Ryan vs. Obama on Medicare: Why We Won’t Have an Actual Debate Over Where They Differ

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Republican vice presidential candidate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks during a campaign rally at the NASCAR Technical Institute on August 12, 2012 in Mooresville, North Carolina

In the brief period since Paul Ryan was chosen to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, health policy experts have been spending a lot of time explaining what Ryan’s budget plan means for Medicare. There’s no doubt that the contrasts between Ryan’s ideas and Obama’s on Medicare are significant. But as Ezra Klein pointed out Monday, the two approaches to reforming the most popular government program in history are not diametrically opposed.

Both Ryan’s most recent plan and Obama’s most recent budget strive to contain the growth of Medicare expenses to the same rate—GDP +0.5%. The difference is in how those costs are contained. This is incredibly important—Klein frames the debate as being over an effort to save money by improving quality (via the Affordable Care Act on the Democratic side) versus trusting the free market to reduce prices (on the Republican side). Neither of these approaches have been proven to lower costs, as noted by Klein.

(MORE: The Ryan Budget: A Primer on What’s Now the Hottest Topic in 2012)

It’s safe to say there are problems with both paths. The ACA relies on some guess work: hoping that pilot programs might reveal a way to make Medicare cost less; Ryan’s Medicare plans have left many key details out, but critics say it’s clear that seniors will be on the hook for much more out of pocket spending. Sadly, despite these substantive points, we shouldn’t expect the 2012 presidential campaign to feature a robust debate over how to fix Medicare.

While Republicans have been hailing the Ryan VP pick as a bold choice—House Speaker John Boehner says it means Romney is “playing offense”—it already seems clear that the GOP ticket does not intend to staunchly stand behind the idea that Medicare needs to be largely privatized in order to function in the future. Here’s what Romney said on 60 Minutes over the weekend:

What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors. No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, “We’re going to give you a bigger choice.” In America, the nature of this country has been giving people more freedom, more choices. That’s how we make Medicare work down the road.

That’s not exactly tough talk. The GOP ticket instead will talk about the upside of “choice” and hammer Obama on the Medicare cuts in the Affordable Care Act, hoping voters will assume both presidential candidates want to make cuts to the program and that it’s a wash. The Republican candidates will do this despite the fact that Ryan has said he believes Obama’s ACA Medicare cuts should stay, even if the parts of health reform that expand coverage to low and middle-income Americans get thrown out.

(MORE: Why Obamacare Should Be Redesigned, But Not Repealed)

Ryan, along with most House Republicans, have symbolically voted to repeal the ACA more than 30 times since it passed in 2010, but Ryan’s 2013 budget references “current-law Medicare savings” and “potential savings in current law.” Current law is code for the ACA and Ryan assumes in his plan that the Medicare reductions within it aren’t going anywhere.

The Obama campaign meanwhile intends to hit the Republican ticket hard on Ryan’s proposed Medicare cuts. This will happen even though the health plan on Romney’s web site—and the latest Ryan proposal—are both much more moderate than previous Ryan plans and preserve existing Medicare for seniors 55 and older while keeping traditional Medicare as a choice for everyone else going forward.

(PHOTOS: Paul Ryan’s Life and Career in Photos)

When it comes to “Mediscare” campaign tactics, these sorts of nuances are not welcome. Expect Romney-Ryan and Obama-Biden to compete to see who can demagogue health care the best. The effectiveness of either campaign’s message remains to be seen. Voters have traditionally trusted Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to Medicare and Social Security. But the health care reform war of 2009, which focused a lot of attention on the ACA’s Medicare cuts, left a stain on Obama that might be hard to remove.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Aug. 4-10)

113 comments
superlogi
superlogi

No debate?  Could it possibly be that Ryan is running on Romney's idea of Health Care reform.  You people really need to quit running against ideas and people that have been retired.  If I were you, I'd be more concerned about what happen to "Hope and Change" and why it didn't work.

JayG2
JayG2

I watched the debates on C Span and I also know for a fact that all Medicare Advantage plans are being phased out. No Republicans voted for Obamacare. In fact they voted to leave Medicare Advantage  in the law. There are  Medicare panels that do determine how much is paid to Doctors as well. I am 100 % sure that Doctors are being cut 21% in Pay. If you were on Medicare Advantage, why do you call it Medicare Advance. I want to give you an example of cuts. My friend needed a kidney, and had a match, and she was told the last minute by Medicare they would not contribute to the cost. She had taken out a loan on her house to pay the difference  and they still denied her coverage. She died at the age of 68 a month ago I don't think I am being disrespectful, I am just stating facts!

JayG2
JayG2

Romneycare did not take over 700 billion from Seniors in Medicare,  as  Obamacare did. such as long term care, Medicare advantage plans, eliminate the Dox Fix which cuts pay to phyicians by 21%, thus creating a Doc shortage. At that time the people of MA wanted Romneycare, and they did not have a massive debt as we do. 

Obamacare guts Medicare as we know it. Doctors are already saying they will no longer accept Medicare patients, because they cannot afford the loss.

I watched the C span debats. Go to Romney's website and see what his plan  entails.

Obamacare guts Medicare as we know it, and Romnety' current plan does not change Medicare for those over 55, and after that those yourger get a choice of wheter to opt out of traditional Medicare or choose a private plan. I would get better informed by asking your own  physician.

Chris Herz
Chris Herz

These US politicians blather on, selling the snake oil.  In the most successful of national health programs, in France, the state owns all major hospitals and most clinics, it supports the educations of nurses and doctors and vigorously shops pharmaceuticals and all other items needed.  In this way they have done way better than ourselves not only in outcomes, but in cost containment 

You cannot contain costs without containing costs.

Watitis
Watitis

 The industries and occupations you mentioned all currently participate in a free

market society... Are you willing to tell someone they're making too much or even not enough? That kind of power will surely corrupt. And it's un-American.  

sallyfarth
sallyfarth

Everybody knows the republicans are all talk (no real positive action), look at the last four years, obstructionist all the way. 

The cutting will only hurt the poor.  The only actions they take, are the cuts to the people most in need. The only way they can frame this is, that the recipients are undeserving or are moochers (such as Ryan's hero Rand would say). 

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

I don't need to debates to know that the Gee-O-Pee distroyed America from 2000 to 2008.  And have voted no on everything the last 3 1/2 years.  Been there, done that.  

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Republicans are gonna save us like they did the last 3 1/2 years by blocking everything?  Been there, done that.

vstillwell
vstillwell

Well, I think there's one glaring difference here. The savings in Medicare spending, under Ryan's plan, goes towards tax cuts for the rich. Those savings do not go towards deficit reductions. Ryan's plan is based on the witches' brew that those tax cuts will stimulate the economy and bring the deficit down. Never mind the fact that the rich are already paying historically low tax rates as it is and control more wealth now than at any point in this country's history. That is a huge difference between the two candidates. 

Scoreboarding
Scoreboarding

Were not the tax rates currently paid set by the Bush team as relief from the Clinton tax rate that would have had all of our debts owed to foreign countries paid off in full this year?  If I recall sometime right around now real time.  Imagine that all we had to do was not cut the top 1 percent a tax break and we would be out of debt.  It is really hard to put that out of my mind and I wonder why it doesn't astound anyone else.    Also the folks that are indeed commenting here are so partisan and rude, I find it very difficult to believe that folks are that selfish.  Think about it, there are millions of our own citizens who have absolutely no means of getting health care.  Are we that willing to let social dwarwinism cost human beings their life or any decent means of living a humane life?  Is it really ok to be that cold hearted?   Were talking about taxes to folks that make millions of dollars a year, not working stiffs that think clearing 20 grand a great year.  The miracle of our representational republic is compromise, it's not a cuss word it is frankly how all of us have been able to work and live together for quite awhile.  If compromising is so fast becoming a cuss word then we all are in trouble, seriously..   someone I know mentioned that once Mrs. Gotrocks has to wash her clothes, scrub her own toilet  or clean her own dog Mr. Gotrocks will get an ear full.  Do we really have to wait until then for real change driven by whats best for all of us, determined by all of us together or some rich shmoo just to make his wife happy?    I personally challenge every person that reads this get as many people you interact with to register and vote.  So far only 30 percent of us show up at the polls on super Tuesday other elections run around 15 percent and closed primaries around 2 percent.  If we had more of a true plurality I'm willing to bet things would be drastically different.  We all of us should be ashamed at our lack of participation registering for those that don't, voting for those registered but think their vote wont matter any and those that do vote for not lobbying everyone is sight to do so.  You all want a better country to live in and raise your kids,  better start taking a hand because without it we wont.  Thank you all for your time ... PLEASE REGISTER AND VOTE. 

MACV
MACV

Oh, I've read the comments of  "politathiest" and others concerning taxes.  Here's my 2-cents worth!

During the 1894 depression, income tax was placed on the top 10%. The theory was that it would not hurt recovery because the wealthiest 10% wouldn't have put it in circulation anyway. That was correct. That tax did not harm the recovery. During the Great Depression in 1932, Hoover signed a bill raising the tax on top incomes from 24 to 63 percent. Three years later, FDR raised the top marginal income tax rate to 79 percent. Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower had a top tax rate of 91% on Millionaires and Billionaires.  When his fellow republicans in congress begged him to lower taxes on the wealthy, he responded ... "We cannot afford to reduce taxes and reduce income until we have in sight a program of expenditure that shows that the factors of income and outgo will be balanced."  Republican President Ronald Reagan raised Taxes 11 times and then signed into law "The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982", THE BIGGEST TAX INCREASE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES! ..... do you see where I'm going with this? Do you understand that history shows us the way out-of-this-mess! Do you understand that when America started lowering taxes on the wealthy ..... the robber barons took over and the middle-class began to disappear ?

politathiest
politathiest

Macv,

Bingo. May be we should have an adjusting comprehensive tax (income, gains,dividends) based on disparity levels as judged bi-decade.

Jackson Ebner
Jackson Ebner

logic tells you the same thing as history, but the way things work now is the super wealthy give x amount of money to politicians, and the politicians give them back 30x as a return favor.  What's best for the country isn't even a consideration.

MACV
MACV

I bet that $700 Billion Dollar Tax Break to the richest Americans would go a long way towards Medicare and paying off some of those Social Security IOUs. What are the rich doing with that money anyway? Nothing! And here you are with no job, watching the Republicans run the Ryan Plan up the flag pole to see if anyone is paying attention. The Ryan Plan guts Medicare and turns Social Security over to Wall Street while giving the Richest Americans ANOTHER $6.7 TRILLION DOLLAR TAX BREAK.  It does not lower the deficit, it ADDS TO IT.  And the Republicans have the nerve to try and pass this off on the American public. The nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that seniors would pay about $6,200 more for medical care under the Ryan plan.  

Which brings me to another important point. The Republicans do this because they know that the American Public Reads, Writes and Comprehends at an 8th Grade Level (they don't believe, they know you're stupid).  All television commercials and political ads are geared towards an 8th Grade Level of understanding. . . .the same as a 14 year old, and they intend to keep it that way! George Carlin (RIP) knew what he was talking about ...."They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking...They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting screwed by a system that threw them overboard 30 years ago...They want obedient workers…People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly lousy jobs with the lower pay, longer hours, reduced benefits, the end 

of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re coming for your social security"  ... 

ANYONE VOTING FOR ROMNEY/ RYAN IS SUICIDAL AND DESERVES WHAT THEY'RE TRYING TO DO TO YOU!!!

"Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." ~ H.L. Mencken"

Watitis
Watitis

 Do you rally believe that government has no blood on it's own hands? Self interest

knows no boundaries,rich-poor, Republican-Democrat, yes even special interests.

We are all responsible for the government we get.~

politathiest
politathiest

Of course government is partly to blaim but as you said WE elect government. Do you know teachers, police, state and federal workers of any kind? Are the ones you know personaly deadbeats and cheat and lazy ? Everybody complains about government spending till its their "bridge to nowhere" . Does socialsecurity needs adjustment.... Sure. Is Medicare need changes.... Yes. Let me also ask has government "inefficiency" cost more than the trillions lost in the market by deregulated financial instruments like credit default swaps that tanked economy? many cost overuns goes to big corporations! Most moderate and progressives here would say and even Ron Paul stated let's take care of overspending on military...First. let's deal with income disparity and unfairness ...First. New study out just last week said 40% of defecit was due to economic downturn. It may be to late to advert the coming revolution but speaking to power and saying enough is enough should be our first step!

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 gain

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee

claims middle-class married chouples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut. According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

politathiest
politathiest

I just got this from a fox news site. I am impressed fox would let such a thing be admitted but I give them credit.... This time

While claims that Ryan is slashing the budget are questionable, there are studies to back up claims that the Republicans' tax plans benefit the wealthy more than others.

A June study from the Joint Economic Committee --which is chaired by a Democrat -- claims middle-class married couples could pay at least an extra $1,300 under Ryan's plan, while those earning more than $1 million a year could see a nearly $290,000 cut.

According to an Aug. 1 study released by the Tax Policy Center, Romney's tax plan would also include cuts that "predominantly favor upper-income taxpayers."

It projected taxpayers making more than $1 million would see tax cuts averaging $175,000. Those making between $75,000 and $100,000 would see an average tax cut of $1,800. And those making under $30,000 would see an average increase of $130, according to the report.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

There is a fundamental change that needs to happen 

I have held all along that allowing our manufacturing base to leave is the number one cause of our current dilemma. Neither party has a monopoly on the blame for allowing it to happen and worse yet, neither party's prescriptions for the current economy are geared toward addressing the problem. 

What needs to happen though is that people need to stop thinking "making lots of money" is synonymous with "productive" It's just not the case anymore.

filmnoia
filmnoia

Whether it's Willard or Barack, whenever I hear a pol say thet "we are going to create good paying jobs" I have to snicker. As long as American mfg companies have to compete with overseas how are they going to create anything but jobs at dog dirt wages? Wages have stagnated for 30 years.  No wonder there isn't broad consumer demand. Willard is the Poster Boy for  everything that has gone wrong with American industry since the 1980s.

Watitis
Watitis

 Outsider,

    My bad, confused I guess... Thank you!

And yes yelling never gets it I prefer a conversation otherwise we all draw a blank

Watitis
Watitis

Politatheist,

     I too am grateful for a meaningful chat. I'm impressed by your breadth of knowledge

of tax time lines, tax loop holes, and these overseas shelters. Too much of any good

thing can be spoiled and abused. There is plenty of room for freeing up capital through

legislative act. The U.S. Senate and Congress have been disfunctional for far too long...

     This is a problem that concerns both parties, so I can't accept the assertion by some

that Republicans are the problem. As to the Conservative who came forward on the subject

of corporate reform, he was a U.S. Journal writer, and Fox contributor, whom also quested

on MSNBC's Morning Joe. I'll get the details and get back to you later, as I've been at this far too long already. I'm one of the fortunate few that is still working! Thanks for your candor~

politathiest
politathiest

Watitis,

To sum up below, companies sitting on cash are extorting government to give more tax breaks (although REAL corp taxes are in single digits); middle class only has income able to buy staples (FOR NOW) ; All the money / income forthe mid class to have disposable income to buy "luxuries" I.e.- recovery ARE SITTING IN THE WEALTHIESTS BANK ACCOUNTS . And.... It's only getting worst. Address these facts first then you can talk all you want about "governments role". Almost all previous market style nations fell eventually from concentration of wealth and apathy towards poor. That's then we get extremes like Marxism! No extreme be it communism or capitalism works and the last time we were even close to current disparity was 1929.

politathiest
politathiest

Here's more proof from the CBO,

Notice how much of income in top 0.1% is from cap gain and what it was 3 decades ago.

Shifting the ranking criterion to include capital gains when sorting households, the P99-100 (Top 1%) received 22.90% of the income including capital gains the P90-99 (Next 9%) received 26.79% of the income including capital gains the P0-89 (Bottom 90%) received 50.34% of the income including capital gains [Table A3] in 1976, these percentages were 8.86%, 24.55% and 66.59%.

the P99.99-100 (Top 1 out of every 10,000) received 5.46% of the income; the next 0.09% received 6.13% in 1976, these percentages were 0.86% and 1.73% In the P99.99-100 group, 49.6% of the income is from capital gains; in the next 0.09% group, 32.9% is from capital gains; in the lower half of the top 1%, only 12.9% of income is from capital gains. [Table A8]

Watitis
Watitis

 Thanks for that,

    

     Do you think some form of progressive tax reform would spur new investment

and bring back prosperity? There are discussions going on now about this.

     I also believe that the life-style Americans have led all these years has also contributed to the disparity between our labor and competing global markets. What's your take?

MrObvious
MrObvious

No

What I think would spur new investments like it has done before is a middle class that can afford stuff. When people buy stuff it tells companies that in order to meet demand they're going to have to increase production which usually leads to investments - you know new factories or expanded existing investments and hiring of workers.

The 2k boom was largely fueled by interest free loans and a building boom - not based on sale of goods and increased wages.

Tax cuts are not going to do much if there's no demand.

politathiest
politathiest

Watitis,

First, id like to acknowledge your attempts at civility and actual discussion. I hope it continues and that most here can keep from namecalling. Lord knows its hard with many hit and runners! No matter what either political persuation tells you, no answers are simple or easy. Here's what I think it comes down too. I think there is room for some discussion on cutting unnecessary or redundunt regulations but also strengthening some like financial instuments. Reagan was partially right in that high taxes on wealthy did discurage some investment although for 40 years we did ok at those levels. The problem we went from to high tax on top percent to rediculoudly low. All long term stats show percentage of income remained resonable stable up to Reagan. The Cap gains and dividends give away was the root if disparity and therfore lack of disposable income. Ad I said, Clinton tax increase on top percent slowed disparity but by then the richest switched a lot of wealth to "gains" instruments (look up IRS docs for yourself) . Lower or keep income rates but bring back up "gains" and peg them to level of wealth. That might do it. The bigger problem is the top percentage, have decreasing loyalty to any country or economy. Many are living inittle utopias overseas. The oligarcy that exists and is growing is no longer contained to "countries" and as such, the lowest comon denominator is where the moneys going. I have thoughts on that too. Looking forward to a response!

politathiest
politathiest

Yes, lifestyle is an issue, we now know that much of gains in 90s came from low interest rates allowing individuals to buy or credit and use houses as atm machines. The bigger problem is our economies growth is based larly on consumerism and gettin more. Tell me answer to that catch 22 , more things-growing economy ; no money for more things- recession. There is a fundamental change that needs to happen . What? Wish I knew

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

Do you think some form of progressive tax reform would spur new investment and bring back prosperity?

Not likely. Taxes are currently at historic lows. The problem doesn't lie in a lack of prosperity. Corporate profits are at high levels, the stock market is doing well, interest rates are ridiculously low and inflation is pretty much in check. And anybody who has any assets beyond living expenses has no choice but to invest them.  The trouble is that the most attractive investments don't do a THING for American workers and no suggestions concerning tax reform propose to do anything but make that situation worse. Romney's tax plan in particular is designed to encourage foreign investment.

MrObvious
MrObvious

No tax for importing revenue made abroad guaranteeing that current industry will move to low tax countries and import all their profits here.

jmac
jmac

If the Obama cuts in Medicare are plowed back into the system and the exact same cuts from the Ryan plan are used to cut the deficit . . . 

how does the media spin that both programs are the same?  It just might be a mighty spin for those seniors who had the donut hole closed - that will open up again under the Ryan plan.  

politathiest
politathiest

ear that companies are sitting on record amounts of cash. It's hard to make the argument that corporate taxes are too high, or that they're stifling the economy. They'll tell you that they're not investing it or hiring people not because of taxes, but because there's no indication of recovery in demand. And while profits have climbed (unlike other periods of high profit), wages have stagnated (Economix, 6/30).

The same report points out that wage income fell below 50% of GDP for the first time ever...!!!...

As to the "half" who don't pay taxes, the IRS figures which Econ101 points to show that the lowest 50% collectively accounted for only 12.3% of the income (2007). That's right -half the working population of the country together account for less than 1/8 the income....!!!... The third quarter - 50th to 75th percentile in income - accounted for 19% of the income. The top 25% accounted for over 2/3 of the income (68.7%), the top 5% for more than 1/3 (37.4%), the

politathiest
politathiest

We h

So there's no resurgence in consumption because the middle class is impoverished; in fact, they'd been borrowing to support consumption, and now have debt to deal with in addition to low purchasing power and stagnant wages.

Bartlett's comparison of the 2001 budget assumptions and what actually happened (Economix, 7/26) shows that the Bush Tax Cuts cost $2.9 trillion in lost revenue and $3.5 trillion from the growth which was supposed to result, but didn't. Oddly enough, $6 trillion is almost exactly the increase in the national debt during Dubya's tenure. While Democrats are labeled as "tax and spend" party, the truth is it is under Republican Presidents that 85% or our national debt had come into existence.

Over the last two decades the average wage of middle class workers have actually gone down, inflation adjusted, yet the top 1% has gone from 8% of all income at the start of Reagans administration to as high as 25% before the collapse. During that same period, the same top 1% doubled the amount of total wealth they control. The top 5% now control over 83% of all US wealth and that percentage is growing exponentialy. The GOP likes to point out that the wealthiest 10% pay two-thirds of all taxes. Giving they own 83 percent of all assets and the majority of the income, this number seems actually surprisingly low ! In the 70's, CEOs of publicly traded companies made around 38 times the average worker. That number now runs just under 400 times. How did this happen? Let's take a look. (see next post)

politathiest
politathiest

We hear that companies are sitting on record amounts of cash. It's hard to make the argument that corporate taxes are too high, or that they're stifling the economy. They'll tell you that they're not investing it or hiring people not because of taxes, but because there's no indication of recovery in demand. And while profits have climbed (unlike other periods of high profit), wages have stagnated (Economix, 6/30).

The same report points out that wage income fell below 50% of GDP for the first time ever...!!!...

As to the "half" who don't pay taxes, the IRS figures which Econ101 points to show that the lowest 50% collectively accounted for only 12.3% of the income (2007). That's right -half the working population of the country together account for less than 1/8 the income....!!!... The third quarter - 50th to 75th percentile in income - accounted for 19% of the income. The top 25% accounted for over 2/3 of the income (68.7%), the top 5% for more than 1/3 (37.4%), the top 1% for 21.2% (it was only 8.3% when Reagan took office).

So there's no resurgence in consumption because the middle class is impoverished; in fact, they'd been borrowing to support consumption, and now have debt to deal with in addition to low purchasing power and stagnant wages.

Bartlett's comparison of the 2001 budget assumptions and what actually happened (Economix, 7/26) shows that the Bush Tax Cuts cost $2.9 trillion in lost revenue and $3.5 trillion from the growth which was supposed to result, but didn't. Oddly enough, $6 trillion is almost exactly the increase in the national debt during Dubya's tenure. While Democrats are labeled as "tax and spend" party, the truth is it is under Republican Presidents that 85% or our national debt had come into existence.

Over the last two decades the average wage of middle class workers have actually gone down, inflation adjusted, yet the top 1% has gone from 8% of all income at the start of Reagans administration to as high as 25% before the collapse. During that same period, the same top 1% doubled the amount of total wealth they control. The top 5% now control over 83% of all US wealth and that percentage is growing exponentialy. The GOP likes to point out that the wealthiest 10% pay two-thirds of all taxes. Giving they own 83 percent of all assets and the majority of the income, this number seems actually surprisingly low ! In the 70's, CEOs of publicly traded companies made around 38 times the average worker. That number now runs just under 400 times. How did this happen? Let's take a look. (see next post)

politathiest
politathiest

Republican pundits have claimed for years that federal income tax doubled under Reagan, but when you look at the historic revenue charts you see a different story. Receipts did increase in the first three years of Reagan (not doubled) but what was the source of that increase? If we look at the division of sources we can see. Reagan cut Capital gains rates significantly below "wage" rates. The wealthiest, seeing what may be a window of opportunity, took gains on long held assets fearing that lower rate may be taken away. After 3 years, the Capital Gains "wad had been shot" and federal receipts dropped significantly. Thats when Reagan RAISED taxes the first time in his tenure. This was compounded by the fact that the federal defecit was exploding. Interestingly, when you take tax receipts, subtracting the increasing defecits, one finds the country actually did better under Carter than Reagan. Reagans Capital Gains cut did spur an economic recover, but after the last big chunk of those gains were "realized", we eventual slide back into a recession under George Sr. Unfortunately, our defecit had increased significantly!

The problem is it didn't take long for the wealthy to realize the huge loophole they had been given with the restructuring of the tax code. Why claim wage income that can be taxed in the 30% range, when you have a capital gains rate of only 15%? The wealthiest soon shifted their tax structures to be paid in instruments that could be taken as capital gains instead of income. That's why today, people like Mitt Romney can make millions but only pay 15 percent! Another fact often forgoten by Republicans is that when you take ALL taxes together (income, real estate, gas etc) the richest, as a percent of income actually pay about 2% less than the middle class! Not very progressive.

What happened next would take a book to explain so we'll condense it.

1) While the disparity of income and wealth exploded. in the late 90's, early 2000 's our economy based on consumerism, was funded mostly by consumer debt and home equity, spured on by the Republican idea to keep interest rates low

2) housing bubble burst , causing risky banking instruments to collapse ....Walla..trillions wiped out over night.

3) Europe has same meltdown

4) Trillions in expense from two wars

5) Interest from trillions in Bushes tax cuts that went most to the top 1%

Analysis: It's all Obamas fault!

Watitis
Watitis

 What do you think about tax reform, cutting corporate welfare, morgage deductions,

and spreading the tax base?

politathiest
politathiest

It was just shown that Romnrys "selective" cuts would have to come from things favorable to mid class like home deduction. Corporate welfare is a start but it still only slightly afects disparity. Think about what the above post points out bottom 50% has 13 of income...that's insane. The only way to deal with is bring captital gains back up and also make dividend income taxed progressively based on wealth. Clinton tax hike on wealth did not kill the economy, quite opposite, but even his hike only slowed disparity largly cause of lower tax on gain and dividends that favor rich. Look up IRS figures for yourself starting during. Bush senior, the amount of revenues coming from cap gain EXPLODED. What I can't figure out is if tea party is largly mid class, why the helll they support greater disparity measures. Talk about voting against one own del interst!

Watitis
Watitis

Bobell,

     The infamous Tea Party is actually a cousin to the Populist Reform Party of the 1920'2.

It was the Populists that brought change to virtually every American, even today...

The Tea Party are also working to reform a government that is seen as bloated, even

corrupt. The Tea Party might not be your darlings for reform, but they, like their

Populist brethren ; will work to once again transform the relationship of government.

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

Populism, by its very nature, appeals to the lowest common denominator of society... the uneducated masses who are easily manipulated by moneyed interests.  It doesn't take much of a spark to ignite the prejudices, hatreds, and fears of those who do not and cannot understand the massive tidal forces of political and social change that swirl about them.  Blame the minorities (hi, Arizona), blame the progressive element of society (hi, FOX news), blame those who just aren't normal (hi, homophobes).

Please understand, I don't look down on people who do or have ever been swept up in populist sentiment.  They have - due to constraints on their time, energy, and access to information - a limited understanding of the underlying issues that seem so simply from the ground floor.  No one should blame them for acting or forming opinions in a mostly-rational, but under-informed, manner.

What I do take issue with is the moneyed interests who can and do manipulate those under-informed groups of people into scapegoating the "Scary Other" of society, be they liberals, gays, Muslims, atheists, or mermaids... for their own cynical political gains.  The rank-and-file of both the Tea Party and the Know-Nothings are/were just average folk, of average intelligence, forming mostly-rational judgements on issues they were/are being spoon-fed misinformation about.  Those controllers, though - the Kock Bros, the Sarah Palins, the Glenn Becks, O'Reillys, and Paul Ryans, bend the data to fit their own worldview and interests... to the direct deficit of those they so cynically claim to be "Helping" or "On their side."

Watitis
Watitis

Dude,

   

     The Populist Party were NOT haters...

They were progressives whom sought and worked for change. Populists

were directly responsible for reforming our education system. they helped

uplift a nation split down the middle by corporate greed due to unforseen

effects the Industrial Revolution had. It was later embraced by the Democratic Party.

As to your assertion about the Tea Party, I can't agree. Yes some of their members are fringe, I've read some propaganda, but to redress

our own government is a constitutional right, even duty.

Thankyou~

Cthulhu Shrugged
Cthulhu Shrugged

"Dude,"

The Populist (alt. People's) Party of 1891-1908 - based in Southern White agrarianism, intensely hostile to banks, railroads, and so-called "elitism" from the North.  They did demand (and successfully fought for) the eight-hour work day, fought the business monopolies with some degree of success, as well as include women in their party.  Though some believed in setting aside racial differences, many others were dedicated white supremacists, Including William Jennings Bryan and the final presidential nominee, Thomas E. Watson.

As for your second point... please, let's not slip into pedantry.  Of course the Tea Party "Patriots™" are fully entitled to shout down politicians, demand that the gub'ment keep their dirty hands off their Medicare, and demand to see Obama's birth certificate for the ninth time.  Truly, you'll find very few people saying "no, they can't do that."  Of course they can.  The Westboro Baptist hate cult can scream obscenities at dead soldiers, and the Tea Party can play make-believe with their "Leave it to Beaver" John Galt-ian fantasy world called "Real America®".

But redress of government is markedly different from what the GOP/Tea Party has become... which is right-wing, pro-corporate Red Scare Mk. 2.  The rampant slinging of "socialist," "communist," and (my personal favorite) "socialist fascist" or "Atheist Muslim" at anyone who breaks lockstep is ridiculous... and dangerous.  Just look at the synchronized disavowal and cursing of Justice John Roberts when he delivered a decision of the ACA that self-styled "conservatives" did not want.  They practically called his the anti-christ, whereas before he was to be their savior.  The constitutional right to redress government does not mean getting your way all of the time or screaming "UnAmerican!" at the top of your lungs... yet that is exactly what the Tea Party embodies: a childlike version of democratic process wherein the person who yells the loudest and most often becomes "right" through sheer volume.  Where oe must constantly prove one's loyalty to the PArty and Cause through virulently attacking and condemning anything and anyone deemed not "pure" enough ideologically.

Moreover, the fact that you seem so genuinely admiring of the 19th c. populist movement seems firmly at odds with the astroturf-movement that is the Tea Party.  The populists fought for the little guy... broke up monopolies... fought for the 8 hour work-day... labor rights.... being paid a living wage.  If that what you support, then why do you identify with the Tea Party?  What do they offer to that set of values?  They are pro-corporate to their core, even while they spout "pro-small business" slogans... the policies they repeatedly attempt enact are through and through hostile to small business and labor, while benefitting the moneyed elite of society.  That's the opposite of populism.  You want to support populism, labor,and social justice?  Look into Occupy.  They're not perfect, either, but they're at least genuine in seeking to better the condition of the working class, rather than just use them as pawns to advance the obscenely wealthy.

kms123
kms123

"Voters have traditionally trusted Democrats more than Republicans when it comes to Medicare and Social Security." - for good reason. The Republicans are out to destroy the middle class.

JayG2
JayG2

I was a Democrat all my life, untill Obama  became President. I do not want our country to go off a financial cliff, and it will if Obama gets a 2nd term. I am a Senior and I know first hand that Obamacare has destroyed Medicare. In addition becasue it is going broke, I trust the Republicans to save it and they will.  Democrats have lied about Obamacare, and now that it is a major issue they are continuing to do so.

Watitis
Watitis

 JayG2,

     I am a senior myself, and registered Republican. If that 716 pulled from

Medicare Advance to fund ACA is true, then that is wrong. Democrats and

Republicans were together searching for waste in Medicare, and as I recall

Advance was one of those targets. Shifting those monies is still controversial

for one, especially Pres. Obama. I have family in Medicare Advance so your

and my concerns are legitimate. Let's NOT forget though, that in order we

make progress in society, we must speak freely, share each others values,

bringing compromise and consensus. Liberty is hard to keep, if we fail to

communicate w/ one another...  

kms123
kms123

JayG2: What you call "Obamacare" was infact copied from "Romeycare" which Romeny signed into law in MA when he was Governor. Now the GOP wants to repeal "obamacare" . Romey has not put forward what his budget will but Ryan has. If his budget is approved, Medicare as we now know it will cease and that has me deeply worried as I too am a senior citizen. You may want to check out the following:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/o...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08...

Watitis
Watitis

WTF is going on here. It's been the Democratic Party for years that was, (is}

entrusted w/ Medicare and Social Security. I'm curiouser about this now, I'm

not sure if this is a reliable trend, or just a rumor. I'm wondering if there might be a demographic change of the face of the electorate. I'm gonna do something unscientific and scan media files of Tea party demos, and

OWS footage to see if there's something we might have missed. Later...

JayG2
JayG2

I worked for the Democratic party for many years, and I am now an Independent, and no, I am not a tea party member or a right wing nut. I am a senior and I  watched all the debates on C span, when Obamacare was debated. Is it fair to take over 700 billion from Medicare and give to another group that has not paid a dime into the system. Obamacare make sdeep cuts to long term care.  Medicare Advantae plans are being eliminated, because the Doc Fix is eliminated in Obamacare, there will be a 21% reduction in pay to Medicare physician. In addition, there will be a Doc shortae. So I see Medicare as we know it gone through Obamacare. 

Also, you can go online and check out Romney's Medicare plan on his website. I vote the issues, not parties. Clinton was one of our best Presidents because he was not extreme. Sorry if you disagree, but I do

respect other opinions even if they are different than mine.