Paul Ryan said Saturday morning to a gathering of pale-faced Republican geezers in Florida,
Our solution to preserve, protect, and save Medicare will not affect your benefits.
Yesterday I posted a piece on how Republicans, in order to sell their plan to radically revamp Medicare, are appealing to the selfishness of current seniors, hoping those seniors won’t begin to wonder how long young folks will keep paying for benefits those young people will never get.
A retired local conservative commenter, who is living on a military pension, responded to my piece with this:
…cutting military retirement benefits is coming, like it or not by anyone. But you would not do it I hope for those that have planned their lives and are living on such benefits today.
Same with Medicare. People have planned their lives for that program and need it to live as planned.
The idea here is that “I’ve got mine” and it is too bad if folks in the future have to take less, but they should keep paying for “mine.” Nothing could better illustrate what I was trying to say in the piece I wrote than that conservative’s comment.
Another commenter on the piece characterized the conservative’s thoughts this way:
Being a silver-haired geezer myself, I can see that they want to do the same thing to Medicare and Social Security that has been done to the educational system. Hey, WE got our valuable college degrees for peanuts and earned the big bucks during our peak years, but now we realize it wasn’t fair, and so YOU are going to have to suck it up, kid. And don’t come begging at grandpa’s door, because I now believe in tough love!
Amen. Tough love, if you will notice, is almost always directed at someone else. When Paul Ryan, for instance, had the chance to practice some tough love during the Bush administration and demand that the expanded drug benefit or the two wars be paid for, he made the decision to defer the tough love until later, which happened to be when a Democrat was in the White’s House.
And Ryan’s tough love was in full force when he opposed Obama’s stimulus plan to help start the economic recovery, even though he later sent letters requesting some of the money so his constituents wouldn’t have to suffer from his tough love. (And then, taking lessons from Romney, he lied about doing so.)
But our local conservative commenter, again a man who lives on an inflation-protected military pension that he earned from his years of service, wasn’t finished with his own tough love campaign. He wrote:
The GOP has said economic processes MUST CHANGE today because our national wants far exceed our national resources.
Here is my response to that comment:
What you call our national wants are actually national needs, unless you think we don’t need the social stability that Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid provide, or unless you believe we can stop funding the Defense Department.
But even if you consider those things “wants,” you are still wrong in claiming that those wants exceed our national resources. In fact they don’t. We have plenty of national resources, as we are very wealthy.
What we have is a political party, which you almost always support, that has designated most of our national economic resources as untouchable, except when it comes to the military.
And they have decided that the uneven distribution of income in America is not to be feared but to be embraced, as it will somehow inspire the have-nots to work harder so they too can someday send their excess dough to the Cayman Islands for some much needed rest.
The truth is that conservatives controlling the GOP today do not value the stability that comes from social programs, programs they routinely disparage openly and without apology.
For instance, Mr. Obama has been falsely called “the food stamp president” by Newt Gingrich, as if providing food stamps to folks who need them in bad times is worthy of condemnation. It turns out that George W. Bush was actually the food stamp president and God bless him for it. It was the least he could do for helping screw up the economy, which made food stamps such a necessity for many folks.
And you know what your conservative intellectual hero-columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote about Bush? He denigrated him for his,
philosophically undisciplined, idiosyncratically free-spending “compassionate conservatism.”
You see, for ideologues like Krauthammer, compassion has no place in conservatism, a point I am happy to make every day.
People like Gingrich and Krauthammer and Rush Limbaugh and a horde of Republican politicians often refer to an “entitlement society,” as if people—they want you to think it is mostly black people—who receive government help aspire to do nothing more than lie around the house and get fat on food purchased with money stolen from taxing “job creators.” That is what the Romney ads falsely claiming that Obama waived the work requirement for welfare benefits is all about.
You see, these folks have always hated the social safety net because most of them have never needed it or have arrived at a place where they know they never will. In one way or another, they’ve got theirs and to hell with everyone else.
And it is that sentiment that serves as the subtext of the Ryan-Romney campaign and that will be what voters affirm or reject in November.