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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Reactions To Ryan

by digby

Here's a little round-up of reactions to Ryan's plan courtesy of the DCCC:

Prosperity for Whom? [New York Times Editorial]
“If the House Republican budget blueprint released on Tuesday is the “path to prosperity” that its title claims, it is hard to imagine what ruin would look like. The plan would condemn millions to the ranks of the uninsured, raise health costs for seniors and renege on the obligation to keep poor children fed. It envisions lower taxes for the wealthy than even George W. Bush imagined: A permanent extension for his tax cuts, plus large permanent estate-tax cuts, a new business tax cut and a lower top income tax rate for the richest taxpayers. […] The deficit is a serious problem, but the Ryan plan is not a serious answer.” [New York Times, 4/6/11]

CBO: GOP Budget Raises Health Costs For Retirees [Associated Press]
“Most future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal, according to an analysis by nonpartisan experts for Congress that could be an obstacle to GOP ambitions to tame federal deficits. […] "A typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal," the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in an analysis released late Tuesday.” [AP, 4/6/11]

Rivlin: I don't back 'Ryan-Rivlin' plan [POLITICO]
“Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) touted the help of former Clinton advisor Alice Rivlin — “a great, proud Democrat” — in promoting a key Medicare provision in his budget proposal Tuesday. The only problem? Rivlin said she told the Republican she doesn’t support the final version of the measure he wrote into his budget — a provision Ryan referred to generally as the “Ryan-Rivlin” plan when rolling out his sweeping economic blueprint.” [POLITICO, 4/6/11]

Medicare Cost Would Rise for Many Under Ryan Plan [Wall Street Journal]
“The House Republican plan for overhauling Medicare would fundamentally change how the federal government pays for health care, starting a decade from now, likely resulting in higher out-of-pocket costs and greater limits to coverage for many Americans.” [WSJ, 4/6/11]

GOP seeking dramatic changes in Medicare and Medicaid [USA Today]
“Republicans unveiled a budget-cutting plan Tuesday that would dramatically revamp the twin health care pillars of the Great Society, taking a huge political risk that could reverberate all the way to November 2012 and beyond. Medicare, the government-run health insurance program covering about 47 million seniors and people with disabilities, would be run by private insurers and would cost beneficiaries more, or offer them less. Medicaid, the federal-state program covering more than 50 million low-income Americans, would be turned over to the states and cut by $750 billion over 10 years, forcing lesser benefits or higher copayments. Social Security eventually would be cut, too.” [USA Today, 4/6/11]

Paul Ryan's proposal poses a predicament for GOP [POLITICO]
“The dramatic 2012 spending plan unveiled Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan amounts to a test of political will for the GOP’s most vulnerable lawmakers, some of them only a few months into their maiden terms. The decision before them boils down to this: Will they stake their seats on a risky vote to overhaul the federal budget, including the popular Medicare entitlement program? So far, the most popular answer is: maybe. […] Either a sudden surge of studiousness is sweeping through battleground districts, or these Republicans can smell the danger. There’s plenty of reason to be cautious: An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month showed fewer than a quarter of Americans supported cutting funds for Medicare and fewer than a third wanted to cut Medicaid — numbers that Republican pollster Bill McInturff called a “huge flashing yellow sign to Republicans.” [POLITICO, 4/6/11]

The Budget Battles: The Threat to Medicaid and Medicare [New York Times]
“Representative Paul Ryan’s proposals to reform Medicare and Medicaid are mostly an effort to shift the burden to beneficiaries and the states. They have very little reform in them. […] For decades the Republicans have made clear their antipathy toward Medicare and Medicaid. Now they are trying to use the public’s legitimate concerns about the deficit to seriously cripple both programs. This isn’t real reform. If it moves forward, Americans will pay a high price.” [New York Times, 4/6/11]

GOP bets voters will choose fiscal well-being over healthcare safety net [Los Angles Times]
“House Republicans' ambitious plan to cut $5.8 trillion in federal spending over the next decade is built on a politically risky revival of the longtime GOP quest to scale back the healthcare safety net and hand consumers primary responsibility for controlling costs.” [LA Times, 4/6/11]

Ryan’s Prosperity Plan Still Sees Big Deficits [Roll Call]
“Still, while the plan envisions paying off the national debt sometime after 2050 principally by squeezing spending on health care and other programs, it would still add more than $8 trillion to the national debt over the next decade — reaching $23 trillion in 2021. Indeed, the plan does not come close to balancing the budget in any year over that span. That violates proposed balanced budget amendments to the Constitution backed by every Senate Republican and a majority of the House.” [Roll Call, 4/6/11]

Ryan Plan Pushes Optimism to the Outer Limits [National Journal]
“The tax and spending roadmap put forth Tuesday morning by Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who heads the House Budget Committee, is backed by a set of extremely optimistic assumptions about how the budget would stimulate private investment, hiring, and broad economic growth. […] But the forecasted growth is so high that it falls on the outer edge of what most economists say is plausible—or even desirable—for the next decade.” [National Journal, 4/5/11]

I don't really understand exactly what the Republicans are up to because this seems politically lethal in the long run and in the short term would seem to weaken them in the budget shutdown. (Do average people know that they are separate issues?)The only logical reason for doing it now is that they think they can push the debate hard enough to re-introduce Simpson-Bowles as the reasonable alternative and get it done. But that's assuming they can do such a thing quickly and I see no evidence they can. This deficit debate is going to make health care look as easy as passing the Patriot Act. Can they possibly be under the illusion that holding out the Ryan boogeyman plan is enough to cause total panic among the Democrats? In a presidential election cycle?

I don't think so. I think the GOP just doesn't know which end is up. If the Dems would wake up to that fact they could take control of this right now and doom them for 2012. Unfortunately, I'm guessing that the president likes having Ryan out there as someone he can "work with" on a Grand Bargain with everyone's "skin in the game" (especially the tissue thin skin of millions of sick and impoverished elderly people who can't work, apparently.) If it works out as well as the current budget negotiations have up to now, Ryan will only get 65% of what he wants and liberals will be required to call that a big victory because, golly gosh, we fought back the Ryan juggernaut. I really hope I'm wrong. But this feels like an unstable situation that could go in any number of directions due to the competing interests of Democrats and the huge money that's required to get them elected. The logical political interest is not readily apparent in those circumstances.