Category Archives: medicare. vouchers

Republicans — A Party of Ebenezer Scrooges

In Bill Maher’s latest list of rules he compares the Republicans to Ebenezer Scrooge. In my opinion, it is not much of a stretch. If you have been keeping track of the political debates and stump speeches by the GOP presidential candidates, their views and ideas are so radical they are almost laughable. 

Here are some of their ideas for privatizing Social Security and Medicare….I guess they think we have forgotten all about that whole Wall-Street-created financial collapse thing in 2008. 

MITT ROMNEY: He pushed for the creation of Social Security personal accounts three separate times. In his 2010 book No Apology, he stated “individual retirement accounts would encourage more Americans to invest in the private sector that powers our economy.” Great idea…..we would be bankrupt after the 2008 financial crisis.

MICHELE BACHMANN: : Last year Bachmann said young workers “need to have some options in their life, so that going forward they can have ownership for their own Social Security, their own retirement, something they can pass on to the beneficiary of their choice.”

RON PAUL: During one of the presidential debates, he stated, “What I would like to do is to allow all the young people to get out of Social Security and go on their own!”

RICK SANTORUM: He launched his 2012 presidential campaign by declaring that he supports the President George W. Bush’s style of privatization accounts.

HERMAN CAIN: During the Tea Party debate, he stated “I support a personal retirement system option in order to phase [out] the current system. We know that this works.”

NEWT GINGRICH: He supported the House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan to create personal accounts.  

If that isn’t enough to scare you, the candidates have called for ending student loans, turning Medicare into a voucher program, repealing the “burdensome” regulations passed for Wall Street and the oil and gas industry, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and completely doing away with government entities such as the Department of Education and the EPA.

It should be noted that all of these proposals have received HUGE applause from the crowds. After listening to these guys, it makes you wonder are there any rational Republicans out there.

The video is below…enjoy!!

Grandma and Grandpa Bust a Rhyme to Protect Social Security

The GOP has gone on the record time and time again against about Social Security and its supposed under funding. The fact is that is not the case. Social Security is currently running a surplus of $2.6 trillion (assets grew from about $47 billion at the end of December 1986 to about $2,609 billion ($2.6 trillion) by the end of December 2010), and is funded through 2037 according to Wikipedia.   

Operations in quarter
ending December 31, 2010
[In billions] 

Income $202.9
Outgo 179.3
Difference 23.6

Operations in 2010  [In billions] 

Income $781.1
Outgo 712.5
Difference 68.6

By 2037, it is expected to be officially exhausted, so there is no doubt that some reforms need to take place and there are ramifications if no reforms are implemented: 

  • Payroll taxes will only cover 78% of the scheduled payout amounts after 2037. This declines to 75% by 2084. Without changes to the law, Social Security would have no legal authority to draw other government funds to cover the shortfall and payments would decline without a large tax/revenue increase or increase in eligibility age. 
  • Between 2015 and 2037, redemption of the trust fund balance to pay retirees will draw approximately $4 trillion in government funds from sources other than payroll taxes. This is a funding challenge for the government overall, not just Social Security.  

The funding could be fixed by getting rid of a cap that currently exists. Currently everyone paying into Social Security only pays taxes on the first $106,800 of their income and nothing on any income above that meaning that wealthier citizens pay no Social Security taxes on most of their income. Eliminating this cap would make the program solvent for a much longer time period. 

The Economic Opportunity Institute and Social Security Works has come up with an absolutely awesome way to promote eliminating this cap. They released a video this week that features two senior citizens rapping “Scrap the Cap,” and anyone who supports “Scrapping the Cap,” can take action on the web site related to the video

The video below is well worth watching….the couple is sooo cute, however, if you don’t have time, the lyrics are listed below the video, but trust me, watching the video, which is about 3 minutes, is well worth your time. 

Go grandma and grandpa!!! 

The real old school in the house 
Give it up for the geezers 

Had our golden years all planned out 
Small pension, golf cart and a Florida house 
But congress put a hit on Social Security 
Mugged us of our dignity despite our maturity 

Tax we paid with every check we earned 
Time to collect we the ones gettin burned 
There’s nothing we can do if we can’t get paid 
‘cept eat cat food, and drink haterade 

Listen up cuz while we drop some knowledge 
We raised our little boy, put him through college 
Only safety net is our next of kin 
Look out son, cause we’re movin in (what!?) 

We’re movin in (what!?) 
We’re movin in (what!?) 
Pull out the couch cause we’re movin in (what!?) 
No arguin (what!?) 
No arguin (what!?) 
Pull out the couch cause we’re movin in 

Name’s Spinal Twist, check my orthopedic kicks 
‘cause I stoop farther south than the St. Lunatics. 
I’m still getting play and it’s all thanks to Pfizer, 
Keepin me stiffer than my Yankees cap visor 

My station wagon windows are dark with tint 
I subscribe to vibe and I get the large print 
They call me Martini got substance abuse 
‘cause I’m always playin gin and sippin on juice 

Our son wants to know if we can pay the rent, 
But without benefits we ain’t got 50 cent, 
We don’t pack a nine, we’re just strapped for funds 
But we’re still game killers for our bachelor son 

Social Security payments are far from erratic 
“it’s broke and failin” don’t believe that static 
This crisis is a fiction there would be no debate 
If we all pitched in at the same tax rate 

There’s a cap on how much millionaires pay 
Even though we all work like every single day 
These are the facts but they’re provin’ thin 
So pull out the couch ‘cause we’re movin in 

We’re movin in (what!?) 
We’re movin in (what!?) 
Pull out the couch cause we’re movin in (what!?) 
No arguin (what!?) 
No arguin (what!?) 
Pull out the couch ‘cause we’re movin in 

Alright now younginz, you’re our last resort 
‘cause sooner or later, we’ll be needin support 
If you don’t want roommates just learn this rap 
It’s only one line, shout SCRAP THE CAP

Tea Party Freshman Confronted: “Stop Treating People like we’re the dogs waiting under the table for some scraps.”

I recall the town hall meetings during the healthcare debate when Democrats were confronted by angry Tea Party/Republican members. The Democrats knew how angry some of their constituents were and made a choice to face them and explain Healthcare reform.  

It wasn’t pretty for many reasons one of which was the demagoguery on the right by the likes of Fox News, conservative radio, and the GOP representatives themselves. Since the Affordable Healthcare Act has passed, it was proven that they were spreading complete untruths. 

Now I take you to this year after the Paul Ryan privatize-Medicare plan passed the House creating an uproar for people across the political spectrum. Instead of going home over the Easter break and in August over the summer break and holding open town halls, they chose to only host town halls for those willing to pay to attend or in some cases not holding them at all. I call that the epitome of hubris…cowardice. 

Here is an example of their reasoning behind making the choice to not confront their constituents about their vote. 

Lou Barletta (R-PA), a freshman Tea Party rep, who was one of the several Republicans who refused to hold free open town hall meetings, held a town hall meeting in Hazleton yesterday and ended up facing the very angry constituents he tried to avoid. The Standard Speaker reports that protesters grilled Barletta on everything from jobs to Social Security. They reported: 

Emotions ran high during Barletta’s fifth stop on his “Home to House” town hall tour at Hazleton City Hall, with a handful of attendees who packed Council Chambers questioning the congressman’s voting record on free trade, health care and jobs.  “You’re not doing your job, Mr. Lou,” said Stroudsburg resident Jennie Schaefer. “Stop treating people like we’re the dogs waiting under the table for some scraps.”  

Marie Diamond of ThinkProgress summarized the town hall: 

Schaefer was essentially asking Barletta to support policies that would help average Americans instead of consistently siding with corporations. Another constituent kept yelling “that’s a lie” when Barletta tried to justify his position on jobs and the economy. Allentown resident Jody Weidrich asked whether the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare would increase if Barletta had his way. He replied that he supported the Paul Ryan budget, which would drastically cut entitlement services. 

Roxanne Pauline, a coordinator with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Area Labor Federation, called on Barletta  to “tax the rich.” Barletta responded that he didn’t think that approach would improve America’s financial standing.  

At a town hall meeting in April, Barletta literally laughed at constituents who questioned his vote to maintain billions of dollars in subsidies for Big Oil. Another constituent told him, “You’re our congressman, don’t laugh at us!” At another event he was rebuked by a 64-year-old woman who wanted to know why he backed “a plan that will destroy Medicare.” The congressman’s office brushed aside the complaint and tried to smear the woman. 

GOP Vouchers and Privatizing Medicare

Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is introducing the GOP budget proposal on Tuesday. The proposal will attempt to overhaul Medicare and cut Medicaid. Ryan is known for his views of wanting to privatize Medicare and replace it with a voucher system that would require recipients to purchase coverage through a private medical plan. Paul Krugman’s view on this.

Privatizing and voucherizing Medicare does nothing whatsoever to control costs. We’ve seen that from the sorry history of Medicare Advantage. I’m sure that the Republicans will claim savings — but those savings will come entirely from limiting the vouchers to below the rate of rise in health care costs; in effect, they will come from denying medical care to those who can’t afford to top up their premiums.

Vouchers are a way to maximizing government funding of the healthcare industry. The view of writers at ThinkersJam.

It’s the GOP’s way of saying, “Here you go Cigna. Uncle Sam just can’t afford you anymore, but we’ll make sure you get every penny available.” Of course, the countervailing message to America’s elderly is akin to “Thanks for your contribution. You’re on your own now. We hope you won’t become ill, but if you do, may you die quickly.” But, oh well, that’s life; resources are limited and somebody has to make a sacrifice.