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Jewish World Review
Aug 15, 2012 / 26 Menachem-Av, 5772
Saving Medicare the Ryan way
The Democrats want to scare the elderly to death about Paul Ryan's Medicare proposals even though they won't affect anyone over 54, and here's what they're not telling anyone. Their own legislative mishaps include billions in cuts that start eating away at Medicare right around the corner and won't address the debt threat because of the coming costs of Obamacare.
It's true, and it's getting surprising little press attention as Ryan on the stump is already showing why he was a brilliant choice by Mitt Romney to run as the Republican vice presidential candidate with him. He is addressing not some picayune issue, but what ought to be everyone's chief domestic dread: a gross national debt getting close to $16 trillion. It's already slowing economic growth by the calculations of some and threatens calamity if something significant is not done about it.
Ryan, as a Republican representative from Wisconsin, has made deficit reductions one of his chief objectives as he has fashioned GOP budget plans taking seriously the warnings from the leaders of President Barack Obama's own debt commission, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He gets it that entitlements could eventually consume virtually the whole budget if left untouched, and came up with a Medicare voucher plan that would treat the least advantaged with the most care as it also introduces market principles to help keep health costs in check.
He would also give people the option of sticking with traditional Medicare, although he would slow its growth by changing the formula for increasing expenditures.
The Democratic approach in the Obamacare package is different. One way it aims to control costs is by reducing fees paid to medical providers beginning next year, thereby almost surely reducing the number of providers who will take on Medicare patients. Savings of this and other steps are said by the Congressional Budget Office to amount to $716 billion over 10 years, which might seem a debt solution if it were not for the new Obamacare entitlement adding multi-billions more to federal expenses.
The probability is that we're "going over the fiscal cliff," Erskine Bowles told CNBC in a July interview, and he's not some right-wing hack. He is the former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and co-chairman of the debt commission. He said the commissioners "worked hard to try to get common sense to overrule politics, and that's a tough thing in Washington, as all can tell you."
Except, it seems, when it comes to Ryan. Although Bowles and the other co-chairman, former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, have found things to fault in Ryan's formulations, they have also praised them, saying a year ago that his budget ideas were a "serious, honest, straightforward approach to addressing our nation's enormous fiscal challenges" and would "reduce the country's deficit by approximately the same amount as the plan of the President's Fiscal Commission."
Obama is out on the stump saying he has a different vision, and indeed he does -- a vision that would keep spending, spending, spending and would raise taxes on some to little budgetary avail while possibly hurting the recovery even more than he has already. Keep going forward at his rate of a trillion-dollar deficit here and another trillion-dollar deficit there, and pretty soon we are over the cliff referred to by Bowles.
If anything should induce fear and trembling, it's that prospect, not Ryan's perfectly reasonable Medicare proposals that truly do aim to reduce spending for the reason that there is no other choice if we want to save the program and the country. The point that should not be lost is that he aims to do it in a way that gives those affected plenty of time to prepare, gives special attention to those most in need and has figured out a method that should enable the program to thrive.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.
• 08/01/12: Combatting free speech
• 07/25/12: Good and bad reactions to Colorado horror
• 07/18/12: Apology time for Obama
• 07/16/12: Free markets solve climate change threats
• 07/11/12: Humans and particles and those who would order them
• 07/06/12: Why we'll miss Andy Griffith
• 07/05/12: All will feel Affordable Care Act's bite
• 07/02/12: A social solution --- homes with dads
• 06/27/12: Being a 'nation of immigrants' is not an excuse
• 06/20/12: Barack Obama the autocrat
• 06/18/12: Bradbury's lessons for today
• 06/13/12: Should this leaking administration sink?
• 06/11/12: Simpson bashes back on reform
• 06/05/12: Legalize sugary drinks, ban dangerous drugs
• 06/04/12: Keep America from going Greek
• 06/01/12: Don't believe in Obama's fairy tales
• 05/30/12: Writing a book? Beats prison
• 05/23/12: Student loans fail students
• 05/21/12: Europeanizing America into crisis
• 05/16/12: Obama a bully, too
• 05/15/12: Walker recall vote could swing national pension policy
• 05/07/12: Bumbling, fumbling, benighted, old Washington near tipping point where freedom is done for
• 05/02/12: The Communists cannot be happy
• 04/30/12: There's no objective truth, least of all concerning behavior
• 04/25/12: Forgive the extremist?
• 04/23/12: Educational excellence is a game
• 04/18/12: Obama's interventions help a few by the most autocratic, complicated, ineffective means possible, yet hurt many more
• 04/16/12: Overregulation strikes again: The nanny state threatens to turn us into children
• 04/11/12: Obama is not bonkers
• 04/04/12: Will America vote against authoritarianism?
• 04/02/12: 'Tipping point' on federal restraint approaches
• 03/28/12: Obama truth from an open mike
• 03/21/12: The progressive campaign for voter fraud
• 03/19/12: Public pensions will get us if we don't watch out
• 03/14/12: Politics needs reporting, not speculation
• 03/12/12: Home of the free, the brave, the endangered
• 03/07/12: Obama used Limbaugh as scapegoat
• 03/05/12: Campaign substance lost in media melodrama
• 03/01/12: When Big Brother drowns
• 02/24/12: Obama goes gaseous on gas
• 02/22/12: Political tears for trust in personal empowerment --- except in the bedroom
• 02/17/12: Of cut-off ears and silenced mouths
• 02/15/12: Obama is a joke whose antics aren't funny
• 02/10/12: An energy boom looms, despite Obama
• 02/08/12: Obama's assault on faith
• 02/03/12: Can Romney get serious?
• 01/27/12: Obama is like an Italian ship captain
• 01/25/12: Newt Gingrich's first 100 days
• 01/20/12: Obama's Keystone pipeline lies
• 01/18/12: Critics worse than urinating Marines
• 01/13/12: Ron Paul is a cartoonish character
• 01/11/12: Newt Gingrich upset by Mitt Romney's brilliance
• 01/09/12: How about regulating presidents, too?
• 01/04/12: How America smothers itself
• 12/30/11: A tax break that helps break the nation
• 12/28/11: Watch out for the banana peel, Newt
• 12/21/11: A tale of two men
• 12/16/11: Strange happenings in Russia
• 12/14/11: Tim Tebow is a man of character
• 12/09/11: A populist, envy-mongering fraud divisively exacerbating resentment among different groups of Americans
• 12/07/11: Tax games threaten nation
• 12/05/11: Why Wal-Mart serves us better than Barney Frank
• 11/30/11: Not writing off Newt
• 11/28/11: Answers to the Iranian threat
• 11/23/11: Failure of the incumbency investment
• 11/18/11: Occupiers: Chop off their heads!
• 11/16/11: Obama asks jobless to sacrifice
• 11/09/11: Michael Moore's insufferable occupation
• 11/04/11: Political tipping point is coming
• 11/02/11: Idealogues versus 7 billion
• 10/28/11: Obama games on student loans
• 10/26/11: Wit and quick moves v. humanity and thoroughgoing honesty? It's no contest - or at least shouldn't be
• 10/07/11: Baptists, bootleggers and Wall Street protesters
• 10/05/11: Federal law will get you even if you watch out
• 09/28/11: Leftist bugbears on the march
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• 09/21/11: Obama's Madoff ploy
• 09/19/11: U.S. can't afford to wait until it happens
• 09/14/11: Defending -- and strengthening -- gung ho collectivism
• 09/12/11: A pipeline to better times
• 09/08/11: Obama just keeps destroying jobs
• 09/06/11: Ultra-feminists thwarting justice
• 08/31/11: Corporations are people? Yes, Count the ways
• 08/26/11: What an earthquake tells us about debt
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• 08/15/11: Balanced budget amendment unbalanced idea
• 08/10/11: Kerry's war on citizen speech
• 08/05/11: Upside to the compromise leaving the door open for obnoxious maneuvers
• 08/03/11: The people who may save America
• 07/29/11: On making deals, Obama is no LBJ
• 07/27/11: The threat behind the debt
• 07/23/11: Mean opposition to means-testing
• 07/20/11: Leftist babble makes debt crisis even worse
• 07/18/11: Time to raise demagoguery ceiling
• 07/13/11: Obama treating treaties badly
• 07/08/11: Is decline of U.S. exaggerated?
• 07/05/11: Not math deficiency, but demagoguery
© 2011, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE