Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan’s speech review by Fox News — NOT what you think: Dazzling. Deceiving. Distracting.

Paul Ryan’s speech review by Fox News — NOT what you think.

Fox News summarized Ryan’s speech as “Dazzling. Deceiving. Distracting.”

From Fox News: “… to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

I agree. I agree as someone that likes Paul Ryan and believe that he has/had a bright future.

Ryan’s speech was more pink slime than red meat. Why didn’t he stick to the facts? He actually made a very good case for not voting for the GOP in November. The GOP has truth issues — not that the Democrats don’t as well BUT the GOP really has some truth issues.

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RyanCare, ObamaCare, Red Ink and Ethical Dilemmas — Where have all of the adults gone?

Paul Ryan (R-WI) finds himself at the center of a firestorm.

RyanCare, or the Ryan Plan, represents a very significant society changing plan that is part of the Republicans’ partial repeal and replacement of ObamaCare.

In large part RyanCare focuses on reforming Medicare, although major and very significant changes have already been made to bolster Medicare’s future. The only way that RyanCare can be successful would be the repeal and replacement of major portions of ObamaCare, aka the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

I support the core ideas behind RyanCare — our nation faces major debt; Medicare is not only deeply in debt and unsustainable but to keep it functioning to serve those coming under its coverage over the next decade or two will require trillions of dollars —  but it will have to make its way on its own merits.

Selling Ryan Care will be tough. The mathematical problem aside, the larger question is whether RyanCare is ethical?

Is it ethical to create a system which effectively ends Medicare? Medicare came about because the good old days were not good for the aged and infirm. The good old days were actually very miserable.

>> I purposely do not say that RyanCare kills Medicare, although any number of both his supporters and detractors believe exactly that. You have to worry when supporters of a plan make repeated statements that reinforce your worst fears.

>> RyanCare and the basics of its coverage are not so different than ObamaCare per a comparison provided by the New England Journal of Medicine. The greatest difference is that short of catastrophic illness the RyanCare plans pushes unaffordable medical costs on the average (median and lower income) individual American. This leads to very credible charges that RyanCare effectively ends Medicare for those that need it the most and that probably could not get health coverage, or get affordable health coverage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that RyanCare will double out-of-pocket expenses, roughly equal to somewhere near $8,000-9,450 per year. RyanCare in 2022 would provide a premium subsidy/voucher for approximately $8,000 but this is to cover the government’s share of Medicare, not out-of-pocket expense — so please don’t confuse the two.

On the question of ethics, any attack or scaremongering against RyanCare also faces an ethical dilemma:  How can you support an approach to healthcare where the system will collapse soon enough due to its own overwhelming failure to be either properly funded or administered in such a way that Medicare is means tested and those that can pay greater costs actually do?

>> From the 2011 Medicare Trust Fund’s Board of Trustees report: “…the HI (hospital insurance) trust fund is now estimated to be exhausted in 2024, 5 years earlier than shown in last year’s report (2010), and the fund is not adequately financed over the next 10 years.”

>> The Medicare Trustees in their 2011 report also outlined Medicare’s future as dependence upon the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) being successful: “The Affordable Care Act introduced important changes to the Medicare program that are designed to reduce costs, increase revenues, expand the scope of benefits, and encourage the development of new systems of health care delivery that will improve health outcomes and cost efficiency. The financial projections in this report indicate a need for additional steps to address Medicare’s remaining financial challenges. Consideration of further reforms should occur in the near future.”

Medicare 2011 Board of Trustees Report

Medicare 2011 Board of Trustees Report; red highlighting of items by Bill4DogCatcher.com

What I would like to see:

>> I would like to see some mature adult conversation. “The enemy isn’t conservatism. The enemy isn’t liberalism. The enemy is bullshit.” —Lars-Erik Nelson. Politifact notes that most partisan critics of the opposing view are often not only wrong, but they strongly mistate the other side’s actual position, or even their own position — this includes President Obama himself. Too many folks that should know better are just big fat flaming liars in this debate.

>> Universal availability of coverage. No preexisting condition discrimination. This doesn’t mean unlimited health care until the last breath. Rationing has always existed, whether by panel, policy or by income. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Conservative criticism of ObamaCare’s ‘death panels’ is probably much more exaggerated than the impact of RyanCare’s individual responsibility to fund more of your own care — with RyanCare’s level of personal responsibility being an approximate doubling of out-of-pocket expenses that come close to 35-40 percent of individual income for those at or below median income. Rationing of health care has and will always exist. Let’s acknowledge that rationing exists and decide upon what kind and how much of health care we will fund as a society.

>> We cannot fund everything, yet neither does our system encourage self-responsibility. Talk of self-responsibility is very irresponsible when it come to the aged and infirm that would live without the possibility of independent affordable coverage. The average net worth of Americans ages 44 and under is not even enough to pay for a heart attack + surgery + care. Older Americans have an average net worth of $181-232,000 but for most this includes the equity in their home. ‘Personal responsibility’ is a great campaign phrase but let’s not pretend that it is anything more … or not too much more than another way of saying ‘your problems are your problems, not mine’.

>> Let’s not talk about free markets but responsible markets. There hasn’t been a free market in health care since HMOs were first founded in the 1920s and Blue Cross Blue Shield expanded on that in the early 1930s. A responsible market would segment tests and procedures to reduce costs. For example, an annual physical consists usually of a battery of very standardized tests. Is there any reason that you couldn’t go to a pharmacy and get those same tests done? Doctors and hospitals need to stop hiding costs by providing itemized bills that represent actual charges — not charges plus subsidized costs averaged across items and procedures. A tooth brush or an aspirin should not cost $70-80 in a hospital stay, or you get charged for things that were never used. Let’s acknowledge the money game by insisting on responsible accounting that reveals the shell game that is going on.

About Paul Ryan and that firestorm — Republicans publicly trashed Obamacare in 2010 and turned the Medicare argument into Mediscare. Much of their criticism was with merit but the way they went about it was over the top, beyond misleading and played on emotion: we were supposedly on the verge of death panels and rationed care.

In 2012 the Republicans are offering death panels by income affordability and rationed care because few may be able to afford RyanCare. That will be the campaign theme of the Democrats — and much of their criticism will be with much merit. Yet they will predictably go over the top, be beyond misleading and play on emotion.

We know who decides most elections: those over the ages of 45. Mediscare worked in 2010 and it will work in 2012, just for the other party.

Seniors may well vote against the GOP. While the GOP works hard to assure them that they will be unaffected by RyanCare, American seniors are old enough to remember the good ol’days and that they weren’t.

I have concerns. I want change. I want responsible change. I want balanced budgets and I want to see a sense of ethics that balances individuals with the reality of the greater society that we live in. You affect my healthcare choices. I affect yours. So can we work this out?

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Zen – When Newts Fall On Their Own Sword

The world is too serious to be taken seriously.

At face value, most serious  discussion is often just a rationalized attempt to kneecap the opposing view.

Newt Gingrich is a good example. He introduced the catchphrase ‘Democratic thuggery’ into the lexicon back in 1994. I’m sure that others probably used it beforehand, but these were strong words from a Speaker of the House that then uttered the words ‘let us work together’.

I wonder how Newt Gingrich feels about thuggery now that in an off-moment he uttered the truth: right-wing social engineering is just as bad as left-wing. Yes, indeed.

Professor Gingrich seems to have separated his mind from that of his alterego: Georgia Bulldog … it was a fleeting moment but that can happen when you try to manage schizo views in a world where you need votes from all corners and must pander to just one if you are to stay in the game.

Newt the professor and Newt the politician never seem to learn from one another.

As for the right-wing social engineering — AKA ‘The Ryan Plan‘ — I actually like the basic idea of it. Unless Paul Ryan (R-WI) is just a trojan horse then the plan has merit.

The problem is that Paul Ryan is effectively a trojan horse, whether he wants to be or not. His plan skirts the boundaries of acceptance across political philosophic lines. If he were to commit to a trial run, triggers that reactivated Medicare coverage should the free market fail to either be competitive, efficient or provide services to all eligible Americans then we go show go with the Ryan Plan.

Reality though is that the overwhelming majority of Republican really just want to torpedo Medicare and could care less about the Ryan Plan. The Ryan Plan is effectively a trojan horse unless there is also a commitment to specific policies.

Dear Professor Gingrich, you have now met thuggery for your comments on right-wing social engineering. How does it feel? How does it feel to fall on the ideological unforgiving — sometimes unthinking — sword forged in the fires of 1994 which you created?

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Bill4DogCatcher sez about Dems, Reps, Weasels, Cojones and Unemployed Circus Clowns

I am just amazed. As a fiscal conservative there are a ton of things that I would do to rein in spending. And I bet that we could get Democrats on board too.

Hooray for the Gang of Six.

As a responsible fiscal conservative I also understand that you have got to give to get. Some might call that compromise. It depends on whether you are selling your pride or your principals for cheap.

Pride should never be allowed to get in the way. And you aren’t selling your principals for cheap if you get most of what you want.

Charles Krauthammer — arch conservative — had a great piece in the Washington Post this morning on Paul Ryan’s budgetary plan. Called ‘‘After Ryan’s leap, a rush of deficit demagoguery“, even Krauthammer doubts that there is a Republican other than Ryan that even has a clue about the numbers and that can explain what they mean.

As to Krauthammer’s point, Republicans are already pulling the rug out from under Paul Ryan by having introduced an ALL NEW plan yesterday.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio and his allies essentially say that transitioning society to a different self-sustainable way across 50 years is about … 41 years and 9 months too long. We either get right by 2020 or sooner.

BTW – the Jim Jordan plan: some talking points. The essence of the Tea Party (and the meandering left, too): talking points, ideology, no math, no evidence balancing social programs with critical stuff such as credit card wars, blank check security spending, etc.


As for the federal shutdown soap opera: what a mess WE created.

We are the collective American voters that claim we want an independent-minded Congress and yet continuously elect people that vote the party line, of both parties.

However, we wouldn’t be arguing about an impending shutdown if the last Democratically-controlled Congress passed a budget, or even made an attempt.

To their credit, the current lineup of Democrats have compromised/agreed to much more than the $30 billion in cuts wanted by House Speaker Boehner and the Republican leadership. Hooray for meeting the Republicans more than half-way.

Although the Republicans then filled the spending agreement with poison pill programmatic bill riders that no self-respecting Democrat would vote for — note: Democrats have a long history of doing the same so there! Weasels.

Sober up folks! A shutdown might be good.

To the Democrats that are crying in their hands about how unfair and uncaring Republicans, especially Tea Partyers, are, then I have a few thoughts for you:

    #1 – What Wusses! You had 59 votes in the Senate for all of 2010 and yet you were too scared to take a vote on the budget in the lame duck Congress for fear of a Republican/Tea Party filibuster? Hello, did someone just invent filibusters?

    #2 – You, the Democrats never even finalized a budget bill. There was no Senate version that matched a House version. So a vote was not even possible until that happened, yet you say that you didn’t vote because of the threat of a filibuster.

    #3 – After the election you could have called a special session and worked on the budget until the Senate and the House resolved the wording and came up with a single plan.

    #4 – Screw the Tea Party. Democrats need to stop being afraid of their own shadows and need to hire an unemployed circus clown to bring some organization to the party. Many Americans may think that Republicans are mean, scary and could care less BUT why not just rename your party ‘the Jellyfish Confederation’ and be done with it.

    Tip: Ask Bill Clinton to explain what cojones are.


When Congress and the parties come to understand that ‘We the people’ includes a whole spectrum of beliefs other than the snakeoil-of-the-day being peddled by individual congressmen then maybe, just maybe, we will have a better government capable of passing next year’s budget before next year is almost half over.

A pox on them all!

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2012-2021 Federal Budget – GOP Aim: Cut $4 Trillion + Radical Changes to Medicare

From the Wall Street Journal:

“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. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program’s soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016. At that pace, spending on the program would have doubled between 2002 and 2016.”

Bill4DogCatcher sez: This article is full of important public policy items to think about. Surely most people will start running around with their hair on fire without first taking the time to read and to digest what  this policy would mean to most people. BTW – most of the policy recommendations were developed on a bipartisan basis over the last few years, although it is only now that these policy recommendations are getting the chance to be considered and to be voted upon.

Read entire article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576240751124518520.html

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