Paul Ryan Represents Wall Street-- Not Racine, Not Kenosha, Not Janesville-- And He Wants To Kill Your Grandparents To Balance The Budget
Please help Wisconsin and help America avoid a surefire march to disaster. And don't let Paul Ryan kill your grandparents-- and everyone else's. That link is an ActBlue page devoted solely to defeating one of Wall Street's greatest hopes for taking over the mechanism-- more than it has so far-- of the U.S. government. Wall Street grooms "promising" politicians-- particularly compromised and craven ones-- helps enrich them and uses its resources and connections to help build them power bases and influential careers. The young Rahm Emanuel went from being a much hated/looked down on nothing to being one of the most powerful men in the world after Wall Street took him under its wing and made him independently wealthy (with a phony, high-paid job) before he suddenly and out of nowhere jumped to the head of the class on the way to the Speakership. Now he's keeping Obama on a firmly pro-Wall Street path in the face of widespread populism sweeping the country. Harold Ford is another Democrat that Wall Street has embraced-- this schmoozy looser with no discernible talents was made into an instant Vice Chairman of Bank of America with the express purpose of helping his patrons gain power inside the sometimes troublesome and undependable Democratic Party.
On the Republican side of the aisle there are countless stories like this including characters like Scott Garrett (NJ), Jeb Hensarling (TX), Spencer Bachus (AL), Eric Cantor (VA), John Boehner (OH), Roy Blunt (MO), Pete Sessions (TX), Mark Kirk (IL), Bill McCollum (FL), Mike Castle (DE), David Dreier (CA)... all politicians Wall Street has made big-time bets on for the future. And they hope they are grooming one little-known Republican, Wisconsin's bankster-buddy Paul Ryan, for a governorship, a Senate seat or, ultimately, the White House.
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has been in the House since 1978 (when Paul Ryan was 8 years old). He's a very senior and very powerful Republican who has served both as the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Science and Technology. In those 32 years he has been a steady and devoted friend to Big Business and Wall Street and has been rewarded handsomely. The Finance Sector has lavished $642,457 on his political campaigns, a handsome sum. It's almost the identical amount-- $636,646-- that the Finance Sector has given Dave Obey, the Democrat who has represented northwest Wisconsin since 1969, when Ryan was just a gleam in his father's eyes. Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is one of the most powerful and crucial members of Congress. These two Wisconsin powerhouses-- with a total of over 70 years in the House between them, have received just almost $1.3 million dollars. That's a lot. Paul Ryan has been in Congress-- and has never had a tough or even semi-tough race for re-election-- for a grand total of 11 years. He was a speech writer for drag czar William Bennett and worked as a legislative assistant to Sam Brownback. He's never been chairman of anything. But Wall Street's inexplicable $1,726,095 in donations to his career is more than they've ever given any Wisconsin politician from either party.
And Paul Ryan's is one of Wall Street's most devoted partisans on Capitol Hill, a veritable lobbyist inside Congress for all of their interests. Teabaggers don't like politicians who voted for the irresponsible Bush bank bailouts? Ryan didn't only vote for it-- twice-- as a high ranking member of Ways and Means and Banking Committee, the he persuaded dozens of reluctant GOP colleagues to vote for it and after it failed the first time, is said to have been the key figure in passing it the second time a week later!
Tuesday The Economist featured another of Ryan's hollow-but-flash Wall Street-oriented roadmaps for solving America's deficit problem. As progressives who know him could have told you, he wants to do it with the blood of America's less well-off elderly-- gutting Medicare, Medicaid and, ultimately the big GOP dream, Social Security. Ryan is a facile, sociopath and a Law of the Jungle kind of hack. The Economist asks how Ryan's roadmap turns Bush's unbelievably deficits into a surplus (70 years from now).
Simple, it slashes Medicare. It slashes Medicare so deeply that the Democrats' proposal for $500 billion in savings over ten years, which Republicans demonised, looks like child's play. Under Mr Ryan's proposal, starting in 2021, Medicare would be gradually eliminated. Instead, seniors would be issued vouchers to buy private health insurance. The voucher for a 65-year-old would be worth $5,900, in 2010 dollars. (Mr Ryan's site says the vouchers would be worth "an average of $11,000" in 2010 dollars, but that's the average for the entire 65+ population. Individual health-insurance premiums for a 90-year-old are obviously going to be astronomical.) The voucher would then grow at the average of the annual medical inflation rate (CPI-M) and the general urban inflation rate (CPI-U). In other words, since medical-cost inflation is higher than general CPI inflation, the voucher would deliberately fail to keep pace with medical costs.
What would such a voucher buy? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average individual premium for workers under 65 (ie, a median worker in his early 40s) was $4,824 in 2009. But here's the thing: the voucher is supposed to cover insurance for 65-year-olds, who are much more expensive to insure than younger workers. Kaiser doesn't break down average premiums by age. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mean health-insurance premiums and health-care expenditures for people aged 55 to 64 in 2008 were a good 50% higher than those for mean individuals between the ages of 35 and 44. (The exact dollar figures in the Census Expenditures Survey can't be used for this purpose because they don't include employer contributions to premiums. And costs for 65-year-olds aren't comparable because they're covered by Medicare; let's assume they're about the same as costs for 64-year-olds.) Assuming a 65-year-old is at least 50% more expensive than the median, the average individual premium could easily be $7,200 (1.5 x $4,800). This jibes with the fact that average medical costs for those 65 and up were over $9,800 annually in 2008.
...Rich seniors will still be able to afford high-quality medical care. Poor seniors won't. They will suffer more and die younger. A different approach to solving America's health-care cost problem might involve letting Medicare use its vast bargaining power to negotiate lower rates with the providers of pharmaceuticals; establishing a commission of experts (MedPAC) to rate the effectiveness of medical procedures, to avoid wasteful incentives in the current fee-for-services medical model; and establishing bundled payments for disease management, to achieve Mayo-Clinic-like efficiencies in care while improving quality. Those are the models proposed in the Democratic bills currently in Congress. But they're really complicated and hard to understand-- they make for a bill that's 2,000 pages long. And everybody knows the American people hate that. Mr Ryan proposes to simply slash Medicare spending and balance the budget on the backs of poor seniors. That'll work too.
This morning Josh Marshall reports that the House Republicans plan to campaign on Ryan's roadmap to privatize Social Security abd Medicare, the dream of right-wing ideologues... and their paymasters on Wall Street. [Last time the GOP tried this-- under Bush-- only one Democrat went along with it, Florida Blue Dog, Allen Boyd.] So... any chance you'd like to help Paulette Garin beat this very dangerous clown? He's loaded (with corporate cash); the DCCC won't give her the time of day. They're completely ignoring the race. Wanna help?