Giving Paul Ryan credit

at 09:12 AM ET, 04/04/2011


(J. Scott Applewhite)
In general, seniors vote Republicans and poor people don’t. So the easy play for Paul Ryan was clear: limit the entitlement-reform portion of his budget to slashing Medicaid. Then he could say he was taking a first step on entitlements without enraging the GOP’s core supporters.

He didn’t do that. Ryan — and the GOP — are proposing to privatize Medicare. They’re proposing to save money by giving seniors less than their now-private Medicare will cost. They’re endorsing a plan that is the single least popular option for balancing the budget — below raising the retirement age, cutting defense spending or raising taxes on the rich.

I have my problems with Ryan’s plan, and I’m sure I’ll be telling you about them at great length in the days to come. But since I would have been criticizing Ryan if he’d cut health care for poor people while exempting the programs that benefit everyone else, it’s only fair that I give him credit for doing what he promised and taking on entitlements despite the possible cost.

That said, the underlying political economy here remains dangerous for Medicaid: seniors are simply more powerful than poor people. So one potential outcome in these negotiations is that Medicare is saved but Medicaid is slashed. That’s not good enough, obviously.

 
Read what others are saying

    Most Read: Business

    DJIA
    0.07%
    S&P 500
    0.28%
    NASDAQ
    0.61%
     Last Update: 02:22 PM 11/27/2014

    World Markets from      

     

    Other Market Data from      

     

    Key Rates from