Thursday, December 15, 2011

GOP Still Seeking Medicare Cuts, GOP Balanced Budget Tricks, Doc Fix, Ryan Problems


Cuts For Current Retirees

"Senate Democrats are under pressure to adopt the payroll tax cut bill House Republicans passed last night -- or something very close to it.  President Obama has threatened to veto it, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has declared it dead on arrival in his chamber."

"Hamstrung by the GOP’s filibuster powers, Dems can’t pass an alternative version without GOP help, and so the heat is on them to cave.  Despite all that, here’s one reason Democrats might hold firm:  Adopting the GOP bill would result in higher out of pocket costs for middle class seniors on Medicare -- a GOP measure adopted in lieu of raising income taxes on millionaires.  That would both weaken the program, increase expenses for seniors, and muddle Dems’ election year message that they’re protecting entitlements from a conservative onslaught."

Time again to write your Senators and Congress person.  DON'T GIVE UP NOW.  Fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security is not a just-write-'em-once endeavor.  As long as the Conservative Republicans don't give up, neither will we.  Simply email your message to you representatives in the US Congress.  And, remind them that your vote for them depends on their vote for Medicare.

Balanced Budget Boondoggle

"Tellingly, all Republicans voted for the GOP’s BBA, crafted by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) -- it would’ve subjected tax increases to supermajority votes, and forced the government to shrink to historically small levels.  Implicitly, it would eradicate or devastate key support programs like Medicare, and flip the existing social compact on its head.  None of that’s spelled out -- which is why Republicans felt free to vote for it.  But it’s what many of them believe."

MORE:  The Senate’s Balanced Budget Amendment Would Require Extreme Budget Cuts  (December 5, 2011)  "The constitutional balanced budget amendment (BBA) that the Senate is expected to consider this month would, like any version of a BBA, risk serious harm to the economy by requiring that the budget be balanced even during an economic downturn.  But this BBA, in particular, would do far more damage because it also would prevent the federal government from meeting the nation’s basic needs even when the economy is healthy."

"That’s because the amendment would enshrine a severe cap on total federal spending in the Constitution, forcing Congress to cut all programs by an average of one-fourth by 2018.  If lawmakers were to cut all programs by the same percentage to fit within the cap, Social Security would be cut $266 billion in 2018 alone and almost $1.7 trillion through 2021; Medicare would be cut $169 billion in 2018 and almost $1.1 trillion through 2021."

Another sneaky approach for the Conservative Republicans.  As usual, say one thing -- slight of hand -- do something else or something more in addition.  Next, they will claim that Democrats are fiscally irresponsible (unlike Republicans who created a banking crisis and brought us two wars).  Apparently, we need to keep reminding them of the popularity AND success of Medicare and Social Security -- pre-paid benefits.

Medicare 'Doc Fix' Debate Shifts to Senate

From Kaiser Health News:  "Mary Agnes Carey talks with Politico Pro’s Matt DoBias about the latest developments on Capitol Hill concerning a pending Medicare physician payment cut set to take effect Jan. 1 without passage of a 'doc fix.'"  Also listen to the audio.

Ryan in Political Trouble

"A newly released poll commissioned by Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) Democratic opponent, Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban, makes an astonishing claim: That he is in striking distance of Ryan, the House Republican star and architect of their proposals to privatize Medicare."  "'All of this background has weakened incumbent Paul Ryan, who used to enjoy electoral and image majorities well over 60%.  Ryan’s favorable rating has declined to 54% positive, his job rating is 55% and his reelect is 54% -- all this before the beginning of an active campaign against Ryan.'"

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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