New Kathy Hochul Ad Script by NYDNDailyPolitics

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									FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        CONTACT: Fabien Levy,
April 26, 2011                                        (716) 515-8322

                Hochul first candidate of 2012 cycle to take on
                     Republican plan to end Medicare

ERIE COUNTY – Kathy Hochul, candidate for New York’s 26th Congressional
District, today released a new television advertisement entitled “The Right Way.”

The 30 second spot stresses the choice voters have between Assemblymember
Jane Corwin, who supports ending Medicare as we know it, and Kathy Hochul,
who will fight to protect our seniors by rejecting any budget that fundamentally
alters the program.

“Jane Corwin has said she supports the Republican’s 2012 budget that
decimates Medicare, while giving tax breaks to multi-millionaires” said Fabien
Levy, Communications Director for Kathy Hochul for Congress. “If she were in
Congress today, Jane Corwin would have voted for a plan that numerous
organizations and news outlets have said would increase costs to our seniors,
cut their benefits, and force them to fight with insurance companies for coverage.
Even Republican Senator Susan Collins has come out in her opposition of the
Republican budget.

“While thousands of Western New Yorker’s struggle to get by, how could
Assemblymember Corwin support a proposal that would add more than $6,400
onto the backs of seniors each year? It is shameful that Jane Corwin supports a
proposal that could send our seniors back into poverty, while lining the pockets of
the super rich.”

The ad is available for viewing at:

A copy of the script with background is attached.

                             “The Right Way”

                Script                               Background

V/O: Jane Corwin said she would vote    Corwin: I Would Have Voted For The
for the 2012 Republican budget…         2012 House Budget

Citation: “I would have voted for the   In a campaign statement, Corwin said
2012 House budget resolution passed     she would have voted for the 2012
today.” Jane Corwin Statement,          Republican budget.
                                        “As a member of Congress, I would
                                        have voted both for this week’s plan to
                                        cut $38 billion and for the 2012 House
                                        budget resolution passed today,”
                                        Corwin said. [Capital Tonight, Jane
                                        Corwin Statement, 4/15/11]

V/O: …that would essentially end        Wall Street Journal: Plan Would
Medicare.                               Essentially End Medicare

Citation: “Would essentially end        According to the Wall Street Journal,
Medicare.” Wall Street Journal,         the 2012 Republican budget would
4/04/11.                                “essentially end Medicare.”

                                        “The plan would essentially end
                                        Medicare.” [Wall Street Journal,

                                             Republican Proposal Would
                                             Convert Medicare Into A
                                             Voucher System

                                             The Republican proposal would
                                             do away with Medicare’s direct
                                             payment for healthcare for
                                             seniors, replacing it with a
                                             voucher system in which seniors
                                             choose between private insurers.
                                             [Los Angeles Times, 4/15/11]

                                             Buffalo News: Republican Plan
                                             For Medicare Is Wrong-Headed

                                             The Buffalo News editorial board
                                             said the Republican proposal to
                                             convert Medicare into a voucher
                                             system was “wrong-headed.”

                                             From the Buffalo News:

                                             “More worrisome is Ryan’s
                                             suggestion to remake Medicare
                                             into a sort of voucher system
                                             whereby elderly Americans in
                                             some future era would receive
                                             vouchers to buy their own health
                                             insurance. With this wrong-
                                             headed idea, health insurers
                                             would almost certainly price their
                                             products just beyond the value of
                                             the voucher, giving themselves
                                             that much more revenue and
                                             burdening elderly Americans, all
                                             in the name of privatization.”
                                             [Buffalo News, 4/22/11]

                                             Buffalo News Column:
                                             Republican Plan Would Kill

                                             According to Douglas Turner of
                                             the Buffalo News, the Republican
                                             budget proposal would “kill
                                             Medicare.” [Buffalo News,
                                             Douglas Turner Column, 4/18/11]

V/O: Seniors would have to pay $6,400   Seniors Would Have To Pay $6,400
more for the same coverage.             More For Medicare Coverage Under
                                        The Republican Proposal

Citation: “Seniors would have to pay    According to the St. Petersburg Times,
$6,400 more.” St. Petersburg Times,     under the Republican proposal, seniors
4/22/11.                                would have to pay $6,400 more for
                                        Medicare coverage.

                                        “But seniors would have to pay about
                                        $6,400 more than if the program were
                                        not changed, according to the
                                        nonpartisan Congressional Budget
                                        Office.” [St. Petersburg Times, 4/22/11]

                                             New York Times: Republican
                                             Budget Shifts Burden To

                                             The New York Times editorial
                                             board said the Republican
                                             proposal would shift much of the
                                             costs to beneficiaries.

                                             From The New York Times:

                                             “The Ryan proposal would give
                                             those turning age 65 in 2022
                                             “premium support” payments to
                                             help them buy private policies.
                                             There is little doubt that the
                                             Republican proposal would
                                             sharply reduce federal spending
                                             on Medicare by capping what the
                                             government would pay at very
                                             low levels. But it could cause
                                             great hardship by shifting a lot of
                                             the burden to beneficiaries. The
                                             Congressional Budget Office
                                             estimates that by 2022 new
                                             enrollees would have to pay at
                                             least $6,400 more out of pocket
                                             to buy coverage comparable to
                                             traditional Medicare.” [New York
                                             Times, 4/23/11]

V/O: But the plan Jane Corwin           Republican Budget Would Cut Taxes
supports would cut taxes for the        For Wealthy Americans
wealthiest Americans.
                                        According to the Chicago Tribune, the
Citation: “Cut taxes for wealthy        2012 Republican budget would “cut
Americans.” Chicago Tribune, 4/22/11.   taxes for wealthy Americans.” [Chicago
                                        Tribune, 4/22/11]

                                             Budget Would Lower Top
                                             Individual and Corporate Tax
                                             Rates, Permanently Extend The
                                              Bush Tax Cuts

                                              The Republican budget proposal
                                              would reduce the top individual
                                              and corporate tax rates from 35
                                              percent to 25 percent.
                                              [Bloomberg, 4/05/11]

                                              Additionally, the Republican
                                              budget would permanently
                                              extend the Bush tax cuts that are
                                              set to expire at the end of 2012.
                                              [CNN, 4/02/11]

V/O: The budget would overwhelmingly Wall Street Journal Column: Tax
benefit the rich.                       Cuts Would Overwhelmingly Benefit
                                        The Rich
Citation: “Budget cuts overwhelmingly
benefit the rich.” Wall Street Journal, According to a column in the Wall
Column, 4/19/11.                        Street Journal by Alan S. Blinder, the
                                        tax cuts in the Republican budget
                                        would overwhelmingly benefit the rich.

                                         “How many Americans know that 72%
                                         of Mr. Ryan’s claimed budget cuts
                                         would go to fund tax cuts that
                                         overwhelmingly benefit the rich?” [Wall
                                         Street Journal, Alan S. Blinder Column,

V/O: Kathy Hochul says cut the deficit
but do it the right way.

V/O: Protect Medicare.

V/O: And no more tax breaks for multi-

Kathy Hochul: I’m Kathy Hochul and I
approve this message.
Corwin: I Would Have Voted ‘Yes’

Capital Tonight—4/15/11

For five straight days, Erie County Clerk Kahty Hochul has been pressuring her
NY-26 GOP opponent, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, to take a position on the
GOP budget proposal up for a vote in the House today.

As Hochul called on her opponents to join her in “rejecting any budget that would
add burdensome costs onto the backs of America’s seniors, Corwin’s campaign
remained mum.” That caused Hochul to accuse her of dodging.

Today, however, Hochul finally got her answer…Or rather, I got it for her, since
the Corwin campaign emailed me the following statement late this afternoon.

      “As a member of Congress, I would have voted both for this week’s
      plan to cut $38 billion and for the 2012 House budget resolution
      passed today because these bills are good initial steps in
      addressing America’s crippling deficit. ”

      “Our country is on the verge of bankruptcy, and our economy, our
      children’s future, and the security of our seniors are in jeopardy if
      we choose not to act. Now, it’s time that my opponents say exactly
      what they would do to address our nation’s burgeoning deficit.”

Today’s GOP budget bill passed with no Democratic support. Fifty-nine
Republicans bucked House Speaker John Boehner and voted “no” on the bill that
will keep the government running through September, but none of them were
from New York.

The assemblywoman’s support of abortion rights was a sticking point for some
conservatives during the GOP and Conservative Party candidate selection

In spite of that, Corwin spokesman Matthew Harakal says the assemblywoman
has said “numerous times” that she would vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

Jack Davis, who is running as an independent, issued a statement yesterday
slamming the budget proposals from both the Democrats and the Republicans
for failing to address “the real issue: jobs for Americans.”

      “I oppose privatizing Medicare and forcing seniors to buy insurance
      with vouchers.,” Davis continued. “This would throw millions of
      senior citizens into poverty or worse, and it fails to lower health care
      “Instead of cutting Medicare and Social Security, we can save
      money by cutting foreign aid and foreign military commitments,
      from Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, to Germany, Japan and Italy. We
      must end corporate welfare and tax giveaways that allow
      companies like GE to pay no taxes at all.”

Davis also voiced opposition to a Korean trade agreement and what he called a
“NAFTA-style” deal with Columbia, both of which he believes will cost the country
additional jobs.
House Republicans unite behind budget vote

Los Angeles Times, 4/15/11
By Kathleen Hennessey and Lisa Mascaro

— Braced for a possible political backlash, House Republicans charged forward
with their plan to slash deficit spending by scaling back Medicaid and overhauling
Medicare while still cutting taxes, putting themselves on a collision course with
President Obama and Democrats.

All but four Republicans voted Friday to support the 2012 budget resolution
crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). No
Democrats supported the plan, which passed on a 235-193 vote.

Republicans maintain that the plan will cut $5.8 trillion in spending over the next
decade and balance the budget in 2030. It cuts taxes on the top income earners
and businesses — from 35% to 25% — while closing unspecified loopholes and
tax exemptions.

"This budget keeps America exceptional," Ryan said on the House floor before
the vote. "It preserves its promise to the next generation."

Democrats cast the Republican vote as an attempt to dismantle the country's
social safety net, even as the rich receive tax cuts.

Republicans know the political risks, especially in swing districts and states,
since all recent efforts to drastically restructure benefit programs have bombed
with voters.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said House GOP leaders
were sending their rank-and-file members to slaughter. "I want to say to my
Republican colleagues: Do you realize that your leadership is asking you to cast
a vote today to abolish Medicare as we know it?" she asked.

As GOP lawmakers left Washington for a two-week break, House leaders armed
members with charts and talking points aimed at refuting Democrats' criticism
and winning over constituents. A kit for members outlined a day-by-day plan for
focusing comments on Republicans' plans to add jobs, deregulate business and
cut taxes.

While certain to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, House approval of
Ryan's plan puts Republicans squarely on the record in favor of an approach to
deficit reduction markedly different from an outline offered by President Obama
on Wednesday.
The president advocates raising $1 trillion through taxes on the wealthy, cutting
spending by $2 trillion, and saving $1 trillion in debt interest, thus reducing
borrowing by $4 trillion over 12 years. Obama contends that on balance, his plan
would cut the deficit more than the GOP proposal as a result of the tax increases.

The Ryan budget blueprint would cut federal spending on Medicaid, which
provides healthcare for seniors, children and the poor, and would begin
distributing money to states by block grant.

The plan would do away with Medicare's direct payment for healthcare for
seniors, replacing it with a voucher system in which seniors choose between
private insurers. The Congressional Budget Office found that part of the plan,
which takes effect in 2022, could nearly double out-of-pocket costs for seniors.

Republicans argued Friday that Americans are willing to accept diminished social
programs in return for a firmer fiscal standing.

"They understand in my district: We're broke. If we don't deal with this, we lose
the social safety net," said Rep. Tim Walberg, a Republican from a southern
Michigan district that voted for Obama. "I think they're ready."

Polls show a much less certain picture. Americans appear to have a significant
appetite for deficit reduction, but their appetites shrink as they get into details,
particularly those involving changes to Medicare.

Republicans emphasized that the Ryan budget would not affect current Medicare
recipients or people 55 or older — grandfathering in a group of reliable voters
who turned against President George W. Bush's 2005 attempt to enact a voucher
program for Social Security.

They argued they had no choice but to restructure Medicare and Medicaid,
whose skyrocketing costs are major drivers of the growing debt.

Yet, even as the Republican rank-and-file voted for the bill, some kept their
distance from the details.

"It's a politically bold move, there's no doubt about it," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger
(R-Ill.). "I'm not going to say I endorse every piece of it. I'm voting for it as a road

Four other budget proposals — three offered by Democrats and one from the
conservative GOP faction — went down in defeat on Friday.

The Ryan resolution will serve as a blueprint for GOP-chaired House committees
as they set out writing the actual budget legislation.
It also bolstered the position of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) for the
next budget fight: raising the limit on the $14.2-trillion national debt.

Boehner needed the lift after losing scores of Republican votes on Thursday's
compromise plan to fund the government through the 2011 budget year, which
ends Sept. 30. The struggle over the 2011 budget exposed deep divisions within
the GOP, as conservatives demanded deeper cuts than GOP leaders could

Minutes before the 2012 budget passed, Boehner reaffirmed his hard-line stance
on the debt limit, promising a struggle with Obama.

"Now let me be clear: There will be no debt-limit increase unless it's
accompanied by serious spending cuts and real budget reforms," he said.

The four Republicans who dissented from Friday's budget vote were Reps. Ron
Paul (R-Texas), Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.), David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Denny
Rehberg (R-Mont.).

Rehberg, a Senate candidate, said he found things he liked in the bill but
believed there were one "too many unanswered questions with regard to
Medicare reform, and I simply won't support any plan until I know for a fact that
Montana's seniors will be protected."
Ryan’s budget plan was a gift to Obama

Buffalo News, Doug Turner, 4/18/11

WASHINGTON — Fifteen dozen House Republicans listened to President
Obama’s speech on the deficit and heard him speak the magic word. On
Thursday, they voted for the compromise 2011 budget and against the radicals
who Obama says threaten Our American Way of Life.

Obama’s word is “patriotism.”

“This sense of responsibility — to each other and to our country— isn’t a partisan
feeling,” Obama said soothingly. “It’s patriotism.”

Thanks to the reckless budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Social
Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, even National Public Radio are
identified as patriotism in Democratic eyes.

Obama sees the plan of Budget Chairman Ryan as a gift that will keep on giving,
perhaps a bestowal of the Hawaiian supreme god Io, right through his re-election

Ryan would kill Medicare, and block grant Medicaid. Like-minded House
Republicans brag they will eliminate Social Security. For New York, the Ryan
budget means cutting in half the $21 billion the state and its counties receive
each year for Medicaid.

The loss of Medicare and Medicaid money puts at grave risk graduate medical
education programs and residencies, at all teaching hospitals.

Now that ultra right extremism of hate radio has found expression in destructive
legislation, Obama and Democratic congressional candidates can play this GOP
nihilism the way the Republicans exploited the Red Menace in the 1940s and

Nobody knows how far Obama will carry this theme of togetherness or even if he
is sincere. What matters is the steel cable of historic truth underlying Obama’s
credo of economic patriotism.

Broadcasters Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity, and their acolytes
like Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, RVa., and Rep. Michele
Bachmann, R-Minn., behave as though they would eliminate all government
except that dedicated to warfare and homeland security.

Their dangerous platform denies the fundamentals of what made this nation
powerful and a land of lawful opportunity. Central to this, as Obama said, was
sharing the good and the bad of what comes, financially. The Constitution’s
Preamble urged the promotion of “the general Welfare.” This was a political
statement, not law.

Yet it gave rise to the progressive income tax, along with balanced and prudent
regulation and support of business, mining, farming and prescriptions.
Government built highways, subways, airports and financed hospitals and
universities, set a minimum wage, worker safety standards, a safety net, health
care and vaccinations and lunch for poor kids.

Starting 65 years ago, government financed millions of college degrees and put
families into their own houses. All of this sharing and regulation made America
deeply wealthy. All of this is under attack by billionaire radicals who are the main
force behind the tea partyers newly in office.

The Democratic House Whip organization let Reps. Louise Slaughter of Fairport
and Brian Higgins of Buffalo vote against the 2011 budget that was reluctantly
backed by the president. Higgins released a laundry list of GOP cuts in
education, research, public health and redevelopment. Slaughter said it undercut
high-speed rail. It’s only the beginning for the Republicans.

Yet when November 2012 comes, the bet here is that most Americans will vote
their own well being and not worry about abstracts like the federal deficit.
Dealing with the debt

Buffalo News Editorials, 4/22/11

Buffalo-Niagara has been given a new taste of fiscal discipline, courtesy of the
House Republicans who held the federal government hostage so they might
force through some budget cuts. The budget accord, which funds the federal
government through Sept. 30, will not devastate the region. Yes, there will be
less federal money for infrastructure improvements, home energy assistance for
the needy, the high-speed rail system that is years from reality, and Community
Development Block Grants. But the cuts do not appear to be so deep that they
are a death knell for any single program.

Alas, it’s not over. The Republicans continue to set Washington’s agenda, over
that of a president who appears more diminutive by the day. With a Democrat
occupying the White House, the Republicans have seen the light on runaway
federal spending, which they would have you believe occurs only during
Democratic administrations. The previous Republican incumbent’s free-wheeling
ways and his willingness to abandon pay-as-you-go with a complicit Congress
rarely get a mention.

The Republican leader of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan, has been
everywhere pushing his offensive against the unfathomably deep national debt,
more than$14 trillion and counting. But just as the Republicans did in forcing their
budget demands—threatening to cripple the Environmental Protection Agency’s
ability to enforce the Clean Air Act, for example—the Ryan plan seems to be
about planks in the GOP platform, not the debt. The U. S. Public Interest
Research Group says it would wind down key elements of the Wall Street reform
bill that responded to the economic collapse; roll back policies that rein in health
care costs; and slash money for public transit while continuing handouts to the oil
and gas industry, all while doing nothing to prevent 83 of the top 100 publicly
traded corporations from hiding profits overseas to avoid taxes.

More worrisome is Ryan’s suggestion to remake Medicare into a sort of voucher
system whereby elderly Americans in some future era would receive vouchers to
buy their own health insurance. With this wrong-headed idea, health insurers
would almost certainly price their products just beyond the value of the voucher,
giving themselves that much more revenue and burdening elderly Americans, all
in the name of privatization. Fortunately, this idea has little chance of passage, at
least in the near term.

The Republicans have made cutting federal spending the be-all and end-all
priority, even as the nation takes its tentative steps out of a recession. That said,
the federal government must start spending less. It must climb out of hock with
the Asian banks that buy our debt. And federal entitlement programs must be a
part of the discussion. So, too, should the Defense Department budget. Even
when the military has wanted to eliminate weapons programs, Republicans have
protected them because they create jobs back home.

We join those Americans who welcome an honest discussion about federal
priorities, not a calculated strategy from the right to galvanize the base with
ideological talking points as they ride the issue into the next presidential election
season. The Republican leadership should take on a constructive role, not one
directed for political gain and little else.
Proposed Medicare cuts bring out political swords

St. Petersburg Times, 4/22/11
By Alex Leary

WASHINGTON - The intensifying debate on Capitol Hill over the national debt
has seemed abstract for many Americans, with incomprehensibly big numbers
and concepts. But throw Medicare into the mix and suddenly it's a lot more

House Republicans whipped up a storm last week by voting on a budget plan
that includes a plan to turn Medicare over to private companies. This week the
debate morphed into open political warfare.

Radio ads are playing in Florida and other key states, a sure sign that the 2012
election battle is under way. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flew to
Orlando on Monday to tell a group of seniors, "We're not going to let this

Despite Pelosi's implied threat, the GOP plan would not affect the 60 people who
were in attendance. Republicans - assuming they can get the plan adopted - say
it would not affect anyone who is now aged 55 or older.

But elections are not won with nuance. Democrats are hoping for a voter
backlash similar to the furor that followed the Republican attempt in 2005 to
privatize Social Security - an issue that helped put Pelosi into the speaker's

"From a political standpoint, Medicare reform is very dangerous territory," analyst
Charlie Cook wrote in the National Journal in advance of Republican approval of
the 10-year budget blueprint that contained the Medicare overhaul. (It would
contribute to an overall $5.8 trillion in spending cuts.) "House Republicans are
not just pushing the envelope - they are soaking it with lighter fluid and waving a
match at it."

A Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week showed 78 percent of
Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to trim the debt,
currently at more than $14 trillion. The poll should send chills through
Republicans in districts with many seniors or those with a healthy percentage of
Democratic voters.

But the GOP showed remarkable discipline, all but four House members voting
for the budget plan.
"Medicare does not have a future under the status quo or under the limp
proposals put forward by the (Obama) administration and business-as-usual
Washington liberals," Rep. Dan Webster of Winter Garden said after the vote.

The plan, designed by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, "saves Medicare for future
generations while ensuring that current recipients will not see a single change to
their current benefit or coverage," Webster said.

The Republican proposal would convert Medicare from a defined benefit plan to
one of "premium support" payments. Seniors would be given money to buy
coverage from the private market, though providers would have to meet
government standards. The plan also gradually increases the eligibility age to 67
from 65.

The plan would curb the growth of Medicare, experts agree. But seniors would
have to pay about $6,400 more than if the program were not changed, according
to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

"It says instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher," President
Barack Obama said in a speech last week. "And if that voucher isn't worth
enough to buy insurance, tough luck - you're on your own."

The president, however, acknowledged Medicare's growing burden (now 15
percent of the total federal budget) and outlined ways to curb spending without
passing on costs to seniors. He proposes curbing prescription drug prices and
creating an independent payment advisory board.

Republicans dismissed Obama's response as hazy and not serious. Even some
Democrats are not wild about the independent panel or tinkering with Medicare.
What's clear is the issue has leaped to the forefront of the political debate.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee struck first on Tuesday, by
saying it was launching radio ads in key districts, including many in Florida.

The investment was miniscule - $340 for a 15-second radio ad in Rep. C.W. Bill
Young's district in Tampa Bay - and mocked by Republicans. But it signaled the
party intends to ride the issue. Democrats returned to their districts this week to
criticize the plan at town hall meetings.

"Sometimes you use a screwdriver and you turn it a little bit and other times you
use a sledgehammer," Rep. Steve Israel of New York, who heads the DCCC,
said of the ads. "We'll use different tools at different times between now and
November 2012."
Israel accused Republicans of hypocrisy, noting how they spent tens of millions
on TV time in the last election harping on a Democratic move to cut Medicare as
part of reforms in the new health care law.

In North Florida, an ad by challenger Steve Southerland showed a man
squeezing an orange as a narrator said incumbent Democratic Rep. Allen Boyd
voted "to cut Medicare by $500 billion dollars."

Boyd lost his bid for an eighth term and Democrats lost control of the House.
Seniors favored Republicans by more than 20 percent over Democrats in the
midterm elections, a major shift, with many citing the Medicare issue.

Now the heat turns back to Republicans. "Tell Young to keep his hands off our
Medicare," goes the ad in Tampa Bay.

Young said he stands by his vote while adding there is enough time to make
adjustments. He said once the Medicare plan is explained, "very few" people

Coming to Young's defense and 38 other Republicans across the country was
the 60 Plus Association, which casts itself as the conservative alternative to
AARP. The group on Thursday began running 1-minute radio ads thanking the
lawmakers for preserving Medicare "for years to come." Its budget, said to be
$800,000, dwarfs the Democrats' effort.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, also from Tampa Bay, is in a Republican district and did not
draw one of the ads. But he was on the offensive this week, visiting Coral Oaks
senior center in Palm Harbor to explain the plan would not affect current

Asked if it was fair to ask future retirees to pay more for their coverage, Bilirakis
replied instead that reforms are needed. "Our constituents keep telling us, 'Be
honest with us,' " Bilirakis said. "The facts are, for future generations, it's not
sustainable. We're trying to save Medicare."
A Real Choice on Medicare

New York Times Editorial, 4/23/11

We know it is not how most people want to spend their time, but Americans need
to give a close reading to the Democrats’ and Republicans’ plans for Medicare
reform. There are stark differences that will profoundly affect all of our lives —
and clear political choices to come.

The Democratic approach is mostly imbedded in the broader health care reforms
enacted last year. The Republicans’ approach — including a call to repeal reform
and ultimately privatize Medicare — was fashioned by Representative Paul Ryan
and adopted by the House.

Here are some of the most significant elements:

Congressional campaign, Republican leaders claimed to be Medicare’s stalwart
defenders — conveniently ignoring their historical animosity toward the program.
Older voters overlooked that history and flocked to the party in large numbers.
Now the Republicans have embraced many of reform’s changes for Medicare —
without, of course, advertising their flip-flop.

One of the biggest differences, under both parties’ plans, would be a large
reduction of unjustified subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans that serve
11 million of Medicare’s 46 million enrollees. Last year, those plans were paid 9
percent more per enrollee, on average, for coverage comparable to what
traditional Medicare would provide. By eliminating most of the subsidies, the
Democrats hope to save $136 billion over 10 years. The Republicans plan to cut
only $10 billion less.

The Republicans have also embraced health care reform’s necessary plan to
slow the growth rate of payments to health care providers, which was expected
to save hundreds of billions over the next decade.

House Republicans would make another deep cut — definitely not in the
Democrats’ plan — that would hit many current and future Medicare users hard.
The reform law provides subsidies to help close a gap in prescription drug
coverage, known as the doughnut hole, that poses a hardship for millions of
patients who need lots of medicine and often cannot afford to pay for it. The
Republicans would repeal that subsidy.

Perhaps most significant, the two parties have very different approaches to what
they would do with their savings. The Democrats would use the savings to
extend coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, a goal we heartily
endorse. The Republicans say only that they would use the money in some way
to bolster the solvency of Medicare. That is not good enough.

MEDICARE IN THE FUTURE The differences get even bigger over time.
President Obama wants to retain Medicare as an entitlement in which the federal
government pays for a defined set of medical services. The Ryan proposal would
give those turning age 65 in 2022 “premium support” payments to help them buy
private policies. There is little doubt that the Republican proposal would sharply
reduce federal spending on Medicare by capping what the government would
pay at very low levels. But it could cause great hardship by shifting a lot of the
burden to beneficiaries. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2022
new enrollees would have to pay at least $6,400 more out of pocket to buy
coverage comparable to traditional Medicare.

Huge numbers of Medicare beneficiaries live on modest incomes and are already
struggling to pay medical bills that Medicare does not fully cover. We should not
force them into private health plans that would charge them a lot more or provide
much skimpier benefits.

CONTROLLING REAL COSTS The country cannot wrestle the deficit under
control unless a way is found to slow the rise in medical costs — and Medicare’s
demands on the federal budget. President Obama is clearly dedicated to
reforming the health care system. Mr. Ryan relies mainly on the idea that costs
will come down because of competition among private plans and more judicious
use of health care by patients who are forced to pay more. His proposal is too
sketchy to determine whether he would repeal or retain most of the reform law’s
quality-improvement efforts, consumer protections and pilot projects to reduce

What is clear is that House Republicans are determined to repeal reform’s
strongest cost-control measure: an independent board that would monitor
whether Medicare is on track to meet spending targets and, if not, propose
further reductions that Congress would have to accept or replace with
comparable savings.

Republicans charge that this would allow “unelected bureaucrats” to “ration”
health care, and members of both parties object to relinquishing any power over
federal spending. But Congress has shown it is far too susceptible to lobbying by
insurers, hospitals, patients and other special interest groups. It makes sense to
let experts drawn from diverse backgrounds set a course for Congress based on
the best available evidence of what might work.

We were skeptical when the Republicans suddenly claimed to be Medicare’s
great defenders. We are even more skeptical now that we have read their plan.
We are also certain that repealing reform — the Republicans’ No. 1 goal —
would do enormous damage to all Americans and make it even harder to wrestle
down health care costs, the best way to deal with the country’s long-term fiscal
GOP's Ryan booed for stance on tax cuts

Chicago Tribune, 4/22/11
By James Oliphant

BYLINE: By James Oliphant, Tribune Washington Bureau

Rep. Paul Ryan, the face of the GOP's efforts to scale back the size of the
federal government and trim the federal deficit, was booed by some Wisconsin
constituents this week, but not for the reason you might think.

Ryan's budget plan, as overwhelmingly approved by the House, would convert
Medicare into a program that would provide seniors with subsidies to purchase
private health insurance. But as Ryan returned home along with the other 240
Republican members to explain the budget blueprint to voters, he received heat
not for the Medicare proposal but for his call to cut taxes for wealthy Americans.

The liberal blog Think Progress videotaped a town hall meeting held by Ryan in
Milton, Wis., a town not far from Ryan's hometown of Janesville. One participant
asked the congressman about rising income inequality in the U.S. and why Ryan
supported making permanent the Bush-era tax cuts for high-income Americans
and why he opposed raising the wage cap on Social Security.

"You have the lower spending," the man said, "but it's a matter of there's nothing
wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down."

"We do tax the top," Ryan replied, at which point the group responded with a
chorus of boos.

Ryan's plan would lower the top tax rate to 25 percent while eliminating many tax
shelters and loophole provisions in the tax code, which, he says, would help
make up for the lost revenue.

As part of his own deficit reduction proposal, President Barack Obama has called
for letting the Bush-era cuts for top earners expire, which would increase the top
tax rate from 36 percent to 39.6 percent.

Last year's congressional compromise, which extended the cuts for two years
until the end of 2012, cost the federal Treasury $120 billion.

Polls have shown widespread support for increased taxes on the rich.
House Republicans Unveil Budget Plan With $6 Trillion of Cuts Over

Bloomberg--Apr 5, 2011
By Brian Faler

U.S. House Republicans today unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal budget
and slash the deficit in coming years by about three-quarters, with a $6 trillion cut
in spending and 25 percent cap on tax rates.

The Republicans’ first comprehensive budget plan since the November elections
would cut the deficit next year to $995 billion from about $1.4 trillion now, though
it wouldn’t balance the government’s books until 2040.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan relies on spending cuts to
reduce the red ink, slicing more than $6 trillion over the next decade out of
Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and scores of other programs. At the same
time, his proposal calls for cutting taxes, with the top corporate and individual tax
rates set at 25 percent.

“We believe that we have the moral responsibility to step in and provide the
leadership that the president has not been providing,” Ryan, a Wisconsin
Republican, told reporters today in Washington. “He punted on debt reduction.
We’re not going to do that.”

The plan escalates Washington’s budget wars, where lawmakers for months
have been debating funding levels for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
Ryan’s proposal presents substantial political risk for congressional Republicans
and their prospective presidential candidates because Democrats are sure to
pounce on proposed cuts to popular government programs in next year’s
‘Honest Debate’

“We owe it to the country to give them an honest debate,” Ryan said. “We cannot
keep going down the path of fearing what the other political party will do to us if
we try to solve a problem.”

While public opinion polls show that Americans want Congress to bring down the
deficit, they want it done without harming entitlements such as Medicare and
Social Security or many discretionary spending programs. Yet it’s the soaring
cost of entitlements that represents the biggest threat to the government’s long-
term financial standing, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, whose committee has
jurisdiction over tax and entitlement programs, denounced Ryan’s budget, saying
it would “end Medicare as we know it.”
No More Guarantees

“Seniors’ coverage would be cut drastically, benefits would no longer be
guaranteed and seniors’ costs would skyrocket,” said Baucus, a Montana
Democrat. “We can’t allow the House to balance the budget on the backs of
seniors, and we won’t.”

Ryan’s budget would set the top individual and corporate tax rates at 25 percent,
the same level that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp is
seeking. Both rates are now 35 percent, and the top individual rate is scheduled
to rise to 39.6 percent in 2013, when tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 expire.

The lawmakers’ annual budget lays out their agenda for the year, though it
wouldn’t make any changes in tax and spending laws. That would require
subsequent legislation, which could end up different from the plan outlined by

His proposal calls for phasing out the traditional Medicare program and replacing
it with a plan to provide individuals with subsidies to buy private health insurance.
Payments would be offered on a sliding scale, with the poor and sick getting
more and the wealthy getting less. It would only apply to those now under age 55
to spare current beneficiaries as well as those approaching retirement.

The plan would reduce the Medicaid health-insurance program for the poor by
more than $700 billion over the next 10 years by capping the open-ended
program and allowing states more discretion over how to run it. Most seniors
would pay more for their health care under the Ryan plan, according to a CBO
analysis that also said it may force states to cut their Medicaid rolls.

Food stamps, farm subsidies, Pell grants for college tuition and other mandatory
programs would be cut by $1.8 trillion.

“What he has are tax cuts for the wealthiest among us financed by draconian
cuts for those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid,” said Senate Budget
Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat. White House
spokesman Jay Carney said the administration “strongly” disagrees with the
Ryan plan.
Larger Cuts

The domestic discretionary programs lawmakers are debating would face even
bigger cuts. Ryan proposes to reduce spending on them below 2008 levels and
to freeze it for five years.
The plan also calls for rescinding the authority Congress gave regulators in last
year’s Wall Street regulation overhaul to resolve large, systematically risky
financial institutions. Republicans, who opposed the law, say such authority
makes those institutions “too big to fail.”

The plan doesn’t propose specific cuts to Social Security, because Ryan said
Republicans want to leave room for a possible compromise with Democrats.

“Social Security is the area in which I hope we still have room for bipartisan
agreement,” he said.

The plan wouldn’t cut the Pentagon, the government’s second-biggest program,
beyond what Defense Secretary Robert Gates has already proposed. “We think
Secretary Gates is doing a good job in going through the Pentagon budget
looking for a bunch of waste and a lot of inefficiencies,” Ryan said.
A Party Divided

Ryan’s proposal has divided Republicans over how quickly to reduce the deficit
as well as how. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who heads the Republican
Study Committee, a bloc of fiscally conservative lawmakers, said he was unsure
whether to support the plan because it takes so long to erase the deficit.

“We just think you got to get there faster,” Jordan said. He said the RSC would
introduce an alternative budget plan this week.

Another Ohio Republican, Steve LaTourette, a self-described moderate, said he
supports Ryan’s deficit-reduction goals, though not necessarily the specific policy
ideas, which he called “a lot of flowery language.”

“I don’t get all excited about the Ryan proposal on Medicare or the Ryan proposal
on Medicaid, but I do get all excited about his goal and his targets,” he said.
“Nobody should construe a positive vote in favor of the Ryan budget as an
endorsement of any specific proposal.”

The administration’s debt commission last year offered a plan that wouldn’t show
a balanced budget for more than 25 years, while a group of independent budget
experts gave up trying to show a plausible path toward balancing the budget.
President Barack Obama’s budget got the deficit down to $750 billion in 2015,
though it would begin growing again in subsequent years.
House GOP budget to call for big changes to Medicare, Medicaid

CNN, April 02, 2011
By Dana Bash

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, will unveil a highly anticipated
2012 Republican budget next week that proposes dramatic changes to political
lightning rods: entitlements.

The plan, to be released Tuesday, calls for a controversial overhaul of Medicare,
the health care program for seniors, and imposes deep cuts in Medicaid, which
provides health benefits to low-income Americans, according to House
Republican sources with knowledge of the proposal.

Starting 10 years from now, in 2021, Americans would no longer enroll in the
Medicare program, but instead receive vouchers for private insurance, according
to the GOP sources, who stressed anyone 55 or older now would not be affected
by the change.

The plan is modeled after one Ryan proposed last year with Alice Rivlin, budget
director under President Bill Clinton.

Details of how Ryan's Medicare voucher program would work are still unclear,
but the Ryan-Rivlin plan said the amount of the voucher -- a lump sum payment
from the government -- would be calculated in part by taking the average federal
cost per Medicare enrollee.

The GOP aims to save billions of dollars in revamping Medicare, a large
contributor to the massive federal deficit and debt.

Sources said they did not yet know how much savings Ryan would project by
drastically changing the Medicare program.

On Medicaid, Ryan's plan calls for deep cuts, as much as $1 trillion. The program
would also fundamentally change -- the federal share of the Medicaid system
would become block grants to the states.

CNN has been told that the House GOP budget plan does not call for significant
change to the Social Security program. Republicans argue that while Social
Security is a factor in the nation's fiscal crisis, it doesn't contribute as much to the
soaring debt as Medicare.

Two House GOP lawmakers briefed on the proposal told CNN they and others
on the House Budget Committee believe it's a mistake not to tackle Social
As for so-called discretionary spending, one of the sources -- who would not
speak on the record before the plan is publicly announced -- said Ryan's
proposal promises to roll back spending to 2006 levels.

It's unclear how much that would slash, but it is expected to be far more than the
roughly $61 billion in spending cuts House Republicans passed in February.

Ryan is expected to give specifics on how much savings the plan would create
when it is unveiled Tuesday.

A GOP source said even with the major cuts and changes in Ryan's proposal --
essentially a blueprint that guides spending decisions and does not go to the
president for his signature -- it would not bring the budget into balance for many

Still, GOP sources briefed on the plan said it would save hundreds of billions of
dollars more than the president's proposed 2012 budget, and trillions over the
next 10 years.

The budget would also cut the corporate tax rate, but at the same time do away
with tax loopholes for corporations.

Ryan's plan also provides for a permanent extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts,
which under a compromise with President Barack Obama were extended last
year through 2012.

House Republican leaders have been signaling for some time that they plan
dramatic and controversial changes to entitlement programs in order to rein in
the budget deficit and debt.

Knowing that the proposed changes will be politically risky and elicit an onslaught
of criticism, Ryan and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy have been holding
sessions two or three times a week with House Republicans to try to arm them
with information about the gravity of the debt problem and why it needs to be

CNN was allowed into one of these meetings last month, and heard Ryan lay out
for his GOP colleagues in stark terms what he calls the "tidal wave" of debt the
country is facing.

"The Congressional Budget Office has this economic model where they measure
the economy going forward, and they are telling us that the entire economy
crashes in the year 2037 because their computer simulation can't conceive of
any way in which the U.S. economy can continue," Ryan told the GOP group.
"By the time my kids are my age, just those three programs -- Social Security,
Medicaid and Medicare --will consume all federal revenues. There will be no
room for anything else in the federal budget," Ryan said.

When Ryan proposed a version of his Medicare overhaul idea last year, known
as his "road map," Democrats skewered it and tried to use it as a campaign
weapon against Republicans across the country.

Obama has often said it is important for Washington to address entitlement
spending. But the president has not offered any specific proposals, and
Republicans suggest he wants them to take the first risky steps.

Multiple GOP sources admit the timing of Ryan's 2012 budget proposal is tricky.
It will be released in the middle of down-to-the-wire, contentious negotiations with
Democrats about a spending measure to keep the government running for the
rest of this 2011 fiscal year.

CNN has been told that GOP leaders considered delaying the release of Ryan's
budget until this year's spending differences are resolved. However, they decided
to go ahead with it in hopes showing major cuts and reforms planned for next
year will calm rank-and-file conservatives who feel the leadership is too
compromising on spending cuts.
GOP Aim: Cut $4 Trillion

Wall Street Journal, 4/04/11
By Naftali Bendavid

Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more
than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and
transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will
dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington.

The budget has been prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and
the new chairman of the House Budget Committee, and it represents the most
complete attempt so far by Republicans to make good on their promises during
the 2010 midterm elections to cut government spending and deficits.

Though Rep. Ryan based the Medicare portion of his budget on a previous plan
created in collaboration with a Democrat, Alice Rivlin, a senior fellow at the
Brookings Institution and long-time budget expert, the current plan isn't likely to
get much Democratic support. Instead, it will set up a broad debate over
spending and the role of government heading into the 2012 general election.

The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-
care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly
pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because
of the program's soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is
projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016. At that pace, spending on the program
would have doubled between 2002 and 2016.

Mr. Ryan's proposal would apply to those currently under the age of 55, and for
those Americans would convert Medicare into a "premium support" system.
Participants from that group would choose from an array of private insurance
plans when they reach 65 and become eligible, and the government would pay
about the first $15,000 in premiums. Those who are poorer or less healthy would
receive bigger payments than others.

"There is nobody saying that Medicare can stay in its current path," Mr. Ryan
said on Fox News Sunday. "We should not be measuring ourselves against
some mythical future of Medicare that isn't sustainable."

The proposal would also convert Medicaid, the health program for the poor, into
a series of block grants to give states more flexibility. And it is expected to
suggest significant cuts in Social Security, while proposing fewer details on how
to achieve them.

The federal government expects to spend about $275 billion in 2011 on
Medicaid, the program that provides medical care to the poor and disabled, up
from $117.9 billion in 2000. The Congressional Budget Office projects Medicaid
spending will roughly double by 2021.

Conservative activists who are familiar with the Ryan plan said they expect it to
call for a fundamental overhaul of the tax system, with a 25% top rate for both
individuals and corporations, compared to the current 35% top rate. It is expected
to raise about the same amount of money as the current system, however.
Lawmakers already are considering ways to accomplish that by reducing or
eliminating some deductions and other tax breaks.

Some conservatives also expected the budget plan to tout a temporary tax
change that would let U.S. multinationals bring home as much as $1 trillion in
profits at a greatly reduced tax rate. That money currently is parked overseas,
beyond the reach of U.S. corporate taxation.

Mr. Ryan and other Republicans on Sunday made it plain a primary goal in
advancing the budget plan is to start setting the terms of a debate for the 2012
election, and to move beyond the debate over trimming tens of billions in
spending during the remaining six months of the current fiscal year. The
government could partially close on Friday if no deal is reached.

Democratic and Republican negotiators have reached agreement on how to
divide up $33 billion in cuts for this year, a congressional aide familiar with the
talks said Sunday. Specific trims haven't been set, but amounts have been
allocated to broad categories like agriculture and interior.

Democrats are pushing to meet the target in part by cuts to mandatory programs,
such as agricultural subsidies.

Mr. Ryan wouldn't be more specific in the "Fox News Sunday" interview about his
spending reduction targets, saying Republicans were still working on the
numbers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the government is on
track to spend $45.77 trillion in the next 10 years, and that total deficits will
amount to nearly $12 trillion if current policies are extended.

By suggesting sweeping changes to Medicare, as well as Medicaid and Social
Security, Republican leaders are gambling that Americans are worried enough
about the growing national debt to accept overhauling social programs that now
cover medical costs or provide monthly incomes for a substantial swath of the

As the debate in Congress has shifted to how much to cut federal spending,
instead of how much more to spend for stimulus programs or other efforts to prop
up the economy, lawmakers in both parties, and President Barack Obama, have
said there is no way to make a significant dent in projected deficits without some
action to overhaul Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, which make up 60%
of the budget.

Mr. Ryan said Sunday his plan would propose capping overall federal spending
at close to "historic levels," which were closer to 20% of GDP during the 1990s
through 2008.

Democrats say the GOP plan will leave millions exposed to financial risks. The
Medicare premium subsidies would grow more slowly than health costs, they
say, so seniors would end up with less coverage.

"All this does is shift the risk and burden of rising health-care costs to seniors on
Medicare," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), the top Democrat on the House
Budget Committee. "You're on your own with the insurance industry."

The plan's supporters say it would cut costs without sacrificing quality by
introducing competition among insurers.

Mr. Ryan isn't alone in attempting to move the budget debate beyond the 2011
fight and Mr. Obama's 2012 blueprint. A bipartisan group of senators led by Sen.
Mark Warner (D., Va.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) and known as the
"Gang of Six" is working on a proposal to cut $4 trillion from the projected federal
deficit, building from recommendations of President Obama's deficit commission.

Mr. Warner said he is concerned that Mr. Ryan's plan will rely too heavily on
cutting social programs, and not take aim at defense spending or "look at major
tax reform that would actually raise revenues."

Ms. Rivlin said in an interview Sunday she would have preferred a plan that
phased in more quickly and left a traditional Medicare program as a default
option for seniors. But overall she supported Mr. Ryan's idea. "What Democrats
have to realize is we have to do something," Ms. Rivlin said. "Current policy on
Medicare is not sustainable. You can worry about how you structure a premium
support program, but I think it's a good way to think about the future of
Paul Ryan's Reverse Robin Hood Budget

Wall Street Journal, 4/19/11
By Alan S. Blinder

Why do I oppose Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for reducing the federal budget deficit,
the one House Republicans approved overwhelmingly last week? Let me count
the ways. Actually, since there is not enough space on this page to count them
all, let me just hit the highlights.

Worst things first. The plan threatens to eviscerate Medicare by privatizing it—
with vouchers that, absent some sort of cost-control miracle, would fall further
and further behind the rising cost of health insurance. And to make that miracle
even less likely, House Republicans want to repeal every cost-containment
measure enacted in last year's health-reform legislation.

Medicare would not die a sudden death under the Ryan plan—people over 55
are grandfathered. It would, instead, succumb slowly to a debilitating illness as
the growing gap between the vouchers and the cost of private health insurance
priced more and more seniors out of the market. This fate evokes conservative
activist Grover Norquist's famous image: to keep on shrinking the government
until it's small enough to drown in the bathtub. And who would go down the drain
with it? Not prosperous Americans, whose huge tax cuts would more than
compensate for their higher health-insurance bills, but middle-class people who
really need Medicare.

Then there's Medicaid, which is a lifeline for the poor. House Republicans want to
turn it into a block grant, underfund it, and let the 50 states figure it out. Make
your own judgment about how well your state would cope. I come from New
Jersey. Mr. Ryan comes from Wisconsin.

The sums involved are huge. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates
that the House Republican budget would reduce federal health-care spending by
more than two-thirds by 2050. (No, that's not a misprint.) Did someone say, "We
have to destroy Medicare to save it?"

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about two-thirds of Mr.
Ryan's so-called courageous budget cuts would come from programs serving
low- and moderate-income Americans, while the rich would gain from copious tax
cuts. That's courage?

This reverse-Robin Hood redistribution is bad enough in the abstract. Coming on
the heels of 30-plus years of rising inequality, it is breathtakingly mean-spirited.
But was such class warfare necessary to make the budget numbers work?
Absolutely not. Both President Obama's plan and the Bowles-Simpson plan
achieve comparable deficit reduction without further gilding the New Gilded Age.
It gets worse. The House Budget Committee's own rack-up of changes from the
CBO baseline displays the much-ballyhooed $5.8 trillion in spending cuts over 10
years. But it also displays $4.2 trillion less in tax revenue. How many Americans
know that 72% of Mr. Ryan's claimed budget cuts would go to fund tax cuts that
overwhelmingly benefit the rich?

Actually, it's much worse. Astute budget analysts noticed two errors in the $5.8
trillion number. First, Mr. Ryan's staff made a miscalculation, which overstated
interest savings by $200 billion. Second, $1.3 trillion of the advertised savings
come from dropping the (silly) assumption that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
will go on forever at current spending rates, rather than phasing down in accord
with current policy. The total overstatement of $1.5 trillion leaves just $4.3 trillion
in genuine savings over 10 years—barely enough to cover the tax cuts. So, when
it comes to reducing the deficit over the next decade, the Ryan plan is not a lion,
but a lamb—and a rather heartless lamb at that.

But follow the numbers out for decades, and the Ryan plan does turn into a lion.
The CBO's scorekeeping shows federal spending under the House Republican
budget falling to just 14¾% of GDP in 2050. (It's now 23¾%.) That sounds
great—until you think about it.

For openers, the last time federal spending was that small a share of the
economy was 1951—before Medicare and Medicaid, before the Departments of
Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education,
Energy, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security. You get the
idea. Somewhere, Mr. Norquist is filling his bathtub.

There's more. The CBO report on the House Republican budget gives only
decadal data. It shows federal spending dropping from 20¾% of GDP in 2030 to
18¾% in 2040 and 14¾% in 2050, when the data stop. Fortunately, Mr. Ryan's
January 2010 "Roadmap" ran the spreadsheet out to 2083. Those numbers show
federal spending as a share of GDP dropping another 8.6 percentage points
between 2050 and 2083—and they're still falling when the spreadsheet ends.
Were that to happen, you wouldn't need a bathtub. A soap dish would do.

Under the House Republican budget, deficits don't just shrink, they turn into
surpluses around 2040. By 2050, when the CBO's analysis ends, the annual
surplus is up to 4¼% of GDP and rising. The national debt is down to 10% of
GDP and falling. On that path, the national debt turns negative by about 2053—
and keeps on falling.

Now, none of this will happen, of course. So why look at such long-run
projections? Because they reveal the underlying aspiration. While the House
Republican plan achieves too little genuine deficit reduction over the next
decade, it calls for much too much in the long run. The not-so-hidden agenda is
clear: to shrink the government drastically.

The Ryan plan has received vastly too much praise from people who should
know better. For a while, it was even celebrated as "the only game in town,"
which it never was. It was preceded by both the Bowles-Simpson and Domenici-
Rivlin plans, which are vastly superior in every respect. Within days of Mr. Ryan's
announcement, President Obama chimed in with his own ideas on deficit
reduction—another huge improvement over the Ryan plan. Now we await the
Senate Gang of Six's entry.

No, the House Republican plan is not the only game in town. It's only the worst.

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