88
    Calouste says:

    @James E Powell:

    Because South Dakota is the state with the most corporation-friendly credit card laws. It might be called the Senate’s Housing, Banking and Urban Affairs committee, but it really is the Senate’s Mortgage Comapnies, Banking and Credit Card Companies committee.

  89. 89
    JenJen says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Any over-55 who falls for that horseshit deserves every bite of the catfood they’ll be eating. As soon as the herd gets divided the Republicans will begin pitting the younger against the elder. When the unders get angry enough and start clamoring loud enough then the R’s will “Do the will of the people,” by cutting Medicare for the over-55’s.

    Divide and subjugate.

    I hate it, it’s disgusting, but I think this is exactly what’s going to happen. Not really sure it’ll work, but as far as politics go, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

  90. 90

    So, their plan for the 2012 elections is to define themselves as the party that goes after:

    Abortion Rights
    Unions
    Medicare
    Obama’s birth certificate.

    Good luck with that! Hey, wouldn’t this be a great time to push for English-only laws, or some other form of symbolic politics that grates on Latinos?

  91. 91
    cthulhu says:

    @Paul in KY: Actually I have heard that about the LA Times of the past but these days, most of the editorials are pretty centrist-left. With some exceptions here and there, their endorsements pretty much match Calitics, the progressive site. They even were fairly early in suggesting the Prop 13 really needs to be modified.

    Though they will go to the mat for just about anything the entertainment industry wants to do.

  92. 92
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @joe from Lowell:

    Hey, wouldn’t this be a great time to push for English-only laws, or some other form of symbolic politics that grates on Latinos?

    Shh, don’t be giving Democrats any ideas.

  93. 93

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I wonder, do you ever read anything about American politics? It’s tough to tell.

  94. 94
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @joe from Lowell: Pffffft. Politics is just war by other means.

  95. 95
    cthulhu says:

    I guess those Teabagger signs demanding that the “Government Stay Out of My Medicare” were actually accurate!!

  96. 96
    Common Sense says:

    Mr. Ryan’s proposal would apply to those currently under the age of 55, and for those Americans would convert Medicare into a “premium support” system. Participants from that group would choose from an array of private insurance plans when they reach 65 and become eligible, and the government would pay about the first $15,000 in premiums. Those who are poorer or less healthy would receive bigger payments than others.

    MANDATE! Infringin on mah RIGHTS! arglebarglegobbledyGUNbrackaCHRIST!!!

  97. 97
    wasabi gasp says:

    And the fuckwit said to the genie, “keep government hands off my medicare!”

  98. 98
    jl says:

    They are trying the same divide and conquer strategy that Bush II tried for Social Security. Bribe enough older voters (who I guess the GOP assumes will look forward to being dead in ten years, after consuming all the Medicare services they want) to go along with it. Add that greedy portion of oldsters to reactionary evangelicals and… not sure who else… and maybe push it through.

    I think it will work about as well as the Social Security privatization scam that Bush II proposed. That is, it will bomb.

    Does give them a chance to realize the GOP teabagger dreams to shut down the government later this week? Haven’t read enough about the politics to know.

    Note that there is nothing inherently wrong with folding Medicare and Medicaid into a unified national health insurance program for everyone of all ages. The current structure in the US is unusual, and there is empirical evidence that the US system causes inefficiencies in both population health (shorter life expectancy and higher costs). I have heard private health plan managers admit that competition between plans at open enrollment time forces them to skimp on preventive care for those older than fifty ( in ten or fifteen years they will be ‘Medicare’s problem’. Another way of privatizing profits and socializing losses in corporate America that has made our current economy so dang strong.

    Also, nothing wrong with partial privatization of social security. Sweden and Canada have done it responsibly and with reasonable results (so far). Not all privatization schemes for retirement benefits end in disaster (as it did in UK).

    Problem is that the GOP will not propose responsible plans to eliminate what inefficiencies exist, but schemes to destroy social insurance in the US.

    Either you have rich parents, or you get rich young, or you lose, die young and leave a bad looking corpse. I think that is what they have in mind.

  99. 99
    jl says:

    @Common Sense:

    Yeah, interesting that their plan looks like the worst features of ‘Obamacare’, except it is for the elderly.

    Will the corporate media just let them babble incoherent and self contradictory nonsense, or call them on their BS?

    If most of the elderly who the GOP is attempting to bribe react the same way they did on the Bush II Social Security scam, it won’t work.

    I heard one of the GOP leaders said that they should ‘lead with their chin’ on Social Security and Medicare. I hope they are right about that prediction.

  100. 100
    kerFuFFler says:

    Last week I posted a comment with a link showing the extent to which Medicare spending FAR outstrips the amount paid in through our payroll taxes. I found another link and this paragraph pretty much sums up the situation:

    A new analysis by Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane at the Urban Institute estimates that, on average Americans will receive about three times more in benefits from Medicare than they paid into the system. The researchers estimate that a couple retiring this year that earned average wages throughout their work life would have paid $114,000 in Medicare payroll taxes during their careers. And based on average life expectancy, that same couple will “collect” an estimated $355,000 in Medicare benefits.

    Clearly the situation is unsustainable. Not only are we looking at a situation where there may be no Medicare for middle aged and younger people when they retire, but they will also still be taxed well into the future to pay for the overspending on current beneficiaries. To preserve Medicare “fairly” we must consider some cuts to current spending along with increased taxes, perhaps some means testing and perhaps even a mild and phased in delay of eligibility down the road since we live so much longer now.

    For decades politicians have shied away from introducing the responsible adjustments that would have prevented this disaster, but because all of the solutions are unpopular (increased taxes and reduced benefits…)and because old people vote, this situation has remained unaddressed.

    Many commenters told me I was sounding like a hated Republican, but really, my goal is to preserve Medicare. If Medicare collapses the Republicans will just say, “See, gubmint programs never work.”

    So, don’t revile me for evil intentions. If you have suggestions for saving the program, please tell us all! And yes, I think some reduction in military spending may be part of the solution, but I also think that there have to be sensible limits on how much we spend on end of life care. And elderly folks need to understand that they have not come anywhere close to “paying for” the levels of benefits they are currently enjoying.

    http://moneywatch.bnet.com/eco.....care/1893/

  101. 101
    bemused says:

    I’ve sent the WSJ article to just about everyone I can think of. I didn’t bother with some R relatives because I’m liberal and they wouldn’t believe anything I might send them even if it comes from very conservative places.

    I know plenty of people 50 and over who are concerned about Medicare being there for them. They’ve lost jobs and health care and seen their retirement plans go pfft. Even those who have jobs with health insurance are nervous. They will not be happy with republicans who want to blow up Medicare and SS.

  102. 102
    Paul in KY says:

    @jake the snake: Excellent point. I think that at the state level laws could be made listing the requirements for voting, so some states had it that you had to be a property owner (and all of them said you had to have balls).

  103. 103
    Paul in KY says:

    @cthulhu: I guess I’m living in the past ;-)

    Glad they are getting better. I sometimes read their local stories (murders & mayham), but not their national/political stuff (I come to BJ for that).

  104. 104
    jl says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    I don’t fault you for ‘evil intentions’ but I fault you for an incomplete analysis.

    You, and your link say nothing about eliminating institutional inefficiencies in the US health care system that makes it far more expensive to provide fewer, and in many cases, lower quality services, for population health than almost any other high income developed country.

    The US provides superior care for people who get into serious trouble for a few conditions. Heart attack is one. Premature birth for those who have access (ie, generous insurance) to high quality care.

    That is about it. For almost everything else, the health care system provides same or worse care for the population as a whole than places like France, the Netherlands, or even Switzerland, at far higher costs.

    Why do you emphasize cutting benefits and denying service, instead of cutting costs? That might be what makes you sound like a Republican.

    The health economist Uwe Reinhardt at Princeton has written good stuff on the degree and nature of higher costs in the US healthcare system. I suggest reading him rather than blog entries in some money mag.

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes......reinhardt/

    http://wws.princeton.edu/peopl.....splay=Core

  105. 105
    Cerberus says:

    @gene108:

    Except when that bashing comes from the left. Fox News and the coward cousins in the MSM will only allow on “disappointed democrats” who are “saddened by the current actions of the party” if they are willing to agree with Republicans on every issue.

    It’s an issue of being willing instruments of conservative propaganda rather than just a simple need to bash democrats in office.

    See also reflexive hippie punching, where the Democrats in office will get a rare cookie from the media when they decide to punch a few hippies and agree with them about how unserious people who care are.

  106. 106
    Cerberus says:

    @Jim Pharo:

    That’s why teaching people not to heed the old laws ends up always being one of the more important outreaches every liberal organization ends up needing to focus on.

    Getting people out of their reflexive war is always good with the lessons of Korea and Vietnam, getting people to stop supporting rich hegemony with the massive Progressive movement actions and the education after the Crash, putting out illegal newletters when occupied by Nazi officers in the occupied territories, and so on.

    Conservatives have always found lies beneficial to their goals. And liberals always find themselves in a position of relative powerlessness preaching to a congregation that will gladly drink strychnine before accepting solutions that will be “common sense” once the liberals win.

    It’s kind of depressing living through though. Especially since we have been losing a lot of ground since the 80s.

  107. 107
    jl says:

    @Paul in KY: Jefferson was the Founder who was big on citizen participation in government. He proposed a ‘Republic of Wards’, in which most (emphasis on MOST) citizens would be active participants in government from the neighborhood level on up. Jefferson thought that only active participation in governing at some level (even very local), was the only way to preserve an honest democracy.

    I don’t have links, but if you get a copy of The Portable Jefferson, some of his letters on his ‘Republic of Wards’ will be in there. If I remember right, there may even be an entry for that term in the index.

    Madison moved towards Jefferson’s view, and eventually he recommended getting rid of property test for voting.

    The founders left most regulations on franchise up to the states. So, you get some states, notably New Jersey, where women could vote up to the 1840s. And more local laws that allowed resident aliens to vote on local issues than you see now.

  108. 108
    MikeTheZ says:

    @joe from Lowell: I thought they had an English as the national language bill in the House already.

  109. 109
    Nellcote says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    perhaps even a mild and phased in delay of eligibility down the road since we live so much longer now.

    well, some of us do.

  110. 110
    kerFuFFler says:

    @jl: Hi, point well taken as far as the source I was quoting, but mostly I was just trying to expose the size of the problem with a link to a short, easily readable article.

    Also I feel like you’re putting words in my mouth when I said “we must consider some cuts to current spending”. That can include trimming inefficiencies, not just denying services.

  111. 111
    jl says:

    @kerFuFFler:

    I didn’t mean to put words in you mouth.

    But, since there are 20 or so high income developed countries in Europe, Asia and Oceania that provide better population health by emphasizing more accessable services more efficiently, rather than cutting benefits, I think that approach should be emphasized in the US.

    There are at least 20 models for getting longer life expectancies (at birth, at 40, at at 60 and at 65), and more healthy life years that the US could adapt for its own use.

  112. 112
    kestral says:

    @gene108: Man, if there were ever a time for a John Conner-like figure, this would be it. As it stands, things are looking pretty damn bleak.

    (Apologies for the bad joke, but if I don’t snark at this, I might just lose all hope.)

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    @gnomedad:
    Unfortunately, by burning the house down around them.

    I knew it felt like a murder/suicide.

  114. 114
    JITC says:

    @The Political Nihilist Formerly Known as Kryptik:

    In other words, Projection Works, because the public is too dumb to spot blatant hypocrites until it’s too fucking late. Brilliant.

    Yes. Every time. They do it every time and it works every time.

    Another example: They accuse Democrats and their policies of being “job killers” and yet their proposed economic recovery “plan” is to fire thousands of government workers, flooding the job-hunter-marketplace, thus depressing wages for all.

    Their actual plan is to kill jobs and make middle-class salaries lower. Who are the actual job killers?

    Projection. Every time.

  115. 115
    Tom says:

    Being liberal and habitually casting votes in elections, I have found that on average only 40% of registered voters bother to get of their ass and vote. They cannot then be to worried about Medicare, Social Security, or their kids educations. So, until the zombies awaken, nothing much will change.

  116. 116
    Paul in KY says:

    @jl: Thanks for the info. Pres. Jefferson was a mighty figure in our nation’s history.

Comments are closed.