Ryan Doubles Down in Medicare Attacks

Fact checkers repeatedly have found that the Romney-Ryan ticket’s attack on Obamacare as having “robbed” Medicare of $716 billion is false and misleading.

But the candidates think they have a winning hand here or can blunt the damage caused by Democratic counterattacks on Rep. Paul Ryan’s plans to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

Vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan speaks at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Photo: Howard R. Gold/The Independent Agenda

In his acceptance speech Wednesday night vice presidential nominee Ryan gave no ground:

You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn’t have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.

Then he vowed to fight fire with fire:

Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.

So our opponents can consider themselves on notice. In this election, on this issue, the usual posturing on the left isn’t going to work. Mitt Romney and I know the difference between protecting a program, and raiding it. Ladies and gentlemen, our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate.

Call it courage, call it chutzpah, call it recklessness. But this line of attack worked in 2010 and it might be working now, as President Obama and Democrats waited to respond.

But regardless of the political calculus, I think it would be healthy to have a real debate about Medicare and how we’re going to pay for it—or change it so we can afford it.

If that begins this time around, then this nasty, terrible election campaign will have been worth something. Talk about unintended consequences!

4 Responses to Ryan Doubles Down in Medicare Attacks

  1. John Wright September 1, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Ryan would carry more weight with me if he hadn’t spent almost his entire adult life working in the political arena.

    I expected a political speech, and he gave one.

    But as far as his speech, Sally Kohn of Fox News found his speech “dazzling, deceiving and distracting.”

    She writes:
    “On the other hand, to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an
    apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech. On this measure, while it was Romney who ran the Olympics, Ryan earned the gold.”

    Now Ryan’s speech was almost certainly vetted by all of the media masters in the Republican party, and maybe even Mitt Romney, who were then complicit in this attempt to deceive the electorate.

    So the Republican party must believe this stuff works, which is quite a statement about their view of the American electorate.

    And what does it say about Ryan that he can repeat this stuff, anything goes to win this election?


  2. Jim Thomas September 2, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    By all means, have the debate. Medicare supposedly is so broke it’ll take extreme action to fix it. But is that really true? I would bet that some simple cost-saving measures combined with a slight tax increase that most of us wouldn’t even feel would do the trick without farming it out to the private insurers to take their onerous profits…HIGHER TAXES? you say. Yeah. The Medicare tax is something like 1 1/2 percent on every dollar of wages through $100,000. If we were to increase that a half-percent and then extend it to every dollar earned, how much could we raise? I’d like to know. And please don’t tell me the millionaire would even notice that half-percent tax.

    • HowardRGold September 2, 2012 at 5:09 am #

      I\’m with you in principal, Jim, though I think some form of slightly higher taxes on a larger amount of dollars earned, higher eligibility age, means testing of benefits, tighter cost and fraud controls, and more competition would do the trick.

      I am a little leery of just raising every tax 1/2 percent–there are a lot of things we can do that for and pretty soon you wind up with a huge tax increase, which would be noticed, even by millionaires.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Jim Thomas September 4, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    I’m leery of raising every tax a half percent, too. I mentioned the Medicare tax because I think most people don’t realize how small the tax really is. I know I didn’t until I started looking closer at the Social Security tax. By raising it a half percent (to just 2 percent) and then extending it past the $100,000 limit you’d raise a significant amount without hurting anyone at all. Like you said, you would combine that extra revenue with all the other cost containment measures and then you might actually have something that works. …

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