Paul Ryan and “Granny”

The announcement of Mitt Romney’s running-mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, caused a firestorm of activity on news networks. Ryan, in his seventh term of Congress, is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is most well-known for his revolutionary budget plan, The Path to Prosperity.

Ryan’s budget is controversial for multiple reasons, but I would like to focus on one of the most common criticisms you may have heard already in the media. Although some Democrats consider the budget “sensible”, “honest”, and “serious”, some allege that Ryan is essentially “throwing Granny off the cliff” with cuts to Medicare.

One should consider again these criticisms before blindly accepting them. An argument that “Paul Ryan wants seniors to die more quickly” is the type of emotional, destructive argument that I advised against in an earlier post. Of course Paul Ryan doesn’t want to kill the elderly. Neither does President Barack Obama. Both are trying different solutions to solve a $15 trillion problem in our country called the national debt.

Here’s what you should know about Paul Ryan’s approach to Medicare, before you automatically dismiss him as a “granny-hater”. As Ryan says in the plan:

“The future of the nation’s health and retirement security programs is increasingly based on empty promises from a government unwilling to advance solutions that save and strengthen them.”

Why is it important to advance a solution now? Because Medicare could go bankrupt in as little as four years. That means if we do nothing, there will be no money for Granny. Take a few minutes and watch this short video to see Paul Ryan explain what we can do to save Medicare. It’s worth watching.

There is also the inconvenient fact that ObamaCare actually cut more from Medicare than Paul Ryan’s budget. If you are still convinced that Paul Ryan is “throwing Granny off the cliff” by reforming Medicare, then you must also acknowledge that the President already has.

Don’t believe me? Then let’s ask the seniors themselves.

“In an ABC News/Washington Post poll, 28 percent of seniors viewed Ryan favorably while 28 percent viewed him unfavorably before Romney selected him to be his running mate.  After his selection, 46% of those seniors now view him favorably while 28 percent still view him unfavorably. In just one weekend, Ryan has increased his favorability numbers among seniors by 14 percentage points, even as Democrats spent the weekend trying to demonize Ryan and his budget.”

Or from back in 2011:

“A new Gallup/USA Today poll contains a counterintuitive finding: the age group most receptive to House Budget Chair Paul Ryan‘s plan to deal with the budget – seniors.

The poll finds 48 percent of seniors (those 65 and over) support Ryan’s plan over President Obama‘s plan, while 42 percent back the president.”

13 responses to “Paul Ryan and “Granny”

  1. I like the Paul Ryan video – it seems like an obvious choice…of course I want to make my own health care decisions instead of having a lot of beaurocrats make the decisions for me. And if I’m choosing and everyone else is choosing, then I do expect the providers to lower costs while increasing quality.

    So…what would the other side say is wrong about this video? President Obama is an intelligent guy — would he say that the panel of reviewers can make better decisions than I can (I would disagree, but certainly there are plenty of us around that do not make great health care decisions all the time). Would he say that paying all doctors the same amounts somehow still helps them lower costs and increase quality? Would he say the video misrepresents his plan or would he say the video gets the essentials right but makes the wrong conclusions?

    Help me understand what the other side would say about this video – and why their perspective, which likely has a very reasonable sounding video as well, is flawed. Thanks!

    • It’s hard to say, because the majority of the videos are attacking Ryan for “sending seniors over the cliff”. One of the biggest defenses of Obamacare is that the IPAB is not a “death panel”, it is only “finding ways to save money”. Inevitably however, saving money means not paying for certain things for some people.

      I think when you pass a trillion-dollar law to create 159 new government panels and committees to find ways to save the government money, it’s rather ironic. Paul Ryan has found many ways to save trillions of dollars without any help from these agencies that are still beginning.

      Paul Ryan also wants to change Medicaid to a block grant system, meaning states will not receive additional money for enrolling more citizens in corruption. However, as I learned at AEI, this still encourages corruption, as it creates an incentive to use as much federal money as possible to continue the current level of block funding.

      I’d be curious for a factual debate about Medicare between Ryan and Obama, but unfortunately, it seems as if both sides are now resorting to scare tactics.

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  3. The Romney-Ryan team has got to steer a very careful course.

    Most voters are nearly totally ignorant of all of the important facts about all of the important issues. They will make their decision about whom to vote for on grounds other than detailed knowledge of the issues and of the candidates supposed positions on the issues. Lat time they opted for “Hope and Change” as opposed to continuation of Republican rule. We’re now in serious trouble — not directly caused by Obama and the Democrats, to be sure, but whose roots are not really addressed by them either.

    Evidently Mr Romney wants to send a signal that his administration will not be just a moderate Republican business-as-usual Eishenhower-2 administration. Hopefully, this will resonate with Americans who realize that the federal debt is going to destroy us as a nation if it is not radically addressed.

    But the electoral message, “Suffer some now, or suffer a LOT later” is not the most appealing of messages. Will Americans put off that visit to the dentist, in hopes that the problem will magically disappear?

    • Great comment. You’re right, “the dentist” argument doesn’t resonate much. But I think we do need to make radical changes. That’s why, if someone thinks Ryan is radical, I would say that’s a benefit.

      Being “radical” doesn’t automatically mean “bad”, or that Ryan is trying to kill off grandmothers. Like you said, however, many people won’t research enough to find that out. That’s where I believe Ryan’s personality and speaking style are big assets.

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  8. What makes Washington so dangerous these days is the politicians can whip up a frenzy of fear any time people try to *really* deal with the serious problems the country faces. It’s politically advantageous and at the same time debilitating to the nation. As was brought out in this post, though: if serious, tough decisions aren’t made NOW there might not be an opportunity to make any decisions about these things later.

    Another good post. Keep up the good work.

    • “if serious, tough decisions aren’t made NOW there might not be an opportunity to make any decisions about these things later.”

      Exactly. He’s fighting against human nature, which is to procrastinate and put off the tough decisions. Thanks for stopping by again!

  9. Polls are showing that Paul Ryan has an appeal to another demographic as well – voters 18-29 years of age. Most of these voted for Obama in 2008, and many, perhaps the majority, want government to pay for many things in their lives – student loans, health insurance, etc. This is a stark change from five years ago. How do I know? I teach finance at a university, and have for almost 20 years. But Paul Ryan appeals to this age group. He is young (42!) and energetic and engaging. And he really may sway this critical group, that represents the future of the United States, back to a free-market perspective. Certainly some are already being swayed, as many are unemployed due to the policies of the man that they so enthusiastically embraced in 2008. It will be yet another interesting aspect to watch.

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