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Romney-Ryan Bet on "Greedy Geezers"

By       Message Robert Parry     Permalink
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In the years beyond 2022 -- under Ryan's original plan -- the gap between Ryan's voucher and the actual cost of medical care would widen even more because he would attach it to a slower measure of inflation than the rise in medical costs.

"We're looking at linking to an index that grows less rapidly than health-care costs by three to four percentage points a year," said Aaron of the Brookings Institute. "Piled up over 10 years, and that's a huge erosion of coverage."

Ryan's plan also would repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as "Obamacare," meaning that tens of millions of non-seniors would be on their own to grapple with large insurance companies that aggressively seek to weed out customers with preexisting conditions that might require expensive care.

In December 2011, Ryan did embrace a compromise Medicare plan with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, that would index government support levels to the average rise in insurance costs and would let seniors sign up for what essentially amounts to a "public option," i.e. a government-run program.

However, assuming Romney and Ryan win in November -- and bring in a Republican House and Senate -- it's not clear which plan the Republicans would push, since they might no longer need significant Democratic help. They might go back to Ryan's initial plan which was approved by the House Republican majority.

Premature Death

The obvious result of Ryan's original Medicare plan would be that many Americans who are now under 55 would die prematurely because they would have to skip treatments or be forced deeper into poverty as they struggled to meet the premium demands of the insurance industry.

Which gets us back to Clarence Cammers's question: "what are all these changes going to mean for my son?"

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The Republican assumption about the "greedy geezers" is that they don't share Cammers's concern; all they care about is their own welfare; they want to live as long and as healthy a life as possible but don't feel the same for their kids and grandkids.

But the GOP bet on the "greedy geezers" is even more startling in that Romney and Ryan are gambling that these seniors and near-seniors would prefer lowering the top tax rates even more for millionaires and billionaires than seeing their progeny enjoy a full and fulfilling life.

Because of Romney-Ryan new tax cuts (and President George W. Bush's old tax breaks), Ryan's budget plan doesn't foresee a balanced budget for nearly three decades -- and only then if his original Medicare overhaul plan is enacted and medical costs are shifted heavily onto the backs of the next generations.

Romney and Ryan are further betting that Americans are ready to embrace a brave new world of unbridled selfishness as envisioned by Ryan's idol, novelist Ayn Rand, who dreamed of a place where "supermen" of industry would be unchained from a society demanding that they share the bounty of their success with others.

In her influential writings, Rand ranted against social programs that enabled the "parasites" among the middle-class and the poor to sap the strength from the admirable rich. But she secretly accepted the government benefits of Medicare after she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

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A two-pack-a-day smoker, Rand had denied the medical science about the dangers of cigarettes, much as her acolytes today reject the science of global warming. However, when she developed lung cancer, she connived to have Evva Pryor, an employee of Rand's law firm, arrange Social Security and Medicare benefits for Ann O'Connor, Ayn Rand with an altered spelling of her first name and her husband's last name.

In 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, Scott McConnell, founder of the Ayn Rand Institute's media department, quoted Pryor as saying: "Doctors cost a lot more money than books earn and she could be totally wiped out."

So, when push came to shove, even Ayn Rand wasn't above getting help from the despised government. But her followers, including Paul Ryan, now want to strip those guaranteed benefits from other Americans of more modest means than Ayn Rand.

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Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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