Tag: Medicare

Here’s What Happens When 45% of Voters Stay Home

A week ago at this time, pundits were speculating that Paul Ryan had so alienated the right wing with his tepid support for soon-to-be-presidential-loser Donald Trump that he might not retain his job as Speaker of the House when a new Congress is sworn in early next year.

What a difference a week makes.

Today, because 45% of Americans chose not to vote, Ryan finds himself with a surprising opportunity to enact his long-held dream of shredding America’s social safety net like Oliver North going after a filing cabinet full of Iran-contra documents. And first up on his chopping block is Medicare.

Ryan’s plan is to replace the totally-not-going-broke Medicare with what he calls “premium price supports.” This is fancy wonk-speak for “vouchers that would be used to buy private insurance but would not keep up with the cost of inflation, thereby saddling seniors with enormous additional healthcare expenses out of their own pockets.” Good luck stretching out those Social Security checks, folks! Assuming Ryan doesn’t gut that next.


Don’t fall for the Republican’s upcoming generational-divide tactics

By Robert Reich

Divide and ConquerThe Republican congress that takes over this week will try to drive a generational wedge through the electorate. They’re cooking up arguments that the nation can’t afford to provide our children adequate health care and education if we’re going to meet the demands of the baby-boomer elderly for Medicare and Social Security (thereby trying to justify cuts in all these programs even as they cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations). This is utter nonsense, for the following reasons:

(1) Social Security’s pending shortfalls don’t begin for another 20 years, and they can be avoided entirely if the cap on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes (for 2015, $118,500) is lifted.

(2) Medicare’s costs are slowing, and they’d be even lower if the government allowed Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate lower prices from drug companies and other suppliers.

(3) The best way to assure there’s enough money for our childrens’ health care and education is to raise taxes on the wealthy, who have never been as rich. State and federal taxes on the wealthy now take a lower percentage of their income than at any time since the 1920s.

Don’t succumb to the Republican’s upcoming generational-divide tactics. The nation as a whole is wealthy enough to provide for both our children and our seniors in years to come, if the rich and corporations pay their fair shares.

What’s your view?

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