Archive for category Paul Ryan

Is the Tea-GOP Wealthcare Plan Designed to Fail?

Just stop being poor

The Tea-GOP politicians have spent eight years making impossible health care promises. They said they would repeal the ACA, and challenged it in the courts (wanting us to forget that it originated as a right-wing proposal from the Heritage Foundation). Senator Orrin Hatch condemned the individual for-profit private insurance mandate as unconstitutional, ignoring the fact that he once wholeheartedly supported this exact same policy. Then they said they would replace the ACA with something better, except everybody knows that single-payer Medicare For All (supported by a majority of Americans) is the better system– and the Tea-GOP is adamantly opposed to it!

Of course Donald Trump’s characteristic style of campaigning meant that his pie in the sky was the highest and the best.

“Obamacare has to go. We can’t afford it. It’s no good. You’re going to end up with great healthcare for a fraction of the price. And that’s going to take place immediately after we go in. Okay? Immediately. Fast Quick.” (CSPAN 2/19/16, Timestamp 34:23)

Of course progressives understand that everything the Tea-GOP says about healthcare is, as they say in political science, bullshit. They have no interest in using government to provide health care or even health insurance to average Americans. Speaker Paul Ryan is looking for one thing: Big tax cuts for the rich, and benefit cuts for the rest of us — especially the most vulnerable who rely on Medicaid.

What has inevitably been dubbed “Trumpcare” is now being railroaded through the House of Representatives. But it might be designed to fail. The bill as it is presently constituted cannot pass the Senate without a 60-vote super-majority, and a number of Tea-GOP senators have come out against it.

I suspect that the Tea-GOP deliberately produced an extremely unpopular wealthcare bill because they don’t actually want it enacted. Why take ownership of the health care issue and have to spend years defending “Trumpcare,” which Paul Krugman describes as a bill “so bad it’s awesome”?

Instead, they want it to fail and they plan to blame the Democrats. Trump is already saying this.

More info:
The American Health Care Act Is A Wealth Grab, Not A Health Plan
Trump Prepares To Blame Democrats For His Health-Care Fiasco
Teflon Don? On The Right, If The Repeal Effort Fails, Trump May Emerge Unscathed
Trump administration teams up with Big Pharma to block drug pricing transparency


Say Goodbye to Medicare, Hello to ‘CouponCare’

Trump hat

During the presidential campaign that ended a little over two weeks ago, Donald Trump promised again and again to defend Medicare.

During the primaries Trump said, “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid. And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years.”

His campaign even accused Hillary Clinton of “destroying Medicare.”

Now that Election Day is behind us, the unified Tea-GOP regime has revealed new plans to phase out Medicare next year. Speaker Paul Ryan wants to get rid of the defined-benefit program and replace it with defined-contribution coupons for for-profit private insurance that won’t cover health care costs for seniors.

Trump now says he wants to “modernize Medicare,” which of course is code for phasing out the program and replacing it with CouponCare.

Minority leader-elect Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) predicted the push for CouponCare will fail, but didn’t say how Dems can stop it.

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Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Tea-GOP government


Actually Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said, “Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government.” But ever since former Speaker John Boehner famously declared that there is no difference between the Tea Party and the Republican Party, I have always used the term Tea-GOP.

What is to be done? Well, trying to work with Trump isn’t an option.

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ):

Given everything we know about Donald Trump — and everything we don’t know — I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.

Under ordinary circumstances, we would welcome a plan to invest in infrastructure — even if that plan came from the other side of the aisle. Especially if it came from the other side of the aisle!

But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician. He is a con artist. He has refused to give the American people reason to believe that he is not in this to enrich himself. In fact, he has bucked tradition by maintaining his family’s interest in a private corporation.

And, unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.

Democrats, progressives, and independents have to fight Trump using every means available.

Trump is tremendously unpopular, and he will rapidly lose support. Did Trump voters know that they were voting for more tax cuts for the rich and corporations and Medicare phase-out? No, they were lied to. Oh, and Trump’s first “job creation” idea is a federal government hiring freeze.

Anyone who yelled “Drain the swamp!” at a Trump rally cannot be encouraged to learn that Trump has already established the most corrupt administration in our lifetimes, and he still has two months to go to Inauguration Day.

In the quite reasonable assumption that Trump, imitating former President George W. Bush, racks up vacation days while outsourcing policy to Speaker Ryan and an assortment of extremists appointed to key posts like the National Security Advisor and Attorney General, he is on track to inherit Bush’s title as Worst President Ever.

According to some economic indicators, economic stagnation may have already tipped over into recession. If our new Tea-GOP government is able to enact tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for everybody else, this recession could be worse than the last one.


Paul Ryan Poverty Plan: Punish Poor Americans for Being Poor

Blame the victims

Via Media Matters

Failed 2012 Vice Presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is back again with a so-called “poverty plan” that blames the victims. In reality, poverty is the result of systemic inequality of opportunity – not a lack of individual initiative.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s poverty proposal, which would in part punish impoverished Americans for not getting themselves out of poverty on a specific timeline, is based on the conservative myth pushed by right-wing media that blames poverty on individuals’ “spirit” and personal life choices.

…The “discussion draft” submitted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to the House Budget Committee on potential solutions to poverty in America includes the proposal that low-income Americans would have to sign “contracts” in order to remain eligible for social safety net benefits, such as food stamps, or SNAP. The contract would include: benchmarks, such as finding a job, enrolling in employment training, or even meeting “new acquaintances outside circle of poverty”; a “timeline” in which individuals are contractually-obligated to meet those benchmarks; bonuses for meeting benchmarks early; and “sanctions for breaking the terms of the contract”

…Annie Lowrey of New York magazine explained that Ryan’s proposal is based on the assumption “that the poor somehow want to be poor.”

Ryan’s poverty-shaming plan is nothing more than a vehicle for right-wing propaganda.

Here’s a better alternative than the Tea-GOP is offering: a $15 per hour minimum wage.

More Info:

The Worst Part Of Paul Ryan’s Poverty Plan Is Based On A Media Myth
Seattle raises minimum wage to $15 an hour
Fast food workers vow civil disobedience


Paul Ryan’s Free School Lunch Story Never Actually Happened

You can’t make this stuff up. Or more to the point, right-wingers make this stuff up all the time. They have to, because their ideology is not reality-based.

h/t TPM

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) fired up the audience Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference with an anecdote about what he called the heartlessness of giving out free school lunches — but it turns out that “moving” story never really happened.

Here’s the quote:

“The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy Governor Scott Walker. She once met a young boy from a poor family. And every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program. But he told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch—one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids’. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him.

WaPo’s Glenn Kessler fact-checked Ryan’s story, and gave it “four pinocchios.” The story Ryan attributed to Eloise Anderson is actually taken from a book by Laura Schroff, who is in reality a supporter of federal programs for hungry kids such as school lunches and SNAP (aka food stamps).

Debunking this stuff is easy. When a right-winger like Ryan poses a counter-factual argument, such as “poor children would be better off without free school lunches,” it’s always based on a lie.

More info:
A story too good to check: Paul Ryan and the tale of the brown paper bag

Jon Stewart Shreds Paul Ryan’s Free School Lunch Fib (VIDEO)

Conservatives Offer Americans Empty Stomachs and Empty Rhetoric


Federal Budget Deficit Cut By Half, ‘Grand Bargain’ Dead

Budget deficit graph
Source: Mother Jones

The federal government’s latest annual deficit was $680 billion, the smallest it’s been since 2008, according to Treasury Department data released Wednesday. Federal spending in 2013 totaled 20.8% of GDP, down from 22% the year before. The FY 2013 deficit was less than half the record $1.413 trillion figure inherited by the Obama administration from President George W. Bush. It’s becoming clear to everyone, not just economists, that deficits are not that hard to control. If we can fix the economy and get the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, deficit spending will vanish completely.

The so-called “sequester” austerity budget has effectively sabotaged our economic recovery, but at least it accomplished one good thing. Washington politicians are no longer talking seriously about a proposed “Grand Bargain” to cut Social Security and Medicare. Progressive blogs have labeled this the Grand Betrayal, an attack on the social safety net that has kept millions of Americans out of poverty.


Paul Ryan killed any lingering hopes of a grand bargain within moments of the budget conference kickoff on Wednesday.

In his opening remarks, the Wisconsin congressman and chairman of the House budget committee laid down a firm marker against new taxes, which are essential to any major deficit reduction proposal that can pass Congress and be signed into law.

…His comments reflect the no-compromise mood of the GOP. That means the two chambers are unlikely to strike a major debt deal or reconcile the different budgets passed by the House and Senate earlier this year.

Party of NO, do your stuff!

OTOH it would be good if the 29-member budget conference committee can find some way to avoid another government shutdown on January 15 next year. Hopefully, that’s not too much to ask. They have until December 13 to reach a compromise agreement.

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Medicare Cost-Shift Theory Debunked


Via Jon Walker on FDL (emphasis added):

A new study in Health Affairs appears to disprove the commonly cited myth that public insurance programs “cost-shift” onto private insurance.

…In reality, the study found lower Medicare payment rates actually reduce what private insurance companies pay.

…This study reinforces that the real issue at play is market power, not cost shifting. Compared to other countries with single-payer or all-payer systems, providers in the United States have more power to demand higher prices.

Something to think about before attempting to voucher-ize Medicare.

More info:
How Much do Hospitals Cost Shift? A Review of the Evidence (PDF)
A Review of the Evidence on Hospital Cost-Shifting (PDF)

Read the rest of this entry »


Paul Ryan Does A Complete 360

Paul Ryan

August 1, 2011

Congressman Paul Ryan voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, which raised the debt ceiling and set up “automatic” sequestration cuts of $109 billion in 2013, including $55 billion to defense. These cuts are now set to take effect on March 1. “The goal was never that these defense cuts actually occur,” Ryan lamely said later.

August 17, 2012

Ryan accused President Obama of wanting to make “devastating” defense cuts. Although Republicans typically maintain that government spending cannot create jobs, while campaigning for Vice President Ryan flipped and said: “Now there’s one thing we’re going to have to deal with to make sure we protect jobs in Virginia and around America. And that is these devastating defense cuts that president Obama is promising. That is the lack of leadership that he is providing. They call it sequester and all of that…”

January 27, 2013

Ryan now says “I think the sequester is going to happen because that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, we can’t lose those spending cuts.” Ryan rules out raising revenues to reduce the federal deficit.

UPDATE: On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning, Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman took the deficit scolds to school.

“If you spend a lot of your time talking about the debt and the entitlements are the big problem, the message that actually what we need to is promote jobs gets lost. And in fact, we spent the last two and a half years focused entirely on arguing about the long-term deficit and entitlements and doing nothing for employment right now.

…“People like me have been saying for five years, don’t worry about these deficit things for the time being, they’re a non-issue,” Krugman observed. “Other people have been saying, ‘Imminent crisis, imminent crisis!’ How many times do they have to be wrong and do people like me have to be right before people start to believe this?”

UPDATE: Media Matters: Media Talk Deficits, Ignore Economic Growth

Experts like Paul Krugman consistently argue that economic growth is more pressing of an issue than deficits, and that the focus on deficits and debt distracts policymakers from the very real problem of sustained high unemployment and a weak economy. But television media are largely ignoring these experts.

UPDATE: The GOP’s Big Sequester Bluff

UPDATE: Three Charts Reminding The GOP That Domestic Spending Is Already Headed Toward Historic Lows

UPDATE: Austerity Is Dead: Can Someone Please Tell Paul Ryan and His Deluded GOP Cohorts?


Michael Grunwald: GOP’s Up-is-Downism Puts News Reporters in an Awkward Position

Great post by Time’s Michael Grunwald (the whole thing is worth reading):

It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting. Mainstream media outlets don’t want to look partisan, so they ignore the BS hidden in plain sight, the hypocrisy and dishonesty that defines the modern Republican Party. I’m old enough to remember when Republicans insisted that anyone who said they wanted to cut Medicare was a demagogue, because I’m more than three weeks old.

…The next fight is likely to involve the $200 billion worth of stimulus that Obama included in his recycled fiscal cliff plan that somehow didn’t exist before Election Day. I’ve taken a rather keen interest in the topic of stimulus, so I’ll be interested to see how this is covered. Keynesian stimulus used to be uncontroversial in Washington; every 2008 presidential candidate had a stimulus plan, and Mitt Romney’s was the largest. But in early 2009, when Obama began pushing his $787 billion stimulus plan, the GOP began describing stimulus as an assault on free enterprise—even though House Republicans (including Paul Ryan) voted for a $715 billion stimulus alternative that was virtually indistinguishable from Obama’s socialist version. The current Republican position seems to be that the fiscal cliff’s instant austerity would destroy the economy, which is odd after four years of Republican clamoring for austerity, and that the cliff’s military spending cuts in particular would kill jobs, which is even odder after four years of Republican insistence that government spending can’t create jobs.

…Whatever. I realize that the GOP’s up-is-downism puts news reporters in an awkward position. It would seem tendentious to point out Republican hypocrisy on deficits and Medicare and stimulus every time it comes up, because these days it comes up almost every time a Republican leader opens his mouth. But we’re not supposed to be stenographers. As long as the media let an entire political party invent a new reality every day, it will keep on doing it. Every day.


What Foreign Policy Debate?

Afghan poll
Washington Post/ABC Poll

The problem with tonight’s presidential foreign policy debate is that both major political parties are committed to the almost the exact same foreign policy. Despite the fact most Americans are against it.

E-mail from RootsAction:

Even the New York Times has reversed its position of over 11 years and editorialized for withdrawal from Afghanistan now.

The crowd at the Republican National Convention cheered for immediate withdrawal when Clint Eastwood and Senator Rand Paul proposed it.

The U.K. and other allies are speeding up their withdrawal plans.

A strong majority of Americans has favored withdrawal in polls for years now.

And who’s left favoring two more years of war, followed by 10 more years of lower-level war?

These guys: Obama, Romney, Biden, and Ryan.

Tell them to give up on endless war in Afghanistan.

The military-industrial complex shouldn’t get to have two candidates for president.

UPDATE: What Jill Stein would say if she were allowed to debate tonight:

“We support a Green New Deal, which will put everyone back to work, at the same time that it puts a halt to climate change and it makes wars for oil obsolete.”

I’d be surprised if we hear the term “climate change” tonight from either Romney or Obama.

UPDATE: Suddenly Centrist Romney Repeatedly Praises Obama’s Foreign Policy In Debate

NYT: “Mr. Romney’s problem is that he does not actually have any real ideas on foreign policy beyond what President Obama has already done, or plans to do.”

UPDATE: Presidential debate on foreign policy: Barack Obama and Mitt Romney engage in titanic struggle to locate major differences between each other

Obama boasts of the massive amount of military spending under his presidency. Romney then says he wants to spend more. It is inconceivable that anyone would suggest that spending almost more than all other countries on the planet combined is excessive. That is the election in a nutshell.

…A primary reason this debate is so awful is because DC media people like Bob Scheiffer have zero interest in challenging any policy that is embraced by both parties, and since most foreign policies are embraced by both parties, he has no interest in challenging most of the issues that are relevant: drones, sanctions, Israel, etc.


VP Biden: ‘Take Responsibility’

That’s my take-away from tonight’s vice-presidential debate. Vice President Biden kept asking Congressman Ryan to take responsibility for the nation’s well-being, something the Republicans in Congress have conspicuously refused to do. Their plan has been to sabotage the economy and try to blame the Obama administration.

VP Biden nailed Ryan on his faux concern for the middle class:

Stop talking about how you care about people. Show me something. Show me a policy. Show me a policy where you take responsibility.

And by the way, they talk about this Great Recession as if it fell out of the sky, like, oh my goodness, where did it come from? It came from this man voting to put two wars in a credit card, to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card, a trillion- dollar tax cut for a — very wealthy. I was there. I voted against him. I said, no, we can’t afford that. And now all of a sudden these guys are so seized with a concern about the debt that they created —

Biden went after Ryan on his party’s obsession with tax cuts for the rich.

“Instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us not to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we’re going to level the playing field,” the vice president said.

“It’s about time they took responsibility,” he added.

Now that Ryan is running in a national election, he won’t say what plans he and Willard (“Mitt”) Romney have. He won’t give details or accept any responsibility for tax policy, the budget, national security or foreign policy. In contrast, VP Biden kept emphasizing that President Obama has taken responsibility and made some hard decisions that turned out pretty well.

In all, Biden used the word “responsibility” 13 times. Rep. Ryan used it once, in his closing statement – “We will take responsibility,” Ryan said defensively. But he was referring to a hypothetical future, not now.

Moderator Martha Raddatz deserves credit for excellent follow-up questions, especially on foreign policy. Also for ignoring the rule against addressing Ryan as “congressman.” But she said, “Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke.” That’s false.

More info:
Transcript: Biden-Ryan Vice Presidential Debate
At The Vice Presidential Debate: Ryan Told 24 Myths In 40 Minutes
Biden says Romney revealed true self with ’47 percent’ remarks
ThinkProgress Liveblogs The Vice Presidential Debate


TPM Video: ‘On The Edge of Truth’

Ryan busted

HuffPo: Paul Ryan’s Convention Speech Ignites Media War Over Facts

TPM: On The Edge of Truth Last night, cable news personalities could not bring themselves to say Paul Ryan lied in his RNC speech.

“I marked at least seven or eight points I’m sure the fact checkers will have some opportunities to dispute if they want to go forward,” said CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. “I’m sure they will.” Oh, those irrepressible fact-checkers, always caring about the difference between true and false – unlike the oh-so-serious journalists on CNN.

WaPo’s James Downie: “With tonight’s speech, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have doubled down on their twin bets of 2012 — that journalists will sit back and name winners and losers without regard to who is telling the truth, and that voters are too ignorant to care about the truth. Do not let them be right.”

More info: Departure From Usual: Traditional Media Call Out Ryan For Factually Dubious Speech


Paul Ryan Obscures His Koch-Backed Agenda With a Pack of Lies in Convention Speech

The gamble the Romney campaign has made throughout this campaign, and most obviously in this year’s Republican National Convention, is that the truth no longer matters, and that facts are irrelevant to the voting process. There’s probably less risk to that gamble than one might think.

UPDATE: Jon Walker on FDL: Paul Ryan Blames Obama for Things Paul Ryan Did

UPDATE: Ryan was only a warm-up act for tonight’s festival of lies. Think Progress notes: Romney has led a post-truth campaign. A top adviser even admitted earlier this week, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.


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