Friday, April 15, 2011


I am, if nothing else, glad to see that substantive matters are finally being discussed. This should be, if this were a sane world, the time for the Palins and Bachmanns of the political stage to exit and allow those who know what they're talking about to hash out the details and come up with a budget. This won't happen. Instead, the fringe will demand ever lower taxes, talk about death panels, socialism and the like--just in time for election 2012. The sane conservatives (of whom Paul Ryan is one, even if I disagree with him) will be ignored and lambasted as "RINO's" and we'll probably default as a country on our debt. Paul Ryan's budget does the following things which, I think, are non-debatable:

  1. proposed subsidies are tied to inflation--not the rate of the rise in health care costs

  2. tax breaks for the top income earners (a reduction from 35% to 25% of income over $1 million annually)and corporations are included

  3. Defunds Obama Care

Obama's plan does the following:

  1. let's tax rates return to what they were previously on the top income earners

  2. cuts military spending

  3. funds Obama Care

That being said, there is now time and direction for a real debate about the budget--if it's not derailed by ridiculous partisan bickering and non-essential issues. Will we talk about the future of medicare, or will we get stuck debating the merits of letting Washingtonians pay for their own abortions? Will we talk about the overt waste in our military budget, or will we be sidetracked with discussions of gay marriage?

As a side note, I keep hearing people on the radio claim Obama is waging "class warfare". Do these people not see that if Obama is waging class warfare, so is Paul Ryan? Both budgets attempt to do the same thing--pay down the deficit, fix spending and stop waste. The difference is in how, and it is simply fact that Democrats and Republians are on opposite sides of how to do that--do we direct money at the poor in order to stabilize the economy, or the rich (trickle down)? If taxing the rich is "class warfare" then cutting spending on programs for the poor is also class warfare, just with a different target.

The 2012 elections will be vitally important--here's to hoping we don't muck it up with insincere and childish politics.

What I'm about to write, I hope, comes of as substantive and not political. I was listening to an interview on NPR (yes, that bastion of the liberal media) with Paul Ryan. In it, the interviewer asked a question which, when answered, I thought was rather poignant. The Q/A is below:

ROBERT: Congressman Ryan, critics of your idea say that the cost of insurance for members of Congress has actually gone up faster with the element of choice than the cost of Medicare has. Why would you, if turned out that indeed the government run program was more cost efficient would you favor it? Or is it in face an ideological preference for the market, even if the market is less efficient? REP. RYAN: The point I'm trying to make, and there is a difference of I think, philosophy here of what works best. We don't believe surrendering more of the health-care system over to government is an effective solution to lowering health-care costs. It simply results in rationing and price controlling. So we do believe that the current health-care system is broken and needs to be fixed. ROBERT: You're saying that even if the Medicare system were to be comparably more efficient ... that you're saying if it's not competitive... REP. RYAN: Competition ROBERT: You'd prefer what might be conceivably a more expensive system if it involves free-market competition? REP. RYAN: Actually, no we don't believe that at all. We believe it will be a less expensive system. But believe you me, we need to do more in the health-care system to get the consumer more power in the health care system so that the patient and their doctor have the real power in the health care system, so that all providers — health-insurance companies, doctors, hospitals — have to compete against each other for the health insurance beneficiaries' business.

So, the interviewer gets at the prime concern of those of us who disagree w/ the Ryan budget proposal--it pits the reality of rising costs against the belief that free markets will take care of things. When presented with the fact that the system Ryan wants to impose, while already in place for Congress creates higher costs, he simply says, "we don't believe that". One can choose to ignore evidence, but it isn't wise to do so.


Post a Comment

<< Home