Monday, August 13, 2012
If you were born after 1958..Play close attention
The 2012 presidential election will be the most important one in our lifetime because voters will get to vote on the direction of the country. It’s possible that the presidential candidates will nominate at least one Supreme Court judge in the next four years but most importantly the eventual winner will decide the direction our country will take in reforming Medicare, Medicaid, and defense spending.
Mitt Romney made an outstanding choice, but it was one he had to take since he was boxed in. The Romney campaign saw that the numbers were definitely in favor of the president. Mitt Romney has changed the topic from being about his tax returns, now that he's picked a person who will share the criticism from the Democrats. The choice pleases the conservative base and the opposition party. Congressman Ryan is a decent well -liked family man who knows his supply-side economics'. Paul Ryan is supposed to be a deficit hawk, but he voted for the two Bush tax cuts, the two wars, a prescription-drug plan that was not paid for and the Bush bailout of Wall Street, and the GM bailout, President Bush started. Saturday, Paul Ryan admitted that President Obama was left with a bad hand but said that he left the country in worse shape; which is impossible since the Obama's administration inherited losing 750,000 jobs a month? He went onto say that the president controlled both houses and he got everything he wanted, which was not true. He left out the part where the Senate used parliamentary tricks and the filibuster to deny the president. The president got what he could barely pass because the GOP fought him on every proposal. That's history; we will now have discussions on the serious matters.
It's important to know that Paul Ryan's first budget included a voucher(he called it premium support) to replace Medicare as we know it, but he got a lot of flak from his fellow Republicans, so he changed it and got one democratic senator to co-sponsor Ryan II, which included an option to opt out.The Ryan II bill passed the house but failed in the Senate. Last night, Mitt Romney slammed the president saying he stole $700 billion from Medicare to finance Obama Care. Right next to Romney sat Paul Ryan whose budget does the same thing but Ryan's cuts will go to the beneficiaries, and Obama's cuts are on the providers. The president's action saved Medicare an additional eight years, which is not enough, but it's a start. The Republicans know after many years of losing the Medicare fight that this popular program is considered a Holy Grail. The first thing that they will say, " if you are currently on Medicare your benefits will remain the same" that's not exactly true because prescriptions drugs will be higher if the Republicans repeal, the Affordable Care Act and the doughnut hole goes unfilled. Those people younger than 54 will have to consider that but probably won't. The younger folks will also have to entertain the idea of buying health insurance at age 65 with a voucher capped at a certain percentage of GDP. It's basically putting the extra cost on the beneficiary instead of the federal government. Paul Ryan's budget will issue block grants to the states for Medicaid. I can see rest homes being a thing of the past and about 17 million poor people without any form of health insurance. Those younger than 54 better take out a membership in a health club,stay active, cut back on your sugar intake and live a health lifestyle or you will have a rude awaking when you turn 65. A large savings account won't hurt because I don't think the private insurance companies will be cheap.
I'm reading an interesting book about how progressives are letting the conservatives identify the issues and the answers. Progressive should be arguing against the upward redistribution of wealth. We could solve the healthcare issue, but the ideas wouldn't pass Congress because it would hurt the health professionals, pharmaceuticals, and hospitals. I'll start with a free market cost analysis. For example, a heart valve replacement costs $160,000 in the U.S. and only $9000 in India and a knee replacement costs $40,000 in our country and only $9000 in India. Using those numbers ,the government could send their Medicare, Medicaid and VA patients to Canada, India, and Singapore and save some big bucks. The savings would offset future premium costs for those patients and dramatically bring down the cost of healthcare. Many would not want to go overseas but there is a way and the free market would force our health care providers to compete. The free market principals' conservatives’ use are always aimed at the people at the bottom. The lower wages and benefits cuts they seek ,consistently come from those who can least afford it. To emphasize a point, the Obama Administration made deals with the pharmaceutical companies, and the American Medical Association and other special-interest groups that defeated the Clinton initiative in 1992. The Obama Administration didn't figure that the healthcare lobbyist would play both sides of the fence, so the Affordable Health Care Act was demonized anyway. The main point is that we outsource jobs that eventually hurt the non-professional, but we would never think about outsourcing the professional workforce. The middle –class are never considered in our trade talks.
The Republicans are going to try to make this election about government vs. the free market, but they will use their interpretation of the free market. In all of Ryan speeches so far, he has ended it by saying, “you built that business" and Mitt Romney emphasizes that by saying, " yes the school bus driver took you to school, but he can't take credit for your good grades." I'm paraphrasing, but it's enough to give you a good picture on how they will run. It's a top-down strategy where government is a wedge issue.
I see where the Romney people are coming out of the woodwork since the announcement of Paul Ryan as the vice president pick. It wasn't lost on the locals because they too are starting to write letters praising Romney after months of silence and obvious disappointment in their GOP's nominee.
There is no doubt that Medicare,Social Security, and Medicaid need some serious reform but so does defense spending. We mustn’t make all the cuts on the social programs without touching defense and asking the wealthy to pay more. I think it’s stupid and selfish of us to take a 20% tax cut rate (including the wealthy) on the backs of the poor,handicapped,students and the elderly.