Saturday, May 24, 2008

Prophets of Doom

The Journal-Sentinel’s praise of Paul Ryan as of late is getting scary. They have a new editorial bestowing the virtue of his “Road Map for America’s Future,” with a few caveats. This editorial repeats many of the lines they gushed in a previous piece. The problem is that it's mostly rubbish.

First of all, Social Security is fine. For the mainstream media to keep pushing these ominous threats about Social Security's impending doom is inexcusable. Even the Congressional Budget Office admits that Social Security is solvent, as is, without any changes until 2052, and up to 80 percent after that. And the idea that somehow privatizing it, making it dependent on the whims of the stock market, is the answer, is a myth. Wake up, people! This is simply one more, in a long line of Republican schemes to loot the Treasury for their own benefit.

Medicare is a quandary, but not because of it’s entitlement issue. It’s because of managed care and the pharmaceutical industries skyrocketing profits. For our health care we spend twice as much as any other developed nation, we get worse results, and 50 million are uninsured.

Also, the push for 10 percent and 25 percent tax rates, "simplified" rates, or a flat tax has been debunked since the first charlatan plotted it. How about we just remove the write-offs, deductions, exemptions, subsidies, and other nefarious tax code ploys that merely benefit the uber wealthy?

This all ties in neatly with our current recessionary woes. Much of this is due to deregulation. Those whom are merely guided by the profit motive cannot be counted on to regulate themselves. This travesty is just more reinforcement for the case for government intervention. Why do we pay $100's for pills while other nations charge pennies? Because the pharmaceutical industry pays for the politicians that allow such. And it's the same reason why the services provided by private managed care companies are so deplorable.

Ryan should be applauded? I hope this is the Journal's attempt at sarcasm. He’s wrapped the same old greedy, exploitative, reward-the-rich Republican idiom in modified rhetoric and snappy one-liners. Just when I believe the Journal-Sentinel cannot not possibly sink any lower as a newspaper, the bottom falls out.

All of these proposals have been laughed at by actual economists (not pretend ones like Paul Ryan) and proven to be Trojan horses attempting to push through typical regressive Republican policies.

What does Paul Ryan have to say about the war? The money we’ve spent on that travesty could shore up Social Security and Medicare for decades. (Not to mention what could be achieved by simply making corporate tax avoiders pay their fair share.) And the real ludicrous part is that the Journal-Sentinel sees nothing wrong with applauding Ryan’s ridiculous proposal, but can’t connect the dots between money being spent in Iraq and money to take care of our nation's sick and elderly.

The media allowed our horrible president, and has continued to allow him, to spend billions on a fabricated and misguided war. This money could have been spent on our real priorities – Medicare and/or fixing the health care system, public infrastructure, education, etc. In economics that’s called an opportunity cost. But I’m sure Paul Ryan and the Journal-Sentinel, being the great economists they are, knew that.

For Further Reading:
Alarming Parallels Between 1929 and 2007
Bat Boy Lives! As Do Myths About Social Security
Debunking The Social Security Myth
Deregulation & The Financial Crisis
Don't Privatize Social Security
Flat Wrong
Inventing A Crisis
Myth of Social Security's Imminent Collapse
Simple Arithmetic Of Flat Taxes
Tax Plan A Con
What Social Security Crisis?
Why Not The Best?

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