Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New America Foundation: 'U.S. Representative Paul Ryan: Budget Villain or Visionary?'

Source:New America Foundation- I believe this is Noam Scheiber from New America.

"Last summer's discussions on the typically routine and mundane task of raising the nation's debt ceiling became so heated Washington nearly ground to a halt. This election cycle, taxes, the deficit, and budget cuts are still looming issues. As the United States teeters on the edge of a fiscal cliff, Congress remains at an impasse and voters are increasingly wary of the politics of the federal budget. Why can't policymakers reach a compromise? And how did this legislative tradition devolve into a vitriolic partisan sideshow?

Join New America for a conversation with policy analysts and politicos for an inside look at the federal budget impasse. Marc Goldwein, senior policy director of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Noam Scheiber, a New America Schwartz Fellow and senior editor of The New Republic, and David Wessel, the economics editor of The Wall Street Journal, will explore what Americans should know about budget politics, how we veered so far off the path of fiscal responsibility, and what the real-world impact of this highly politicized battle could look like.


David Wessel
Author, Red Ink: Inside the High-Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget
Economics Editor, The Wall Street Journal

Marc Goldwein
Senior Policy Director, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
Formerly served on the Fiscal Commission and the Super Committee

Noam Scheiber
Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow, New America Foundation
Senior Editor, The New Republic; Author, The Escape Artist" 

They're talking about U.S. Representative Paul Ryan's (Republican, Wisconsin) deficit reduction and balanced budget plan and talking the Medicare reform package in his plan. 

If you are familiar with Representative Ryan, you know he's the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. If you are not familiar with Paul Ryan, that's probably because you have a life and you are not a policy and political wonk that's common in Washington. Or, because you spend too much time to staring at your phone and laptop, as well as watching reality TV and follow the celebrity and tabloid news, to care about little things like the state of the American economy and our long-term economic and budget outlooks. Only you can know the answer to this question.

I'm all in favor of free choice when it comes to Medicare, as well as health care and health insurance in general. At risk of shocking no one: I'm not some big government Socialist who thinks the national government has all the answers to every problem known to man and can solve everyone's problems for them. And that people are too stupid anyway to run their own lives themselves. But the key word in Medicare reform and health care reform in general when you are talking about choice, is choice. Shocking, I know. 

The problem with Chairman Ryan's plan is that it eliminates choice for about 70 millions seniors in this country. And depending on how you define the Baby Boom Generation, another 70 million seniors over the next 20 years or so. 

What the Ryan plan does, is it forces 10s of millions of senior citizens to dump their current Medicare coverage and get a private plan instead. Republicans, especially Conservative Republicans, are supposed to be in favor of choice, at least when it comes to the economy. But I guess not when it comes to Medicare, where they would take the option of choosing Medicare away from people who already have it.

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