Paul Krugman spent Wednesday combing through the details of Tea-GOP genius Paul Ryan’s budget and in a series of blog posts utterly destroyed the Ryan budget’s phony math, implausible assumptions and unicorn forecasts. Kudos to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for picking this up.
Krugman once called Ryan a “flim flam” man, a virtual con artist, and yesterday, he proved it. Let us count the ways.
1. Beginning Tuesday with “Groundhog Day,” Krugman warned of a giant bait-and-switch in which the claimed goal of reducing the deficit would provide cover for what in fact would be a proposal not merely to privatize Medicare (or Social Security) but to do so in a way that actually increased costs, if not to government, then for beneficiaries. He was right.
As we’ve been saying all along [see here, here, and here], Ryan’s Medicare mandate plus vouchers would lower government costs only by shifting even more uncontrolled costs to seniors, disabled and poor people, eventually forcing them to forego treatment for which they could not afford insurance.
2. In the 2022 Medicare Crisis, Krugman echoes Matt Yglesia’s point that Ryan’s Medicare mandate and voucher system sets up an unstable, indefensible discriminatory system for seniors. Starting in 2022, those already over 65 would continue receiving traditional full Medicare benefits (and have the choice of getting the equivalent from private insurers via Medicare Advantage) but those just reaching 65 from then on would receive only private insurance that, year after year, covered less and less of the costs and care as older retirees. Ryan assumes the “savings” from this discriminatory treatment would be accepted by the disadvantaged group and that Congress would ignore the unfairness.
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