Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

The GOP war on the poor, part 44557

While y’all tittered about Melania Trump and her Coat of Smarm, the House reminded Americans that Paul Ryan and his GOP caucus despise the poor. Although putatively a “farm bill,” it’s a cruel piece of legislation written to exact work from people who already drop dead in exchange for a pittance from Washington:

The House farm bill would also tighten eligibility criteria under SNAP — changes that would result in some 400,000 households losing SNAP benefits. Thousands of children would also risk losing their enrollment in free and reduced-price school meal programs.

Republicans contend the plan would put people on a pathway to self-sufficiency. Democrats and anti-hunger groups say it would make it more difficult for millions of needy Americans to receive nutrition assistance, and also would invest in a state-run job training bureaucracy under SNAP that has yet to prove it helps people move out of poverty.

Whether bill survives in conference despite Pat Roberts of Kansas’ altruism remains a mystery. But concentrating on ephemera is a symptom of a Beltway pundit class that doesn’t have to worry about having enough money in their credit cards to buy cashews and lamb shanks. I warrant that Nicole Wallace will spend not a second discussing the implications of this bill on MSNBC this afternoon.

Farewell, Paul Ryan

Barack Obama did damage to the body politic when in early 2010, at a health care “forum” where he cleaned the clock of every Republican who thought he couldn’t hold his own discussing policy minutiae, he praised Congressman Paul Ryan for having Good Ideas about helping our system. There was the problem with Obama’s governance during that first term, which in 2018 makes me feel like Harold Ickes and Rex Tugwell in 1965 reminiscing about the vermouth-heavy swill FDR called a martini. A year later, Paul Ryan was sipping from a $350 bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru with two lobbyists. We also learned that, thanks to saving the Social Security benefits from his father that Ryan would have rescinded had he possessed a magic wand, the congressman paid for college. Then Willard “Mitt”Romney asked him to be his running mate, where he proved another bad joke, as Joe Biden demonstrated by laughing, hard, in his face during the 2012 veep debates. Replacing John Boehner as speaker in 2015, Ryan showed the leadership skills of a headless mule. He wasn’t in charge and everyone knew it – the big money that drove psychopaths and grifters from Land O’ Lakes to Lamont to run for office was in charge.

When “Morning” Joe Scarborough and “Mika” Brzezinski spend three of their eight-hour talk show bemoaning the lack of GOP opposition to the whims Trump thinks up while on the shitter with his Twitter computer, they point to the spinelessness of Speaker Paul Ryan as if Ryan’s mealy-mouthed responses weren’t examples of his spine. He supports the Trump agenda. He supports the president, therefore he has nothing to be spineless about. He will leave Congress as the dampest of socks, a phony who convinced many Serious People that he was a man of ideas because he could pronounce “objectivism” correctly. “Policy wonk” is a term used by people who despise the educated, who in 1952 would have called someone who read books an egghead (“Ryan is like a perennial All-Star who never quite enjoyed the ideal circumstances to shine,” Jim Geraghty sighs, wiping tears with the hem of his skirt). Congress won’t be a better place with Ryan gone because Congress has two hundred thirty-six other Paul Ryans, some of whom use an X to sign their names.

Social Security survivor benefits beneficiary aims

The Speaker of the House, who paid his tuition at Miami University in Ohio thanks to Social Security survivor benefits, thinks it’s a propitious time to kill the sick and starve the old:

In a sign of their confidence, Republicans are already looking past taxes to their next priority: gutting safety net programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” the speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said on Wednesday during an interview with the radio host Ross Kaminsky.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump opposed cutting Medicare and Medicaid, but Mr. Ryan said that he was working to persuade him to change his mind.

“I think these reforms that we’ve been talking about, that we’re still going to keep pushing, that will help not just make Medicaid less expensive and health care itself, but it will help Medicare as well,” Mr. Ryan said during the interview. “And I think the president’s understanding choice and competition works everywhere in health care, especially in Medicare.

All the horrible shit we envisaged after the election is coming, and Democrats can do nothing except raise holy hell. This used to be easy. Tip O’Neill frightened enough seniors in 1982 to give the Reagan Revolution a sound beating, eliminating its working majority in the House. For decades Democrats could summon the ghost of Herbert Hoover. Even Bill Clinton roused himself for the sake of poor children.

Of keggers and cutting benefits

In a conversation with Rich LOLwry, the man who got hard at the thought of Sarah Palin sending starbursts of joy for the TV screen in 2008, Speaker Paul Ryan admitted to why he shouldn’t be allowed to roam the streets except to sell bottled water on the corner of Oak and Elm.

“So Medicaid,” Ryan told Lowry, “sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg. . . . I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a long time. We’re on the cusp of doing something we’ve long believed in.”

Yet morning talk shows continue to believe that a miserable creep who in college fantasized about stripping benefits from the poor deserved the vice presidential slot in 2012 and is the serious player in negotations with Donald Trump. The Ayn Rand fuckboy who benefited from Social Security survivor benefits doesn’t think others deserve the government’s largesse.

On Paul Ryan’s health care death march

Some updates on the efforts to keep repeal of the Affordable Care Act as quietly as possible so that House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t reveal his cowardice:

Ryan and his allies envision a quick, surgical strike on Obamacare soon after Donald Trump takes office, via what’s come to be known as a “repeal and delay” strategy. The idea is to eliminate Obamacare’s funding, using a special legislative procedure reserved for bills related to the budget, while leaving most of Obamacare’s coverage provisions in place for a year or two or maybe three. In theory, the more than 20 million people now relying on the program would hold onto insurance while Republicans craft their replacement scheme.

Even conservative experts doubt this gambit would work out so neatly. Insurers that tolerated early losses in Obamacare marketplaces in the hopes of realizing future profits aren’t going to stick around for a market that’s about to disappear ― particularly if the repeal bill also takes actions, such as eliminating the individual mandate, that would tilt the insurance customer base even more toward unhealthy people with high medical expenses. If enough carriers flee, a recent analysis from the Urban Institute predicted, millions of people would lose their health insurance in just the first year.

And why would Ryan and his allies want to move quickly? Parts of Obamacare are popular!

Those elements include not just protection for people with pre-existing conditions but also the availability of financial assistance for people who can’t afford coverage on their own ― which, in a recent Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation poll, a whopping 80 percent of Americans said they support.

The same Kaiser Foundation poll found that roughly half of Americans want to keep Obamacare in place or expand what it does. Another 17 percent merely wants Congress to scale it back, while just over a quarter want full repeal ― and even that enthusiasm wanes when respondents learn that repeal might mean eroding the law’s consumer protections.

The Affordable Care act remains what Charles Pierce called “creaky, jerry-rigged contraption” that gets people “where they need to be” even if many in, say, Kentucky think their Medicaid expansions have nothing to do with the ACA. To my relief, the Democrats in the Senate have started to give Tom Price the side eye. Whether opposition is symbolic matters less than that the public watches the Democrats fight. That’s the point of symbolism.

It’s beginning, people, so focus

And here it is:

BRET BAIER: Let’s tick down these things. You have a debt ceiling coming up. How is that going to work?

PAUL RYAN: Thankfully, we’re doing it with a republican president and congress. We can tackle our fiscal issues. We can tackle the oppressive taxes that are stifling job creation and business and making America uncompetitive. Having a debt limit, which occurs — March is around the time this occurs. With president-elect trump — with president trump and a congressional republican and congressional senate democrats in the minority and senate republicans in the majority makes a world of difference better. We can use this as an opportunity to get good things done.

BRET BAIER: Your solution has always been to put things together including entitlement reform. That is Paul Ryan’s plan. That’s not Donald Trump’s plan.

PAUL RYAN: Well, you have to remember, when Obamacare became Obamacare, Obamacare rewrote Medicare, rewrote Medicaid. If you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. What a lot of folks don’t realize is this 21-person board called the ipap is about to kick in with price controls on Medicare. What people don’t realize is because of Obamacare, medicare is going broke, medicare is going to have price controls because of Obamacare, medicaid is in fiscal straits. You have to deal with those issues if you are going to repeal and replace obamacare. Medicare has serious problems [because of] Obamacare. Those are part of our plan.

Among the parade of dreadfuls that citizens have to accept in the wake of the election is taking the Speaker of the House seriously as a figure of fiscal responsibility. Since Ronald Reagan took the oath, Republicans have acted as if Social Security and Medicare makes people moochers when people should really be getting licenses as lobbyists so they can act like lampreys around congressmen like Paul Ryan; this is the kind of income redistribution that the Speaker of the House endorses. One of the reasons why Reagan lost operational control of the House in the 1982 midterm elections was the relentlessness with which Speaker Tip O’Neill framed the stakes with the starkness of a telegram: the Republicans want to gut Social Security, the Democrats want to save it. In the end Reagan, reeling, acquiesced, signing a bill in 1983 that in effect repudiated every thing he’d ever said about it.

Should Ryan be serious, and I have no reason to think he isn’t, then the Democrats have their first sign of GOP overreach. Trump voters didn’t want the social safety net re-mended or cut to ribbons; CBS News’ exit polls found 27 percent of his voters wanted more liberal policies than what Barack Obama has offered, which both explains the vote for a bully who promised them a return to coal refineries pumping mephitic fumes into the atmosphere and the incoherence of the way these people have understood what the GOP has done in the last eight years. People need help. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security have worked. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, severe defects notwithstanding, Medicare is solvent into the 2030s. Month after month, year after year, through hurricanes and snowstorms, Grandma receives a check backed by the full faith and credit of the United States Treasury. Paul Ryan knows this. He received survivor payments that afforded him a college education, a fact much on Joe Biden’s mind when he swatted Ryan across the face with the bemused contempt of an uncle babysitting a spoiled nephew.

But the GOP isn’t stupid. As their most reliable constituency, seniors won’t see their benefits cut. The rest of us will. The elimination will be, to use the hideous jargon, “phased in” long after Granny has phased out. If they stick together and avoid the Joe Manchins like carrion, Democrats can beat this back. Remember George W. Bush’s privatization scheme.

‘A 10-year tax cut is not a bad deal’

As if watching reporters wading into ankle deep water for the sake of a hurricane wasn’t laughable enough, here’s what Speaker Paul Ryan has in store for the country should Donald Trump lay his hand on Art of the Deal and take the oath in January 2017: pass his budget using that wondrous parliamentary trick called reconciliation, last used by the Democrats in spring 2010 to pass the Affordable Care Act.

Trump and House Republicans have proposed different tax plans, but they are largely in sync on major principles. Both would cut the top tax rate for individuals to 33 percent from the current 39.6 percent. The corporate rate would drop to 15 percent under Trump’s plan and 20 percent under the House GOP plan, from 35 percent today. Both plans also would drain federal coffers of several trillion dollars and give the biggest boost to the wealthy. By the end of the decade, the richest 1 percent would have accumulated 99.6 percent of the benefits of the House GOP plan, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

Grover Norquist provides the most telling quote: “A 10-year tax cut is not a bad deal. Very few things in life are forever.” St. Ronnie once said that he wasn’t jumping a cliff for the sake of a hundred percent of a proposal if he could get sixty. An old pro, Norquist understands the magnitude of Ryan’s budget; passing or “reconciling” even a sliver of it would change the relationship of the federal taxing power and citizens.

Another reminder to my liberal colleagues of what’s at stake. There will be no Democratic resistance to Trump and a Republican House in January because, like Florida, they have no meaningful way to stop this shit.

‘We just want to give people market freedom’

Because I don’t have access to the Wall Street Journal, I have to rely on Digby: apparently Paul Ryan has it on good authority from Justice Sam Alito that the Supremes won’t rule against the government in King v. Burwell until the House GOP finda an alternatative to kicking people off insurance:

His remarks Thursday offered the most detailed vision yet of the House Republicans’ thinking. Mr. Ryan suggested the GOP caucus was most enthusiastic about allowing states to strip some of the health law’s requirements that insurance plans must provide certain minimum benefits and a requirement that insurers sell to all customers equally regardless of their medical history.

“We think things like community rating and other regulations make insurance needlessly expensive for most people and that there are better more targeted ideas out there to help those with pre-existing conditions get affordable care,” he said. “We just want to give people market freedom and personal freedom so that they can buy what they want.”

She’s right. The most popular part of the law is forcing insurance companies — or, to use the horrible jargon, incentivizing them — to accept patients with preexisting conditions. Daily Kos has a longer version. Back to the status quo before 2010 then.