Religious leaders have called it immoral; some have even suggested that Jesus himself would oppose it. Various leaders of the Republican party have opposed it and even David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s budget director, called it a fairy tale. Many on the left have referred to it as ‘austerity on steroids.’
What has all of these different people so upset? It’s the Paul Ryan (R-WI) budget. Nothing has brought so many divergent groups together than Congressman Ryan’s attempt at rewriting history and returning America to the pre-New Deal era gilded age.
Ryan, the golden boy of the Koch brothers and neo-conservatives across the land, is like a dog with a bone; he will not leave Social Security and Medicare alone. He is doggedly determined to reduce both social safety net programs to shadows of their original intent. He’s insisted on increasing the minimum retirement age so that future recipients will receive fewer benefits than individuals currently collecting Social Security payments, and he wants to reduce Medicare to a voucher program for a to-be-determined level of medical attention. During televised interviews this week, the congressman discussed President Obama’s budget proposal and noted that they didn’t really take care of ‘entitlement reform;’ there’s that laser-like focus on entitlements despite the fact that Social Security doesn’t add one penny to the federal deficit and the economy would be better served with more attention paid to job growth.
The question many Americans are asking themselves is why is Congressman Ryan is so adamant on the destruction of Social Security and Medicare? It has been the young lawman’s main point of focus since he was first elected to his house seat and, not coincidentally, it is the same focus of neocons such as the Koch brothers.
It has been reported that in a 2005 speech, Congressman Ryan called for ending Social Security, Medicare and, therefore, the “collectivism” he believes is created by those social support programs. Ryan is heard referring to senior citizens and anyone — including children, disabled veterans and the poor — who receives some form of public assistance from the government as “looters.” His apparent goal is to spread the word of the immorality of altruism.
Ryan’s views are far from mainstream views and ideas. His characterization of a significant portion of the American populace as looters is straight out of a bad Saturday matinée silent movie with Snidley Whiplash plotting the demise of the town by damming the river and forcing the residents to buy water from him or die of thirst.
Prior to the New Deal and Social Security, more than half of the American population lived a subsistence existence well below the standards of poverty and many of which were the elderly. Social Security reversed the trend of increased poverty until 1980. Since then, the income disparity created over the last 40 years has contributed to the growth of poverty.
Congressman Ryan is of the mindset that what is his is his and what is yours is yours and never shall the two meet. It is the philosophy of self as professed by his mentor Ayn Rand and others who believe the government does or should do nothing for the American people.
Mr. Ryan, the son of a prominent lawyer and grandson of old Wisconsin money, used the same Social Security benefits he now wants to cut out for needy children all across America and like other Republicans feels it is OK for some to share in the American dream and not others.
The Ryans of the world simply do not want to face the facts of life. America, the country he has sworn to defend, does better when there are more people solidly in the middle class and fewer people in poverty. Mounds of data prove this point. On the contrary, much data proves trickle down economics, voodoo economics or any other buzz word economic plan created by the GOP has failed for everyone except the wealthiest among us.
Cutting Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher system will do nothing for the country and everything for the neocons in the Republican party. Ending Social Security will have drastic consequences, not only for the elderly but for every American who thinks they will ever be able to retire.