The Morning Pride: December 13, 2013 - Start your day with a round-up of LGBT political news stories! The post The Morning Pride: December 13, 2013 appeared first on ThinkProgress.
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Medicare Actuary, April 23, 2012: [Obama's] Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook …Medicare’s money isn’t being taken away. The Affordable Care Act calls for slowing the growth in spending, a move that — if successful — would keep the hospital insurance trust fund solvent for longer than if the reductions didn’t happen.
Ryan, Aug. 29: And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … [T]hey just took it all away from Medicare, $716 billion funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.The Affordable Care Act calls for a $716 billion reduction in the future growth of Medicare spending over 10 years, with most of that — about $415 billion — coming from a reduction in the future growth of payments to hospitals through Medicare Part A. And Medicare Part A’s trust fund, as we’ve explained before, is in trouble financially. It’s set to be insolvent in 2024, even with these spending cuts. Without them, the trust fund wouldn’t be able to fully pay projected benefits in 2016, the Medicare trustees estimate.
Ryan: He created a new bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanks them, sent them on their way, and then did exactly nothing. Republicans stepped up with good-faith reforms and solutions equal to the problems. How did the president respond? By doing nothing — nothing except to dodge and demagogue the issue.The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’s report proposed deep spending cuts in both domestic and military spending, and an overhaul of the tax code that would have lowered rates but raised revenues — all in an attempt to slow the growth of government by $4 trillion over 10 years.
Ryan: [The stimulus] cost $831 billion. The largest one-time expenditure ever by our federal government. … You, the American people of this country, were cut out of the deal.The nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation calculated that about $230 billion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided tax relief. Much of that money, about $116 billion, funded the Making Work Pay tax credit for workers. In 2009 and 2010, the credit gave up to $400 to individuals earning up to $75,000, and gave up to $800 to couples earning up to $150,000.
Ryan: My own state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.Here’s what Obama told workers during a campaign stop at the struggling GM plant in Janesville back in 2008:
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: “I believe that if our government is there to support you, this plant will be here for another hundred years.” That’s what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.
Obama, Feb. 13, 2008: And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it’s where it will thrive. I want it to thrive …It’s true that the plant didn’t last another year, as Ryan said. In fact, the Business Journal in Milwaukee wrote that the assembly plant shut down on Dec. 23, 2008, at the tail end of the Bush administration, a victim of the financial crisis and dwindling demand for the SUVs produced at the plant. That’s nearly one month before Obama was sworn into office.
Ryan, Aug. 29: [Obama's presidency] began with a perfect AAA credit rating for the United States; it ends with the downgraded America.Ryan refers to the decision of Standard & Poor’s, the credit rating agency, to downgrade its score for U.S. Treasury obligations from AAA to AA+ on Aug. 5, 2011. That took place just four days after Congress voted to raise the federal debt ceiling, following lengthy negotiations in which House Republicans sought to force concessions from Obama and Senate Democrats as the price for raising the ceiling and averting the first default on Treasury debt payments in U.S. history.
S&P, Aug. 5, 2011: The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy. …Ryan, of course, is among those Republicans opposed to any “new revenues” from tax increases.
Republicans and Democrats have only been able to agree to relatively modest savings on discretionary spending while delegating to the Select Committee [of Congress] decisions on more comprehensive measures. It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options.
Ryan: He was the Republican governor of a state where almost nine in 10 legislators are Democrats, and yet he balanced the budget without raising taxes. Unemployment went down, household incomes went up, and Massachusetts, under Gov. Mitt Romney, saw its credit rating upgraded.It’s true that Romney balanced the state budget every year — as Massachusetts’ Constitution requires — and Romney never raised personal income taxes. But as we have noted whenever this claim has arisen — which has been frequently — Romney did hike government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars, and he also closed loopholes on some corporate taxes.
The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012–22 period.Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit. But anyone who actually read, or even skimmed, the CBO report (pdf) knows that it found that the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit — because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.
Ryan and other conservative leaders, among them Senator John Sununu, of New Hampshire, wanted to be sure that Bush returned to [privatization] in 2005. Under Ryan’s initial version, American workers would be able to invest about half of their payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, in private accounts. As a plan to reduce government debt, it made no sense. It simply took money from one part of the budget and spent it on private accounts, at a cost of two trillion dollars in transition expenses. But, as an ideological statement about the proper relationship between individuals and the federal government, Ryan’s plan was clear.
The release of the Social Security proposal was a turning point in Ryan’s career. Bush could have chosen to push a bipartisan idea, such as immigration reform, as the first domestic proposal of his second term. But, during the 2004 campaign, Ryan, with such allies as Kemp and Ferrara, kept up pressure from the right to force the White House to make a decision on Social Security. Many Republicans were still wary. Two weeks after Bush’s Inauguration, Ryan gave a speech at Cato asserting that Social Security was no longer the third rail of American politics. He toured his district with a PowerPoint presentation and invited news crews to document how Republicans could challenge Democrats on a sacrosanct policy issue and live to tell about it.
Conservative editorialists and activists cheered him on. “What Ryan and Sununu have proposed is historic,” Newt Gingrich wrote in an op-ed piece. “They have fashioned a plan that makes the idea of a personal-account option for Social Security not only politically viable but, indeed, politically irresistible.” Jack Kemp lauded his former aide: “It will be proven the most efficacious of all the reforms.”By the way, the plan was so radical that Bush eventually rejected it for a more cautious version.
The new Ryan budget is a remarkable document — one that, for most of the past half-century, would have been outside the bounds of mainstream discussion due to its extreme nature. In essence, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids. It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history). …
Specifically, the Ryan budget would impose extraordinary cuts in programs that serve as a lifeline for our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, and over time would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance or become underinsured. It would also impose severe cuts in non-defense discretionary programs—much deeper than the across-the-board cuts ("sequestration") that are scheduled to take place starting in January — thereby putting core government functions at still greater risk. Indeed, a new Congressional Budget Office analysis that Chairman Ryan himself requested shows that, after several decades, the Ryan budget would shrink the federal government so dramatically that most of what it does outside of Social Security, health care, and defense would essentially disappear.
Yet alongside these extraordinary budget cuts, with their dismantling of key parts of the safety net, the budget features stunning new tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. These tax cuts would come on top of the average tax cut of more than $125,000 a year that the Tax Policy Center (TPC) estimates that people who make over $1 million a year will receive if — as the Ryan budget also proposes —policymakers make all of President Bush’s tax cuts permanent.Ryan believes all of these things. Romney does too. Is this the future a majority of American voters want? Over the next few months, we’ll find out.
…on abortion and women’s health care, there isn’t much daylight between Ryan and, say, Michele Bachmann. Any Republican vice presidential candidate is going to be broadly anti-abortion, but Ryan goes much further. He believes ending a pregnancy should be illegal even when it results from rape or incest, or endangers a woman’s health. He was a cosponsor of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a federal bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, which, if passed, would criminalize some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization. The National Right to Life Committee has scored his voting record 100 percent every year since he entered the House in 1999. “I’m as pro-life as a person gets,” he told the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack in 2010. “You’re not going to have a truce.” …
This disregard for the exigencies of women’s lives … was thrown into high relief during his 1998 run for congress against Democrat Lydia Spottswood. Both candidates backed a ban on so-called “partial-birth abortion,” but Spottswood believed there should be exceptions in cases where a woman’s life or health is endangered. “Ryan said he opposes abortion, period,” reported the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He said any exceptions to a ‘partial-birth’ abortion ban would make that ban meaningless.”
During that campaign, Ryan also expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions. According to another Journal Sentinel article, he “would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions. Ryan said he’s never specifically advocated jailing women who have abortions or doctors who perform them, but added, ‘If it’s illegal, it’s illegal.’ ”