I wonder if the residents of Janesville, Racine, Kenosha, Muskego and Oak Creek ever wonder who's looking out for their interests back in Washington when "their" congressman is primping and preening in the national media spotlight for his Wall Street paymasters and singing Ayn Rand's sweet anti-Christian tunes for the one-percenters. Paul Ryan was puked up onto the national stage primarily because of his proposal to end Medicare, a priority for Wall Street for decades. And yet if Ryan's plan were to pass it would be catastrophic for the people who have been sending him to Congress year after year. Ryan's plan would have adverse impacts on seniors and disabled individuals in the district who are currently enrolled in Medicare. It would:
• Increase prescription drug costs for 9,700 Medicare beneficiaries in the district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay an extra $95 million for drugs over the next decade.
• Eliminate new preventive care benefits for 112,000 Medicare beneficiaries in the district.
The Republican proposal would have even greater impacts on individuals in the district age 54 and younger who are not currently enrolled in Medicare. It would:
• Deny 550,000 individuals age 54 and younger in the district access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.
• Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022 and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032 for the 127,000 individuals in the district who are between the ages of 44 and 54.
• Require the 127,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $29.7 billion for their retirement-- an average of $182,000 to $287,000 per individual-- to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs.
• Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 70,000 individuals in the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 419,000 individuals in the district who are age 43 or younger.
Yesterday Ryan gave one of his puffed-up, self-aggrandizing, big flashy speeches at the right-wing-financed Heritage Foundation. The Washington Post, aghast but right on the mark, labeled it Misleading, out of touch, and filled with tired talking points.
Ryan: "Just last week, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of, quote, “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance.” Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care?"
Yes, I can: The entire premise of this very speech. The accusation that Obama and Dems are sowing “envy” and ”class warfare” because they’re taking modest steps to slow trends that have severely exacerbated inequality for decades is as petty and small minded as it gets. Politics is a tough business, and it’s supposed to be all about an aggressive clash of visions. Deal with it.
Ryan's Democratic opponent, Rob Zerban dealt with it by live-tweeting Ryan's fatuous speech:
Ari Berman summed all that up in just one tweet:
Protect Your Care wasn't nearly as forgiving of Ryan's myriad shortcomings:
Paul Ryan decrying partisanship is as credible as a guy standing in front of a burning house with a can of gasoline and matches whining that the firefighters response time is too slow.
We understand his frustration and sense of isolation but it’s his own fault for proposing a massively unpopular plan to end Medicare while giving away massive tax breaks to millionaires, big oil companies and private jet owners. We also understand how his frustration must have gotten even worse when vast majorities of the public also are now supporting President Obama’s plans to protect Medicare and create jobs while ensuring that millionaires pay their fair share of taxes.
But if he wants to have less partisanship he may want to consider availing himself of some of the mental health care options available under the government provided, tax payer funded, health care he accepts instead of projecting his anger into his obsession with taking away Medicare from seniors.
And Brian Beutler at TMP pointed out that what the Republicans are doing is pit "conservative darling Paul Ryan against liberal hero Elizabeth Warren, with Ryan serving as a tribune to wealthy Americans and Warren as a populist fighter for working people."
This may seem like an odd choice for the GOP. Ryan’s the Republicans’ top budget guy, and the person most responsible for tying his party to a plan to phase out Medicare and to use the savings to reduce taxes on wealthy Americans. That vision has proved disastrously unpopular, and the GOP has spent months trying to dig themselves out from under the avalanche of ensuing public opinion polls. But Ryan ironically remains the GOP’s preferred spokesman on these issues, and he tackled Warren head on after a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, in which he defended wealthy Americans from growing calls for higher taxes on their income, and attacked President Obama and Democrats for engaging in what he calls “class warfare.”
Warren, who’s hoping to defeat Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) in 2012, has made the most digestible case for this sort of plan-- to shore up the social safety net and fund jobs programs with higher taxes on the rich, who’ve seen their incomes skyrocket in recent years. She took this case to voters several weeks ago and it set the Internet ablaze.
...Ryan’s counterargument... isn’t just that Warren’s wrong about who should pay, but that she’s wrong about what they and the government should be paying for.
But Ryan isn't running for national office, isn't running for the U.S. Senate and isn't running against Elizabeth Warren. He's trying to hang onto his seat in southeastern Wisconsin after consistently selling out the people who live there-- and in a district won in 2008 by Barack Obama. And this year, for the first time ever, the DCCC isn't protecting him by inserting a weak and implausible opponent. Rob Zerban understands real people and understands the pain and anguish that has spawned the 99% movement in Wisconsin and across America. He's going to give Ryan a run for Wall Street's money. After the speech Ron told us that Ryan was "unable to escape his extreme proposals and divisive language, even in today’s speech which was supposedly about bipartisanship."
"Voters realize that Paul Ryan is at the helm of one of the most failed, divisive, and disappointing Congresses in American history. His plan in the Budget Committee advanced a radical agenda that endangers programs Americans trust and support including Social Security and Medicare. He is demonstrating a failure to listen to the will of the vast majority of Wisconsinites.
"His language today reflected the same stubborn and unproductive attitude that has crippled our government. He attacked the President, saying he is a 'pyromaniac' and accusing him of 'sowing class envy and social unrest' in his attempt to create jobs and renew America’s crumbling infrastructure. Paul Ryan has labeled Social Security, a program that generations of Americans have relied upon, a felonious, Bernie Madoff-style Ponzi scheme. Ryan also repeated his opposition to Medicare as we know it by calling it a 'boondoggle.'
"In short, we saw the same old ideas for the economy and familiar partisanship that led me to run for Congress.”
The DCCC isn't actively trying to protect Ryan this year-- finally-- but so far they're spending all their money on helping anti-Choice Blue Dogs rather than progressives like Rob. He can use some help from the grassroots and you can help him right here