Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ryan... Lyin'


Paul Ryan was roundly booed by senior citizens yesterday when he went to New Orleans for the annual AARP conference and did his Lyin' Ryan routine on them. "The first step to a stronger Medicare," he insisted, "is to repeal Obamacare." The place broke out in raucous booing-- like Blink 182 fans at a Osmonds concert. He must have thought he was back at the Atlas Society (an Ayn Rand appreciation society) luncheon when he was getting an award for being an outspoken and unabashed Wall Street shill... and for wanting to privatize Social Security  (watch the video below). He claims he got "a mixed reaction"-- from AARP (the John Galt folks worship him, of course). Watch the video above. Digby referred to it as his Eddie Haskell impression. Here's a direct quote from Congressman Ryan to the Galter freaks:
"Social Security right now is a collectivist system. It's a welfare transfer system..."
And here's what, Rob Zerban, his Democratic opponent in the congressional race in Wisconsin's first district had to say about it this morning. “Paul Ryan’s speech to the AARP yesterday shows seniors aren't buying into Ryan's snake oil salesman routine. Even after countless independent news organizations debunked Ryan’s lie about President Obama’s Medicare record, Ryan repeated the same outrageous claims simply to scare voters and cover up his indefensible budget plan. But the facts are simple: Paul Ryan would end Medicare as we know it and force seniors to pay an extra $6,500 per year out of their own pockets-- while President Obama has consistently protected it. Voters know Ryan is trying to balance the budget on the backs of our seniors, and that’s why he was repeatedly booed yesterday.” Let me add, on behalf of Blue America, that booing Ryan is fine... but it isn't enough. Defeating Ryan on the doomed Romney ticket it fine, but that isn't enough either. It's crucial that we send Wall Street titans a clear message by defeating Paul Ryan in his own congressional seat and ending his dangerous political career once and for all.

Ryan has tried-- and, so far, failed-- to privatize Social Security several times. That's why Wall Street found him and trained him and it's why they won't rest until he's in the White House. He's their very own Frankenstein Monster. A spokesperson for the Obama campaign said didn't seem surprised by the reception Frankenstein got from the senior citizens:

“It’s no surprise why Paul Ryan received such a chilly reception at the AARP today. Earlier this week, American seniors saw what kind of President Mitt Romney would be when he disdainfully wrote off half of all Americans, including seniors. Seniors understand that the Romney-Ryan Medicare voucher scheme could increase costs for seniors by up to $6,400 a year. His pledge to kill Obamacare dead on day one would increase prescription drug costs for today’s seniors and force them to pay higher copays and premiums-- costing them $5,000 by 2022. And he would make deep cuts to Social Security benefits for future retirees, while putting millions of seniors at risk of paying taxes on their Social Security to pay for his tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires. That’s not a plan to strengthen middle-class retirement security, but it’s exactly what Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan are promising.
And talking to the same crowd in New Orleans, via video-feed, the President had a very different message, one that folks worried about the Obama-Boehner Grand Bargain may feel relieved to hear as well:

"You know, I do think that looking at changing the cap is an important aspect of putting Social Security on a more stable footing. And what I've said is, is that I'm willing to work with Republicans and examine all their ideas, but what I'm not going to do, as a matter of principle, is to slash benefits or privatize Social Security and suddenly turn it over to Wall Street-- because we saw what could happen back in 2008 and 2009 when the stock market crashed, and we are still recovering from that."
Alan Grayson was campaigning in Orlando on the same theme Friday, discussing a debate he did with his deranged Tea Party opponent, Todd Long and how the discussion turned to Social Security.

He spat out the usual buzzwords about how Social Security is broke, how the Democrats stole all the money from it, etc., etc. I said that he sounded like Chicken Little, but he kept right on going, and then imparted his "solutions."

By way of background, my opponent paid to publish a book that brings together, in one place, all of his bizarre misconceptions and crackpot schemes. Sort of like "The Thoughts of Chairman Todd." In his vanity book, on page 136, he histrionically announces that: "Projections indicate that by 2037, the Trust Fund will be exhausted."

What that actually means is that if absolutely nothing changes for the next 25 years, then we may reach a point when we will have to pay Social Security benefits out of tax revenue or borrowing-- the exact same way that we pay for every other federal program-- rather than by withdrawals from the Social Security Trust Fund. And if absolutely nothing changes in the next 25 years, and if we don't raise Social Security taxes at that time, and if we don't borrow the money, then Social Security benefits-- 25 years from now-- may drop by 10 or 15 percent. In any event, the revenue generated under current law will be enough to pay for 85 to 90 percent of the benefits under current law. We're talking about 25 years from now, when I will be 79 years old, if I live that long.

See what I meant by "Chicken Little"? Right now, we have almost 25 million Americans who can't find full-time work, we have almost 50 million Americans who can't see a doctor when they're sick, and he wants us just to forget all about that and concentrate on the year 2037.

But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that every one of his so-called "solutions" actually would make the problem worse. He wants to raise the age of Social Security eligibility to 72. That's a 100% benefit cut for people between the ages of 65 and 71. And in his "privatization" scheme, he wants to take away tax revenue for Social Security, and dump it on Wall Street. That really would make it impossible to maintain the current level of benefits. And in his "government guarantee" scheme, he wants the federal government to insure these Wall Street accounts against losses-- Wall Street losses that totaled $7 trillion after the 2008 crash.

Listening to all this ridiculous nonsense, I sort of scratched my head, wondering how anyone could think that this would "save" Social Security. And then I realized what was really going on:

He doesn't want to save Social Security. He wants to destroy it.

My opponent (like Gov. Rick Perry) calls Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" (p. 134). Is that something that he would want to save? He says that Social Security is unconstitutional, simply because it meets "individual needs" (p. 96). Is that something that he would want to save? He evidently thinks that Social Security, like Medicare, is "one generation rob[bing] from the next" (p. 141). Is that something that he would want to save?

Answer: No. He doesn't want to save Social Security; he wants to destroy it. That was my small epiphany at the debate, and that's what I said. (In candidate debates, a little bit of truth goes a long way.)

And at the same time, I came upon another modest insight: he's not the only one. In fact, there are huge numbers of Fox-fed, Rove-raised, Koch-coddled candidates and elected officials all over the country, just like him. They think that if they beat their chests and scream loud enough about how they must save Social Security, then they can kill it. It's perhaps the Biggest Lie of all the Big Lies in American politics today.

My advice to America:

(1) Don't believe them.

(2) Defeat them.

Alan Grayson is, once again, Blue America's top congressional candidate. Please consider contributing to his campaign and the campaigns of the other Blue America progressives here on our ActBlue page. Todd Long, Grayson's opponent, sounds like another sociopath cut from the same mold as Lyin' Ryan. Here's that infamous "I love Ayn Rand" speech he gave to the Atlas Society:

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At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not that far away from getting Social Securiy and Medicare. What enraged me every bit as much as Ryan's lies is the cynical assumption that not only am I stupid enough to believe they wouldn't come back for more, but that Americans 55 and older are happy to sell our children and grandchildren down the river to save our own benefits. I want SocSec and Medicare there for my daughter when she needs it--and I don't mean nickels, dimes and coupons.

So i was really happy to hear those AARP attendees let the zombie-eyed granny starver (h/t Charlie Pierce) know what he can do with his shit budget. Truly, he is loathsome.

At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous is so right -- Lyin' Ryan is TRULY loathsome. So is his underhand, sly, stealthy campaign to destroy Medicare.


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