great republican depression
neightkelly asked: In your previous post you say that Paul Ryan and Republicans are hypocrites for not addressing military spending (I agree). But with that logic wouldn't Democrats and Liberals also be hypocrites for not wanting to address Entitlement Reform since Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and unemployment benefits make up 58% of what our government spends?
What would you do to reform medicare/social security?
No. It is a false equivalency.
First, social security, has operated with a $2.6 trillion surplus since 1983. Yes, since the the onset of the 2nd Great Republican Depression, social security is not accumulating such an overage. But the doomsayers and fear mongers, in reckless haste, accept dire predictions as gospel truth. If there is any adjustment needed, measures such as increasing the earnings cap (presently set to ~106K) or removing the extremely affluent from the rolls collecting retirement payouts should be applied.
On Medicare — it could be entirely funded by hitting up the top 1% for about a third of its income. Or, by implementing less costly ways to provide the same or higher quality care. I have not the expertise in this realm, but if it is a given that a large proportion of health care cost is in a person’s final year of life, then there must be some ideas to chop that cost (without the ill fames “death panels”) while still providing for the patient.
But back to the your point on Paul Ryan and the Republicans being hypocrites — let us not forget that it was the Republicans in 2003, including Paul Ryan, that championed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history.
In case you are a little foggy on the whole 2003 GOP Medicare fiasco:
Then there’s the small matter of public policy itself. From its inception, the Republicans’ Medicare prescription benefit was designed to fail. With its confusing and costly “donut hole” limiting payments for beneficiaries and its prohibition on direct government price negotiations with pharmaceutical companies, Medicare Part D was a headache for recipients and a windfall for the drug companies.
For starters, the White House and its GOP allies on Capitol Hill insisted that the final December 2003 Medicare Drug bill prohibit the government from negotiating prices directly with drug companies, a key demand of the pharmaceutical lobby. The same price leverage enjoyed by the Veterans Affairs Department and its program beneficiaries was surrendered by Medicare, with the predictable results described in a 2006 House analysis.
I fear that George Santayana was right and that we are doomed to repeat the Great Depression over and over again because we appear to have forgotten the lessons it taught us. I fear that Milton Friedman is right and that this is a “game” to some. I fear that Adam Smith is right and that “as merchants their interest is directly opposite to [the public] interest.” And I fear that misplaced tea bagger rage, unlike misallocated capital, is more newsworthy, more interesting and more understandable than CDOs and the ways in which Gyges gains unearned power and wealth, hidden behind the opacity of complex investment instruments. The rules of the game must be changed. They must be changed now. And they must be changed in ways that serve the public interest. Investment banks and bankers must be regulated. Leverage, transparency, size. I’m sure there is more. Toxic assets, toxic instruments, and toxic casino-like speculation are no different from toxic patent medicines. They harm us all. Maxine Udall ☀
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