There is much misinformation about Paul Ryan’s plan to save Medicare. According to Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute, here are the facts about Ryan’s plan
• No one over the age of 55 would be affected.
• Traditional Medicare fee-for-service would remain available for all. “Premium support” — government funding of private insurance plans chosen by individuals — is now an option. No senior would be forced out of the traditional Medicare program. Ryan’s plan permits the market to provide seniors with less expensive, higher-quality choices that are optional, with the traditional Medicare option still available.
It’s Obamacare that threatens Medicare. Obamacare takes $700 billion out of Medicare and spends it on a new entitlement. Medicare has been a mandatory contribution for retirement health insurance. Subverting its funding is stealing. Paul Ryan’s plan restores that $700 billion into a trust fund to secure Medicare’s solvency. It’s Obama that is breaking the promise to seniors, not Ryan.
As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan knows the facts and fictions of the federal budget. In recent years, fictions have grown bigger than facts. Here are the facts (sources: Standard and Poor’s, OMB, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Morgan Stanley, Joint Committee on Taxation, U.S. Census):
• U.S. sovereign debt was downgraded for the first time in history.
• The budget deficit is 10% of GDP, highest since W.W.II.
• Federal debt is 67% of GDP, highest since W.W.II.
• Only 58.1% of the population is working, lowest since 1983.
• Long-term unemployment is 45.9% of total, highest since 1930s.
• Increase in employment since recovery began is just .5%, the slowest growth after a recession since W.W.II.
• Home ownership rate is 59.7%, lowest since 1965.
• Percentage of taxpayers paying income tax is 49.7%, lowest in modern era.
• Government dependency is 47%, the highest in history (defined as percentage of persons receiving federal benefit payments).
Democrats in power prefer to conceal the severity of this country’s fiscal predicament — they must do so, as the problem is largely of their creation and their policies are hopelessly incapable of putting us back on a positive track.
Ryan has a sober, mature, responsible view of our fiscal problems. His proposals are “tough love” toward the entrenched political class.
Yet, Paul Ryan is reviled by the entrenched political class because, in speaking truth to power, he makes their career security extremely uncomfortable. The forces arrayed against him are the instinctive, protective defenses of Washington careerists intent on keeping power. Ryan’s heart is with the American people out of concern for their future. His opponents are desperate to have you believe precisely the opposite.
Democrats will avoid debating the facts, even if that means the personal destruction of honest, courageous men like Paul Ryan. We should be thankful for statesmen like Paul Ryan, and we can only hope that Ryan’s commitment to a brighter future for this country will prevail in the end.
Chris Murray is a member of the Republican Town Committee, which supplies this column.