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Intro: "Paul Ryan's speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan's brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless."

Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)
Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)

The Medicare Killers

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

31 August 12


Paul Ryan's speech Wednesday night may have accomplished one good thing: It finally may have dispelled the myth that he is a Serious, Honest Conservative. Indeed, Mr. Ryan's brazen dishonesty left even his critics breathless.

Some of his fibs were trivial but telling, like his suggestion that President Obama is responsible for a closed auto plant in his hometown, even though the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office. Others were infuriating, like his sanctimonious declaration that “the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who cannot defend or care for themselves.” This from a man proposing savage cuts in Medicaid, which would cause tens of millions of vulnerable Americans to lose health coverage.

And Mr. Ryan - who has proposed $4.3 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, versus only about $1.7 trillion in specific spending cuts - is still posing as a deficit hawk.

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+64 # Barbara K 2012-08-31 08:54
Tax cuts shouldn't even be a consideration when we are in need of revenue to pay the country's bills. But of course, it is high pandering to the wealthy, who these 2 clowns are beholding to, and you can be sure they will find a way to get us taxpayers to pay the tab. I hope everyone wakes up and sees what a devastating ticket the Koch brothers have bought to lord over us and take away all they can get away with. Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, voting rights, etc. We cannot let that happen; and don't ever let anyone tell you that your vote doesn't count, they are just trying to discourage you from voting. Many races were decided by just a few votes. DON'T Vote Republican at any level, we need to clean up some states too.

DO VOTE, vote like your livelihood depends on it, as it certainly does.
We cannot cure Stupid, but we don't need to vote for them.
+15 # mdhome 2012-08-31 20:21
I find it insane that those having more money than they could ever need are so miserly on taxes. Do they not fly, drive, expect fire/police protection, weather forecasts, trash removal a military to protect the country, they have more to lose than a poor person if we were ever invaded.
+56 # Onterryo 2012-08-31 09:24
I would like the moderator in the first presidential debate to specifically address the "lies" of both campaigns. Too many independents, and perhaps the average voter, believe that both sides do it so "it's a wash". But we know that is not the case - whether it Ryan blaming Obama for the closed plant in Janesville or America's downgraded credit rating (when the S & P report actually states it did the downgrade because the Republicans would not consider tax increases). I want to see Romney (and Ryan in the VP debate) squirm when they are asked to state they still believe what they said and, if so, why and, if not, why they continue to roll out ads and make speeches with such lies. It's one thing to try to defend forecasts based on assumptions that may or may not come true. It's another to tell and out and out lie. Lastly, I want the moderator to deal with the Republicans' obstructionist tactics from day 1 of the Obama Administation. No other president has faced such opposition. Why him? What was more important to Republicans - getting America back on track or winning power to further the agenda of the .01%?
-70 # edge 2012-08-31 10:12
Quoting Onterryo:
Republicans' obstructionist tactics from day 1 of the Obama Administation. No other president has faced such opposition. Why him?


Obama told the Republicans that they can come for the ride but they have to sit in the back!

For two years Obama stated that "elections have consequences" and did not meet with the Republican leadership until the Dems got CRUSHED in the mid term elections!

Obama is NOT a LEADER and that is why he can't even get the Dems to vote for his idiotic budgets!

Wake up he is worse than Carter and he sucked big time!
+29 # mjc 2012-08-31 11:17
While Obama wasn't the same sort of president as say, a Lyndon Johnson, dealing with Congress easily and firmly, he spent the first few months of his administration trying to develop a bi-partisan group who could add to the first health care legislation from Congress and he chose Cabinet members who were considered more Republican than Democrat and who were Wall St. insiders. You have a very one-sided understanding of what is/was going in Congress. Obama is not a Carter and the 2010 elections were the result of big pressure from the Tea Party which the Republicans decided to adopt as their very own. The Republican Party doesn't really exist any more and their agenda resembles a Chinese dictatorship with its emotional stance on no compromise and basic American issues: Medicare, Medicaid, even Social Security.
+19 # BradFromSalem 2012-08-31 12:02
What kind of leadership have the Republicans demonstrated? Did they, as a party, propose any alternatives to Obama's Health plan.
So the president didn't meet with the minority party from both houses? That defines a lack of leadership. Does the definition of leadership now require you to capitulate to your opponents?
Over the past year especially, President Obama has moved decisively to implement as almost as much as possible, after realizing that the strong leadership of Speaker Boehner and his ability to keep meant absolutely nothing. At least when President Obama said he had a deal, he could count on the votes to go along.
And yes, elections do have consequences. When you lose you don't go sulk in the corner and take the ball with you. The Republican party has acted like a bunch of cry-baby sore losers and that is a fact.
+17 # Onterryo 2012-08-31 12:23
In 2008 there were 8 new Democratic senators which gave them a total of 57. There were also 2 Independents, one of whom (Lieberman - previously a Democrat) had actually supported McCain. While they had a majority at no time could the Democrats invoke closure. Further some of those senators who rode to election on Obama's coattails developed "cold feet" because they came from conservative hitherto Republican states (Alaska, North Carolina, Virginia for example). Meanwhile the Blue Dogs in the House were afraid of their re-election chances and could never come out of their foxholes to see what was really unfolding and that bold steps were needed. America is paying for their timidity today. Obama's biggest problem was that he tried to be bi-partisan but the Grover Norquist Republicans would never move from their position. In fact, we know they never intended to work with the President to solve Ameria's problems. Mitch McConnell made that clear when he said "The most important single thing we want to achiever is for President Obama to be a one term president". Note that he did not say help Americans get jobs or do anything that would suggest they were interested in anything else other than regaining power to help their billionaire friends.
-18 # edge 2012-08-31 12:56
Quoting BradFromSalem:

And yes, elections do have consequences. When you lose you don't go sulk in the corner and take the ball with you. The Republican party has acted like a bunch of cry-baby sore losers and that is a fact.

Grow up!
With that huge of a majority all he had to do was to convince his own Quoting Onterryo:
In 2008 there were 8 new Democratic senators which gave them a total of 57. There were also 2 Independents, one of whom (Lieberman - previously a Democrat) had actually supported McCain. While they had a majority at no time could the Democrats invoke closure.


Arlen Sphincter switched party's in April so they had 60 seats for most of the first two years once Franken joined in July!
+15 # BradFromSalem 2012-08-31 14:03
The Democrats had 51 votes on nearly every measure that Obama proposed or backed. The filibuster is an internal rule that was intended to be used as a way to rein in the majority; not as a tool for blackmail by the minority. And has been pointed out, there were a handful of DINO that bucked the Democratic majority and voted with the Republicans. This is very common in the Senate to have some votes switch; the Senate Republicans all marched lock step with leadership like good little robots.
+13 # Barbara K 2012-08-31 17:56
BFS: Yes, and to break the Republican filibuster took a 60 vote margin. The Dems did not have 60 in the Senate. They did have 60 for 2 months, then Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Byrd became ill and dropped them to 58 Senators. Then Kennedy was replaced with an R. Leaving the Dems at 59 in the Senate, tried several times to get an R to go along with them to break the filibusters, but not even 1 R would join them. They had made their promise to make Obama a one term president and wouldn't lift a single finger to help the people of this country or the country. They just blocked, filibustered and voted against everything after they made it need the 60 vote margin. Who paid for their selfishness? We all did. They wouldn't even pass the President's Jobs Bill to help us.
+3 # BradFromSalem 2012-09-03 19:47

The "best" part is that the Republicans filibustered Obama jobs bills blocking them from even being debated. But then they turn around don't introduce 1 single jobs bill, reintroduce a bill to repeal the ACH, and multiple 1950's style ant-abortion bills then claim that the President has not done anything to try and create jobs.
+4 # Texas Aggie 2012-09-02 22:56
As you mentioned, Lieberman voted with the republicans so that gave a majority of 59, not enough to break a filibuster. Then there was dickhead from Nebraska who voted consistently with the republicans which gave a 58 majority. It isn't difficult to realize that when you need 60 votes to get anything major done, that 58 isn't enough.

And since a basic keystone of the right wing philosophy is Follow-the-Lead er, there is no way that any of the republicans was going to jump ship and vote with the Democrats.
+3 # Texas Aggie 2012-09-02 22:50
It took forever for Obama to learn that trying to compromise with the republicans was going to get you no where. They weren't going to compromise and even when Obama put their very ideas and policies in place, they voted against them. How is this NOT trying to be bipartisan?

Long after it was obvious to everyone else that the republicans had absolutely no intention of doing anything but obstructing any policy that might make the economy better, Obama kept trying to talk with them. It got to the point that even centrists realized that the republicans were quite willing to sacrifice the well-being of the country for their own personal power games. Anyone who claims that Obama didn't meet with republican leadership during his first two years is suffering from an incurable pants-on-fire syndrome.
+3 # natalierosen 2012-09-01 07:09
Onterryo, I could not have said it better myself. You are 100% correct.
+19 # maddave 2012-08-31 09:51
Much like his leader, I am impressed with two things on Ryan: his face.
+19 # LeeBlack 2012-08-31 10:18
Looking at Ryan's picture when he has that close-mouthed grin made me think of Mad's Alfred E. Newman
+7 # mjc 2012-08-31 11:18
Exactly, LeeBlack.
+3 # natalierosen 2012-09-01 07:13
I second that. I think he is utterly ugly as is his political thought!

America should WAKE up YouTube George Carlin's "American Dream" and KNOW the man was a sage and what he said could come true...ALL of it!
+26 # Buddha 2012-08-31 09:59
"The question now is whether voters will understand what’s really going on"

That is the whole reason Ryan was picked. We are the nation where someone honestly said "Keep your Government Hands Off My Medicare!". Americans are uninformed sheep on even the simplest of issues, and stuff like our Byzantine healthcare systems are far beyond the ability of most Americans to comprehend. So the lies that the GOP is spewing on this have found very fertile ground. Our MSM isn't going to be successful in educating our public, even if they wanted to, because our public doesn't have an attention span longer than a 10 second sound-bite. Can't get much information and truth across in that 10 seconds...but you can easily tell a lie in 10 seconds.
+32 # tswhiskers 2012-08-31 09:59
Unfortunately voting Dems into office and Reps. out is only the first step in getting American govt. to behave as it should. Then we must trust Dems to legislate for the good of the country. The thing we really need would be for the Reps., assuming they are soundly beaten in this election, to renounce Norquist and to reassess their party interests re the super wealthy. We need balance in this country badly; a balance between Conservative and Progressive, a balance between business and labor. And we badly need a truth-telling media that is ready to jump on a story that we the country need to hear. Woodward and Bernstein, your country needs you and your investigative descendants more than I can say. I suspect the weakness of the media nowadays only proves that corporate ownership of the media would be illegal in a perfect world. Thanks to your self-censorship there are very few journalists left who can force the bastards to tell the truth.
+3 # soularddave 2012-08-31 19:35
Quoting tswhiskers:
The thing we really need would be for the Reps., assuming they are soundly beaten in this election, to renounce Norquist and to reassess their party interests re the super wealthy.

YES! The hard decisions MUST be made, even if it means not peddling your vote in Congress to the highest bidders.
+10 # Glen 2012-08-31 10:07
Excellent comments, Onterryo. Let us all also DEMAND some answers concerning the increase in military spending and expansion of attacks and the so-called lily pad construction. There are military bases going up everywhere and that spending has been out of control for decades. Obama continued with it. Will Romney? ASK.
+21 # wwway 2012-08-31 10:23
Imagine getting your Medicare Voucher to buy on the so called "free market" of medical care and not being able to afford it anyway. Imagine trying to hold on to a job past age 50 knowing that you have to work until 70. Imagine loosing all your retirement savings in finacial schemes in an unregulated market and banking system. With that, I starting to dislike my Republican friends. Are they really friends?
The sad thing is even they will not be able to afford to live in the world they now seek to destroy.
These are Chickens for Col. Sanders who are insisting that we sacrafice your lives for the wealthy. I can't look at a Republican anymore.
+9 # Onterryo 2012-08-31 12:29
Imagine thinking that your company's private health plan covers you and then one day your company goes under or lets you go and now you have to get insurance coverage when you have a medical condition which will result in your insurance application being declined. Too many Americans do not really understand that their future relies on a health plan they may not be there tomorrow (or if they do they are reluctantly accepting the gamble). In countries like Canada or the UK that is not an issue.
+9 # dick 2012-08-31 10:25
Right, Romney-Ryan: The Four(+)Faces of the GOp. Janus-Janus.
Part of why he was Mitt-picked: turds of a feather. HOWEVER,
since THEY KNOW they were providing nifty Video for Obama-Dems, & nifty-shifty video is All he'll have, WHAT were they up to? Seriously. Those kind of lies are historically reserved for "video camera" free stops in Po'Dumb, Kansas. Are they experimenting with what they can get away with? Debate prep?
+20 # LeeBlack 2012-08-31 10:28
The Republican theme 'take our country back' makes one wonder, back to what? Back to all white leaders? Back to before the New Deal? Back to the age of the robber barons? Back to the time when only male landowners could vote?
+15 # BradFromSalem 2012-08-31 10:49
Rep. Ryan's plan for Medicare achieves the singular objective of redirecting more resources of the country into the control of corporations. Obviously a man such as Rep. Ryan, a college graduate and all has the done the math that would tell him that redirecting healthcare dollars away from government does not really change the amount spent on Health Care. I think he could calculate, since he is the budget guy, that there is only one way to cut the cost per person of the Health Care provided to persons covered under Medicare. Reduce the overhead costs. That is the big ticket; less paperwork, more efficient payment procedures, eliminate duplication of effort. None of these actually change the amount of care an individual gets, but it reduces the cost big time. Obama does that, which is where he gets his savings, additionally he puts that savings into other components of ACH. Ryan just limits to amount paid and expects private enterprise to do the overhead reductions when the easiest thing for them to do is to raise costs. Ryan's plan will erode Medicare into a smaller and smaller portion of the cost.
But, apply the rule that whatever they say the Dems are doing, is actually what they are up to. Hide their secret plans in plain sight.
+30 # walt 2012-08-31 11:03
Let's call Ryan for what he really is. A fraud! And a cocky, egotistical, and sophomoric one at that!

Like Romney, he is a wolf trying to hide in lamb's skins. He and Romney are owned and operated by the big money and they would sell the whole country out to support their 1% backers. We've been watching the GOP Congress doing the same for years.

Americans need to see this and vote for a government and not a plutocracy they would create.
+11 # wleming 2012-08-31 12:09
mr. krugman makes a good point, and lets add to that the fact that we have no media in this country... if by media you mean those who are willing to challenge lie after lie. but wait: fox news IS lie after lie.... no media, but a liars paradise.
+5 # lollie 2012-08-31 15:02
Obviously, facts don't matter,reminds me of a cult. Hopefully, something will break the spell. Things have become so blatantly "off', that one would have to be sleep walking not to see it, especially when you consider the 'fact' that the repubs won't allow fact checkers to alter their campaign.
+4 # Rick Levy 2012-09-01 02:20
Vouchercare? Or Vulturecare?
+5 # wfalco 2012-09-01 09:23
What is scary to this "Reader" is the "water cooler talk" the morning after Ryan spoke.
I am referring to the Democrats I converse with in this southern city.
They certainly are of a moderate to coservative stripe and my intuitive sense is telling me to be wary..very wary.
I sniffed a bit of turncoatism-the se southern Democrats I know can be easily swayed by the smooth talking Repugs. These folks are not as political as us "Readers", however, I am referring to folks who are traditionally Democrat due to the nature of their profession.
Perhaps I have this concerned intuition because I reside in the South. I do not know if others sense this disappointment in Obama that is obvious in my world. These folks might not vote. Or these southern "moderate" Dems might push that "safe" Caucasion ticket in the privacy of the voting booth.
+2 # cordleycoit 2012-09-02 07:26
Interesting that the canadates are both prissy liars. We have Mittens the old guy who rose to power though looting and bankrupting the people and his young protege Ryan the Sherpa a poor boy who knows what to kiss and where. Watcjhing these charlatans seduce the GOP makes for great campfire tales.
+2 # medusa 2012-09-02 18:47
The difference between a voucher and cash is obvious--cash you can shop around with. Apart from vouchers, the Ryan program would give us all the privilege of buying private health insurance--at what rate?. What we need is the privilege of having public insurance.

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