Government Spending

Is Rand Paul the Only Major Party Candidate Talking About Reforming Medicare?

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Score one for Rand Paul, son o' Ron and GOP candidate for Senate in Kentucky: The eye doctor, unlike virtually every other politician in either major (read: worn-out) party, is at least willing to talk about changing the way Medicare works. Given that Medicare, a.k.a. socialized health care for seniors, is the entitlement most likely to destroy the U.S.'s future, this amounts to a rare display of courage.

Paul's Democratic challenger, Jack Conway, is showing clips of Paul in 2009 suggesting that Medicare come with a $2,000 deductible. Conway suggests that this is among the most heartless things he's ever seen. Paul insists that the comments have been taken out of context (boo) but continues:

"Now people say 'don't talk about this, don't talk about this,' Paul said. "People are crazy that I'm talking about the solution.

"If you don't, are we going to just devolve to the dumbest of the dumb or the blandest of the bland, and have no debate in our country until we have chaos? That's what happened in Greece — chaos. They couldn't pay their bills, they couldn't pay for their debt. We're having some of that coming in our country if we don't do something."

Paul said that Conway has ignored looming financial problems for Medicare.

"Will we just simply elect people who will pander and say 'here's some money, I'll give you some more money?'" Paul said. "I think people are waking up across the country. I think people realize we can't keep doing things the same way.

"I think people truly are concerned that the tea party is about how do we pay these bills, that we're concerned about passing the debt to our kids and our grandkids."

More from Cincinnati Enquirer here. Sadly, if Paul wins the election (and he's likely to), his interest in changing Medicare will likely fall on deaf ears. His fellow Republicans blasted ObamaCare mostly on the grounds that it would cut into Medicare's uninterrupted tradition of fiscal profligacy.

Medicare is on autopilot to consume more and more tax money. There are obvious fixes –  raise the eligibility age, means test benefits, kill the prescription drug benefit (the worst sort of vote-buying exercise) – and better ones—scrap the program, which has consistently overspent generous estimates.

Paul is right to be talking about Medicare reform. If anything, he's too apologetic about it. In many ways, Medicare is the last gasp of the New Deal. Yes, it was passed in the 1960s, but it comes from the same mind-set as Social Security and addresses a problem—poor old people—that doesn't exist in the same way anymore. Overall, seniors do quite well for themselves, having amassed assets over their lifetimes. They should not be getting a free ride at the expense of younger and relatively poorer Americans. Toss poorer seniors into Medicaid (which needs its own overhaul) and have those who can afford it pay for their own health care. In the name of faux compassion for our elders, the U.S. is systematically robbing youth of an economic future.

What's next? Retirees taking twentysomethings' organs?

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  1. Is Rand Paul the Only Major Party Candidate Talking About Reforming Medicare?

    Uh . . . “yes”?

  2. Overall, seniors do quite well for themselves, having amassed assets over their lifetimes. They should not be getting a free ride at the expense of younger and relatively poorer Americans.

    Why do you hate the elderly so much?

    1. kill every single one of them once their crystal turns red. OM, you are just shilling for big nursing home.

      1. In my world, crystals would turn magenta.

    2. That one is pretty funny to me… EVERYBODY knows that retirees and older people tend to be the wealthiest group of Americans and yet we pander to them as if they’re all living on food-stamps.

      It makes no sense… And it perennially screws over young people just trying to get a start in the world.

      1. One lottery ticket is cheap. But when you get into double digits every day, it adds up. That money has to come from some where.

      2. Just yesterday on Weblogg-ed I was reading a response from a school principle about whether or not she could afford to take the risks to improve her school, even though it might mean losing her $120K/year job. She, she’s close to retiring and not certain that she and her husband can live on his salary and her retirement, given the “sorry state of medical care given to the elderly in this country.”

        Really? An average of her three highest salary years and fully paid medical benefits for the rest of her life, and she complains about how awful medical care for seniors?

        1. oops…principal. They don’t have principles in the ed community.

          1. Excellent recovery.

  3. Paul’s Democratic challenger, Jack Conway, is showing clips of Paul in 2009 suggesting that Medicare come with a $2,000 deductible. Conway suggests that this is among the most heartless things he’s ever seen. Paul insists that the comments have been taken out of context[…]

    That’s true, because Paul was talking about charging a $2,000.00 deductible for those that are not yet receiving Medicare, not for those that are already receiving it. Conway is simply being sneaky and sleazy, pulling out a Grayson.

  4. and better ones – scrap the program, which has consistently overspent generous estimates.

    +1

    1. Had a lot of coffee this morning, did we?

      1. I think it’s a pre-existing condition for many of us.

      2. I take three cups every morning . . . and that’s 10 OZ polystyrene cups, mind you – I hate the planet.

        1. Me too. I man, what has the planet ever done for us?

          1. Gaia is the master, you are its slave.

        2. If you really hated the planet, you’d use a fresh cup every time.

  5. i’m no republican but i agreed with them when they didn’t want to cut medicare when it came to arguing about obamacare due to one main fact. the fricking dems were going to use the cuts in medicare to fund a brand new big government entitlement. when it came to the two choices of 1) cutting medicare to fund obamacare or 2) leave medicare alone by killing obamacare, i chose number 2). and dont go off and rant about false choices, those were the only 2 choices.

    1. How quaint, ola thought we had any say in the matter.

    2. Yes, the only way to get rid of Obamacare is to whine about Medicare. Right.

    3. In my opinion this is brilliant, cynical strategizing by the Democrats. When Republicans sweep Congress and governorships this fall, guess which party’s going to be stuck with responsibility for states going broke because they can’t afford Medicare (and be forced to raise taxes)? It will force the GOP Congress to raise Medicare payments (thus violating their “limited government” cred and showing how hypocritical they are) or to seriously reform Medicare (unpopular with old people). Whatever happens, Democrats win. Unless Republicans can successfully remind everyone that Obamacare is responsible, I can see the Democratic ads in 2012 now for how wasteful and irresponsible the GOP are. The GOP gets to sleep in the bed they made by refusing to support comprehensive Medicare reform.

  6. Retirees taking twentysomethings’ organs?

    Now there’s a movie idea…

    1. In the future we will all be Steve Jobs.

    2. Considering what so many twenty-somethings do to their organs, that may not be as good an idea as it sounds.

      1. I’m abusing mine right now!

    3. You might want to talk to Larry Niven about that first.

  7. It’s obvious. They’ll just fund Medicare with all the IRAs and 401(k)s they’ll be nationalizing next year. T-BILLS FOR EVERYONE!

    1. Time to make it rain! (Is $1000 in Tbills enough to make-it-rain?)

    2. I’m withdrawing everything and taking the tax penalty if that bill passes either house of Congress.

      1. I like the way that thanks to things like this, the recent individual mandate decision, and Kelo v. New London, property rights essentially don’t exist in this country in any substantial way.

        1. “Property rights” is redundant.

          Property means the absolute Right to use a thing, corporeal, incorporeal or immaterial, in however we please, e.g,. to profit from it; to sell it; dispose of it.

          When most speak or hear the word Property, they think of land, houses, and cars. Sometimes they think of the stuff inside their houses.

          That is not the true concept the word Property labels.

          Early Roman jurisprudence used the word Mancipium to mean the absolute ownership of anything as well as the thing itself, taken from acquiring by a strong hand, and keeping from being lost with a firm grasp.

          Afterward, Roman jurisprudence held that ownership of things resided in the head of a house, the Dominus, who alone exercised all Rights over them. Hence this Right of absolute ownership became known as Dominium. No other family member could have any exclusive Right.

          Later, in the time of the early Emperors, cases of individual members of a family having exclusive Rights to things became known as Proprletas because it was restricted to the individual, excluding everyone else.

          Proprietas in Roman Law meant absolute ownership, and not the things themselves.

          By the time of English law, men could dispose of their property or acquire property to goods and chattels.

          Thus, we see at once that Property means a Right, Interest, or Ownership of an individual into something.

          Yet to say things like cars and houses are property is as absurd as to say houses and cars are rights, interest, ownership.

          However, property does mean possession. If a thing gets lent to someone, that someone has the right of possession at that moment, but does not have property (right of ownership) in it.

          The libertarian-minded must get straight on concepts to capture the minds of others.

          1. Ah yes, I forgot we follow ancient Roman law.

            Where are my slaves?

            1. American legal concepts derive from English legal concepts. In turn, English legal concepts derive from Norman legal concepts, who acquired their concepts from the Gallo-Romans who acquired such from the ancient Romans.

              Obtuse?

      2. Same here. I only hope I can get the funds out quickly enough.

        1. $100 (of 2016 inflated Obama dollars) says that the first section of that bill will be put an immediate hold on all such account transactions for people more than a year from retirement age.

          You already can’t leave the country with any significant assets and pretty soon you won’t be able to keep your assets inside this country, either.

          1. This is why I’m withdrawing when one chamber passes the bill, not the bill becoming law. I believe we still have a prohibition on ex post facto legislation.

            1. HA!

              Yeah….try that ex post facto argument next time the ass clowns in DC retroactively tax something, or make some other (then legal) retroactively illegal with full responsibility for what every supposed ill they wish to “correct”

              1. See, there are no limits on what they can do…

  8. Yes, it [Medicare] was passed in the 1960s…

    …by members of the Greatest Generation? and others but not those evil and selfish Boomers. Just wanted to remind everyone and possibly start another pointless class-war subthread. You’re welcome.

    1. Does arguing about which generation was more stupid and irresponsible really count as class war?

      1. I’m just happy knowing that my generation still has a lot of time to prove that it’s stupid and irresponsible.

    2. It was started as a small program to help the elderly. The boomers may not have started it, but they let it grow into the monster it is today. The time to reform it was in the 1990s. But Boomers Gingrich and Clinton wouldn’t do it.

  9. Once we tap into the vast pool of unreported business transaction income, thanks to the 1099 rule in ObamaCare, we’ll have more money than we know what to do with.

    Ponies for everybody!

    1. Legalize and tax drugs. Use the tax receipts to go exclusively into the medicare trust fund. And then give exclusive licenses to sell drugs to big Pharma on the condition that all drug profits be invested in medical research. It wouldn’t totally solve the problem. But it would be a start.

      1. “Use the tax receipts to go exclusively into the medicare trust fund….”

        How did that Social Security “trust fund” thing work out?

        And the federal highway “trust fund” and all the state highway “trust funds”.

        Politicians have a habit of raiding trust funds for all sorts of crap that has nothing to do with the purpose for which the funds were ostensibly established.

      2. Shit John, you know that’s about as real as a unicorn. New taxes go into the general fund and magically vanish. Every single new tax to pay for a specific thing ends up as some kind of legacy tax with most people forgetting what is was supposed to pay for or that it ever was a “new” tax.

        That general fund is the black hole that keeps on sucking. New taxes. New taxes. Sucking. Trusting.

        Ok. Lunch time.

        1. Hey, it is all about rainbows and unicorns. They are more likely not to steal the trust fund than they are to actually legalize drugs. So, work with me here.

      3. And then give exclusive licenses to sell drugs to big Pharma on the condition that all drug profits be invested in medical research.

        I smell the reek of unintended consequences.

        1. Really? What are they going to do with the money? Buy huge weapons cashes to kill their competitors and overrun Latin American governments with? If they don’t do that, anything will be an improvement over what we have now.

        2. I smell the reek of unintended consequences.

  10. “I think people truly are concerned that the tea party is about how do we pay these bills, that we’re concerned about passing the debt to our kids and our grandkids.”

    I think it’s time to lose this device from the rhetorical toolbox. Fiscally-responsible candidates have been trotting out the ‘stealing from our children’ line since Jefferson, and it doesn’t work because most people are selfish twits who don’t care about permanently crippling the future’s economic prospects.

    Thankfully (not really), we’ve now reached the point where we can honestly replace this with a far better turn of phrase: that we’re reaching the point where we can’t keep running up debt, because if we do, this generation will have to pay for it. That’s right, all your precious free money from the government could disappear in a bond crisis during your lifetime unless we do something to make these programs sustainable. Got your attention now?

    1. Got your attention now?

      You talkin’ to me?

  11. Rand should run an ad showing a Warren Buffett lookalike getting a lap dance and throwing hundred dollar bills in the air, and then showing a black kid cleaning the toilets, and then explaining that the black kid’s taxes pay for Warren Buffett’s Medicare subsidy.

    1. You know… This is a particularly good idea, I may be able to produce it myself.

    2. The problem is that this ad would portray the truth…I’m sure there’s an election law or FEC ruling that outlaws truth in election ads.

    3. somebody should ask warren buffet “hey warren, you advocate the rich paying more in taxes, why don’t you just pay more on your own if it is something you think would be good for the country?”

      1. Fuck you. Get your own access to mu Sugar Daddy. I like that private jet and I’m not going to do anything to piss him off.

  12. “In many ways, Medicare is the last gasp of the New Deal. Yes, it was passed in the 1960s…”

    Last gasp, or last foundational brick? Looked at a different way, Medicare could be seen as the final milestone in a decades-long project — the brick put in place last because it was most difficult to sell to the public, requiring years of preparatory developments and propaganda. With the pillars of public education, welfare payments, a socialized health plan for an important (and soon to grow) segment of the population, and a mechanism for ensuring perpetual war (by never bothering to declare actual war again) firmly in place, collectivists had a springboard for the next phase of collectivization.

  13. Scrap SS, Scrap Medicare. Let the XYZ generations take care of us old farts the old fashioned way. We’ll move into your house.

    1. +1 Move it up the stack, I liked this one.

    2. Screw that; out to the iceburg, Granny.

  14. With an increasing portion of the population aging – and with greater turnout rates among senior voters, things aren’t looking good for our youngsters.

    1. And the youngsters don’t seem to care.
      Seen any campus hotbeds of tea partyism lately?

      1. They’re probably too busy working real jobs.

      2. Brandeis now has a student tea party.

  15. Rand Paul isn’t, however, the only major party candidate to whine like a little girl because the media doesn’t treat him exactly as he thinks it should. Must run in the family.

    1. Re: Tony,

      Rand Paul isn’t, however, the only major party candidate to whine like a little girl because the media doesn’t treat him exactly as he thinks it should.

      Off-topic in the same way your comment is:

      YOU SUCK!

      Now, back to our originally scheduled discussion . . .

      1. Off topic… you mean sorta like Rand Paul’s VIEWS on STUFF are off topic?

        1. Truly, Tony is the greatest mind of his generation.

          1. A generation of one.

        2. You mean sorta like Rand Paul is a FAT POOPY HEAD?

          1. Stop projecting you fat fuck, everyone knows Paul is skinny.

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