synthetic zero

April 23rd, 2011

Why aren’t people more up in arms about the Ryan plan? Because it is obviously pure political theater. It isn’t a bold, “transformative” plan, it’s simply an opening salvo in a political game, where the Republicans are throwing out an initial, crazy proposal in order to, in their minds, hopefully find something somewhere in the “middle” which is still, nevertheless, far to the right of where we are, today. There’s nothing at all serious about the plan in that neither Ryan nor anyone else actually expects the plan he put forward to become law. It’s an extreme, almost cartoonish caricature simply dolled up in the rhetoric of “reasonable” but which, if implemented, would have catastrophic effects on both the economy and on the health and well-being of senior citizens and the poor.

Ryan’s plan saves money simply by slashing benefits. Out of pocket spending would go from a minimum of $6,000 to $12,000, right off the bat. And then, after that, there’s no limit to how much seniors would be expected to pay, because it is *payments* which are capped, rather than expeditures by seniors. Furthermore, he uses the money “saved” by forcing seniors to pay much more for medical care by slashing taxes even further on the wealthy.

It’s a laughable plan which is simultaneously draconian in its impact on seniors and politically absurd. Americans don’t want massive cuts to Medicare, they don’t want to cut taxes for the wealthy even more than they are now.

Even more absurd is the fact that the Ryan plan does nothing to address cost increases in health care, except by capping payments. We already spend, in this country, due to our extremely inefficient, private insurance system, almost twice per capita what every other industrialized nation spends, and contrary to rumor many other nations have vastly MORE choice when it comes to choosing doctors and hospitals (try to get your HMO to pay a doctor outside of its plan, for instance: in France, you’re free to go to ANY doctor, and wait times are less, on average, than in the US).

We are reaching and exceeding Banana Republic levels of income disparity, and Republicans want to slash taxes for the wealthy? It makes no sense at all, the entire thing isn’t serious, in the least. Ryan himself would not have proposed this “plan” if he actually thought it had a chance of really becoming law. Yet “seriousness” is the rhetoric Republicans are using, a strange Orwellian doublespeak.

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