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Water Cooler – Going The Wrong Way; Ending Medicare Turns Out To Be A Loser

Wrong way

Wrong way by Crystl, on Flickr

What do you do when you’ve completely overreached? Well if you are the Republicans you cave and hope like hell that the voters don’t remember in 18 months that’s what you do.

What am I talking about? The whole ‘privatize Medicare” plan that was one of the central pieces of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, of course. You see after two weeks of getting one elderly person beat down after another it seems that the Republican leadership have figured out that just because you say the American people are behind your plan over and over does not make it true.

It is not like it should have been a surprise , after all the Republicans owe part of their House majority to the fact that they claimed that the Democrats were cutting Medicare as part of the ACA. It was the kind of thing that senior citizens don’t like to hear and remember when they go to vote (and they do vote unlike younger voters, especially in midterm elections).

Though it does seem to have caught the House Republicans flatfooted that the when they actually propose the plan they have been using a boogeyman for two years that seniors don’t just fall in line and let them screw the country out of one of the most popular entitlement programs of all time.

Today, the fourth day back from a two week recess, so Committee Chairs, Senators and the Speaker of the House himself basically saying that this plan was dead. After all when the House Ways and Means Committee Chair says that he is done laying down markers and his committee won’t take action on it, any plan is dead.

What is so startling is that the Republicans had to know that this plan was going nowhere. It was never going to get past the Senate, and it sure has hell was never going to be signed by this President. At best it was a political statement. Which is all well and good, but the House Republican Leadership didn’t just let it go at making a statement they introduced it and made their members vote for it.

You see once you vote for something, especially in the House, you are on record as being affirmatively in favor of it, and all but 6 of the Republicans in the House voted for a plan that would end Medicare as we know it and replace it with an inadequate and shrinking voucher system.

Now after finding out just how incredibly unpopular this is with their constituents the GOP Representatives come back to town knowing there is no way to get away from those votes and that there is not going even be a further fight over this issue. Talk about lose/lose!

All of that is great for a little “you guys are the Gang That Can’t Shoot Straight” kind of moment, but it brings up a point that I just can’t wrap my head around. Namely why do the Republicans listen to Paul Ryan? He is supposed to be one of their “smart” guys yet this is the second time in a row that he has proposed massive cuts in entitlements in a budget that does not reduce the deficit. Both budgets use dubious (at best) numbers to show savings while proposing massive tax cuts for the wealthy and both times they have eventually been shouted down by the public.

Given that, why the heck is the Republican leadership letting this guy be the point man on matters fiscal? It would be one thing if his proposals actually achieved the goals they purport and the way they did was politically unpopular. It might even be okay if they were politically popular and did not achieve the goals, but both of his budgets have been really unpopular and don’t achieve any goals other than tax cuts.

I guess tax cuts are reason enough, but if I were a Republican I would not let this guy railroad me into another lose/lose situation. After all the last time a Republican thought they had a mandate to change entitlements was George Bush in 2005, and in 2006 that contributed to him losing his majority in the House and Senate.

It seems that being smart is relative. If Paul Ryan is the best the Republicans have, boy are they in big trouble.

What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours!

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Bill Egnor

Bill Egnor

I am a life long Democrat from a political family. Work wise I am a Six Sigma Black Belt (process improvement project manager) and Freelance reporter for