Now that Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney’s VP nominee, the Democrats will bet the election on the premise that enough people are so opposed to any change to Medicare that the Democrats only need to criticize Ryan’s efforts to reform the program. Let’s establish a few points about Medicare, and break down a simple truth that the Democrats actually have no plan to save a program that is quickly going insolvent.
- Medicare, according to its trustee report, will be insolvent by 2024. If one takes into account the double counting of Obamacare’s tax increases and spending cuts, it will likely be insolvent even sooner. In other words, Medicare as we know it will end in the next decade if we do nothing to it.
- The Democrat party has proposed no change to Medicare outside of what is in Obamacare. Find me a legislative proposal that shows otherwise; I read all the ones that are known about.
- Obamacare, not Ryan’s plans, will cut Medicare benefits. It’s not Paul Ryan who is proposing to take away Medicare benefits, but the law that the Democrats passed. Obamacare is supposed to cut half a trillion dollars from the program in order to save the government money. It then tasks an unelected executive board — IPAB — to make binding cost-reduction recommendations to maintain a low Medicare growth rate. An easy and likely way IPAB will do that is simply by recommending benefit cuts.
- The President’s attacks on Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals are dead wrong.
- The country is facing unsustainable debt that threatens more than our economy, and safety net programs are the biggest driver of that debt based on their spending and financial commitments. There is simply no way to deny that we are unable to pay for our financial commitments to these programs, and that taxes would have to rise substantially in order to theoretically support those programs in their current form (i.e., a little tax increase on the wealthy won’t fix this problem).
The Democrat party, whose Senate majority has decided for the last three years to not pass a budget during a time of economic crisis because it seems less politically risky for them to avoid one, has proposed nothing to fix Medicare other than Obamacare’s benefit cuts. Paul Ryan, on the other hand, has made several serious reform proposals. One may not like what he is proposing, but the simple truth remains: Medicare cannot last much longer without making some changes.
The Democrat party either doesn’t realize this (which would constitute willful blindness, considering the available and easily understandable evidence), or is comfortable pretending there is no problem in order to win politically. The Democrats will not tolerate cooperation with Republicans on the issue; Senator Wyden is being ostracized for trying to work with Paul Ryan on a bipartisan plan, and Wyden’s bipartisan healthcare reform plan with Senator Bennett was rejected by the Democrats while they pushed through Obamacare.
Medicare as we know it will end rapidly and uncomfortably if we do nothing. The Democrats have proposed nothing to avoid that harsh reality, while Paul Ryan has. Who is extreme, and who is leading?