Paul Ryan’s “Pants on the Ground” Moment:

GOP Idol’s Medicare “Plans” Panned


MADISON-While President Obama this week was proposing a serious 2011 budget that makes tough decisions to deal with the nation's long-term problems, Wisconsin's perpetual up-and-comer Paul Ryan this week was off proposing "American Idol"-style publicity-generating plans that would be entertaining if their consequences - specifically, the destruction of Medicare and Social Security - were not so serious.

"Paul Ryan is to budget ideas what ‘Pants on the Ground’ is to great music," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. "His plans to choke off Medicare and rid America finally of the Social Security safety net that Republicans have opposed since its start are anything but funny."

Ryan is the Janesville Republican whose publicity team works overtime to keep the six-term member of Congress named as a GOP "fresh face." He had a civil back-and--forth with President Obama at a Republican retreat last week where the president called on GOP leaders to deal in budget fact.

But soon enough came fiction from Ryan, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee, whose counter-factual budget plans were quickly termed as a "dystopian parable" and a "violent" assault on Medicare and Social Security.

Writing at washingtonpost.com, was Ezra Klein:

"The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves. The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they'd need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase. Exacerbating the situation -- and this is important -- Medicare currently pays providers less and works more efficiently than private insurers, so seniors trying to purchase a plan equivalent to Medicare would pay more for it on the private market."

Over at The Atlantic.com, business writer Derek Thompson said reading a Ryan budget was, "A dystopian parable....like reading "1984" for the next century, but with graphs."

"We'd like to invite Paul Ryan to join the "Real World" when it comes to his disturbing budget priorities. "The Biggest Loser," under Ryan budgets would be America's seniors," Tate said.


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