Sunday, March 10, 2013

Paul Ryan doesn't care about the deficit - he cares about privatization

As we await the release of Paul Ryan's budget this week, its important to remember that he really doesn't give a shit about the federal deficit. If he did, he wouldn't have voted to increase it by $6.8 trillion during the Bush years.

What drives Paul Ryan is the Randian belief that government is evil and corporations are good. And so the end game of everything he works towards is privatization. With that good/evil paradigm as the focus, Ryan simply ignores all the evidence of what a disaster such privatization would be.

We all know that Ryan wants to privatize (ie, voucherize) Medicare. The evidence for what that would mean comes in the form of the Republican experiment with Medicare Advantage.
Essentially, it works like this: Congress allowed private HMOs to compete for Medicare patients under the rationale that they could offer better service at lower cost than the government. They couldn't. So Republicans in Congress began boosting their payments, to the point that Medicare Advantage gets paid 114 percent what Medicare gets paid to care for a patient. That leads to some fun perks, like free gym memberships and complimentary aspirin and band-aids, which in turn leads seniors to defend the program because they like their perks. But it also means a lot of unnecessary expense for taxpayers.

And it's important to remember that those free perks do not account for the whole of Medicare Advantage's overpayments. Rather, economists have estimated that for every extra dollar we pay the program, 14 percent is passed on to seniors and 86 percent goes to profits or other costs. In other words, we're getting only 14 cents of obvious value for every dollar of overpayment.
One of the things Obamacare did was to reign in these overpayments that line the pockets of private insurers in the Medicare Advantage program. But of course Paul Ryan wants to abolish Obamacare - thus eliminating those savings.

Ryan's scheme on Medicaid is to reduce it by $800 billion and block grant it to the states. This morning on Faux News, he was touting Indiana's move to privatize it as a model for other states under this scenario. Trouble is, that Indiana experiment led to 3 things:
  1. A disruption in services to the most vulnerable in the state
  2. A financial boon to the large corporations who were cozy with the Governor's office
  3. Massive lawsuits
Finally, we all know that Ryan has wanted to privatize Social Security since 2005. While that would be a HUGE win for Wall Street, we'll need to remind anyone who might have forgotten what it would have meant for those with private retirement accounts during the 2008 crash. 

Paul Ryan wants us all to ignore this evidence of the disastrous effects of privatization and pretend like he's oh-so-concerned about the deficit. What I have to say is that his Randian ideology is showing.  


  1. I was under the impression that there was zero chance of the Ryan budget passing, so why are we to be concerned about what he wants?

    1. Of course his budget won't pass. But it will be THE subject of the conversation this week.

    2. Sigh. I'm so tired of these nutjobs hijacking the public discourse with their greed and heartlessness. I was reading about Eugenics of the 19th century yesterday and now I'm thinking of a great demographic for that barbaric practice (forced sterilization): Angry Southern White Males. At the very least they should have to take an IQ test before they are allowed to speak or write to any media outlet.

    3. what has become the big thing for me is the obstructionism of the GOP..first it was to prevent PBO from being try to make our gov as inefficient as their (GOP) obstruction is to prevent PBO from carrying out his agenda & to thwart the results of the last election..although it is easy to get bogged down in this fiscal battle with the GOP...there has been confirmation of PBOs cabinet so far...passage of VAWA...movement on gun safety and immigration...As smartypants has said PBO is working on drawing out a sensible caucas among the GOP...and with OFA... i plan to lend my voice to all the OFA members around the help my President move our Country FORWARD!