Politicians who are unwilling or unable to offer a persuasive political or policy rationale for cutting Social Security benefits are instead hiding behind a technocratic rationale. We're not "cutting benefits," we're "correcting our inflation measure."
The problem in the austerity crisis talks isn't that Democrats are refusing the GOP's proposed Medicare cuts. It's that Republicans are refusing to name their Medicare cuts. And that's because they genuinely don't know what they want to do on Medicare.
In every single year from 1999 to 2008, the Medicare beneficiaries switching out of the private plans and back into traditional Medicare were sicker and more expensive than the beneficiaries who stayed in Medicare Advantage's private plans. That suggests those private plans are somehow pushing them out.
Social Security and that annoying guy from college aren't the only ones with a trust fund - Medicare has one too. So how does it work, and how does it change under the Affordable Care Act and Ryan's budget?
I was pretty sure that when Paul Ryan got tapped to be Robin to Mitt Romney's Batman, it meant we were in for some serious budget talk. Instead, it's meant we've spent a lot of time talking about Medicare. Which is odd. Because Paul Ryan’s budget isn’t that focused on Medicare. And that’s even truer for Mitt Romney’s budget.
In my experience, you're actually getting a more serious conversation over the issues if you listen directly to the two campaigns than if you're reading about the campaign as filtered through much of the media.
Since the Romney campaign wants to run against President Obama's cuts to Medicare, it's something of a problem for them that Paul Ryan's budget includes those very same cuts to Medicare. And so they've come up with a somewhat confused and confusing argument to distinguish the two plans.
It's a conservative myth that the White House hasn't put forward a Medicare reform plan. What that line really means is that White House hasn't put forward some variant of Paul Ryan's plan. But they've put forward their own.