Friday, July 24, 2015

Last Call For Just A Phase For Jeb

And while everyone's got their eyes on Trump's antics, Jeb Bush is quietly telling us exactly what his plans for Millennials and younger Gen Xers like myself are as far as "entitlement reform".

"The left needs to join the conversation, but they haven’t. I mean, when [Rep. Paul Ryan] came up with, one of his proposals as it relates to Medicare, the first thing I saw was a TV ad of a guy that looked just like Paul Ryan … that was pushing an elderly person off the cliff in a wheelchair. That’s their response. 
“And I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that our, when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this. They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything.”

Tie to phase out Medicare and move to a new system, huh?  Of course Boomers will get theirs, but me and anyone younger?  Hope you don't plan on ever being able to retire or afford health care when you're in your 70s, because that's not happening after a GOP government takes over in 2017, folks.

I'll tell you what, if Democrats can't find a way to bury Jeb here after saying he wants to phase out Medicare, I don't know if anything can save anyone under 40 from a lifetime of crippling austerity. Steve Benen:

Obviously, all of these projections come with caveats because no one can say with certainty what will happen in the future, but the projections are encouraging – and far more heartening than they were before the ACA passed. 
But Jeb Bush is under the impression that Medicare is, without a doubt, doomed, so we might as well get rid of the program now and see what Paul Ryan has in store for seniors in his far-right bag of tricks. 
There’s a better way. Medicare’s future is looking brighter, it’s as popular as ever, and its fiscal challenges can be addressed without tearing down the entire system. It’s a matter of political will – either elected policymakers will fight to protect Medicare or they’ll push to eliminate it.

Guess we better get off our asses and vote, huh?


RepubAnon said...

Oh, not to worry - once they phase out Medicare for the non-Boomers, they'll use the resulting wedge issue to claim it isn't fair for the Boomers to have it, either. See e.g. the effect of phasing out defined benefit pensions in industry had on public employee pensions...

Horace Boothroyd III said...

How very perceptive: after all this is exactly the strategy being used to destroy the public sector unions. First the GOP appealed to short sighted greed to knife the private sector unions, then pensions and health cared were sliced away, and now they whisper "why should we let those Democrat politicians give big fat pensions and medical care - paid for with your property taxes - to those lazy blacks in the city government?" Fiendishly, fiendishly clever. Now remember that Bush, in his "politcal capital" phase after the 2004 election, tried precisely the same trick: structure the collapse of Social Security so that he could sell it to the oldsters while knowing that the kids didn't vote. Fortunately for everyone, granma loves her children and grandkids and put an immediate stop to that nonsense - but think of what a horrible spot we would be in, if the trust fund had been privatized and all that wealth had vaporized in Bush's 2008 great crash.

Host Zandar is right as well: if Bernie can not single handedly bury Jeb! after his open promise throw Medicare under the bus, he has not business being on the national stage.

As to young people and Social Security/Medicare, forty years ago when I was young and stupid and full of beer it was easy to look the dollars leaving my paycheck and the dollars going into granma's bank account and feel sorry for myself because nothing would be left by the time I needed to retire. Whelp, SS is one leg in the triad with savings and a defined benefit pension that was given to me as a matter of course because that was just part of the standard compensation package in those days and M is just the way to do health insurance for old people - who consume by far the vast majority of our health care dollars, so we might as well just go ahead and lump everybody else into the program as well - don't cost much more.

So the point is, there is absolutely no need to do anything to SS/M. At all. Under any circumstances. Just leave them be, and they will be there for everyone. Going out as far as the eye can see. Now, as with any program designed by men, there will be times for adjustment and reform - but the GOP has done such a complete job of turning "reform" into a dogwhistle code for "elimination" that we now have to be very cautious about any specific call for any specific reform - because it might be a trap, because we can't trust these guys as far as we can throw them. Bear in mind is that, following the 1983 reforms, a multi-trillion dollar surplus was collected from the payroll taxes and used to finance a dramatic subsidy to the wealthy classes in the form of reduced payroll and income tax rates. That was a loan that in principle ought to have financed a dramatic investment in the productive economy but instead went into overly large houses and inflated stock prices. Now the time has come to repay that loan, and the bastards don't want to give back the money that allows them to live so well.

Thus the only way we might possibly lose Social Security and Medicare is if we let the Republicans steal them from us.

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