Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And There You Have It

While I do admire House Republicans for laying it on the table -- and I mean that without sarcasm -- their vision of our future, as revealed today, is one of slow suicide. Sorry: fast suicide.

The GOP plan released by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would, if enacted into law, wrestle the deficit to a manageable size in short order, but only by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, Pell Grants and a host of other programs that Obama has promised to protect.

To deal with the influx of retiring Baby Boomers, the GOP budget reprises a controversial approach to overhauling Medicare that would switch the program — for those under 55 today — from a traditional "fee for service" framework in which the government pays doctor and hospital bills to a voucherlike "premium support" approach in which the government subsidizes purchases of health insurance.

If the only thing that's important is balancing the budget while maintaining historically low tax rates on high income people, then their plan shines like a tear on John Boehner's cheek. But if any importance is given to education, health care accessibility and affordability, to providing help to those in need -- in short, to seeing to it that there's a future beyond the generation in charge -- then "disgrace" is too mild a word.

I know of at least one reader who thinks their Medicare plan is peachy. Turning a successful (if too costly) program into one that sends money to the corporations that finance the GOP is cool with him. He buys, one must infer, the oft-repeated (including in the R announcement) and never-realized trope that providing competition among health care insurers lowers costs. They're fine, for obvious reasons, with turning Medicare over to corporations with their 30% overhead and profit-taking; but they railed with cynicism ablazing when President Obama proposed ways to save money within the current system. Actual, thoughtful ways, aimed at finding efficiencies in delivery of care; as opposed to turning the system into a money-maker for donors.

Behind the deliberate distractions of ginned-up religious paranoia, private sexual behavior, of made-up otherness of our president, lies the real choice the country faces, and it couldn't be more clear. If you take the time to think past the Foxian fog of falsehoods.

If Romtorum is elected, and if the Senate goes to Republicans, the proposed budget will become law. The financial health of the most well-off among us will be assured for their lifetimes. The next generation will be less educated, will drive on potholed roads in cars that spew more pollution, the poor will die in greater numbers, health care will be less accessible and more expensive. The future of once-great and -admired America, the America that prospered by educating and caring for and counting on its people to excel, will slip from view --replaced by greed, uncaring, and undisguised theocracy.*

And the current crop of GOP legislators will be happy as a pig in shit. (Although, to many, the plan doesn't cut enough or do it fast enough.)

*Yes, the guy standing and applauding at the end of the linked unamerican rant is Rick Santorum.

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