Saturday, December 10, 2016

So, No Surprise Anymore About The Republican War On Everybody

Gee, remember how that whole Tea Party thing started in 2009, when the Republicans and their Far Right media buddies all yelled and screamed that OBAMA WAS TAKING YOUR MEDICARE and OBAMA WAS TAKING YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY and giving it to illegals? Getting all the elderly voters and hard-working "Real (White) Americans" about their God-given social benefits?

Well, as Newell at Slate points out, guess who's taking away your Medicare? Republicans.

One cannot think of a more tone-deaf political response to the 2016 election than an effort to privatize Medicare. There aren’t that many lessons Republicans need to draw from 2016—they control everything!—but one is that so long as you pledge not to touch Medicare, even a goon like Donald Trump can win the presidency. Yet since the election there has been much chatter that conservatives in Congress, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, might consider moving forward with his treasured voucherization of Medicare. I had thought that this might be a product of Democratic wish-casting, because there was no way that Ryan would be so stupid.

It's not that Ryan is stupid, it's that he's so beholden to the Republican Talking Point that ALL THINGS MUST BE PRIVATIZED and that ALL GOVERNMENT SPENDING SAVE DEFENSE MUST BE SLASHED that he'll push a program that would change the well-funded healthcare program for the elderly into a voucher-based system that will not be adequately funded nor capable of keeping costs under control.

As Chait notes over at New York:

Ryan tells Baier, “Because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke.” This is false. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of the truth. The Medicare trust fund has been extended 11 years as a result of the passage of Obamacare, whose cost reforms have helped bring health care inflation to historic lows. It is also untrue that repealing Obamacare requires changing traditional Medicare. But Ryan clearly believes he needs to make this claim in order to sell his plan, or probably even to convince fellow Republicans to support it.

This shouldn't surprise you, America. Democrats have been screaming for DECADES that the Republicans want to slash the social safety net for purely ideological reasons. The Republicans never did when they got the chance - early 1980s and early 2000s - because back then there were still a few party leaders left who weren't that suicidal.

But now we're in the Era of the Wingnut. The Tea Party hordes have voted into office Republicans at all levels who will want to watch the world burn. There's almost no safety checks left other than a minority Democratic presence in the Senate, and that might not be enough to stop any legal maneuvers that Congress can pull off.

And here's Newell at Slate again to ask: Guess who's taking away your Social Security? Republicans.

The plan offers a model for what the GOP would do in a Social Security reform effort. The bill includes 15 specific changes, some of them more complex than others, and this letter from the chief auditor of Social Security analyzes each of them. Broadly: It would cut benefits without raising taxes. Some of the more recognizable changes include a gradual increase in the normal retirement age from 67 to 69 for those born in 1968 or later (personal note: this affects me as I was born in 1970, meaning I have to work MORE years for FEWER returns), and it would peg cost-of-living adjustments to chained CPI, a slower-growing inflation index (this means less money to adjust to rising costs of living)... Since implementing these cuts alone would make the law politically unpalatable, it would increase benefits for some of the lowest-income, longest-working earners, while the highest future earners would see the largest benefit cuts. But let’s be clear: most people would see cuts. Look for yourself, on Table B2!

For all the talk about fixing Social Security, the thing that won't fix it is cutting benefits. What needs to happen is an increase in funding to get over the massive bump that is the incoming Baby Boomer wave. That may mean an increase in the SSI tax on payrolls or removing the earnings cap, but at least it won't slash benefits that our elderly and disabled need to, you know, SURVIVE.

I know I'm repeating myself here, but this is where the Republicans are more beholden to their ideology than to practicalities. The Republicans can NEVER raise taxes - at least not do it in public - they can only slash them, and for their obsessions over "balancing budgets" - which they themselves CAN NEVER ACCOMPLISH, wonder why - that means they have to slash benefits to justify those slashed taxes. And slashing benefits - especially to a demographic of older voters that they rely on to win their rigged/gerrymandered elections - would normally be political suicide.

But now we're in the Era of the Wingnut. The Tea Party hordes have voted into office Republicans at all levels who will want to watch the world burn. There's almost no safety checks left other than a minority Democratic presence in the Senate, and that might not be enough to stop any legal maneuvers that Congress can pull off. Oh, wow, now I AM repeating myself...

And guess who's going to get blamed when your Medicare and Social Security are either gone or so drastically reduced that you'll go bankrupt in your retirement years? Obama.

Because it's never the Republicans' fault when their Utopian dreams of tax cuts and deregulation turns around and crashes everything from our economy to our bridges to our entire way of life.


Merry Christmas you Rapture-wanting Apocalyptic A-holes.


dinthebeast said...

Still trying to undo the new deal and the great society so that, what? No black people ever get a dime of their money? The elderly and the disabled have to get by on nothing, or cat food if they're lucky?
They are being shortsighted to the extreme about this. Everyone who lives that long will need Medicare. Some, like me, need it already, as we are disabled from a stroke. A stroke can happen to anyone, and even if you have a good job and good health insurance, it will be gone when you can't work and make money to pay the premiums. 795,000 people have strokes every year in the US. And those provisions for preventative care in the ACA? If I'd had access to a doctor between 2005 and 2008, just the most basic of check ups, I'd have known that my blood pressure had gone up from 125/70 to 160/100, and I could have been treated for it and avoided the stroke.
So for the price of four yearly check ups, and three monthly prescriptions, the taxpayers could have avoided the quarter million dollar cost of my hospitalization and rehab, the year of state disability I collected, and the seven years so far of Social Security Disability I have collected. Add to that the taxes I would have been still paying were I still on the job, and the economic benefits of having all the money I would have earned injected into the economy, and those preventative programs start to look like a screaming deal. Then multiply that by, say, 500,000 (not everyone who has a stroke costs as much as I did) and what do you get? You get ONE disease and it's effects on the economy.
These are idiots we are dealing with. We really need to figure out how to beat them in the mid terms, so we can begin the slow, lugubrious, process of undoing the damage they did, one more time.

-Doug in Oakland

Paul Wartenberg said...

yeah, we are dealing with people who are idiots because they cannot find any empathy for people outside of their small little circles.

and man, I know you mentioned before that you're on disability, so I know a lot of this is going to hurt you. I am so sorry you're getting screwed over by the TrumpsterFire of 2016. :(