House Republicans who once considered Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisconsin) to be a brilliant and courageous rising star of the party, one who could put the nation on a more sound fiscal path by tackling entitlement programs, are now abandoning his Medicare proposal simply because it will not pass the Senate. Both Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Rep. David Camp (Michigan), Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, have said that, while they support Ryan’s Medicare plan, they would prefer to focus on ways to achieve savings that could “realistically” be signed into law. Hmmm….so, why did the House repeal Obamacare in January? Most knew the Senate would not repeal it. What happened to being on the record for real change in Washington?
Republican leaders say they want to tie changes to the debt ceiling to savings from entitlements, and that changes to entitlements are best done in a bipartisan way. Unfortunately, “bipartisan” is starting to be synonymous with “ineffectual.”
There’s a reason why politicians want to treat the entitlements gingerly. It’s called fear. Listen to the woman challenging Paul Ryan in this liberal media video of one of the town halls he conducted in Wisconsin during Congress’ Easter break. She is under 55 and already on Medicare. She has heard Mr. Ryan explain that, under his plan, those over 55 would keep the current Medicare program, and begins her statement to him with, “I’m screwed,” even though the congressman explains that those already on Medicare will be grandfathered in, regardless of age. “Like I said,” she says, “I know I’m screwed.” Refusing to even listen to what Mr. Ryan is saying, she has decided his plan will cut her off from government healthcare.
As Mr. Ryan has gone on the road explaining his budget plan, it seems the Democrats have prevailed, to some extent, in their demagoguery. Repeatedly, we hear poorly informed senior citizens who believe their Medicare will be “taken” from them, all because Mr. Ryan won’t “tax the rich,” as if revenues received from the wealthy will be enough to cover increasing medical costs for every American citizen eligible for Medicare!
In fact, these misguided Americans should be looking over their shoulders. It is President Obama’s plan that will cut Medicare benefits now, and undermine those who believe that the government is taking care of them.
Unfortunately, many Americans will never read these pages, and others like them, in order to better educate themselves about the nation’s fiscal crisis and viable solutions. Trained well by politicians who follow in the footsteps of those who enacted Social Security and Medicare, these Americans believe that the government will provide their every need, and are unwilling to consider the reality- that all Medicare will eventually have to change. Like addicts, they just want reassurance that they will still get a steady stream of benefits. Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine that Americans actually elected leaders who convinced them that they could save their money for them, for their retirement years. We know you aren’t capable of saving for your senior years…we’ll do it for you!
No, we don’t need more “bipartisan” discussions for our addicted American culture. We need a major intervention. That’s why we need real change in 2012.