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During the health care "debate", many Republicans rose to their feet, grabbed the nearest megaphone, and shouted that Democrats were threatening Medicare. Those collectivist Democrats, if one was to believe Republicans, were going to "eliminate services" for seniors on Medicare. At least that's what "real Americans" like ex-governor Sarah Palin and Iowa Senator Charles Grassley told us. The nation was warned repeatedly of the upcoming "death panels" that Medicare beneficiaries would face under a Democratic "takeover" of everyone's health care. The "Democrat" health care reform plan would wind up....well you remember...."pulling the plug on grandma."
On Monday, I heard Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) tell a Hardball audience that Social Security should be privatized in the same fashion G.W. Bush had proposed in 2005. Working Americans would have "personal" or "private" funds, replacing traditional Social Security, and those funds would be available for placement in the stock market. Hensarling said that Americans under 55 should have their future SS checks reduced.
Paul Ryan (R-WI) released the working GOP plan to reduce SS and initiate a brand new system relying primarily on the "reliable" free market stock exchanges.
I would mention here that Bush's privatization scheme for Social Security would have cost the American taxpayers $1 trillion to set up. One trillion.
Ryan's Republican plan includes..."gradual, modest increase in the retirement age,"
From Ryan's plan....
"All other workers will have a choice to stay in the current system or begin contributing to personal accounts. Those who choose the personal account option will have the opportunity to begin investing a significant portion of their payroll taxes into a series of funds managed by the U.S. government."
But Social Security reductions and privatization schemes are only part of how Paul Ryan and the Republicans would confront the Tea Partiers biggest boogeyman......too much national debt.
Medicare, in the Republican plan, is also on the chopping block. Yep, who would have thunk it, right? GOP'ers wrung their hands and moaned (Elvis lyric) about Obamacare possibly setting up "death panels" for, you know, old people on Medicare. The Baggers at Grassley's functions were oh-so-concerned about on-Medicare grandma having the plug pulled on her breathing machine.
Nevertheless, Paul Ryan's Republican plan for Medicare would .....
"starting in 2021, new enrollees would be given vouchers to purchase private health insurance."
Honestly, while daring and a bit breathtaking......the facts of the GOP plan for "reforming" Medicare involve eliminating Medicare as we know it and offering voichers to seniors. Voichers that would be used to buy health care insurance from FOR PROFIT insurance companies.
Ryan's Republican plan would end income and payroll tax breaks for employers who now provide health care to employees.....which would discourage employers from providing health care benefits to their employees. Also in Ryan's plan is the Holy GOP Grail...limiting malpractice award settlements. The remainder of Obama's stimulus plan fund, several hundred billion, would be rescinded under the Republican plan to deal with deficits.
Interestingly, Ryan's Republican plan freezes discretionary government spending for 10 years.....a source of GOP mockery when President Obama proposed it just the other day.
The GOP plan is a veritable tsunami washing away half-century old domestic programs.....the most popular government programs to date.
When would the GOP tsunami of privatizing SS and Medicare wind up lowering deficits and the debt down to reasonable levels?
"..the Ryan budget plan dubbed the "Roadmap for America's Future" would take the deficit from 11 percent of gross domestic product in 2009 to 4.8 percent in 2030 and 2.6 percent in 2050. The Congressional Budget Office shows the GOP plan would end the deficit around 2060 and they would produce a surplus of 6 percent of gross domestic product by 2083."
Republicans would have Americans accept a plan which would open up Social Security and Medicare to the Banksters and Big Insurance. In so doing, benefits would be reduced, requirement ages raised and tax dollars placed into the hands of for-profit money schemers. The same schemers who have destroyed the American economy by gambling recklessly, the same schemers who have helped to make health care coverage beyond the reach of average Americans.
With all of that.....the GOP plan would finally get the federal budget defcits under control by.....2080.
GOP weasel, John Boehner (R-OH), nervous about connecting his political futures to such a radically regressive plan, had this to say about Ryan's plan......
"Paul Ryan, who's the ranking member on our budget committee, has done an awful lot of work in putting together his roadmap," Boehner said. " But it's his. And I know the Democrats are trying to say that it's the Republican leadership. But they know that's not the case."
Unfortunately for Boehner....Paul Ryan is the GOP House guy responsible for putting together GOP budget plans.
What does all this tell us? I think it demonstrates what the GOP priorities are. GOP ideas for "reform", whether it be deficits or health care, always contain huge windfalls for profiteers......while severely cutting into popular, government-run, domestic safety net programs for average Americans.
I agree with many liberal bloggers. Democrats should make a HUGE deal of this radical Republican proposal.