Friday, November 4, 2011

Romney on the Attack, Joint Committee Update, Eligibility Age Changes Everything, Social Security Still the Target of Destruction


"Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney proposed overhauling Medicare to allow beneficiaries to enroll in private health care plans on Thursday, a step in the direction of Rep. Paul Ryan's controversial plan for the entitlement program.  'Tomorrow's Medicare should give beneficiaries a generous defined contribution [emphasis added] and allow them to choose between private plans and traditional Medicare.  And lower-income future retirees should receive the most assistance.  I believe that competition will improve Medicare and the coverage that seniors receive,' Romney wrote in a USA Today op-ed published online late Thursday afternoon."

NEW BUZZ WORD ALERT!  I have consistently referred to entitlements as "pre-paid public benefits," and I believe that term more accurately describes the fact that these benefits are earned and paid for.  Now, since the Ryan budget plan to repeal Medicare and replace it with vouchers (or "premium support" -- the term created by Republican focus groups) has been discredited, Mr. Romney's campaign has come up with a new phrase.  Vouchers or premium support now is a "generous defined contribution."  Words have power.  We must pay attention.

Boehner OK With "Revenue"

"House Speaker John Boehner said there is 'room for revenue' in a deficit-cutting plan under discussion by a congressional supercommittee.  Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told reporters today in Washington, 'I do think there’s room for revenue but there clearly is a limit to the revenues that may be available.'  Republicans have refused to accept tax increases that Democrats insist must be enacted in exchange for cuts in entitlement programs such as Medicare."

Age Matters

"On Tuesday, Erskine Bowles, co-chair of the president’s deficit commission recommended that the Super committee raise Medicare’s earliest age of eligibility to 67.  If Congress were to follow this advice, out-of-pocket health care costs’ could consume as much as 45 percent of the Social Security checks of 65 and 66 year olds, according to a new analysis which builds on a Kaiser Family Foundation report.   According to that report, 3.3 million people aged 65 and 66 would pay more out-of-pocket for health care if they were no longer eligible for Medicare."

"Existing Social Security beneficiaries, aged 67 and older would also see their out-of-pocket health care costs increase, and consequently, their Social Security benefits reduced because on average, the healthiest, least expensive members of the Medicare risk pool, those aged 65 and 66, would be removed."

Once again a factual review shows the dangerous effects of a seemingly simple and easy "solution" to an extremely complex problem.  While some of us can be excused for not having these analyses readily available, there are those who know full well the consequences of their proposals.  Does Mr. Bowles care?

Making a Social Security Crisis

How the rich created the Social Security “crisis” -- The Bush tax cuts coupled with a decades-long smear campaign are the real threat to the successful program.

"Now and then, George W. Bush told the unvarnished truth -- most often in jest.  Consider the GOP presidential nominee’s Oct. 20, 2000, speech at a high-society $800-a-plate fundraiser at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria.  Resplendent in a black tailcoat, waistcoat and white bow tie, Bush greeted the swells with evident satisfaction.  'This is an impressive crowd,' he said.  'The haves and the have-mores.  Some people call you the elites; I call you my base.'”   "Eight months later, President Bush delivered sweeping tax cuts to that patrician base."

One of the well used and well known tricks of politics is to tell a lie over and over again and over and over again.  Make it sound factual ... authoritative ... even proven by studies or statistics.  Change it around a little and add a few new "facts."  Create your own think tank; create statistics.  Spin the lie in as many different ways as possible.  Make it a part of everyone's assumption about "the way it is."  Here's some background on how America's most popular pre-paid public benefit has been attacked.  And don't forget twisted logic.


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