Monday, August 20, 2012

Some Nonpartisan Thoughts on the Paul Ryan Budget 1

1) Mr. Ryan's budget starts off at 3.5 trillion in 2013 and ends at 4.9 trillion in 2022. That's a 40% INCREASE over ten years and I would hardly call that draconian.............2) The Ryan budget apparently DOES treat the defense department as a sacred cow and, yes, folks, that part I DO disagree with. You cannot tell me that a 20-30 billion dollar reduction in the Pentagon budget (accomplished by closing exotic foreign military bases and/or eliminating unnecessary weapons systems) would in any way jeopardize our national security (we would STILL be spending more that the rest of the planet combined). It thoroughly defies common sense.............3) To characterize Mr. Ryan's Medicare proposal as a "voucher plan" is at the very least misleading. A much more accurate way to describe this now Ryan-WYDEN (Ron Wyden, Democratic Senator from Oregon) plan would be to call it a premium support plan; a bipartisan concept that hasn't just been endorsed by Wyden but also by former Democratic Senators, Bob Kerry and John Breaux (two eloquent statesmen, I think).............4) Now, is the Ryan-Wyden plan some sort of medical panacea? No, of course not. But a) it isn't radical, b) it does institute at least some competition, and c) it shouldn't be summarily rejected.............5) Another criticism of the Ryan budget/Medicare proposal is that it causes seniors to pay an extra $6,000 a year for their coverage. Assuming that these numbers are accurate (and I'm willing to entertain that they may be inflated), I would simply caution the naysayers here that a lot of seniors could quite readily absorb this. I mean, just look at the damned demographics of millionaires in this country. BY FAR, the greatest concentration of them lies in people over 60. I see no reason why these people wouldn't be able to contribute more to their health-care....Now, other seniors who couldn't as easily absorb such a burden, yes, if the Ryan-Wyden plan allows for these individuals to fall through the cracks, that totally WOULD be a problem. I just haven't seen any hard-core evidence for it. Care to enlighten me?

16 comments:

w-dervish said...
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w-dervish said...

Will: A much more accurate way to describe this now Ryan-Wyden plan would be to call it a premium support plan...

Wrong on both points.

The Ryan plan to destroy Medicare can NOT be called Ryan-Wyden, because when Romney said his vice presidential pick "found a Democrat to co-lead a piece of legislation to make sure we can save Medicare", Wyden pushed back, retorting, "Gov. Romney is talking nonsense. Bipartisanship requires that you not make up the facts. I did not 'co-lead a piece of legislation'. I wrote a policy paper on options for Medicare. Several months after the paper came out I spoke and voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget. Governor Romney needs to learn you don't protect seniors by makings things up, and his comments today sure won't help promote real bipartisanship".

Also, what it should be called is "Millionaire support", as it's purpose is transfer Medicare dollars from seniors to Millionaires via tax cuts.

The legislation Wyden co-authored with Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) which would have extended the exchange-based coverage system to every American not in Medicare or in the military would be a better idea, although what we really need is single payer.

Will: ...if the Ryan-Wyden plan allows for these individuals to fall through the cracks...

Ron Wyden says there is no such thing as the "Ryan-Wyden" plan.

dmarks said...

It is impossible to transfer money from seniors to millionares via tax cuts.

Mordechai said...

It is impossible to transfer money from seniors to millionares via tax cuts.

Not totally accurate,

If you cut the millionaires taxes the way Bush did combines with raising costs to seniors with larger co-pays and higher fees for service, combines with cuts in the service itself,you have done exactly that.

The same type of transfer operation has occurred in both state and federal government operations since the idea was first tried during Ronald Reagan's administration.

The Reagan administration achieved this by cutting the Federal income tax, and then raising the FICA & SECA Tax Rates on the middle class, followed by removing the excess monies from the FICA and SECA programs to help fill in for the reduced revenues of the tax cuts. Along with cutting or reducing programs for those less fortunate (including seniors below the medium income) the exact transfer you claim is impossible was achieved.

dmarks said...

Mord:

1) The Bush tax cuts were mostly middle class. It is misleading to briefly summarize them as tax cuts for millionaires.
2) What you detailed was not the tax cuts doing any transfer, but other policies doing this. One you mentioned was 'larger co pays'. This is not a tax cut at all.
3) Social spending on the 'less fortunate' soared under Reagan, actually increasing substantially.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

From The Hill - "But this year, Ryan unveiled a new proposal, WITH WYDEN AT HIS SIDE. The revised plan would give seniors a choice between private insurance and traditional Medicare. When Ryan and Wyden unveiled the policy, Democratic officials insisted that it wouldn't weaken their attacks on the Ryan budget."......It's an election year, wd. Mr. Wyden isn't going to do anything to hamper the President's bid for a second term. And it IS a premium support proposal (the compromise which still allows for traditional Medicare). Just ask former Senator, John Breaux (a little more knowledgeable on the subject than you) who recently testified before the Congress.

Mordechai said...

The Bush tax cuts were mostly middle class.

Wrong again.

Who benefits from the Bush tax cuts?

The top 2 percent of income earners benefited overwhelmingly from the Bush tax cuts,

see chart;

benefits of bush tax cut

PS that is ONLY the middle class part of the tax cuts;

If the high-income tax cuts are included as they are part of the Bush tax cuts;

People who earn $1,000,000 received an average tax cut of nearly $104,000, more then the middle class average total wage.

The story is similar, if not quite as dramatic, for households that make between $500,000 and $1 million. They received 17,467 in tax cuts. ten times the benefit the average middle class cut.

Like I said.

The people who benefited the greatest from said tax cuts were the people at the top of the economic system.

Facts still count.

BB-Idaho said...

The median income of folks over 65 is $18,686. A $6000 chunk = a 32%
hit. Many of these oldsters are raising grandkids and already paying out of pocket on healthcare needs. Perhaps if the $20billion or so went directly to paying down the debt...but to lower top marginal rates?

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

BB Idaho, the subsidies for poorer seniors will be significantly greater than those for affluent seniors. I doubt seriously that people making $18,000 a year will have to dish out $6,000 of their own money.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

And if there isn't a Ryan-Wyden compromise, then why in the hell did the two of them write this editorial in the Wall Street Journal and why in the hell did rank talking-heads like Thom Hartmann excoriate Mr. Wyden over it? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203893404577098681919780636.html

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Mordechai, you and dmarks are both kind of right. Yes, individual tax-payers in the higher income levels obviously did better (they make more money and pay more taxes and so it only goes to figure). But the bulk of the $370 billion in cuts went overwhelmingly to people outside the top 2% and we know this because when they tabulated the increase in revenue to the treasury for letting the top rates expire, it only added up to $70 billion. Still a nice chunk of change but with a 1.4 trillion dollar deficit and 15 trillion dollar economy, we're obviously going to have to do some other things, too.

dmarks said...

Mord said; "The Bush tax cuts were mostly middle class."

No matter how you slice it; most of those who got to keep more of their own money, and most of the money that wasn't confiscated by the government under this plan were middle class.

Of course, even a small percentage cut for the rich ends up having a big dollar amount, but that is an intentionally misleading way to "cook" the figures for a program which mostly benefited the middle class.

In fact, your bringing up the $100,000 figure for a hypothetical example is worthless, really. You can't possibly cut taxes $100,000 for a person in the middle class. And anyway it was only a tiny minority who got to keep more of their own money to such a large sum.

"The top 2 percent of income earners benefited overwhelmingly from the Bush tax cuts,

"The people who benefited the greatest from said tax cuts were the people at the top of the economic system."

But these few were in the minority, and got the smallest share of they money.

"Facts still count."

They do indeed. Even when talking about Bush's tax cuts for all taxpayers (mostly middle class)

w-dervish said...

Will: And if there isn't a Ryan-Wyden compromise, then why in the hell did the two of them write this editorial in the Wall Street Journal and why in the hell did rank talking-heads like Thom Hartmann excoriate Mr. Wyden over it?

Thom Hartmann rightfully excoriated Wyden as a usefull idiot for working with Ryan and considering some of his "destroy Medicare" proposals... but they never reached a compromise. Wyden voted against the Medicare provisions in the Ryan budget.

And Mordechai is right about bush's tax cuts. Look at Romney's tax proposals: he wants to lower taxes on the rich even more than bush and RAISE them on everyone else. Even bush didn't have the balls to do that... although I'm sure he wanted to. He just figured he couldn't cut taxes for the rich and not for everyone else without people protesting. I guess he underestimated how gullible voters like dmarks are.

clif said...
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Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

$300,000 billion of the $370,000 billion in tax cuts went to people who WEREN'T in the top 2%. You can slice it and dice it any way that you want but the largest share of the tax cuts didn't go to the "plutocrats".......And the Ryan-Wyden compromise (he, Wyden, voted against the budget, the Medicare part was included in the budget) is significantly different than the original Ryan proposal. It includes more subsidies and a retainment of the public option. Is it perfect? No. But it's better than letting the program go bankrupt and it's certainly better than Mr. Obama's robbing Peter to pay Paul strategy.

Jerry Critter said...

Let's see,

$70,000 billion went to 2%, or $35,000 billion for each 1%.

That leaves $300,000 billion for the remaining 98%, or a little over $3,000 for each 1%

So, using your numbers, we have $35,000 billion per percentage point for the top 2%, and 3,000+ billion per percentage point for the bottom 98%.

Which would you rather have?